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Alvarr's ears twitched against Farin's face when the door came in sight. The carrier was squinting, trying to see something in the nearly complete darkness. The door wasn't closed, so the light flooding in soon allowed him to see the scrunched face of the God.
Right in front of the door, Alvarr set him down, then stepped back to let Farin lead him outside, eyes unblinking and body still.

Farin slipped out through the gap while holding onto Alvarr's arm and pulling the tiny animal out of his hair and onto his shoulder with his free hand.

The three men outside were obviously unsettled and impatient, Cyrille most of all. He was pacing up and down until the sound of Farin's steps jolted him out of it. Only then did he free himself from his daze and turn to the carrier with a body language that suggested he had been planning to jump him, shake him for information. When the God appeared behind Farin, everyone stilled.

"It's his... brother", Farin explained, full attention on Alvarr and pointing at Cyrille. "Can your pet take his scent or anything? It should be somewhat similar, I hope."
Alvarr spoke some words in his language and the animal clicked, hopping down Farin's body and over to Cyrille. Once, twice, thrice did it circle around the stunned man, then wandered around for a moment. It stopped while looking to the south and clicked in satisfaction.
"Found a scent, barely", Alvarr translated the reaction. Behind Farin, the other three men inhaled sharply but didn't dare to say anything.

"Can you follow it? Bring them back? They're just two children, you should be able to carry them."
Alvarr conversed with the animal. It went beyond Farin how he could since he himself could hear no differences in the clicks the tiny thing made, but it appeared to be confident and Alvarr's face turned determined, so the response should have been good.

"I can go", Alvarr agreed, nodding. From the start, he had given the others almost no attention. "I will leave now."
He leaned forward to quickly nuzzle his face against Farin's. The little animal returned to him in the meantime. Alvarr bent down to pick it up, then moved towards the south and jumped into the trees. Accompanied by constant clicks, Alvarr vanished immediately.

Farin let out a long, drained breath. With tired hands he reached out to undo his hair so that he could tie it into a more convenient ponytail. "Nothing to do but wait, now. That's our best chance of getting them back alive."
Ives was the first to comment, his voice tinged with inexplicable emotion. "I see. Compared to us, he sure looks more like a hunter. He can kill the demon beasts and that pet of his acts as a dog to lead him to the children."

Farin nodded, then turned to Cyrille with a dangerous smile. "Keep your word. Your cousin's life against your silence. If you break it, I'll make sure you suffer retribution, somehow."
He didn't know how he would be able to do it - even just Cyrille's status would put him into an advantageous situation. But maybe Cyrille was too riled up to notice that point.
"I vow to keep it. I wouldn't go against the... person who saved Alec's life. Moreover", he laughed, bitter. "It's not just you who are in danger if he dies. Do you think they'd let me go? Even just admitting that Alec was in such a danger would cost me my head as it would yours, simply because the prince would be mad at me. You're holding that against me."

Farin avoided his eyes at the tone in Cyrille's voice. He is trying to act like he knows that Alec might be dead, but he doesn't want to believe it. He refuses to believe that Alec is anything other than alive.

"Lori knows how to act in a forest", the temple master calmed them. "I imagine she gained them some time, if she found him."

"How likely is it for two children to survive in that forest?", Cyrille inquired, glancing to the side every few seconds.
Ives hummed for a while, he was the one to answer. "The usual wildlife isn't too aggressive, as long as neither of them is excessively bleeding, then Lori knows how to react to spotting a bear or wolf. Those should be somewhat avoidable, in case Lori found Alec soon enough, of course. As for the demon beasts... There aren't too many, but they move without any pattern and can appear anywhere. And they kill on sight, so there's no way for them to escape if they encounter one. Basically, we just have to hope that they don't cross paths with a demon beast, then they can hold out for a while..."

Although it also depends on how sensible Alec is, Farin added in his mind. There's nothing Lori can do if Alec is stubborn and tries to do things his own way. He will need to follow her orders to survive. Will he?

Cyrille rubbed his eyes, pacing again. "How long do you think will it take until we have news?"
"That is an impossible question to answer, you should know. It depends on how far they are inside the forest, whether they are together, whether they are in danger..." Ives tilted his head to look at me. "You said he would carry them out?" He sounded skeptical, but Farin just nodded his head. "I've seen him carry seven children around a few years of age around. He's much stronger than he looks. He even carried me, uphill, for quite some time."

"Can he win against the demon beasts?"
Farin smiled wryly at Cyrille's worry. "Single-handedly. As long as he finds them alive and not mortally wounded, they're safe. The way back wouldn't be a problem."

The temple master frowned deeply at the shift in the mood.
Their minds were accepting that thought - it's just a matter of time. They only have to wait. 
Even though they knew the children might not even be alive, the thought was stubborn, setting in like a truth. It was a dangerous state of mind. If it turned out to be wrong, the crashing of their hopes would be even worse.

"He might be carrying corpses back", the old man cruelly reminded, causing Cyrille to wince. 
Farin looked towards the south, then slowly sat down on the ground, facing the direction. His fingers drew circles on the ground without any purpose or thought, just a movement to distract himself. There it was, the incident that he had felt coming. He just prayed it would end well so that he could finally relax. Farin hadn't expected it to happen so fast, but maybe he had already had a bad feeling when he had heard about the tests of courage.
Thinking back, he had always worried that they would go overboard.

