When I wake up the next day it’s to the sound of the door opening, and I sit up just in time to see the Magus coming into the room carrying some clothes. “Oh, you’re awake.” She says, placing everything on the foot of the bed, “Sleep well?”
“Mm-hmm,” I reply, rubbing the sleep from my eyes.
“Good, we’ve got a busy day ahead of us.” She takes my hand, “This is going to tingle a bit, but please bear with it.”
Just as she says, a tingling sensation shoots through my hand and into the rest of my body for a second, and then she lets go. “What did you do?” I ask, feeling a little strange.
“I cast purify to clean you off, we don’t have time for you to take a bath.”
She cleaned my entire body that fast? Magic sure is convenient...
“Can you dress yourself?” The Magus asks, holding up a red and black dress.
I nod, How hard can it be?
“I’ll leave you to it then,” she places it on the bed and heads for the door, “I’ll be waiting in the room at the end of the hall, come find me when you’re done. Oh, and if you need to use the restroom it’s the room right beside this one.”
“Okay,” I reply, and she departs.
After a few minutes of struggling, I manage to get everything on and make my way down the hall to find her- only to hear a mans voice. “-by to see me if things go well.”
“We will.” The Magus answers as I walk inside and see her speaking to a mirror. “Talk to you later, Renji.” She adds, upon noticing me.
“Goodbye Sera, and good luck.” The voice says, just before the mirror goes dark.
Sera turns to me, “I have something I need to ask you before we go through with this- do you really want to be adopted by me?”
“I…” So I do get a choice in the matter… I mean, all of this was kinda forced on me since the beginning. Still, I’ve already accepted it at this point. “I do.”
She looks ecstatic, “That makes me so happy.” She pulls me into her embrace, “I promise to do my best to take care of you from now on.”
I’ve long since given up on understanding how she can be so affectionate despite only knowing me for a day, but to be honest it feels rather nice to have someone who cares. “Thank you.” I whisper, and she squeezes me even tighter before letting go.
“We can celebrate later, but right now we’ve gotta hurry,” She says, rummaging through a satchel. “Is there anything you need before we go?”
“I guess not, I mean I’m not thirsty or anything.”
The Magus puts the satchel down and summons a portal, “Let’s get going then.” She says, leading me into it.
We come out of the portal next to a large circular table with a bunch of old humans seated around it, and a regal man with a crown on his head addresses Sera. “Magus Whiteheart, you are late.”
“Your Majesty.” She bows, “Please forgive me, I have no excuse for my tardiness.”
That seems to placate him, “See that it doesn’t happen again.” He moves his gaze to me, and I nearly faint due to my nervousness.
Sera didn’t have to tell me where we were going, but she could’ve at least warned me that we would be meeting with royalty!
“So this is the traveler you rescued from that demon.” Nobody bothers to correct him, and he waves me over, “Come here, child.”
My blood goes cold as I realize what he’s asking of me, and despite trying to adhere to his request, I can’t move an inch.
Luckily, an armored man speaks up before it becomes a problem, “Your Majesty, is that wise? We don’t know what it’s capable of.”
“Her name is Rose,” Sera snaps, causing the man to flinch- though he quickly regains his composure.
“Your concern has been noted Sir Geisel, but I trust Magus Whitehearts judgement.” He looks back to me, “Do not make me say it again.”
A slight push from Sera sends me moving forward, and I somehow manage to maintain my momentum until I’m standing next to the King. He scans me from head to toe with appraising eyes before speaking, “I’m told you have amnesia.”
I barely manage a nod, which he returns before continuing, “How unfortunate, I would’ve liked to know what your world was like.” He rubs his beard, looking to the Magus, “I suppose you didn’t bring this child here just to meet me?”
Sera Kneels before answering, “I have a request, Your Majesty.”
“I wish to adopt Rose into the Whiteheart family as my daughter.”
Please say yes, please say yes, please say yes.
“I see.” The King says, and I clench my fists in anticipation, “As this is the first time you’ve made a request in all your years of service, I would like to accept- however...” He gestures for Sir Geisel to come over, “I will not allow you to sully the Whiteheart family name with some stray you found on the streets- otherworlder or not.”
His declaration causes my legs lose their strength and I collapse to the floor with my ears ringing. It’s all over, just like that? I hear Sera's voice, but I can’t tell what she’s saying due to being in shock, and then someone lifts me up, and I fight through my tears to see it’s the man from before- Sir Geisel.
