COPYRIGHT © 2019 Miu
All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, mechanical, electronical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without the prior written permission of the Author.
This novel is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and events are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
All pictures and multimedia used are not the author’s work and doesn’t claim any legal rights.
MATURE CONTENT and VULGAR words not suited for young readers below eighteen (18) years old.
“He . . . save me . . .”
Rozaria frowned. At first, she didn’t know what the girl was mumbling until she followed where she was pointing.
At a distance, there was another dead body for she knew, based on the color of the jacket, was Henry.
She hesitated before she walked towards the man after she made sure that Maxine was alright.
Mustering her strength, she rolled the heavy man’s body, and his pale, bloody face stumbled her view. There was a gruesome cut running on his forehead, crossing to his nose until the side of his lips.
Glancing over, she saw some protruding rocks meters from where she was. No wonder everyone besides her and Shura was dead. They must have bumped against the sharp rocks and died. And she would be too if she had been blown a few meters more. She bet the only reason why Maxine was alive because Henry protected her.
Just to make sure, she hovered her hand towards his face to check if he was breathing. And to her amazement, there was a very faint air coming from his nose and parted lips.
He’s still alive!
She ransacked her backpack and gave him her last supply of tank, and that was when Shura came from behind her.
Rozarria stood to her feet and glanced around, “Any other survivors?”
Shura shook her head, and the sinking feeling only worsened in her stomach.
She ransacked the backpack of one of the dead bodies and grabbed the oxygen tank and some snacks. She then sauntered towards Maxine and stared down at her. “I’m going to search for Alvaro. What will you do?”
Maxine didn’t reply. She just sat there, lifeless as a corpse. Her chest was caving in. Her expression was slack, and her head was hanging limp.
The almost death experience traumatized her greatly.
Maxine wiped her tears and squeezed her eyes shut before she spoke in a low weak, almost none existent voice.
“I . . . I want to go back . . .”
“. . .”
Rozarria’s eyes narrowed. Now it came too light. She was spouting love for Alvaro and how she was always by her side. And here she even thought that she would give up Alvaro if she came with her to search for him. To prove how deep her love was that she would brave the unknown to look for the man she loves.
I guess this is the extent of her love.
Facing life and death. She had chosen her safety.
Not that she could blame her. With the almost death experience, anyone was going to be traumatized and rethink their life. She was no exception. Only, the near death experience forged her desire to be with Alvaro.
Nodding, Rozarria held herself back from speaking her mind. She turned towards Shura and instructed her, “You help the two to go back first. I’ll join you later.”
Shura protested, “My lady––!”
Any protest was halted in Shura’s mouth when Rozarria raised her hand, stopping her.
“I promised, I won’t let myself be in danger. After an hour and I still haven’t see Alvaro I’ll. . .” A fluttery, empty feeling bubbled in her stomach, and she tightened her gut to force out her breath. “. . . I’ll get down on my own. Find me after you help those two get back to base camp four and ask for help and helicopter evacuation.”
Sweeping her gaze around, Rozarria added, “Help me ransacked the other’s bag for ropes and tie it towards a rock as a sign. Tie some ropes every twenty meters. In that way, I won’t be lost even you’re not by my side.”
Shura was still not keen on leaving Rozarria all alone in the death zone. But what could she do, she was hired to follow orders.
With rope and knife in hand, Rozarria ventured the foggy snow with the only light was coming from her hat. From time to time, she tied a rope on a glacier or protruding rocks so she wouldn’t lose her way. With this endless snow and fog, it was impossible to tell which was which, and without the help of the Frost, her chances of getting lost were high.
She must find Alvaro soon before her reserved oxygen depleted and before she ventured deeper into the unknown.
Alvaro . . .
Alvaro tipped his head back to look heavenward and only found endless fog of snow. His head then flopped forward. His stomach had been roiling nonstop, a harrowing sensation that made his heart heavy. The cords in his neck kept on twinging.
Masking the worry which flooded his heart, he walked with no particular direction, searching for Rozarria since the moment he woke up, which was already more than hours ago. His oxygen tank was almost depleted, and the sky was turning dark.
Once his oxygen tank depleted, that was it. When he rescued Rozarria from falling in that deep crevice, he left his backpack on the ground containing his extra tanks and snacks. And when the Avalanche hit, he was just caught with a bag of oxygen and little food. Even his tent was in the other bag.
And to make matters worse, he had lost Sherak. With no extra oxygen, tent, food, and no idea where he was walking, he was sure as hell he was in a serious shit here.
He laughed bitterly at his predicament. His limbs were tingling from fatigue, and his muscles were jumping under his skin. Still, he pressed on.
The only thing keeping him going was the thought that he might find Rozarria at any moment. He was even starting to hallucinate when he heard her voice.
“. . .”
He closed his eyes and focused on that voice.
“. . . he . . . lp . . .”
He didn’t know if he should be ecstatic to finally found someone after the never-ending walk alone, or should he be cursing it was not Rozarria’s voice.
Still, he pressed on towards that voice, and the first thing he found was a hand followed by a large deep crevasse. With the little light from his headgear, he saw that half of the fingers holding to the edge of the gorge was black from frostbite and lack of oxygen.
