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 with a thump, causing the tiny shape at the other side to shake.
She walked carefully not to touch the lifeless body, continuing her journey through dark streets. Reaching her destination at a dead end of an alleyway, she sat down on a pile of rags and made herself at home.
A human man appeared out of the corner. He pulled up his shirt to take out a few coin pouches, one of them sewn particularly neatly and bore flowers.
“That bitch—how dare she slapped me?!” he grunted. “If there weren’t those fucking nosy people around, I’d teach..” he stopped in mid-sentence noticing the shadow at the other end.
The girl’s eyes widened at the sight of him blocking the entrance of the alleyway, her empty hand feeling the rags, under which were a few coins and trinkets.
He found easy prey after what he’d been through to take his anger out on. After that, cursing, beating, kicking, and crying, all those things occurred in the dark. When the crescent moon came out from behind the clouds, the furious man seemed no longer satisfied with his current abuses. Wanting something even more heinous than he was doing, he paused, his hands reaching to his pants.
“What the hell do you think you are doing?” said a voice behind him. Turning and finding glowing red eyes, the man did his best attempt at escaping from the place, but in vain. In a flash, the angry man was not angry anymore, lying on the ground, with fresh cuts all over his body. Whether or not he was alive, he was no longer moving.
The owner of the red eyes breathed in and out heavily, retreating her fangs and claws in a great effort. Stepping over the man, she walked toward the smaller figure and gently picked her up. An indistinct sound came out of the girl’s lips.
“You don’t have to thank me,” she replied softly, “You are going to be fine.”
“Your mother got summoned by the king, Ely,” Clara whispers, keeping up with Elysia on the stairs.
“Where did she go?” Elysia responds distractingly as all her effort is on getting to her chambers as fast as possible. She should have flown right up to her chambers. Now, these stairs seemed to be endless.
“Guards are gossiping the king has married a new consort.”
This gets Elysia’s attention. But not that much. “Right,” she grumbles. Anyway, she is not interested in palace affairs.
Upon entering her chambers, Elysia settles herself haphazardly on the nearest chair which accommodates her wings nicely.
“We’ve got deer blood today. I’ve already placed it here. I’m going to get it for you. You look awful, Ely,” says Clara walking past Elysia and crossing the room.
“Thank you so much, Clara. You are such a sweetheart,” coos Elysia from her seat. Since they’ve met five years ago, she knew Clara hated her kind. But not just that, she hated humans as well. She alone seems to be the exception.
Still sprawling, she stretches out her hand to take the crystal cup of red liquid Clara is handing. Clara put a crystal bottle containing the same liquid onto the small table in front of her. Elysia can’t even recall how many times she has thought she is cursed because there have been one too many. This is going to be a plus one.
She takes the first sip from the glass, causing her to sit up instantly. She thinks she is going to throw up.
“Please don’t throw up. You have to drink up. It is for your health.”
"But this is not deer! This is a thousand-year-old dead-feet soup!" Elysia grimaces.
"Aren't you tired, Ely?” laughs Clara "I mean, you have said this countless times before."
"Yes. Because this tastes like a-thousand…" Elysia tried to repeat but could not finish it.
"You don’t know that. I don't think you have ever tasted t a-thousand-year-old dead-feet soup" Clara retorts.
After that, amusement goes out of Clara's face and she sighs, “I thought the medicine you have been taking is supposed to help you. You still can’t stomach human blood, and I can imagine animal blood must be disgusting for you. And you can’t not drink blood either, to live. If you are improved, you know I absolutely don’t mind to offer you my blood.”
Elysia might have told almost everything on her mind to Clara but not this. It is not because she doesn’t trust Clara. This is too dangerous for both of them and besides, this is not about her alone. She swallows the blood down. After a few sips, putting the cup down beside the bottle, she reassures Clara, “I know you don’t mind, Clara. And thank you for that. But you know, I’m kind of glad that I can’t stomach human blood.”
“Why, Ely?” She has surprised Clara.
“ Because if I crave for it, I’m afraid I might feed on an unwilling human at one point of my life. That would disgust me.”
“You are being too hard on yourself. I don’t believe you will ever hurt an innocent life.”
Elysia decides against replying that Clara has too much faith in her because she doesn’t want to disappoint her. Recalling her reaction at the slave auction, she thinks she might have to change her belief about herself. Maybe she is capable of hurting the innocent as a majority of her race is.
Her pondering is distracted by a shadow at the entrance. A maid. She throws a glare at Clara. A human and a slave being friendly with a royal family member makes the maid upset. That’s the reason Elysia can’t treat Clara as a friend in the public, other members of her kind see humans beneath them.
“What is it? Are you interrupting me for no reason?” Elysia asks sternly.
“ Pardon me, your highness,” rushes out the maid, “the chamberlain wanted me to inform you that the slave is being sent to your chambers as you ordered the guards.”
“Alright. You can go now.” Shit, why did she say that? She must not be thinking anything else because she just wanted to dismiss the maid. This is not alright. He can’t come here right now. She is about to say to wait a moment before sending him here but the maid has already gone.
Clara exclaims, "You bought a slave!”
Elysia is not interested in whatever Clara is saying. She wonders when she ever ordered the guards to send him to her chambers. She feels like these days the guards are not actually listening to her anymore.
“Fast, I have to hide this damn bottle and glass!" Elysia jumps up from her seat.
"Why?" asked Clara. "Chamberlain knows what type of blood you drinks. You told me no one can tell the difference from a distance."
“Don’t ask me why. I don’t know! Just help me hide them.” She picks up the bottle and the glass herself, she hears footsteps getting nearer.
“Alright. Alright. I’ll go hide them.” Clara pretends to be annoyed, grabbing them from her hands and heading to her bed-chamber.
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
He wakes up with a headache after a restless sleep. He remembers he had a strange dream, but can’t recall what it was about. Getting down from the bed, he notices he is wearing nothing. There across the bed and the floor, his clothes were scattered around. He doesn’t remember removing his clothes, and wonders why he has done so in his sleep. He opened the window; the dawn had not arrived. Yesterday morning, even earlier than this, something caused him to jolt from his sleep in the tiny room near the kitchen. Despite the complete darkness and total silence at the moment, he immediately knew someone else was inside the room with him. The door had no lock; however carefully it had been opened, he must have heard it, and that must have woken him up. Something came to touch his chest, an