Almost Drabbles

Wren lets the gentle flames play along her arms. They blend into the wisps of sunlight splattering through the canopy above, spots of vague warmth, welcome from the chill she’d felt all day sitting at school.
She kicks at the waters below, her pant legs rolled all the way up to her knees.
She blinks down at her legs, guessing that even in the body of the Empress, she’ll have to shave. Would people think an Empress with hairy legs was gross? Or, it might not really matter, though she wondered if they had shaving gel in this place. She hoped so, because the Empress looked beautiful. Soft, blameless tan skin, a sinewy frame, and pretty lashes framing green irises, long locks of dark hair that fall to her waist.
Wren considers herself for a moment, before bursting out in quiet giggles.
‘Sinewy.’ Ew, gross, her poetry class was rubbing off on her.
The Empress’s body gave her a little bit of confidence, so maybe if she used words like ‘sinewy,’ aloud, no one would blame her. She’d just look like a pretty girl using pretty words.
She reaches down and laps some water over stomach with a wave of her arm. She wanted to experiment while she was here. Try wearing shorts, for once, or a cute summery dress.
God, dad would kill her if he knew.
The thought makes her roll her eyes, and she slips deeper into the river waters, sitting right in the shallows until all but her upper torso was underwater. Flames still flicker on her skin’s surface, and she watches the blood reds and fiery oranges with fascination.
That is, until there’s something that starts to bother her.
Something that niggles at her consciousness, like an itch she couldn’t quite scratch. She looks up, over her shoulder, and that’s when her eyes find someone else’s, through the trees. That gives her a startled scream, and she scrambles forward, falling face-first into the water, and she swallows a mouthful.
“Stay away!” She splutters, sitting up. “Who are you, you creep?”
She feels a blush darken from her face all the way to her shoulders, as her heart hammers in her throat. She was fully clothed and everything, and hidden by the water to boot, but she’d been enjoying the quiet while she had it, and she’d been soaking in the feeling of being something like a main character from a manga. She hadn’t wanted to be rudely interrupted-- She blinks. Well, unless it was by a hot dude, just like from a manga. It would make the perfect meet-cute, now that she thinks about it.
She peers curiously into the trees now, wondering if that was it.
It was a storybook world, after all.
Would it be so far-fetched if she was destined for a Prince Charming?
But the person who steps forward into the clearing is a girl, and Wren’s heart sinks. So much for a Prince Charming.
“Empress.” The girl says, as Wren sighs in irritation.
“What? Are you another one of those servant girls? I told you to leave me alone for a while.” And then, because she wanted to sound a little more dignified, she raises her nose up in the air, using a deeper inflection of her voice, “Your Empress wishes to explore this world undisturbed. Leave me to my brooding.”
The other girl snorts, and Wren blinks, blush darkening.
Shut up.” Wren snaps. “I’m your Empress. You dare mock me?”
“Empress, I don’t think we’ve met.” And the girl comes forward. She’s wrapped in a white dress, summery, just like the kind Wren had thought of wearing a few moments before, though there’s something off about the girl. The dress seems to be made of tatters of ribbons wrapped around her, the girl’s skin is so pale, sometimes, Wren thinks she can see right through it, as if the girl could dissolve into the air any minute. The other girl’s hair is a beautiful wild blond, wispy around her head in a windblown cover-model way. Wren would pin the girl to be the first to die in a story, if this really was like a manga. The pretty fragile-looking ones in white always turn out to be the naiive sacrifices. Either that, or the naiive heroines. Or the haunting ghosts.
No sooner had the thought struck, than the girl kneels by the riverside, offering her a hand.
“I’m the Hero of this city.” The other girl says. “Amisra. Of course, I’ve already heard your name.” With a smile that sends a flutter through Wren’s stomach, unbidden, the other girl speaks the Empress’s name, like it’s nothing. “Cellica. We’ve been destined to meet for a long while.”
Wren shies away from Amisra’s hand. Oh nonono, it was terrible timing thinking this girl was cute. Hero, she’d said? Heroes are bad. At least, to the Empress, the destined Villainess, they were.
“What do you want?” Wren asks. “I’m not falling for that smile. The pretty ones always turn out to the be the dangerous ones.”
Amisra’s smile is sudden, with a laughter like the sound of clear bells. “I don’t know if I’m dangerous. Pretty, I’ll take.”
“Are you a ghost?”
“Do I look like one to you?”
“Yeah, you kinda do.”
“I’m not,” she smiles.
“And I have to just believe that?”
“Did I ask you to prove if you were alive?”
Wren narrows her eyes at the other girl. Well, enemies-to-lovers, or ill-fated-love stories were popular, too. Wren wasn’t into the whole Romeo-and-Juliet type of thing, though, since it seemed like a ton of trouble and came with so much drama. Nah, if the Empress was gonna have a love interest, she’s going to make sure it’ll be someone she’ll have a happy ending with.
“I’m not getting out of this water,” Wren says. “Go away.”
Amisra’s smile is easy, as she sits down and puts her legs in the waters. Wren notices the dirt and the water shift, reacting to Amisra’s touch like they would any regular person. “Okay. We can talk like this, anyway.”
Wren stands up quickly. “Didn’t you hear me? Shoo. Go away.”
She could almost see the romance flag pop up. Misunderstanding on the first meeting? Classic meet-cute. Do those happen with girls too since Wren is bi? She had no idea. But she had to make this go away.


