Footsteps stomped quickly on the wet ground, leaving dead leaves and broken branches. The beasts were only a short distance from the convoy. They accidentally ran into them when they left the ruins. And suprisingly, Finn threw a rock at the Glossas. The stone crushed an ill-fated hellhound, but the rest of them were numerous and filled with anger. After that, Finn pulled out a jar from his backpack and threw it at the bewildered beasts. The jar then exploded, its smoke spreaded out and covered the sky, and the convoy quickly retreated into a canyon but they could not hide for so long.
Those fatal beasts did not waste too much time to find poor convoy. And just a second before the confrontation was about to break out, suddenly there was a slight tremor under their feet. The vines like hundreds of snakes tearing the ground, weaving together to form a great green wall that sealed the entrance to the gorge. Everything was silent, suddenly a timid voice spoke behind them.
“ummm… Hey,…Grandma is waiting…”
They turned around, behind the moss-covered rock in the distance was a small girl hiding under a wide-brimmed hat which was full of moss and mushrooms. Her long red hair covered her pretty face. Seeing everyone running towards her, the little girl grabbed a crooked broom from the back of her bag, threw it into the air, and carefully sat on it, leading the way into the valley. The broom stopped in front of a small rock cavity covered with mushrooms, moss, and ferns. The red-haired girl pushed the door, sneaked back to look those people then ran inside.
The room was larger than expected, filled with potted plants and exotic flowers that kept whispering. The little girl was standing next to a big fat old woman who also wore a huge wide-brimmed hat, her body crumpled as if it were melting on the rickety armchair.
“She looks like a giant mushroom.” Finn thought, holding back a laugh.
The boy absentmindedly looked at the flowers on the door sill and discovered that they were also widening their curious eyes at him and the crowd, sometimes used the leaves pointing as judging.
“ Listen everyone!”
The old woman cleared her throat, those whispering turned into silence. She slowly looked through the crowd once, took a deep breath and continued:
“Welcome to the mushroom valley. Finally, you’re here my princess, the one carries Nebrodi’s life seed. And you, Finn, the blessed traveler.”
“Huh, who’s blessed? Me?”, Finn bewildered.
Aubrey nudged him gently to be quiet.
“I am Saltly, the keeper of the ancient prophecy. And this is Pepper, I found her on the edge of the woods many years ago and now she is the heir to our heritage.”, the woman paused and continued:
“Your fate was predicted thousands of years ago, and it is tied to the life on this world. But it’s not at Olympus. Go to the valley of the life and invoke the primitive god power. Then a new world will be born, and we will be safe.”
Suddenly the ground shook violently, and the flowers and grass in the house turned in the direction of the tremor. The roots like tentacles stretched out and curled around the small house. They uprooted the house and began to crawl on the ground.
” The time is up everyone! We need to go now.”, the old woman remained calm. “You too Pepper, go with them, this is your destiny!”
“But grandma…” The little girl protested weakly, but before she could say more, the old woman interrupted.
“You don’t have to worry about me, I’ll be fine with them here,” she turned her head and looked the vines. “When it’s all over, we’ll meet again”
Pepper nodded slightly and said nothing, her tears were rolling down her cheeks while leading the crowd all along a mountain path out of the valley. Finn gave Pepper some juicy berries that he found in the forest in order to comfort her. Aubrey looked back the valley again, dark clouds covered the horizon, fireballs kept falling, wishing this was just a nightmare. But she would end it. Aubrey was no longer the pampered little princess, she had her allies, and she knew where she was going.