|Author: Alruna Zelenia||Original Source: Re:Library|
~Chapter 7: The Enlightening~
Avery dropped the towels into the kitchen sink and then she called out in the direction of the bathroom, “Babe, can I borrow your clothes?”
She heard an affirmative from the bathroom, then she went into the bedroom where the Faerie was still sitting on the window sill. She gave him a dirty look which he ignored before she took a fresh towel and left the room again. She took off her tattered dress and torn lacey red bra before she wetted the towel and scrubbed off all the blood from her body. All of her wounds had closed up and were in the process of healing already. It had been a rather tough battle for her, she was only in her twenties – basically still a baby for her species and quite inexperienced in combat. Fighting five freshly-turned vampires by herself was harsh and if she had been a lesser being, she would have been overpowered.
The towel was entirely stained in blood when her body was finally scrubbed clean. She dropped the bloody towel into the kitchen sink with the rest of the others. She muttered softly in magicks and the towels lit up in flames, quickly devouring them until nothing was left of them.
When she returned to the bedroom nearly stark naked, she could feel eyes tracking her movements. Out of the corner of her eyes, she could see the Faerie eying her assets. Looking through the wardrobe, she picked out one of Evelyn’s larger sweatshirts and threw it over her head. She also picked out some undergarments, a shirt and a pair of sleeping shorts.
She caught the Faerie still unapologetically staring at her when she turned back to face him. She willfully ignored him, having no desire to engage with him at the moment. She left the room again to place the clothes outside the bathroom door.
“I’ll leave clothes for you outside the door, Eve.” She heard a mumbled ‘okay’ and went back into the bedroom. She sat down on the bed and watched the Fae man for a moment before she finally asked, “Why?”
The Faerie tilted his head pretending he didn’t understand her question, another moment of silence passed when he finally answered, “I did it for ‘Her’.”
“What do you get out of it?”
“What do you get out of it?” He countered.
“Nothing, she is my best friend and I want her head to stay where it belongs.”
“Not because you want to chew on that tasty yummy brain of hers?”
“𝔽𝕌ℂ𝕂 you!” She growled threateningly but he only chuckled humourlessly back at her. Her species could stomach chewing through and eating anything thrown at them but they did not really find humans scrumptious and it was only the media nowadays that portrayed zombies as mindless brain-eating machines. “Brains ain’t even that tasty, they are mushy and yucky,” she thought bitterly. While she had never eaten human brains before, she could vaguely recall one particularly muddled memory of crunching through someone’s brain matter as a kid. However muddled the memory might be, she could tell that it was an unpleasant memory that left a permanent bad taste in her mouth, souring her mood further.
“Are you telling me she doesn’t tempt the beast inside of you, zombie?” He mocked her with a 𝕊ℍ𝕀𝕋-eating grin on his face. The desire to beat his face in was nearly overwhelming but she pulled her temper back in control knowing full well that she was no match for him. If only she was older – stronger, she would have entertained the idea more seriously.
“How much did ‘She’ offer you, you who would do anything for money?” Avery snitched.
He leaned back against the window frame, giving off a relaxed disposition, “I just do what I do best to survive, what I get in return has nothing to do with you, zombie.”
Evelyn happened to walk into the room then and heard him call Avery a zombie.
“Did he just call you a zombie, Avie?” The blonde asked in confusion.
“Yes, he did. C’mon babe, sit. I’ll answer whatever questions you have.” Avery patted a spot on the bed beside her. When Evelyn finally took a seat beside her friend, she decided to ask the first question that came to her mind. However, it had come out sounding more like an exclamation slash observation than an actual question.
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The redhead chuckled in amusement and explained, “Yeah Eve, I’m fine. I know you’re probs wondering why. He’s right, I am a zombie. My species has a very high tolerance of pain and our rate of regeneration is better than almost all of the other supernatural species out there. Our agility is only slightly higher than a human’s but us zombies, we are strong and nearly indestructible.”