He’s saying something to me, though I ignore it as I look towards Sera for help- but she just watches it happen and shakes her head at me. But, she promised! “You promised!” I yell with sorrow, “You-mmph!” The man covers my mouth, and I very nearly bite his hand- but I stop myself.
I can tell that if I were to attack him he wouldn’t hesitate to kill me, so I just cry in silence and stare at Sera as he carries me off. She doesn’t budge from her kneeling position the entire time, and the last thing I see as I’m carried out of the room is her distraught expression.
I continue to cry as I’m carried through the halls of the castle and out a door in the back, then Sir Geisel tosses me to the ground as if I’m trash before leaving without a word. After everything that happened, after everything she promised… She just abandoned me without a second thought because of a single sentence from the King. I’m sure she’s powerful enough that she could’ve saved me, so WHY? Why didn’t she help me?
By the time I finally collect my wits quite a bit of time has passed, and I’m feeling quite thirsty- which makes me remember when Sera said I should tell her the next time I need blood, and I nearly break down again- but I don’t. I can’t blame everything on her, I should’ve known better than to trust a human in the first place.
Pulling myself upright, the first thing I see is a Rose bush at the side of the road- except the roses are blue. How ironic, I think, shakily getting to my feet. I’ll have to find something to drink soon, but how? I mean, I don’t think I’m strong enough to take any from a human, and there aren’t any other creatures that I can feed on nearby.
Sera… did say something about being able to buy monster blood, but I have no money- and even if I did, I don’t know the value of human currency. I guess my only option is to steal then, be it from a sleeping human, or from somewhere that sells it. Since I don’t think any humans will be asleep during the day, I’ll go for the latter option for now, and if I have no luck by night time I’ll switch.
Goal in mind, I make my way down the road until it meets up with a larger one with lots of humans on it, all while relying on my sense of smell to search for blood. For the most part the humans pay me no mind- though one or two do stop to stare at me, and soon the road leads to a massive marketplace where I smell lots of blood.
Unfortunately, as I get closer to my first target and the smell gets stronger I can tell that the blood isn’t adequate to sustain me, so I move past the butchers stall and continue my search. The same happens at the next five places I check, and I nearly give up until I notice the faint yet familiar scent of aquafiend blood.
Following the trail, my nose leads me away from the market and to a large building with a sign posted out front reading ‘Adventurers Guild,’ and a lot of strong looking humans going in and out. After a little hesitation, I decide to at least take a look, despite the low chance of me being able to steal anything.
The inside of the building has a restaurant section on one side, and a bunch of reception desks on the other. In the middle of the room, there’s a board with a bunch of papers posted, and bold words at the top reading: Please do not remove requests from the board, simply tell the receptionist the request's number instead.
I walk past the board after reading that part, and follow the scent to the counter where it continues deeper into the building. “Can I help you, young lady?” A male receptionist asks, to which I just shake my head.
“Not unless you can tell me where you keep the aquafiend blood,” I say, not expecting what comes next.
“Ah, you wouldn’t happen to be Beth’s new apprentice would you?”
Wait, there’s no way I’m this lucky… “I am.”
“Wait right here,” He says, heading through a door in the back. As it turns out, luck is on my side because he returns a few seconds later with a bottle of aquafiend blood and places it on the counter in front of me. “That’ll be six silver.” He says, as I devise a plan.
“Okay,” I reply, sticking one hand into my pocket as if searching for the money, while reaching for the blood with the other. The second my hand makes contact, I snatch the bottle and make a run for it- which apparently the man wasn’t expecting because he doesn’t make a sound until I’m nearly outside.
“Stop! Thief!” He yells as I exit the building and take a sharp turn, and then run until I get to the side of the building before turning again- only to be lifted into the air from behind.
Damn it, not this again! I curse, until I realize that the lifting isn’t stopping, and I’m being taken higher and higher into the sky.
“Quite the little thief, aren’t we?” A familiar voice asks, and I crane my neck to see her face.
“Sera?” I ask with disbelief. Of all the people to capture me… it had to be her?
“Good thing you’ve got yourself something to drink, I left all of my belongings back at the house, and we’ve got a long trip ahead of us.”
“I made you a promise, didn’t I?”