"A Quest Ended"
Glimpses, Part 2
by Marc Johnson
Read Part 1 "Dances with Wasperines"

Yerthe peeked out from his hiding place. "There it is," he whispered. Excitement leaked through his voice as the knot in his throat tightened. "Do you see it, Kolte? Do you see the monarch hyren?"

"Of course I see it, but why are you whispering? I don't think the hyren can hear us from this far away." Kolte stood up and smiled at the grassy surroundings as the sun began to drop to the horizon. "But I must say, that it's good to be home again."

"So very true."

"Well, Yerthe," asked Kolte with a mocking smile, "how would you like to proceed this time?"

Yerthe kept his eyes on the hyren and answered, "How would you like to do things, Kolte? Shall we just run toward the hyren, screaming like crazed madmen?"

"Come on, Yerthe. That last one wasn't my fault. I just wasn't used to the coldness up in Nar. You swear it's my fault that the monarch hyren scares so easily."

Yerthe turned his head toward Kolte and raised an eyebrow. "What about what happened in Bograth?"

"How many times do I have to tell you? It wasn't my fault. It was the smell of the place that got to me. I felt so diseased just being there I needed to get out of that place faster than a furok in a forest fire," Kolte reasoned with his wide, innocent eyes.

"But did you have to alert the Bograth Magi? We barely made it out of there. And what about what happened in Cald, d'Resh, the Underneath, and all the other places?" The entire Weave suddenly became quiet as if to listen to Kolte's response.

"Well... I just wasn't used to all the weird places, that's all. You act as if I'm as well traveled as Eidon or something. Of course, after going on this quest with you, I suppose that I am, now."

Yerthe just nodded and refocused his attention on the hyren.

"Don't worry," added Kolte, "this time we're in our homeland, and believe me, I know our turf." He clapped his hand on Yerthe's shoulder. "Besides, what would you do without me?"

"I probably would have caught the hyren by now."

"Very funny..."

"Quiet!" Yerthe ordered. "I think the hyren knows were here."

The monarch hyren, perching atop one of the tallest grass blades, suddenly turned its heads up and started scanning the area with its eyes. It didn't move its supple body one inch. Yerthe motioned with his hand for Kolte to sit still. A few minutes later the monarch hyren bent its head down again and started to munch on some of the Weave seeds dangling from a nearby stalk.

"Well," Kolte whispered. "What are we going to do?"

Yerthe turned his head and smiled. "We're going to do what we did when we were younger: have a race. Last one there is a rotten arboll and the first one there gets the chance to capture the hyren."

"I'll be seeing ya," And Kolte jumped into a nearby reed and started his way to the hyren with his rings on one hand and his spear in the other.

"I'm sure you will, my young friend." Yerthe nonchalantly went another direction and created a Weavepath in front of him, the beginning of a long, grassy slide. Yerthe tightly gripped his Staff of Hyren and leaped. He hoped Kolte would distract the monarch hyren long enough so that he could get in range for one of his creatures to attack the hyren from behind when Kolte lost.

As Yerthe began his journey down the reed, the cool, smooth feel of the grass beneath his feet filled him with confidence. As he began to pick up speed, the wind caused his hair to get in his eyes and he had to brush it away. He smiled at being back in the Weave and remembered at how much he'd missed it. Yerthe loved being in his homeland and hoped that his quest to catch the almighty monarch hyren would end here.

The Weave was with Yerthe and he knew it, for the waves carried him up and down and made new paths for him, propelling him swiftly and silently. He had a feeling that he would at least surprise the monarch hyren; at these speeds, he knew that someone trying to spot him would only see a blur that looked like the reeds swaying in the wind. He also trusted that Kolte's noise would keep the monarch hyren's attention, but hopefully not scare it enough to cause the impressive beast to fly away.

Suddenly Yerthe felt his staff snag on a broken blade of grass. He fell and tumbled down the grass, berating himself for failing to keep his staff tighter to his body. Luckily, he was able to weave a mat for himself to land on. Although he didn't hurt himself in the fall, the damage had already been done; his impact sent the waves of grass twirling erratically, causing vibrations and making enough noise for anyone within half a mile to hear.

Yerthe scrambled to his feet as fast as he could, desperately hoping that somehow the monarch hyren hadn't seen or heard him, and praying that he might still have a chance to capture it.

"HIYAH!!!" Yerthe recognized his companion's battle yell off in the distance.

"Thank you, Kolte," said Yerthe, brushing himself off. Yerthe had always thought Kolte's battle yell to be foolish, but this once he truly appreciated that his friend had decided to come along with him. Yerthe increased his speed as he heard Kolte battle the monarch hyren. When Yerthe finally came upon the duel, he saw that Kolte was in serious trouble. The young Magi was breathing heavily, and he had only his spear to defend himself; there were no creatures to be seen. Yerthe knew Kolte's spear would do him little good against the massive hyren.

