Editor(s): Joker, Speedphoenix
“Mmmnnnn…?” Illuna groaned as she awoke to a foreign sensation. The warm and soft fluffiness of her Japanese-styled bed was nowhere to be found. She was lying on top of something hard, stiff and cold. And it was precisely the surface’s lack of comfort that wrenched her from her dreams.
A bit of a frown crossed her face as she sat up. Her vision was still blurry, so she rubbed her eyes before looking around. The first thing she saw was a series of evenly spaced, iron bars. Situated right above her head was yet another flat chunk of metal; the cage she was in was so short that it didn’t even allow her to stand.
The stark disparity between the sight before her and the one she had expected jolted the young vampire awake. A sense of malaise urged her to look down at her own neck, where she found the exact item she’d expected: a collar. The metal ring around her neck was just as obtuse as the broad chain that affixed it to the bottom of the cage. Magical energy emanated from Illuna’s collar. She could tell that it was enchanted with a spell meant to prevent her escape.
Bright as she was, the vampire discerned her circumstances with ease. She had been captured and locked away. She immediately began to search through her memories in order to identify when it had happened.
A gasp escaped her lips as she recalled it.
It had happened while she was playing outdoors. A pair of men had jumped out of the foliage and doused her in some sort of strange liquid. And then, everything had gone black.
Illuna’s eyes restlessly darted around her surroundings. The room was dim. It was hard to see too much about her surroundings, but she was at least able to make out that she wasn’t alone. The room was filled with cages no different from her own. She spotted within them a girl with animal ears, a girl with sheep-like horns, and many others. The list went on, but each and every single person on it was female. There were no men. Only women.
Gender aside, the women had little in common. There were many different species, all with their own quirks and traits. The only thing they truly shared was that their eyes were filled with despair. They were so deprived of hope that even Illuna, a young child, could make out their suffering.
Despite her initial confusion, Illuna was able to decipher the situation she now found herself in. But of course, that, in and of itself, meant not that she had a solution. And she wasn’t given much time to think.
A pair of footsteps echoed through the room, gradually growing louder as their owners approached. Soon, she saw them.
“Shit, we was hella lucky there. I thoughts we was gonna die.”
“Talk about it man. I was just thinkin’ that we were about to end up in some ditch with monsters eating us ‘live. Fuckin’ scary.”
The men strode straight across the room and headed for her cage, their footsteps reverberating on the stone floor below all along the way. They were captors. And more. They were a part of the group that had attacked her village and slaughtered her kin.
“Well, would ya look at that? Little bitch ain’t sleepin’ no more!” One of the men grinned sadistically as he looked her in the eye. “Fuck’s sake, you little brat. You know how much fuckin’ shit you put us through? Fuck you!”
The man drove his fist through the cage and right into Illuna’s face. There was so much force behind the attack that it knocked her away and made her smash the back of her head into the cage’s bars. So intense was the pain that it caused tears to seep from Illuna’s eyes.
“Man, fuck. I know how you is feelin’ right now, but you gotta make sure you don’t damage the merch. The boss’ll beat the shit out of us if you hurt her so bad that her value drops. Shiet. Y’already know that she’s gun end up fuckin’ that one child-loving noble we gunna be sellin’ her to, so calm yo ass down,” said the second man.
“Tsk.” The first man clicked his tongue and frowned. “Fine.”
That said, he didn’t withdraw his hands. In fact, he reached into the cage and grabbed Illuna by the hair, forcing her to face him. He looked her right in the eyes and spoke in a tone dripping with malice. “Now listen here, y’little shit. You’re doomed. You’re about to end up as a whore that gets bedded by an old man that loves fuckin’ the shit outta kids. He’s gunna play with you erry single day. It’ll be so bad you’ll wish you was dead. Ain’t that just gun’ be great?”
The smile on the man’s face was so revulsive that Illuna couldn’t stand to look at it. Her body rejected it on a physiological level. The combination of his mug, which was uglier than a brain damaged pig’s, and his words made the young girl want to cry for reasons other than just the pain assailing the back of her head.
But she held it in.
Because she knew.
Because she knew that Yuki would come for her.
Her impression of the man was that he was nice and warm. Though she was scared of him at first, she now regarded him with her eyes full of affection. Thinking of him was all she needed to do to bear with her suffering.
