Chapter 6:

The Fairy Hound

Little Red Riding Witch

“Jack… what did you just say?” Lucy couldn’t believe her ears. “Did you just say…”

Jack, however, couldn’t hear his partner’s words, for he was already sucked into his own world with the woman in front of him.

“Mother… why are you here? At this time?”

“Why, I live here, after all,” to his surprise, the woman let out a devious chuckle. “Why can’t I be here?”

“How come you could understand me? And why did you disguise yourself as an old woman? Where’s Lucy’s grandma?”

“Lucy? ...Oh, you mean Sith?” The smile was still ever so present on the woman’s face as she approached Jack and petted him on the cheek, causing the latter to freeze in fear. “There is no ‘Lucy’s grandma’ from the start. It was me, Jack. I’m Lucy’s grandma.”

“Are… are you really Nana?” Lucy could finally shake off her fear and shock and asked.

“Indeed I am, Sith dear. I needed a disguise to avoid Dario’s eyes on me, and I also just happened to need to introduce my family to him when I convinced him to marry me. And what better disguise than that of a mother-in-law?”

“Wait… marry/mother-in-law?” Both Lucy and Jack exclaimed in utter shock, their bodies shivering with a storm of emotions whirling within them. “Does that mean…”

As the two’s eyes met each other, a light smirk formed on the woman’s lips.

“That’s right, Sith dear. I don’t know how you managed to know his name, but Jack’s father here is none other than Dario Starling… your own foster father.”

The news was too much for any of the two children to bear. Both Jack and Lucy staggered, the former struggled to stand properly while the latter struggled to keep herself on his back.

“Lucy…” Jack was the first to break the silence, tears already welling up in his eyes. “Tell me it’s not true…”

“I… I don’t know. I don’t know anything…”

“Why did you not tell me your father was mine also? Why did you keep his name a secret from me?”

“But… you never asked… How could I have known any of this?”

“And then you… killed… your own father, Lucy… You killed our father…”

“I… I didn’t mean to… I really didn’t…”

“Oh, that man died already?” The woman, meanwhile, delightfully hummed at the news. “Perfect. Then it’s even easier for us now, Sith dear.”

The accumulated stress from her father’s death, the villagers’ abuse, all the news being forcefully fed into her, as well as the accusations from her current partner, all of them had already pushed Lucy to the edge enough. And now, the woman that was her grandma was the last straw for her to snap completely.

“Easy? Easy? I was knocked out, and when I woke up, he was already dead! I didn’t even know what happened, and you expect me to just up and join you like that, Grandma? And quit the senile act already! I’m not Sith or whatever you decide to call me! My name is Lucy! Lucy Starling!”

“… Lucy? You still insist on keeping that human front?” The smile was finally gone from the woman. However, replacing it was not an expression of anger or joy, but rather a genuine surprise. “Sith, it’s time to snap out of this dream of yours.”

“Dream? What on earth are you talking about?”

“I’m sure you’ve noticed already, Sith. Your keen sense of smell that reacts to blood, your eyes that perceive darkness better than most, your unusual intolerance towards negative emotions, and that blank period in your memory when you killed Dario… that’s…”

“Stop it!” Lucy shouted. Deep within her, she had already known, just as she was so quick to admit killing her father instead of putting it as being framed. “I don’t want to hear it!”

“But it is the truth nonetheless. You’re not a human, Sith. You’re a fairy hound meant to assimilate into the human world, by taking over the life of a newborn baby through the Changeling ritual. Cu Sith – that is your true name.”

“No… No! None of that is true! I’m not some fairy hound! I’m a fourteen-year-old girl! I have hopes and dreams! I’m not an animal only known for killing!”

Each of Lucy’s screams rent the air, filling the atmosphere with a sorrowful tune. However, no matter how much she tried to deny it, the truth was still ever unchanging, and it was too much for her to handle.

“You’re right, Sith,” for the first time, the witch showed a sense of sympathy, as she slowly shook her head at the scene in front of her. “You’re not an animal only known for killing. None of us is. So… why can’t the humans see the same thing?”

“It’s them that wronged us first, Sith,” she continued. “Look at the villagers. Look at Dario. Did you honestly think that the way they’ve mistreated you was just because they were horrible people? Look again, Sith! Dario wanted to torment you! The villagers wanted you dead! Just because you’re not human! Leave that side and return to us again, and we can destroy those humans once and for all!”

The witch’s words had finally managed to connect, but contrary to her expectation, it was not the one that she was aiming at. Upon hearing such claims, not Lucy, but Jack turned redder with rage by the second. And in the end, he was the one to step up and answer.

Shaking off Lucy to the ground, the young man-turn-wolf howled with anger.

“Destroy all those humans… Am I not also human, Mother? You would kill your own child, for what? Revenge against some injustice? Are you not the reason why it happened in the first place? Answer me, Mother!”

“Child? ... Don’t hold yourself high, my child,” answered the witch without a lick of emotion. “You were merely a product of procreation, the catalyst for Sith to enter this world. From the moment when you were born, your fate was already sealed. The fact that you even lived this long was an oversight by itself.”

“… Mother… you…”

“Do you not believe me? Then let me refresh your memories.”