A Mother and Her Shattering Son

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Chapter 1 – A Colorful World Filled with War

A world filled with dolls and crystals sounds like a place of wonder and happiness, but this isn’t so of this world. The Crystallis, who are dolls that originate from the crystal, became so prideful of their beauty that they were corrupted by it. Because of this corruption, they attacked the Flos, who are dolls that originate from the beauty of the world. The Flos are skilled when it comes to reasoning and strategy, however, the Crystallis excel in brute strength. The Flos and Crystallis have fought their war to a standstill and are still fighting a brutal world war that has ravaged this once beautiful world.

In all the chaos, innocents are naturally caught in the crossfire. Rosalia’s son, Rhodes, had been caught in an area effect spell that cursed him with decay so that his body slowly falls apart. Rosalia’s husband sacrificed himself so that the two could survive. Several other family members were caught in this spell, but enough managed to survive to fend off the invasion of Crystallis. A cure for Rhodes would’ve been easier to get back in the time of peace, but the only place in the world that holds the cure is in the center of conflict where both sides are constantly fighting each other day in and out, which is the origin point of both dolls. If Rosalia can bring Rhodes to the healing springs, then he can be cured. Despite being told the near impossible odds by repeatedly her neighbors, she goes out in the hopes that she can make it in time.

Currently, Rhodes has been falling apart but is in a coma-like state where he is vaguely aware of what’s around him. Rosalia has been carrying him on her back as she traverses the crystal forests. Since the world is at war, the vegetation in the forest has become hostile to everything that isn’t them as well. Rosalia has used a spell to make her left arm into a dangerous claw for self-defense.  Her right leg and left heel have become deadly sharp tools as well.

As Rosalia makes her way through the forest, she says to her son, “I wish you could’ve seen this forest when it was friendly. It used to shine more and give out delicious fruit. Now, everything here is dangerous, so we have to be careful.”

Rhodes whimpers a bit.

“Oh, I know you’ve been upset about me sacrificing pieces of myself so you can live. It doesn’t bother me, see? Each piece of me helps you continue living. Your mom isn’t upset nor am I weakened by it. I don’t need another eye if I can’t see you smile another day. Besides, even if we are separated, you will always have a piece of me with you.”

Rhodes reaches out for his mother’s hands. Rosalia pulls him around so she can hold him.

“Don’t you worry, my little prince. We’ll get you cured then we can live happily together. You’ll go to school, become a man, and maybe even get married. I’ll have to approve of your choice, of course, but then again, I shouldn’t be saying about that given the person I chose.

Or should I be blaming your father for choosing me? Who am I kidding? It was both our faults. We got into a lot of trouble the two of us, but it was worth it so you could be born. I just wish his relatives could accept our love for each other.”

A chiming in the forest gets Rosalia’s attention. She puts Rhodes behind her and activates a shield spell that creates a shell to protect him. Rhodes senses the danger as well and holds his hands close to his face.

“You’re going to be safe, my little prince. Nothing will beat me when your life is at stake.”

Shadows dart from hiding place to hiding place in order to get a good opening to attack. Since Rosalia isn’t giving them any opportunities, the Crystallis hunters attack her with one combined attack. The three jump up in the air and plunge their blades towards her. She blocks their blades as her claw arm turns into a shield. Since their blades are so heavy, she lowers herself then dodges to the side and uses her leg blade. It stretches out and cuts the heart core of two of the hunters, which shatters them. The last one manages to block the attack but is hit into a living plant that breaks the hunter into pieces.

The violence has made the vegetation in the forest extremely aggressive. The trees start uprooting themselves and attacking Rosalia. She defends herself as best as she can by leaping around while cutting down the trees and fauna. Since the forest itself is a constantly growing, old, and large entity, Rosalia stands no chance against it. Fully exhausted, she holds Rhodes as he cries.

“It’s okay. It’s going to be okay, little prince.”

A sudden realization then comes to her head.

“If violence is what upsets the forest, then maybe love can calm it down. How about a song? I was going to sing to this you later to lull you to sleep, my little prince, but it looks like I’ll have to now.

 

I know when to take it slow

And when to run at the speed of light

I know when to be patient

And when to act without thinking

 

I know when to smile

And when to cry

I know when to think with my heart

And how to always love

But I don’t know how to love like you do

 

When you love for no other reason than to love

When you love for no other reason than to love

For the sake of love

 

I know how to love when I’m loved

But you love even when you’re hated

I know how to love when the sun is shining

But you love even when the storms roar

 

I know how to love when I’m happy

But you love even when you’re in pain

I know to love when everyone loves

But you love when no else loves

How do you do it

 

When you love for no other reason than to love

When you love for no other reason than to love

For the sake of love?

 

Teach me how to love when I’m hated

Teach me how to love in dark times

Teach me how to love when I’m cold

Please, my love. Please teach me, my love

Teach me how to love for the sake of love”

Rhodes laughs and waves his hands around as if trying to clap. The vegetation and fauna of the forest go back to where they come from and rest. Rosalia breathes a sigh of relief then kisses her son.

“Did you like it? I hope you did. Let’s hurry out of here before more hunters come.”

Rosalia casts a healing spell on herself as she quickly runs to the fastest way out of the forest.

 

Chapter 2 – Causalities and Captives

Once she’s walked for a long stretch, Rosalia finally makes it to civilization though it is a bit small. It is a small village town that appears to have been recently affected by the war as people repair their broken buildings and homes. Destroyed crops are being plucked out of the ground as new ones are planted. Pieces of dying dolls are passed onto their families so they can continue to carry their family’s legacy while the enemy dolls are put together then wrapped honorably. Before, the Flos used to send carts of Crystallis doll shells to the enemy as a sign of respect for their enemy, but the Crystallis destroyed most of the carts because the Crystallis view the hollow shells of their comrades as useless and valueless. During these recent times, the Flos just bury the shells of their enemies in their own special grave site away from the graves of the Flos.

One of the normal civilians says, “I don’t get it. Why do we need to respect the bodies of their dead when they don’t do the same for their own? I’ve heard horror stories of what they do to the bodies of our soldiers. We should burn them all in a fire because that’s where their souls end up anyway!”

“Don’t be so disrespectful. I’ve heard dozens of reports that say some of the Crystallis travel over to honor their dead,” a relative responds.

“It’s just their pride that makes them do this,” a villager says, “Besides, we shouldn’t be like the savages.”

“You’re right. We should take the Crystallis that come over and hold them for ransom!”

“Stop saying and thinking such things! You’re no different than them if you truly think this way.”

Rosalia approaches the hateful person and says, “He’s right you know. We should find ways to love our enemies and be respectful to their dead. Being as evil as the worst of them is only going to make things worse.”

“Hmph.”

The hateful person walks away while their relative walks with them.

“We don’t see many understanding people like you around here. What brings you to our recovering little town?”

“I’m just passing through. My own little town was recently attacked by the Crystallis and my baby boy here was affected by a terrible spell. I have to get him to the springs to have him cured.”

“That’s a dangerous journey, but I won’t stop you from taking it. Some of our city guards would accompany you along the way, but whoever we have left are guarding us as we repair our homes and I don’t think we can spare even one.”

“I understand. I pray that your town stays safe.”

“You’re a strong mother. What is your name?”

“Rosalia.”

“Rosalia…I’ve heard that name somewhere before. You don’t happen to famous, do you?”

“If I was, I wouldn’t look like this.”

“That makes sense. Rosalia must be just a memorable name then. Is there a reason why you still defend the Crystallis even though they just destroyed your home?”

“Because they’re dolls like us. Even though they come from the crystal, we were still made in the same place by the same creator. We may think differently, but we’re still related, and our lives are both equally beyond value.”

“I see. Well, I’m sorry for taking up so much of your time. You can take some of our healing fragments to give your boy a little more time.”

“Thank you so much.”

“Don’t mention it.”

After healing Rhodes a little, Rosalia says goodbye then leaves the town. She travels down the roads as they should be safer than the forest though not by much. There’s still a chance the Crystallis might come down the roads or the forest might come to life and reach out to crush her.

Rosalia says to Rhodes, “I’m glad the townsfolk didn’t recognize me. There would’ve been trouble if they did. Anyway, let me tell you more about your father since he won’t be able to tell you himself. He was a brave and proud man. He risked everything he had including his life to be with me since he was from a royal family. The way he loved people and nature was breathtaking. He loved being in love with everything and everyone so much that he wrote songs and poems about almost everything. It’s where I get my songs from.”

Ahead of Rosalia is an incoming band of Crystallis. They have a huge black bull under their control, which is a huge black beast with black horns, a white face, and red and black eyes in this world. It struggles against the control of its captors along with the other creatures that have been captured.

“Poor things,” she says to herself as she hides on the side of the road in a tree, “The raiding party is headed towards the town. They won’t be able to fight against the bull and the other creatures along with the Crystallis. I want to do something, but what am I going to do?”

Rosalia thinks of a couple of plans before deciding on one course of action. She throws two fire darts, conjured by a spell, at the chains that bind the bull to free it. Once it’s free, it puts the Crystallis into a panic. While the bull rampages about, Rosalia frees the rest of the creatures. Once she does, the black bull stares her down with its face in hers. Neither her nor Rhodes are intimated, and this silent show of courage gains Rosalia the respect of the bull and creatures.

A larger party of Crystallis that’s half the size of a legion then show up in the distance. This party was dragged ahead by the creatures, who were craving violence. Now that they’re free, they rage against their captors along with Rosalia. They destroy everything around them with the aid of the forest. Fauna and vegetation come to life as some of the creatures are shattered in battle. Despite the strength of the Crystallis, the numbers and overall strength of nature and Rosalia overwhelm them.

Once the dust settles, the forest closes in on Rosalia, but the black bull and leftover creatures silently pick up for her. The vegetation and fauna return to the forest and the creatures do the same. The black bull nuzzles Rosalia’s face and pets the top of Rhodes’ head, which makes him giggle. It then goes back into the forest while looking back at the two. It accidentally bumps into a large tree and gets slapped by it, which makes Rosalia laugh. The black bull then pays attention to where it’s going after one last look back with a smile.

Rhodes giggles again.

Rosalia continues on her way as she says, “See? Not all of nature is bad. Now, where was I? Oh yeah. Your father loved singing and making songs. Here’s one that I remember that he sang every other day.

 

I can’t be away from you any longer

But part of me still resists

I wish I was stronger

 

When we are together,

It feels like Heaven

When I leave you,

Part of me is left behind

 

You give my empty life meaning

I finally have a person who loves me back

You have woken me up from my foolishness

I know what I must do

 

Because I can’t be without you any longer

You are who keeps me going

You are who makes me stronger

 

I’ll endure all the hardships

Fight all the battles

And suffer the worst pain

Because I can’t be without you any longer

I am reinvigorated because of you

I am reborn into a new man ready to take on the world

Whatever you request, you will have

Whatever you command, I will obey

 

You say that you’re not worth it

That you’re not worth anything

But you’re worth more than you think

You’re my light that brightens up the darkness

 

You give my empty life meaning

I finally have a person who loves me back

You have woken me up from my foolishness

I know what I must do

Because I can’t be without you any longer

You are who keeps me going

You are who makes me stronger

 

I’ll endure all the hardships

Fight all the battles

And suffer the worst pain

Because I can’t be without you any longer

 

I will do all you want and more

My love for you knows no boundaries or obstacles

So,

Will you please be with me forever?”

 

Rosalia feels something watching her. She turns around to see the black bull watching her. It appears to have been attracted by her singing, but now it goes back into the forest as if it is embarrassed to be caught listening to her singing. Rosalia smiles at the creature’s cute nature despite its looks.

“Your father might as well have been a love bird for all the love he showed to others. He was more charitable and loving than his relatives to the point where people were wondering if he was an angel. I thought a person like him was beyond my reach, but when I showed how charitable I was when I gave away everything I had on me for a poor person he accidentally missed, he fell for me. Literally and figuratively speaking since he fell off his horse to kiss my hand. It was sad and funny at the same time, haha. I still can’t help but laugh when I remember it happening.

Still, your father did his best to impress me even though he did make a fool of himself a few times…okay, a lot of times. I felt like I didn’t deserve it especially since I couldn’t return anything on the same scale as him, but when I expressed my feelings about this, he said, ‘Don’t you worry. If you give me your love, then I will have something that is worth more than the entire universe’. I don’t know where he came up with his words, but he made me fall for him so many times because of them. Being without him is going to be difficult…”

Rhodes makes a whimpering sound.

“But don’t worry, we’ll make it through this. Your father is always with us in spirit now. Trust me.”

Rhodes giggles and Rosalia smiles as she wipes away her tears and continues traveling down the road.

 

 

 

 

Chapter 3 – Nature at its Worst

After a little while of walking, the road becomes lost as the surrounding environment is mostly destroyed with the flames of battle still burning.

“This must be where those Crystallis got their creatures,” Rosalia says to herself.

Because the Crystallis is known for violence and upsetting nature, both they and the Flos have developed their own spell that calms nature around them, so they can battle. This spell only covers the area of battle and takes a lot of energy to produce.

“This is probably why the Crystallis couldn’t produce another spell to protect themselves. Even if they could, the creatures of the forest weren’t giving them any opportunities to act anyways. You see, Rhodes? You have to respect nature otherwise it will turn on you.”

Further into the destruction, Rosalia finds a team of healers who are repairing the forest with their magic.

One of the forest healers approaches Rosalia and says, “Excuse me, miss. You should hurry along in a different direction. It only gets more dangerous from here.”

“I know that, but my baby boy has been afflicted with a spell that can only be healed at the springs.”

“That’s terrible, and you’ve been traveling on your own?”

“Yes, I have.”

“…I guess there’s no getting around it then. Lupin, send out a messenger bird to let them know this woman is coming with her child.”

“Alright.”

The doll conjures a dove made of light after speaking into his hand. The dove flies away in the direction of Rosalia’s destination.

“Thank you for your help,” Rosalia says.

“Don’t mention it. Just make sure that little one gets the healing he needs. I’m sure it’s been hard for you just getting this far. If the army near the springs can spare any troops, they should be meeting you halfway.”

Once they say their goodbyes, Rosalia keeps walking. The forest looks better as she journeys forward, but not by much. Crystal grass and foliage are growing at a fast rate because of the healing spell of the healers though it seems like something is wrong. The newly grown vegetation appears to know it was killed as it violently sways back and forth as if it wants to be reborn faster so it can obtain its revenge. Rosalia eventually meets up with a small group of Flos soldiers.

One of them says, “You’re the mother we’ve been looking for. It’s an honor to meet a woman who will risk her life and skin for her son.”

“Thank you for coming out to escort me. It’s been rough.”

“I can imagine. Let’s hurry along then. The fighting near the spring has calmed down for the past couple days so you should be able to bring your boy there with no trouble.”

The band of soldiers escorts Rosalia with her in the center to guard her against attacks from all possible directions.

A soldier asks her, “What’s your name?”

“Rosalia.”

“Hmmm. That name sounds familiar.”

“A guy in the town close to here said the same.”

“It’s a rare, but memorable name.”

“That’s because of a woman by the name of Rosalia was one of the reasons this war started,” another soldier interjects.

