Yo! It’s my turn again this week, so please enjoy~
***WARNING: The following chapter may contain content and/or language that readers may find disturbing and/or offensive. Viewer discretion is advised.***
Kiriko Epawsode 14: The Forgotten Promise
Sitting quietly in the dark cell, I could feel sweat sliding off my skin as it overflowed from my clothes and landed on the floor.
It was strange. This underground prison, which had nothing other than the faint sunlight that sometimes made its way through the barred windows and the transient candlelight, usually had nothing to serve as a proper source of heating. Being deep within the earth, it normally held a chilling cold that sunk into one’s bones.
Yet now, it was steaming.
As though I had truly been plunged into the flames of the purgatory, the heat encompassed my body, torturing it with a searing, and discomforting burn.
Though my sweat vainly continued to evaporate, the sweltering steam it generated choked my lungs with its watery grasp.
Shifting uncomfortably, I glanced over at my barely conscious cellmate, as she panted desperately.
Her long, coral red hair dangled over her downcast face, veiling her expression.
The torn remains of a white dress slung loosely upon her shoulders, exposing countless crimson marks that tainted her pearl-like skin.
Drops of water, as salty as the sea itself, rolled off her blighted flesh, fruitlesslly attempting to cleanse the filth that covered it.
Truly, her figure was that of someone who had fallen, from the height of heaven, to the depths of hell.
And the heavy metal collar choking her neck, engraved with the marks of our despair, only served to reinforce that.
Opening my mouth, I croaked out her name, my voice cracking.
Her slender frame twitched as she weakly whispered back. However, her voice broke off, fading away like a petal carried away by the wind.
Throwing out a guess as to what it was she desired, I spoke while extending my hand towards the small water jug left for us within the cell.
Yet I soon realized how very wrong that guess was.
What could I say? In this hopeless hell, there was nothing but suffering that awaited us. Our chances of escape were next to nil.
Even I thought that, rather than pointlessly continuing to endure this pain and humiliation, it’d be thousands of times easier to just die. It wasn’t like anyone was waiting for us anyways…
Maybe we should just suicide together and be done with it……
After all, though we might not be able to escape, there were plenty of means available if we wanted to die.
Besides, even if we went to hell for it, it probably wouldn’t be much different from our current circumstances.
“Fine. Then let’s di—”
At that moment, the sound of fear itself resonated throughout the prison.
He had arrived.
His footsteps boomed down the stone hallway, thankfully walking past our cell as he headed into the deepest recesses of the dungeon.
A door eerily creaked open, and a cackling laughter bounced down the walkway. Not long after, the metallic lid swung shut with a slam, cutting off the spine-chilling chuckles.
Must be the new girl…
After all, the only thing that could make our sadistic captor laugh so merrily was the presence of a new ‘toy’.
And it just so happened that a new one had come in a few days ago.
Faint murmurs echoed through the prison, sneaking through the small cracks within the walls. Though unnerving, it was several times better than the times when Keith had purposely left open the small window on the heavy metal door, allowing us to hear the screams of his victims as he let loose his sadistic desires.
A shaky whisper calling my name dragged me out from the quagmire of nightmares. Looking up, my eyes met with Riva’s as her body shook as violently as her voice.
Her cobalt gems, dyed with hopelessness, pleaded. She didn’t want to ‘stay’ here any longer. Because both of us knew.
That, once he was done with the new girl, we’d be next.
Yet, even so……going alone was scary. So it’d be better to go together. To the ‘next’ world.
It’s not like anyone’s waiting for me anyways…
Not even he cared about me anymore. At this point, only suffering remained in our lives.
And a life that only has pain left in it…….isn’t worth living.
A sense of calm washed over me as I realized, it’d be over soon.
I wouldn’t have to suffer anymore.
There would be no more pain, or betrayals.
There’d just be……nothing. Death.
How wonderful that will be.
For once, I would have peace.
And so, believing that, I nodded and opened my mouth.
“Yeah, let’s di—”
At that moment, an all-piercing shriek that seemed to come from the most tormented soul in all of hell sliced off my words.
As though it were just a passing dream, what followed the scream was a deadly silence. And then……
That dreadful sound, indicating the unsealing of the demon’s den, resonated within the stale air.
A pair of soft footsteps creeped down the stone walkway.
Who was it?
Was it our cruel captor, whose inhumanity surpassed that of a demon’s?
Or could it be that the unknown newbie had somehow managed to escape, and was now waltzing down the path to freedom?
As the jangling of keys chimed out, my heartbeat accelerated in anticipation.
The first would lead to the continuation of our agony-filled days.
But the other……would be like a heavenly thread, extending a hand of salvation to our despairing souls.
My breathing slowed to a crawl as the metal slab trapping us within this dump began to open.
My eyes widened upon seeing the figure that lay beyond it. There stood—
Kuahahahahaha!! I’ve done it! This’ll teach that damn woman!!
Sitting back in my soft, Toracorn fur-lined chair, I chuckled to myself while nurturing my glass of wine as I thought about the woman with the head of flaming red hair.