Walking to the edge, Alvaro inspected down and found the hand belonged to none other than the leader, Aaron.
He must have been blown all the way here and somehow lost her gloves along the way, though his mask was still intact.
“Q-quick . . . h-help me up . . .” At the sight of Alvaro, it was like Aaron had found the sun after the never-ending storm. He even forgot he hated the man’s guts.
Seeing Aaron hanging so desperately to life, Alvaro’s face brightened. Wearing a false, overly bright smile, he squatted.
“My, my . . . Isn’t it our leader? *chuckle . . . How did you end up in this state?”
Aaron wanted to frown and curse, but he was in no position right now. His life literally depended on Alvaro. He could only humble himself and asked for help even his guts churned in the process.
“T-that’s not important. H-help me out . . . I’m f-freezing.” He didn’t know how long he could last with his state. It was already a miracle he hadn’t succumb to fatigue and hypothermia.
Alvaro grinned. Hiding the evil glint in his eyes, he reached his hands and grabbed Aarons, attempting to pull him up.
“You’re too heavy. Let me pull some of your things first.”
Before Aaron could react, Alvaro slumped on the snow and leaned forward, reaching Aaron’s backpack.
“H-hurry . . . ,” Aaron said. Impatience in his tone.
“Alright. Hang in there.”
Contrary to what he said, Alvaro took his time in emptying Aaron’s backpack. His smile widened beneath his mask at the sight of two oxygen tanks.
With these, he could survive a little longer. A pity the tent wasn’t in the first compartment of his bag, and he couldn’t reach further down more.
Squatting, Alvaro stared at the struggling man.
“W-what are you w-waiting for? P-pull me up,” Aaron said with a sour taste in his mouth for asking help from the guy.
Chuckling, Alvaro didn’t mind Aaron’s tone as he took his time in speaking.
“Before that, I have something to ask you first.”
“W-what?” Aaron snapped.
“Only when you tell me the truth will I help you.”
“. . .”
Aaron’s face turned red with his veins bulging more on his face than usual. His dilated eyes turned somewhat bloodshot. “S-son of a bitch!”
“No? Then, nice meeting you.”
Alvaro was about to stand up when Aaron stopped him.
“W-wait! Wait! Alright. Alright. Y-you win.”
Grinning widely, Alvaro bent his knees. His eyes were narrowing, pupils constricting.
“Rozarria’s cheek. You did that, right?”
“That’s r-right,” Aaron answered faster than he could think. The important thing for him was to escape from this predicament. He was already reaching his limit! “Now, p-pull me up!”
“. . . I see,” Alvaro murmured. His sinister face was turning friendly once more.
Smiling, he spoke in a light tone, “I will help you up now . . . But before that, your hands are unsalvageable. Let me help you with that first.”
With a swish, Alvaro grabbed Rozarria’s switchblade and sliced Aarons fingers with one clean swoop.
Aaron didn’t have time to think about what happened when he found himself falling into the dark abyss below. His frozen fingers were the only thing that remained at the edge of the crevasse.
Ops. Alvaro laughed without humor as he watched the man fall to his death.
Standing up, he turned around and saw Sherak. He had noticed his arrival long before. With the unique sound of his steps, he knew it was Sherak without inspecting to look.
Looks like I’m not about to die just yet.
Flicking the switchblade, he casually placed it on his pocket and brushed the imaginary snow on his jacket before he faced Sherak.
“Have you seen Roz?”
Sherak shook his head.
And the smile on Alvaro’s face froze. Taking in long and forceful breaths, he stabilized his breathing, keeping his worries at bay.
He was alive, and there was no way Rozarria wasn’t too.
He was not going to descent without finding Rozarria first. Even he had to search the entire mountain.
He was about to take his first step when his vision blurred as he almost fell. The lack of oxygen was taking a toll on him, and the supplementary oxygen was not enough to keep him alive any longer.
Still refusing to descent, Alvaro stabilized his breathing one more. Taking one step at a time with Sherak assisting him from behind. However, he didn’t have to take another step when a blurry silhouette stumbled his view. And when the wind blew away the foggy snow, Rozarria’s figure appeared in his vision.
He might have been hallucinating. He shook his head. He must not fall for it, or it would spell trouble for him the moment he did.
He must keep walking and moving.
As he was about to take another step, the figure zoomed to him.
Alvaro didn’t even register what happened next when the shadow jumped to him as he swayed back from the impact.
“Alvaro, you’re alright! Thank God! You’re alright!”
Alvaro was still at a loss. Gradually, clarity swept the hazy fog in his mind when he felt the familiar warmth when he wrapped his arms around her waist.
He questioned, unsure.
If it was a hallucination made by his mind, he was sure as hell that he would go crazy.
But the warmth continued to spread, demolishing every hesitation in his brain and when Rozarria let him go and cupped his face, he knew . . . he was home.
“Yes. It’s me,” Rozarria said with a choked voice she no longer bother to hide.
Feeling her hands on his cheeks, it was when Alvaro’s strength gave out. He was overcome with fatigue and relief all at once that he slumped on the ground. His eyelids dropped, and there was a lolling in his head. He was drunk with exhaustion.
That was the last thing Alvaro heard before his body shut down.
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