Two days ago…
Pain. That was the first thing that came into his mind of total blankness. What was happening to him? That was the first question that he asked himself. He could feel the earth underneath his back in immense pain. He tried to open his eyes. Blurry and unfocused, he was blinded by the brightness just as he grasped the vagueness of trees and the sky beyond them.
The next time when he opened his eyes, he found himself in another place, iron bars in front of him. He couldn’t move an inch except for his head. His hands and legs were spread eagle, manacled, and chained to the hard surface behind him. He could not tell how much time had passed but could be an hour when the iron door opened and someone came in. The creature standing before him instantly disgusted him, and he didn't know why.
The one standing before him had black horns and bat wings. Demon, the word came into him out of nowhere. "What are you?" asked the demon to him. It was the golden question, wasn’t it? What was he? And who was he?
While he was asking himself countless questions in vain, the demons did the same. One after another, they entered his dungeon cell. With their claws and knives, they toyed with his flesh; as if some kind of meat, they cut him again and again.
They were hungry for his blood; one of them tried to lick the blood on the knife. A growl came out, not from the demons, but from him. The demons backed away; they seemed to sense something that made them afraid.
He would kill them. He'd kill each and every one of them slowly… and he'd enjoy it.
He found the wounds healed on their own almost instantly. Though he remembered nothing about himself, he knew humans did not heal that fast. He realized he had a basic knowledge about several things but himself.
An unknown amount of time later, one demon came into his cell, bringing an old woman with him. She was not a demon. She pressed her fingers on his temples for a while and said, "I can’t sense any magic in him. He could be a human."
"He is not! You are so useless. Just get out!"
"No need to be rude. I can go to any other auction house at anytime. I chose to work here."
"There are others witches and wizards in the city, you old hag,” growled the demon.
"I have a name. And you think runes can contain any race? Your boss can't discard me. He knows better than that," muttered the old woman, walking out of the cell.
A night had passed. Day and night were no different in here. There was only the dim light of torches coming from the hallway. He guessed it gave him time to figure out about himself, but he figured out nothing, not even his name.
It didn't matter, though. At least he could grasp that he was going to be sold at some kind of auction, so they wouldn't kill him anytime soon. He found that he was not afraid to die that much, but he thought dying would be a waste if there was a way to live.
As he expected, they finally came to release him from the wall. He had already decided it would be a waste of time and energy to attempt to escape when he knew nothing. There would be time to do something after they had sold him. He would probably pretend to be obedient at first. He would collect information. And then he would kill whoever bought him at the first opportunity.
Through the exit of the floor where the auction has just taken place, feeling less a princess than a prisoner, Elysia flies down to the ground along with the guards who would probably follow her if she went to the restroom. A gargoyle carriage is waiting, the four gargoyles looking wicked and mean, an iron cage settled behind them.
She swears under her breath. This is a mistake. She meant an ordinary carriage when she asked the guards to bring one. Not one with an iron cage.
“Your highness,” someone calls after her in a high-pitched voice, “ I am so greatly honored that you grace our establishment with your presence.” The owner of the voice is a portly male with reddish skin in brocade clothes and rings on every single one of his fingers. Bowing so low to Elysia, he wears an oily smile.
With today’s event, the entire city should know by now exactly who she is and what she is doing here. Great. She is almost hearing her mother’s nagging in her head. “Don’t draw too much attention to you, Elysia. Don’t be reckless.” What does she expect though? She is a princess. Why did her mother marry a king in the first place?
The one who is talking to her right now is the manager of the auction house, according to his introduction.
“I wish you haven’t troubled yourself, your highness, with the transportation. As you might have heard of it, we are well known to have the most secure and the best delivery service in the entire …” He can really talk, it would seem, but everything is about how great his establishment is. She kind of drifts away.
“My lord…!” he suddenly shouts after someone else. “If you don’t mind, I’m going to take my leave, your highness.”
“Not at all,” she answers, sighing inwardly, and looks away.