Nearly a week had passed since I left her to rot in the cells below, without any food and little water provided to her. According to the dungeon’s guards, it seemed that though she had attempted to struggle at first, she soon gave up, and had now gone completely silent, save for the occasional clanking of her chains.
Well, it was only natural. Since the only thing Rosso bitches are good for is their magic, once you take that away from them – hah! – they’re nothing.
I’ll bet she’s just like the rest of them right now.
Snivelling, crying, begging skanks – that’s what they all are reduced to once I get to them.
Without any magic, they’re powerless. Can’t fight back, can’t escape – it’s pointless for them to even try. And they always come to understand that real quick.
I could feel a smile spreading across my face at the thought of the flame-haired woman begging for mercy.
I can’t wait to play with her……
A low snigger escaped my lips. Nearly unable to contain myself, I chugged the remainder of my wine and slammed the glass onto the table next to me.
However, the fragile piece of furniture was, evidently, incapable of enduring my great strength, and ended up collapsing to the ground, scattering pieces of glass and wine across the wood floor.
Immediately, a catkin slave came to clean up the mess. Her ears twitched nervously as she moved about frantically, trying to clear the shards as quickly as possible.
“Hmph, it’s a pity I can’t have her and those other slaves serve me openly…”
Leaning back while placing my legs on the footrest before me, I murmured to myself discontentedly.
As one might expect, it’d be pretty bad if someone found out that I was enslaving humans – and supposed ‘nobles’ from an ally country, nonetheless. While keeping animals like the beastkin as slaves was openly accepted in Auksas, keeping humans was frowned upon, even if they were just some lowly daubs or cross-breeds.
Tsk. Even though they might wear the skin of a human, they’re not much worse than the beastkin.
Scoffing internally, I glanced at the hunched figure of the catkin slave while reaching out for another drink, only to remember that my bottle of wine had shattered on the floor.
“Tch! OI, CAT!! Hurry up and bring me another bottle!!”
Lowering one of my legs from the footrest, I kicked at the beast’s backside, sending her sprawling across the glass-covered floor. Her filthy blood stained the hardwood as the shards became embedded in her skin.
Shock, and a hint of fury, rose within her eyes as she gazed up at me defiantly.
Standing up from my chair, I sent another kick towards the slave, striking her in the stomach as she was sent flying again.
Meek as a kitten, the beastkin girl stammered nervously and quickly brought me another bottle of wine.
“H-Here you ar—”
“Give it here already, you dim-witted beast!”
Snatching the bottle from her hands, I instantaneously chugged all of its contents before throwing it aside.
“*hic* What are you looking at?! Hurry up and clean it up already, you stupid cat!”
Blood rushed to my head, sending a surge of power coursing through my body as I tossed the slave to the ground once more. She shrieked pitifully as her body fell upon the freshly shattered shards of glass, spilling even more crimson wine over the wooden floor.
“I TOLD YOU TO START CLEANING!!”
“Nngh—!! Y-Yes!! I-I’ll begin immediately!!”
Hearing my yell, the slave gave a suppressed grunt before bowing her head obediently while picking up the fragments with her bare hands. Satisfaction swam through my mind at the sight of her submissive form.
This is what I wanted to see.
From all those arrogant Rossonian bitches.
From that fucking flame-headed woman.
And I would make them do it.
A smirk spread across my face as I left the room, ignoring the crouching feline.
After all, I had better places to be.
This time, I’d make that dumb whore grovel at my feet.
Because I’m her master now.
How many days had it been, since I last ate?
Hanging in this cell, with my mind flickering in and out of consciousness, it was hard for me to tell exactly how much time had passed. Though light filtered in through the gaps in the walls, my inattentive state had rendered me incapable of telling the days after I passed out for the umpteenth time.
And without anyone coming by to bring me any meals, the passage of time seemed to become longer and even more arduous than usual.
How long had I spent tugging at these chains, with nary a trace of my struggles on their metallic surface?
It was pointless.
No matter what I did, the chains wouldn’t break.
Thanks to that, my time in this godforsaken cell had been positively dreadful.
Dragging me out of my mindless stupor was the sound of a heavy door being slammed open. It didn’t take long for me to realize that someone had entered the dungeon, and in quite the vigorous manner at that.
Judging from the weight of the footsteps that resounded throughout the prison, the intruder probably wasn’t one of the guards. Their steps were usually calmer, and a lot lazier compared to the eager steps that this person was making.
A noise reverberated through the door to my cell as it was unlocked, much to my disbelief. After all, though I didn’t know exactly how many days had passed, I was fairly certain that it had yet to be a full week. Probably.
An ear-piercing laughter exploded, threatening to burst my eardrums as the metal door revealed the excessively loud individual behind it.
Needless to say, it didn’t take long for me to identify the person. Heck, just his laughter alone easily gave away who he was.
His slimey green eyes sneered viciously as he snickered at my exhausted state.
“NOW how are you feeling, hmm~? You look a little tired there, eh? Kiriko.”
