Emyria stretched out her legs as she allowed the warm water to soak her body. Closing her eyes, she listened to the sounds of the water as it gently flowed into the rocks lined around the springs. She continued to enjoy the moment of silence before Nolvet spoke.
“You know, this hot springs is nice.”
“I agree, I only wish we had gotten here earlier.”
“Yeah, that’s to be expected though. I mean, why wouldn’t the others in our class want to come down here, and enjoy this view.”
“Don’t forget the relaxing water.”
“Right. Also, where are Aystaria, and Wyiss? I noticed they didn’t show up.”
“Yeah, Aystaria doesn’t seem to like to bathe in front of others. Besides, I think she said she needed to talk to Wyiss alone about something.”
“I bet they are just using that as an excuse.”
While Emyria, and Nolvet continued to enjoy their time relaxing in the hot springs, Aystaria, and Wyiss entered their room on the sixth floor. Aystaria placed the lit lantern on the nightstand as she started to remove her boots.
“At least our students are getting along,” Aystaria said as she laid back on the bed.
“Since we have moment alone—”
“I already know you wanted to talk about it since we left the Tower’s Watch,” Aystaria said as she sat up on the bed.
“Guess it was pretty obvious for you,” Wyiss said as she made her way for the balcony door.
Aystaria danced over to the balcony on the tips of her toes, moving as graceful, and nimble as she was known for. Perched atop the railing of the balcony like cat, Aystaria stared out at the bright lights the could be seen from the eight towers where The Pit was. Wyiss leaned against the railing, and remained quiet for a moment. A few minutes passed in silence until Wyiss finally spoke up after having gathered her thoughts to form something cohesive.
“I watched a man crawl out of The Pit when I was apart of the Light Bearers. We were sent down to patrol one of the lower layers just to ensure things were okay. The man had long white hair, and looked as if he was already dead. A trail of blood followed him, and his left arm looked as if it it had been mauled by rats. Yet, even through whatever horror he had been through, he continued to step forward with six dog tags in-hand.”
Wyiss looked over to Aystaria, who continued to express a cheerful aura about her.
“My unit seemed scared to act, but I did not hesitate to try. I only saw a man who needed helped.”
Aystaria smiled as she slowly began to unwrap the bandage around her left arm.
“I could make out an emblem on his wrist that looked like a dagger with wings around it, and the number six on it. There were rumors of a unit that protected the world from the shadows. Of course, I didn’t carry about any of that. All I could think about was how to save this man’s life. So, I carried him in my arms to the surface, but I never saw him ever again.”
“And you were left wondering what happened to that man.”
“He appeared as if he was in so much pain, like he had lost so much. Yet, I’d never know. You are the man I saved though… aren’t you?”
A faint smile crossed Aystaria’s face as she hopped down from the railing, and removed the six dog tags from around her neck.
“There exist a fabled group comprised of elite warriors who enter into a dangerous realm that is dark, cold, and a place where death lurks in the shadows—known simply as Shadow Takers. One man entered with is comrades, but being young, made a costly mistake that resulted in the loss of their lives. He fought off the monsters of that realm, and tried to run. It was all in vain when the ruler of the realm revealed himself. The man fought only to be captured, and endured painful hardships that were cruel, and would haunt him if he didn’t sleep with a lit candle at his bedside. Of course, he wasn’t a man anymore, both literally, and figuratively. When he finally managed to escape he had to live with everything that he had done, as well as the nightmares he would continue to have. The only thing he could do, was smile.”
Aystaria giggled as she placed the dog tags back around her neck. Hugging Wyiss gently, she kissed her cheek. This romance moment made Wyiss blush as she tried to process what had happened.
“Thank you, Wyiss.”
Wyiss embraced Aystaria tightly as tears started to flow down her cheeks. She was happy to have known that he person she had saved was still living life to the fullest.
“So, what should I call you?”
Aystaria lean back slightly on the heels of her feet as she smiled playfully.
“I lost many things at hands of captors, but I also gain much in the way of knowledge. I want you to continue to see me, not as the man I once was, but the female I was forced to become.”
“I won’t divulge anything that was said here.”
“You might not, sis. But I definitely will.”
The giggling voice of Lystaria could be heard as Wyiss turned around to see her little brother laying on the bed.
“B-Brother! You were listening the whole time?”
“Oh I knew he was,” Aystaria said with a smile as she turned to Lystaria.
“Wait, you knew? And you still kept talking.”
“So, cute little brother of Wyiss. I hear you like things a bit rough,” Aystaria said with a grin.
“That is true. I do.”
“You should know, we Shadow Takers are extremely skilled in extracting information from people.”
“Something tells me this will be fun,” Lystaria said with a cheerfully expression.
Aystaria awoke to the feeling of something heavy against her body. Two melon shaped spheres pressed firmed against her chest. Opening her eyes, she was greeted by the sight of Wyiss laying atop her fast asleep. Well, this is one way to wake up, Aystaria thought as she realized one hand was caught under Wyiss’ body. Moving it forced a soft moan to escape Wyiss’ mouth. Guess I’ll just roll her over then, Aystaria thought as she counted to three. On the final count, Aystaria rolled Wyiss over quickly before ending up on top of her. Her hand was firmly grasping one of Wyiss’ breast as she watched the facial expressions that Wyiss made.