“Now I remember why that name is so memorable.”

Feeling awkward, Rosalia says, “But I’m not that Rosalia.”

“I wish I knew which Rosalia was that one so I could ask her what she was thinking. I’m not mad at her because I know that her action was only the straw that broke the camel’s back and nothing incredibly important on its own. Marriages between Flos and Crystallis aren’t as rare as they seem.”

“Still, she should’ve known better,” another soldier comments.

“It should’ve been a more private marriage.”

“How could it have been when she married royalty?”

“What happened to the husband anyway?”

“He was supposed to be hiding out with Rosalia, but I’ve heard that the Crystallis sent a group of its most powerful warriors to kill them and the word going around is that the husband is dead, but a number of people who were hiding out with him are alive including his wife and their child.”

Some of the soldiers start becoming suspicious of Rosalia and start looking at her funny.

She says, “But I’m not who you’re thinking about.”

A soldier says, “There’s no way this Rosalia is the one we’re thinking about. This Rosalia cares so much for her child while the other one was selfish. Do you really think that a peasant who wanted to marry royalty would risk her life this way?”

“That Rosalia is probably hiding herself with her husband’s riches ten feet under,” another soldier adds.

This relieves the tension in the group as Rosalia quietly breathes a sigh of relief.

“Hey, I don’t remember the forest being this big when we first passed through here.”

“Yeah, you’re right. Be on your guard.”

The soldiers unsheathe their weapons as they move slower while paying attention to everything in their surroundings. A large tree then falls on them to separate the group before fighting against the group to further separate them and push them into the incoming hordes of fauna and vegetation. The group gets separated further as the creatures of the forest break the group apart to make them easier to shatter.

The black bull from before comes to rescue Rosalia as it charges through swarms of creatures. It gives Rosalia enough room to breathe. Since the black bull is dangerous, the forest uses its connection to the creature to try to bring it under its control. The bull’s mental strength is weak, but it doesn’t give in to the forest’s influence, however, it can’t completely control itself, so it smashes everything around it in the hopes that Rosalia won’t be one of them. Unfortunately, Rosalia is hit while using the bull’s rampage as a chance to escape. She is hit into a tree but manages to get away from it before it can shatter her.

Rosalia is surrounded by fauna and vegetation while she is heavily injured. She is trying to heal herself, but she can’t do it fast enough to the point where she can run fast or leap into the air. The forest appears to be livid because it was burned and torn down. Singing looks like it won’t help this time, so she grips Rhodes and covers him as much as possible as a single fauna approaches her with its blade-like arm out ready to strike.

The anticipation of it kills her, so she brings her head up in time for the fauna’s blade to enter her missing eye. Since a doll’s shell is mostly empty with the only thing in it being its core, she feels no pain.

Rosalia says, “Shatter me, but spare my son. Please, save his life when I am dead.”

The fauna pulls back its blade again then brings its blade down on Rosalia’s neck but only makes a small crack on her neck. This supreme act of true love calms down the forest and it gives Rosalia respect that few dolls have. The creatures and fauna bow to her and let her walk away. Despite walking away with her life, she’s still injured and is slowing healing herself. Rhodes senses his mother’s injuries and cries for her.

“Don’t worry about me, my little prince. I’ll be fine.”

He continues to cry.

“Shhh.

Don’t be upset

I am here

Don’t be afraid

I’ll always be with you

 

Look at me and see my smile

I am telling the truth

You can always trust me

 

We’ll always be together

No matter the distance

No matter what happens

Even in death, even when I’m gone

We’ll always be together

 

Your weakness means nothing to me

You’re stronger than the tallest mountains

Braver than the mightiest heroes

No matter what happens, I will always love you

 

We’ll always be together

No matter the distance

No matter what happens

Even in death, even when I’m gone

We’ll always be together

 

I may not always be next to you

You may not always feel my presence

But our bond is permanent

Nothing can break it

I’m always here

I’m always with you

Forever and ever

Just look in your heart

And you will see me, always with you”

 

Rhodes has fallen asleep with a smile on his face. Rosalia smiles as well as she’s finally healed herself enough to numb the pain as she continues on to her destination.

 

 

 

 

Chapter 4 – Hunted for the Crime of Love

Rosalia’s healing magic allows her to be mostly healed, however, it and the previous battles have exhausted her. She collapses from exhaustion, but she makes sure to have Rhodes on top of her, so she doesn’t suffocate him. Sensing his mother’s unconscious state, he cries out for help and receives it not long after. Rosalia is taken to a relief camp where victims of this violent war are taken to be healed and to be helped. She awakens in a bed just in time to overhear a conversation between two Flos.

“She’s definitely the Rosalia who married that Crystallis prince. Several people have confirmed it.”

“But is she everything the rumors say she is? The soldiers that carried her here said that she’s been sacrificing her life to save her son and that she gained the respect of the forest. How rare is that? Even our best mystics can’t manage that.”

“We have to keep her here. Even though she has her sympathizers, there are still people who want her dead, shattered into pieces then throw into fire.”

“What about her son?”

“They don’t care as much for him. There are some that say Flos and Crystallis relationships and their children are illicit, but this is a mindset that has only popped up recently.”

“We need to get her to the springs, or her boy is going to die. How are we going to proceed with this?”

“We aren’t that far from the main army camp near that location.”

“That doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy going through the crowds then going through the dead lands to get to the springs.”

“We’ll have to do something and quickly. We’ve healed her son, but that doesn’t mean that we’ve given him time we can waste.”

“Excuse me? Can I see Rosalia?”

“Who are you? Are you a relative or a friend? Hey, you can’t go in until-hey!”

A loud knock on the window close to Rosalia startles her. When she looks over, she sees a Flos civilian with a weapon.

He breaks the window and says, “Die you cursed woman!”

Rosalia dodges the man’s attacks as he enters the room as she says, “I didn’t do anything to you!”

“You were the final nail that started this war! My family is dead because of you! They died in Crystallis territory. Who knows what those cursed dolls did to their remains?”

Rosalia tries to cut the arms off her assailant to incapacitate him, but she accidentally cuts his head off as well. The man swings around violently while screaming out in bloody vengeance. Something shakes the building she’s in until it breaks into her room. It’s the black bull from before.

“Aren’t you a sweetie for always coming to my aid?” Rosalia says while petting it, “Now, come on. Let’s get out of here!”

Rosalia takes Rhodes and put him on his back with his shield protecting him as she gets on the back of the black bull. Several Flos attempt to shatter Rosalia by throwing spears, hammers, and swords at her.

“Kill that woman, but don’t hit the baby!”

“Cut the legs off the black bull first!”

The Flos then try to take down the black bull, but their weapons bounce off its thick skin. They then get on horseback and chase after Rosalia. She knocks them off their horses as she protects herself and her child from her assailants. The black bull swipes at them to shatter several off their horses.

“We can’t do anything! Pull back!”

“You’re under arrest!”

Rosalia looks back to see a few guards arresting the people who were attacking her. A guard waves at her and she waves back as a sign of thanks. Even Rhodes waves back with a smile.

“Okay, big guy. We need to get to the springs. Can you get us there?” Rosalia asks the black bull.

It smiles and snorts in response as it goes faster.

“Woah! Easier there! We don’t really have anything keeping us on you.”

The black bull wants to be careful but can’t because it senses danger ahead of them, so it charges ahead faster.

“Be careful! Are you trying to knock us off? What’s got you riled up?”

A barrage of various kinds of magical arrows comes raining down upon Rosalia. The black bull covers Rosalia as it turns over on its side to take the arrow barrage. A group of Crystallis assassins then appear out of the shadows.

“It seems like she came to us on her own. That’s good,” one of them says.

The barrage of arrows has temporarily incapacitated the black bull, which leaves Rosalia open for attack. Fortunately for her, the forest is on her side and a tree’s vines block the assassins’ attacks. It then comes to life and shatters her attackers and uses its healing magic on the black bull.

“Thank you,” Rosalia says to the forest as she gets back on top of the black bull.

She rides off to her destination, which should be close now.

She then says, “You heard it, my little prince. You’re the son of royalty and a peasant. The son of a Flos and Crystallis. I didn’t think our love would be the final thing to push our people into war because our love was pure, but that’s what happens when people hate each other. They use every excuse they can find to kill the people they don’t like. Don’t be like that, my little prince. Learn to love everyone around you. It doesn’t matter if they hate you. Always wish the best for the people around you because if you aren’t willing to love them then who will? Everyone makes mistakes, so be willing to forgive them and you will always be forgiven.”

The black bull then senses something and charges ahead. It takes Rosalia and Rhodes to a cliff where they see a large battle between Flos and Crystallis soldiers. Dozens of dolls are shattered while others suffer in pain as they’re carried out by their companions and healers.

“This fighting has to stop.”

The forest heeds Rosalia’s plea and moves to stop the fighting. Unfortunately, the fighting and suffering make nature violent as it fights back against those who fight its restraints. Even the black bull is itching to join the fight, but Rosalia calms it down by calmly rubbing the back of its neck.

“The forest might be in a rage, but since I have its respect then a song could calm it down. This song is for, my little prince.

 

I close my eyes and see

A world that’s beautiful and filled with glee

Even in the dark and gloom

A place past all of the doom

 

Everyone has lost hope

They think I’ve lost my mind

But all they do is mope

Are they blind?

We can live in a better world of our dreams

 

Every day I push ahead

For the dreams in my head

The dreams that keep me awake

That keeps me going

To bring you a place to keep your love glowing

I’ll build you a place

That is perfect for your smiling face

Each part of it is made to make you happy

For those gloomy days

 

Everyone has lost hope

They think I’ve lost my mind

But all they do is mope

Are they blind?

We can live in a better world of our dreams

 

Every day I push ahead

For the dreams in my head

The dreams that keep me awake

That keeps me going

To bring you a place to keep your love glowing

 

No matter how small

No matter how tall the obstacle

I will be with you through it all

Nothing will be impossible for you and me

To make the world I see in my dreams

To make the world I see in my dreams

Every day I push ahead

For the dreams in my head

The dreams that keep me awake

That keeps me going

To bring you a place to keep your love glowing

 

Together we’ll make this world anew

Everything I do is for you

Know that our dreams will come true

Of The World I’ll Give To You

 

I am going to make sure you live in a better world, my little prince. A world of happiness, love, and peace. It’s going to happen one day. Just you wait and see.”

The forest successful restrains both armies and transfers its calming feelings to the soldiers who retreat with their wounded and shattered brethren. Some even help their enemies gather their bearings. As Rosalia smiles, parts of her son start to fall. A branch from the forest heals him, but his condition has worsened.

“Don’t worry now, my little prince. We’re almost there.”

The black bull sprints at full speed to the springs, where a massive battle larger than this one is about to take place.

 

 

 

Chapter 5 – A Mother’s Duty

Even before reaching the area around the springs, Rosalia knew she was going to have a tough time. The forest around the around is completely dead. It senses that Rosalia will need help, but it’s too weak to regrow anything and all the nearby fauna and creatures are still recovering. Broken siege weapons and the shattering pieces of soldiers litter the ground. The stench of death is pungent in the air and the sounds of despair and anger echo.

Ahead of Rosalia is a large Flos encampment that has been made into a miniature castle with a wall and various small guard towers around it. The fighting has gone on for so long that you wouldn’t be blamed for thinking this encampment was a small town for how large it is. There are other encampments like it around the springs, but this one is the command site and the largest. Rosalia heads into the camp once the guards recognize her.

A Flos commander meets up with her, and says, “You’ve come a long way through dangerous obstacles to come here, Rosalia. It’s impressive for a mother with a past such as yours.”

“I don’t think you want to cause me any trouble.”

“Oh no, we don’t harbor any feelings of hate towards you. We just want to get your son to the springs. I don’t even think what you did counts as a crime that we can punish.”

“Good. Do you have a plan? My son doesn’t have long.”

“Yes, but it’ll be messy. I think it’s best if you stay here.”

“I have my black bull and the forest can come to my aid. I can come with you.”

“Can’t you command your bull and the forest to protect us? Why do you have to come with us?”

“I’m a mother. I’m supposed to protect my child.”

“I see. Since it doesn’t look like I can change your mind, we’ll start moving out.” The commander then turns to his soldiers. “Come on, men! We don’t have much time!”

The forces of the Flos start deploying and put protection mages around Rosalia so they can form a shield to protect her. The other encampments deploy their forces to attack the Crystallis ahead of time to clear a path for her. Once they head out, they see the Crystallis army heading for them. Both armies converge on the springs in the middle of the battlefield as their siege weapons launch their barrages on both sides. The battlefield becomes a violent mess of soldiers as Rosalia makes her way to the springs. The shield protecting her is quickly destroyed and the mages who made them are taken out. Other Flos soldiers come to her aid, but they have to engage with the Crystallis in order to protect her and aren’t able to stay by her side.

A barrage of fireballs land near Rosalia, which knocks her off the black bull. The area around her is mostly clear and the springs are in sight, so she makes a run for it as the barrages continue to rain from the sky. The black bull sees that one of them is about to directly hit her, so it leaps out to protect her from it, but is shattered into pieces.

“Thank you,” Rosalia whispers as she runs with everything she’s got.

The springs are only steps away when an arrow barrage comes down upon her. Most of the arrows manage to hit her and pierce through her shield. The last arrows pierce through her core, but she manages to put Rhodes in the springs.

“I love you, my little prince,” she says as she shatters.

As Rhodes lays in the springs, his body not only heals but he is also transformed.

Crystal robes made for a king, eyes like the moon, hair as red as fire, and doll shell like the finest porcelain. Since Rosalia’s death, the forest has gone on a rampage. It breaks through both the Flos and Crystallis forces to the springs where it mourns her death for a few seconds before focusing its rage on the Crystallis army.

Rhodes then says to the forest, “No. Do not do this. Spare them. My mother wanted a world of peace and love, and that is what I will give to her.”

Seeing that the forest has trouble controlling itself, Rhodes begins to sing a song to calm it down. Rosalia and his father join him in spirit to strengthen his song.

 

“You might be weak

But you are also strong

You might be angry

But I’ve seen you happy

You might hate

But you can love

 

And because of this

 

You are everything to me

You are all I’ll ever need

Even when the world is falling apart

Even when life takes its toll

You will always be my everything

 

 All the wealth

All the diamonds in the world

Everything in the universe is nothing compared to you

 

Your value is limitless

Nothing is worth exchanging for you

If your life were in danger, I’d give my life so you could live

 

And because of this

 

You are everything to me

You are all I’ll ever need

Even when the world is falling apart

Even when life takes its toll

You will always be my everything

 

You are everything to me

You are all I’ll ever need

Even when the world is falling apart

Even when life takes its toll

You will always be my everything”

 

The forest calms down and releases energy that calms down everyone on the battlefield. The springs burst forth and showers the battlefield. There is no longer any hatred between the two armies. No one feels like fighting anymore and the two sides come together and apologize for what they’ve done and promise to stop fighting. The vegetation around the springs spring back to life as love being is spread. The springs themselves begin to spread throughout the world because of the sacrifice of Rosalia and shower the world with its calming waters.

