She felt cold, her entire body shook, waking her. She blinked awake, her eyes resting on the open door that let snow swirl in and around her. What was happening? Where was she? She slowly sat up, her head pounding. “Hello?” She said. “Is anybody there?” Her question was met only by the wind. She groaned, blinked and there was suddenly someone standing just outside the door. She yelped, scrambling back.
“Whoa, easy.” The voice was male and a hand reached up, pulling a hood back to reveal a pale face framed by dark hair. Frosty blue eyes looked back at her, concerned.
“Wh…who are you? Where am I?”
“You’re in His home, one of them anyway.” He turned away for a moment and when he turned back he had an armful of wood. “This is for you, you’ll need it to start a fire.” He sat them down and nudged them over the threshold with the toe of his boot. “I got this for you too.” He reached over and lifted a large duffel bag. “Warm clothes, food, and water.” He sat it down and did the same with it.
“Why don’t you come in?”
“You would let me? He has brought others, but they always die, they don’t trust me. He’s always hungry and he waits for them to succumb to hunger and cold.”
“It’s cold out there, if…if you promise not to hurt me.”
“I promise.” He stepped over the threshold, lifting the items he had brought her and carrying them over to her. “I’m Soter.”
“It’s nice to meet you, Lucy.” He squatted down in front of her. “You should change into something warmer and I’ll get a fire started.”
“Okay um can I ask why no one trusts you?” He stood, holding out his hands and she took them, letting him pull her up. He was incredibly strong.
“Because…I’m his slave. Unwilling, but still, I belong to him. I’m his dog so he says.” He sighed. “I want to help you, I really do, so please just trust me. It may take time, but I won’t hurt you, I swear.”
“To be honest with you I haven’t been sure if any of this is real. I suspect I’m in a coma or something like one. Though, you do feel incredibly real for someone who I’m imagining.” He didn’t know what to say. Maybe it was comforting to her to think this wasn’t real, that she’d wake up and be home again. Who was he to push and ruin that for her? He also didn’t want to push the subject and have her reject his help like all the others. If thinking she was in a coma would allow him to help her he would be the last to argue the subject. She walked over to the clothes and took them, changing in the bathroom then coming back out. “You started that fast”
“I’ve gotten good at it with years of practice as his slave”
“How does he control you?”
“He’s cast a powerful spell that binds me to him”
“How long have you been his slave?” she was awfully inquisitive for a woman who doubted he was real but he was more than happy to answer her. It was nice talking to someone who wasn’t talking down to him or assuming all the worst things in him. “A few years, since I was a teenager. I’m twenty two now. I think he prefers teenagers. It seems to be the theme going here anyway”
She suddenly tugged his hair. It hadn’t hurt all that much but he had to ask “why did you do that?”
“Your hair feels so real. Did I hurt you?”
“No, you just confused me”
“I’m sorry, you’re trying to help me and I’m pulling your hair like some small child”
“You’re fine, you just caught me off guard”
“well, if this ends up not being all in my head I wont leave you here” He smiled, knowing she had no idea who they were up against.
They sat in silence in front of the fire for a time in companionable silence, Lucy trying to remember how she had been taken and Soter thinking of a way to get her home safe. His master was not easily fooled and would turn violent at the mere thought of disobedience. “Should I cook for us?” Lucy asked softly.
“I can do it.”
“At least let me help, I cook most of the meals in our house.”
Soter looked her questioningly in the eye. “Don’t you have a mom?”
“Yeah, but she suffers from depression and sometimes she just doesn’t feel up to it.”
“Oh, well if you really want to. I mean even though this is all a dream.”
She let out a small laugh. “Well if it’s not then don’t you think we should eat?”
He smiled as he spoke “yeah: They prepared the food he brought together as she asked him questions about his owner and about the house they were in “so he just randomly selects where to put his kidnap victims?”