As the hyren leaped towards Kolte, Yerthe lunged forward, shouting, "Stop! Leave my friend alone. I'm the one that's been chasing you." He hoped his sudden appearance would not drive the hyren away again, but Kolte had not lasted so long as he had hoped.

The hyren flapped once, stopping in mid-leap, and turned its gaze towards Yerthe. It narrowed its two pairs of dark blue eyes, and seemed to smile at Yerthe as if welcoming him. Without warning, it screeched, a noise so loud that Kolte covered his ears in pain. To Yerthe the sound was as music. Luckily for Kolte, the monarch hyren stopped its noise and rested itself on the grass.

Kolte pushed himself up and scrambled to where Yerthe stood.

"For the first time in my life, I'm glad to see you," he said, using his spear to support his weight.

"You did well, my friend," Yerthe took Kolte's weight, supporting his friend as he created a little seat for Kolte to sit on. "Here, have some tuk berries," he continued, pulling the berries from a nearby stalk. "Now relax and enjoy the show. Let me show you how it's really done."

Yerthe strolled over and stood directly in front of the monarch hyren. The two opponents stood their ground firmly, their eyes appraising each other, muscles tightened in anxious anticipation. Finally, Yerthe took a deep breath and said, "It's beautiful, isn't it?" as he waved his hand over the Weave ocean with the sun clashing on its surface, painting the perfect portrait.

"I'm sure you noticed that we've been following you for years, but we met a long time before this. I was a little boy, playing tag with some of the other children, when I got lost. I had wandered for some time when I came upon you. You were sitting on a blade of grass during sunset, much like now. You looked so magnificent and wondrous that I instantly fell in love with you and with all hyren. Since then I have captured many hyren, and was even lucky enough to come across this relic," Yerthe held up his staff, "but it hasn't all been fun and games. Others have mocked me for using just hyren in my duels, but I've had to work very hard to earn every hyren in my collection. I will show them when I capture you; I will show everyone that it isn't Magi that rule the Moonlands; it is the hyren. Let us begin!"

Yerthe threw his staff into the grass where it stuck, standing straight up in the air.

The eyes on the staff's stylized head started to glow, ready to strengthen any hyren Yerthe dreamed. Yerthe reached into his pocket and grabbed two of the rings that rested there. Slipping them onto his fingers, he summoned a blade hyren and a grass hyren.

"Might as well start with something that's used to the terrain," he muttered, talking to himself. "Now, let's see how well you fare against two of your kind."

The monarch hyren took Yerthe's challenge, and shot straight up into the air. It then dived toward the two hyren, reaching out with its deadly, sharp-edged claws, aching to send the two back to the dream plane from which they had been brought. Yerthe's hyren twisted their bodies in attempt to dodge the monarch's attack, but they were too slow. Faster than Evu could eat a jellybean, the camouflaged hyren were gone. Small shards of animite tinkled and glowed as they fell, sinking out of sight in the deep grass ocean. The monarch hyren landed in front of Yerthe, raising both of its heads, and stretching its wings to show glory in its power.

Yerthe smiled in return, and confidently said, "They didn't last as long as I'd hoped, but they were just a diversion."

Yerthe waved his hands and, as they started to glow, a strange buzzing sound began. The hyren moved its heads back and forth to see where the noise was coming from. The moment its two heads were scanning the grass on either side of them, Yerthe moved his hands forward and out from the brush behind him came spiraling sawgrass, buzzing loudly and causing Kolte once again to cover his ears. The sawgrass focused on the hyren's heads. Just when it looked as though it would hit the hyren, the monarch ducked and swiped the sawgrass with its tail, and the whirling blades went spinning off into the distance.

"Ooh, you almost had it," Kolte said, from his seat.

The hyren stretched its necks, then shook its heads from side to side as if to say: "Ummm... no, he didn't."

"Talk about lucky," groused Yerthe. "If it had been a moment sooner..."

The monarch hyren let out a screech and started to advance on Yerthe. He scrambled backwards, and quickly summoned up the only hyren he had enough energy left for: a magma hyren.

"Yerthe! Are you crazy? You know that thing could cause a brushfire!" yelled Kolte from the sidelines; he was already thinking of how to put the fires out.

"Believe me, I know what I'm doing," Yerthe forced the magma hyren to take its extremely hot body into the sky. "Now, fireball that monarch, and try not to hit any of the grass," he yelled to the magma hyren.

The magma hyren shot a fireball from its body, and scored a direct hit on the monarch. The monarch didn't howl, and turned its attention to the magma hyren above. It flapped its great wings, rising into the sky, and destroyed the magma hyren in one easy swipe. The monarch hyren then dropped quickly to the grassy land, right in front of Yerthe, making him struggle to keep his balance as the impact of its landing almost sent him flying.