Rhodes hears in his head his mother’s voice that says, “The war will end very soon. I told you that I would make sure that you would live in a world of peace, happiness, and love. I may not have expected it to be this way, but I know you’ll be happy and safe. Find the love of your life and don’t let them go.”

“I will. Thank you, mom.”

 

The End

Immortalized in Death

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Chapter 1 – Die Forever with Me

Allie doesn’t live in anywhere special. The countryside she lives in isn’t known for producing the best crops or the best people, but it gets by. On one normal day, a strange girl with pink hair, white skin, and purple eyes showed up in a park while she was out. This girl has red bowie ties to hold up her pigtails, light blue eye linear, rosy red cheeks, and a pick schoolgirl dress with a red tie. The girl walks as if she glides across the ground and looks around as if she’s looking for a friend.

Being the girl she is, Allie goes up to the girl and introduces herself.

The girl smiles then says, “I’m Ellie. Do you want to be friends?”

“Okay! Let’s be friends!”

The girls quickly became best friends within a week. Ellie has a special ability to perform magic, which includes bringing plants and animals back to life and levitation. When other people saw her, they just assumed she was some kind of clown or performer because of the way she dressed. Allie thought more of her. The two of them were the bestest of friends in town.

On one day, Ellie asked, “Do you want to come over my house today? It’s tall, big, and a magical place.”

“I’d love to come over. Where is it?”

“It’s in the forest. You know you’re near it when you see the trees with the white leaves.”

“I’ll be there. Let me tell my parents first.”

Allie tells her step-parents about going over Ellie’s house, but she unintentionally leaves out the magical part of the house. Her parents trust their responsible daughter and let her go out. In the forest, Allie follows Ellie’s advice and finds the part of the forest with white trees. She’s never seen trees like this before. She hasn’t even heard of them being the area. Along with the weird white trees, there are flowers that grow on the trunk of the trees. The flowers themselves are pretty, however, they appear to have eyes in the center of them that follow Allie’s every move. She brushes this off as her imagination despite the lack of wind that could be blowing the flowers.

After going deeper into the forest, Allie finds a completely black and white house. The place doesn’t have many windows nor does the way to it appear to have been walked on recently. Wondering only about her friend, Allie knocks on the door while eagerly waiting. A noise inside that sounds like screaming makes Allie jumps, but then her friend opens the door.

Allie assumes the noise was the creaky door then says, “Hi, Ellie. This is a nice place you have here.”

“It’s great. I’m so glad you showed up. Come in.”

Once Allie walks into the house, her photo is taken by a creature with a camera for an upper body. It then crawls up to the ceiling before Allie can get a good look at it. She feels weak now as it feels as if all of her energy was drained from her.

“What was that?” Allie asks as she looks at her photo on the ground.

Ellie takes the photo from her and says, “It was just one of the many pets I have here. It snaps the photo of everyone who comes in here, so I have something to remember their first visit by.”

The interior of the house is nothing but black and white just like the exterior. Light can’t penetrate the windows, nor can it illuminate the dark spots within the building. The white lights on the candles barely light up the house.

“Do you have other friends?”

“I do.”

“Are your parents home?”

“They are, but they’re busy right now. Let’s eat lunch. They prepared it for us.”

“That’s nice of them. I can’t wait to meet everyone.”

“They’re excited to meet you too.”

Ellie opens the door to the dining hall. A large table is filled with various meats, fruits, vegetables, and desserts. The aroma from the room is intoxicating to Allie.

“Go ahead. Guests first,” Ellie says with a smile.

Allie eagerly steps into the room. The door slams behind her, and now the room seems much smaller.

“Ellie? What’s going on?” Allie says as she starts banging on the door. “Huh?”

The door feels like a solid wall now. Another large noise makes the room close in more. It’s obvious now that this is just an empty room and not a dining hall.

“Haha, you got me, Ellie. This is a cool magic trick you got. You can let me out now.”

The walls slowly begin to close in.

“You’re really starting to scare me. Let me out!”

No matter how much she pleads Ellie to stop the walls, she doesn’t respond.

“Please, Ellie! You’re my best friend, aren’t you?”

As soon as she calls Ellie her best friend, the walls stop. Allie sighs in relief only for her to be squashed in an instant.

“AAAAAAHHHHHH!”

Allie wakes up in a completely white room in the house. There are several other beds with children in them except these children don’t appear to be lively. They have white skin like Ellie, but their eyes are hollow with a permanent smile on their face. Allie is startled by this but is afraid to move because she is surrounded. The children go back to sleep, which makes Allie comfortable enough to get up.

When she enters the hallway, she finds more kids walking around from room to room. The hallway has candles with white flames on them to give it light. Hung up on the walls are pictures of children and young adults. It appears that their photo was taken by surprise, just like Allie.

She follows the children to a real dining hall this time with the food she previously saw. At one of the tables, she finds Ellie except she is all black and white and is wearing a striped schoolgirl dress.

Allie walks up to her friend and asks, “Ellie, what happened to you?”

Her friend turns to her with a frozen smile and says, “I’m always like this. I’m glad you asked about me first despite what I did to you.”

“What do you mean?”

“This house is ruled by mother who wishes to have all kinds of children for herself. She immortalizes them in death so no one in here can truly die. I’m just her favorite puppet that she uses to lure in people. What you saw of me was nothing but a hollow shell that I possessed.”

“Why is she doing this?”

“She wants to keep as many children away from death as possible even though she technically kills you when you first came in.”

“I actually died?!”

“The body that you came in with did. Your blood is tied to the picture that was taken of you. If you can get that and destroy it, then you can escape, but if you die after that, your soul belongs to the master of the house forever.”

“Who is the master of the house?”

“He is the one who gave mother her power. All I know is that you should watch out for the black cat in the house.”

“Where can I find my photo?”

“Deep within the halls of the house, but various traps will try to kill you. I don’t say this to everyone, but be careful, Allie. Dozens of kids have tried to escape, and no one has escaped. Most give up before they reach their photo. I think you should just accept your fate and stay here. We have friends, food, and loving parents.”

“Loving parents don’t kidnap the souls of kids. I’m going to leave here and go back home.”

“Go ahead and try Allie. I’ll be waiting for you at your bedside.”

Allie walks out of the room and wanders the house until she finds her way to a large art gallery with various pictures in them. These pictures are of other children, the black and white children, and creatures, one of which is the creature that took Allie’s photo. Now that she has a better look at it, she can see that the only color in it is the red in its eye.

Wandering through the art gallery, she finds that some of the pictures move by themselves as if people are trapped in them. A closer look reveals this to be the truth with people screaming in them in bursts as if they were in Hell. Above these pictures are the caption “Naughty child”. A snake-like creature with barbed wire on its body catches Allie’s attention as it goes from one picture to the next. She cautiously walks through the gallery, however, she doesn’t pay attention to the art and gets ensnared by the barbed wire snake and is taken into a picture. The barbed wire strings her up in a tight photo frame and cuts off her limbs before cutting off her head.

“AAAAAAHHH!”

“Welcome back, Allie,” Ellie says with her frozen expression. She waits for her friend to catch her breath before asking, “It was painful, wasn’t it? All of the ways you can die here are painful.”

“It doesn’t matter. I’m going to escape here no matter how many times I die. Why don’t you join me?”

“I gave up years ago.”

“Years ago? How long have you been here?”

“I don’t know. Maybe a generation or three of kids? Anyway, I’m glad that you thought about me. Most usually hate me once they know what I did to them.”

“I don’t hate you, Ellie. I want to get us out of here.”

“You can try all you want. I’ve given up already and accepted my life here.” Ellie holds Allie’s hand. “Please. You’re the only one here I care about on the same level as mother. I don’t want to see you suffer.”

“I won’t. Have a little faith in me.”

“I don’t know what that’s like.”

“Then you’re going to see.”

Allie gets up and goes through the art gallery again. She finds the picture of her death on the walls, which plays it repeatedly. The feeling it gives me makes her sick, so she turns away from it and hopes that nothing like that ever happens again. This time through the gallery she manages to avoid the painting creature. Unfortunately, she doesn’t find her photo in the room, so she goes to the next one.

The next room has a collection of dolls in them. They are all posed differently with some squirming in place with blood leaking out of their eyes and the cracks in their skin. Not wanting to take any chances with these dolls, Allie moves around the room carefully to see what they will do. Oddly enough, nothing happens. When Allie moves to the next room, she exits out of the closet that was in her room.

“What?” she says in a surprised voice.

Ellie, who is still sitting by her bedside, says, “You made it through the first set of rooms. I’m surprised you made it past the doll room.”

“I wasn’t going to take any chances there. I moved as carefully as I could, and I always had my eyes on them.”

“That’s probably why. They’re set to attack anything that moves and they also respond to not being looked at. If you want to go to the next room, you have to go back through your closet. Why don’t you take a rest? You have all the time in the world.”

“I guess there’s no harm, but no funny business.”

“Oh, there won’t be.”

 

 

Chapter 2 – Teddies and Twisted Tales

Allie sits at the dining table and looks at the food available. The table is as long as the room and is set up as a buffet. Despite the small crowd of kids taking the food, it automatically replenishes out of thin air. Allie takes the chicken and a salad with caution and eats it in the same manner.

“So?” Ellie asks, “How do you like it?”

“It’s delicious!”

Allie thinks there might be something more to it and coughs some of it out.

“There isn’t any magic in it if that’s what you’re thinking.”

The sound in Ellie’s voice appears to be honest, so Allie eats. She tries every that looks appetizing until she realizes that she’s been eating for a while now.

“I knew there was something to this food,” Allie says as she pushes her plate aside.

“This isn’t any magic at all. I would know. It’s just that your home doesn’t have food like this place. Why do you want to leave this place? Isn’t it nice here? You have always delicious food on the table, there’s always a new friend to make, and we can’t die. I’m not good at making friends, but since you’re here, I finally have a friend.”

“I don’t want to make my family and friends back home worry.”

“Who cares about them now? You have me with you.”

“I can’t always be with you, Ellie. I have to give other people my love and attention.”

“Why? I need more attention than your friends and family. I don’t have anyone who loves me like you do and mother.” Ellie hugs Allie. “My lack of friends is the reason why mother and the master convinced me to be their lure for them. Every single kid hated me after I brought them here except for you. Please. If you get back your blood then die, I’ll have no one to be with.”

“I promise it won’t be that way. Excuse me.”

Allie walks out of the room then sighs. She walks into her room and into the closet to continue her search for her picture. The room she finds herself in is a large toy room with various toys that are twice the size of her. The room is as large as two backyards while the toys appear to be cute and cuddly and looking at them makes Allie want to play with them. What’s most different about this room is that it has actual color to it with no black, whites, or even greys in sight. There are other kids in the room and they’re playing with the toys and taking them out of it. Everything here appears to be safe, but Allie resists the urge to play with the toys. Her desire to touch them weighs heavily on her, which gives her the impression that the toys must have magic in them.

The more she resists them, the more she wants to touch and hug the toys. Allie has never seen toys like the ones she sees in the room. Elegant dolls, fluffy stuffed animals, and detailed figures. The further she goes into the room, the more appealing toys she sees. By the time she reaches the next door, she’s sweating with dozens of toys surrounding her. It’s as if they’re begging her with their stare to play. Allie forces herself to go into the next room.

This next room isn’t as cute, appealing, or large as the last. Instead, it’s a library with rows and rows of books. The are three floors with different sections of various books from around the world that covers every genre imaginable. Some of the books in the library are rare ones with few copies existing outside of the house. The colors are no longer colorful as they were in the toy room. Now they are filled with the normal colors of a library with browns, blacks, and white lights to illuminate the room.

Still feeling the after-effects of the toy room, Allie stumbles around the room while darting her eyes around for possible danger. A snake with a barbed wire body comes out from the bookcase with a book for a face. When it opens its pages, a blank face with a smile shows itself.

“Let me tell you a story,” it says as it envelops Allie into its pages. “This is the story of the little mermaid.”

Allie is now dressed as the little mermaid and the scenery around her manifests as the creature talks about it.

“She wants to get the prince, but his heart is taken by another. At the wedding ceremony, she decides to dance her best for their happiness. Dance little mermaid, dance your sorrows away.”

Allie remembers this story differently, but she dances as the creature says to. What she forgets is that the little mermaid feels as if she’s walking on knives, which is one of the prices of walking with human legs. Allie too feels this pain in her legs but bears through it until things start to change.

“After all the pleasantries, the little mermaid is told that she doesn’t have to die. If she can kill her prince and his wife, she can live. She is handed a knife to carry out the deed. Will she?”

Knowing her story, Allie tosses away the knife and jumps into the ocean and out of the story. Back in the library and her normal body, she takes more care of where she’s walking. The storybook serpent comes out of the shelves again.

It says, “Let me tell you a story.”

She tries to avoid it, but the serpent catches her no matter how fast she runs.

The serpent says, “This is the story of Alice in Wonderland. She has just cried a river of tears and must dry herself off by running a race with several other animals.”

Allie starts to run with the animals but is having a hard time to because of her wet dress.

“It looks like Alice needs more motivation.”

The river of tears floods into the forest Allie is running in. Distracted by the sight, Allie trips and is caught up by the river of tears, which turns into a river of teeth that chews her up.

After her excruciating death, Allie wakes up screaming on her bed with her best friend ready to embrace her.

As Ellie embraces Allie, she says, “Stops this Allie! I was hoping that the toy room would hypnotize you so you would at least stay here for a while, but you had to go and die again!”

Allie pushes Ellie away and gets out of her bed.

“I’m not going to give up! You’re not my best friend if you want to keep me here for the rest of eternity!”

“You don’t know what you’re talking about Allie! I am your best friend because we can spend forever here without a care or worry!”

Ignoring Ellie’s words, Allie walks back into the closet. She makes it through the toy room again the same way she did last time with the same level of difficulty despite her going through it already. In the library, the story book serpent gets her again. Allie now has it in her mind that she has to go through the stories the serpents put her through. That would explain why this room is smaller and looks easier to get through than the past ones.

The serpent says, “Let me tell you a story. This is the story of little red riding hood. She goes to deliver some things for her grandma, but the wolf has eaten her and taken her place in the grandma’s bed. Little red riding hood doesn’t know this as she enters her grandma’s house.”

Because of what was said, Allie has a foggy head as to what happens in the story.

“Come sit next to me,” the wolf says.

Allie does this. She wonders why her grandma looks so different and remembers that her real grandma doesn’t live in the woods. Instead, her real grandma lives by the shore. She remembers that her grandma told her a version of this story. Once she remembers everything, she takes a knife from her skirt and cuts the wolf’s throat and makes him into a coat.

“That’s not exactly how it’s supposed to go, but whatever. I’ll just add it to my collection.”

The storybook serpent lets Allie go. Disappointingly, she doesn’t take her wolf coat with her. Further into the library, another storybook serpent catches Allie.

“Let me tell you a story. A young woman marries a man with a blue beard. This man appears to be very ugly, but he is wealthy and has status within the country. The two are married and the woman is allowed to go into any one of his rooms within the castle except for the one she has a key for. What will she do?”

Allie is standing in front of the door she isn’t meant to go into. Without thinking, she goes into the room and finds the decapitated bodies of many young women along with various bloody tools and torture devices that were used to kill them. Allie takes a machete from the tool rack and finds her husband who is currently sleeping and cuts off his head. She then shaves off his blue beard.