“Basically, if he has any sort of process to it he hasn’t told me about it but he doesn’t give me much information. When he tells me to do something it’s because he said so, no details. If you do end up actually seeing him he’s not going to be one of those monsters or bad guys in stories that sits there and explains their entire plot. He’ll just try to capture you again or kill you”
“Morbid, If I’m imagining this I need to start reading some happier books and watching more comedys instead of all the gore I watch”
“Big horror fan?”
“Who isn’t. Maybe if you’re real, we’ll have to watch a few movies together.”
A sad smile crossed his lips. “I don’t think that will be happening, Lucy.”
“Let’s just finish up here, okay, you need to eat.”
“I’m not a baby, you know?”
“I know, but you have to keep you strength up, if you don’t then you won’t be able to get away. He likes them weak and helpless, he likes them begging, so you have to be strong, physically and mentally.”
She sighed. “Okay, I understand.”
He gently patted her head. “I’m not upset at you or anything, I just want to make sure you have every advantage.”
“You seem like such a good person. You shouldn’t be someone elses slave” She stared at him and he tried to look back into her beautiful green eyes but he couldn’t. He knew he might see them darker eventually, he might see her lieing dead after his master was done with her. Seeing all he had seen made it hard to look anybody in the eye for longer than a few seconds. Lucy continued looking at Soter a few more moments after he looked away then finished her food. Her weight was on her mind again as she sat there. Another reason to hope this was all in her head is that with all this weight she wasn’t a very fast runner so she couldn’t hope to outrun much that came her way.
“So, what do you do back home besides help your parents?” Soter asked.
“I go to school, hang out with my friends, but it’s mostly school.”
“Oh, that sounds nice. I know my idea of nice sounds boring, but it does.”
“Not at all, my parents are great.” She felt a sudden lump in her throat. “I…I want to go home.”
“How do you know? You said he’s dangerous.”
He sat his plate down, then took hers and sat it down too. His arms were around her before she could ask him what he was doing and he cheeks warmed at the contact. “Let me worry about his punishments, I can take them, I have been for a long time.”
“You can’t do that.”
“Sure I can, I’ll heal much faster than you, so please don’t worry.”
“Just because you’ll heal faster doesn’t mean it hurts less. I don’t want you getting hurt over me. You seem to be a genuinely nice guy. I don’t want you hurt for any reason” It felt amazing to him to hug Lucy. He couldn’t remember the last time he had one and her aura was such a warm, welcoming one. He knew she was a good person too and he wouldn’t let anything happen to her. He let go and gave her the best smile he could in his worry. “I need to go to figure out how I’m going to do this. I need to check a few things and see what I’d be up against to get you home”
“Be careful at least”
“I will, I’ll come back soon.” He left and Lucy suddenly realized how safe he had made her feel. It dawned on her because of the wave of anxiety that hit the second she couldn’t see Soter any longer. Lucy sat close to the crackling fire, letting it’s warmth blanket her body to ward off the intense cold of the snow. She had never much cared for snow before but Soter had looked adorable covered in it when he first came in.
Lucy hadn’t realized she had fallen asleep until the sound of stomping woke her. Her heart thundered fearfully in her chest and she was on her feet and grabbing one of the logs Soter had brought her. Had her captor come for her? Soter said he liked to play with his victims. The front door was pushed open and she felt relief rush over her when she saw the family hoodie. He gave her an apologetic look when he pulled it back and she put the log down, letting out the breath she had been holding. “You scared me.”
“Sorry, I didn’t want to track snow in.” He took his sweater off and shook it then hung it up. “There’s another storm blowing in.”
“So? What’s going on?”
“I had to steal a couple of things from his study, it took longer than expected.” He reached into his back pocket, flinching when he did so.
“Are you alright?”
“Perfect.” He winced again as he pulled the map out and she walked over, suddenly very worried.
“Soter? What happened?”
