The four of them made their way across the lake and made their way to the pathway that led to the forest. The path was made of rock, carved into the mountain itself, angling downwards at a precarious angle.
“So what exactly are we going to be doing in this forest?” asked James.
“Walking,” replied Harry.
“Yeah but what are we doing?” asked James.
“Just walking,” said Stean.
“Like literally just walking?” said James, raising his eyebrows.
“Just walking,” said Harry and Stean.
"Sounds boring," said James.
"Boring is a good break, don't you think?" asked Stean, "considering how its been and all."
"Can't argue with that logic there," said Vankous, nodding, "a little bit of boring is always a good idea."
"Okay this conversation is becoming boring," said Harry, "let's talk about something else."
"How about...DUCK!" said Vankous.
"Duck is not very easy to talk about," said James, scratching his chin, "maybe Peking Du..."
'SMACK!' A tall branch smashed into James' face right across his forehead.
"Dude, you seriously thought he was talking about a duck duck?" asked Stean, facepalming.
"Unfortunately, yes," said James, rubbing his forehead, "luckily I wasn't running or that would have left a mark."
"Or you could have just looked where you were going," pointed out Stean.
"That too," said Vankous.
"Anyway, we're here now," said Harry, pointing at the vast forest in front of them. Massive trees, each one easily several hundred feet tall and with trunks that were at least six feet in diameter, covered the land as far as the eye could see. The rough rock was covered in bright blue grass, glinting in the evening sun from the dew that had fallen moments ago. As the sun sank lower in the sky, it gentle blue glue was slowly giving away to a eerie purplish light.
"So I guess we walk," said James.
"Yup, let's see what we find," said Harry, taking the first steps past the tree. The bag of potato chips was still held tightly in his hand.
"Hopefully not a monster," said Stean, "we've had enough of those to last a lifetime."
"Several lifetimes," said Vankous, nodding in agreement.
"Well..." began Harry.
"Okay, Mr. I'm Immortal, you don't have to say it," said Vankous, hands on his hips.
"What?" said Harry, turning around, looking confused.
"Really, now you're going to pretend like you didn't hear," said Vankous.
"I have no idea what you are talking about, I was about to mention that thing," he said pointing at something in the distance.
"What thing?" asked Vankous, stepping forward, closely followed by the other two.
"Ohh..." said Stean, trailing off.
"You just had to say it didn't you," said James, turning to Stean.
"Well I was stating a fact," said Stean, shrugging, "not like I summoned it here."
"I still don't see it," said Vankous, "what are you guys going on about?"
"See that reddish brown thing there, near that roni tree, and those long thin things moving up and down," said Harry.
"That's a...HOLY MOTHER OF FLYING PIGS!" said Vankous, shaking his hands.
Several crashing sounds could be heard as a monster approached, only a few feet away. It was a gigantic millipede, about the size of an average train. The trees shook, several smaller plants being flattened as it smashed its way through, lumbering along at a speed impressive for its size. Its mouth was open revealing rows upon rows of razor sharp teeth.
"Umm...ideas?" asked Stean.
"Draw it out towards the lake," said Harry.
"Dude can't you just vaporize it?" asked James, gesturing at Harry.
"Too messy, come on we need to give it some bait," said Harry, gesturing for them to all get behind the tree that James had run into.
"Like a giant leaf or something?" suggested James once they were behind the tree and hidden from its view.
"No," said Harry, smirking, "you're going to be the bait."
"What? Why me?" said James, frowning.
"Because I must protect the chips," said Harry, doing his best to sound official.
"And I don't run," declared Vankous.
"And I want a break from monster fighting," said Stean, giving James a small smile.
"That is horribly unfair," said James.
"Its life my friend, besides nothing is going to happen to you," said Harry, patting him on the shoulder and stepping away.
"I don't have super speed," said James.
The tree they were standing in front of shook with the impact of something massive. A small crack appeared in front of them. The branch that James had run into fell to the ground. Another resounding thud and the crack widened.
"I think you should probably start running now," said Harry.
"But..." he protested.
Another massive thud and the tree began to split at the base, tilting towards the forest. James took off like a rocket, headed up the mountain. The monster smashed its way through on the next attempt, the massive tree starting to fall to the ground.
"Stean, keep an eye on James, Vankous catch the tree," said Harry, sidestepping the monster that immediately locked onto James and charged after him.
Stean took off after the monster, jogging as he stayed beside it. Vankous thrust out his hands and concentrated. The tree began to slow down as he got a hold of it telekinetically. Once it came to a complete stop, he slowly began to move it back into position. Once it had reached its original position, he held it in place and turned to Harry.
"Are you gonna repair that or do I have to?" asked Vankous.
"Efcorkra," said Harry, rolling his eyes. Faint greenish blue letters appeared on the tree trunk, barely visible. The fibers started of the tree started to grow out towards each other, meeting at the center and stitching itself back together until the tree looked exactly as it had a minute ago.
Harry looked towards the pond. James had made it to the top and was charging for the ice, the monster hot on his tail. He had only a few feet left to run but the monster was starting to gain on him. It had been an even race with the slope of the path slowing it down but as it reached the flat top, it was becoming rapidly in favor of the creature. Stean was now running alongside its mouth, keeping a close eye on the distance separating the monster and James.
Harry nodded towards the two of them. Vankous shrugged and turned, vanishing in a flash of green light. Harry rolled his eyes and shook his head, a smile on his face. Typical Vankous. He took off towards the lake, easily passing the monster and sliding to a stop on the ice seconds later.
Vankous was already standing there, a smug look on his face.
"Guess teleportation is faster," he said, tapping his glasses with a whispered spell and converting them into shades.
"You just haven't seen me run at top speed my friend."
"Can ...you ta..two settle the...that some other ta..time?" panted James, finally reaching the ice,," kinda of bi..bi...busy here." He was dripping with sweat.
"That sounds like great advice," said Stean, also sliding to a stop next to the three of them. Stean on the other hand, looked just as he had moments ago, not even his hair had been messed up.
The monster stopped right at the edge of the lake. It raised its head and let out a ear shattering screech, echoing over the mountains. The woods began to shake in the distance. Several shapes could be seen coming up the mountain.
"I guess it called for reinforcements," said Stean. His hands started to glow a bright emerald green.
"Thank you, Captain Obvious," said Vankous, returning his glasses to their normal shade. Purple light swirled around him.
"This is not going to end well," said James. He reached into his trouser and brought out a handle. He pressed the button at the top, griping it tightly as it expanded into a small pistol. He turned off the safety and cocked his weapon.
Three more giants emerged from the forest, these three completely ripping apart the tree that they had carefully put back together. They raced up the mountainside. The sky began to darken, and the temperature seemed to drop several degrees.
Electricity crackled as blueish green veins all along Harry's arms and face, started to glow. The monsters joined their comrade and the four creatures screeched in unison.
James gripped his pistol with both hands, focused on the creatures in front of him. Vankous stood up straight, the safety goggles on his head falling into place. Stean lowered into a crouch, glowing hands outstretched.
"Let's get this party started," said Harry, eyes starting to glow a blueish green as he opened his arms, a smile forming on his face.