He heard another enormous thump, small branches, and dirt crashing on his legs, the air pressure has carried them from the place the monstrous frog descended from its leap, closer than he expected, but he did not stop. He saw, from his peripheric vision, that a handful of people were starting to lag behind him, but he did not stop. Orlando kept running, ignoring the inkling of guilt that slowly but surely started to become bigger and bigger. The thoughts of running that dominated his mind started to be replaced by excuses and justifications. 'I don't even know them. They would do the same. It's not my fault. I don't want to die'
. As long as he focused only on putting one foot after the other he could forget about everything else, he could deal with his emotions after he was safe.
And then a body flew over past him. He froze, looking as Victor, now that he could discern better, felt into the spring, making a splash from the impact. Orlando stood there for a few moments, the gravity of the situation weighing on his mind. His body moved almost on its own, bypassing the last few meters he needed to reach the border of the spring. He slowly moved his gaze toward the place Victor's body had hit the surface, but instead of finding a corpse, he found nothing. "W-what?"
Was all he could say. He could see the bottom from his position, but no matter where he shifted his gaze there was nothing on the water that even resembled the shape of a person. Just another item to add to the already large list of impossibilities they lived through since they magically arrived at this... wait! Could it be? He remembered how they arrived at the beach to begin with, how it all started with a slip, a fall, and cold water, perhaps Victor returned to that old pier? Maybe he just needed to take a dive and everything would return to normal, no creepy men in a raft, no unsettling ocean, and no giant monster frog. But then a doubt surfaced in his mind, an image of him waking up in another weird place, an eternal nightmare where he could never wake up.
His doubts were interrupted by a tingling sensation in the base of his neck. Orlando looked around and noticed something strange: It was darker, the bright sun that hounded them since they got here became shadowed by some black clouds, a strange sight made all the weirder by a sound that reached his ears. It was Maive voice, but its characteristic softness that seemed to encompass the bespectacled girl was replaced by loudness, the single word he could hear from his position at the edge of the spring resonated with him in a strange way, like the lullabies his mother used to sing when he was younger."Persona!"
He reached the clearing just in time to witness Maive facing the gigantic toad alone, but not for long. It started with a breeze, but it rapidly became a gale, scattering branches and leaves all over the place. Then the winds started to gather behind the girl, forming a shape similar to a cocoon before exploding outwards, and in its place, an ethereal entity stood in silence. It exuded tranquility not dissimilar to the girl in front of it, yet Orlando could feel a sense of power emanating from it, and he was proven right when the figure extended all six of its hands towards the beast, who now looked wary, scared even.
Whirlinds started to zero in on the frog, forming a hand that squeezed it with what he expected to be considerable strength. It was then that he realized there was someone inside its mouth, the toad's large tongue unrolling just enough to see Sofia's unconscious body in its grip. He mentally cheered, whatever the hell that thing was it seemed to be able to stop the frog, just a few more hits like that and it would be over!
Sadly, Maive's opponent decided to stop being passive and bellowed its greatest scream yet, so strong was its force that it blew her away, making her crash into a thick branch, the phantasmal apparition disappearing for some reason, and Orlando only managed to stay in its place due to the three he managed to grab. Things were looking rough, he saw Verity managing to take Maive behind a tree, but he didn't know how much time they had before the beast decided to follow them. He racked his brain for any ideas but came up with none, and after looking around, identified some of his peers also watching the fight.
For all he knew, Maive was the only thing guarding them against a slow and painful death, and she needed time to recover, he couldn't guess just how severe was the hit she took. Perhaps it was the heat of the sun, the sight of Victor's body getting tossed like a ball or the toll this entire situation took in his brain, but his mind reached a single conclusion: They needed to distract the thing and make some time or they would die, so he did just that, not before telling anyone near them about his plan, if it could be called that. "Guys we need to distract the frog so Maive can recover! Just do whatever you can!"
He screamed and started to throw stones toward the head of the toad, trying to hit an eye from his position, perhaps he could blind it so they would have an easier time escaping if things didn't work out. He didn't know what he would actually do if he managed to get its attention, his plan didn't far, but he hoped that the living tornado didn't need that much time to heal.