next!
doll-like

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“That carriage attack along Brickwood last week,” the Hero says, eyes on the waters as she lazily swings her legs. “I heard you were there.”
“Oh, yeah. Set the thing on fire.” Wren says shortly, wading to the other side of the river.
“A mother and a father lost their son that day.”
Wren smiles at that. “Oh, yeah. Pretty villainous stuff, huh? I burned the carriage down, hunted down the livestock he had too. Chicken were a pain chasing down, though.”
“You killed someone.”
“Yep.” Wren pauses, her steps squelching in the mud as she turns to the Hero. “I’m the Villainess. I’m having fun doing my job. Just like you’re having fun doing yours.”
The Hero’s gaze on hers is steady, and Wren doesn’t blink.
Wren smirks, “You’re trying to make me feel bad about it. You’re pretending to be all nice, but you’re just here to attack me, aren’t you?”
Amisra says nothing, until Wren starts to feel stupid, and turns around, continuing to wade to the other side, irritated now.
“You’re not gonna attack when my back’s turned, are you?” Wren calls. “Wouldn’t be very Hero-like of you.”
She hears movement behind her, and ignores it. When she reaches the other side, she pulls her feet out of the mud, wrinkling her nose, and stumbles, waving her arms blindly to catch herself in time. But, alas. Her hands sink into the muddy banks, and then, just when she pictures the Hero laughing at her clumsiness, seconds before her face would’ve followed, she finds her nose buried in soft fabric, arms holding her up. The smell that fills her senses reminds her of forest leaves, dusty roads, as Amisra helps her straighten up, now Wren’s face is really burning. Well, metaphorically burning. Though, a few seconds more and perhaps her out-of-control fire magic would have that sorted and it wouldn’t be so metaphorical anymore.
“I’m not like you,” Amisra says, and the steel in her voice brings Wren out of her temporary daydreams of wondering if the Hero would be interested in a Romeo-and-Juliet sort of thing.
“Yeah, because you’re so kind-hearted and righteous,” Wren rolls her eyes. “Isn’t playing the Hero boring? They’re all the same in the end, strict moral code and all. Heroes aren’t really that interesting.”
She looks over her shoulder, to the other side of the river. Where, obviously, Amisra is no longer there. Must’ve been magic. Wren wishes she had magic like that. Was it teleportation?
“This isn’t a game.”
“Isn’t it?” Wren smiles, looking at Amisra now. The other girl’s slightly shorter than her, even standing higher up on the slanting slope of the river banks, which Wren finds incredibly endearing all of a sudden. They were even doing the heated banter thing. Though, really, enemies-to-lovers was such a slow-burn trope, and it came with a lot of fighting, and Wren isn’t sure she wanted that. She frowns at the other. She’s not so sure Amisra wanted that either, but that’s what people always said in the beginning of enemies-to-lovers tropes. “We’re in a fairytale. We have roles. We have a story. It’s kinda my job to be the best Villainess I can be, or else who’s going to spice things up around here? A story without a villain is just people living their normal lives.”
“What’s so wrong with boring?” Amisra asks, brows furrowing, and Wren finds that adorable, too. Focus, Wren. No falling for the cute Hero.
Wren laughs, probably looking ridiculous with one muddy hand and uneven splotches of a remaining blush on her cheeks, her pant legs still rolled up to show off her hairy legs. But she was going to prove she was committed to her role. She was pretty, too, so she wasn’t going to get fazed in the face of the Hero’s doll-like face and chocolate brown eyes.
“Whoever picks up a boring story to read?” Wren shrugs, moving to walk past the Hero up the slope. The Hero grabs her arm, and Wren flinches, shrugging her off. “Stop doing that! I’m not interested! You’re cute, yeah, but I don’t want to!”
When Wren looks at Amisra, the Hero looks puzzled, and is frozen a little, as if wondering what she’d done wrong.
“God, why do you have to be cute,” Wren mutters, unsuccessfully trying to brush her own hair off her face with the back of her hand. “Look, I kinda get what we’re doing here, but we can’t. I kinda want to fall for somebody who’s not gonna give me any angsty will-we-will-we-not sorta thing. Sorry.”
Amisra raises a brow at that, and Wren frowns. “…What do you mean?”
Wren rolls her eyes, “What? You don’t wanna kiss me or something? I know the Empress is pretty.”
Amisra stares at her, and Wren flips her hair over her shoulder. “Yeah, I thought so. So, go, shoo. Go play with your other little Hero friends. We can meet later on a battlefield or something, but not like this.”
“I don’t… are you hitting on me?”
Wren pauses, about to have continued walking. “No! You’re hitting on me.”
“You killed somebody, and you’re gonna–”
“You like bad-girl types? Yeah, sorry. Can’t be me. Maybe try–”
“Oh my god.”
“What?”
“You thought I was hitting on you.”
Wren gives her an irritated look. “You showed up watching me from the forest, we did that cute banter thing, and then you caught me when I fell-- look, you caught my arm? What else did you think you were doing?”
“I don’t-- not hitting on you?” Amisra looks either irritated or flustered, Wren can’t tell.
“Sweetheart, you have to be more careful then. You almost set off a ship-- thank goodness I got it under control.”
“A what?” Is Amisra’s confused response.
“A…” Wren sighs. “Do you read? Like, at all?”
“But we’re both girls.”
“You’re straight? My bad, then. Must’ve gotten the signs wrong.”
At that, Wren really is embarrassed, thinking she’d read all the flags correctly. Darn it, these sorts of things were easier to spot in books. But all the signs had been there!
“Are you sure you don’t want to kiss me?” Wren asks, brows furrowing, at which point Amisra blinks, eyes going to her lips a second, until the other girl shakes her head, turning away.
“Hey, this is embarrassing for me, too!” Wren protests, blushing again, as the Hero starts shaking with silent laughter.


next!
fundamental element

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Wren folds her arms, offended by the hilarity the Hero found in the situation. “It’s not that funny. It happens.”
Amisra braces an arm against a tree branch, laughter slowing. “So this whole time…”
The Hero turns on her, so suddenly, Wren didn’t have the chance to react, backing away into a nearby tree as the Hero stalks towards her, stopping when her back presses against the tree trunk. “I’ve been talking about the lives you’ve taken, and you had this silly fantasy playing in your head? Are you right in the mind?”
“Hey,” Wren protests, flames flaring over the surface of her wet skin, eyes flashing. Amisra’s fist lodges in the bark beside Wren’s head, and Wren looks down at the righteous anger in the other girl’s eyes skeptically. “You know this is a classic kabedon, right? If you keep doing things like this, of course you’re gonna be setting off all the flags.”
She sees the fire burn in Amisra’s eyes, and irritated, Wren lets her magic flare with her emotions.
“What a good little Hero you are,” Wren says, knowing the heat and flames on her were much more unbearable to other people. Her flames burn high, skimming the other girl’s skin, and the Hero immediately backs up a step, giving her space. Wren does the thing she’s seen in anime, the kamehameha thing, putting her hands together and imagining fire blasting out. To her absolute delight, it works.
Light and flames shoot out from her palms, as if having been begging for a release, and the Hero is gone.
Wren smiles, then laughs, leaning on the bark at her back to look at the damage she’s caused around her.
‘What a good little Hero you are,’ was a good line. It carried some dramatic flair, fitting for the Hero’s last moments.
“Watch your back, Empress.”
Wren tenses, looking into the trees above.
“We’ll becoming for it.”
“Where are you?” Wren snaps. Though the Hero’s words had sounded like a temporary goodbye of sorts, enough to mark the end of the scene, and if the Hero had left, she wouldn’t know.
Ah, right.
The Hero wasn’t like other people in this world. The Hero had magic, too. Maybe even plot armor.
Wren frowns at the thought, mood darkening.
Oh well. The fundamental elements of a story would still be in place after all. If this was her first meeting with the Hero, there would be plenty of others to follow. And Wren would be far more prepared the next time.
As Wren straightens, heading towards her castle towers rising in the distance, she shakes her head. Oh, they really have to stop setting off all the flags. Promising to meet again next time was another classic.