“Nothing big, he caught me in his study, but he was so worked up he didn’t see what I took so it’s fine.”
“Oh Soter” Lucy said and asked to see. “No, I’ll heal fast. They don’t need any tending to”
“I don’t want you getting hurt for me”
“Hey now, maybe if I can free you we somehow both can be free” She still couldn’t stand the fact he was hurt. It actually truly upset her. It wasn’t like she enjoyed anybodies pain but it especially bothered her to know he had gotten hurt. Soter laid out the map on the table and she tried to keep looking at it instead of the way he was standing. He was obviously in tremendous pain. “If I was to get anything out of there I’m glad it was this. I can get you out no problem with this. I mean, he has a lot of people and traps but in knowing the way and being his servant for so long I know I can get you home”
He tapped the map. “This is where we are right here and these points here…” he tapped them, “are the doorways in and out. There are two, one leads straight to his home and the other takes us somewhere else.”
“Somewhere else?” Another world, hopefully one we can get help in.” He shifted a little in hopes of taking some of the pressure off his wounds and she let out a sigh, grabbing his shirt and lifting it. She gasped at the bruise that covered his side. It went from just under his armpit down to his hip and around his back. “Oh my god, what did he do?”
“Lucy, it was just a beating, and not even that bad of one so please calm down, I’m fine.”
He pulled his shirt down and took her hands in his. “Trust me when I say I’ve had much much worse. I won’t go into detail, you don’t need those images in your head, but this is nothing compared to what he’s done to me.” He gave her a gentle smile. “Now, look here. There’s a path that leads from here to the second door. It looks like there’s a pattern that’ll get us around the traps.” He looked her in this eyes. “When we go, we have to move quickly but carefully and when he comes for us I want you to take the map and go. Don’t stop for me, don’t try and help me, don’t look back, just run.”
“No buts, you just do it, I’ll meet you there.” He gently patted her head and she felt herself warm. She wondered how someone so sweet and gentle had come to be enslaved by an abusive monster. “Anyway, how are you feeling?”
“Fine, I napped.”
She looked so utterly consumed with worry so he hugged her “We can do this, YOU can do this. You are a beautiful and smart woman from what I can see. You just run like hell and I’ll make sure you’re free and I do promise, I’ll come after you and help you wherever you end up when you leave here”
“what if I can’t outrun him?”
“Fear can do amazing things to your speed and strength. Not only that but I will hold him off the second I know he’s following and close. He won’t kill me, I’m too valued as a slave and that will be his downfall.” Soter shook his head “for a monster that’s killed and tortured so many it’s weird to say not killing someone will be his downfall”
“Thats what I worry about though. He could decide to kill you, he could decide to tie you up and torture you for helping me”
“You’re worth the risk”
“You don’t know me”
“The fact you are so worried about me tells me enough”
“Maybe it’s because my dad’s a cop. He taught me you’re supposed to care about people.”
“He sounds like a great guy.” He needed to sit so he did and groaned as he did so.
“Should I get you some ice?”
He shook his head. “It’s healing.” He cleared his throat. “So we can’t leave now, he might be suspicious. You see I’ve been with him long enough to know his study is absolutely off limits. He’ll be wondering why I was there, but it’s going to take time for him to go through everything. If you’re up to it, we can leave tomorrow when the storm is at its peak. Visibility will be low, but that can work to our advantage.”
“If you think it’s best.”
“You have to be bundled up, it’s going to be freezing out there.”
“I will be. Are you going to go back to him?”
“He was pretty pissed so I’ll stay here, the sight of me would just set him off and I’ll have more than bruises.”
Lucy deeply hoped this worked so his pain wasn’t for nothing. Hurt much worse than this was broken bones and she couldn’t even let herself think about that. “he wont think it’s odd you didn’t come back?”