“That’s not exactly how it’s supposed to go, but I liked it. I’m going to add it to my collection. I feel anxious for the man you are going to marry.”

Allie is let go out of the story book but wastes no time in getting trapped by another one.

“Let me tell you a story. There is a woman who loves to dance in a pair of red shoes. Unfortunately for her, she can’t stop dancing. What will she do?”

Knowing the painful thing she has to do, Allie tells a nearby executioner to cut off her feet and he does. The shoes keep dancing with her feet in them and dance away from her. The executioner tells her that she has suffered enough because of the shoes. Allie knows she has to go to church and does. Her old feet try to block her from entering, but she throws them aside and makes it into the building and out of the story.

Once she’s out of the story, Allie gets her feet back and she appears back in her room.

“Did…did I beat it?” Allie asks aloud.

“…You did, Allie,” Ellie responds.

“That means I’m close to my photo! I have to get back in-”

“Stop!” Ellie throws a knife that cuts Allie’s right arm. “You aren’t going to leave me. I don’t care if I have to pin you to the bed with knives. I don’t care how many times I have to kill you. I want you to stay with me forever. Please!”

“Oh no…”

 

 

 

Chapter 3 – Feminine Ferocity

Ellie has Allie trapped in place. Allie tries to open the closet, but Ellie throws another knife close to her hand.

“The next one goes in your head then you know where you’ll end up,” Ellie states with a chilling seriousness with her face accurately representing her anger and sorrow, “I’ll put my knives in your feet and hands and keep you here until you learn that you belong here with me.”

“Ok…fine. You got me.”

“Finally!” Ellie hugs Allie and heals her cut. “We’re going to be friends forever. Let’s go sit outside for a bit.”

Allie and Ellie sit outside on the balcony of the house. They can see the entire forest from where they’re at. Ellie clings to Allie’s side the entire time in blissful silence with her one hand holding a knife to Allie’s neck and the other holding Allie’s hand.

Ellie says, “I’m just going to stay like this for a while to feel safe that you’re going to stay with me. I hope you don’t mind.”

“Not at all.”

In her mind, Allie hasn’t given up. She’s thinking up a plan to get away from Ellie. It takes her a little while, and she doesn’t like the plan, but it’s the only one she has.

She says to Ellie, “Do you want to grab something to eat? I’m starting to crave some of that strawberry shortcake I saw.”

“That’s my favorite thing to eat. Let’s go!”

At the dinner table, the two eat strawberry shortcake in the same position they were outside with Ellie still holding onto Allie with knives in her hands. A few of the kids are too afraid to ask why they’re like this while the rest don’t care as they endlessly stuff their faces.

Before Allie can do anything, Ellie says, “I never told where I came from. Do you want to know?”

“Sure.”

Allie thinks to enact her plan when Ellie completely wrapped up in her story.

“I came from a really poor family from the city. We never had much to eat or drink, and my parents were always sad. They always talked about how they were going to take care of me and my future. I swear they cried every night, even though they were always smiling when I looked at them. I decided to end their worries for me and ran away into the white forest. That’s how I got here.”

“Are you sure your parents wouldn’t be more worried after you left?”

“They might’ve been, but I’m sure they’re happier now without a daughter to drag them deeper down into poverty.”

“How long ago was that?”

“It must’ve been almost three decades by now. I don’t know and I don’t care. I let that go a while.”

“How does time work here?”

“It goes by a little faster than normal time last time I heard.”

“Huh? What do you mean?”

“That means if you were to leave now, you would be older than what you were when you came in. I didn’t mention that to you because I thought it would make you want to leave me more, but now, you’re going to be with me forever.”

Ellie lets down her guard and kisses Allie’s cheek with cream covered lips. Allie uses this opportunity to stab her fork and knife into Ellie’s eyes to blind her. As Ellie screams out in pain and wildly flails around with her knives, Allie moves away from her. The kids who hate Ellie go after her and start stabbing her to death.

One of the kids says, “Go! We’ll protect you!”

Allie runs out of the dining room and into the bedroom where Ellie gets out of her bed and goes after Allie. The kids distract Ellie as Allie goes into the closet and into the next room she needs to go through. It’s a nursery colored in a bright white where dozens of children are being nursed and played with by giant women with the body of a caterpillar. These women have permanent smiles on their faces. They nurse their children with endless gifts, food, and milk that comes out of the holes in their bodies.

One of them notices Allie and goes after her. It says, “Come to me little one. Let me take care of you.”

The large caterpillar goes after Allie while shooting a sticky substance at her. It’s a mad sprint as Allie goes from one end of the room to the other while using the other caterpillars and her surroundings as cover to get to the other room. She manages to reach it and enters a completely black room. The center of the room has a huge woman with eyes all over half her body with a mouth on the bottom hanging from the ceiling.  When her eyes focus on Allie, the place where she is becomes illuminated.

“I see you,” the woman says.

The mouth on the woman’s lower half descends from the ceiling and makes its way towards Allie current position.

Ellie appears in the room and says, “You can’t see in this room, but mother lets me see perfectly! I’m coming for you, Allie!”

“Dang it.”

Allie goes through a different path from the mouth but can’t see where she’s going. It’s clear now that she’s in a maze and the only way she can see is if the woman in the middle looks at her. The places where the mouth travels are illuminated as well, which shows that the exit is below the woman. The mouth itself goes to where Allie was first spotted, so it doesn’t follow her and seems to only go where she is spotted. Once it retreats back to the woman, Allie follows it back to the woman, but it lunges at her as she follows it. She manages to keep a safe distance until Ellie reaches her.

“You’re going to stay with me forever!” Ellie screams as she runs after Allie with her knives.

“Stay away from me, Ellie!”

Allie tries to go around the mouth but is caught by its mouth as it curves to catch her. It holds her in its teeth as Ellie approaches.

“No! Stop this Ellie! It doesn’t have to be this way!”

“Yes, it does.”

“No, please! Please!”

Allie’s pleas don’t stop Ellie from violently stabbing her to death. When Allie awakes from her bed, she rolls to the side to avoid Ellie’s knives. She then takes them and stabs Ellie’s eyes again then backs off.

Ellie swings around wildly with her knives while saying, “Why?! Why would you want to go back to a life full of suffering and sadness?!”

“Because I have people worried about me. People that have helped me become who I am. I didn’t tell you before, but I’m adopted.”

Ellie stops swinging her knives.

“You’re adopted?”

“My original family was burned to death by a bunch of foreign bandits. I found those bandits and cut their throats. That didn’t help me at all. I felt ashamed of myself and slept on the streets for days by myself. It was only when a traveling couple found me was, I adopted. Even though I was bloody and dirty, they took me in and cared for me as if I was their real daughter. That’s why I never referred to them as stepmother or father. They taught me how to be a nice and proper lady. They’re the reason why I’m still alive today and I don’t want to keep them worried about me!”

Ellie hangs her head down in silence then drops her knives. Allie waits a moment to see what she’s going to do before going back into the closet. She passes through the caterpillar room the same way she did before and enters the maze room again. This time she uses her sense of touch to guide her through the maze. She holds her hand against the wall while looking at the woman in the center who knows where she is based on noise rather than her eyes despite her appearance. Allie draws a mental image of the map in her head as she navigates it.

It takes her a little while, but Allie manages to get to the end. As she touches the final door, Ellie appears behind her.

“Allie!”

The woman on the ceiling focuses in on Allie and lowers her mouth towards her. Allie quickly goes through the door and is sucked into it just as the mouth is about to catch her. She falls sideways for a little while before coming to a full stop to a photo of herself hanging in a dark room. When she pulls the photo down, it makes a clicking noise, which turns on a light to reveal a wall filled with countless photos of children. Startled by the sight, Allie backs away and into someone who puts their arms around her. Looking at the person, it’s a woman with the faces of children on her skirt. The woman has a dark grey scarf that goes from her neck to the inside of her mask that has a pretty face with a smile on it. Her long white hair comes out a small hole on the back of her head.

Allie asks the woman, “Are you the mother?”

“I am, sweetie. I am impressed that you managed to get your photo. It’s been a long while since the last of my children accomplished such a feat. Bravo!”

“I’m not your child.”

“You are whether you know it or not, and not just my children, but my most precious child. I’ve heard your story and your soul should be as rotten as my master’s, but yours shines like the stars.”

“I’m leaving whether you like it or not. You can tell your master that.”

“He’s always been watching you, my dear. He isn’t able to touch you because of your glowing spirit and your angel that protects you, however, we will have you if you die. Think about that before choosing to move on.”

“I’ll take my chances.”

“Think about your friend, Ellie then. She’s never been so attached to someone until now. Right now, she’s an emotional wreck. I’ve tried to get the other children to calm her down, but she’s killed them all. Repeatedly. If you leave here, she’ll suffer for all eternity.”

“I’ll rescue her from this place then.”

“I’m afraid you can’t. She and the other children, who have pledged their soul to my master and me, will all suffer if you escape the house. It was their choice. They were old enough to know what they were getting into and they’re going to live with that decision for the rest of eternity. Think about that before if you manage to get to the exit.”

Once the mother lets go of her, Allie appears back in her room with Ellie crying in the corner. The exit is so close but feels so far now. There’s only one more decision to make that will decide Allie’s fate and the fate of the rest of the children stuck in this house, and she’s already made up her mind.

 

 

Chapter 4 – From Death to Life

Her mind is already made up. Allie breathes in and out a couple times before looking at her photo. It bleeds blood that infuses itself into her, which fills her with life and strength. She then looks at the girl she used to easily call her best friend.

Allie approaches her and says, “I’m going, Ellie. Goodbye. I hope your immortality was worth it.”

“…Is that all you’re going to say to me? Is that all I really mean to you?”

“If you were really my friend or even a good person, you wouldn’t have sold your soul or brought me here. I don’t hate you. I’m not even mad at you. I just pity you.”

Ellie sits in silence for a second before lunging at Allie with her knives. Allie catches Ellie’s hands before the knives can touch her.

“If you don’t want to here, then I’ll force you to! Mother will make you be with me forever! I deserve it after all the people I brought here. You’re her special child, so she has to reward me. You’re never going to leave me, Allie!”

Allie turns the knives on Ellie and sticks her hands to the wall.

“I’m leaving here, and this place is going to disappear!”

“I’m going to come after you, Allie! You will be my best friend forever!” Ellie begins to sob again. “What’s wrong? What’s so wrong with wanting a best friend to always be with?!”

“Because all you care about is yourself. You don’t care about the people you kidnap or me.”

“I love you, Allie!”

“You don’t love anyone but yourself!”

Ellie excessively cries as she falls to her knees with her hands still stuck in the wall. For safety, Allie takes a couple knives from her. She then walks away from her former best friend and into the closet for the last time. This last room she enters is rusted and covered in blood. The heat in the room makes it feel like a furnace. Allie collects herself one last time before moving forward. She hears something that sounds like wet meat walking around.

When she turns the corner, two mouths fused at the jaw. She backs away as the jaws close down on the corner and crush it. A monster turns the corner and reveals itself to be a horrible monstrosity. Its head is composed of four mouths fused at the jaw with one huge mouth in the center. The same is true for the back. Its legs are two fused mouths while its body is hunched up like a dog. Not wanting to give this monster a second to attack, Allie throws one of her knives into its main mouth then slides under it while cutting its belly. She then mounts it and stabs it until it collapses as her hunting experience with her father pays off. The monster spazzes out on the floor as it clings to life.

Allie runs away from the monster and comes across a dead end with a large boiling pot of lava at the end.

She says aloud, “There’s no other place to go. This place is just one short corridor with a monster at the end. It’s no wonder why no one managed to escape.”

The mother, Ellie, the monster, and a black cat approach Allie.

“It’s over, Allie. Since you’re so special, I’ll give you one last chance to submit to my master and me. You’ll be spared a painful death and you can live forever with your best friend. Doesn’t that sound nice, sweetie?”

Allie thinks about it for a second before putting her hand on the boiling pot.

She responds, “No.”

She then tips over the boiling pot, which releases the fires of Hell. The fires quickly burn the house along with everyone in it except for the souls who didn’t submit to the master and Allie. The black cat and the mother try attacking Allie while burning but the fires prevent them from doing anything but burning in suffering. The monster is turned to ashes while Ellie burns like the mother.

She reaches out to Allie and says, “Please, Allie! Take me with you!”

“I can’t, Ellie.”

“Then tell me that God will forgive me, and He’ll save me!”

“God forgives the living, not the dead. You’ve already past your period of grace. The door to mercy is shut in your face and you’re the one who did it.”

Ellie screams in anger at Allie as she walks away. A path is opened for Allie as she makes her way out of the house. Along the way, she passes by the other monsters she saw with the other burning souls. Once she leaves the house, she sees that the house turns into a pillar of fire. She can still hear her former friend and the rest of the souls screaming, so she walks away as the fire from the house spreads to the trees with white leaves.

In the sky, Allie sees the freed souls dancing among the stars until they disappear and move on to Heaven. When she steps foot away from the trees with white leaves, she looks back to see a burning blaze. Even at this distance, she can still hear screaming. The fire from the house doesn’t spread to the normal parts of the forest and is contained by an invisible force.

Right now, it is raining, so Allie hurries back to her house. While running, she comes across a puddle. In her reflection, she can see that she’s now a young woman.

She still has the same dress and hair ornaments she wore as a child. Tears come to her eyes over her lost childhood. She bears her pain and moves on. Further into the forest, she sees a familiar man with hunting equipment. The two stop to look at each other as they slowly approach each other.

“Allie?” the man says with a quivering voice.

“Daddy?” she responds in a similar voice.

The two rush to embrace each other before her dad kisses the forehead of his adopted daughter repeatedly.

“Where have to been for the past few years?” he asks, “The entire town has been searching for you. Some of them thought you were dead, but your mom and I knew better.”

“It’s a long story, daddy.”

Allie explains the story to her dad as she leads him to the large fire in the forest. Since her daughter is always honest, he believes her. They spread the tale to the town, and they honor Allie as a hero. A funeral is held for all of the children who died and didn’t submit to the mother and her master. The fire in the forest is still burning and turns into a popular tourist attraction that brings much-needed attention to the small town so it can prosper.

A passing family hears of the tale and inquires about Ellie. It turns out that Ellie’s family has been searching for her ever since she left. They’re sad to learn of her fate but relieved to hear the news so they can let go of the past. They are accepted into the community despite their daughter’s actions. As for Allie, she makes up for the time she lost. She already went through one tragedy and recovered from it, and she wasn’t going to let another keep her down.

 

The End

A Father and His Dying Daughter

Download this story for free on Smashwords – https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/928868

Chapter 1 – A Peon Among Giants

There are many fathers roaming the desert wastelands of the earth. Most carry their families and homes with them to settle down somewhere until they die. Everywhere, but the top of the world is subpar that is likely to be attacked by the tortuous fiends. These fiends are demons with completely black skin. They bother the families endlessly until they die or are enslaved. Those resilient enough to make it to the top of the world are said to live forever. It’s a terrible journey that takes a harsh toll on the soul, but that could be said for life in general. Few people have the strength to make the pain they go through worth it.