Just let me go already, you bastard……food……I need to eat something……
Though I tried my hardest to maintain my defiant outlook, my natural biological needs appeared to overrule all thought, as they begged for sustenance.
“I imagine that you’re just dying for something to eat, hmm~? Ahahahaha!!”
He laughed boisterously and drew closer. The scent of alcohol clung to his breath, filling my nostrils as he neared my face.
“It can be arranged, you know~? You just have to submit to me. It’s so easy~”
Whispering temptations like the devil himself, he lightly pressed a finger on my chin and raised it up.
I’m so hungry, so tired……maybe it would be easier to just—
I could feel my willpower slowly draining away, collapsing under the stress of the past few days. For me, who had always lived in that blessed world called Earth, it was too much.
I couldn’t take it anymore.
But, even then, I didn’t want to give up. How could I forfeit my fate to a sick-minded psycho like Keith? And besides—
“But you know, he’s actually been kidnapping all the Rossonian girls that passed by Au. Rumor has it that he’s been selling them off as slaves.”
—there were definitely other victims here.
It truly was funny, how I only remembered those words once I had been imprisoned. A time at which it was almost too late to do anything about my situation. Or the situation of anyone else, for that matter.
However, because of that, I couldn’t give up. I mustn’t. Because as long as I could escape from here, I could prevent all this from happening ever again. That’s why……
I had to get out of here.
“AHAHAHAHA!!! Do you really think you could get out of those chains like that? When you can’t even use any mana?”
Hearing his words, I reflexively gave a rather bewildered holler.
“AHAHAHA!! You mean you haven’t even realized it yet? Those are mana-sealing chains, you know!! Don’t tell me you couldn’t even figure that out!! Ahahahaha!! You really are a stupid bitch!!”
Hmm……so that’s probably what all those engravings are for……
Pity they didn’t work on me at all.
I guess I don’t use mana for my skills. Well, they are technically called ‘Tsukkomi Points’ after all, so…
It was no wonder why the chains were incapable of sealing my skills. Keith was trying to seal the wrong thing. Not that I’d ever tell him so.
Well, leaving that aside……
“You women are nothing but a bunch of whores strutting around just waiting to be fucked!! Brainless bitches, the lot of you—”
Hmph. It’s about time.
A loud noise rang out through the room, cutting off Keith’s abusive words. It seemed that, having become preoccupied with his rant, he had failed to notice what I was doing until this crucial moment.
A sense of revitalization filled my arms as they lowered themselves for the first time in days. The chains that had strung me up spilled onto the floor like a dead serpent, spent from my endeavors.
Astonishment contorted the vile man’s visage, as fear and realization filled his clouded orbs.
“What? Cat got your tongue?”
I could feel a grin slowly making its way across my face.
“I-Impossible!! There’s no way a woman could possibly p-pull o-out….”
Jabbing his finger towards the mound of chains, Keith continued to stammer with disbelief.
“Heh~ yet here’s one woman who just did it, right in front of you!”
Smiling brightly, I grabbed his head of filthy golden straw, casually swiping the ring of keys hanging from his belt in the process. Then, squatting down, I forced him to the floor, placing my knee on his cheek as I unlocked the shackles around my ankles.
“Hiiiikk!! W-What do you think you’re doing, you——hiii!!!!!!!”
Seeing him begin to squirm in attempt to get his face off the grimy ground, I lit a flame in the palm of my free hand and brought it close to his nose.
“Now now, don’t move, or I might just burn you~”
Upon finding that the fire was on the verge of roasting his face, Keith instantly froze as he visibly paled.
“Mm. Very good.”
Satisfied with his ‘cooperation’, I promptly extinguished the flame, instead focussing my efforts on finding the keys to my wrist shackles. Needless to say, it didn’t take very long, considering that the bindings seemed to require a single master key to unlock.
“Fuu~ much better!”
Finally free, I stood up, releasing the scumbag from my knee and allowing him to scramble as far away as he could possibly get from me.
“Oh? What seems to be the matter, Keith?”
His body began to tremble violently, and his eyes darted around restlessly. As his hands began to reach towards the table filled with instruments of torture, I sent a fireball towards it, quickly igniting the wooden furnishing.
He let out another shrill cry while backpedalling rapidly. A dark patch grew from his crotch, spreading almost as fast as he could crawl, dampening his pants. The sharp scent of urine assaulted my senses, and a sense of revulsion welled up from within me.
As tears and snot stained his face, I raised my leg up and spoke.
“When I first met you, I promised that this would happen if you ever tried to take me against my will again.”
My foot blazed with flame as I coldly looked down at the loathsome creature before me.
Disregarding his pleas, my hammer of judgement swiftly fell, releasing an unearthly howl in response.
His cry of agony rang throughout the cell, like the tolling of funeral bells.
It didn’t take long for his screams to die, as he passed out from the pain.
Looking at his scrunched up figure, I could only murmur my parting words to the ghosts of the chamber, for there was no one else to hear them.
“You see, Keith? A promise is a promise. And I make sure to keep my promises.”