next!
gladly

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I love them they’re so adorable


( TW for throwing up and vomit… sort of)
Jelly, as I’ve started to call the purple tentacled person, shows me more places.
“Don’t eat this,” they warn me as we climb up massive ladderlike structures.
“What is it?” I ask, sniffing the structures and realizing they smell sour.
“It’s sour candy. Also known as things like envy and jealousy.”
They go on to tell me about how they ate a bit and wished they hadn’t, but how nobody knows a way to refresh themselves without going back to square one, and they already had so many flavors inside them.
“It would be like dying, becoming simple again. Even if I’d get to choose the flavor I started with, I like feeling like a fleshed out person. Or… a candied out person.”
I laugh, glad I can laugh, and accidently fall off the bars we’re climbing on.
The impact on the ground doesn’t hurt at all.
Some things about this world are nice.
Still, it’s not right that I’m trapped here. Even if it is with someone like Jelly, who I would gladly travel with forever.

“This is one of my favorite places I’ve found,” they tell me as we climb down a sticky ropelike ladder down from cotton candy clouds of shallow happiness.
I lick the ladder, the familiar taste on my tongue as I look down at a massive brown field full of chocolate boulders.
But the chocolate boulders aren’t the only interesting thing here.
It’s well populated, by creatures and by statues.
“Did all of those creatures used to be people?” I wonder, even as my attention is drawn away from the various forms that the creatures take and to the statues.
“Probably, I’ve talked to a lot of people here and most of them have a faint memory or two.”
“And if they can talk…” I say.
A huge, detailed dragon statue draws my attention. This must have taken years. Or… whatever measurement of time. Okay, time doesn’t matter here.
“I think I read a book about a dragon once. Or maybe many books,” I say, trying to remember but the sensation passing.
What is a book, anyway?
“And I think I… watched a dragon, but it wasn’t real?” they say, confused.
“Let’s carve something ourselves,” I say.
“What should we carve? How about ourselves?” Jelly suggests, pulling out some shards of hard candy out of their pockets and handing one to me.
That sounds fun. But… this isn’t real. These forms aren’t really the things I want to remember.
“Fluff?” they ask, tilting my head toward them with a tentacle.
I smile. They call me that because of the fluff around my neck. I think my feet are paws, as well.
“What if we try to sculpt our memories? Or… as close as we can represent them.”
Jelly looks surprised for a moment, then smiles.
“Sure!”
They begin trying to represent windblown hair, going so far as to try to carve out individual strands and getting frustrated when the chocolate snaps.
How do I represent the feeling of isolation, or darkness, or stairs when I don’t even remember what they are?
Hmm… I think I had long hair as well.
I don’t really remember what pure old humans look like, so I just go with my gut, trying to bring out closed body language.
“It’s alright,” I say sometime later, sitting back.
Jelly has sculpted hair and large wheels attached to pedals below them.
“I can’t really remember the rest, but it’s alright! Want to go look at the other sculptures now?” they ask.
I nod happily, and we keep going.
There are plenty of fantastic creatures, some of which I think came from the world I came from and some of which are probably people here.
There are abstract statues like we did, and one that strikes me with its clarity despite the lack of detail.
It’s a human, clearly, their eyes scrunched closed as something comes out of their mouth.
“So that’s what humans look like. I’d forgotten,” I say, examining the features that feel unfamiliar after so long.
They’re so simple, yet so expressive.
“Is this a memory? Or…” Jelly goes silent, thinking.
I want to get out of here and become a human again, but I get sucked into the massive monsters we see, even one story made out of a series of scratched drawings in the ground, about avians fighting trolls to win the favor of the bird king who seems to just like fighting.
We ask a few passerby what their memories are and some refuse to answer. None know how to leave this place, and two of them even ask why we’d want to.
“They really think it’s perfect here, huh,” Jelly vents afterward, “they can’t taste how constantly sweet it is? I KNOW there’s more to life than this. I know it.”
One of the passerby suggests something that stops me short and makes me reconsider everything.
“What if we’re dead and there is nothing more than this? This might be someone’s idea of heaven,” the fox-clown made of saturated dark colors that bleed into each other suggests.
“That… I hope not,” Jelly says.
“Nobody has said they remember dying,” I argue.
“Unless we just all forgot. Forgetting seems to be a big theme here,” they say.
The next part of the walk is quiet as we think about that, trying to dissuade ourselves from believing it.
The chocolate lands end abruptly in a yellow smoothie sea with a pleasant tangy flavor.
It starts to become brown after a while, letting out a questionable smell as it blends with an opposite flavor.
On the surface of the water floats a puddle of a dull pink, not nauseating, just more complicated than anything I would expect here.
The smell isn’t easy to decipher either.
“There are more of them,” Jelly points to different puddles, “what do you make of this, Fluff?”
“They smell like people’s personalities,” I say.
“So you think… it’s basically vomit,” they say, and burst out laughing, “I thought for sure that was unpleasant or something!”
“I wonder why they didn’t eat it again?” I say, “well anyway, we’d better not drink anything around here.”
We pass through the overlap until the sea just smells like oversweetened coffee, and we dare to take little sips of that.
“There’s a hint of bitterness in here,” I realize. “I think I’d like bitter things if they weren’t so sweet.”
“Another reason to find a way out of here,” Jelly says with a grin.
Someone is floating ahead of us.
A big, buff…
Human.
They look at us, their eyes clouded by something complicated and not sweet.
“I’ve been here for what feels like lifetimes. I don’t remember what it feels like to be a real person,” they say at us.
I’m frozen by the suddeness of them, so far outside my experience, familiar in the most distant way.
“But sometimes,” they continue, “you’ve just got to take the leap, right?”
They close their eyes, their strange human chest rising and falling with deep breaths.
Then in the space of a moment, they fade out of existance.
Me and my friend float in stunned silence for a moment.
Or longer, as time means nothing here.
“So that’s how it works.”
Jelly keeps going, silent for longer than is normal for them, leading me through various lands, stopping ocassionally to point something out.
Finally, we’re on a plain made of cake, spotted with sleeping people.
“This is where I used to take naps. And I think this is where I’ll leave… this. If I can figure out how,” Jelly says.
“I don’t want you to leave,” I say, “it’s going to be different without you.”
“You can eat my essence if you want. I don’t mind,” they say, grinning for a moment, “yeah, I know that’s not the same as having another person there.”
They look at me for another moment, as if trying to memorize the sight.
Then they reach inside their mouth with their tentacles, poking around until they throw up everything they’ve eaten.
“It’s so… sweet,” the stranger looking down at it says.
Their curly hair falls to their shoulders, their green eyes contrasting with tanned skin.
They’re not the person I’ve spent so much time with. That person’s essence is sitting on the cake like a strange magical purple icing, no longer alive.
Their clothes look a bit similar, I realize. I wonder where they got them.
“Just as I thought, I remember everything now. But before I wake up, just in case this is real, just in case you’ll remember me,”
They put a hand to my face and give me all the contact information they can think of, which I repeat to myself three times, not really feeling anything.
Then they start crying and hug me.
“Goodbye, Fluff,” they sob into my soft shoulder, a shoulder that I know now isn’t really mine, it’s probably made of candy with only a little bit of my influence.
The human that used to be Jelly is so solid, and real, and-
They’re gone.
There’s nothing here.
And yet I’m not sad or unhappy, because I’m filled with sweetness.
I can’t be feeling this way now. Sweetness, happiness, humor, sweet bitterness, none of it is right.
I’m alone, and…
I throw up.
I’m lonely.
There’s never been anybody like Jelly for me in the real world.
I didn’t ride bicycles with the wind in my hair. I walked home alone even on rainy days so they didn’t wonder where I was. Then I stayed in the basement, avoiding the mocking stares of people I wished deeply that I could escape.
I read a lot of books, but it didn’t distract me from the fear, and loneliness, and my hatred of everything.
I wasn’t happy.
I don’t want to wake up and go back to that.
I can stay.
This world looks different as a human. Endlessly boring, all made up of bright sweet empty colors.
I’m so tired of candy. I could never eat sugar again in my life.
I repeat the contact information in my head again.
This is just a dream, isn’t it? Jelly won’t have ever existed when I wake up, nor will this place, or these people, or the eternity I’ve spent here.
Unless I really am dead-
I wake up in my grimy bed, at the usual time, pale light filtering through a tiny window near the ceiling.
Tears well up in my eyes.
No. I can’t be back here.
The familiar overloud pounding on my door causes me to leap up with a,
“I’m awake,” and get dressed as quickly as possible, to face breakfast, to face a situation I never wanted to be in.
But first I take a peice of scrap paper and a pen and scribble down the contact info. Because what if it was real?
It sure would be nice.


