Melise’s cottage was not far from the site of the battle with the Brambler, and Seles easily found his way back after his victory. Melise was pleased to see him back so early, but when she saw the arrows of his quiver, she knew exactly what had happened.
The arrow in the tree had been an arrow of intense evil fired into this forest a long time ago. Melise lived in this forest for the express reason of using her magical abilities to keep the arrow sealed and its dark magic impotent. By touching it, Seles had given the evil magic of the arrow a center and allowed it to escape the confinement of Melise’s power. The new black mark on his chest was a physical symbol of the evil magic’s possession.
There was only one thing to do. Removing her magic from the site to help Seles would free the creatures of the arrow’s energy to wreak havoc in the world. It would take another witch’s magic to free Seles; Melise told him that he had to find her old friend Agatha, who lived in the Royal City of Mandala. She also recognized the fur Seles had found after defeating the Brambler: it was Kitsune Fur, dropped by one of the Seven Kitsune Gods who had created the world at the beginning of time. This fur was intensely magical and the strongest substance known to man—it would surely come in useful.
Melise could not leave the Lattice Forest, even in order to escort her foster son safely to Mandala, but she gave him his wood-chopping Axe to help protect him on his journey, along with two helpful Bandages and her secret savings of 80 Aurum.
Seles bade a quick farewell to Melise, promising he would soon return safely, and left her cottage. He traveled safely to the edge of the
, protected by Melise’s magic, but once he left the forest, he found himself again a target of monsters. He wondered, as he frantically fought off more Whackoons and some bouncy Piggapods, whether the influence of the dark arrow was causing this unmitigated hostility he was encountering. He rather feared it might be. Lattice Forest