“wake up!” they heard children calling happily as three or four of them pounded on their bedroom door. Chione giggled “you up Hafsah?”
“I’ve been up, just seeing how long I could lay here with you before breakfast” Chione rubbed her still sleepy eyes and moved to kiss her wife “we better feed the cuties.”
“we hear you!” The oldest, a thirteen year old named Hasina called from the other side of the door. “We’re coming, go wake up Dakarai!”
“He left a half hour ago to head to town. Nani is still accidentally setting things on fire when she has bad dreams so she doesnt have a mattress anymore and theres no more extra ones. He has to get her another. Its why we’re all up. She was screaming.” Nani, their severely abused five year old. Next week marked six months since they saved her and her one year older brother from their parents. He seemed to be doing alright but Nani suffered from nightmares, not of the physical abuse but the sexual abuse she had been suffering through.
It got the two moving faster to make sure she was okay. They dressed then came out “you go talk to Nani and I’ll start breakfast” Hafsah said to Chione. Chione started walking to Nanis room while the other children followed Hafsah. Chione slowly pushed Nanis bedroom door open and found Nani and Colt sitting on the floor, Nani wrapped in Colts arms “You okay Nani?”
“I’m sorry miss Chione”
“You know we dont care about the bed baby.”
“But the wall too”
“Dakarai will take care of it, you know that. I’m sure he told you too it was okay”
“but are you okay Nani?’
“fire can’t hurt me. I’m a demon”
“we know that but how’re you feeling”
“Just bad I keep ruining the things you give me” Chione walked over to Nani and took her from her brother “You never have to apologize for what happens when you have your nightmares honey. We just want you to feel better. He can never hurt you again, him or anybody else. Hafsah and I will always keep every one of you safe.”
“But my heart still hurts”
“I know honey” Chione said with great sadness filling her body. She would never understand parents who hurt their children, especially sexually. “want me to stay in here with you until breakfast?’
“No, I have Colt. I just want to sit in here with my brother”
“Okay, then we’ll get the two of you when breakfast is ready’ Chione gave Nani back to Colt and kissed them both on the head before walking out, allowing herself to shed a few tears for Nani once she shut the door. By the time Dakarai returned they had already finished breakfast. Chione and Hafsah took all the children outside so Dakarai could work without them getting in his way. Nani hugged his leg “sorry Dakarai”
“go play Nani, I’ll be out as soon as I’m done. There’s nothing to be sorry about” When Nani was outside he grumbled to himself “it’s your fucking father who shoudl be sorry” he deeply wished his sister and Chione would have killed the bastard but for whatever reason they never killed unless it was the only option they had. If anybody deserved to die it was that scum for beating those children and then on top of that molesting Nani.
“I wish we could make her forget.” Hafsah said as she rested her head on Chione’s shoulder. “It’s not fair such a small child should be tormented like that.”
“I know baby, but getting someone to tamper with her memories can be just as damaging.”
Hafsah lifted her head and gave her a kiss. “She’ll heal, she just needs time and for us all to be as understanding as possible.”
When Dakarai finally made his way outside, Nani came running to him and he lifted her into his arms. It made everyone happy to see her brighten up. He tossed the little girl in the air, making her squeal with delight. “That’s better, princesses should always smile.” Dakarai said and Nani hugged him.
Hafsah and Chione watched as Dakarai played with their children, neither knowing what they’d do without him here. Especially while they had Nani but they knew there wasn’t a chance he’d ever leave until she was an adult. They had raised many children in this house but he had never attached to any quite like he had Nani. It wasn’t even that she was sexually abused because they had taken and raised other little girls and boys who had suffered that way. They didn’t know why but it certainly helped Nani and they were glad they had such a close relationship.
The day went by peacefully until Chione had the children gathered in the living room for a story. She was just turning the second page when loud knocking sounded at the door. Dakarai removed Nani from his lap and set her down on the floor before answer the door, ready to attack any potential threat. It was a fairy woman holding a baby that couldnt be over four months old. Sensing no threat Dakarai invited her in. “a baby?’ Hasinas face lit up as she said the words and walked over. The fairy woman smiled “yes, you may hold her if you’re careful” Hasina took the baby then Hafsah asked “what brings you here? Your baby?”
“Oh no, I love my little girl and want to keep her. I came to you because I once dated a man you three raised. He told me so much about you guys. His name was Andure, a fairy like myself” Hafsah and Chione smiled “Thats sweet to hear. We hope he’s doing alright”
“I wouldn’t know, we had a falling out and he left me last year but recently sombody came to my home and offered to buy my little girl. They said fairy children fetch high prices if you knew what creatures to sell them to and they’d give me half of what they knew they’d make if I just gave them my daughter. This was months ago and I pretended to have some interest in order to find out what was going on and as you three can imagine they are selling children to just anybody for any reason. For sex, fairies for drugs, some creatures used to turn others so they live forever. It goes on and on. They are taking defenseless children and giving them to just anybody who is willing to pay.
