The Dark Times; Part 4
Aituár wandered on for what seemed like hours, stopping every now and then to listen. She would not want to run into the creature that had followed her. There was something odd about that - where had the creature come from? Who had sent it after her? And were there other, possibly hostile, creatures out there?
She put her sandals back on, since the rock floor was growing rougher. In this part of the tunnel, the walls seemed more rugged, unlike the smooth walls in the part that had served as a mine.
Aituár was growing tired as well as hungry and thirsty. She stopped and looked around for a place to rest, when she heard something behind her.The sound was much lower this time, a faint 'clip-clip', 'clip-clip', but it seemed to be approaching rapidly.
The tunnel was widening rather abruptly here, and Aituár stepped around the corner on the left side. It was not much of a hiding place, but it was better than nothing.
She waited, standing with her back against the rugged wall, trying to summon up some courage to face whatever it was. She would not give up without a fight!
The creature was preeceded by a vague, silvery light. It slowed down, and when it came into view, Aituár gasped with surprise. A unicorn! Then there was some truth in the old sagas!
The noble being stopped and slowly turned towards Aituár. As he approached her, he lowered his head so that the sharp horn was pointing right at her chest.
Then, before Aituár realized what was happening, the unicorn thrust his horn into her heart.
'There could be worse ways to die', Aituár thought to herself, unable to take her eyes off the magnificent, beautiful creature.
An excruciating pain was abruptly followed by an odd feeling of lightheadedness. Looking down, Aituár was surprised to see that the unicorn had backed off, and his horn had left no trace - no hole in her vest or blouse - and no wound either, when she looked inside her blouse.
'I had to make sure that you are pure of heart', said a voice suddenly inside of her head. Aituár looked around, and then realized it was the unicorn who had spoken.
She opened her mouth to ask what had happened, but was interrupted by the voice in her head.
'I will explain later, but now we must hurry! Follow me!'
The unicorn turned around and headed into a tunnel that seemed to be leading down.
Several hours later, Aituár stumbled and almost fell. She had drunken some water from a clear stream on the way, but she was growing dead tired from walking mile after mile with no food.
'I need to rest, Licorne', she said, and sat down on a rock.
'No time' said the voice in her head. The unicorn stopped and looked back at her.
'You will have to go on without me,', said Aituár.
'I cannot keep up with you'..
She buried her face in her hands, thinking of giving herself up rather than continue wandering in the darkness for ever. She could feel the unicorn nudging gently at her.
'I will carry you' said the voice in her head gently.
'What?' said Aituár and looked up.
'I thought no one was allowed to ride a unicorn?'
'Not ride', replied Licorne 'but be carried. There is a difference.
Now climb up on that stone and onto my back.'
Aituár climbed up and looked around for something to hold on to.
'Grab my mane, but gently!' said Licorne, and set off in a trot.
To be continued
The tunnel seemed to be growing narrower, and the roof lower. Soon Aituár had to bow down low to avoid hitting the roof, and the unicorn also lowered his head. They rounded a corner, and there, right of front of them, was the most amazing sight Aituár had ever seen!