Me? I’m just a father without a wife and a sick child. My wife died from a sickness she caught out in the desert, and now my daughter has the same disease. I’ve been going from town to town looking for a cure, but no one can help her. The only place I can think of that might have a cure is at the top of the world, so that’s where I’m going. My little princess is all I have left. I don’t care if I die along the way. All that matters is that she gets to a healer and lives.

The rest of the fathers that walk the desert with their family on their backs are taller than the buildings they carry because of their task. Me? I’m a speck compared to them because of mine. I may be smaller than them, but I can make do with what I have. I’ll make the journey and get my daughter to safety. I will. Don’t worry little princess, you’ll reach your castle. Just hand in there.

I’ve been wandering the desert for weeks now or has it been days? I haven’t been keeping count. It’s not like I need to. The path I’m following is said to lead to the top of the world. Where the sun sets is where it’s supposed to be. My main method of transportation is walking because riding the backs of the fathers makes me a target for the fiends, and I feel degraded by it as a father.

My little princess and I are taking shelter in an abandoned building to rest. The abandoned buildings scattered about the desert are from dead families who let the dangers of the desert overtake them. It’s a good thing for us that their building stopped over a stream with fish inside it. I hope they had painless deaths. As for us, we’re having a fish dinner. Of course, my daughter is eating most of it. Despite her sickness that makes her sleep most of the time, she’s still able to drink and eat. She’s also able to smile. A bright smile, in fact, that lights up my dreary world. To keep up her smile, I usually talk to her.

“Did you like dinner today? I’m sorry that I ran out of spices to give it extra flavor. That’s what happens when you’re constantly traveling around like how we are but don’t worry your little head princess, we’ll find you help soon.”

She appears to be uncomfortable.

“I know how many times I said that we’ll find you help soon. How about I sing you one of my songs?”

Her smile gives me her approval.

“All right then. Here we go. To restore your hope in your father, here is a song called, Dreams of a Fair Maiden. I came up with it after stargazing for a while. I know it’s not the best, but I hope you like it.

 

Close your eyes, pretty girl

You’ll get your rest,

Peace, and pearls

You’re blessed

With a beautiful face and dreams so wonderful

Of a place above the stars, bright, and colorful

 

Oh, share this dream with me

Won’t you share this dream with me?

Let me see what you see

A place where souls are redeemed

 

Close your eyes, pretty girl

Let me be your servant

So you can dance in peace and twirl

Angels watch you from afar

Wonder and guess at your majesty

Even they are impressed by your fantasy

 

Oh, share this dream with me

Won’t you share this dream with me?

Let me see what you see

A place where souls are redeemed

 

Pure and priceless

Fair and righteous

You’re so much more than you know

A joyful face that glows

Soul pure as snow

Dress as blue as the sea

Oh, what a beauty to see

 

Oh, share this dream with me

Won’t you share this dream with me?

Let me see what you see

A place where souls are redeemed

 

Won’t you share this dream with me?

Oh, what joy would it be to see

I’ll wait for your reply

To see your dreams that are far beyond the sky

 

What do you think?”

She smiles and blushes.

“Thank you for the compliment. I’ll try to make up another one for the next time we stop to rest. For now, you should get some rest-”

Big and loud footsteps shake the ground beneath us. Fathers are moving through this area to get to the top of the world. That means they’re going to attract the fiends to our location. We better get moving. I haven’t gotten much sleep, but that doesn’t matter. If we stay too long in one area, then the fiends are likely to attack us. They always appear out of the desert or hide in the buildings. I’ve only managed to escape them because I’m so small and the help of a towering father if one is nearby.

Going out of the building, I run alongside a towering father. I look up to him hoping to have some friendly chatter with him, but he looks about done. His feet are moving as if he’s running, and his building behind him is shaking. The fiends are right behind him. I duck back into the abandoned building, so I’m not spotted. He looks back and his building accidentally falls off his back due to his carelessness. The father shrinks as a result. As his building behind me is raided, he is caught and enslaved along with his family. I’ve rarely heard of families escaping enslavement, but I hope they do.

The fiends run off with their prey and leave us alone. Once they’re out of sight, I leave the abandoned building and continue my journey. My daughter is squirming uneasily right now. It’s probably due to the fiends and what happened. She’s sensitive to it even though she can’t see properly.

“It’s okay, princess. That won’t happen to us. I promised you once and I’ll promise you again. Besides, what kind of father would I be if I let you down.”

She stops squirming and peacefully falls back asleep. It’s okay, my little princess. I won’t fail you. Nothing will stop me from getting you the help you need.

 

 

Chapter 2 – Living in a Desolate World

When someone dies in the desert, they become like the sand in the desert, and their cloaks become a cloud in the sky. I wonder how many people walk around and step on the dusk left behind by the people who die here.

“They say if you pass away at the top of the world, then you become stardust. Isn’t that an interesting idea?”

My little princess smiles and even lets out a soft giggle. That’s what I want to hear. My daughter isn’t going to let a life ending disease stop her from laughing and smiling.

“Hey, do you see that in the distance? It’s a settlement. Let’s hope we find some good people in there who can help us.”

I’m down to my last coins, but the goal seems to be so close. I’ve been closer to the sunset than I’ve ever been. All we need is one last push. The settlement we’re approaching is full of houses of various sizes ranging from small to large. I don’t blame the fathers for stopping out here to make resting places for wanderers like me. It’s just that I wished they made this place look a little safer for their sake. They did decorate the place with dark blue and light gray colors mixed in with some black.

There are people walking around and making idle talk around the small market. They glance at me as I pass them then whisper among themselves before talking at their normal volume again. I hope they have good things to say. I don’t want to start a fight. The people here seem good, so I also hope that I’m among decent folks who will help me. Browsing around the market, I find bottled water. Small ones of course, and fish. Lots of kinds of fish. These two things are really the only things we eat in the desert. I heard that the top of the world has something called vegetables, bread, wine, and fruit. I’ve never had or seen any of these things before.

“Excuse me,” I ask the vendor, “How much will this all be?”

“Ten coins,” he says in a gruff voice that sounds like its full of sand.

“I only have eight. Will you accept that? I’m trying to keep my sick daughter relatively healthy until we reach the top of the world.”

“I don’t do sympathy discounts, especially in times like this when resources are scarce.”

“Resources are always scarce. How about I pay you what I have then repay you after I drop off my daughter to a doctor who can cure her?”

“I’m truly sorry, but I can’t. I have to take care of my family too. We’re going through tough times as well, and I’m not sure how much longer we can stay here. You can only buy what you can with what you have.”

“Okay, I understand.”

I pay with what I have, take what I bought, and walk away from the vendor. I can go another day or two by only eating scraps. I’ve done it plenty of times.

“Dang it,” the man behind me says before grabbing a few things and running to me with them, “Take these.” He gives me a little more of what I need. “I can’t, as a father, let another father suffer because I want to save me and mine. Take your money back as well.”

“Thank you so much but keep the money. You need it more than I do.”

“Thank you, my friend.”

The sky starts to light up. Oh no.

“Quickly, come inside my house!”

Bolts of fire start falling from the largest star in the sky. This happens from time to time for reasons I don’t know why. Maybe the Heavens are sending fire to cleanse the wicked from the world and remind the faithful of their fate if they choose to turn away. I take cover with my new friend inside his building. While watching from the windows, I see a couple people get hit by the fire bolts. Poor souls. Buildings such as these that hold wholesome families can withstand the bolts being thrown at it. Other buildings aren’t so blessed.

Once it’s over, most of the town is destroyed. I hear moaning and crying in the distance.

“I think we might be the only survivors,” I say.

“Heavens have mercy on the souls they took for judgment,” my friend says, “This place was not a friendly place to be in. We were going to move anyway. Did you say you were headed to the top of the world?”

“I am. That’s the only place I can think of that could have the cure for my daughter.”

“We might as well head there too. Huh?”

We hear a stampede coming our way. It must be the fiends coming to pick what remains.

I tell my friend, “Quickly pick up your things and go!”

“What about you?”

“I can make do. Just get out of here!”

“Okay! I hope to see you at the top of the world or above the stars, my friend.”

“I hope to see you there too.”

My friend grows huge enough to carry his building away while I find a hiding place within the rubble of the destroyed settlement. I dig out some of the rubble out of a building and hide in one of the destroyed rooms. The rubble here should keep me covered while allowing me to see outside. The moaning and crying have turned to into screaming, but that ceases quickly.

“Oh no. Don’t start crying,” I whisper to my daughter.

She hates the suffering of others no matter who is suffering. She’ll cry when she can feel someone dying.

“Here, I’ll sing you something to soothe your soul.

 

Don’t worry,

About it

It’ll end in a hurry

Because I am committed to you,

 

Oh no, I think the fiends might’ve found us. I might’ve sung too loudly. I’ll have to fight them.

“Rest here for now, my little princess. Your knight needs to protect you.”

She murmurs a little with a worried expression on her face as I lay her down.

“Don’t worry. I’ll keep singing for you.

 

Nothing will hurt you, little princess,

I won’t let them

I’ll defeat them in an instant

Just you rest and watch”

 

I loosen my cloak so I can fight. It’s been a while since I last fought, but I must defend my daughter. Once I get out of the rubble, I face down two fiends.

I wave my hand at them and say, “Come on.”

The fiends race towards me with a smile and black liquids running down their mouths. I run towards them and fight them with my bare hands.

 

“Don’t cry,

I know of your struggles

We’ll fly high

Away from your troubles”

 

I’m able to beat them by using them against each other. I’m a small target while they’re vicious and only out for the kill. That makes them easy to fake out, so they hit each other. It’s just a manner of breaking their heads and necks from there. A couple more fiends come from the destroyed buildings.

 

“It doesn’t matter how many will come

I’ll always stick by you

Never surrender no matter the outcome

This is my destiny, I’ll see it through”

 

Two more down, but I’ve been scratched a couple times during the attack. Oh great, three more show themselves. I can’t give up now. My little princess seems worried.

 

“Nothing will hurt you, little princess,

I won’t let them

I’ll defeat them in an instant

Just you rest and watch”

 

Whew! I didn’t think I’d make it through that.

 

“I’ve defeated them all

What did I tell you?

Your father will never fall

This will always be true

I know the song is more of a poem, but I hope you still liked it.”

My daughter laughs and giggles. I’m not sure if she’s doing that because I won or if she’s laughing at my song. Whatever the case is, I fix my cloak and head away from the destroyed settlement. I probably should’ve bought bandages and healing oil. My wounds are pretty bad right now. My daughter’s presence can heal me a bit, but-Oh, is that?

“Did you think I would abandon a friend like you?” my friend from before says.

“Haha, I guess not.”

“Let me give you a ride to the top of the world. I think I might’ve seen it on the horizon.”

“Let’s go then.”

I go into my friend’s building as he carries us away from the destroyed town.

“Now we’re going to get there faster, little princess.”

My daughter smiles and giggles. Now that’s something that always makes me feel better.

 

 

 

Chapter 3 – Let Me Hear More About You

It’s always good to make new friends. My wounds are healed, and I’ve finally managed to eat enough. I haven’t had a full belly in God knows when. My wounds are healed thanks to the supplies my friend has, so I don’t need to worry about dying anytime soon. The daughters of my friend attentively watch my daughter as she rests with their mother behind them and with her hands their shoulders.

I ask them, “Have you ever seen a little girl like mine?”

“No,” one of them shyly says.

My daughter wakes up and notices all the attention she’s being given. She giggles and reaches out towards us.

“I’ve never seen her frown at anyone. She loves everyone she meets.” I hold her out to the girls. “Go on. You can hold her.”

Their mother gently smiles as her daughters carefully hold my daughter. My daughter makes a sound that sounds like she’s saying hello. This makes the girls and I smile.

“Hello, friend, how about you let the girls enjoy their time together while we talk. I want to know more about you and your daughter,” my friend says.

“Sure. I’ll be right up.” I then tell the girls, “Have fun with my little princess.”

They say they will as I climb the stairs. When I get to the top, I sit on the roof and admire the view. There are a few destroyed buildings out here. It looks like a lot of people went this way to get to the top of the world. That must mean we’re on the right track.

“I’m sorry I don’t have any spare chairs for you, my friend.”

“It’s no trouble for me. I’ve been walking for days. It doesn’t bother me that I have to stand for a little while longer.”

“So, tell me. Where do you come from?”

“Way down south.”

“That must be rough. The south is close to where most of the fiends reside. I haven’t heard good things about the people there either.”

“There are more than you think.”

“I believe it since I know you. Do the southerners think the same of the northerners?”

“Most do, but I don’t and neither did my wife.”

“Speaking about her, where is she?”

“She died a little while ago from the same disease my daughter has.”

“That’s a shame. How did you meet your wife anyway?”

“She was on a trip with a few friends when she stumbled upon me. I had just tracked down a group of people who were working with the fiends. They were going to attack my wife and her friends, but I caught up to them and beat them all up. Unfortunately, I was badly injured after the fight. It was like the Heavens brought us together since my wife was there to save my life. After I explained what happened and we got to know each other better, we got married.”

“You said she was on a trip with a few friends? Was she with her father?”

“No, just a couple women and men.”

“Was she royalty?”

“You could say that.”

“No wonder why you call your daughter, your little princess. What’s her actual name?”

“I never gave her a name. My wife never got the opportunity to approve of her name no matter how she struggled to talk. I don’t think it’s appropriate to name her without my wife’s approval.”

“Makes sense, but you’re eventually going to have to give her a real name.”

“I know. I don’t even think it’s appropriate for me to be riding with you. You can let us go at any time and I won’t mind.”

“It’s no trouble to me especially since you said the top of the world is not going to be too far from here. I thought the same weeks ago when my family settled down in that settlement.”

“What stopped you from going all the way?”

“Fatigue from the long journey and challenges, but now I feel bad for doing so. You’ve been traveling from the south. Have you ever stopped to rest for a while?”

“I don’t rest for more than a day in one place.”

“That’s what I feel bad about. You’re much stronger than me despite not having as much.”

“I have my daughter. She’s alive and still smiling and laughing. That’s all I need.”

“Don’t forget to take care of yourself as well. Your daughter can’t survive without you.”

“I keep myself moving. If I die by the time she reaches a proper healer, then I’ll die happy.”

“Do you really want your daughter to be an orphan?”

“No.”

“Then stop thinking that way. I’ve seen dozens of orphans in this world who are alive because of their parents’ sacrifice. Not many survive on their own.”

“You’re right. I’ll try to make sure I’m healthy enough to take care of her.”

“Maybe you can even find another wife?”

“No. My queen was my one and only. There is no other.”

“It’s till death do us part, my friend. It’s okay to get another.”

“I’ll think about it if the time ever comes.”

“Alright. What is your vocation?”

“I’m a farmer, but I’ve also done guard work.”

“So, a lowly farmer and guard married a queen? Isn’t that a fairy tale I could tell my girls?”

“It could be if you put in more story details.”

“I’m not much of a storyteller.”

“Nonsense. All of us have a writer within us. We’ve been exchanging parts of our story to each other, haven’t we?”

“Exchanging stories with a friend is different than making up your own.”