That’s when she notices him coming out of the building, restrained by the guards from the auction house. He is walking in regular strides, despite the push and the pull of the guards. He is standing out among the crowd, passersby are looking at him, but he doesn’t seem to care about the state he is in or the stares he is receiving. One mercenary whips him for no reason.
"Stop! My guards will take him from here.” She sounds angry to her ears, but why isn’t he angry? It might be her imagination, but she thinks he just smiled. What is with everyone and this smiling thing? Everyone seems to smile even when they are not in no state to smile.
Must be the exhaustion that makes her react out of her character. She better return to the palace first before she does something really stupid. She flies back to the palace, some of the royal guards following behind her without her asking.
A group of castles and gardens stretch over the hill that occupies a third of the city, but they are not visible at a distance, for being hidden behind the greyish fortification which is so tall that the clouds appear to be hanging around it.
Elysia enjoys flying; whenever she is in the air, she feels a flicker of freedom. The route back is too short for her liking.
Gliding down, she sees a human girl near a rosebush, her brown curls falling from her ponytail. Known each other for five years, Clara is closest to a friend for her.
Clara did not look to have noticed her presence, still interesting in the flowerless shrub for whatever reason she might have.
Elysia walks silently to her back. "Are they blooming anytime soon?"
"Oh heaven!!!" she jumps and turns back to look at Elysia with her big brown eyes. "You scared me! What are you doing behind my back, your highness?!"
"This is broad daylight. You shouldn't be this surprised…unless…you are secretly planning something?"
"What secret plan? Where have you been all morning, your highness? You look horrible, by the way. You look like you have had no meal and no wink of sleep for a week." Give or take, she takes about three seconds to speak about all these things.
Elysia has pondered before that if there is a competition or some sort of ranking for talking fast, Clara would be pretty famous.
"Really? I look that bad?" she asks.
Clara sighs, “You are the most beautiful girl I’ve ever seen, your highness. But you are also the best at ruining your own beauty. Look at what you are wearing. And hair. Besides, your horns are not ugly at all, don’t mess up your hair to hide them.”
"Always nagging. You are worse than my mother. I’m exhausted. Let's go inside."
Five years ago…The setting sun was no longer able to light up Mayhem City’s darkest corners, which filled with things, and lives, or the lack of life that no one deemed useful. A scrawny figure was walking slowly on a narrow lane. Barefooted, the dress too worn out and torn around the edges, the girl looked 15 at most.In her hands were two apples. She was embracing them with her trembling hands as if some stolen treasure. Around the corner of the lane were two shadows, one of them had curvy horns and huge wings. At first glance, they were embracing each other but at the closer look, the winged shape was gripping too tight the other one who was struggling in vain.At the sudden sight of it, the girl threw herself against the nearest wall, making herself even smaller than she already was. The struggling one made one last movement before he stilled completely. At last, the hunter took off into the air, dropping his prey to the ground
One hour ago… He saw the sunlight for the first time since he has gotten conscious chained to the wall. The demons pulled him at his hardest by the chains; although it would not make any difference to him, they never stop trying. He was aware of that everyone was staring at him as if some kind of exotic creature. There was something different about him, other than just his apparent features. A bustling place, a cobbled street with stalls and shops everywhere in his line of sight, with demons busy coming and going and also humans; the difference was most of the humans were in chains like him. Some were being either whipped or beaten. What a disgusting place this was. The voice coming from his right interrupted his trail of thoughts. “Don’t be so happy yet,” taunts the demon, “We will be waiting for you, pretty boy, when she doesn’t want you anymore.” The other two demons howl as if this was some kind of
She hands him the keys before going back to her seat. “I think you might need some shirt,” she mumbles out more to say something than anything else. “Do I?” is his response, removing the rest of the manacles and chains. “I don’t think you have told me your name,” Elysia inquires, now with a good distance between them. He lounges back on his chair, still shirtless. He really needs a shirt, she can’t help thinking. “What is yours?” Elysia is caught off guard by his question. “What?” “Your name, sweetheart,” he answers reprimandingly, “You should say your name first. It’s the courtesy, isn’t it?” Her temper rises, “Don’t call me sweetheart!” Who is he to reprimand her and to call her sweetheart, no matter how attractive he is? This guy doesn’t understand the situation he is in. She was thinking to secretly free him, if possible—it is a great risk to do so, probably dangerous, becaus