Next: Imitation

1 Like

:OO I LOVED IT
I love the strange worlds you make XD

also for mica and wren–
XDD ‘adorable’ is the word i use sometimes ‘very embarrassing’ other times XD


Mica’s shoulder is burning, and even when she dissolves into the winds, there’s a turmoil in her essence. Blast that Empress. Blast it all.
There’s no other option but to go find Jay.
The sylph leaves the fledgling Empress behind, sweeping winds over the treetop canopies, towards the only friendly Healer she knows in the area.

Veshua is sitting outside his tent this time, with a mortar and pestle in his hands and the air around him smelling heavily of spices. Colorful woven blankets are laid out around him, herbs of various sorts drying under the sun.
Mica sweeps into being in front of him, the strands of the winds weaving back together to create the coherent image of a person, until she settles back into her more-human form again, wincing as her stomach burns, now, instead of her shoulder. Her injuries always got mixed up whenever she transformed back and forth.
“Oh, Amisra,” Veshua says, amusement in his voice as his unseeing eyes take in the cerulean skies above them, hands, as always, still working, never still. “How was the little Empress? Live up to the dipshit you hoped she’d be?”
Mica walks over, expression pinched in pain, as she takes a seat in the grass. She stretches her legs out, the plants prickling where her skin is exposed, as she buries her fists in the dirt and tugs out strands of the grass and twists them through and around her fingers until her fingers burn. It helps distract a little from the pain, but it’s not nearly enough. She’s been practicing changing just parts of her body into wind. Upside of being a sylph. So she tries it out now, figures it’ll ease the pain a while as her essence shifts, and swirls at the surface of her injury.
“I didn’t think it’d be so hard getting through to her,” Mica says, voice tight. “We’re all in the same situation, but…”
Mica trails off, leaving the rest unsaid. She shakes her head now, would’ve found it all funny if the Empress wasn’t clearly insane. Who laughs after thinking they’d blasted a person to smithereens? Someone they should all very clearly avoid, that’s who. The whole interaction had been mildly terrifying, to say the least.
Veshua motions for her to come closer, and Mica glances up at him, distracted. When she doesn’t move, Vesh sighs.
“Alright,” Vesh says. “If you’re gonna try walking off a burn like that, who am I to hold you back?”
“It hurts too much to move.”
Vesh’s smile is quick. “How the mighty Hero has fallen.”
Mica sighs, irritated, with nothing to vent her anger out on. “She thinks this is all just some type of game. She doesn’t… how does someone slaughter another person without a shred of…” Mica trails off. “And the audacity. She is vain, cocky, her head’s filled with romantic delusions, with no empathy for the people we’re trying to protect.”
At that point, Vesh had gotten off his chair, fingers skating through the air to feel for Mica. He kneels beside her, resting a palm on her knee, his fingers automatically going to her injury before Mica bats his hand away. Vesh swats her back.
“Obviously, she’s got you riled up,” Vesh smirks. “I told you, destiny doesn’t bend to our will. Now, say it with me…”
“You’re becoming insufferable,” Mica says, though her smile is more of a grimace.
“…I told you so,” Vesh says, smile quirking.
“So what did you get up to while I was out meeting the enemy?” Mica asks drily. “Besides sitting here enjoying the sun, I mean.”
“Pettiness doesn’t sit well on you, Amisra,” Vesh tuts, tugging up her shirt without any ceremony. Mica winces, unable to muffle a sharp inhale. She looks down at her charred skin. Ouch. That looked ugly. Distract. She needed to not think about the pain.
Vesh continues on, “Besides, should we really call her our enemy?”
“What?”
“Like you said, we’re all really on the same side here,” Vesh says. “Keep your shirt rolled up for me. I’ll get something for you to lie down on.”
“You didn’t see her,” Mica shakes her head. “She’s having fun, with all of this. Hurting people.”
Mica wants to wince when he touches the burns, but he’s a Healer. The pain lessens slightly, only to flare up again a moment later.
Vesh gets up, heading to his tent.
Mica stares at the sky, letting herself hurt.
Sometimes, the pain reminds her the consequences of this world are just as grave as consequences in her own. That she’s not just the imitation of a hero roleplaying a fantasy in this world, but dealing with people and their lives.


next
loud-mouth

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XDD

I love the contrast between their mindsets


Summary

In the nighttime, secrets rise to the surface. The truth is revealed mentally, yet people are hidden physically.
The night is a quiet, observant person. He raised me to be suspicious and wary.
At night, her ghostly, cold blue form would follow me, their freezing blue eyes leaving glowing trails in the air as he pointed out potential dangers.