She had been alone the last time she suffered at the humans’ hands. The destruction of her village and the death of her family had left her with no one to lean on. But that was no longer true. She had her kind adopted brother. So long as she persevered, he would come. And Lefi would too. Illuna’s impression of the dragon was that, while she was lazy, she was someone that could be relied on. She could always be relied on when push came to shove.
Both her adopted brother and her adopted sister were incredibly powerful. They could defeat the monsters that the villagers had always told her to steer clear of with ease.
“Tsk.” Again, the man that attacked her clicked his tongue. He swivelled around, as if bored by her lack of a response, and spoke to his companion as he left the room. “Fuck this. Let’s go.”
Illuna’s supervisors were gone. With her captors at bay, the child was finally able to rub her eyes, get ahold of herself, and put her mind to work.
She knew that she couldn’t just sit around and wait for her rescuers. Experience taught her that wailing in sorrow was not the way to salvation. Help wasn’t something that just fell into one’s lap. If she wanted to live, then she had to act.
But she didn’t know where she was. She didn’t know where to run. Escape was off her list of options.
So what could she do?
The answer the little girl arrived at was that she could stall for time. She could hide to ensure that she would be able to wait until her family arrived.
“Spirits of the earth, please lend me your power.” She spoke in an energetic tone, as if to drive off the sense of helplessness assaulting her mind.
A dim, brown light almost seemed to appear out of thin air in response to her words. Its shine was so dull that it was almost unnoticeable in the dark, but there nonetheless. The interaction that had just occurred was one only made possible by one of the vampire’s titles: Divine Protection of the Spirit Lord.
It granted her Yggdrasil’s blessing, which allowed her to cast Spirit Magic and detect those with ill will. One of the title’s additional effects was to mask both its existence, and that of the spell it granted. And it was effective. Neither Yuki nor Lefi had caught on.
Yggdrasil’s protection was what allowed Illuna to escape her pursuers the first time. And it was also what had kept the Wicked Forest’s monsters from killing her.
“Spirit of the earth, please unlock both my collar and cage,” said the girl.
The spirit almost seem to nod before moving towards Illuna’s collar. And then, it vanished. It had almost looked like the collar had sucked it in. Before long came a metallic click; Illuna’s fetters had become undone.
Of course, as Illuna had already escaped once, the slavers had chosen to lock her down with a magically enhanced tool to ensure that she would be unable to pull the wool over their heads a second time. But their methods were wrong. Spirits were creatures that ate, acted as mediums for, and even embodied magical energy.
And as enchanted items needed magical energy to operate, breaking one was a task that any spirit would find simple. All they had to do was consume all the item’s magical energy, draining it dry and rendering it invalid.
After completing its first task, the light darted through the air and entered the cage’s keyhole to complete its second task. Again, there was a metal click, and Illuna was set free. Double checking to make sure that both the collar came off and the door opened, Illuna thanked the earth spirit and dismissed it. In its place, she called for the spirit of darkness.
There were six different types of spirits, fire, water, earth, wind, light, and darkness. Each specialized in a different type of magic and had different properties they could easily manipulate. The earth spirit, for example, could manipulate soil, minerals, metals, and everything else of a similar vein. Likewise, the darkness spirit worked with the shadows and could leverage and bend them to its will.
Illuna looked around before activating the spirit’s power. She wanted to save all the others. But she knew that it was a poor choice. Releasing them would surely cause a commotion, so she didn’t. Instead, she swore not to abandon them. She pledged that she would release them as soon as her beloved brother came to her rescue.
“Thank you, spirit of darkness.”
And so, with the spirit’s power, Illuna faded into the shadows. No other slave, nor slave driver, was aware of her disappearance. Her magic had left them all none the wiser.
Editor’s note: Today’s editor’s note has been canceled to Joker flying into a rage at how Illuna is being treated. He will returned calmed down once Yuki arrives. See y’all in the next chapter. *in the background* THOSE DICKLESS LUMPS OF PURE SHIT! I’M GOING TO SHOVE THEIR FUCKING *censored* SO FAR UP THEIR ASSES, THEY’LL HAVE TO PUT THEIR FACES UP TO THE TOILET BOWL TO PISS!