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*** POV ‘The Cat-person’ ***

 

“It’s payback for Daryl.” Thorn says as the girl collapses into a heap next to her mother.

 

Why am I always paired with inconsiderate idiots? “Great, now we’ve got three unconscious people to deal with.” I say, taking the girls wrist. “And if this girl is actually a traveler, you may have just killed her with that.”

 

Dealing with Travelers is always a nightmare. You never know how they’ll react to drugs, let alone narcotics. That’s not even taking into account the fact that you’re not supposed to use something like that on kids in the first place.

 

The child has a pulse, and as far as I can tell she isn’t having a bad reaction, so I move on to the mother while Thorn heads over to Daryl. She’s got bags under her eyes, her breathing is laboured, and she’s sleeping like a rock despite what went on a minute ago.

 

If I had to guess I’d say she’s suffering from mana exhaustion, which would explain why she was asleep when we got here. It also supports Daryl’s claims that they flew here, and if that’s true then we’ve just hit the jackpot.

 

They’d fetch a good price just for being Travelers, but if you add on the fact that one of them is a mage- and the other may be in the future- their price skyrockets. We just have to hurry up with the enslavement ritual before they wake up. “Thorn, get me a collar from Daryl’s pack- actually, make that two.”

 

 

 

What’s taking him so long? Normally he’d at least argue with me by now. Looking over, I see him standing stock still with his back to me, and upon further inspection I notice there’s someone else on the other side of him with their arms wrapped around his back.

 

“Thorn?” I ask as the other person lets go and he drops to the ground like a sack of potatoes.

 

With him no longer in between us the woman's alluring pink eyes meet my own, and my mind is pulled into the flowery abyss as she smiles at me. “Here kitty kitty.” She taunts, beckoning me over. Normally I’d find such a remark to be insulting, but instead my heart throbs at the sound of her voice and I want nothing more than to do as she says.

 

Step by step I make my way closer to my mistress, until I’m only an arms length away. She reaches her hand out to me, and I wait in anticipation as it gets closer and closer. Then, her hand disappears in a blur and my heart stops... Actually, that’s incorrect.

 

Wha!? I break free of my trance as she holds my still beating heart out to me. “My…” She tosses it into the air, and to my relief I actually manage to catch it- only to realize that it doesn’t actually matter.

 

“Good luck with that.” She says, rubbing her bloody hands on my shirt before heading towards Daryl.

 

Well, fuck. My heart falls from my hands as my vision narrows, and then I follow it to the ground.





*** POV Rose ***

 

“Ugh.” Someone groans from beside me, waking me up just enough to be aware of the smell of blood in the air. “Rose?” She says, giving me a gentle shake.

 

“Hmm?” I ask, fumbling around as I try and fail to sit up. I feel really strange, and my body doesn’t want to listen to me.

 

“Are you okay?” The four Sera’s standing over me ask as they start morphing into one.

 

“I think so…” I answer, feeling closer to normal. It feels like I’m forgetting something important. Let’s see, the last thing I remember before going to sleep is… Trying to find Sera something to eat, and…!

 

“Sera, you’re okay!” I stagger to my feet and wrap my arms around her. “I was so worried you would never wake up, and then… The bad people came.”

 

“I’m okay, sweetie.” She says, stroking my hair, “What bad people?”

 

“They attacked us while you were asleep, and…” And what? It gets a little fuzzy after that. “They said they were going to ‘take us into custody’, and then they put me to sleep.”

 

“That’s quite alarming, Rose.” She looks around, “We’re still here though, so where did they go?”

 

It almost seems like she doesn’t believe me. “I think they went this way,” I take her by the hand and head towards the scent of blood. Unless I slept for an entire day, not much time has passed. It’s only just turning dark out, and we flew a good part of the day before they showed up- which means it hasn't been too long, especially if that man's wound is still bleeding.

 

A mere ten steps later, we stop next to a bloody heart lying in the sand. Something must’ve attacked those people, but if so then why were Sera and I left alone? We were asleep only feet away from where it happened…  "What could've done something like this?"

