Chapter 0:


The Midnight Apothecary

I was close this time. The verge of it finally happening with my sister were in sight. It was so close that I could feel my heart starting to beat rapidly. This would be our first time. At least, that is what I hoped for. Looking over to my sister, the two of us already knew.

“Looks like it’s a draw, onii.”

As I looked over the state of the chessboard, I sighed and leaned back in the chair. This was the 696 time we had played a game of chess and it ended in a draw. The moonlight beamed down as I took a moment to stand up and stretch my legs.

“You want some wine before you head back?”

My sister shook her head as she slipped her shoes back on and stood to her feet. She smiled while wrapping her arms around me, embracing me in a loving sibling way.

“Stay safe, onii.”

I gently placed my hand on her head and patted her slowly in the same way a lover of a cat would stroke it behind their ears. Myilia was my darling little sister and she was one of few people who meant the world to me. If I had to, I would destroy the whole world in order to save her. She was everything to me, without her there was an empty hole in my heart.

“Don’t worry, imouto. I will be. Make sure you stay safe too,” I said with a smile.

Once she was gone, I locked the door behind her and took a second to look over all the inventory on the shelves. The apothecary shop that I ran was often stocked well with various herbs in bottles and ingredients on display. Overall, the main area where the business mostly took place was roughly large in size. Entering into the shop was a small area that eased the transition from the outside to the interior hardwood flooring with steps that lead up to it. There were different tables and shelves with different things sold from bottled potions that adventurers commonly bought for quests to medical herbs that cured poisons and sicknesses. Alongside the common plants and medicine, the shop also served some concoctions that were of adult nature – helping with some problems such as waxing the royal carrot. Of course these items were never actually put on display and only customers that knew about them would have to ask for them.

Making my way behind the counter where only staff and other employees could go, I ascended up the stairs to the second floor. The kitchen was fairly simple in its layout with a stove sitting along the east wall and a wooden dinning table the centre focal point of the room. Like the rest of the shop, it had hardwood flooring throughout and plain off-white walls with solid maple baseboards. It was simple in its design but it was what I liked and it matched with nearly everything in the shop.

To the south was a door to the master bedroom, while I did not make use of it, Lily did. Opening the door I figured I would find her sleeping soundly on the oversized bed fit for a royal harem. The bed was perfectly made with no signs of her having slept in it. Heading back down the stairs I entered the doorway just under the stairwell that lead down into the basement. Inside, the stairway was dark to most human eyes and the single dim light failed to help light up the small confines of the place where most of the inventory was kept. The walls transitioned from the plain off-white colour to paved stone as I descended into the darkness.

The room carried most of our supply with herbs in bottles on various tables and shelves. For things that needed a longer lifespan, a technique was used to refrigerate items by placing a magic enchantment rune to the inside of a chest. This was a fairly simple concept but at the time it was revolutionary. Now, it was in its golden age with nobles and those who had the monetary resources to afford the luxury of what was called the Cold Storage Box. Frankly, the name sounded stupid to both me and my sister but what could we do?

Making my way over to the west wall I placed my hand against one of the stone bricks in the wall and waited. A dim blue flash of light from the brick opened up a secret door that led into a dark room with only a single lit candle on the oak wooden desk. I made my way over to the large black coffin in the centre of the room and flipped the lid off with ease. Inside was Lily, the red haired who’s beauty rivalled any human in the world. She was dressed in a white nightgown with lacy frills, her hair flowing down without her long elven-like braid. Her flawless skin was on full display from her corpulency breasts to her succulent thighs and petite bare feet – the epitome of a goddess.

She had done something like this before and while I did not mind her alluring scent in my bed, there was a real danger that she could die without oxygen. Even if she could survive for a few hours, I did not want to find her dead in my bed just because she wanted to truly be with me. Shaking her gently, I whispered her name aloud in hopes of waking her in pleasant matter. Her body remained lifeless while her breathing was soft. Placing my hand on her side, I tickled her slightly to arouse her from her slumber. Her body shifted and twitched as her hands moved to stop the tingling feeling that was teasing her in a stimulating way.

Her eyes opened slowly and gazed up into the dim-lit room. While she was unable to see the full features of my face, I knew that she had become adept in manoeuvrer her way in the darkness. I was able to see her as clear as the sun. She smiled and sat up in my bed while her hands wrapped themselves around my neck.

“Good morning, Nyizel.”

“I see you helped yourself to my bed again. I’ve told you not to sleep in it with the lid closed if you insist on sleeping here.”

I watched as Lily laid back down in the coffin and smiled seductively. She closed her eyes as if she intended not to return to her own bed on the second floor.

“It’s time to go to sleep in your own bed, Lily.”

Sitting up, she pouted and crossed her arms like a noblewoman who demanded something.

“I don’t want to!”



Tickling her side with my hand, I watched as she struggled to evade my hand and suppress her adorable giggles that were pleasant to the ears. She appeared strong and many believed her to be a tough woman in the past but only me and my sister were privy to her secret. Her body was extremely ticklish in all the parts a torturer would enjoy from armpits down to the soles of the feet.

“T-This isn’t fair! You shouldn’t use my weakness against me like that.”

“Well, you didn’t listen to me.”

I grabbed her hand and carefully helped her out of the coffin. After saying goodnight, she made her way up the stairs until she was out of sight. It was amazing that even though she was a human she had learned to navigate the darkness of the shop. Like me, she knew where every step and table corner was. Heading over to my desk I pulled out a small black notebook that I kept as a record of the shop’s inventory and profit expenses. Overall, the shop was doing well above the average of what I thought. In fact, the net income alone was more than enough to cover the wage of hiring new employees for well over six years. A lot of the success came from the hard work Lily and I put into this apothecary. That said, we still had to ensure we worked everyday to stay on top of the workload.

Closing the book I looked up at the ornate mirror that I kept, mostly because Lily forced me to keep it in here. The mirror did me no good since I could not see my own reflection but it was a beautiful work of art and at the very least it did allow her to see herself when down in my bedchambers. I was lucky to have someone like her in my life. She was the perfect match for me, even my sister enjoyed her company. Yet, there was always one thought in the back of my mind that I tried to ignore. Exactly how long would our relationship last until the life faded from her eyes? I would continue to live on but she would be one day be snuffed out from my life like the flame of a candlewick.

Memo Alfonso
Ana Fowl