“Mmm. Aystaria, be gentle.”
Aystaria smirked as she carefully got off of Wyiss. So, that’s what you’re dreaming about, Aystaria thought as she brushed back Wyiss’ bangs slowly. Looking over to the other bed, she could see Emyria, and Nolvet both huddled together as they slept soundly—as if nothing in the world could wake them. Making her way swiftly for the exit, Aystaria made her way down the hallway as her bare feet left no trace of a sound. Entering into the lobby, she made her way over to the bar where she saw Feldia sitting, and slowly sipping on small class of red wine.
“Hey Lystaria, can you get me what Feldia has, please?”
“Sure, one second,” Lystaria said with a cheerful smile.
As Lystaria headed for the shelf to grab a bottle of the finest red wine they had, Aystaria spun around in her chair before laying across the chairs like a bed—with her head resting firmly in Feldia’s lap. Feldia continued to sip her drink as she paid no mind to Aystaria resting her head against her thighs.
“Sinulla on paksut reidet.”
“Voin puristaa sinut heidän kanssaan, jos olet siinä.”
“Here you go, Aystaria,” Lystaria said with a smile.
Sitting up from her resting position, Aystaria grabbed the glass as she downed the wine in a few seconds. Propping her feet up in Feldia’s lap, Aystaria signaled for Lystaria to pour another bottle.
“Shouldn’t you be wearing shoes?” Feldia asked as she took another sip of wine.
“You know I hate wearing them. Even as a guy I hated them.”
“Frankly, I could never tell if you were guy or girl when we went on that joint operation together.”
Aystaria couldn’t help but giggle as she gently pressed her barefoot against Feldia’s cheek.
“You’re mind games only work on the weak minded,” Feldia said as she downed the last bit of her wine.
“Oh I know, but it’s still fun to see if I can get under your skin.”
Grabbing the glass of wine, Aystaria began to down it.
“Like how the shadow lord got under yours?”
Aystaria split out her wine onto her clothes as she failed to hold back the laughter. For a second, she found herself coughing, and quickly beat her fist against her chest to stop it from going down the wrong pipe. In one simple motion, Feldia hit Aystaria’s back with the palm of her hand forcing Aystaria to cough once more.
“Thank you. That was just too funny.”
“Glad to be of service.”
“I love that about you. That feeling that you, and I are equals.”
“Well, we are. Though you are going to have a hard time explaining that to the harem you created.”
Aystaria smiled as she wiped off her clothes as best she could.
“I have no idea what your talking about.”
“Sure you don’t. Anyways, I take it your plans are to go shopping with Emyria?”
“Yup. We will be looking at some clothes to pick out.”
“Have fun with that. I’ll just spend my days reading.”
“Oh? You mean you didn’t want to stalk me, and get a glimpse of my cuteness in different outfits?” Aystaria asked with a smirk.
“Haluaisin nähdä sinut alastomana,” Feldia replied with a sinister smile.
Aystaria’s cheeks flushed red as she covered her eyes with her braid.
“Flustered are we?”
“You… would actually want to see me like that?”
Playing with the tip of her braid like a playful schoolgirl, Aystaria stared back into Feldia’s stern gaze.
“Well, I need to go read. It was fun,” Feldia said as she started to get up.
“Awwie, you’re no fun. Leaving it like that. You’re bad at romance, you know?”
“I’m aware. Have fun.”
Finishing off the rest of her drink, Aystaria made her way back up to the room, and noticed Wyiss was still asleep as Emyria was just starting to wake up. A soft yawn escaped Emyria’s mouth as she stretched for a second.
“Good morning,” Aystaria whispered with a radiant smile.
“Morning. Did you just wake up?”
“Somewhat, yeah. You hungry?”
“Food would be nice,” Emyria said as she got out of bed.
“Want to try some käse auf brot?”
“What is that?”
“It’s basically bread with cheese baked on top.”
“Sure, can’t hurt to try it, right?”
“Exactly. I’ll be back in a bit. Afterwards, we can get dressed, and head out to see what the city has to offer.”
Aystaria maneuvered gracefully through the city streets as she felt the rays of the morning sun against her face, and the light gentle breeze blowing her hair. The sounds of the city echoed throughout her ears as the sights of the city felt alive with the comings, and goings of various carriages, and people. Stopping in front of a shop that sat a the corner of the street, Aystaria looked over to Emyria with a smile.
“As per our agreement, since you passed your exams, you get to see me in one outfit of your choosing.”
“Any outfit? From this shop?”
Emyria looked over everything that was out on display in the front windows. Various outfits of risque design that appealed to a dominant majority of men who saw women as nothing more than sexual object.
“And you’re sure about this?” Emyria asked.
“Of course,” Aystaria said with a smile.
“Well, if you’re sure about this.”