“Unless someone carves out their hearts and smashes through their brains at the same time before they could regenerate,” the man supplied with a challenging smirk.
“Yeah? You sissy little mother𝔽𝕌ℂ𝕂er, I wanna see you try and take me down!” She knew she was being lured into a tempest of rage but she just couldn’t handle his arrogance any longer. She rose to her full height and the blonde could feel a thrum of power radiating off her friend.
“With pleasure,” he crooned delightedly, leaving his perch on the window sill and bowed mockingly at her.
“Guys! Stop it!” The blonde chided the childishly arguing supernatural beings. Both of them glared at her and she nearly shrunk in on herself in fear. Seeing her reaction, Avery’s anger quickly evaporated. With slumped shoulders, she sat back down and sincerely muttered her apologies to the blonde. The man looked almost disappointed at the defused fight; he resumed his place on the window sill.
“Who are you anyways?” This time Evelyn directed the question at him.
“Haydn at your service, ma’am.” He bowed his head slightly.
“Why are you doing this, Haydn? I don’t even know you.”
“Just know that I have my reasons, human.”
When the redhead saw the look of attraction on the blonde’s face, she nudged the woman with her elbow and whispered, “Just a fair warning, Eve. Faeries do not lie but they are extremely good at deflection and non-answers – Masters of deception, they are. I would never depend my life on a Faerie.” The redhead gave him a dirty look but Haydn barely even acknowledged her hurtful words. Instead, he smirked in satisfaction as if she had just given him high praises.
Silence reigned for a few minutes as Evelyn tried to pull her head around to the idea that there really were non-human creatures in the world. As it finally sunk in, the safe feeling around her began to take a visual form. She turned her palms up to see it better. But it was not just on her hands, it was more like a dark bubble surrounding her entire body in its warm and fuzzy clutches. It was not physical, it appeared more like an aura or energy around a person. She felt like she should be freaking out but somehow, it felt like her body had already been accustomed to this aura. While the aura might appear scary with its blacks with swirling pinks, it gave her a sense of belonging and safety.
Then she realized that she could see an aura surrounding Avery too, but with a light blue colour instead, whereas there was nothing around Haydn.
“What is this?” She gestured with her hands vaguely at the green-eyed woman and herself. The zombie tilted her head in confusion before it dawned on her what the human was referring to.
“Every supernatural being has an essence,” She commenced her explanation. “The size of the essence around us indicates our strength. Only the supernatural can see essences but humans who have been ‘Enlightened’, meaning that they have come to accept the presence of the supernatural, will gain the ability to see essences too. However, humans can only see the essence of a supernatural if the supernatural allowed it. The colour of our essence usually reveals our innermost-self such as personality, species and other attributes that make us who we are. It is for this reason that a lot of us would suppress our essence and only show it to people we trust.”
“I have so many questions and I don’t even know where to start.” Evelyn shook her head, her brain overloaded with the new information.
“It’s ok, Eve. Baby steps, ask what comes to mind first,” Avery put her arms around the human to comfort her.
“So, humans don’t have essences?” She inspected the essence surrounding her. The essences of the two women did not mix together where they held each other. The black-pink essence around the human pulsed strongly and shoved the zombie’s weaker light blue essence away from the blonde’s body to any parts of the redhead’s body that were not in contact with the human.
“No, humans usually don’t have essences because they are too weak and fragile. No offence. And for the humans who do, it would just be a wisp of it occasionally circling their body. And I know why you’re confused about this. You’re seeing this black and pink essence around yourself, but it’s not actually yours.” Avery pulled back from her with a sympathetic look.
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“W-what do you mean? Why would I have an essence that is not mine?” The blonde stuttered, not liking the sympathy radiating off her friend.
