Little Red Riding Witch
The Cu Sith – a mythical beast that roamed the moors of the highlands. If one would encounter the creature, they would have to turn tail and run as far as they could, lest they were caught in its three deadly howls.
That was how the old tales were told. For Vestur’s Anti-Mythic Squad, the Red Lions, however, such tales were their reality. There were exaggerations, but the creatures themselves existed and posed a threat to their people’s safety. And it was their job to never back down and hunt these deadly monsters in the shadows.
At this moment, the squad stood facing that dreaded hound from hell. But they were already severely at a disadvantage. Their rifles had already lost a good number of bullets thanks to an interfering familiar, and their captain was already long gone for this world. With no leader and dwindling resources, their hope was slim.
In the dreaded night, the Cu Sith’s dark green fur was already a phenomenal camouflage. However, thanks to the intervention from Dario all those years ago, Lucy never regained her original power as the fairy hound, not even when Jack had sacrificed himself for her. Instead, even as she transformed into her beastly form, there was no stable imagery. She was on all four, completely blank in consciousness, and was surrounded by a dense black fog only resembling a hound.
The form, however, marked an even greater fear in her enemies.
“W-What is that thing? That’s not the fairy hound!” One of the hunters screamed in terror, his hands shivering uncontrollably.
Since the old hunter was already dead from Jack’s assault, there was no one left to assert the situation and calm down the terrified squad. And fear spread immensely faster than assurance. As soon as one person was in a panic, the air of dread caught on to the rest of the squad like a raging fire. Gone was their will to fight. Gone was their righteous purpose of protecting the people. For the hunters, their minds were only occupied with one single thing at the moment – get out, or die.
In unison, everyone turned tails and ran. However, for a group of people in such a distressing situation, keeping an orderly formation was simply impossible. And so, the already chaotic scene got even more out of hand.
“What are you doing? Out of my way!”
“Go the other way, cunt!”
“Get the bloody hell out!”
When facing primal fear, humans would easily have their judgment clouded. The more they feared, the deeper they dug themselves. But the deeper they dug themselves, the more they feared. It was an endless loop of mental torture for the squad, all of whom were already stepping on each other to run away.
People hurting people. People fighting among people. Even if Lucy, in her monstrous form, didn’t do anything, they would have gone and off themselves. However, her subconscious wouldn’t allow it. She was, after all, the fearsome fairy hound Cu Sith. And the Cu Sith’s job was to guide souls to the afterlife.
Lucy gazed towards the sky and let out a deafening howl.
For people unfortunate enough to encounter the Cu Sith, its three howls signaled your death. For the first howl, your hands and feet would grow cold, as if you were just plunged into a lake of ice.
The hunters, upon hearing the first howl, experienced just that. Everyone on the run tripped and fell on their own, with no obstacles whatsoever. Those who were crawling on the ground stopped completely, their shoulders shivering like they were suffering from an incurable cold.
Lucy did not approach the squad. Still standing there in silence with her head up as if enjoying the moon, she once again howled.
For the second howl, your voice would leave your body, and your joints would seize to work altogether.
The hunters tried to cry for help, but no sound would come out. Their faces reddened from the blood rush, and their throats felt like burning in lava, but no matter how hard they tried, none of them could even utter a sound. What did come out, however, were saliva and blood, as their vocal cords finally snapped in their throats.
Contrary to the hunters, Lucy still kept a serene air about her. As if the dreaded scene in front of her right now was not her matter to begin with.
Lucy gazed towards the sky one last time, and let out a third howl.
Once you’ve heard the third howl from the fairy hound, your soul would leave this world. There would be no exception. There would be no pain. There would just be the sweet release of death, inexplicable in all of its forms.
Upon hearing the third howl, the hunters… stopped. As if they were all puppets having their strings cut off. True to the stories, they did not feel any pain. They did not feel any terror. Right at the moment the third howl sounded, like a supernatural force had taken over their bodies, their hearts stopped. No movements, no wounds. Just a couple of newly-dead corpses lying on the ground, their eyes all turned a filthy white.
As for the girl-turned-beast, after the last of the hunters fell, the darkness that formed around Lucy disappeared also. Gently lifting her up and letting her go, like a kind mother rocking her baby to sleep, the power of the Cu Sith left Lucy’s body, putting her down on the moonlit grassland for a deep, deserving sleep – the most soothing she had ever had in her life.
Little did she know, as she ventured into the dreamlands, another group of people emerged.
Six in total.
An old man wearing a tattered coat and holding a long spear substituting for a cane, his long silver hair fluttering even on a windless night.
A woman completely wrapped in bandages, whose female curves and silky-smooth hair were the only indicators of her gender.
Another person, whose extreme paintjob on her face and baggy, colorful garb masked away their gender perfectly.
A woman with bright orange hair like an everlasting flame, wearing a long, robe-like coat as red as the morning sun.
A young man in his teen, his blue hair sparkled in the moonlight like the ocean tides.
And finally, another young man whose hair was a perfect split between black and white.
The group of six approached the unsuspecting sleeping girl.
“So, she has finally awakened again…” the blue-haired young man exclaimed.
“Not quite,” the old man protested. “She’s still too unstable. My King, what should we do about her?”
The old man turned to the man with black and white hair. After a brief silence, the man gave his order:
“Bring her back.”
All five of them kneeled down with utmost respect. However, before any of them could let out an answer, a sudden bullet sniped through the nearby bushes, narrowly grazing the proclaimed king’s cheek before pinning itself onto the tree trunk behind him.
“Assassins?” The other five immediately stood up and formed a circular formation around their commander.
The latter, however, was unfazed even after the dance with death. Nonchalantly wiping away the trickling crimson on his face, the man gestured towards the bullet’s path before:
“This kind of attack in the dark… It’s the Chernyy Grifon. Mythic Ops, move out.”
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