Making her way into the shop, Emyria looked around the all the outfits on display before one caught her eye. The dress was an elegant white corset that revealed a small section of the stomach with a matching frilly skirt that stopped at the thighs.
“I want you to wear that,” Emyria said as she pointed to the dress with her face starting to flush a hint of red.
Aystaria smiled as she grabbed the outfit—as well as a few other accessories—and headed for one of the changing rooms.
“No peeking,” Aystaria giggled as she closed the door behind her.
Emyria paced back, and forth as she waited for Aystaria to finish changing. After a few minutes, Aystaria exited the room only for Emyria gaze upon her like an old man that had never been with a woman. A single twirl, and cute pose made Emyria feel like her heart was about to stop.
“So, how do I look?” Aystaria asked with a smile.
“I’d hit that,” a man called out from across the shop.
“Yeah, what he said,” Emyria said as she looked over Aystaria from head to toe.
Why can’t there be a device that allows us to store moments like these in time, Emyria thought as she noticed the small accessories that Aystaria had added to her outfit.
“Are those wolf ears?”
“Yup. I saw them, and figured they would pair well. Can I assume the blood coming from your nose means you like what I’m dressed in?” Aystaria asked with a smirk.
“I… uh… just banged my nose on the door.”
Aystaria smirked as she made her way over to the nearby leather couch. Rolling up a pair white socks, she inserted her petite foot into one, and carefully pulled it up to her thigh—doing the same for the other. Jumping up to her feet, Aystaria twirled around on the ball of her foot as she continued for a few rotations.
“So, what do you think, really?”
“I think you’re beautiful. Probably need to find some matching shoes though that go well with it.”
“I mean, I could go without them,” Aystaria said as she stop, and playfully bounced on the balls of her feet.
“Isn’t that how infections spread.”
“Yeah, that’s true. Let’s look at what they got.”
Moving over to the aisles where the shoes were lined up, Aystaria looked over some of the pairs of shoes, and boots as Emyria noticed a pair that seemed to match perfectly.
“These could work.”
Aystaria smiled as she pointed to the number placed under the rack.
“Those are a size six, I wear a size five.”
Aystaria grabbed the pair that was label for her foot size, and made her way back over to the couch. Slipping on one of the boots, Aystaria easily wiggled her foot into it, and pulled it up to her just below her knee—doing the same for the other. Standing to her feet, Aystaria walked back, and forth as she tried to get used to moving in the new boots. In just a few minutes, she was able to move as she had when wearing her old pair.
“This could work,” Aystaria said with a smile.
Before Emyria could speak, the sound of her stomach started rumbling. A cheerful expression showed on Aystaria’s face a she gathered up her old clothes.
“Let’s pay for the outfit, and get you food.”
“That would be nice.”
Making their way up to the counter, they were greeted by a young girl who smiled as she handed an item over to man she was serving. The girl was dressed in a black hair, and wore a golden ribbon to tie back her hair.
“Thank you for shopping here today, did you find everything okay?”
“Yes, I did. I’m going to purchase this outfit. Two gold coins, correct?” Aystaria asked with a smile.
“Actually, there is a sale on that dress, so it’s only one gold coin.”
“I see, well, here’s two anyways,” Aystaria said with a smile.
“Oh wow! Thank you so much, Miss.”
“It’s no problem at all.”
“As thanks, word of advice. Pretty girls such as you, and your friend here shouldn’t be out when the sun goes down.”
“Why is that?” Emyria asked.
“Rumors have been going around of someone murdering young women or being kidnapped. The guards have been trying to catch whoever is at large but they haven’t been able to find anyone. It’s truly scary out there at night, especially at the Blackchapel District.”
“I see, I’ll keep that in mind,” Aystaria said without showing a hint of worry on her face.
As Aystaria exited the shop, she could feel something sinister in the air. It wasn’t just the stares of all the men, and women in the area, but something that made her body shake. The beating of her heart increased as she felt the presence of absolute fear itself. It can’t be. He’s here, Aystaria thought as she closed her eyes. Trying to isolate the presence, Aystaria focused as hard as she could, yet to no avail.
“Aystaria, are you okay?” Emyria asked in a concerned tone.
Of course he would mask his presence, he was always good at that, Aystaria thought as she turned, and smiled at Emyria.
“It’s nothing. I just didn’t think so many people would be staring. I’m kind of embarrassed.”
The cute blushing face of Aystaria looking embarrassed made Emyria’s cheeks flush a hint of pink. Why is my teacher so cute, Emyria thought as she continued to stare.
“Anyways, we should get back to the Grand Mysteria,” Aystaria said with a cheerful smile.
Aystaria looked out at the city as she leaned against the railing of the balcony. She could still feel the presence of the fear that she had sensed before. Well, if he won’t come to me, guess I’ll come to him, Aystaria thought as she put on her boots, and made her way out the door. Seeing Lystaria at the lobby—standing behind a desk—Aystaria smiled as she greeted him.
