“I made you a promise, didn’t I?” Her words repeat in my mind as the city below grows distant, and then the scenery changes completely as we go through a portal- coming out above a small coastal town.
“I’m so sorry Rose.” Sera says, summoning another portal in front of us. “I wanted nothing more than to come your aid sooner, but I had to sell my act completely in order to make our escape possible.”
Then, there was a reason she didn’t help me after all? My heart fills with hope, “So… You’re not going to abandon me?”
“I would never do such a thing.” She assures, and my eyes start to tear up again.
And here I thought I was done crying...or trusting humans, for that matter.
“To be honest, I was worried sick about you.” She gestures to my spoils, smiling playfully. “Looks like I had nothing to worry about though- even if you did get caught.”
It takes a moment for her words to sink in, but once they do my mood lightens up a bit, “This time doesn’t count.”
Sera pulls some sand from her pocket and tosses it into the portal, “If that’s the case, I’m not sure last time counts either.”
Now that I think about it, I guess she’s right. I mean, last time I didn’t even commit the crime to begin with. Sera snaps her fingers, and the portal starts to flicker. “What are you doing?” I ask, before it disappears completely.
“Buying us some time.” She says, pointing towards the ground. Following her gesture, I see a large purple monolith. “Without that lodestone, nobody will be teleporting in or out of here for a while.”
Just like last time, I watch as sand devours the structure in seconds, and then the Magus snaps her fingers causing it to collapse into a pile. “I’m going to miss this.” She mumbles, before flying us away from the town and over the ocean.
“Miss what?” I ask, but she glosses over my question.
“Oh, I almost forgot,” She reaches into her pocket and withdraws two rings. “I figured we’d need these, so I swiped them before I left.”
Sera slips one onto my middle finger, and it gives off a similar feeling to when she used magic on me earlier. “What do they do?” I ask as the ring shrinks down to fit me.
“They’re normally worn by people of similar age for obvious reasons, but in our case it works out better this way.” She says, putting the other on her own middle finger.
The ring immediately resonates with mine, and then her appearance starts to change. Her red hair turns blonde, her green eyes become red, and then her facial structure changes until it’s as if I’m looking at an older version of myself.
“You’re,” A vampire? “Like me now?” Surely such a thing can’t be achieved just by wearing some ring...
“Just my appearance,” She pokes one of her fangs, “I wouldn’t be able to use these, but it should be enough to convince people that you and I are the same species.”
Convince people we’re the same species? “Why would you want to do that?”
“Is it so strange for a mother and her daughter to look alike?” She asks comically, before turning more serious, “There are several reasons, but most importantly it’s to hide my race. Actually, it may not be good enough because we look pretty close to being human, but I didn’t have time to prepare anything better.”
I don’t understand… “Why would you want to hide the fact that you’re a human? I mean, this is a predominantly human world, isn’t it?”
Sera looks at me as if I’ve just told a bad joke before realization strikes her and she shakes her head. “Actually, humans are considered to be the weakest race of sentient creatures in the world.”
That’s yet another thing that doesn’t match up with what I know. I guess I really shouldn’t rely on my inherent knowledge too much. I mean, I don’t even know any other races aside from humans and demons- except maybe the vampires of this world. “What other ra-”
My words are cut short as Sera cries out and squeezes me tightly. “Aghh!”
Suddenly the wind pressure- which I didn’t even realize she was suppressing- hits us, and I nearly lose my grip on my bottle. Looking up, I see that her eyes are closed and her face is twisted in pain.
“Sera!” I shout over the whistling wind, “Sera! What’s wrong?” I keep yelling to no avail as we get closer and closer to the ocean below, until mere seconds before we hit the water her eyes snap open and our descent comes to a halt.
“Damn it,” She says weakly as we start flying again- though far slower than before. “I thought I’d have more time.”
“Time for what?” I ask, but she doesn’t respond. “Sera?” I tap her on the shoulder, and she looks down at me. “Are you alright?” I try again.
“Rose…” Her voice is strained, “Would you still stay with me if I were a null?”
“Of course,” I reply without hesitation. “What’s a null, though?”
“Good girl.” She smiles, and her eyes lose focus. “Drink your blood and hang on tight.”
I do as she says, and when I’m done with it I drop the bottle into the sea. She hefts me up until I’m looking over her shoulder, and I wrap my arms around her neck. “Here we go.” She says, and our speed picks up again- though she’s no longer shielding us from the wind. It’s so cold that I can hardly bear it, but I know that if Sera could do something about it she would’ve already, so I close my eyes and rest my chin on her shoulder.