In the daytime, details shine in the light, the bright light that burns skin and blinds eyes.
It seems impossible not to trust the shadows, impossible not to laugh loudly and live recklessly.
The daytime is spirited, fun, and always too bright. They raised me to enjoy life and not hold back. Her overly bright form always flashed behind me, wounding my eyes when I looked at him directly, but urging me on if I didn’t look too closely.

I’m a stupid loudmouth. Telling my roomate I was their child. Giving my roomate their names, names which would make them visible to my roomate. It was because my roomate was so comfortable to be around, because even if the sun was outside their influence still encouraged me to be careless.
My roomate found an excuse to be outside with me during the day, and I never saw what they did to the sun but she lost energy over the course of the day, seeming exhausted by the time night came.
And the same thing happened to night, until the sky lightened early but the sun didn’t rise, the skies a uniform grey that immediately dampened my spirits.

I didn’t realize it was their fault at first. I was confused, and I called the names of my parents, but they didn’t respond.
“They’re sleeping. If I have my way they’ll sleep forever, leaving my own parent free to wake up and take over the sky,” my roommate said, flicking their dark hair away from their covered eye with a satisfied smile.
Their other eye was that of a demon, the purple and red swirling void almost hypnotizing me before I could tear my eyes away.
“I’ve never wanted anything beyond day and night,” I said.
“Day and night don’t suit me. How painful do you think it must be for me to live in this world, without relief from the monochrome casts of the two, constantly cycling without relief?”
I didn’t care, in that moment.
“What did you do to my parents? Give them back!” I said, launching myself at the person who I just spent weeks sitting on the couch and watching shows with, coordinating easily on who made dinner and did dishes, talking about our deep feelings under the shadow of night.
They easily threw me to the ground, black claws like the legs of a cricket sprouting from their fingertips.
“I’m… I’m so sorry. I’m sorry. But I’m going to have to kill you. You are the only one who I worry will wake those two up.”
Their face changed, their eye filling with tears, mouth clenching in anguish, eye wide and locked on me through that pain.
They drew back their arm, preparing to stab me, and suddenly something changed inside me.
The distant presence of my parents, asleep though they may be, has given me something.
In that moment I flashed brightly and they covered their eyes, giving me room to squirm out from under them and run into the grey streets, full of people whose minds I suddenly had a glimpse into.
And I found this place, a little bank under a bridge, damp but hidden, filled by the presence of loud graffiti and garbage left by its previous occupants.
I can hear things I couldn’t before. I only have to look up to see the distressed and frantic thoughts of the people on the bridge above me, written in flashes of blue text completely silent.
I can create light and heat, two things that help me a lot here on this abandoned bank.
And I know I only have these things because my parents are unreachable.
What did my former roommate mean? Where can go, what can I do to wake my parents up?
And why does the anguished face of my roommate stick in my head, why do I hurt for them despite how they hurt me?
I curl over, clutching my empty stomach.
Everything hurts. The damp ground has long since seeped into my jeans, a constant discomfort that I don’t dare burn away, since I would flash brightly as I did it.
My empty stomach tears at me from the inside.
But if anything, the physical pains don’t do enough to match the desperate void of loneliness and betrayal tearing at me.
My parents are asleep. My only friend wants to kill me. I lost everything, and I have only my own knees to hug and only my jeans to cry into.
Time blends together, seamless without the day and night cycle. The grey wears at my soul and a growing part of me that I’m so ashamed of wants my former roommate to get on with it and bring whatever their parent is into the sky.
With that wish, I’m betraying my parents. The people who loved me and raised me and were always there to talk to.
The thoughts above me grow excited, freezing, appearing faster, wavering and quivering. I don’t know what that means, but colored light seeps under the bridge.
I crawl out on my hands and knees, which sink into the damp ground as I turn my tearstained face to the sky.
The patterns are dazzling, swirling, glowing, casting their light down and obscuring the true color of everything.
Red and purple are a bit more common than the others, but all the shades of the rainbow mix in the sky, bright, overwhelming… beautiful.
Not beautiful. Those lights are replacing my parents. This is a force that changes reality, I begin to see. Rather than observing the world or fearlessly diving into its challenges, this force sets out to change it.
Just like my former roommate changed the very fabric of the world, putting my parents to sleep and bringing theirs to this world to fill the sky and change our lives.
I wish I could talk to them.
I wipe the tears from my eyes but they keep coming, goopy snot dragging onto my hand along with the tears.
I wish I could lay out my complicated feelings in front of my roommate. But they’re gone. They’re my enemy now. I’ll never… I’ll never get to spend time with them again.
I can’t breathe around the lump in my throat. I can’t think around the hole in my chest.
I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what to do.


just watch me not name anybody

Next: precious treasure

1 Like

:OO WOAHHH that’s a super cool premise!!

:joy: names are overrated anyway


Veshua gathers what he needs into one of his baskets and heads to the opening in his tent again. When his foot hits the tent’s threshold, he pauses, raising his face towards the sun, letting the light warm his skin. The air is faint with the presence of magic, and he heads towards the disturbances in the air, the tells that a creature of magic and wind is in their midst.
“Did you two go at it, then?” He asks, kneeling in the grass. He can hear Amisra shift. “What’d you do? Piss her off?”
“I–” Amisra starts, and when she doesn’t go on, Vesh smiles. Her wound, he can sense. A dull thing of thin, throbbing tendrils, wrapped up in pain and fire. He spreads the mattress on the ground behind her, and reaches to push her to lie down. She complies.
“She was starting to go on about something stupid,” Amisa murmurs, wincing, as Vesh grabs a swab to clean her wound with.
“Go on,” Vesh grins.
Amisra doesn’t respond, which only furthers to pique his interest. He doesn’t press, though.