“It’s less different than you think. Can you come up with songs then? What about a poem?”

“If I can’t come up with a simple fairy tale, then what makes you think I can come up with an original song or poem?”

“I’ve made a few of my own that I sing to my daughter.”

“Let me hear one.”

“You got it. I call this one, A Knight’s Service.

 

This love is a love that can set the world on fire

Your will is my desire

For my life is yours

You are the one the world will adore

 

In your service, I fight

From dawn until midnight

Your knight will never fall

For you, I will give it my all”

 

The girls come up from downstairs.

“It looks like you got an audience. Well, don’t stop. Give them a show.”

 

There is no threat I cannot defeat

Without you by my side

Not even Hell’s heat

Nor the Devil’s pride

 

In your service, I fight

From dawn until midnight

Your knight will never fall

For you, I will give it my all

 

When the battles are won

And the day is done

I will rest at your side

You who are so beatified

The girls cheer and clap. Even my daughter and my friend claps and cheers.

“You’re quite the poet, aren’t you?”

“That poem? It was a song I sang to my queen. She thought it was really cheesy, and I have to admit it is too.”

“Hey, girls like that kind of stuff.”

An explosion is made in the distance.

“Did you hear that?” I ask.

“Girls, get back inside,” my friend says as he slightly alters his path.

“What’s going on?”

“Use the binoculars I have downstairs.”

I get the binoculars and look into the distance where I see a battle happening. Massive fathers carry siege weapons on their backs as they attack a castle town. The town sends their forces to meet their attacks as the two forces clash in battle.

My friend says, “I knew there were tensions around these areas, but I didn’t think it would escalate into war. The north is supposed to be more peaceful than this.”

“Sometimes the best of people are actually the worst underneath. You know I heard a saying that the sinner who is sorry for his sins is closer to God than the just man who boasts of his good works.”

“It’s true. We should keep going and let those ‘good’ people duke it out among themselves. We can’t help them now.”

“May the Heavens have mercy on their souls.”

My friend and I continue on our way to the top of the world as a battle rages behind us.

 

 

Chapter 4 – A Past Revealed

My friend and I have been traveling for quite a while now, but the closer we get to the top of the world, the more the sun shines in front of us when it sets. I’ve finally gotten enough rest from all my walking. Speaking about walking, I wonder how my friend is doing. I go up to him and ask him.

He says, “I’m doing fine. To be honest, I’m pushing myself to go far because you told me about how far you’ve been traveling. It should be alright though. I have a feeling that we’re almost to the top of the world.”

“I have the same feeling too, but you shouldn’t push yourself too hard. Even I took breaks every now and then, and what was that advice you gave me?”

“Haha, okay. I’ll remember to take my own advice. Hey, friend, before you go, don’t you think it’s strange that there aren’t that many buildings out here? You’d think there be more due to how close we are to the top and the lack of resting places.”

“I doubt many would give up after going this. I think it’s a good thing that we don’t see that many abandoned buildings around here. It only gives me the hope that the city at the top of the world has expanded with what’s missing here.”

“That’d be good, and I didn’t think about that. The more people that make it to the top of the world, the more that grand city there will expand so that people come across it sooner.”

“Well, what did you think happens when more people become part of that city? They need more space for the growing number of people, however, slow that rate may be.”

“The thought didn’t even come to my head.”

“What do you think the city is like then?”

“Something beyond my simple imagination. I haven’t even come with a story or a simple poem song like you. You must have your head in the stars with that imagination of yours, my friend.”

“It’s another thing that helps keep me hopeful.”

While looking around, I see something in the distant. Oh no.

“We have to move faster!” I say.

“What’s going on?”

“A convoy of large people in armor mixed with smaller ones with siege weapons are approaching us. They don’t look friendly. They might be bandits.”

“Are you sure they aren’t knights? I’ve heard of wandering knights in this area that protect people from bandits.”

“Well, these don’t look like those people.”

“Alright. I’ll try to run and hide us away from them as best as I can. Hold on down there!”

My friend runs as fast as he can. The armored attackers behind us launch a barrage of arrows at us along with large ropes. We manage to dodge the attacks, but we don’t have any cover until now. Just ahead is a graveyard of destroyed and abandoned buildings. I guess more people than I thought gave up around this point, but that isn’t going to be us.

We use the buildings as cover as my friend swerves and runs through the maze of buildings in a way to confuse our enemies. He then hides us within a hollowed out building. After a while of waiting and silence, he leaves the building. It seems like we’re safe. I heard movement going in the opposite direction. I hope they keep going that way. My friend is cautious he creeps around the buildings while carefully looking around.

Ah! We got caught from behind. My friend is tied up and we’re surrounded. It looks like they split off part of their forces in order to throw us off.

A man, who looks like the commander, says, “Cavallo, your days of escaping the law is over! You are to be executed for your crime of being in relations with the queen. Your being together cost her life.”

“You really are a knight, and your name is Cavallo?” my friend whispers to me.

“Yeah, you thought I was lying?”

The commander continues, “However, we will bring the young princess to the top of the world in order to have her cured and for her to take the place of the queen.”

I respond, “You can’t enact your corrupt laws on us! Your laws influenced by the fiends. That’s what cost the lives of my queen and her subjects.”

“You betrayed your role as a knight.”

“You should talk about betrayal, ‘friend’. You were supposed to pick up for me and change your ways. No wonder why it is said that we should love our enemies as our friends because they’re generally the same people.”

“I serve the crown.”

“I serve the Heavens.”

“And that is why you must be put to death along with your accomplices.”

My friend says, “Do it! Kill me you slaves of the fiends but spare the life of my friend and family.”

“That can be arranged, but your family will be killed alongside you to pay the full price.”

“You monsters!”

“No! Spare their lives. Just them to the top of the world with my daughter. I submit my life to you,” I say.

“Then your friend must deny you,” the commander says.

My friend says to me, “Are you sure you want to do this? I can defend you all until I’m put down.”

“Don’t. Keep your family and my daughter safe. There’s less risk in it, and I might not be able to protect all of us.”

“…Fine.” My friend then says to the commander, “I do not know this man. I met him at the settlement I was at and helped him, but now that I know the truth, I deny ever knowing him.”

“Good man,” the commander says as he orders my friend’s release. “Now come down, Cavallo for your execution.”

I make my way down as I hear my daughter crying. It’s going to be okay, little princess. Your father will save a place for you in the Heavens. Once I get down to the ground, I’m beaten by the many soldiers around me.

The commander says, “That was for the disrespect you showed the crown, you disgraceful knight. Now, your execution.”

A blade is held above my head and is about to come down, but the fiends arrive.

One of them says, “This was not part of our deal, commander. You were to execute the child once you obtained her.”

“We bow to the crown, fiends.”

“You bow to us.”

The fiends attack as the soldiers retreat towards the top of the world. I guess they neither party sees any use in me now. They’re all gone now. Thankfully, I’m still able to walk. I have to get to my daughter. I have to protect her. It’s my duty as her knight and most importantly her father. I have to!

I’ve been here before. The bottom of the barrel. When my wife died, and I had to escape the kingdom. I didn’t think I was going to make it, but my queen came to me in a dream and kissed me. In that kiss, I got her message of hope. I have to keep going no matter how I feel. I rip apart my cloak so I can move faster. To get myself to move even faster, I sing myself a song that I came up for my queen and princess.

 

I’m the worst because I’m inconsistent

Making Heaven so distant

I’m useless because I can never be perfect

My sins leave me wrecked


But I can’t just stay here forever


The Bottom is Where I Start

Where all broken hearts fall apart

or become beautiful works of art

The Bottom is where I awoke in

Our pains unspoken

But I won’t be broken


I’m delusional because I believe in God

I’m an idiot for thinking I’m flawed

I’m insane because I’m not full of myself

in a world that’s in love with itself


But I can’t just let them put me down forever


The Bottom is Where I Start

Where all broken hearts fall apart

or become beautiful works of art

The Bottom is where I awoke in

Our pains unspoken

But I won’t be broken

 

Never to going to give in

Never going to give up

Never letting my light dim

 

Never to going to give in

Never going to give up

Never letting my light dim


The Bottom is Where I Start

Where all broken hearts fall apart

or become beautiful works of art

The Bottom is where I awoke in

Our pains unspoken

But I won’t be broken


The Bottom is Where I Start

Where all broken hearts fall apart

or become beautiful works of art

The Bottom is where I awoke in

Our pains unspoken

But I won’t be broken
From the bottom is where I start

The pain has given me a strong heart

And I will never fall apart

I’m approaching the top of the world now. It’s a city of lights that looks like a town made of castles. It’s everything I’ve ever dreamed of. Oh! There are the knights being chased down by fiends. The guards from the city defend them, but I’ll get to my daughter. Just you hold on for me, my little princess.

 

 

 

Chapter 5 – A Father’s Duty

Without my cloak and my daughter on my back, I’m able to stand up straight and leap around the buildings. I watch as the knights find a healer. They enter into a hospital and leave a few of them outside to guard. I sneak past them and watch from outside a window. This is great for my daughter. She’s being healed by a professional healer. This woman is wearing a dress made of flowers and leaves. It’s like she’s a fairy godmother. I’ve never seen foliage except in the kingdom’s gardens and in art.

Now that my daughter is healed, it’s time to rescue her. Her skin is more colorful, and her eyes are more open. She’s expressive and calls out for me. Don’t worry, princess. Your knight is here. Before I can jump in the window, the knights leave the room. I go out to the front and take out their guards.

Once they exit the hospital, I say to them, “Let go of my daughter!”

My daughter calls out to me with her arms out as she struggles out of the commander’s arms.

The guards of the city become suspicious of the knights and say, “I thought you said this was your child?”

“It is. She belongs to the kingdom.” The rest of their forces converge on the hospital to save their friends. “We thank you for your services.”

The commander retreats with his protectors and my daughter as his forces clash with the city’s guards. They stand no chance because the city has better guards, so I chase after my daughter. The knights run through the crowded streets then retreat into one of the taller buildings of the city. They take a storage pulley up to the top floor. Fire starts to rain down from the stars and sun in the sky as I climb the castle. The city’s defenses manage to take out some of the fire bolts, but a number of them make it past. Once I get to the top, the commander’s four knights fan out and start to surround me.

He says, “This ends now, Cavallo. You can’t survive against us.”

“Don’t underestimate a father.”

The knights underestimate me because I fight with my fists and I manage to break their armor and weapons with my fists and kicks. I then knock them out and send them down the pulley.

“I won’t make the same mistake as those fools.”

“You’re already making one.”

I fight the commander and despite his fancy sword skills, he’s nothing without it when I break it in half. I then beat him down to the ground.

“Kill me already,” he says.

“No,” I tell him with a stern look in my eyes, “I’m not like you.”

“You’d wish you were.”

“Uck!”

He cut me open from my stomach up to my chest with the sword I broke in half. I knock out the commander then throw him aside. My daughter…my little princess…I have to hold her one last time. I crawl to her as the firestorm above the city gets worse. I’ve never seen it rain down fire this bad. I’ll protect my little princess with my body. That’ll be my last duty as her knight and father. She’s crying right now.

“It’s okay, little princess. I’m here and I’ll protect you to my last breath…”

As I breathe my last, the blood that comes out of my body becomes a cloak that enwraps my daughter and transforms her into a beautiful young woman.

Eyes like the stars, hair-like purest purity, dress like rose petals, and a golden crown on top of her head that was made by her mother in Heaven.

She looks up to my soul as I ascend to the Heavens and says, “Thank you, father, for teaching, singing, protecting, and loving me. I love you.”

“I love you too, Aurora.”

Aurora steps off the building a walks on the air as if it was a staircase.

“I got this from you, father. I hope you like it.”

She then begins to dance and sing in midair, which slows down the fire bolts to almost a complete halt.

 

Let me sing you a song as the stars and sun bleed

Dance and be merry, but take heed

 

Purified, I become the aide of all

So that no one will die

None will fall

 

Coming with a gift of life

Wisdom abounding, cutting through the fire like a knife

 

The fire in the sky begin to blow up like fireworks in a festival. People below begin to dance and cheer for my princess.

 

Let me sing you a song as the stars and sun bleed

Angels rejoice as love is shared

Alleluia, yes, join me

 

Purified, I become the aide of all

So that no one will die

None will fall

 

Just look at was done

My father sacrificed his life

For his only love

This is the truest love given to all

 

Purified, I am the aide of all

So that no one will die

None will fall

 

All the firebolts in the sky are gone now. Aurora floats down to the ground and is praised by the people. She smiles and waves up to me. I’ve done it. This was my true purpose for coming here. Even though it seemed like something small, it became something bigger than the castles at the top of the world. Now that my duty is complete, I rejoin you, my queen to be by your side forever. Let us rejoice and pray for our daughter as she starts her new life.

 

The End

The Monster and His Mistress – Part 1

Download for free on Smashwords – https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/793384

 

A teenage boy and girl wander the land of Eurasia the time of kings and knights in search of adventure, conflict, and redemption. To say they are merely children is a severe understatement. The boy has the soul of a warlord who has destroyed nations, killed innocent people, and taken their possessions. It was not until the girl, who was a woman at the time, came to him and readjusted his view of the world. Though he did not like what she was saying, he couldn’t bring himself to raise his hand against her. She showed him beauty and goodness in the world and in people that he was completely blind to. Her presence gave him peace that his possessions could not, so he married her. The blood of his actions, however, could not be washed away with the little time he had left to redeem himself and was cursed to live forever on the earth until it was. Though she was allowed into Heaven, the girl turned away from it and held onto the boy and promised to help him on his journey. He tried to push her away, so she wouldn’t be caught up in his punishment, but she stuck close to him. As part of his punishment, he was granted the blessing to turn into a white devil with six tendrils that protrude from his back. He can exact righteous justice on those who deserve it and the punishment will fit the crime. The girl was granted wisdom and knowledge to guide the man’s decisions and be his source of relief and happiness. The boy wears a hooded sackcloth, which is a far cry from his royal robes he once wore. It’s covered in the blood of the innocents he killed, and the blood is so much so that it looks naturally red instead of brown. The girl wears a simple white and red dress similar to the one she was married in.

The two of been through times of ruin and peace. Throughout it, the girl has kept the boy under control and on the road to redemption, but in some cases, the boy’s intuition and knowledge of the fallen humanity helps him make instant judgments while the girl’s empathy has lead to the death of innocents. As much as she helps keep him on the right path, he does the same every now and then. They still continue their journey throughout the land of Eurasia to not only obtain the boy’s redemption, but to also bring justice and peace.

 

Part I

As the two walk along a forest path, they come across an apple tree with a woman picking fruit from it.

The girl says to the woman, “Excuse me miss? Can we have an apple each? We’ve been adventuring for a while now and some fruit would help us immensely.”

“Oh, of course you can!”

The woman tries to get more than two apples for them, but as she shakes the tree to pick the apple, three loose apples fall on the girl’s head. This enrages the boy to which he transforms into the white devil.

“You wench!” he yells out, “How dare you be so careless in the presence of my beloved!”

His tendrils retrain the woman’s legs, arms, neck, and body. Her punishment then comes on her. A single apple falls on her head. Once her punishment is complete, the boy’s tendrils release her, and she runs away in fear of the two. The boy goes back to his human form once she’s clear of them.