“I’m going to be heading out for a bit. If anyone asks, tell them I took a stroll around the Blackchapel District,” Aystaria said with a smile.
“Of course. Enjoy your night. Oh, and do be careful.”
Aystaria walked the city streets with her lantern around her neck. Even though the city of Athelas had candlelit lamps at every street corner, she always felt the need to carry one around. While she didn’t fear many things in her life, there was one thing she had grown to fear. Rounding a street corner, she noticed the subtle change as she noticed the a large bridge that entered into another part of the city. The river that separated the two districts were like night, and day.
So, across this bridge is the Blackchapel District. Makes sense why they named it that, I can see the chapel from here, Aystaria thought as she made her way across the bridge. The tone of the district felt more ominousness than the other districts that Aystaria had been to. She had seen many things throughout her travels, yet this was the first time she had ever stepped foot into the Blackchapel District. Grim buildings blotted the sides of the rough cobblestone street. All of the buildings seemed as if they had not been renovated in the past ten years or so. Many cracks, and signs of weathering remained, while even the street itself appeared worn out through the ages of time.
The various lamp lights were almost nonexistence as maybe only one or two shone every so often in the dark. Aystaria continued to maintain her composure as she noticed the lack of people out, and about the streets. The sound of crows were only things that could be heard—apart from the clacking of Aystaria’s boots against the stone—as Aystaria entered the main district square. Stopping to close her eyes, Aystaria tried to focus where the presence was. I know you’re out there, Aystaria thought as she breathed slowly.
A jarring echo of a woman screaming in the distance broke the focus Aystaria was trying to maintain. Using her magic to isolate the sounds of the scream, Aystaria made her way down the street, and through various alleyways until she found the woman that had been screaming. Aystaria had seen his work before, and she knew that the girl laying on the ground was not going to live to see tomorrow. A pool of blood covered the ground as the smell of her internal fluids filled the air. She had been sliced, and cut open at incredibly small but meticulous spots that would kill her in only minutes if they were not treated. He’s baiting me, that asshole, Aystaria thought as she watched the girl tried to speak. The girls eyes filled with tears as Aystaria thought about what her options were. I try to treat her, I’ll just end up captured by him. I don’t treat her, I have to live with her face haunting me forever. This is why I never liked him, he was always so psychotic, Aystaria thought as she rested her hand on the hilt of her sword.
“Come on, Rita. What’s wrong with you? Using a sixteen-year-old girl like this, forcing her to suffer by cutting out her vocal chords, and kneecaps. Do you have any sense of morals?” Aystaria yelled at as she continued to keep her guard up.
The sound of a creepy child-like laugh echoed throughout the shadows as Aystaria’s eyes quickly scanned the area.
“Hehe. Can you blame me for enjoying what I do?”
“Yes, yes I can. You’ve been the one committing these murders, haven’t you?”
“Hehe. I don’t murder people, sweet Aystaria. They simple stop giving up on their will to live. That’s all.”
“Thanks for the clarification,” Aystaria said as he continued to remain vigilant.
Aystaria struggle to pin down exactly where Rita was as his presence shifted from shadow to shadow. Looking over to the girl, Aystaria could see she was now dead, the sorrow in the dead corpse said everything.
“Damn it, Rita. Stop screwing around—”
In that instant, Aystaria could sense Rita’s aura behind her. The hair on the back of her neck stood up as she tried to turn around in time only to feel a small needle being injected into her lower body.
“Rita… you… coward…”
Aystaria could feel her vision fading quickly as her body fall forward into Rita’s loving embrace.
Aystaria awoke to find herself shackled at the wrist, and her boots removed to ensure the shackles around her ankles were secured well. Looking around the area she could see her lantern sitting on a small wooden table, along with her boots, and bandage. After processing the fact that she was shackled to a wall, Aystaria sighed. Guess this where he’s going to play with me, Aystaria thought as she leaned back against the wall.
“Hey Rita, let me ask you a question.”
“Hehe. What would that be?” Rita as he appeared at Aystaria’s side with a grinning from ear to ear.
Rita’s pale complexion, and doll-like features made him look as though he were a girl. With his long white hair tied in a pair of long twin-tails, and his overall bubbly mannerisms, he was often mistaken for a girl.
“Does that scar on your neck still hurt?” Aystaria said with a mocking smile.
A large scar could be seen as clear as day around his neck with the stitching visible to the naked eye. Rita smiled as he licked Aystaria’s neck.
“Hehe. Want me to give you one to match?” Rita asked as he giggled in a girly tone.
“I’ll pass, thanks though.”
“Hehe. It’s okay. You’re more beautiful to look at the way you are, sweet Aystaria.”
Rita smiled as he moved down to Aystaria’s chest, and breathed in her sweet scent.
“Adding ‘sweet’ to my name doesn’t make you sound cuter, you know? Oh, by the way, Rita…”
Moving downwards, Rita slowly ran his warm tongue down Aystaria’s stomach, and carefully over her bellybutton.
Rita stopped as he looked up to Aystaria.
“Did you check your gender today?”
