Status: Will be updated once to twice a week, until I catch up to what I have written.

The Quest

Chapter 5 - The Star

Tom woke up a few hours later surrounded by trees. He sat up, clutching at his head as it beat at him. He looked towards his right to see Tess sitting on a log, her chin resting on her knees as she tended to a fire. “You okay?” Tess’ small voice floated over to him, along with the smell of cooking meat.

“I’m fine,” Tom stood up, he glanced at his clothes hanging from his body. He was thankful for the clothing stores. They were good at taking different species into consideration for their merchandise. He velcroed the seams back together, then sat next to Tess. “Did I scare you?”

She shook her head no as she continued to stare into the fire. “Do you want to get your stuff?” 

“You haven’t taken your recovery potion yet,” Tess glanced at him before looking back at the fire. Tom followed her gaze to see strips of bacon hanging from a stick over the fire.

“Do you have any made?”

Tess shook her head once more. “I was going to get more ingredients when we went to the next town.”

Tom gave her a small smile as he felt the fatigue from his transformation take over. “I’ll be fine. You should get our stuff before those people ruin it.”

Tess glanced over at Tom. He was trying to hide his fatigue, but she knew how much energy his transformations cost him. She had been living with his family for most of her life. That had been after-

“Hey.” Tom wrapped an arm around Tess’ shoulders when he noticed her eyes tear up. “Are you sure you’re okay?”

Tess nodded as her lip trembled, holding back tears. She had thought about her parents.  

“Hey, chin up,” Tom put a hand under Tess’ chin, making her look up at him. His chest tightened as he saw how sad she was. “I know you miss them, but they’d be so proud of you right now.”

Tess drew a deep breath before throwing her arms around Tom, letting her tears loose. “I left it behind!”

Surprise took Tom by her sudden outburst. “What did you leave behind?” Then he stopped when he realized what she was talking about. His transformation had happened so fast she didn’t have time to grab anything and left her father’s orb at the hotel. “Hey, I’m feeling better. Let’s get the stuff we left and go to the flower fields. Okay?” He lifted her chin once more and gently wiped her tears away. 

Tess sniffled a bit before nodding her head, trying to regain her composure. 

“Ready?” Tom placed a hand on her arm. 

“Yes,” Tess took a shuddering breath before closing her eyes and pictured the hotel. 

It took a few moments, but she could finally visualize the front of the building. She looked around to see people walking away from the hotel to go back home. They pulled a news station vehicle up to the front of the building. A news anchor talked into the camera as she walked past. She walked through the front doors and went to where their room had been. 

She stopped when she heard a cart wheeling down the hallway. It was a maid doing the room inspections. She passed through the closed door to see they had cleaned their room. Shoot, Tess thought to herself. The door swung open, passing through her as the hotel manager walked in with the news anchor. 

“And you’re saying the Wilkolak was in this very room?” The news anchor asked, as the camera crew followed. 

Tess gritted her teeth at seeing the red light on the camera. She knew the people in the room wouldn’t see her, but the camera would most likely pick up on a disturbance where she was. She moved behind the door, trying to keep her distance. 

“That’s right. I saw it with my own eyes!” The manager exclaimed, moving their arms animatedly. 

“You heard it here, folks!” the announcer said into the camera. “The long lost Wilkolak has made a grand reappearance today.” The camera shut off a few seconds later. “I thought they had all died out a hundred years ago,” the news anchor continued talking as they walked around the room. They picked up the covers and opened the drawers to the dressers. 

Tess curled up her lip in disgust. She realized that their items most likely weren’t in the room since it was so clean. It still didn’t feel right to have someone inspecting everything. Tom’s hand tightened around her arm, making her look around as she remembered why she was there. 

“Wilkolak were known as witches’ familiars,” the hotel manager offered, making Tess stop in her tracks. 

Witches familiars? Tess thought to herself. She didn’t know any witches besides herself, and she wasn’t very good at it. Tom’s family didn’t know any witches that she was aware of. 

“It’s too bad witches have such a bad rap in the area,” the news anchor answered. She looked at the carpet and gasped at seeing a large paw print. Tess followed the news anchor’s gaze to see Tom’s imprint on the soft carpet of the room. His transformation always amazed her. The magic and power that transformed him was always breathtaking to watch, if not a little scary. He was as big as she was, and his paws were massive. She remembered one time when they were kids and she put his paw to her face to compare the sizes. His parents had thought it was hilarious. 

Tess, don’t take too much longer, Tom’s voice whispered in her ear, bringing her back to the present once again. She vanished into the wall and went to the front reception desk. The girl that had been working yesterday was working once again. Tess walked through the desk and went to the back room. To her relief, she saw their things sitting on a table. 

I found our stuff; she thought back to Tom, knowing he’d receive her message as long as he kept hold of her. 

Just grab the important things, Tom answered back. 

Tess took a breath, then walked to their things and started rummaging through it. When she found something they needed, she pictured Tom and teleported the item to him. 

Tess, you’re losing energy. Finish up, Tom’s voice intruded in her head as she finished teleporting the last of her ingredients. 

But I haven’t found it yet, She cried back at him. Tears were falling down her cheeks, leaving wet imprints where they hit the ground. She felt Tom’s concerned gaze on her as she continued rummaging through their things. Tess was losing hope of finding her star. 

“These are the things they left?” The news anchor asked, coming into the room. 

Tess backed away from the table as the hotel manager walked in. He glanced at the table, then looked out of the room, confused. “It was. Some items are missing.” The hotel manager walked out of the room and went to the front reception to talk to the girl running it. 

The news anchor rummaged through Tess’ things on the table. Accidentally shoving a small leather bag to the ground. Tess eyed the bag, her heart in her throat as she recognized it. 

“Rebecca says nobody’s been back here,” the hotel manager walked back into the room. Stopping short when he kicked the small bag. 

“There are stories of witches that can teleport things to their physical location,” the news anchor suggested as she looked around the room. Tess ducked under the table as she went to reach for the bag. 

“Hm, so the girl with the Wilkolak was a witch,” the hotel manager mused. “Do you think she’s doing that now?” The manager kicked the bag once again, moving it further across the room. 

“She could be done if all their valuables are no longer here.” The news anchor started rifling through their things once again. Tess began inching her way towards the small bag once again. “I see little of anything here. Just extra clothes,” the news anchor slammed her hands down on the table. Tess jumped at the sound and glanced behind herself to see the disappointed looks. 

“Wait, what’s this?” The hotel manager rushed by Tess and scooped up the small bag he had kicked before. “This is that girls’.” The manager pointed at the bag. He opened it a bit, gasping when light began pouring out of it. 

Tess, it’s time, Tom’s voice called to her. Next thing she knew, she was with Tom surrounded by trees circled by their things. 

Tess looked at her surroundings in a daze, before collapsing in Tom’s arms sobbing. “Tess, I’m so sorry,” Tom rubbed her back comfortingly, as she soaked his shirt with her tears.