“Underground?” Cerys asked.
“Yes,” he told her. “I can show it to you.”
She stopped and watched as Nashtra veered of a little bit to the left, towards the plants that sparked with blue energy. She took a few careful steps to follow him, Himeko close beside her.
“Is it really safe?”
“If you don’t touch anything, yes. We are almost through, anyway. Just watch your foot right there.”
Cerys stopped and look down. One of the roots of the tree beside her was sticking out of the ground, a tripping hazard if there had ever been one. Himeko passed her, stepping deftly over the root. Cerys followed her, careful to not get her boot caught. She realized then that the boys had not seen them move off of the path.
As soon as they realized that Cerys and others were gone, Peter and Bayani hurried to catch up with them. Peter didn’t see the root sticking out of the ground, and it caught his foot, which sent him skipping forward, stumbling as he tried to catch his footing. He ended up barreling past them, and then fell to his knees as he approached the river. The water gurgled along just a few dozen feet away, and behind him Bayani was shouting, running, trying to catch up to him.
It was with terrible realization that Peter discovered that the ground sloped steeply downwards as is neared the river, the embankment slippery with mud and moss. He tried to get to his feet again, but slipped on the moss cover the rock that was trying to push his body up against, and went back to falling. He tumbled the rest of the way down the embankment, and Bayani ran after him, down the steep slope, crying out Peter’s name. He hurried faster and faster, and managed to wedge himself between Peter and the shallow edge of the flowing waters.
He was in the river, the water rushing past ankles. He grabbed Peter by the shoulders, propping him up up to keep him out of the river. Peter was gasping now, his heart pounding, and he looked down into his boyfriend’s rich brown eyes. Bayani stared back up at him, ignoring the cold feel of the water rushing around him, the way it soaked through his boots and the hem of his pants. He wasn’t thinking about anything else, not even about Nashtra’s warning, just about keeping Peter safe.
Nashtra was shouting now, hurrying up to them, his feet carrying him deftly down the bank in mere moments and onto the muddy shores of the river. He grabbed Peter and pulled him way, back to a safer part of the shore. Peter seemed to shocked to say anything, and let Nashtra guide him without the least bit of struggle. The elf led him to a seat on the rocks where it was dry and not so slippery.