“No, I’m one of his favorite servants but I tend to a lot to keep him happy. He doesn’t expect to see me constantly, especially after a beating”
“what was your life like before this if I may ask”
“Honestly? It’s hard to remember. It feels like I’ve belonged to him my whole life though I know that isn’t true. He just took me young and you know how kids memories are. I need to do a bit of studying tonight. I’m bound to him by magic and I need to figure out how to break it or me running wont matter”
“Oh, I’m sorry for distracting you then. Please, read”
“You’re a welcome distraction, ask me anything, I was just letting you know”
“It’s been a long time sense I actually held a conversation with anyone. My master only speaks to order me around or verbally abuse me, the others he took just screamed at me to go away or wouldn’t speak at all, it’s refreshing, thank you.” Her smile had his heart tripping over itself. He couldn’t remember the last time he had seen someone smile. He stood, going slow so as not to jar his ribs too much and worry her then went and reached into the inner pocket of his sweater, pulling out a small book.
“Spells, it was on his desk so it’s probably one of his favorites. It might have what I’m looking for.”
“Do you need my help?”
“You wouldn’t understand the language. Why don’t you go over the map so you remember each step, I wouldn’t want you running into one of his traps if you have to go it alone.”
“Okay.” She picked up the map and sat in front of the fire with it. He decided to join her and she looked at him with concern for his pain.
“I’m already getting better.”
Her eyes moved back to the map. “So, do you have any siblings or anything?” She asked as she counted each step on the map.
“No, well I might now, but before I didn’t. You?”
“No, just me.”
“I guess us only children will have to stick together.”
“I’d like that.”
She went over the map slowly and repetitively while he read his masters book. This was probably the most important thing she’d ever memorize and she wouldn’t waste his effort, especially not now. For a man who was obviously trying to mask his pain so she wouldn’t feel so bad he looked miserable. His biggest give away was the fact he was sweating when it was freezing in that cabin. Lucy only quit going over the map when her eyes desperately needed a break. She laid on the floor and closed them “are you going to sleep?” he asked, surprising her that he was paying any attention to what she was doing. Lucy thought he had been absorbed in the spell book.
“I was just going to rest for a bit, not long.” She heard him scoot over and opened her eyes. “What?”
“Lift your head up, I’ll be you pillow.”
“What?” She sat up, blushing. “You don’t have to do that, you’re injured and busy.”
“Come on now, no more fussing.” He patted his lap. “Seriously, I’m fine.”
“Al…alright.” She rested her head on his lap, her face bright red and her heart beating overly fast in her chest. She glanced at him and saw he had gone back to reading, still not complaining as his eyes took in every word.
“Sleep, Lucy, I’ll watch over you.”
“If you get tired, tell me okay?”
He only devoted all his attention to reading the spell book when he could feel her completely relax. “Oh my god, Lucy!” she had fallen asleep and was startled awake by his excitement “I’m sorry but I think this is it. I need to stand!” She got up and he stood, walking over to the small table and setting it down. He started rubbing the sides of his face in an odd way that had Lucy staring at Soter. The words he spoke made no sense but she knew they had to be words from the book. She was a little afraid but not of him. Magic wasn’t something she was accustomed to and she didn’t want him to mess up and do more harm to himself. She imagined magic had to be a tricky thing.
His scream of pain startled her and when he fell to his knees she dropped next to him. “Soter?” She said as she helped straighten him and she could see a symbol glowing red on his forehead. Sweat covered his skin and his entire body jerked so she had to pull him against her to keep him from hitting his head on the table. He clung to her, his teeth gritting against the pain, his breaths come out in pained pants.
The mark began to fade and he found himself able to fully breathe again. His head throbbed and his jaw hurt from clenching it so hard. “Fuck.” Was all he could say, was the only word that even came close to describing the agony he had just been through.
“Are you okay?” Lucy asked as he caught his breath.
“That was terrible.”
“You scared me, I thought…well I didn’t know what to think.”
“Sorry, just give me a minute. Holy shit that hurt.”
