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|Chapter 3 (Freed from Fire)|
September 3rd, 2013
|"'I am a spirit from what is known as the Spirit World. And we will meet someday in my world. When that happens, I will offer you something. And you will accept it.'"|
|— The Ageless One|
It was still dark when Sayuka came to her senses. It was quiet, and it was cold. After a moment of steady breaths, she opened her eyes sluggishly and slowly blinked away the bleariness. She seemed to be in her room. But she could not remember how she got there. Taking another deep, quiet breath, she tried to move her arms.
"Ahh!" she cried and her whole body was rocked with pain. She twitched in response, causing more pain to shoot from every part of her body. Whimpering quietly, she willed herself not to move as she tried to remember. She was called to her father's study and... Sayuka took another deep breath, her back shuddering in a sharp pain as she breathed in. Her father told her she would be given to the branch family. It came to her in a slow thought. Suddenly, it came back to her. Her father must have hurt her again.
After a few long moments, Sayuka clenched her teeth together and, trying her best to ignore the pain shooting up and down her body, pushed herself up with trembling arms. She couldn't really tell in the darkness, but it must have been much worse than ever before. No matter, Sayuka thought, she had decided to leave tonight, anyway. Now sitting on the edge of her bed as straight as she could, she took a few minutes to orient herself.
"Alright..." she whispered to the darkness. "I can do this." With a soft whimper, she stood shakily on her feet-
And was met with a wave of dizziness.
It was all she could do to keep from falling on the floor. Reaching wildly, she grabbed her bedpost and steadied herself. After a while, the dizziness receded, and Sayuka stood up strait. Strait; just how her father taught her. Her thoughts turned back to him. Could she really leave and not come back? What would happen if she did? What would happen to her? What would happen to her parents?
No... she told herself silently. They will have another child. They don't... love you. She was surprised to see that, now of all times, she did not feel like crying. Getting dressed in a light travelling tunic was especially difficult with the constant pain shooting through every part of her body, and Sayuka thanked the gods that she had always insisted on getting dressed herself. If she always had help as her parents suggested, she might have had to leave naked. Now dressed in a light brown tunic, as common as she could find, she climbed back onto her bed and hunted down the other side for her packed satchel, hoping that it had not been found. Luckily, it was still were she had tossed it. Whimpering in pain, she reached down and snatched the satchel from the ground, pulling it back up to her.
Breathing heavily and gingerly, Sayuka stared out her window into the darkness. What time was it? Would they have her room watched? No, of course they wouldn't. He parents didn't care about her. She would soon be replaced anyway.
The word travelled through Sayuka's mind quietly, as if teasing her.
Setting her aching jaw and ignoring the shooting pain assaulting her body, she crawled out the window.
She sincerely hoped, Sayuka thought as she scrambled clear of the estate into the unknown, that they had a happy future without her.
Sayuka did not make it a day before her aching, tired and bruised body collapsed, not from the pain or fatigue, but from hunger and thirst. Pain was had grown used to. She could take pain. Pain she could just cry away. However, she had not eaten in more than a day, she guessed. She drank a little from a well she happened across, but it didn't help much. With her body damaged as it was, she needed more than just water. Usually, after her father had hit her, it wasn't that bad. On the occasional time when he was a bit... overzealous, then the servants would see to her wounds. On this occasion, however.
"Ahhh..." she whimpered as she stumbled over a rock than had somehow moved itself in front of her foot. She kept herself from falling over, but only just. If she didn't find something to eat fast, she knew, she wouldn't be able to make it. She wondered, in the corner of her mind, if she would even be able to make it back to her home in her state.
Her home... the thought of going back to her home filled her with the familiar feeling she associated with fear... fear and pain. Shaking her head, she pressed on into the growing dusk. Sayuka had made it the entire day without coming across anyone or anything in the wilderness. Something she wasn't sure to take as a good sign or a bad sign. Out of fear of her family pursuing her, she strayed from the main roads and kept to the forested region or the area. She didn't know how long she walked before her vision started to waver. Her feet kept going on their own accord and eventually she found herself on the ground, her sight getting darker and darker.