Taking a step back, Rita tilted his head, and place a finger on his cheek as if he was thinking.
“Hehe. I’m pretty sure I’m a girl today,” Rita said as she smiled cheerfully.
Rita carefully removed her large black overcoat, and placed her hands on her chest.
“Hehe. It feels flat. Maybe I need to check the other area too,” Rita said as she lifted up her black short skirt.
Taking a second to study it, Rita looked to Aystaria, and smiled.
“Hehe. Guess I’m a boy today,” Rita said as he lowered his skirt back down.
“Good to know. I’d hate to assume your gender,” Aystaria said with a smile.
Rita giggled as he unbuckled his black high-heels platform boots, and slipped them off. Throwing them off to the side, he twirled around on the ball of his foot as he seen Aystaria do many times over before dancing over to her. Grabbing the end of her braid gently, he sniffed her hair, and smiled as he looked as if he was enticed by the aroma.
“Hehe. You always seem to smell so pleasant, Aystaria.”
“And you still have the most eccentric fetishes I have ever seen in one man.”
Placing the end of Aystaria’s hair under his skirt, Rita smiled happily as the expression on his face changed from happy to pleasurable.
“My braid did not consent to this, Rita.”
“Hehe. But it feels good!”
“I hope you know when I get free from here, you’re going to regret what you are doing right now,” Aystaria said in a contrasting cheerful tone.
“Hehe. I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
Emyria awoke to the feeling of a tingle between her legs. Rushing out bed with haste, she made her way to the bathroom. A few minutes passed as Emyria felt the sweet release of fluid build up rush from between her thighs, and into the boxed chamber pot that fed out through a small drainage system. Once she was finished, she ensured she flushed the toilet, and washed her hands. As she exited back out to the main room, she noticed that Aystaria was nowhere to be found.
Did she go somewhere. Maybe she’s down in the lobby, Emyria thought as she put on her boots, and made her way down to the main lobby. As exited the room, she felt a dark presence looming beside her. Staring up at Feldia, Emyria smiled as she tried to imitate Aystaria’s mannerisms.
“Going somewhere, Miss Hyteria?” Feldia asked with a sinister smile.
“Well, you see…”
“I see you standing outside your room when it’s past the roaming hour.”
Emyria dropped the false smile as she looked to Feldia with concern.
“Aystaria isn’t in the room, and I was going to see if she was down in the lobby somewhere.”
Feldia thought for a moment as she closed her eyes. After a few minutes, she looked to Emyria.
Entering into the main lobby, Feldia made her way over to Lystaria who yawned once before continuing to maintain his professional behavior.
“Lystaria, did Aystaria come down here by chance?”
“Why yes she did. In fact, she gave me a message that I should tell anyone that asks about her that she headed for the Blackchapel District.”
“Emyria, go back to your room, if I’m not back by morning—”
“No! I’m not going to just stand by, and wait. If Aystaria is in danger then I want to help.”
“You act like her with each passing day.”
“And no that wasn’t a compliment, I truly find it annoying,” Feldia said with a smile.
Without another word, the two of them headed off for the district of Blackchapel. As they made their way down the streets of the city, they stopped once the bridge to the district came into view. Feldia pulled out a dagger that was hidden under her skirt. Handing it over to Emyria, it was clear by the tone in Feldia’s voice that she was serious.
“Take this, and stay very close to me. Do I make myself clear?”
“Why? What’s out there, Miss Feldia?”
“The stench of someone even I tend to fear.”
Aystaria, what the hell were you thinking? Rita is beyond even the Council of Shadows’ comprehension, Feldia thought as she closed her eyes.
Feldia scanned the bridge, and noticed the small traces of foot prints that lead into the district of Blackchapel.
Feldia followed the tracks carefully as she remained alert for anything that could attack her or Emyria.
“Hey, Miss Feldia?”
“You’re question better not be if you can use the bathroom.”
“I heard Aystaria speak in that same strange language. I’ve never heard of it though.”
“Ah. That is something I would love to explain, but I think it would be better if Aystaria explained it herself.”
Feldia continued to follow the tracks until a foul odor filled the air. Emyria covered her nose as she wondered where the aroma was coming from.
“What is that awful smell?”
“Breathe through your nose.”
As Emyria began to breathe through her nose, she noticed Feldia had stopped. Looking around, Emyria wondered what Feldia was looking at. The open lot appeared vacant which various objects scattered about from wood, and stone to bricks, and spare tables. While the darkness obsured almost everything for Emyria, Feldia was able to see what laid beyond the darkness.
“Aystaria was here.”
“How do you know?”
“Because she wouldn’t leave that,” Feldia said as she pointed on the ground in front of her.
Emyria looked at where Feldia was pointing to see a small golden hair clip.
“That’s Aystaria’s hair clip.”
“Thank you, detective. Truly elementary work, my dear girl.”
“What happened to her? Where did she go?”
“If you be quiet, I can figure that out. This just going to take a lot out of me.”
Feldia picked up the hair clip, and closed her eyes.
“Semita decorarat atque auxerat.”