After about ten minutes of silence she asked “so you removed the magic tieing you to him?”
“Yeah, and it’s only a little over an hour from when I actually wanted to leave so I just want to head out after I rest just a bit more. I don’t know if he could feel that. Like, I’m not sure if he could feel me sever from him.”
“Are you serious? I just meant to rest my eyes”
“It was fine, I couldn’t stop reading until I found what I needed. I’m a demon so I’m okay on no sleep. Don’t worry about me” She just rubbed his hair, hoping to give him some comfort until he was ready. It wasn’t too much longer before he got up and asked her “are you ready? Once we go we can’t stop. Even if he didn’t feel that he’s coming soon”
“I’m ready” He picked up the map and handed it to her “keep it, I don’t want you getting lost”
“what about you getting lost?”
“I’ll be fine, I’ve never had to say those three words so much” he said with a smile and she blushed again. He took her hand and kept is as they walked to the door and out of it. Once there he surprised Lucy by easily sweeping her off her feet “I’m going to carry you up until he comes for us. I’m a half demon, I can manage it no problem” He took off as fast as he could. Lucy clung to him, half afraid half exhilarated. A handsome guy was holding her and the rush of the wind felt amazing despite it being so cold. If they made it out he hoped he might run with her again sometime.
Lucy wasn’t sure how far away from the cabin they were when something shot past them. “shit!” he said and he stopped, setting her down “he’s coming and he has some of his other slaves. Run, I mean it, don’t make me tell you again, please Lucy!” she didn’t want to but she wouldn’t waste all of his effort. He said he’d make it out too, he said he’d come find her wherever she was going to end up and she had to just trust him.
Trusting him had only turned out good this far so she ran with a heavy heart, near tears with worry he’d die or be hurt again. Lucy supposed the monster that had tormented and taken her cared more about his servants disobedience than catching her because nothing followed her and nothing else flew by her head. She just ran and ran even long after her legs ached and begged her to stop. She’d only slow down atall to double check she was going the right way.
When she made it to what the map said was the portal she collapsed for a second, needing a break and hoping that maybe Soter would catch up to do this with her. It was terrifying to think of going through by herself. Who knew what waited for her on the other side, who knew if she would even do it right. She didn’t know if there was a wrong way to pass through and she didn’t want to lose a limb or die by just being ignorant of how these things work.
Having no concept of time she guessed she had been sitting there a half hour and there was still no sign of Soter “come on…please” she said to the air. She waited awhile longer then decided to pass through. It was what he had wanted her to do and if he had died to help her she needed to make his death count for something. Terrified as she may be she closed her eyes tight and forced herself to walk through.
Her stomach twisted and she had to slap a hand over her mouth to keep from throwing up. She took deep breaths and moved away from the portal, finding a place to hide that was still close enough she could see it. She sat huddled up against a tree, terrified of what could be living in the woods she now sat in. Her thoughts stayed on Soter and the more she thought of him the more her mind played every worst case scenario it could think of. His master could be torturing him right now and she was sitting there doing nothing. She was startled when the portal opened again and he stumbled through and jumped up just as he fell. She rushed to his side, gasping at the sight of blood soaking through his shredded sweater, at the bruises covering his face, She knew there had to be more, that there may even be internal injuries. “Soter?” She dropped down and shook him, but he didn’t move. “Soter, please.” She felt tears burning her eyes and she started sobbing, her heart breaking at the sight of him so battered.
“Excuse me, miss?” The voice startled her and she turned around, putting herself between Soter and the young man who seemed to have appeared out of nowhere.
“Wh…who are you?”
“Easy, I was sent to check on the portal. We keep tabs on them now, my father’s rule. He’s badly wounded, but he’s still breathing.”
“That man, he’s still alive, but just barely. My family can help if you let me take you.”
