Unexpected Adventures, Part Six
Regis woke near a spitting fire. He shouted and brushed sizzling embers from his face. Instantly, he regretted it. Everything spun, and his leg burned worse than the embers. He squeezed his eyes shut.
“Sorry about that! The fire doesn’t like your belt, I guess. And neither do I. It smells.”
Regis pried his eyes open. Cloudwillow stood right in front of him.
He started. Her voice had sounded further away.
“You’re going to be sore for a little while. That was a nasty swipe to your leg. Oh, I put it back when I was done, but I had to take off that charm.”
“You what?” Regis grit his teeth and sat up. If he hadn’t felt so nauseous, he would have picked up the grinning girl by the collar of her dress.
“It was either that or leave you bleeding to death.” Cloudwillow shrugged. She put her hands behind her back and rocked on her heels. “So…notice anything?”
Regis looked around. Books. There were books everywhere. On all four walls, above the fireplace, and there were scrolls hanging from hooks on the chandelier.
“Where am I?”
“The inn’s library. I couldn’t drag you to your room, and I don’t think you would’ve liked being left hanging on a table. Oh, and before you ask, I heard you thumping around upstairs.” Cloudwillow began miming, dashing from one end of the room and back again, gesturing with her arms all the while. “I ran over the snow, found you bleeding, wove a few spells, and then dragged you back like a slab of meat. You just weren’t quite as bloody as one. So, yeah, I saved you.”
Regis blinked and attempted to process the babble of words. “…Thank you.”
“You’re welcome.” She smiled smugly.
Regis hardened his tone. “Next time, don’t remove the charm.” He felt better when the smile fell from her face.
“Fine. Be that way. You won’t pass out, right?” She raised an eyebrow.
Regis raised one back. “No.”
“Oh, good. In that case, here…” She trotted over to a shelf and took down a thick book. “…is what I wanted to show you.”
A book, with worn leather binding, thumped next to him. He poked at it, then gingerly lifted the dingy cover with one finger.
Cloudwillow came up close and whispered in his ear. “It’s not a blood lion.”
Regis glared. “Then what is it?”
“It, my friend, is the Book of Prophecy.” She said the last with a tone of reverence. Then she hefted the book up, turned it towards her, and flipped the sheaves of paper. Words and pictures blurred by, too fast for Regis to see.
“This page here, this is why I was expecting you to be totally different.” Cloudwillow flipped the book back over, her finger tapping at a page on the right.
Regis stared. It was a picture. The picture was him. At least, the face was. He couldn’t attest to the starry blue cloak, ferocious emblem, or gem-studded sword.