"It's not over yet, monarch. I still have one plan left," said Yerthe, leaping away from the hyren to give himself room. "Here's something I learned in Naroom."

Yerthe took a deep breath, inhaling all the magical power of the nearby Weave. He let out a loud and monstrous roar that caused the nearby reeds to shake and twist, and Kolte to cover his ears once again. The pitch sounded much like the monarch hyren's screech, but on a lower scale. With the echoes of the roar dying around them, a massive rock hyren materialized, so huge it dwarfed even the monarch hyren. The grass beneath its bulky feet creaked with the strain.

"Say hello to the toughest hyren in all the Dreamlands. Let's see how well you do now," gloated a voice-strained Yerthe. "Finish him off, Rocko, and let's go home."

The rock hyren roared with such ferocity that the area around the battlefield shook, and the force sent the waves of grass crashing every which way, forcing Yerthe to hang onto a nearby weed in order to keep his feet to the ground. The rock hyren turned its hardened body to face the monarch hyren and crouched to attack. Just as it appeared to leap, the monarch hyren's eyes glowed a deep, dark blue, flashing for an instant. The rock hyren instantly dropped to the ground, and turned its huge frame back towards Yerthe.

"Hey, what are you doing?" Yerthe asked with annoyance.

The rock hyren started its slow roll towards Yerthe, and Yerthe had used the back of his hand to wipe a sudden sheen of sweat from his forehead.

"You're supposed to be attacking him, not me!"

"Yerthe, it looks as if you were right," Kolte yelled from an even greater distance than when he had been watching the magma hyren. "The monarch hyren can command all hyren."

"I think I figured that out," Yerthe mumbled under his breath. Great, now I'm going to have to use the last of my energy to get rid of my own hyren, he thought to himself, then out loud: "Since you won't obey me, go away!"

Yerthe raised his arms and the wind started to blow harder and harder. It howled, increasing in pitch, until at last it released itself in a huge shockwave, causing Yerthe to shield his eyes and renew his grip on the weed. The shockwave picked up the rock hyren, in spite of its weight, and blew it away. Once the wind had stopped, Yerthe composed himself and squinted to see the rock hyren dematerializing in the darkened distance.

"You have won this round," Yerthe said, surprisingly without any hint of sadness in his voice. The edges of his lips started to curl upwards into a smile, and he proudly said, "I hope you realize that I won't rest until I've captured you."

The monarch hyren returned his smile, but then its smile melted away like a weebo in the fires of Cald. Its deep, water-colored eyes focused on Yerthe, and it lifted its massive feet and started to move towards him.

Yerthe had exhausted too much of his energy to be able to put up a fight against the hyren, so he just stood there and watched it come. His eyes widened, and he could feel more sweat running down his forehead. The knot in his stomach tightened, and his knees felt as though they might buckle as the hyren advanced, but Yerthe kept his calm and his resolve.

Soon the monarch hyren was so close that Yerthe could smell the odor of the Weave seeds on its breath. The only thing that he could do was grab his staff. As he did so, the relic's eyes began to glow, but not in the same color as before. The glowing eyes caught the monarch hyren's attention, capturing its gaze. Its eyes began to glow as well. The hyren bent one of its heads towards Yerthe, as though to touch the exhausted Magi. Unable to resist the urge, Yerthe reached out a hand and touched the one thing his life was missing, stroking its smooth, armored muzzle.

Time became endless for the two of them, but, in reality, only moments passed as the gap between the two of them was bridged and they were able to understand each other. Dreams, nightmares, thoughts, fears, loves, concerns, all became entwined as they became one.

After what seemed like a lifetime of sharing thoughts, the monarch hyren lifted its two heads to the sky, spread its wings, and roared one last, thunderous breath, causing huge goosebumps to appear on Yerthe's entire body. The hyren's whole body glowed a lightning blue for an instant, then it disappeared. All that was left was the tinkle of bright blue animite shards that fell to the mat near Yerthe's feet.

Yerthe reached down to the animite and picked it up, putting it in his pouch as he said quietly: "Come on, Kolte. Let's go home."

Kolte came out of his hiding place and ran to Yerthe's side.

"Eh, Yerthe?"

"Yeah, Kolte?"

"What just happened here?"

Yerthe turned his head and saw the look of confusion on Kolte's face.

"One minute you were fighting the hyren and then the duel ended, and then the hyren became animite. I just don't get it, " he said, scratching his head.

"Well, Kolte," Yerthe paused, thinking long and hard, "let's just say that we both finally found what we were looking for," he finished, his gaze growing distant.

"And what was that?"

Yerthe never gave Kolte an answer. He had just ended one quest and started another. Regardless, he couldn't wipe the smile off his face as the two of them closed this chapter of their lives, and started their journey home.

Read Part 3 "Brash Hero"

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