Even though the essence around her was somehow sending her feelings of warmth and safety, she could feel the tendrils of panic forming in her mind. The panic caused the pink essence to separate from the black, circling closer to her body while the black essence circled the outside of the bubble. The black essence swirled wildly as if it was trying to lash out at her source of discomfort. Luckily, it did not have enough reach – it fell an inch short of the redhead and remained harmless to Avery.
“Shhh, babe, it’s ok. Don’t panic.” Her soothing voice calmed the human slightly and the duo coloured essence fused back neutrally. “Every supernatural being could take claims on another person, be it supernatural or humans. Claims could be made for several reasons – for their mates, their babies, protection to someone weaker, or for possessions.”
“Possessions?!” Evelyn shrieked, the idea of being owned like an object to someone did not appeal to her at all.
“Yip, possessions. Some examples are like how vampire lords and ladies could own several humans for blood, succubi and incubi could enslave other weaker beings for feeding off their sexual energy.” The redhead explained casually without realizing that her words were sending her friend into another blind panic. Colours drained from the blonde’s face and her heartbeat sped up.
“So, those vampires, did they come for me because they wanted to claim me as a walking blood bag? Is the reason this essence is so dark because they are evil? Are they going to send more vampires after me?” Evelyn blabbered questions after questions in dismay, suddenly afraid for her life. She grabbed onto Avery’s upper arms and tried to shake her for answers but she did not budge at all. Almost without pause, the human continued, “Can you take away their claim? Maybe protect me under you? Or what do zombies-”
“Stop, stop! Eve, stop!” The redhead called out, pulling the blonde into her arms, enveloping the human in a warm cuddle. Once she settled down, the green-eyed woman pulled back and stared into her eyes.
“I’m sorry, I should have explained this better. First of all, you have not been claimed by the vampires for blood. Second, I won’t let them take you even if they did. Third, I cannot remove the claim on you since your current ‘claimer’ is stronger than me. I had previously claimed you already because you are my best friend and I wanted to keep you safe. I made sure other people knew that you were under my protection.”
The zombie then paused in recollection, “Remember that day when I called you out of nowhere in a panic? That was the day my claim over you was lost and I thought you had died or something when my essence returned to me.”
Evelyn couldn’t even remember the redhead ever calling her in a panic but then again, panic on her normally stoic friend was probably barely noticeable. “Should I be afraid?” Evelyn asked the next question that came to her mind, her eyes tearing up at the thought of being a stranger’s property.
Her friend pushed a few strands of her hair behind her ear and whispered, “Can you feel what the essence is trying to convey to you, Eve? Is it controlling or terrifying?”
The blue-eyed woman shook her head, “No, I feel… warm, protected and uh, treasured?” As the words left her lips, it felt like a heavy weight lifted off her body. Something that felt like this couldn’t possibly be a bad thing, right? Or at least she hoped anyway. As if the essence around her could feel her acceptance of it, another wave of warmth and a ticklish sensation passed through her body.
“There you go, Eve. You have nothing to be afraid of from whoever made this claim on you.” Avery beamed at her friend with faked enthusiasm. She did not really know whether her statement was true and the white lie fell flat to her own ears.
“So, could anyone just make a claim on anyone they want to?” Evelyn asked curiously. “And if that is true, then why are supernatural beings still hidden from humans?”
“Not really, the claimed supernatural could fight the claimer with their own essence to avoid being claimed. But for humans, since they don’t have their own essence, they typically can be claimed easily. However, that doesn’t mean they are compelled to follow their claimer’s orders unless they want to or are forced to do so.” The zombie shrugged indifferently and continued.
“It is usually more trouble than it’s worth, really. Claiming someone means sharing your essence and extending your protection to them. Plus, that usually makes the claimer a little weaker depending on how much essence they shared with their claimed. That is why most claims are made willingly. Don’t get me wrong though, there are forced claims and if the claimer wanted them to do as they say, the claimer would have to ‘break’ the person in.” Then, as an afterthought, the redhead added, “Oh, you can also see the essence of any claimed humans since the essence doesn’t belong to them and they can’t shield it from the others.”