Wren loves this world! She’d read about a festival in a manga recently, and lo and behold, the next night when she dreams of the OtherWorld again, she wakes up to news of a festival!
“Ohmygosh ohmygosh, really?” She asks, gripping the shoulders of the servant who’d told her, who looks entirely terrified and flustered in equal measures, having seen the Empress barge up to them in her nightgown and curls a mess.
“M’lady, I beg your pardon?” They ask, casting their gaze away from their Empress’s eyes, because of course, it’s rude to be in such close proximity–
“The festival!” Wren emphasizes. “Does it come with cool food? Decorations?” She pauses, letting go of them to stifle a squeal. “I get to wear a cool dress? Oh my gosh! Okay, okay, I’m definitely getting a float, and have people wave at me when I ride by. We can do that, right?” Wren does squeal then, giving them no time to respond, and catches the servant’s hands. “Things happen at festivals! Betrayals, insurrections, angst, a romantic encounter! Anything can happen at a festival!”
“My Empress, surely not,” the servant says, their eyes going wide. They were standing in the Empress’s plush personal chambers, having been on duty to come wake her highness up for her morning bath. “Your guards will make sure there is no trouble, and ensure that your safety be the highest priority.”
“Guards?” Wren laughs. “Well unless one of them is a main character, they’re not gonna do zilch. What’s a story without some drama!
When the servant blinks at them, Wren laughs, stepping back and raising a hand to pat their cheek. The servant sucks in a breath, watching the Empress with wide, confused eyes.
“Ah, you’re all so cute. Alright, alright, I get it, I’ll stop breaking the fourth wall.” The Empress frowns, then, her pretty face twisting as she’s reminded of the particular Hero she’d met weeks ago. “Go, now,” she tells the servant. “Draw me a bath, pretty me up! I’m going to go shopping for clothes!”
“As you wish, your highness,” the servant says, gratefully stepping back and hurrying off. Wren smiles, watching them go, and spins one way, then the other, turning to go to the window and lean on its sill, her translucent nightgown fluttering after her. The skies aboce are a pretty, pretty blue today.
Her smile is vicious, her crimson lips curling. It’s so fun being the villainess. She even has a couple people pining after her! This world is the best. Somedays, she even wishes she wouldn’t have to wake up.
She sighs softly, as she waits for her servants to make her a bath.
As she waits, a plan springs into being in her head. What if she wore something from the treasury to the festival night? Something heavily guarded, something like… a precious treasure. Surely, that’ll be enough to trigger some event?
She hears footsteps behind her, a servant-- different from the one before. “Your bath, Empress.”
Wren smiles, heading inside.


next
similar happenings

1 Like

TYYY
XDD
the premise was inspired by a prompt (from one of the brandon sanderson talks I watched with my sister) that went something like ‘he can fly, but only when his parents are asleep’ and that kind of grew out of it really quickly. I mean it’s kind of a veerrry loose interpretation but XD

:rofl: this CHARACTER

awww


It’s not just you. Similar happenings. It’ll be okay. Nobody thinks you’re a monster.
I nodded like I’d been worried, like I always do.

I make sad faces when I’m enraged, I smile at my enemies and lock up my true wishes for them in a diary hidden in a video game manual for what seems to be everybody’s least favorite video game.
That one was a ride.
My parents got it for me for their vague amalgamation of winter holiday celebrations. They thought a cart racing game wouldn’t give me any funny ideas about violence and would satiate my need to have what the cool kids did.
I was furious.
So I acted out exaggerated delight, running around and screaming delightedly, happening to accidently break a vase I knew Mom liked. I acted so sad and repentant that she told me it wasn’t a big deal.
When helping to cook dinner, I secretly plucked a fly from the fly tape and stirred it into Mama’s dish.
And my anger, being ice cold to begin with, wasn’t cooled by that. For the next year I would repeatedly beg them to play it with me. Never mind that it was insanely boring, I didn’t mind playing it for hours for the sake of making them regret buying it.
When they got angry at my begging, I would get sad. When they finally admitted it wasn’t a great game, I asked if they bought it knowing that.
‘You’re a kid, you don’t need super nice things. Look how entertained you’ve been with this game, it’s fine,’ Mama argued.
‘It’s not fine if you don’t play it with me. What’s the point of having it if I can’t play it with my parents?’ I asked.
‘Just give me a freaking break. I’ll play later. I just need a freaking break from this stupid game,’ she said.
And hearing the frustration in her voice, the anger became less of an ice cube and more like chill unsweetened lemonade.

I’m not the only one at school who this happened to. Since the sky changed, the world under it became a different one.
The impossible became possible, and now humans can become anything.
My new form draws some attention, the thick black tail with a spike at the end, the retractable claws, jagged horns, pointed teeth and glowing eyes matching the pointed markings on my body that turn into wings when I will them to.
It’s a beautiful, powerful form, same as all the other kids who grew scales, massive animal limbs, glowing stripes, and all kinds of strange and wonderful developments.
But I cry loudly when I see people skirting around me with wary glances, acting embarrassed about my meltdown.
And secretly, I smile into my hands.


Next: bucket list

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When I was young, my mother had me write a bucket list. Things I wanted to do before I died. You know, typical stuff.

I said I wanted to climb mountains, be an astronaut, the whole works.

I didn’t understand what death was, then. I didn’t understand what that meant. Then I grew up, I watched my mother get older… I experienced death, and loss. I understood what it was then, why you’d make a list like that.

I rewrote with places I wanted to see, people to meet, experiences, emotions…

And I grew up some more, but… I never got old, not like my my mother. Not like my classmates.

I watched my friends die again, and again, and again, and I still looked like we had in uni…

I didn’t understand what death was, again. I didn’t understand how it works, I didn’t understand who dies, and who doesn’t.

They told me all people die, all things come to an end, and now I have to wonder… Every day I keep on living… What does that make me? A person who doesn’t die, a thing that doesn’t end… Am I a person at all? Do I even exist?

Alone in this world, in my kitchen, one night, I heard a knock on the door. It was late, I assumed it was just a bird, but then they knocked again, and called me by name…

I didn’t know there was anybody left who knew me by name.

I wiped the tears from my eyes and went to the door, a young man held his hat in his hands, avoiding my eyes. “I’m sorry to interrupt your evening, Miss,” he said softly, “but might I come in? There’s… Something we need to discus.”

I invited him in, though my house was small. We sat by the fire and he told me about another world. One where people didn’t live forever, but they lived a lot longer… A world I had come from, where I still had a family, who was still looking for me… I didn’t know what to think of it, but I had nothing left here, so I went with him, anyways, and I found another world.

And I had a whole new bucket list to write.