This continues for what seems like hours, and by the time we finally slow back down my entire body is either numb from the cold or sore from holding on for so long. Turning around I see land just ahead of us. “We made it.” Sera points out, sounding exhausted.
We start to descend- slowly this time- until Sera’s feet hit the ground and then she lowers me down to my feet as well. Unfortunately my legs are numb so I nearly faceplant in the sand before catching myself with my hands, then I hear a thud and I look over to see Sera lying next to me.
“Sera?” I ask, crawling up to her on my hands and knees. She’s still breathing, but she’s not responding so I give her a light shake, “Mother?” I say, hoping she’ll open her eyes and give me her usual jovial smile- but it doesn’t work.
What do I do? She’s not waking up, and I don’t know the first thing when it comes to figuring out what’s wrong with her. I do the only thing I can think of which is to lay my head on her chest and listen to her heartbeat. It’s steady- if not a little weak- which I take as good sign. Hopefully she’s just tired…
I’m sure she’ll be hungry when she wakes up, so I guess I’ll look for something for her to eat. What do humans like to eat though? Thinking about it, I saw some of them eating fruit and burnt meat at the market earlier, and Sera did mention that they drink the blood of pigs...
Giving the beach a good scan, I see a large variety of vegetation, but there aren’t any animals as far as I can tell. I guess I’ll just gather as many different things as I can and hope that she’ll like at least one of them.
With my plan made, I head over to my first target- a bush with white berries and pointy purple leaves. After taking a closer look I find that it’s covered in some sort of oil which looks toxic, so I decide not to take any.
The next thing I check is a fuzzy green fruit, which at least doesn’t look like it’ll poison me if I touch it, so I take an armful and turn to go back to Sera- only to see a group of heavily armed people with their weapons drawn approaching her.
No! My heart sinks, and I drop my fruit- causing one of them to notice me and point in my direction. I can’t let them hurt Sera! My vision turns red and I run to her as fast as my small body can take me- which is just fast enough because I arrive right before they do.
Standing above Sera defensively I glare at them as they approach, and now that I’ve got a better view of them I can see that their group consists of three different species- none of which are human. They stop a few meters in front of me, and a man with grey skin and two stubs that may have once been horns on his forehead steps forward.
“Whatsa paira humans doin dis far from home?” He asks, and I feel a little insulted.
“I’m not a human.” I snap, eliciting a smirk from him.
“Sure, just like I be not a Demon.” He says sarcastically, “What be you, then?”
He’s not a demon though- at least not a type that I recognize, but that’s beside the point. “I’m a Va… a Traveler.”
The man laughs, but I notice none of his companions join in, and then he starts walking towards me. “Well, Travela, we be taking you and your…” He looks down at Sera and shrugs, “Sista into custody.”
There’s no way I can win against all three of them, but I can’t just let them capture us… It seems like no matter what I do this situation isn’t going to go my way. “Stay back!” I shout, but he keeps walking, so I resort to my primal instincts and threaten him with a hiss- showing my fangs.
“Ya bout as threatenin as a kitten, girlie.” He says with a smirk, reaching out to grab me.
“Uh, Daryl. I think she's telling the truth.” The woman behind him warns, but it’s too late- I wasn’t bluffing. I rush forward as she distracts him and bite his arm as quicky as I can- piercing the skin like butter before letting go and backing off.
“Ahh! Ya lil Devil!” He yells as he takes a swing at me, but I’ve already retreated back to Sera’s side. “I’ma…” He stumbles, then falls to his knees. “Tha Hells?” He asks in confusion before passing out.
That’s one down, two to go. I look at the rest of his group, but one of them is missing and the other is laughing hysterically.
“Hahaha, I tried to warn you!” The brown furred cat-person says, “Humans rarely have red eyes, and they certainly don't hiss!”
She keeps laughing while I try to locate the missing man- the one that looks like a tall human with pointy ears- and then something cold presses against my throat, followed by an even colder voice from behind me. “Don’t move.”
I freeze, despite my mental anguish. Damn it! I didn’t notice him at all until he had me.
“Is my friend’s life in danger?” He asks.
“I don’t know.” I answer, which doesn’t seem to satisfy him so I continue, “I’ve never bitten someone like him before, but he should just be asleep.” He still doesn’t remove the knife from my throat, so I plead, “Please don’t kill me.”
I sigh in relief as the knife is removed from my throat- only to have a foul smelling cloth shoved into my face. As I struggle to breathe I hear the cat-woman speak again, “Come on Thorn, is that really necessary?”
His reply is the last thing I hear before my consciousness is consumed by darkness, “It’s payback for Daryl.”