 

"I don't think it's a what, but a who." Is her reply, "We shouldn't stick around to find out either way." Sera wastes no time in picking me up, and then she flies us a short distance before landing again. She must still be pretty tired, because we only flew for about a minute but she seems completely exhausted. “How’s your night vision?” She asks, a little winded.

 

Now that I think about it, I’ve never actually been outside at night, but going by my knowledge- which I should probably stop doing- it’s, “A little better than during the day, but if it gets too dark I can’t see color.”

 

“That’s convenient.” She says, blinking a few times in quick succession. Her eyes start to shine, and then glow faintly by the time she stops. “My magic is going a lot faster than I thought, I can hardly even do this much now.”

 

Wait, “Your magic is going away?”

 

“It is. At this rate, I suspect I’ll be a null by the end of the night.”

 

“How? Why?” And is it my fault?

 

“It's a long story.” She says, but I’m not having it.

 

“We've got plenty of time right now… Besides, you know just about everything about me from my memories, but I know very little about you.”

 

Sera sighs, “Alright, but let’s walk and talk, this is going to take a while.”

 

We do just that, following the dirt road inland while she tries to explain what happened in a way that I can understand it.

 

From what I can gather, her story goes as follows: When she was a kid (she said my age) her parents had her magic aptitude tested at the church, where she was found to be a once in a generation prodigy- with a high affinity for earth magic, and medium affinities for air and life.

 

According to her that's a big deal, because most humans don’t have magic at all, and those that do will usually have a single low affinity and nothing else. In fact, just having a single medium affinity was enough to earn someone a title of nobility(whatever that is).

 

So when seven year old Sera’s parents heard the news, she expected them to be happy for her, but she couldn’t have been more wrong. You see, there was this thing called a ‘law’ which made her have to leave her family behind and move in with one of higher ‘status’.

 

She wasn’t even allowed to go home with them to get her things, because the church took custody of her on the spot before forcibly escorting her parents out. Over the next few months she stayed at the church and they taught her a bunch of useless stuff- she didn’t go into much detail, but it sounded very boring.

 

Then, when they decided she was finally ready they sent her off to be with her new family. She was treated well enough there, and she slowly grew accustomed to their lifestyle over the next year, but she still thought about her parents every day.

 

On the day of her eighth birthday, her new ‘family’ took her to meet her ‘aunt and uncle’ at the castle, where she was made to recite a bunch of big words that she didn’t understand to them. It turns out that those words were a lot more important than she had realized though.

 

Basically, they tricked her into a magical oath, and from then on she was unable to defy the will of her family- especially the King and Queen- in fear of the repercussions. They made her do all sorts of horrible things, such as fight in wars or even assassinate people.

 

She spent many years in their service while trying to find a way to get out of her oath, and eventually she figured out a way out that wouldn't cost her life, but her magic instead. But, before she could enact her plan the last of the Kings enemies had been defeated.

 

To her surprise, they actually started treating her like a person again after all of the fighting was done, so she decided to hold off on her plan in hopes that she would be set free instead of having to lose her magic, but things didn't go according to plan.

 

Things did get a little better, and she was even allowed to have her own home, but they never actually set her free. Instead, they used her as a sort of magical problem solver that could be called at will by anyone with high enough authority in the capital- which is actually how she met me.

 

I already knew what came after that, but she did tell me that the real reason the King denied her request to adopt me was because he had planned to marry her off to one of his sons in the future. Of course, she pretended to go along with his wishes until an opportunity presented itself, and then she escaped with me.

 

“And so, broken oath- broken magic.” Sera finishes, “Before you get any ideas, none of this is your fault. I would rather die than marry the spawn of that man, so giving up my magic for my- Our- future is a small price to pay.”

 

Over the course of her storytelling, the dirt road we had been following met up with a larger one which emits a dim green glow. It's not bright enough to render my nightvision unnecessary, but it would prevent people from getting lost if they didn't have nightvision or another source of light.