Was this how she was going to leave this world? She found herself thinking. Not by her father's hand, but by her own foolishness. If she had stayed in her family's house, she would have been sent off to the branch family, disowned and unwanted. But she would have been alive. And she would have been somewhere new.
The thought of somewhere new came as a funny thought to her. She had been laughing so much recently. But for what reasons? Why had she been laughing? For something new? Because she was tired of crying? No. She had no idea why she had been laughing. It just seemed so right at the time. And it made her feel so much better.
As she drifted off to sleep, she felt her body give out a quiet laugh.
For some time, a length Sayuka couldn't quite comprehend, she slept. She slept so peacefully and soundly, it seemed as though nothing bad would every happen to her again. It was a nice feeling. But it was a feeling she knew would never be true. She rarely had any dreams when she slept, but this time, she did. But not about her father or her mother, as she thought she would have. This time, had dreams about people she never met before. People she did not recognize. There was many people; men and women. They looked at her with appreciation, with high regard. They spoke to her as though speaking to a lord. There were a few women. All younger than what she thought her mother was. Young women. At least, most of them. One was a girl around her own age. Her own age? Something about that statement seemed off. What age was she?
She knew she was dreaming, but was surprised to see that, even dreaming, she would move her body. She looked down at herself and was shocked to see that, instead of a little girl, she was a woman. She was dressed elegantly in a deep red gown. It fell around her shoulders gracefully, taking care to show her well-formed figure off to those that cared to look. Blinking in shock, she looked at her own long, slender fingers and extended her shapely legs. When... did she grow up? Will she be like this someday? The though excited her somewhat. But still...
"Wha-" She blinked for a few moments. "Where am I?" she called out, surprised and feeling not but a little unnerved. The people around her exchanged glances. The man closest to her, a tall, gaunt-looking man, leaned close to her. His long, dark hair falling in strait lines from his head.
"My lady. We are-" He said something she couldn't make out.
The others looked at her with slightly confused expressions. There were other men, all handsome and young-looking. Young men, but much older than she was... well, she thought, at least how old she thought she was. The women were all young, beautiful and had the look of arrogance about them. Even the girl who looked her age. Even at ten years old, she had the expression of a much older woman about her. Where by the gods was she? Was this still a dream?
This is not a dream... a voice shuddered through her mind, causing the environment to tremble. This is a vision of the future. The voice continued. Sayuka started and wildly looked around, ignoring the looks she was receiving from her host.
Do not speak. Just listen, my child.
His... child? What did that mean? He was her father?
I am not your father. The voice answered her unspoken question. But I did create you. Or rather, I will create you.
Sayuka clenched her teeth and endured the trembling voice assaulting her.
You will awaken soon, and then you will forget this vision ever occurred. That is, until we meet again. Until then, you will grow, you will learn, and you will wait until our meeting.
Until they meet? Sayuka turned the thought around in her head. Meet where? When? What will happen until then? Why was this thing even telling this to her? Who are-
I am known as The Ageless One. The entity spoke. Sakuya felt her body freeze. She had never heard the name before, but she felt the power the name evoked.
I am a spirit from what is known as the Spirit World. And we will meet someday in my world. When that happens, I will offer you something. And you will accept it. The Ageless One declared, his voice seeming to be devoid of tone or reason.
When they meet, he... or it... will offer me something, Sayuka thought, and I will accept it. What did that mean? She considered asking for more information, but the entity spoke again.
My time is limited in your realm. You are awakening. We will meet again, my child. The voice seemed to grow quiet and distant. Sayuka felt a feeling of dread coil in the stomach as the presence of... whatever it was... receded. She wanted it to come back. She wanted it to talk to her more. She didn't want to be alone. She almost reached a hand out to nothing when she heard the voice one more time, almost like a whisper in her head.
We will meet again.
To be continued...
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