"Did you not know he was doing tests of courage?", Farin suddenly asked and Cyrille reacted, despite the carrier not even directing his gaze towards him.
"My guard alerted me when Alec came back from one with a bad bruise on his ribs. I warned him to stop it. I thought he would."
Ah, that time on my way back from the door.

"How likely is he to listen to Lori's words?"
"What's her identity?"
"The little girl that sometimes accompanied me. The one with the boyish looks."
Cyrille's shoulder sagged. "Not likely. He obeys those he adores, but... As you can see, even the man half his father isn't interesting enough to make him listen. Maybe he will listen since it's a dangerous situation, I hope."

Ives placed a hand on his shoulder, carefully pressing it. For once, Cyrille didn't show any reaction and just let himself slide to the ground next to Farin, staring out into the forest.

The temple master only sat on a rock to the side after a long time, not wanting to hurt his knees by trying to sit on the ground. To his feet sat the three youths, all so different from each other - like little children, insecure and worried. The old man's heart ached at the sight and the thought of the whole situation. 
He was the one who led the temple.
He should protect everyone and not let them come to harm. He should have explained the dangers more, made sure the children understood where to draw a line.

Each to their own, the whittled time away in silence. There were no topics that felt right to talk about at this moment.

None of them knew how much time had passed until Farin jolted upright at the sound of a familiar click.
Jumping up, and almost losing balance in the motion, he rushed towards the sound that came in a steady rhythm, growing louder. The little animal was happy to see Farin, hopping up to his outstretched arms before Farin could react. Behind Farin, the three other people jolted up but didn't move any farther, unwilling to scare the animal away.

Farin pulled his hands - and subsequently the little animal - in front of his face, staring at it.
"You're back", he whispered soundlessly. "Is that good?"

He couldn't understand the animal and he had the feeling that the problem was mutual. The animal's ears twitched, then it clicked again and licked his fingers.
Farin couldn't understand its words, but he could see its actions. The pet was relaxed. If its owner had been troubled due to finding corpses, it probably would have been affected and he didn't doubt that Alvarr only let it leave after finding both children.

The breath he had been holding finally unclogged his throat and he slid back to the ground with trembling legs.
"What?", begged Cyrille behind him, seeing his reaction and unable to judge it good or bad. The word was said nasally, painfully. "...What?"
"They should be safe", Farin said loudly, watching the furball on his hands move up his arm and to the curve of his neck. "I'm not certain, but I think the chances just went up a whole lot."

An indescribable sound of relief, then the thud as Cyrille let himself fall to the ground and the soft sighs of Ives and the old master.
Farin lifted his head, just continuing to watch the edge of the forest. With a blank face, he reached out to pet the furry animal on his shoulder.
"I'll have to ask Alvarr what I can give you as thanks", he whispered to himself. The animal clicked anyway.

It was another long time before it perked up, signaling Alvarr's return, and the movement of Farin standing up again alerted the rest, who went over to gather around him.
The sight that greeted them moments later was almost humorous.

Alvarr had a sour face, reminding Farin of what his father looked like whenever he worried about his siblings. The God was walking steadily forward, accompanied by the gentle ring of the bells around his feet. Under each of his bare arms, he had lodged a stunned child.
Their arms and legs dangled and swayed with each of his long steps, their heads were tilted upwards to look out to the front despite their blank looks. They looked dazed more than scared or hurt, which was quite a relief to everyone present. They looked muddy and dirty, covered in scratches, but very healthy for two children who could have been dead. Farin felt his heart soften at the sight.

Alvarr stopped in front of him, squatting down before laying the children - who appeared to have no strength in their body left at all - onto the ground and patted their heads. His voice was gentle but scolding.
"They cannot climb well, but they tried."

So they had climbed a tree in hopes of protecting themselves, Farin realized. That probably wasn't too bad of a choice, especially seeing as they were safe.
Ives and Cyrille rushed over, so Farin made place, hoping that either of them had some medical knowledge to judge the state of the dazed children. He himself reached for Alvarr's arm and gently pulled him to the side. The old master gave them a glance, bowed to Alvarr, and then went over to the children. Farin looked after him before pulling Alvarr into a hug.

"Thank you", he murmured. "We would have lost them."
Alvarr hummed in response, brushing a gentle kiss on the human's cheek. "Do you want me to leave now?"
Farin twitched awkwardly. "I'm sorry. I don't want to chase you away, but-"
"See you tomorrow."

The God wasn't offended in the slightest. Maybe it was because the possibility that Farin would want to get rid of him didn't even cross his mind since they didn't have the concept of lying. Farin looked like he didn't want him to leave but had to make him, so he accepted that as what he saw.
With just a short squeeze as a parting and a short glance back at the two children on the ground, he slipped through the gap in the door.

Farin took some moments to just breathe before he slowly walked over, looking over the temple master's shoulder to take a look at the pair. Ives was turning their clothes inside out, searching all over for injuries.
A long time after being out of danger, the sense of safety finally settled in. Lori was the first to hiccup.
And then they bawled.

Alright alright, that's it with the serious parts, ahaha~ From now on, the ending is almost purely light-hearted, promise! (Did I say that before? I hope I didn't say that before this part was written. That's what I get for writing on the fly.)