 

We don’t say much for the next hour or so as I let her story sink in, and if there’s one thing I take away from the whole thing(Aside from what I learned about Sera) it’s that humans can be far worse than I could have imagined. No Demon would do what was done to Sera to one of our own kind.

 

“Let’s stop here for a little while.” Sera says as we come across a small pond next to the road. “Help me collect some firewood, would you? We’ve gotta get ready for dinner.”

 

I give her a look of confusion, “Dinner?” We don’t have anything to eat/drink though.

 

She winks at me, “Just wait and see.”

 

Might as well help her then. I think, and then we start piling up all of the sticks and other flammable material we find until our pile is up to my knees, and then Sera holds a finger up to me before pulling out two identical black daggers that I didn’t even know she had.

 

Where was she even keeping those things? She couldn't have hidden them with magic, and she’s wearing shorts and a T-shirt for crying out loud...

 

“Here goes.” She says, and then a huge creature leaps from the bushes right at us. Its appearance is close to the animal I know of as a rabbit, except it's the size of a horse and its got razor sharp teeth and antlers.

 

“Ahh!” I yell as I realize it’s coming at me rather than us, and it's hopping so fast that I can hardly keep track of its movements.

 

Sera desn't share my fear as she runs right at the monster, and then throws one of her daggers which sticks right into its nose. The injury doesn't slow the beast down at all as the two close their distance, but just as it's about to impale her it suddenly stumbles as I hear a crackling sound. The dagger must have been enchanted.

 

Sera takes advantage of its momentary stupor and dodges its antlers before stabbing it in the eyes with her other dagger. Then she stabs it again, and again, and before I know it she's got the other dagger out of its nose and she's stabbing with that one too.

 

All in all, it takes about ten seconds for the thing to stop moving, and by the time it does Sera looks more terrifying than it ever did because she's completely covered in its blood.

 

That was horrifying to watch… Which is saying something coming from a vampire. I actually feel a little sympathetic towards the rabbit monster after watching it die like that. I guess Sera can handle herself even without her magic, huh. Then again, I guess that makes sense since she's been fighting for a long time.

 

“Hope you like Wolper,” She says, wiping her daggers off on its fur. Then she gives me a blood coated smile, “Go ahead and dig in, I’ve got to make a fire.”

 

“Uhh…” Its blood does smell rather appetizing, but…

 

“What’s the matter?” She asks, and I can’t help but feel bad for being picky after she over a free meal.

 

“It’s… covered in fur.” The thought of biting something furry and getting some in my mouth is just... yuck.

 

“Pfft,” Sera giggles, before holding a dagger out to me by the blade, “Here, use this.”

 

“I’ve never even held one of those before.” I'd probably end up impaling myself, or getting shocked by the enchantment.

 

She ignores my excuse and slips the thing into my palm, and I nervously close my fingers around its hilt. “Come on, I’ll teach you.”

 

I’ll leave out what happens next, but I will say that Wolper blood tastes even better than Aquafiend.

 

After our meal, we go for a swim in the pond and do our best to wash the blood out of our clothes before drying them next to the fire. We don’t stay the night here though, because according to Sera the Wolper corpse will draw in even more monsters so it won’t be safe.

 

Instead, we walk for another half an hour until we find a broken down wagon at the side of the road, and since my stamina is running out we decide to stop for the night. It’s not as good as our spot next to the fire, but it’s a lot better than Sera’s suggested alternative of sleeping in a tree with her- especially since whoever left the wagon here also left some empty sacks inside which Sera uses to make me a pallet.

 

“Goodnight Rose.” She says from her perch above me as I make myself comfortable in the wagon.

 

“Goodnight.” I answer, closing my eyes to sleep under her watch.

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Thanks for reading!

 Edit: I somehow mixed up its and it's about 10 times in a row... Fixed.


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Saltshaker

  • Salt Factory

Bio: Made in the USA.

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