Daughters of Darkness III: Mia? (3/4)

Ryo sat on the second story balcony, his legs swinging limply as they dangled over the railing boards. He knew it was extremely unsafe to sit on the handrail like he was, but he just wanted to. The setting sun rested above the trees, illuminating the full branches and burning his eyes. Everything he knew was falling apart, and there was no possible way it could ever be repaired. Two of his best friends were losing their minds, one was enslaved by a questionable lover, and his beloved was treating him like he was a lower lifeform. All he really had left was Sage and White Blaze. As much as he loved his tiger, he couldn’t have a conversation with him or go into the city with him, unless he wanted to be arrested. And Sage..... he was disturbed by this whole situation, too; maybe it was the deep kiss from Rowen, but it had to be something else. He didn’t understand what was happening, and he couldn’t do anything at all; it made him sick to think about it and how it was costing him sleep. Worst of it all was Mia; what had he done to get this kind of treatment from her? Normally, she was gentle and even-tempered and patient with even the worst the guys could do; now, she was snippy and judgmental and downright cold to him. He swallowed hard and closed his eyes. He didn’t know how much longer he could tolerate this.

“Ryo?” Mia asked as she stepped out onto the balcony. “Can I talk to you?”

Ryo swung his legs over the railing and landed on his feet with a forced smile. “Sure,” he said as blandly as he could muster. “What’s on your mind?”

“Uhm......” Mia’s head drooped, and her voice began to shake slightly. “You have to leave. Now.”

The shock of this statement couldn’t be hidden, and Ryo suddenly felt sick. “Why?”

“I can’t really tell you.” Mia looked away, trying to hide the first few tears. “I don’t think you’d understand...”

“Mia, if there’s something wrong, I want to help you, and I don’t think leaving you would be--”

“Ryo, you DON’T understand. I’M making the guys crazy, I’M giving their souls over to God knows what, and I’M going to have to hurt you eventually. I can’t help it.” Mia started to cry, covering her face and turning away; tears ebbed over her fingers and rolled down her arms. Ryo gently hugged her, his arms wrapping around her saline-soaked limbs. She spun around and rested her hands against his chest, leaning her head on his shoulder. “I can’t stop her....she won’t let them escape....”

“Who is ‘she’?” Mia responded with a lingering sob. “Please, tell me who ‘she’ is.”

“I don’t know.... She’s so vicious.....” Mia stared straight into Ryo’s eyes, tempering her confusion with the slightest hue of courage. “She said she’d let you get away, because I can only save one person. I chose you. I didn’t wanna choose between you.... I’m sorry.....” The courage faded with a new tide of tears. Ryo cradled her chin with his finger and gently lifted her head to his eye level.

“Please, I know I can help you if you just tell me who ‘she’ is.” Mia looked down and closed her eyes. “Please.”

Mia looked up again, her eyes steely and devoid of light; Ryo instinctively stepped back. “She’s me, sweetie,” Mia said in the cold tone now so familiar. “And despite what she said--” She grabbed his arm, holding him with an unnatural strength. “--you’re MINE.” A sudden chill engulfed him, followed by a swirling, enclosing darkness; the echo of a self-satisfied laugh rang painfully in his ears as the nothingness enveloped him.


+She betrayed me.. She took you..+

=Where are we?=

+I don’t know...... At least we can rest...together...+

=You can’t be saying we’re.... Oh God....=

+Ryo, I’m sorry....I’m so sorry...... I should never have welcomed her.+

=Who IS she?.......Oh........OH.=

Sage smiled as he peered out the window. A noble flock of giant purple chickens was grazing in the back yard, with one keeping an eye on the driveway for the return of their prey of choice. Every so often, they would try to scope him out and intimidate him, but after a few futile attempts, they knew he wasn’t about to be put on their menu. Even if they were smart giant purple chickens, they couldn’t get to him. His smug grin disappeared long enough for him to sip at his tea; this had to be the stupidest trick ever conceived, and the fact that someone he knew had succumbed to it only added to its oddity. He walked away, ready to return to his room. The sudden appearance of Mia halted him with an awkward step, trying to avoid her feet.

“Sage,” Mia said flatly, resting a hand on his shoulder. “Allee told me how you treated her earlier.”