Lucy knew there was nothing she could do for him. His best chance was with this kind looking stranger. The man bent down and lifted Soter into his arms just as easily as Soter had held her earlier. As they began walking at a brisk pace Lucy asked “Laysan River, I’m taking you to my parents, the king and queen. Their names are Suri and Hern.” Kings and queens, she knew with absolute certainty that portal hadn’t taken her home now. Another man ran up who introduced himself as Gavril. “Could you let him guide you to the castle. I need to hurry with your friend” Laysan asked and Lucy gave him permission. Soters life was in her hands and she desperately hoped she was making the right choices.
Laysan took off so fast it startled her. Gavril rested a hand on Lucy’s shoulder “My Uncle is a good man, my whole family is. We’re going to help you two with whatever happened”
“what’s your name?”
“welcome Lucy, just follow Negan and I”
“My wolf” the large wolf rubbed it’s head against her and she rubbed his fur “Nice to meet you”
“He likes you, that’s good.”
“Will Soter be alright?”
“If anyone can help him, our healers can, but it’s also up to him.”
Gavril patted her back. “Trust that he’ll wake up then.”
Lucy could only imagine what had happened in the time they were separated, what that monster and his slaves had done to Soter for his defiance. She had never seen so much blood and she knew it would take a long time to forget the sight of him like that. When they arrived at the castle, she was guided to the room they had taken Soter to. He was laying unconscious on a bed, even paler than before, his torn sweater and shirt gone so they could get to the wounds covering his torso. There were so many bruises and cuts she wondered how they had been inflicted in such a short period of time.
“May I got to him?”
“Of course.” Gavril guided her closer and she sat near the head of the bed, letting her fingers brush his forehead.
“I’ll leave you two alone but there will always be someone close if you need anything. All you have to do is call for help”
“Thank you so much”
“we’re alwasy happy to help” Lucy cried almost as soon as he pulled the large wooden door shut “Soter”It took him nearly two days to wake up but he did and he made a full recovery about a week later. It was then they finally asked about getting back to her world. Hern sighed “thats tricky, there are many human worlds he could have snatched you from Lucy”
“I know but my parents….I need to get home”
“I know, let me talk to my daughter Fallon and her husband Rain about escorting you through the worlds. We’ll just keep trying until we find the right one and get you home though I’m sorry to say just taking random guesses may take months”
She looked down, feeling a little defeated. “I understand.”
Soter pulled her into a hug as soon as they were alone, gently stroking her hair. “Hey, it’s okay, we’ll get you home.”
“But what if we can’t? What if I never see them again?”
He pulled back to look at her, smiling as he wiped away the tears running down her cheeks. “I made a promise and I’m going to keep it. I’m going to walk you right up to the front door.”
“Yeah, so please don’t cry, it hurts my heart.”
Hern went to see his daughter and son in law that very day and had them come to dinner to give Lucy and Soter their answer. It was a bit nerve wracking waiting that long but they had an amazing castle to explore in the meantime. Hern and Suri had both let them know they were welcome anywhere in their castle. When dinner came Lucy was grateful that Fallon let them know right away that they would guide them from world to world as long as it took to get her home. “you wont get lost?”
“Oh no, Rain and I will have no trouble getting home. My father wouldn’t have asked us to do it if he aswell knew we would not get lost in the search. He also knows we’re strong enough to protect you if we should find ourselves in any danger. Some worlds aren’t as peaceful as others and depending on where you live we might be forced to walk through some nasty ones to get you back”
“if you can’t make portals yourself most can only be accessed at a certain spot.” This all seemed incredibly scary and overwhelming but she had to admit to herself a small part of her was growing excited thinking about walking through many different kinds of worlds. They finished dinner, made some preparations then Rain and Fallon spent the rest of the evening hanging out and saying goodbye to loved ones they wouldn’t see for awhile. Lucy couldn’t believe the sacrifice these people were making from strangers. Fallon and Rain would leave their family for an undetermined amount of time, would fight for two total strangers.