The castle stands tall, proud and foreboding, like a mountain, at the center of the complex of gardens, surrounded by rectangular towers and smaller buildings in a different part of the palace grounds, similar to the king is being bowed down by his subjects. “I have one question, my son,” says the king from his throne on the dais, fixing his sitting posture. The cavernous room is empty except for three, the king, his son, and his newest consort already exiting the room, her glittering sheer gown sweeping and reflecting on the smooth inky floor in her wake. “Anything, sir,” responds Kannax standing at the foot of the dais. “I heard about a rebel movement that was happening under my nose. Why didn’t you report that to me?” The king drops his hands on the arms of the throne, which looks to be cut out of one huge stone, raw and bland like other decorations in the room and the room itself. With a controlled voice, the prince replies slowly, “Rebel movement
On a normal day, if she happens to wake up early in the morning, she goes to the dining room to have a human breakfast and then walks in the garden before she has the normal breakfast. But today is different. In her white nightgown and her messy hair spreading over her shoulders, she heads to the open window that looks over the garden. The cool morning breeze brushes her thin cloth, chilling her; she hugs herself with her black wings.Knockings come from the closed door of her parlor.“May I come in, your highness?” asks Clara from the other side of the door.“Come in.” There must be someone nearby, given how she is addressing.Clara enters the room with a tray, pushing the door open. On the tray are a steaming crystal cup, a dish of sweet pastries, other items including a blood bottle, and an extra item, which is a folded paper. The announcement.“Why is this only for me? Have you had your breakfast?
“I thought I’d take all of this with me to the grave. I intended to never tell you, Elysia, but it seems I can’t avoid this.”Within the few seconds’ break of her mother talking, the chamber is so quiet that the breathing sounds are so loud to Elysia’s ears.“He was from the Ikcendas.” The consort looks away.“From the East?”“As our kingdom and the East had a friendly relationship during those years, our two kingdoms exchanged diplomatic gifts and messages regularly. Children only know humans with magical abilities live in the East, but it is not strictly true. There are ordinary humans, humans with magical powers, and lastly the ones more than humans: they are the royal family and some highest nobles.”“Aside from being an ambassador, he was a distant relative of the royal family. Your father and I, it was love at first sight, but still, we kept our distance during his visits for more than a hundred years. We did nothing more than having friendly
There was no way she was visible; she had even passed guards in the past. How did this happen? If she became visible here, she would be in trouble; her people can’t use magic. Whoever interrupted her is now holding her down on her back, her hands in the tight grip of his—she thinks it is a man as she can see from the corner of her eyes. Her stomach on the grass, Elysia struggles hard, trying to break free. Every attempt of hers, however, is useless.“Princess?” he sounds amazed. It’s him! Her spell must have stopped working. She struggles harder. “Get off of me!!!”He loosens his grip, but he bends down and whispers, “No.” His warm breath tickles her ear.“What do you mean “No”?” While she is furious, she still notices his body heat which is almost enveloping her.“So you have a little secret. I don’t think this is usual for you people to have this type of trick.”“Let me go! Do you want everyone to see us in this state?!” Elysia
The coldness seeps into her wings; with a start, she comes to catch how she has been behaving. Why was she acting like a coward? She will not let him intimidate her this way.“What do you want?” she asks again, sternly this time, partly to cover her breathlessness which makes no sense to her. Imitating her mother’s authoritative voice talking to slaves, she continues, “Do you want freedom?”It might be her imagination, but Elysia thinks she just saw his eyes flashed with some emotion. Anger? When she blinks again, it has gone. She has expected him to follow her, in an attempt to dominate her. Instead, he turns around and takes leisure steps in the opposite direction. He stops to stare at one part of the wall. There is nothing special on that side, no decorations, even clear of wardrobes.“Doesn’t everyone desire freedom?” he questions back with a coldness in his voice. Without waiting for her, he answers h