Emyria continued to wait in suspense as hoped that Feldia would be able to find out where Aystaria had gone. A few seconds passed before Feldia dropped to one knee as if she had been drained of energy.
“Are you all right?”
“I’m fine. She’s somewhere due north of here. I think… that massive cathedral. Somewhere underground. Not completely sure.”
“I’ll go save her then!”
Before Feldia could finish her sentence, Emyria had already ran ahead with the dagger in her hand. She knew she needed to save Aystaria. Running through the alleyways being as light-footed as she she could be, Emyria closed her eyes as she tried to sense Aystaria’s heartbeat. As she closed the distance to the cathedral, she could start to pick up on something that sounded like a faint heartbeat. Holding the dagger at the ready, Emyria carefully entered the front entrance of the cathedral.
While the outside appeared grandiose in its appearance, the inside was a stark contrast. Faded color on the walls, and floor along with the aged weathering of years of neglect meant the cathedral had been abandoned for at least several decades. The alter at the front of the worship area was broken in half where the wood had finally given up on life. Of everything in the main room, only a single banner with an emblem on it remained intact.
I’ve never seen a symbol like that before, Emyria thought as she approached the banner. The emblem was a simple black dagger that was pointed downwards, with a cracked skull at the tip. Surrounding it was five black swirls in a diamond like shape. Scanning the area, Emyria noticed a wooden door that was worn, and covered in mounds of dust. As she opened the door, the loud echoing creak of the hinges ensured that if there was anyone down in the dark basement, they knew she was coming. I wish I had brought a lantern with me, she thought as she carefully descended stairwell into the dark unknown.
Planting her feet down on each step carefully, Emyria held her weapon at the ready as she ran her free hand down the wall. As she descended deeper, she could hear a faint sound of voice she was unfamiliar with. It sounded like that of a small child with a high-pitch feminine tone. Yet, the expressions that echoed through the hallways were not of innocent nature, but of maturity that delved in the realm of ecstasy. Drawing near to the source of the voice, Emyria could begin to make out the words clearly.
As she turned down a hallway, she could see a faint light from one of the open doorways. Moving cautiously, she peeked into the room, only to wish she hadn’t.
“Oh yes! Aystaria, your so… great at this.”
“Again, I didn’t consent to this, Rita.”
“Hehe. But you’re thighs are all covered in condensed milk. That means you’re my property, right?”
“I hate to tell you this, Rita… but you’re wrong,” Aystaria said as she smiled cheerfully.
“Hehe. Well, you’re still mine. The question is, what am I going to do with the other girl over there?”
Wait, she can see me, Emyria thought as she held her weapon at the ready.
“Hehe. You know you can come out. We can both see you just fine.”
She has to be bluffing, Emyria thought as she continued to still in the shadows.
“Emyria, just come out, I can see you too. No point in hiding from him.”
“W-Wait… That’s a guy?”
Emyria stepped out from the shadows, and into the light as she continued to hold her weapon at the ready.
“Hehe. Yup, yup. I am is be a boy! How do you do?” Rita asked as he curtsied like a nobleman’s daughter.
“Um… Rita, you… actually, never mind,” Aystaria stopped her from trying to correct someone who was insane.
“Either way, leave my teacher alone!” Emyria shouted as she pointed her dagger at Rita boldly.
“Emyria, technically, I’m your tutor, not your teacher. Big difference,” Aystaria said with a smile.
“Hehe. So, Aystaria, this girl is precious to you?”
“Oh Rita, the things I’m going to do to you when I’m free,” Aystaria grinned with a devilish smile.
“Hehe. Can’t wait.”
Emyria continued to stand her ground as she watched Rita move towards her. Okay, I just need to remember all the training that Aystaria taught me, and I can beat this… boy… girl… feminine boy… I’m just going to say boy. I’ll beat him, Emyria thought as she studied his movements like a hawk. Like a flash of lightning, Emyria watched as Rita disappeared from her line-of-sight. Scanning the room quickly, she realized that he wasn’t anywhere to be seen. Turning on the ball of her foot, Emyria felt the force of a powerful wind against brush against her face.
Even though everything happened at a break neck speed, she was able to see the glint sheen of her reflection on the blade as it missed her nose by mere millimeters—almost as if the world around her was moving in slow motion. As Emyria planted the sole of her foot onto the solid ground, she spring forward at Rita aiming for the nape of the neck. In one fluid motion, Rita spun on the ball of his foot, grabbing Emyria’s arm from the outside. Using the force of his strength, he twirled Emyria around several times as Emyria was forced to keep pace. After six full rotations, Rita let go, causing Emyria to fly into Aystaria’s body.
“Well, at least I landed into you,” Emyria said as she realized she no longer had her weapon.
Looking over her shoulder, Emyria could see Rita twirling the dagger in his hand with precision, and skill. A smile gleamed across his face as he slowly made his way towards Emyria like a wolf cornering its prey. Great, my only weapon in the hands of an insane feminine boy. Just my luck, Emyria thought as she tried to figure out what other options she had.