I can’t do anything about it on my own but if anything I heard about you is true I knew you’d help those babies.” her voice started to crack ‘they aren’t even treated nicely while the demons have them. They were in cages. It was so hard to see”
“we’ll leave tonight” Hafsah said angrily. She looked at her brother “I’ll finish the story and tend to them as always. You two just hurry and bring those children back here where we can protect them” he said with a mixture of sadness and anger. “is your baby staying here mam?” Hasina asked and Chione said “we’ll need you to guide us there. She’ll be in good hands with my wifes brother and it seems Hasina will want to help”
“I know she will be. I was planning to leave her here with him while we went”
They went to their room and packed a small bag then went into the kitchen and grabbed fruit, some jerky sticks, and water. They kissed the children buy and told Hasina not to stay up too late with the baby then followed the woman out. It was nice having Dakarai around since it meant leaving earlier. “Would you mind if I ask why you and Andure split up?” Chione said.
“He was going through some issues, anger issues, we’d argue. One day he just left. I don’t know if he felt bad for the way he was treating me or what, but he hasn’t been back. I wish he would come back, I still love him and I would really like for him to meet his daughter.”
“Maybe after this, we can help you find him. His mother left him on out steps with promises she would be back, you can imagine how he must have felt when she never returned for him. I think it gave him a somewhat negative view on mother’s and wives. In short it wasn’t really you, it was his fear of being abandoned again.”
“So he left me before I could leave him? I would have never done that, I wanted to help him.”
“We know that, but when something like that happens to you, it’s hard to get over.”
She nodded “thats surprising since he talks about you two like you created the heavens. he really loves the two of you and Dakarai of course. He’s told me a lot about him too.”
“he was a good kid, had anger issues when he lived with us too but we understood and tried to help him. What he really needs is a good woman like you to never give up on him. I’m glad he found that. I just wish he hadn’t been the one to give up”
“I’m just glad to know why. I hope he’ll come back home and meet our little girl”
“we’ll talk sense into him, don’t worry. We just need to get to these kids first. How many are there?”
“It was hard to look at them and I had to leave. I’m not sure. Does it matter?”
“Not really, if our current home isn’t big enough my brother will make it bigger. With groups like this you dont know how large of a number they have. We’ve already had to build onto the house once”
“Its a beautiful place, did Dakarai build it all?”
“No, it started as our childhood home. Our parents decided they didn’t want to be parents any longer when we were ten and we raised ourselves from that point. Its why I wanted to take children in like I do. I mean, we survived but if i can prevent another child from growing up alone I’ll do it. Luckily when I found my mate she was happy to continue my work with me and Dakarai is just a giving soul. Child or adult he is always the first to help. Especially when it comes to handy work. He can build and fix all day long which is helpful when dealing with so many children.”
Hasina was trying to get the baby girl to sleep when Dakarai came into the nursery “You need sleep little one. Give her to me and get ready for bed”
“a little longer?”
“I’ve already let you stay up much later than I should have. My sister will have my head. Sleep is important when you’re young so run along” Hasina handed over the baby and kissed Dakarais cheek “night”
“goodnight, thank you for being such a help with the baby”
“I love babies” When she was gone Dakarai asked ‘so why wont you sleep little one?” he sat down in the rocking chair and began to hum softly. When she was resting he walked over to a crib and laid her inside before covering her with a light blanket. He then left to get a bottle ready for when she woke again. He didn’t know how old she was but obviously still at the age of waking multiple times a night.
He cleared his throat when he came in the kitchen and found Nani with her brother Colt. “we were thirsty” Colt answered. He took Nani off the counter she had been climbing then made them both glasses of water. “Its far too late for you two to be up. Please dont come in here again tonight”
“yes sir” they both said then ran off to their bedroom. He listened for their door to close before grabbing a bottle and filling it with milk. He was glad Chione had just went shopping a few days ago since he was alone with the children. Its why they always stayed stocked. With the milk put away and him sure all the little ones were in their beds he locked the doors and laid down on the couch. It was just him and the seven little ones he had promised to always protect. If anything tried to come through that door it would deeply regret it’s decision.
“How long did it take you to get to where the children were being held?” Hafsah asked.
“It was a day and a half. Walking into that place was terrifying.”
“Any magical barriers?”
“None that I noticed, but they could have taken them down to allow me entrance.”
“How many demons?”