Her gratitude was immense and she hoped one day she could do something to thank them. In the morning Hern gave his daughter a long hug. Lucy could see he’d miss her but she saw no worry. He obviously really did trust in hers and Rains abilities one hundred percent. As they walked away Fallon said “hungry, thirsty or need to pee tell us right away. This could take awhile so theres no sense rushing and being uncomfortable okay?”
“How old are you Lucy?”
“is that an adult where you’re from? Information like that will help Rain and I so I’m going to be asking a lot of questions”
“No, I’m not an adult until I’m 18”
“Okay, good” Rain suddenly spoke “yeah, that knocks out a number of worlds. Good thinking beautiful” He kissed her cheek and she smiled so radiantly. It made Lucy smile at the sweetness of it. “are men more dominate? Women or is it one that tries to be equal?”
“Okay” Questions went back and forth like this until they reached the first portal, the start, well, second chapter of a crazy adventure she hadn’t asked for but at least got to have the company of good people on it. Hell without Soter she’d be in that cabin, starving to death and being scared senseless by that monster. A wild adventure was about to begin, a long journey home to her parents.
They passed through and continued walking, talking as they had so far. Day five of their journey Rain spoke seriously “we’ll be in a world soon that has no sun. It’s perpetual night and I need you to stay close Lucy. Soter, you’re a demon so I’m not as worried about you but still. I need you close to help keep her safe. Unless I say something is friendly there don’t bother it and I need you two to be as silent as possible. Noise will attract things you don’t want to deal with.
“okay” She sounded scared. It hadn’t been Rains intention but if he was going to get her home safely he didn’t need to sugar coat things when they were about to enter a dangerous world. Her heart was going a million miles an hour when they were at the portal so Soter took a moment to hug her tightly to him “you’re going to be okay. We won’t let anybody or anything hurt you. Why don’t you let me carry you here?”
“You don’t have to”
“I want to if it will make you feel safer”
“Um…okay…thanks” His expression grew softer “you don’t have to thank me.” They passed through hand in hand, Soter sweeping Lucy off her feet the second they entered the darkness of the new world. She clung to him, even more frightened now. It was much harder to see than she anticipated. They seemed to have a sort of moon but it wasn’t like the one she knew. Soter whispered “it’s okay, I can see perfectly even if you can’t”
“Yep, one of the perks of being a demon”
“That’s really cool, I wish I could do that.”
He chuckled then whispered. “You know, the face your making right now is really cute.”
She blushed. “What do you mean?”
“You look so amazed and curious, it’s cute.”
He had to press his lips together to keep from laughing too loud. He wanted to keep her distracted, but not draw unnecessary attention to them. “So? Eighteen huh?”
“Until you’re an adult.”
“Oh, yeah, I mean I guess in my world anyway. What about yours?”
“Sixteen, but in some demon cultures you’re not fully recognized as on until you hit fifty.”
“Wow, how strange.”
“Well I suppose its a good thing things vary from place to place like that so these two can use that information to return you to your family” Rain let them talk until they were walking through an area where they especially didn’t want to attract anything “I’m sorry guys but now we need absolute silence” They instantly quit talking and Soter made sure he was staying close to Rain and his wife Fallon. He saw them both ready their weapons despite the fact nothing was on them yet. That plus how tense Rain now looked Soter knew he needed to be close and pay attention so that nothing could take them by surprise.
When Rain held up his hand for them to stop, Soter came to an immediate halt, his arms tightening around Lucy, his body ready in case he had to get her to safety. He watched as Rain gestured to Fallon and they both crept forward and out of sight. Lucy gripped him tighter and Soter brushed a light kiss over the top of her head, knowing he may be overstepping, but having no other way of comforting her when they had to be silent. He was as still as a statue, even his breathing was shallow. The roar made Lucy jump and she bit back on the yelp that threatened to escape as she squeezed her eyes closed and pressed her face in Soter’s chest. It was silent again in an instant and Rain and Fallon were coming back, both of their swords covered in blood. They wiped them clean and then motioned for Soter to follow them. Once they were in a safe place again Lucy asked, “What was that thing?”