Evelyn then teased the redhead, “So, you claimed me without asking?” The zombie laughed and swatted her arm lightly. However lightly the hit was for the zombie, it still stung the human, Evelyn rubbed the sore spot with a pout.
“I only wanted you to be safe, Eve. From those vicious vampires and other despicable characters.” When she mentioned the despicable characters, she was sneering in Haydn’s direction. The blonde had nearly forgotten his presence from all this overflow of information.
The blonde was almost afraid to ask but she wanted to know the answer so she pushed on, “Who is this really powerful person who claimed me? You said the essence of a person tells you who they really are and this essence is just so… dark. Are they evil? They must be, right? So why, or what do they want me for?”
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After voicing her questions, the human gulped nervously, certain that she wasn’t going to like the answers. Meanwhile, the redhead cleared her throat uncomfortably, her eyes shifted around the room, unable to meet her friend’s eyes. Even Haydn fidgeted slightly on his perch. However, he did briefly meet the human’s eyes and gave her a sympathetic smile. He joked lightly, “Isn’t that something we all want to know?”
“Avery?” The blonde prodded her meekly.
She finally answered with a strained smile, “I have a suspicion as to who your claimer is because that essence feels vaguely familiar to me and the person I’m thinking of is supposed to be evil. But that’s just the nature of ‘Her’ species. I wouldn’t know who ‘She’ is as a person or ‘Her’ personality. All I know is what everyone also knows about ‘Her’ – powerful and not someone you want to mess with.”
Evelyn couldn’t help noticing the emphasis her friend put into the pronouns of her claimer. “If she is so powerful, what would she want from a weak little human like me? Couldn’t she just as easily claim, let’s just say, for example, yourself?” She questioned dubiously.
“I can’t answer that for you, babe. I’m sorry but I really don’t know. You’ll have to ask ‘Her’ yourself.” She lifted her shoulders weakly in a half-shrug and shifted her eyes back and forth. Evelyn could tell that her friend was hiding something from her but she just couldn’t figure out the reason for her deceit.
“How does she even know me and how would I know it’s her if I ever see her? Avery, why won’t you just tell me who she is?” She demanded in frustration – for every answer she got, it only brought her more questions.
“You must have seen ‘Her’ before even if it was just in passing and you will know who ‘She’ is if you ever see ‘Her’ again. When we share our essence, it exposes our essence to all of our claims, provided they are ‘Enlightened’. I won’t tell you ‘Her’ name for saying ‘Her’ name out loud has the possibility of summoning ‘Her’ here. I don’t know about you but I would rather not call upon ‘Her’ if it was at all possible.” Just the thought of saying the name out loud had both Haydn and Avery sharing a shiver.
“I have tried it first-hand and zero out of ten would not do it again if I can help it.” Haydn supplied bitterly when his shiver had passed.
A yawn unexpectedly broke past the blonde’s lips. The drowsiness she was feeling was not one of her typical end-of-the-week tiredness but more of a bone-weary exhaustion. The clock struck five past five when Evelyn glanced at it. It was no wonder she was weary after the busy day of work, partying, the crazy vampire attack and this insane new world she had somehow just been thrust into. Everything was far beyond her wildest dreams.
With another yawn, the blonde snuggled into her friend’s arms. The redhead ran her fingers through her hair and whispered adoringly, “Goodnight Princess.” Though it was lost to the blonde as sleep had already claimed her.
“Well, that was fun. I always loved a good ‘Enlightening’ reveal to humans. Their reaction is always different and entertaining,” Haydn chimed in unnecessarily to irk the redhead who just dutifully ignored him.
She then carefully tucked her friend in and pressed a kiss to her forehead, ever so grateful that she did not lose her dearest friend that night. But little did she know, this was only the beginning…