She thought really hard trying to remember. “Three walked me along the cages, one of them was telling all about their “products”. There were two guarding the front and then there were a couple of customers. So if you take them out just five.”
“Five shouldn’t be too hard. The hard part is going to be getting all of the kids to come with us
Chione spoke up “If they are being kept in cages they might be easier, anywhere is better than a cage” Chione looked at that young woman “whats your name hun?’
“My name is Sunny but I prefer to be called my middle name which is Lynn.”
“Okay, you told us earlier you could barely look at the children because it upset you so much. Will you be able to fight for them and keep yourself together?”
“Oh yeah, I’ll gladly beat those bastards senseless. I just know my own power and knew if I tried alone I’d fail, plus I don’t have the space and Andure said you take children no matter what. If you don’t have the space you make it”
“hopefully we can get him visiting us too once we convince him he was crazy to leave you”
“I’d like that” The next morning when they were finally sitting to eat breakfast Nani asked “Dakarai, do you know when Chione and Hafsah are coming back?” A smile briefly showed on his face “I don’t know but they’ll be back as soon as they can”
“could we go to the lake today?’ Wilton asked “I have that baby kids I’m sorry. As soon as they come back I’ll take you all. You kids can play outside as much as you want as long as you don’t stray far” Wilton looked disappointed but didn’t ask again. When it came down to it Hafsah and Chione might have to take the kids themselves when they returned. He needed to count up the money they had to see if they could afford adding more children to their home. If they couldn’t he would have to leave to earn more money when his sister and her wife came back.
Hafsah, Chione, and Sunny’s breakfast consisted of an apple a piece which they ate while they walked. They were determined to get to the children as quickly as possible and would only stop if they absolutely had too. If they kept at this pace they would make it there by midnight. “What are we going to do about the children who have already been sold?” Sunny asked.
“I suspect the demons have a ledger where they record all of their transactions. We’ll just look up the names and find the buyers.”
“But they had a lot of kids, I’m sure there are many buyers.”
“Then we’ll appeal to the queen. She has some very powerful people in her family that I am sure will help us.” Chione replied and gave Sunny’s back a reassuring pat. “Everyone knows how generous she is.” This seemed to ease some of Sunny’s worry. Both Hafsah and Chione knew what kind of people were in Cantaly’s family. The assassin Zane and High Dragon Irim could probably take out most of the demons without anyone else getting involved by what everyone else said about them.
When they were done eating they flew up again. When they arrived they were glad these demons were cocky enough to actually not have any barriers around where they were keeping the children. If there were any Chion couldn’t sense them as they approached. They landed and started to walk when they grew near and almost just as the large pit where the childrens cages were came into view the same male demon that had showed her around seemed to come out of nowhere “your back and without a baby”
“We didn’t come to deliver or purchase, we came to free these children.” Hafsah replied.
The demon laughed. “Three women, have come to defeat a group of demons?”
“Give us the children.”
He grinned then swung at Hafsah, but Chione grabbed his fist. “No one touches my wife.” She snapped his wrist then grabbed a handful of his hair and sunk her fangs into his neck. He was surprised at her strength and his scream brought out his companions. Chione dropped the demon, his blood on her face so she looked for all the world like a vampire gone mad. Sunny was amazed at how well they fought, moving in unison like two angels of death. One of the demons broke away from the pack and went for the children, the intent to murder them clear in his eyes. Sunny used her magic to stop him, making fire climb up his legs so he howled in pain.
She quickly flew over to him “give me the fucking keys” she cursed. He tossed them at her and she allowed the flames to stop. As she suspected of a child trafficker he was a coward and ran away. Sunny flew down to the children looked terrified “Its okay babies. Those women are just trying to save you. They only want to give you a home with comfortable beds and good food. Nobody is going to hurt you kids ever again so please come with us.” The older ones seemed unsure but the smallest children looked excited at the prospect of food and beds.
She unlocked the cages and allowed them to come out “we need to stay right here while they fight so you children don’t get hurt” When Chione and Hafsah had either killed or sent running the remaining demons they were covered in blood so they called “Sunny, can your magic clean us up atall?’ She answered in teh form of instantly removing the blood that covered them “wow!” Chione exclaimed ‘yeah, I was blessed with quite a bit of magic” Sunny responded. Sunny started leading the children up while Chione and Hafsah walked towards them, not surprised the children were afraid.
“What are you going to do to us?” One of the oldest asked.
“We’re going to take you home, let you get cleaned up and get some food in your bellies. Would that be alright?” Hafsah replied, giving them her warmest smile.
“How do we know you’re not lying?”
“We promise, all we want is to help.” Chione chimed in.
One of the younger children, a little boy no older that four or five walked up and Chione squatted down so they were at eye level. The little boy took her face in his hands and she smiled at him. “She’s not lying.” He said and moved into her arms so she could pick him up. “She’s safe and warm.”