“Are you okay my-”

He receives a hard backhand to the face from the girl.

“How many times do I have to tell you to not worry about me when things like this happen?!” she says, “Do you like getting slapped?”

“Kind of…” he says with a smirk before getting slapped again, “I was joking…”

“Hmph. Hopefully we won’t see that woman again so we won’t have trouble in the nearby town. Are you seriously eating the apples she dropped?!”

“Uh, yes? Want one?”

She takes an apple before backhanding him again. They take several apples with them as they enter the nearby town. The town has various churches and bustling marketplace since it’s a town of commerce and community. There’s an art contest being held at the art section of the marketplace and the girl decides to join in.

“Why don’t you join too?” the girl asks the boy.

“Nah. I don’t exactly…create things.”

“Nonsense. I’ve seen you doodling when you were bored and with pen and paper.”

“Yeah, but I wouldn’t call my doodling good art.”

“Just join with me for fun!”

“I guess I should, but why am I even doing this? I’m a grown man.”

“But mentally you’re a child.”

“I was a conqueror of men!”

“And now you’re my husband, which means I’ve conquered you and your men. Come on already!”

“…fine.”

The two go up to the adult who is taking the names of the participants.

“Hey kids!” a woman who appears to be a mother says, “Are you going to be making art with us today?”

“Yes mam!” the girl says.

The boy doesn’t say anything until the girl elbows him.

“Yes mam.”

“Can I get your names before you enter?”

“My name is Bella, and this is my boyfriend Mao.”

“Oh! A couple drawing together eh?”

The woman elbows and smiles at a man who the kids assume to be her husband. He smiles and laughs.

“Now that I have your names, you should look around here for the supplies you need to draw. We also have hundreds of pieces of art around the marketplace, so take a look around if you need some inspiration. It also doesn’t hurt to ask others for help. Got it?”

“Got it!” Bella says.

“Yup. I got it,” Mao responds.

“The contest starts in twenty minutes, so you still have plenty of time and don’t forget. This is just for fun, but still try your best!”

Mao and Bella go around to get their tools and drawing material. They go around the marketplace to find inspiration for their work and once it’s time to draw, they put their skills to the test. Bella draws a bright picture that has a small bunny with flowers around it. She uses paint, brushes, and her finger to draw the picture. Mao, on the other hand, draws a war-torn knight in bloodied and injured, but still charging towards battle. He uses charcoal and his sackcloth to erase and draw shapes and figures. Oddly enough, Mao wins the contest. Since Bella and Mao had previous experience in drawing and their competition are just normal kids, they outclassed the others by a mile. As a reward, Mao gets a small reward of money, a fruit basket, and a kiss from Bella.

“Congratulations young man!” the mother says, “I’m sure your parents are going to be very proud of you!”

“I-I guess so.”

Bella and Mao go to a fountain near a church to eat the fruit basket.

As Bella drinks in the feel of the town, she says, “This reminds me of my hometown.”

“That’s where I first met you. I came to raid your town, but you came out by yourself and got me to back off.”

“I’m that special, aren’t I?”

“Most towns don’t have a single woman coming to meet an army. Special isn’t half of it. I’m sure your parents were worried about you when you did that. What do you think my parents are thinking about me right now?”

“I’m sure they’re proud of you for changing.”

“I don’t know about that.”

All of the sudden, two girls run by and push the two into the fountain then run away.

“What was that for?!” Mao says as Bella tries to keep him calm.

A man helps the two out of the fountain while saying, “Don’t mind those two. They’re not used to losing so they get a little mad when they do.”

“Thanks mister,” Bella says then waits for him to leave to tell Mao, “I remember girls like them when I was little. They’re nothing, but jealous princesses who are full of themselves.”

“What do you want to do?” Mao asks with a bit of curiosity.

“The same thing I did to them years ago. Get revenge.”

Both Mao and Bella deviously smile at the different ways to get revenge from Bella’s innocent but humiliating ways to Mao’s harmful but simple ways.

“What are you thinking Bella?”

“I’m thinking that we should return the favor of them cleaning us.”

Bella gets several pale of water that are from the bathrooms and the two get on top of the rooftops. Mao uses his man tracking skills to find the girls and finds them with their friends. Bella and Mao wait until the girls walk closer to them to pour the water on top of them. Once they do, they quickly dump the water on top of the girls then sprint away as they hear their screams. The couple laugh then reward themselves with a little dinner date at an outside restaurant. Mao eats a steak while Bella eats fish.

“I didn’t know you were like that Bella.”

“What do you mean?”

“That you take revenge in that way. I thought you were a very forgiving person.”

“I am…most of the time, but I can’t stand prissy little girls like that.”

“Did other people in your town know you were like this?”

“I kept it secret from them, so I could always get away with what I did.”

“Do you know I like you more and more with each day?”

“I do.”

Before they can kiss, an incoming parade catches their attention. The town is celebrating the death of the tyrant that was Mao. They have fake statues of Mao and Bella that are half destroyed and covered in drawings.

“Hoorah! Hoorah! The demon Mao is dead and is rotting in hell! Praise be to God!” they say, “May all the earth rejoice in his absences! May we rejoice also in the death of his useless wife who tried to make him pay for his sins but failed.”

“Mao…This isn’t right. No one’s death should be celebrated like this!”

“I don’t mind it.”

“But!”

“I don’t mind it! I’d celebrate my death like this too because of the things I’ve done.”

Mao sighs as he turns to watch the parade as it passes by him. He watches how happy everyone is that he died and how they celebrate it with streamers, confetti, and fireworks.

“You know Bella, I’m happy that I died. I’m even happier that I got the chance to redeem myself and that you didn’t go to Heaven to help me out. The reason why I don’t really mind what they’re saying is because your opinion of me is all that matters…Bella?”

Bella has moved from her chair and is now in front of the parade.

She yells out, “What is wrong with you people?! No one’s death should be celebrated no matter how horrible they were! Stop this celebration at once!”

The crowds don’t take too kindly of Bella’s defense of Mao and start yelling at her and throw stones and various hard objects at her.

“Bella! You bastards!” Mao says as he transforms into a white devil.

The sky turns black as judgment is going to be dealt. Mao shields Bella from the projectiles and the crowds are shocked by Mao’s appearance.

“You people are just as evil as the people you mock!” Mao says in a demonic voice, “What kind of people praise death and throw things at a child wiser than you?!”

Mao’s tendrils spilt into multiple tendrils to catch everyone and hold them as they are judged. The things they threw at Bella levitate and get thrown back at them harder than they were thrown. Hard rocks then fall from the sky to ruin the parade and rain on the marketplace. Mao carries Bella out of the town as the rocks pelt everything and everyone around them. Though no one in the town is seriously hurt, houses, shops, and the other buildings and streets were heavily damaged. The people of the town then prayed for forgiveness as they rebuilt what was damaged because of their actions. Mao and Bella are now far away from the town as they continue Mao’s journey for redemption.

“Mao…I’m sorry you had to see that parade.”

“Like I said I didn’t mind it. The worst thing about it is that the statue they had of you had a bigger butt and chest than you did when you were that age.”

“What?”

“Your actual chest and butt are smaller and I’m not trying to say that it would be better if those parts of you body were bigger. I mean that’s probably the inner teenager in me speaking, but you know. I’m just saying.”

Mao takes one look at Bella’s mad face.

“Oooooh boy.”

Mao then starts to run away as Bella swings at him while saying, “I’ll show you who has smaller private body parts!”

 

Part II

After a beating and two days, Mao and Bella come across a village. There are several farms in this village along with a church and a school with various houses and shops near it. Bella brings Mao to a farm where the owners are allowing a few of the kids to ride the horses they have.

“I swear Bella! Your childlike personality is out of control!”

“But look at the horses!”

“I had dozens of them, but you didn’t care much for them.”

“That’s because you had them scarred to mark them as yours.”

“It made them look intimidating and battle experienced!”

“You made them look like a fantasy horse.”

“Which is scarier than a normal one.”

“Right…and I’m the one with a child’s personality.”

Since Mao isn’t too fond of riding the horses, he gets the adults to put him on it as she rides in front and he has to hold onto her back.

“This is embarrassing!” Mao says.

“This is great!” Bella says as she rides around the field with the horse.

It’s always been one of her favorite things to do years ago. She used to race horses with her fellow town’s people and do obstacle courses. Feeling that she still has the skill, she goes through the obstacle course that’s on the farm ground. Since Mao’s teenage body isn’t used to riding on a horse and wasn’t sure about Bella’s risky movements, he threw up after they finished their ride. Everyone who was watching claps at Bella’s performance and the owners tell her she can come back anytime she wants. They give her and Mao an apple pie as they leave.

“Can we eat it now?”

“But you just threw up!”

“And now I’m hungry because of it!”

“Fine.”

They both eat half of the pie before continuing to walk through the town. Unlike the previous town, this smaller one is quieter and less busy. It still manages to stay alive seemingly because of the community and farms around it, but the area itself has nothing of interest to Mao and Bella so they move on to the next area of interest. Along the way, they come across highwaymen robbing a young boy. The boy appears to have already tried resisting to no result.

“They’re mine,” Mao says as he transforms and tangles the robbers in his tendrils.

Everything they have including their clothes disintegrate and the thieves are left with nothing though the boy’s possessions are untouched. They run away from Mao in fear while the young boy stays where he is because he doesn’t know what to do.

Mao transforms back to a human and asks the boy, “Are you alright?”

“Yo-You’re like me?” the boy says.

“We both are,” Bella says, “Now go back to where you’re from.”

“I can’t I won’t,” the boy says as he collects what was stole from him.

“Why’s that?”

“It’s full of terrible people who touch me in weird ways.”

“We’ll deal with them. There’s a farm town not too far from here. Go there and they’ll take care of you.”

“Thank you so much!”

As the boy leaves, Mao says, “This place should be interesting.”

“That means we have to be careful,” Bella says.

“It means we’re going to be encountering a lot of sin and I love ridding the world of it.”

“Don’t be so caught up in violence. It’s what got you in this situation in the first place.”

“It’s what lead me to you, so it’s not all bad.”

“Don’t sweet talk me like that mister or else you’ll be getting my hand on your face again.”

“I love you.”

“…I love you too.”

Bella tries swinging at him, but he dodges it.

“Ha! Missed me, missed me, now you gotta kiss me.”

Bella kisses Mao’s face then smacks it.

“That was worth it.”

The couple makes it to the town the boy was from and it appears to be a cesspool of sin. It even smells the part as well. This town is filled with prostitutes and killers alike that don’t mind showing their private business in the open. Among the crowd, Mao spots a normal looking family that appears to be moving from the town. This familiar sight of a good family in a terrible area brings Mao back to his childhood.

“Do you think my parents are proud of me?” Mao says aloud without realizing, “Did I really let them get the best of me when they died? Do they regret having me after I did? Am I a bastard child? Bella?”

Mao notices that Bella isn’t with him and panics. Back when they were adults, Bella used to be interested in the human figure and liked making art that bordered on pornography. Mao is thinking that she’s watching these people and getting caught up in them for her “art”.

An older woman pulls Mao aside and says, “You’re a cute young man. Want to have some fun?”

Though this woman looks better than Bella, Mao rejects her by saying, “I don’t associate myself with harlots. Besides, I’m married.”

“Who cares about marriage? Trust me, when I’m done with you, you won’t want to be married.”

“I respectfully reject your offer now leave me be.”

The cougar pins up Mao against the wall and presses herself against him

“It isn’t an offer.”

She begins to lick his face. He responds in turn by biting into her neck and tearing her throat out, which he could do since it is self-defense. Mao leaves the woman to choke to death on her own blood as he turns to the rest of the people.

“Ssssinnnnnn,” Mao says in a snake-like voice as he transforms into the white devil.

He uses his tendrils and the people of this place receive their judgment.

“You have abandoned God and He has abandoned you in turn. You’re all mine now, which means you get my favorite execution. Shred and rip them apart!”

Blades and thorns come out of the ground to slowly cut and tear apart everyone. Blood and guts splatter the ground as Mao searches for Bella. He finds her naked with a piece of paper with one of her drawings on it. It doesn’t appear that she was harmed or sexually assaulted, so he quickly carries her away as the entire village sinks into the earth. During the next morning, the runaway boy goes back to this place with a couple escorts and only finds several objects that were stolen from other villages and towns. Mao is still carrying Bella who is still naked, but he isn’t in his devil form.

“How long do you think it’s going to be until I get another pair of clothes?”

“Hopefully soon.”

“Why’s that?”

“…Is there a correct answer to that?”

“Yes. Pick it.”

“…So no one sees you naked? But you being naked isn’t something that I mind!”

“That’s right.”

Bella kisses Mao’s forehead. As they keep moving, a traveling merchant appears from behind them. Mao turns around to hide Bella’s nakedness.

Mao says to the merchant, “Excuse me sir. Do you mind if we buy a pair of clothes from you? My wife here got them stolen.”

“Of course! You can have them for free. I have a perfect dress for her.”

It may be a coincidence, but the merchant gives Bella a red and white dress that she had from before. She gets changed and thanks the merchant and tries to give him money for his gift.

“It’s no problem my dear,” he says, “I don’t ask for anything from the needy. May I ask where you’re heading?”

“Wherever the road takes us,” Bella tells him.

“How about you two travel back to my house with me? Rest for a bit then leave?”

“Thank you. We’ll take your offer.”

Mao whispers to Bella, “Are you sure?”

“I’m sure.”

Mao and Bella board the carriage. As they travel to the merchant’s house, Mao falls asleep and rests across Bella’s lap.

“How far did your husband carry you?”

“Maybe ten miles at the least.”

“He must really love you then.”

“Of course he does. He’d do anything for me.”

“So why are you on your journey? If you don’t mind me asking.”

“It’s for his redemption and that’s all I’ll tell you I’m afraid.”

“Well that journey should be coming to an end soon. A man who would carry his wife for miles can’t be all bad.”

“I know he isn’t, but some people won’t see that.”

“Give them time. I’m sure your boy will show them who’s better.”

Once they arrive at the merchant’s house, they put Mao to bed who is still sleeping. Bella repays his kindness by helping around the house and fix his merchandise. She teaches him a couple recipes to use when selling food that she remembers from the royal chefs she had as a queen. After all that, Bella tells the merchant to prepare a special event for Mao when he wakes up. Mao eventually wakes up a couple hours later and doesn’t know where he is. He grabs a nearby object as a weapon to protect himself.

“Bella? Bella?” he says while wandering the house.

He eventually sees candlelight in the kitchen to which he goes to.

“Surprise! Happy birthday!” the merchant, his family, and Bella say as Mao turns the corner.

He almost swings but then says, “What?”

“Were you not keeping track of the days?” Bella asks, “Today is your ‘fourteenth’ birthday!”

Mao is embarrassed and sheepishly says, “I-uh. Thanks, but I don’t think I deserve it.”

“Of course you do!” the merchant says, “You carried your wife all the way to help. You’re what I call a real man!”

The merchant’s wife says, “Now would you do the same thing?”

“Of course I would especially if you weren’t wearing clothes!” he responds.