Next: Theif

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Asailis, resplendent in his shimmering white robes, stands waiting for the Empress’s carriage to arrive. The visual is striking, his pale skin against his silvery white braid, eyes of metallic grey fixed on the bustling roads below. Sometimes, when in deep thought, he may as well resemble a marble statue. Clear-cut diamond droplets flow from his waist, gently sounding against each other with every movement.
“There are rumors,” Jellu yawns, leaning against the column at her side. Dressed like the darkness to his light, she’s wearing dark casual wear, a layered tunic and loose trousers, ginger curls secured into a ponytail. “‘The Empress’s Loyal Dog,’ they call you.”
“The rumors are correct,” Asailis’ smile is sweet, brief. “I would gladly answer at her beck and call.”
“You’re a total suck up,” Jellu shakes her head. “Completely wasted on your good looks.”
At that, Asailis laughs, looking over. “Must your compliments come with backhanded intent? Can they not stay untainted of your sarcasm?”
Jellu smiles, “Depends on who I’m talking to.”
Soleil swings an arm over Asailis’s shoulder, grinning from ear to ear. “Can you believe it? The honor to escort her majesty around the festival!”
“We should be glad we’ve earned the right,” Jellu sighs, nodding. “Though if the rumors are true…”
“You’re always on about these rumors, Jell,” Asailis smiles. “It’s not always a bad thing to remove your ear from the ground and enjoy yourself.”
“—For once,” Soleil feels the need to add, though grinning playfully. Asailis elbows him, and the other man lets him go, laughing.
“I’m not like you saps,” Jellu pouts. “One of us has to keep our wits about us.”
Her eyes go to the street below, where the procession of the empress’s carriages crest the street horizon.
Asailis and Soleil look over, both more alert, watching the carriages wind their way up the looping streets to their promised meeting place.

When Wren steps out from her carriage, dressed in bright magentas, there is a collective bout of cheering from those watching. A mask covers her eyes, of semi-transparent peach material, her dark ringlets cascading around her, a tiara perched on her head. A glittering shawl trails from her shoulders, her smile soft.
“What a great day it is today,” she says, holding a gloved hand out to Asailis, who takes it to kiss her fingers.
“It certainly is, as fortunate as we are to be graced by your presence,” Asailis says.
“You never seem to run out of those honey-sweet words of yours, Asai.”
“And I hope I never will, Your Highness.”
“You’re hogging her,” Soleil says, shooing Asailis back a step. He presents a blooming orange rose to the Wren, grinning. “We’ll make sure you have fun today, Your Highness! There’s so much we should get around to!”
Wren laughs indulgently, plucking the rose from his fingers as she heads down the street, where bystanders part to let her by in awe. “I look forward to it.”
Wren glances at Jellu in passing, Jellu bowing her head in acknowledgement.
“Your tiara is lovely, Empress,” Jellu says, voice soft.
Wren pauses, with a smile that is positively glowing, “I’m glad you’re around to notice these things, darling.”
She was hoping there would be a thief tempted enough to want the treasure she was so brazenly parading around on her head. Jellu caught onto things like these pretty fast, and it was fun having her efforts acknowledged by someone. Wren carries on towards the festivities, excitement bubbling.

Mica watches the Empress leave her carriage with an impatient sigh. Ah, of course. The Empress had formed a close circle of doting followers to surround herself with. What was she going for? A harem? Or were they all just friends?
Mica shakes her head. Truly, the Empress has contaminated her mind, if these thoughts were the first to occur to her.
Silently, she moves from the roofs, catching the glint of the light on Wren’s tiara.
Mica’s eyes widen.
She’d been right to come here today. The Empress was begging for chaos.


next!
lavendar

1 Like
Summary

(I wrote an omori crack fic recently so that’s kinda where my mind is at)

Sunny woke up one day and chose lavender.
He had plenty of money he’d gotten from his three part time jobs in his new city, as well as doing odd favors for his neighbors.
So he went out and got lavender paint, lavender perfume, lavender scented candles, lavender carpets, lavender soap, lavender hair dye, a lavender yoga mat, lavender contact lenses, and he was going to buy a lavender car but it was too expensive.
He did have just enough money left to buy ingredients for lavender fudge and hard candies.
His friends visited him the day after that decision.
“Hello… the door was open so we let ourselves in…” Aubrey said uncertainly.
Sunny was on the yoga mat meditating. Well actually he was in Lavender Space, but he looked as though he was meditating.
“Uh… like what you did with your carpets?” Aubrey tried.
The group’s last interaction with Sunny had left an awkward taste in the air. Well, for the rest of them. Sunny didn’t feel such things, or rather he didn’t realize he should so he didn’t.
“I don’t think he can hear us?” Kel said.
“Maybe if we bring one of those candles closer the smell will wake him up,” Hero suggested.
But all the lavender candle got out of Sunny was a satisfied sigh.
Meanwhile the lavender versions of all his friends were with him in Lavender Space. Kel was drinking Lavender Joe, Aubrey was smashing lavender perfume bottles to make it smell more like lavender, and Hero was helping Sunny cook lavender treats.
Everything was perfect. Everything was lavender.
In the real world Sunny’s friends had discovered the candy and were eating.
“He’s like, really good at this,” Aubrey said.
“Yeah. He could sell them. He’s really good at a lot of things, I’m just not sure what he wants to be doing with his life,” Hero said.
“He’s definitely a weird one,” Aubrey said.
“Did you notice that the candles are lavender scented and these candies are lavender flavored?” Basil spoke up.
“And the carpeting…” Aubrey said.
“And the yoga mat…” Kel added.
Hero peeked into the bathroom.
“And the soap, and- is that hairdye? And are those contact lenses?”
“I approve,” Aubrey smirked.
“You think if we take away all his lavender stuff he’ll wake up?” Kel wondered.
“Let’s try it,” Aubrey said, pulling the yoga mat out from under him as Kel put out the candles.
“He still smells like lavender,” Basil said.
“Why are you sniffing him??” Aubrey said.
“Uhh… anyway, I have some perfume on me! And it’s not lavender scented!” Basil sprayed the bottle at Sunny.
Lavender Space began to turn pink as flowers grew.
“No,” Sunny said, “no, this isn’t right at all…”
Then he opened his eyes in the real world as the realization hit him like the scent of flowers that were not lavender.
“Guys, I think I have a problem. You have to take all my lavender stuff away, now,” he said.
“On one condition,” Aubrey said, poking a finger at his chest, which was slightly more muscular than before because of all the hard work he’d done painting his walls, “you have to keep the hairdye and contact lenses.”


