It was cold in the forest. Wendy wished she had bought a jacket. Also blinkers of some sort, so she wouldn’t have to see the horrible trees. They freaked her out, and it was difficult not to hyperventilate and go find Kevin. It was as if somebody had seen the Snow White forest and gone ‘Yes! That, but trippier and with actual monsters!’
She had thought about saying this to Kevin. But lately he would make little snide remarks any time she made any reference to something being trippy or drug related, and she didn’t want to give him any ammunition. It hurt her feelings that he kept bringing it up – she’d told him in the spirit of an honest and open relationship, but she now kind of wished she hadn’t. It was one time! Apparently he was allowed to fiddle around with Nazi dream machines and be rude to people, but she did something stupid that hurt nobody just once and he wouldn’t let it go. It was making her wonder about how strong they actually were.
She sat on the grass as the others dealt with the chimera. Buddy was running around trying to find fish, Kavin was pulling up a plant and Marco had reluctantly caught a pigeon – he would definitely cry about that later. Wendy just stayed where she was. Buddy had pushed her through the hedge, hopefully in some jovial ‘cheer up!’ way rather than with malicious intent. But she had landed at the feet of the chimera, and it had been even more terrifying than the forest. Buddy hadn’t known about the beast, right? Even so, she couldn’t make herself help them. She just stayed curled up, shivering. She wished she had brought a jacket.
Wendy had been surprised when Willow had given her the go-ahead to try to find and make this new mantle. Hopefully the four women would be able to look after the new one better. From what she had understood, this mantle’s purpose would be to take the original mantle from whoever held it. That could be very dangerous in the wrong hands. If the queens could lose their own incredibly powerful mantle due to carelessness, what would they do if someone got their hands on this one and used it to take the other? Hopefully mantles could be destroyed, or they could make it one-use. It wasn’t something she really wanted to think about. Right now she had to worry more about how they were supposed to make a mantle. Knowing their luck, they would find the power source and their heads would get melted.
The others had fed the beast, so she climbed to her feet, following slowly behind as they continued down the path. They travelled onward through the forest in silence, eventually reaching a yawning chasm with a tattered rope bridge. She could feel the power in the other side, but it was clear the bridge wouldn’t hold up even one person’s weight, never mind all of them. Great. The chasm was probably also filled with hungry monsters. Or spikes for when the bridge broke. Or poison gas. Or the bridge was cunningly disguised snakes that would eat them when they stood on it.
It was hard not to cry. She was tired and afraid and it was all just unfair. She was tired of monsters, even when they turned out not to be violent and angry. She was tired of having to visit scary places, and find scary people who wanted to hurt her and her friends. She just wanted to get this over with and go home, curl up in bed and be by herself for a while. Kevin could go and play with his stupid machine. She didn’t care.