They all laugh, but Mao is still surprised by the celebration.

“Come on Mao! Sit down.”

The family and Bella have a cake made for Mao with candles on it. They sing him happy birthday as he sits at the head of the table. Bella sings while she holds him and while this is happening Mao is trying not to cry, but he can’t help but smile. He feels loved in the same way that he did with his family and Bella. His armies never did anything for him like this nor did they love him as his family and Bella do. Mao blows out the candles and everyone cheers. They then eat the cake and celebrate Mao’s birthday. The first birthday in a while that he felt good about. He eventually warms up to the family and talks to them though he doesn’t tell them who he and Bella really are. The couple leaves the next day with food, water, and good memories of this family. Starting the day after the family met the couple, the business they have starts to thrive as tons of people start buying food, clothes, and various other products from the father. He says to this day that both Mao and Bella are a blessing to this world.

 

Part III

Though they didn’t intend to, they’ve finally come back to Mao’s home country, the main capital to be precise. It’s in a state of civil war as Mao and Bella’s children fight against the leaders they put in before they died. Their children, like Mao, fell to bad influences as they were spoiled after hearing the power and strength their father had before he met Bella. They think their mother made their father weak and were constantly arguing with their father as he became a more peaceful man. Thinking they would need more help, Mao and Bella ordered several wise elders to control their country and continue teaching their children the right way to live. It doesn’t appear to have worked, but both Bella and Mao don’t think their children are behind this. As they make their way through the destroyed streets, they think about who could’ve done this.

“It has to be those bastards who were a bad influence on them!” Mao says.

“I’ll rip them apart! No one messes with my babies!” Bella yells out as she runs at full speed.

“What are we going to do if our children decide to fight us?”

“Let’s hope they haven’t committed too many evil acts. I can only imagine what inspiration they took from your old self.”

“Oh no.”

Mao sees one of the worst inspirations his children took from him. To make people fear him, Mao would take the bodies of people and impaled them to the ground and to buildings as a warning. He would impale the elderly, the fit, the poor, the rich, the young, it didn’t matter to him at the time. The bodies would stay there and rot in the cities of his enemies and his conquered. If anyone would bury or move them, they would be executed, and their bodies would be impaled on the streets as well.

“We have to get to them now!” Mao says with extreme worry.

Mao and Bella make it through the death and destruction to find their five children at the castle gates with their army behind them. They’re trying to knock down the gates to get to the rest of the civilians and resistance. Both Mao and Bella are transformed into adults so the soldiers and their children will recognize them. Mao is wearing his old armor set while Bella is wearing a luxurious white and red dress. They notice this and appear to realize the meaning of it.

“Clear the way! Your king returns!” Mao announces as to get the army’s attention.

The army sees their king and queen return and bow in their presence. Their children are shocked by this and stop breaking down the gates.

The army proclaims, “The king and queen are immortal! Give praise to the ultimate rulers of the strongest country on earth!”

They cheer and praise them, but Bella says, “Silence! What have you done to our capital city?! It lies in ruin with your fellow men and women lying in their own blood! Shame on you all especially the ones who made our children do this!”

One of the soldiers says, “But they organized it all! No one else made them do it.”

“My children would never do such a thing! If you do not want to face the righteous wrath of God, then turn your lives around and leave now!”

About one hundred and fifty soldiers of the four thousand retreats. Mao and Bella’s children approach them and the oldest, Martino, speaks for them.

He says, “Now that you are immortal you might see truth. Tear down this gate and restore this nation to its former glory!”

Mao says in a stern voice, “My son Martino, have you not seen sense yet? Blood and destruction is not the way to get what you truly want. It is through love of God, others, and self that will give satisfy and bring you what you need. Your mother taught me that.”

“Mother is a dolt who acts hypocritically. She’ll take childish revenge, draw pornography, and hit you to show her dominance.”

“Not everyone is perfect, and temptation gets to us every now and then. Be thankful those three things are the only things she does.”

“She matters not to us. Take back the kingdom and go back to your old ways so we can conquer the world!”

“Please. Don’t let me do this.”

Bella starts to tear up as she says, “I love you all! Please! Turn around and change your ways!”

“If you won’t turn let go of this woman then I’ll kill her for you father!”

“No!”

Mao unintentionally turns into the white devil and his tendrils restrict his children and call down their judgment.

“Please, don’t be so harsh on them,” Bella begs.

“I don’t have control of it,” Mao says with fear.

Seven angelic executioners descend from Heaven and behead all five of Mao and Bella’s children then toss their bodies into the abyss. The executioners then kill the rest of the army who didn’t retreat while a cherubim shields Mao and Bella as they mourn for their children.

“Why did this happen?” Mao asks the cherubim who doesn’t want to answer.

“Because that’s the way our kids were,” Bella answers for him, “There’s nothing else we could’ve done. It was their decision and they have to live with it.”

“I know that, but…but I want there to be a different reason.”

Mao looks out as his men are killed and his city brought to even more ruin than before. His fists are clenched, so Bella hugs him from behind to calm him. After the fight ends, all three thousand eight hundred and fifty soldiers lay dead. Though they tried to fight back, the executioners sustained no injuries from the army. The cherubim and executioners then rise back to Heaven and the gates of the castle open. Mao’s most trusted official, Shun, walks out to them.

He says, “You’ve brought us angels to save us. You truly have achieved redemption, my lord.”

“Not yet,” Mao responds, “I still have much to do.”

“I am sure that you will obtain it soon since you are alive and the angels came down to your aid.”

“I hope so my friend.”

“Are you going to rule us again? You were our mightiest king and there might be more rebellion.”

“No, I won’t. I died and am reborn for a different purpose. There won’t be any rebellion for generations after what has happened today, so be at peace. Again, I command you my last command. Keep the city safe and continue to teach them in the ways of our Lord God.”

“As you wish my king. We will begin with repairs for the city and burying of the dead.”

“If you couldn’t repair my child-”

Bella grips Mao’s arm while tears are still in her eyes.

“Forgive me my king. We tried our best-”

Mao puts his hands on Shun’s shoulders.

“I’m sorry too. I should’ve been a better king and father to begin with.”

The two old friends embrace then say their final goodbyes again. Once Bella and Mao leave the city, they turn back into teenagers. They hold hands as they go as they bear the pain of their children’s deaths. As the day turns to night, the sky light starts to turn into various colors and appears to be dancing around. Bella and Mao come to a field of roses and begin to hear angelic music played.

“This must be the angels comforting us,” Bella says with wonder.

“They should after what we’ve been through,” Mao responds with some distain.

“Don’t be that way Mao. They’re doing us a favor. Appreciate it. If we weren’t there to stop our children, then they would’ve killed more people.”

“…You’re right.”

“Let’s enjoy this and let the past be the past.”

Mao and Bella enter the field of roses and begin to dance to the music. The music is unlike anything made even by the great musicians Mao obtained for Bella when she was queen. Its cadence, tempo, and sound are foreign, but it brings peace to their souls and a smile to their face. The lovers dance and dance until they fall in exhaustion. They smile at each other and cuddle while admiring the lights in the sky then fall asleep.

Rested and rejuvenated, they continue their journey. They approach a small town and see that a prophet is talking to the people in center of town.

He says, “The tyrant Mao is alive and young! Be wary of him as he is dealing harsh judgment to everyone who shows their sinful nature!”

Mao and Bella don’t exactly know what to do about this. The prophet seems to have been told this information by someone in Heaven because they don’t think word of what happened yesterday has spread yet even though they aren’t far from the capital city. They decide to keep low and see if this town will be of any interest to them. Throughout the day, Mao and Bella help people out then disappear before they are rewarded for their efforts. The two do acts such as; stopping thieves, picking up things that people drop, cheer up young children, and help store owners clean up their vandalized markets. Of course, Mao has problems doing most of these acts besides stopping thieves, but Bella humbles him and gets him to help these people. A messenger from the capital arrives and tells the people what happened there yesterday.

The prophet comes out and says, “My words have come true before I predicted them! Heed them for Mao is among us!”

The couple try to leave town, but a few people catch them and try to bring them before the prophet. Fearing for Bella’s safety, Mao transforms into the white devil. Everyone from the town gathers in awe of the reborn tyrant.

“Behold! I, Mao the Tyrant, am alive! I, the tyrant that spilled the blood of hundreds of thousands of people and killed their children or sold them for a profit! Deal your judgment to me while you still can!”

The town is silent as to what to do so Bella speaks up.

“Don’t do anything to him! He dealt righteous judgment to his children and their armies and now they lie in ruin. He is a changed man who only punishes the wicked and sinful! Today, he and I helped you with your problems, so please! Don’t hurt him!”

“Young girl, who is Bella his wife,” the prophet says, “We do not deal in revenge. We only offer forgiveness.”

Mao is taken back by this then says, “Wa-What? I had to have done something to you that has made your lives worse than it is. Do something about it!”

The villagers come one by one to say, “I forgive you.”

With each “I forgive you”, Mao staggers and collapses in weakness. He turns back into a teenage boy and cries because of the town’s mercy. Bella embraces him to calm him down then the people of the town offer them a celebration for Mao’s victory in the capital and change of heart. Everything from music to food is prepared in minutes and Mao is the center of attention. Bella sits with him and tries to get him to smile, but he’s too shocked in tears to do anything. Eventually, she gets him to dance with him and talk with everyone who tell him how thankful they are that he’s changed his ways. The party the town put together in minutes lasts the entire day and by the next morning, Mao and Bella leave the town with leftovers from the party and more energy to move forward.

 

Part IV

“I’m sorry Mao, but I have to leave you.”

“What?! Why?!”

“You’re smart enough to figure that out on your own.”

A pillar of light takes Bella into Heaven, which leaves Mao completely alone.

“Why?!” Mao yells to the skies, “I’ve done everything that you’ve told me to! What else is there I can do besides fix the entire world?!”

Nothing and no one gives him an answer to his questions. He doesn’t know which direction to go and for what reason, so he just paces back and forth. Thinking that he’s still supposed to do something, he goes in a direction that feels like its pulling him its way. Along the way he finds a couple taking a morning walk. Jealous of them, he attempts to intervene in their walk, but is blocked off by an invisible barrier. Mao can only watch as the two enjoy each other’s company.

“There has to be a reason I’m seeing this. I have to be learning something!” Mao says to himself.

He quickly escapes the couple’s presence as it becomes unbearable and enters a village. Mao and Bella usually get into interesting situations in places like this, so Mao hopes something will happen as he sits down on the streets. There’s nothing about him that is different from a common beggar. Mao begs for something to happen to give him purpose. He hopes that someone will extend their hand to give him comfort and attention. As his frustration and depression increases, he feels the need to judge the people of the town for ignoring him. His abilities, however, are restrained for whatever test he’s going through, so he just sits in the dirt alone, angry, sad, and isolated from the one he loves. Eventually he passes out and awakens in a church.

The hooded pastor says to him, “It’s good to see that you’re awake my son. Eat and drink this so you can feel better.”

Mao eats a piece of bread and drinks a small cup of water that the pastor gives him.

“Why did you help me?”

“Because I try to help all of my children.”

“Well you didn’t help much.”

“What do you mean? You were hungry and thirsty, so I helped you there didn’t I?”

“That’s not the most important part.”

“Then what is?”

“My wife is gone.”

“Gone?”

“Heaven took her.”

“That sadly happens to every husband unfortunately.”

“But she’s my moral compass, my source of happiness, and the person that kept me going.”

“God usually fills that role for most people.”

“Heh. That guy and I have a complicated relationship.”

“How so?”

“He’s the reason I’m still alive to make up for my past, let’s just say.”

“Shouldn’t that be a good thing?”

“Not when I don’t have my wife with me. She’s everything to me.”

“You shouldn’t deify her.”

“I understand that God is our source of morality and the main reason why she is the way she is, but…”

“But you make your wife the center of your world. Let me help you see how things really are.”

The hooded pastor helps Mao up and brings him to the front doors of the church. The village is bustling with happiness, goodwill, and love as if everyone’s worries and pains went away in an instant.

“This is the world I wanted to see every day,” Mao says as he watches everyone.

“How were you going to make it this way?” the pastor asks.

“Drag out the evil people and execute them one by one. Don’t ask how I know, but that doesn’t work.”

“Did your wife changes your ways?”

“She did. She showed me the beauty of the world and how to be a better man. I’d probably be in hell right now if it wasn’t for her.”

“But she wouldn’t be a good person without…”

“I know, I know she taught me that, but God shouldn’t diminish her importance.”

“He doesn’t. It’s you who diminishes His importance.”

“I’d like for Him to give me a reason to not do so.”

“Your wife. Your continued life for a chance at redemption. Any more that I need to mention?”

Mao doesn’t want to say anything else.

“Let me show you a world that you would’ve created.”

The pastor closes and opens the door to reveal a village burned to the ground with bodies gored all over the ground.

“How did you do that?!” Mao says out of astonishment.

“Does it look familiar?”

“Who are you?!”

The church doors close.

“You already know.”

“You?! I have a few things I have to get off my chest!”

“Then do that if you haven’t already.”

“Why did you take Bella away from me?!”

“As we were talking about, you deified her. I think it was time we fixed that.”

“What about my children?! Why did we send them to hell?!”

“Because of their deeds and refusal and accept my help. You were on a similar path to theirs until you changed.”

“And why was I able to change, but not my children?”

“They had your wife’s persistence.”

“…You got me there, but why keep me here on earth? Haven’t I done enough already?”

“Do you think you are just here for redemption? Did you not think that the acts you have done are not for some higher purpose or to answer prayers?”

“Enough of this!”

“Didn’t you say once you would fight me?”

“I did.”

“Since you can’t beat me in a game of intelligence, how about we go with strength? What weapon will you use? The strongest weapon you have is a blessing from me and doesn’t work on me. So what are you going to use? A sword crafted with human hands?”

“I’m defeated okay?! You got me from turn zero, so let your will be done on me! Strike me down and let my life be yours!”

Mao falls to his knees and closes his eyes as he waits for his execution. Instead, he is hugged and brought to his feet.

“Now you understand my son.”

Love and tranquility fills Mao as a light envelops him and he is teleported to a field with a small lake. There he finds Bella who was waiting for him. The two yell for each other then embrace with a kiss.

A light from Heaven says, “You have already achieved your redemption, but there is still much to do on earth. What do you want to do?”

“You know better than I do lord.”

Mao closes his eyes again and lets whatever happens, happen. He gets lifted up into the air with grace and elegance then dropped into the lake.

“Take a bath,” the light says before fading back into the sky.

Bella joins Mao in the lake. The two splash water at each other while enjoying their reunion together with Mao enjoying it the most. After being cleaned, they dry up in the sunlit field.

Bella turns to Mao and asks, “What do you want to do next my love?”

“We continue helping the world together,” Mao answers, “What better thing is there to do?”

“Enjoy each other’s company alone for a bit longer.”

“I like it, but you know we have forever together.”

“Of course. So, should we get moving?”

“Yes and let the lord’s will be done.”

Check out the author’s edition on Amazon! – https://www.amazon.com/Monster-His-Mistress-Albert-Oon/dp/1986118584/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1520183203&sr=8-2&keywords=albert+oon