Next: half joking

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The princess’s steps through the gardens are light, her dress whispering over the grass behind her.
Dilna follows, a few steps back, eyes lowered from the princess.
Noon is different now.
There’s not the same humor in her eyes, nor the ever-present secret smiles her way. She’s not the girl Dilna clung to in the cages, nor the maniac who flew them frantically away from witches. There isn’t the self-righteous raging Princess who’d flown over and over again right into the ceiling above her head despite her broken wings.
No.
What’s left of Noon is the fragile husk of a beautiful thing, something to be protected.
“Dilna,” Noon says.
Dilna breathes in a slow breath, taking in the freshly cut grass and the roses before mustering a polite smile at the Princess. “Yes, your highness?”
Noon is crouching in the grass, turned away from her. “Come here.”
Dilna, glancing unsurely around her, finally goes over to squat by the princess, who suddenly takes her hands.
“Your grace?” Dilna cuts off as something cold is pressed into her fingers, something slimy, something that immediately tries to escape with a protesting croak.
Noon cups her hands over the creature to prevent its escape, her eyes glimmering with humor.
“Princess,” Dilna says, tone disapproving, as Noon laughs, quietly.
“Don’t let go now,” Noon says, watching her expression, with the amusement of a child watching to see the result of a prank.
“I’m glad you’re in good spirits, your grace,” Dilna says, amused, and certainly trying not to show any of the squeamishness she suspected the princess expected.
Noon watches her expression for a second longer, before her lips quirk in a resigned smile, “Does nothing faze you, Rahee? How did I deserve such a wizened old soul as my personal attendant?”
“You say that like it’s a bad thing,” Dilna says, pulling her hands away. The frog immediately leaps out from her hands at both their faces, and they both fall back, Noon with a half-delighted shriek.
As the Princess laughs, leaning back on her hands in the grass and dirt, Dilna stands up, dusting her pants off, giving Noon a smile.
“Want a hand, Princess?” She asks, offering hers. Noon takes it, and she helps the other girl to her feet.
“Your dress,” Dilna says, noticing the delicate laces snagging in the muddy grass.
“So that’s what you were concerned about,” Noon comments, half-joking as Dilna leans over to shake the dew and dirt off.


next!
bonded

1 Like
Summary

In the stories I read we have soulmates we’re bonded to for life. We have an inner form that shows all we could ever hope to know about ourselves, we have magical items that sort us into categories that will make us happy.

But none of that applies here. I chose my form, working hard over every line and curve, every color, the way my motions map onto this form.
I painstakingly modified the design, and even now, I’m not one hundred percent satisfied with it. Perhaps her hair is too long, too dull or too bright, perhaps her armour could be tweaked, maybe the color pallete is far too boring and I should start over.
But nothing in reality, virtual or no, is perfect. In the end, I designed something that makes me happy.
Perfection? I wouldn’t need happiness to achieve that.
And happiness? I don’t need perfection for that.

I met someone, here and in the other place. Her bright pink or warm brown hair calls out to me from a crowd because I bonded to her, I chose to bond to her and she to me.
We have our issues. Political differences, interests that don’t always align, traumas that sometimes interact badly.
But we talk about things, we work on it, and we’re closer for knowing that even if things get difficult, we don’t give up on each other.
We don’t give up on trying to understand, trying to compromise.
And besides the occasional conflict, she’s fun to be around. She makes most days brighter, and I love her.

I chose a group to join in this world. It went slightly against my own initial preference, but I chose it because my partner wanted to.
And I’m happier for it, because it’s not about what group I’m in and if that lines up perfectly with my aesthetic preferences.
In fact, I’ve developed a fondness for these places and songs, with all the happy memories I’ve made with her here.

No, my life isn’t predetermined, there are none of those choices made for me that fiction makes so appealing.
Much of the time I don’t know what I want, what I want changes, and my views on people and places are similarly moldable.
My reality, real or virtual, takes work. It takes making choices when there are no clear answers, because making the choice leads to the next path forward.
And in the end, it doesn’t matter which paths are best, just that I keep walking.

Next: self-worth

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Summary

Her light, smooth face smiles into the mirror, eyes clueless like clear pools reflecting a cloudless sky, mouth tilted with a helpless friendliness.
Her curled hand hovers beneath her chin in a slightly shy gesture and beneath the luxurious sleek folds of her calming blue dress her knees point together in the impractical stance of a lady who never learned to fight.
“Isn’t it insulting?” I ask, sitting on the bed behind her with one paw on my knee and the other behind me, supporting my weight as the other leg is carelessly extended to her old, rich mint green carpet.
She gives me a completely different smile, her inscrutiable eyes narrowed in sharp satisfaction, mouth tilted assuredly.
“Of course not. My self-worth would never be based on what these people think.”
She paces to my side and sits down next to me, running a hand down the short fur on my head, causing my ears to tilt back slightly at the touch.
Everything about me is in contrast to her, from my bulky black robes to the readily apparent danger that comes with my species. Every opening of my mouth shows off my fangs, I have no delicate blond hair to frame my large feline face, and my hands are the opposite of delicate, designed for grasping and tearing living flesh, not dealing with the parts of life that require more care.
“Your problem, Anise Price, is that you don’t act. You could go so far, with who your father is and what they did to your home,” Hana says, leaning close to me and putting a hand on mine.
Her hand tickles my fur, tiny on top of my vastly different one. Her breath brushes the thick fur on my cheek, and I want to lean closer but hold very still instead. I listen to the sound of my quick heartbeat for a moment in the dead silence.
“Well, just think about it. I’ll teach you all you need to know,” she says with a tinkling laugh and disarming smile that both contrasts and fits perfectly with the daring and mysterious human who snuck me out of my heavily guarded house with clever distractions, perfect timing, and subtle misdirection.
She moves from my side, the lack of warmth seeming to leave an empty space for a moment, as if the air by my side wasn’t meant to be this cold.
“See you later, Price,” she says with a light wave as she leaves the room with an effortless float that hints at impressive strength.
The door shuts quietly, leaving me alone with my thoughts.
I can hear my heartbeat slow as my thoughts take over the room like slowly gushing cold water.
I do plan to fight back. I plan to gather followers secretly, in the hopes I can rally them behind my rage alone. Because I don’t have natural charm and my huge green eyes and my nose that quickly wrinkles to reveal massive sharp teeth when I’m angry aren’t exactly approachable.
I know I’m not the person for this. Anyone else would be better, someone who hadn’t seen the full impact of their form growing up, someone who hadn’t experienced the isolation I did from that impact, someone who hadn’t internalized the belief that they were unapproachable and naturally unnerving.
I don’t think Hana Curtis’ innocent social persona would look like anything but a comical parody on me, nor would it be suitable for heading a revolution.
If I did become someone else for the task ahead of me, who would that person be? Maybe I’ll ask her when she gets back.


Next: name