Fabi finally stood. It was getting dark. Time to get her emotions under control and focus on survival. She'd need a place to sleep, and some sort of shelter. It didn't look like it was going to rain, but you never really knew. Unless you were a meteorologist, which Fabi wasn't really. She'd abandoned that career idea in fourth grade or so.
She wandered around randomly until she came to a spot where a tree had fallen. This was as good a spot as any.
She was glad she'd brought her metal wristbands. It'd have been awful to have to go into that town again. She quickly melted the metal into an axe and hacked away at a branch of the dead tree. She grimaced at the noise. Hopefully no one was within earshot at this hour. The townspeople were probably at home eating dinner.
Dinner would be nice, once she had a shelter. The branch came off with a loud cracking noise and Fabi started on the next.
The road turned to dirt a short distance out of town and Ruby could see hoof prints travelling straight out of town. There was also a pair of foot prints. Ruby crouched down and examined them. 'There most likely from the girl that I heard about just before. 'They look larger than mine though but I see no other footprints so there probably from the girl' thought Ruby, 'I'll follow the footprints for as long as I can and hope I find her'
So Ruby followed the footprints for a while. The footprints went into the forest where Ruby could no longer follow them because the leaf litter masked the tracks. 'Hmm it's getting dark. I'll head in the direction of the tracks but if I can't find here in a few minutes then I'll call it quits for the night,' thought Ruby then she walked in the direction that the footprints had been heading.
After a few minutes Ruby was just about to call it quits when she heard something like the faint chopping of wood. 'I wonder who that could be at this hour?' Thought Ruby, 'Well there's no harm in checking it out' and with that Ruby headed in the direction of the sound. When Ruby got close enough to see who was chopping, she found a girl about her age cutting up a fallen tree. Up till now Ruby had been quietly approaching but when she saw that it was a girl Ruby made here approached more obvious. When Ruby was seven or so meters away from the girl Ruby spoke
"Uh hey there" said Ruby gently. The girls spun around and held here axe defensively. "Wow" said Ruby holding up her hand in surrender, "I'm not here to hurt you I just have to ask a question" said Ruby, "Do you know the way back to the demonstration? Cause one minute I was there and the next I was a few miles north of here"
Fabi swallowed back a wave of emotions. She lowered the axe. "Sorry. If I knew how to get back, I'd be there by now. I'm no Shunter. I can't travel between dimensions." She paused for a moment and leaned against the tree, breathing hard as the effort of chopping off those branches caught up with her. "I'm sorry... I couldn't... Stop it... In time... I tried, but she... Pushed me, and I landed... In the wrong chair."
She stopped It suddenly occurred to her that the black-haired girl might be in league with the saboteurs. She hoped not. Although she did have an axe she could use to defend herself, she would be in a pretty bad position, cornered against a fallen tree like this.
Ruby frowned as she recalled some of the events and Ruby recognised the girl, she fought with a person on the stage. 'She must have been trying to stop the shunting' thought Ruby.
"Hey it's ok you tried your best" said Ruby as she took a step forward, the girl immediately tensed. Ruby slowly raised her hands and took the step back. Ruby would have tensed if she was in the girls position. Although the girl was taller she was cornered by the tree that she had lent against. "You know I'm just glad that someone was at least attempting to stop that chaos from happening" said Ruby trying to keep the conversation flowing. Ruby frowned as she thought about way the girl had said. "And then you said that you fell in the wrong chair. What did you mean by that? Do you mean that that machines malfunction was on purpose?" Ruby had to find out what the girl meant so she could see the whole situation. Then Ruby started to panic, 'Do they know that I'm an assassin? Did they do this to stop me?' Ruby took a breath in that was a little deeper than the others, 'breath Ruby breath' There was no way that they could have known that you were coming an besides the woman at the demonstration told you that she was mixing the seating up a little. No one could have accounted for that'
"Do you know who the targets were? And if so do you know any of the other seats that might have been a trap because of that?" Asked Ruby sounding more confident than she felt.
Fabi nodded grimly. "It was a group of, for lack of a better term, terrorists," she said carefully. "They had a grudge against the Sanctuary, so I can only imagine that the targets were the high-ranking Sanctuary officials in attendance. I had a seating chart, but it's not entirely accurate. One of the ushers got bored and started leading people to whichever seat suited her whim. And yeah. They tampered with the machine... Killed the professor... We were too late..."She took a deep breath and studied the dark-haired girl for a moment, then switched the axe to her left hand. "I'm Fabi."
Ruby gave a shy smile and offered her hand.
"I'm Ruby" she said while shaking hands with Fabi. "So ... What are you doing with the branches?" asked Ruby gesturing to the branches that littered the forest floor.