“Emyria, listen to me. On your right, is my sword on the table. Remove the sword. Don’t try to lift the sheath. Go when I say to, okay?”
Emyria nodded as she stared into Aystaria’s eyes. Her cheerful expression made it seem as if everything was going to work out. Aystaria watched as Rita moved closer, while Emyria’s heart continued to pound against her chest like a drum.
At Aystaria’s command, Emyria quickly bolted for the table as she kept her eyes on the sword.
“Hey Rita,” Aystaria called out.
For a moment, Rita turned his gaze to Aystaria only to feel something smacking him in the left side of his face. Taking a second to process what had happened, he smiled as he giggled in a high-pitched girly tone.
“You used your braid to hit me. That’s pretty clever of you.”
Rushing forward with the dagger prepared to impale Aystaria’s heart, Rita grinned sadistically from ear to ear. Aystaria simply smiled as she stood there.
“You’re going to die tonight, Aystaria!”
Like a flash of light, the room was silent for a brief moment. Rita looked at his arm, only to realize that it had been sliced off above the elbow. The dagger had fallen to the ground at Aystaria’s feet, along with Rita’s arm.
“Hehe. Oh dear. I’ve seem to have lost a hand.”
With haste, Rita grabbed his arm as he twirled around. Within just a few seconds, he was able to sew his arm back into place using the thread of his skirt, and a needle holding up one of his twin-tails. Smiling as he looked over his work, Rita ensured his arm was able to function properly.
“Hehe. There we go, good as new.”
“H-How did you do that?” Emyria asked shocked by what she had just witnessed.
“Hehe. Because I’m Rita.”
“Rita is a highly trained medic, and understands the human body well. There is no wound he can’t fix aside from a fatal wound.”
“So, I just have to kill him.”
“Hehe. You can certainly try.”
Emyria the weapon at the ready as she tried to clear her mind.
“Just remember to calm your thoughts, and let the world around her flow, like water,” Aystaria said in a gentle tone.
Emyria relaxed her grip on the hilt of the blade as she breathed in calmly. A cheerful smile crossed her face as she spoke with unwavering confidence.
“Don’t worry, I’ll win this without breaking a sweat.”
A crackling giggle escaped Rita’s mouth as he held his side.
“Hehe. Just because you know her fighting style doesn’t mean you can do what she does.”
Pulling out two small daggers from under his skirt, Rita twirled on the tip of his toes as he twirled his bladed like a rhythmic dance.
“Hehe. I think it’s time for you to understand why they call me, Rita the Reaper.”
Without warning, Rita dashed forward with his two daggers ready to strike. Emyria evaded the first strike like she had calculated. She knew, by the trajectory of the strike that Rita would have to follow up in a predefined arc. Wait, what the hell, Emyria thought as she noticed his foot coming square for her jaw. Rita had taken Emyria by complete surprise by planting his hands firmly on the ground, and using his foot as a follow through for the attack.
The force of the attack was enough to jar Emyria’s stance as she stumbled with her footing for a second. As she tried to regain her composure, she noticed that he wasn’t giving her a chance to think. Struggling to block the two strikes to her chest, Emyria was barely able to keep Rita from landing a blow on her. This guy is like a deranged monkey, Emyria thought as she managed to block another strike. With a split second to counterattack, Emyria took the chance to try to land a fatal blow after parrying the strike aimed for her stomach.
As Emyria brought the blade down in an effort to end Rita’s life, she felt his legs wrap around her arm. Like a cobra coiling its prey, Rita latched on Emyria’s arm, and brought her down to the ground. In an instant, Emyria found herself pinned down with Rita on top of her. A sadistic grin appeared on his face he continued to hold her down with one arm. Pulling out a coin that Emyria had seen before, Rita planted it on the palm of Emyria’s hand. In that moment, Emyria could only scream as she felt the bone in her left hand break from the crushing weight of the coin.
“Hehe. You have a beautiful scream.”
Emyria could feel the pressure of the coin on her hand. Even though it appeared as if it was just resting firmly in her palm, the feeling was like that of one hundred bricks stacked atop each other. Removing another coin from a pouched strapped to his thigh, Rita placed it on the palm of Emyria’s other hand. Another agonizing scream echoed out from Emyria’s mouth as she became unable to move her arms even an inch.
“Hehe. She’s a screamer.”
“Rita, when I get—”
“Hehe. You keep saying that, but I don’t see how you will do that.”
Rita grabbed another coin from the pouch under his skirt.
“Hehe. Now where to place this one,” he mused as he licked the coin.
Holding the coin with the tips of his fingers, Rita smiled sadistically as he traced his free hand down Emyria’s body.
“Hehe. It’s truly a shame you’re not younger. You would be so great to use as a toy.”
“You make me sick.”
“Hehe. Guess this coin goes in the butt.”
“Or I can stick it straight in yours.”
The sudden voice from behind him threw Rita off as he looked for only a second. In that moment, he felt a bone shattering right hook to his jaw. Like a rag doll, he flew across the room, and into the wall.