“A type of large cat, completely black. It was stalking us.” Rain explained. “It was more than likely after you.”
“It could sense your fear. Predators don’t tend to single out people like Fallon, Soter, and I, they can sense our power, the fact that we’re not intimidated, but this is all new to you and you’re scared so it singled you out.”
“I’m so sorry”
“don’t be, it’s natural. I’m sure I can speak for everyone present in the fact we don’t blame you for being frightened” Fallon nodded and Soter said “he’s right.” They hurried on and got out of that world as quickly as they possibly could. It was a few days later when Rain said “I know you might not like this idea and I’m sorry Lucy but it’s not good for our bodies to do nothing but travel. Fallon and I have been to this world many times and know good people we can stay with for a few days to let our bodys heal and get them back to top shape”
“I won’t complain about stopping. You three are doing your best and deserve a break from the constant going from one portal to another”
“That too honestly, especially with you Lucy. It’s not good for your body to hop as many portals as we have been lately, not in a row”
Rain and Fallon lead to a castle and even after everything she had seen, Lucy’s jaw dropped at how beautiful this place was. The elf guards only briefly stopped them long enough for Rain to explain who she and Soter were and for him to ask for an audience with their king and queen. They were given permission and they headed inside. It was Thalassa who greeted them, a child on her hip. “Rain, Fallon, good to see you again.”
“Queen Thalassa and is this the newest addition?” Rain said.
“Hello little one.”
The little boy hid his face and they all laughed. “He’s so shy.” She kissed his forehead. “So, what brings you here?”
“Would it be alright if we stayed here for a few days. We’re trying to get Lucy home to her family and we’ve been jumping from portal to portal without rest.”
“of course, I’ll show you to rooms and you can tell me what’s going on over lunch in a few hours” Rain and Fallon were given a room first. When they came to the room besides it Thalassa asked “so do you two want to share a room? She’s safe here but I thought I’d ask if she’d be more comfortable with you staying with her”
“I’ll be fine by myself. You get to take a break too Soter.”
“I wont place him in a room far then” Thalassa said then walked just a little farther down the hall with Soter. Lucy sat on her bed and cried. She wasn’t sure why but she guessed it was just from missing her family. She might have asked Soter to stay with her if she hadn’t suspected she was about to do just this. It had been so long and would be a long time still before she got home and that was assuming they’d be able to find where she was from.
There was a light tapping on her bedroom door and she quickly wiped at her face before getting up to answer it. It was Soter and he instantly pulled her into a hug, his hand stroking her hair. “I figured that’s what you were doing.”
“Am I that obvious?”
“Yeah, I wasn’t going to say anything, but I got worried and couldn’t help myself.”
“You’re sweet, thank you.”
“Want me to get you something to eat or drink?”
“Come on, we’ve been going non stop, I smelled muffins on the way in, blueberry.”
“My nose is more sensitive than yours, let’s go eat.”
She gave him a small smile that made his heart dance with joy. They followed his nose to the kitchen where the staff happily served them muffins and coffee. It had been a long journey so far but she was grateful to be free because of Soter and have such wonderful guides. Rain and Fallon were a sweet couple and fun to be around. When they didn’t have to be on edge they would joke and talk, it made the trip nicer. She longed for her family but she felt more at peace now that she could cry it out for a second. Traveling with these three, visiting new worlds, this was her life for the time being and she decided she would just appreciate the experience. She had seen so much beauty, so many fantastic things, things she might have never seen if all this didn’t happen. She’d get home or maybe she wouldn’t but Lucy decided to live in the now, to enjoy Soter, Rain, Fallon and the good people they’d meet on her way home.
~ The End