“If Carwyn says you’re okay then you must be.” A teenage girl said. “He’s special and knows things.”
“Then lets hurry to your new home. A couple of you will have to share rooms regrettably. We always like to give our children their own space. I’ll talk to my brother and see if we have the money to build on again once we have you all clean and fed” The older ones carried the smaller children so they could keep a fast pace. They stopped as frequently as the kids needed, urging them to speak up if they wanted to stop. Now that they were safe there wasn’t any rush since Dakarai was more than capable of tending to the children at home.
On one break a fourteen year old shapeshifter girl named Zahra asked “are you going to do anything about the kids who were already sold?”
“yes, we’re going to talk to the queen. We’re hoping her family will help us”
“Please do, my sister was already sold and I hate to think whats been happening to her”
“You could help by describing who bought her and what she looks like when we get to the house. Any information you kids can remember for us will help us find them” she nodded, looking worried.
Though the journey home was slower, it was worth the looks of relief on the children’s faces when it came into view and Hafsah pointed it out. The front door opened before they got to it and Dakarai stepped out with Nani clutching to his pant leg. He had a grim look on his face at the sight of the children and his eyes burned with the promise of vengeance. “We killed them all.” Hafsah said as the children passed through the front door.
“There are others who deserve to die.”
“And we’ll find them. Chione and I are going to go to the queen and ask her for assistance.”
“Let me go, you just got back and you need to get these kids settled.”
Hafsah opened her bag and pulled out a book. “This has all the names of every person who ever bought from them and what they bought. There is a girl we brought back with us whose sister is missing, take her with you and let her give it to those the queen would send.”
“Can I go too?” Nani asked.
“You should stay here with your brother.” Dakarai said, his eyes and voice softening.
“Please.” He sighed.
“Okay little one, as long as Hafsah and your brother say it’s okay.”
“She’ll be safe with you and it’s not that far to the castle.” Hafsah said with a smile.
“Then go ask your brother, we don’t want him to worry.” She ran off and he turned back to Hafsah. “Tell that girl we will leave when she’s ready.”
“I will, her name’s Zahra so you know it” he hugged his sister then Chione before speaking to Sunny “Your little girl is asleep again. Shes the best sleeper I’ve ever seen when it comes to babies”
“she just got over being ill. I’m glad she was good for you.” When Dakarai walked off to ready for the journey Chione said to Sunny “we still plan to help you find Andure. Stay here aswell and once everything is settled we’ll find him”
“I’ll help out while I’m here”
“You have a baby to mind, don’t worry about anything else” She smiled “I can help out and tend to my daughter. I’m a fairy with a lot of magic and I plan to save you guys a little money when it comes to expanding this home a bit for the new ones. I might not be able to make and do anything but you will soon experience my gifts after I rest a bit”
“Let me show you a room that can be yours” Hafsah said then left Chione momentarily to help out the children.
Nani came running back to Dakarai a few minutes later, a happy smile on her face. He lifted her up onto his shoulders and ran around the yard, making her laugh. Zahra came out after they had been playing for ten minutes and introduced herself after he lowered Nani onto his hip. She clung to him and buried her face in his shirt. “She’ll warm up to you, just give her some time.”
“It’s okay, I understand. So, we’re really going to the castle?”
“Yeah, all are welcome there as long as they don’t present a threat. The queen is kind and wise.”
“I can’t believe I’m going to get to meet the queen. Is it true they are all dragons?” She asked as they started walking.
“Most of them.”
“Do you think they’ll be able to find my sister?”
“If anyone can it’ll be them.”
“And if they can’t, Dakarai will.” Nani added, making them both smile.
“We’ll all work together.” Dakarai replied.
When they made it to the castle Cantaly Jr called for Zane and Irim right away and also informed Dakarai that they should have told her they were running an orphanage sooner so she could have been sending money to support their cause. She gave them six months worth of what she would have been sending them so they could expand their home like he wanted to for the children to have their own space to deal with whatever traumas they had suffered. With Irims and Zanes tracking skills it didn’t take long for the children and monsters that had bought them to be gathered up and get Zahra reunited with her sister.
Cantaly promised they would pay for their crimes against the children along with promising they would be sent money monthly to help them out with raising them. Dakarai had newfound respect for his queen and was grateful he wouldn’t have to leave his sister and the children to earn the extra money they needed. He knew his sister and her wife were strong but tending that many children needed all three of them. Hafsah, Chione, Dakarai & Sunny began work on their home with hope for the future, especially with hope they’d find Andure and get him to open up enough to be a father to his daghter and a proper mate to Sunny.
~ The End ~