“Took you look enough, Feldia,” Aystaria said with a smile.
“I’m old. You can’t blame me for that.”
Feldia grabbed both coins, and scanned the battlefield around her. Seeing Aystaria’s sword on the ground near her, Feldia stomped on the hilt of the blade. The forced was enough to send the sword airborne, and grab the hilt. Using the sword like a throwing dart, Feldia planted the tip of the blade precisely at the chain that held Aystaria’s right arm in place. In a split second, the chain broke free from the wall as Aystaria grabbed her sword, and freed her other arm—followed by her legs.
The anger on Rita’s face showed as he bit down onto his teeth, grinding them like an angry child. Rushing over to Emyria, Aystaria removed the coins, and placed them in the small pouch around her leg.
“Don’t worry, Emyria, you’re okay now.”
“I’m sorry I couldn’t beat him.”
“It’s okay, you did very well. Now stay here, and let us handle him,” Aystaria said with a cheerful expression.
Aystaria stood to her feet, and made her way to Feldia’s side.
“So, we killing him?” Feldia asked.
“Oh no, that would be far to easy. He needs to suffer,” Aystaria’s said as her happy expression contradicted her intentions.
The thunderous sounds of a skull hitting a brick forced a blast wave to incite a large dust of debris as fresh blood smeared down the wall. Feldia held Rita’s skull firmly in place as she looked over to Aystaria.
“So, anything else you want me to rip off?”
“No, no. Just his arms.”
“Hehe. You know I can’t feel pain, right?”
“Don’t worry, you’re not going to feel pain,” Aystaria said with a smile.
Grabbing him by the hair, Aystaria dragged Rita to a nearby room, and closed the door. Emyria sat in the wooden chair near the table as she wondered what Aystaria was going to do to him. She recalled that Aystaria had said Feldia was benevolent, but she was unsure as to how Aystaria was when it came to inflecting punishments.
“You’re curious about what Aystaria is going to do to him, aren’t you?”
“I think I’m afraid to find out.”
“You should be. Of all the torture methods I’ve been subjected to, Aystaria’s were always the worst. She is truly twisted, more so than Rita.”
As Emyria listened in, she could hear Rita starting to beg for his life.
“W-Wait… Aystaria? W-What are you doing…”
“Oh sweet Rita, just relax. It won’t hurt.”
“D-Don’t stick that in there!”
Loud echoing moans rang out as Rita’s voice reached a level of feminine that would have made many question their sexuality. Many minutes passed until Aystaria returned with a small vial of white liquid, and the happiest expression on her face.
“Got a new drink for you to try, Feldia. You love exotic things, right?” Aystaria asked as she handed the vial over to Feldia.
Feldia downed the drink in one sip as she mauled over the taste for a second.
“That is some heavy cream. Thick but condensed in a way that is flavorful. It’s surprisingly not bad.”
“Hey, you should have saved some for me,” Aystaria said as she giggled cheerfully.
“What… is that?” Emyria asked.
“You want to try it?” Feldia asked as she handed the vial back to Aystaria.
“I… you know what? No thanks. I’m good.”
Aystaria returned to the room, as the sound Rita’s begging voice could be heard.
“A-Aystaria please don’t do—”
A loud moan that sounded of pleasure, and pain rang out. As Emyria heard the exchange from beyond the door, her face turned a bright cheery red color.
“Out with it or it’s going in deeper.”
Emyria turned to Feldia.
“I’m scared now…”
“Be glad she likes you.”
Before Emyria could ask a follow up question, the howls of Rita’s voice rang out louder than before.
“Hehe. Good boy.”
Aystaria’s voice sounded playfully before she exited the room with another vial of white liquid.
“You should get more vials. I could take some with me,” Feldia said as she watched Aystaria down the whole vial.
“Hmm. That is thick, and creamy.”
“You got a bit on your mouth, just there,” Feldia said as she pointed to the spot.
Using her tongue to clean the area clean, Aystaria smiled as she looked over to Emyria.
“So, how are you holding up?”
“I have… many questions. Other than that, I’m great.”
Sitting down on the wooden table, Aystaria rubbed her feet together as she hummed a tune with a cheery tone.
“Feldia, do you think it’s time?”
“I suppose. It’s your call in the end though.”
Aystaria hugged one leg to her chest, and lean her cheek against her knee as she smiled at Emyria.
“How about it, Emyria? Would you like to hear the true story of Aystaria Pynn?”
Before Emyria could speak, Rita’s voice rang out from beyond the door.
“Quiet Rita, otherwise I’ll come back in there for more,” Aystaria said as she giggled in cutesy tone.
“I’ll keep him quiet,” Feldia said with a devilish smile.
As Emyria watched Feldia enter the room, she could hear the conversation taking place.
“Rita, you’ve been a bad boy. So, I get to make sure you stay quiet.”
“W-What you doing—”
The muffled voice of Rita’s words were no longer coherent as Emyria turned back to Aystaria.
“I’ll just ignore all that. Please, tell your story, Aystaria.”
“All right, let’s begin with how I was born.”