Fabi switched the axe back to her right hand. "I've been trying to build a shelter. The chances that I'll be able to go home before nightfall are so slim it's not even funny." She wondered whether to chop branches during a conversation. She only needed a few more, after all. It was probably rude, though.
Ruby nodded, "Ok that's a good idea. I have a blanket that we can use to keep warm and I have a knife that I can use to cut off some smaller branches for a fire. Oh and I have a lighter" said Ruby as she pulled a knife out of her jacket, "Do you mind if I cut some branches off?" Asked Ruby
"Go ahead." Fabi pointed to what had been the lower end of the tree, where there were some branches that weren't as green. "Those look the driest... They'd probably release less smoke than the greener branches, too. Not sure if that's any good at this point..." She paused, then thought to add. "I have an axe and whatever is in my wallet."
"Awesome, I'll cut these off" said Ruby and she moved to cut off some branches. Ruby mentally debated wether she would tell Fabi that she had another knife and two daggers in her jacket. 'She tried to stop the terrorists from shunting mages so she's likely to be with the Sanctuaries. Which is good but I don't think I should tell her everything, not just yet'
"I have another knife and some stuff in my bag. But nothing useful except a water bottle" said Ruby telling part of the truth.
Fabi tilted her head slightly, curious about Ruby's definition of useful, but not wanting to ask directly.
"Speaking of water... Should we try to set up camp closer to the river?" She changed the subject from supplies, realizing it was somewhat awkward for both of them. She'd mention the wallet, though, once she knew for sure that it worked.
"Yeah, setting up a camp near the river sounds good but we should still be in the cover of the trees. The locals aren't particularly friendly so I doubt that they would like seeing us around" said Ruby, "And speeding of the water do you know if it's filtered or safe to drink?"
Fabi nodded. "There's a filtering plant a bit upstream from the town. Some townspeople were accusing me of poisoning the water, though, so I'm not sure how effective it is. As near as I can tell, though, no one's died from drinking it. I might have some iodine, though. I'll have to check." She glanced at Ruby for a moment, then pulled out her wallet, reaching inside.
She wasn't sure what she was expecting. Either the iodine or nothing. Probably nothing. Instead, there was a small leather-bound book. She didn't remember a book. She was curious, several theories forming, but didn't want to look at it in front of Ruby.
At least this meant the wallet could hold things. She put all the branches inside so she wouldn't have to carry them all and looked around, trying to remember which way the river was.
Ruby looked at the wallet. The curious thing had managed to fit all the branches in. It seemed like Hermione Granger's bag that was bigger on the inside than the outside. Ruby didn't ask about it, although Fabi could probably hide basically anything in there.
“Nice wallet” said Ruby nodding towards the thing. “I think the river is this way” said Ruby and headed towards the river with Fabi tailing behind her.
"Thanks," Fabi murmured, looking at her wallet with a thoughtful expression on her face. She followed Ruby for awhile, then stopped as she saw, through the trees, a hill built out of stone.
"That's the water purification plant," Fabi said, pointing to the hill. "The river flows through it. There's a tunnel, but you can't see it from here."
Ruby nodded, and Fabi scanned the trees, looking for a good place to set up the shelter. Her gaze fell on a fallen tree like the one she'd taken branches from, only this one was smaller, and higher off the ground. Perfect. She took the branches out from her wallet and leant them against the tree, leaving room for someone to escape on either side. Just in case. She did the same for the other side of the log, then crawled inside and began tucking the smaller branches out of the way, weaving them together so the wall was something like an abstract net.
“That looks cool!” said Ruby admiring the shelter that Fabi made. “You’ll have to teach me how to do that so I can help you next time”
Fabi shrugged shyly. "I just move the branches so they don't poke into the shelter. There isn't that much method behind it, really, and it probably wouldn't be very much good against rain."
She looked up at the sky. It was still light enough to see, but dark enough that a few stars were visible. No clouds, then, which meant no rain. At least that was one less thing to worry about.
“Hmm, well maybe we can search for some large leaves tomorrow to cover the shelter” said Ruby, “I saw something like that on a tv show once, it seemed to be reasonably effective”
Fabi nodded. "Sounds good. Should one of us try to keep watch? This dimension seems a bit more...wild. I don't know what kind of animals live around here."
“Yeah good point. I’ll keep watch first if that’s ok” said Ruby. One of the reasons that Ruby volunteered was because she didn’t entirely trust Fabi yet. The other reason that Ruby volunteered was because her power was more affective at night with the darkness surrounding them. So if something did decide to attack then it’s be much easier for Ruby to defend and counter the attacker.
"Alright." Fabi had her own concerns about trusting the stranger, but she didn't want to voice them, because that would just be rude.
She crawled into the shelter with every intention of staying awake, but eventually her eyes closed and her breathing evened.
She may even have started snoring softly.
But of course she'd never admit it.