“You mean Rowen, right?” Sage said, his stomach turning a little at the memory of the...... ENCOUNTER. “He’s been gone for two days.”

“Allee is VERY hurt from your attitude, Sage.” A wave of vertigo hit Sage, and he started to shake. “You KNOW how much you like her.”

Sage steadied himself and stared her down. “I’m sorry...I’m not falling for it. You’ve turned two of my friends into raving lunatics, but you are NOT taking me or Ryo.”

Mia smiled. “You’re half right, darling. Go check your bedroom.”

Ryo lay secured under the blankets, occasionally writhing in pain with low moans of agony. The color had left his complexion; a thin film of cold sweat covered his body. Sage stared down at him with the strongest sense of pity he had ever felt; what had she done to him? He fell into the seat and rested the back of his hand against Ryo’s forehead, letting the clammy chill soak through him. A soothing, warm light began to engulf his body, and he closed his eyes in concentration. His deepest reserves of strengths began to travel out of him, gently engulfing Ryo’s supine form; the room illuminated with an eerie glow as Sage’s eyes shot open. Something was wrong....he couldn’t move. He began to feel weak, atrophied. A pain surged through his right arm, but he couldn’t find the strength to call out; a black void appeared on his right palm, emitting a darkness that spread through the room. The darkness choked out the light, the air, and the very life around him. Sage’s body became unsteady, swooning into the folds of black around him. It cradled him, letting him rest in its strangely soothing chill.

*......Sage......child.......* a hissing voice called as his eyes closed. A vague grin spread on his face.

“....Mother............” Sage barely whispered. The darkness embraced him in its comforting arms, pulling him into its nurturing void.

The life slowly returned to the room, and Ryo sat up, coughing feebly. He squinted his eyes open, fighting a painful vertigo and a nagging ache over his entire body. He looked around in a daze. Hadn’t he heard Sage’s voice in here, or was that another of her torments? A lingering, numbing warmth filled his being, an after-effect of Sage’s touch. A wave of panic came over him. She had taken Sage, was taking Mia, and soon she’d take everyone else. Ryo forced his stiff figure out of bed; he had to stop her.

“You’re wearing THAT?!” Rowen sarcastically asked Ayame, well into his new life as Allee. He focused a critical stare on her powder blue sundress and sneered. “Makes your hips look HUGE.”

“You still have that crush on him?” Kento whispered in her ear. Cye spun around from the door, his eyes wide; the door keys nearly fell from his hand. “Didn’t think the chickens KNEW about that, did you? Chickens TALK, hellspawn.”

“Uh....,” Ayame started. She smiled nervously at Cye. “We’ll talk about this later.”

“Yes, we will,” Cye answered as he violently fumbled with the keys, trying his best to sound forceful. In his struggle, he bumped into the door, opening it. “That’s not good.”

“Can we go in now?” Kento asked anxiously. “I see ‘em coming....”

Cye entered first, holding his breath. Ryo sat numbly on the sofa, staring into space. White Blaze lay protectively at his feet; he almost seemed to keep a vigil on his owner. As the party entered, Ryo slowly turned his head and stared at them with a dangerous ire. Cye stepped back as he rose to his feet and approached them.

“Send her out,” Ryo demanded, glaring at Ayame. Cye protectively raised an arm in front of her, countering his anger. “SEND HER OUT!!” He seized Cye’s arm and jerked him aside; Ayame started to back up, running into a wall of Kento and trapping herself between two irate people. “I’ve had enough of this crap!! YOU’VE taken Mia from me, YOU’RE driving my friends insane, YOU tried to kill me, and you’ve KILLED Sage!!! You’ve RUINED our LIVES, you BITCH!!” Cye grabbed Ryo’s arms, holding him tight despite his struggles. “Don’t you DARE protect her!” Ryo glared into him with the intensity of an angered animal, sending a nervous shiver through Cye.

“Sage?” Rowen muttered, still trapped in his Allee persona. “Something’s happened to Sage...?” Slowly, Rowen’s voice and manner returned to normal, each word a step towards himself. “What happened to him? Wha-...why aren’t you answering.....? Did...did she do something to Sage.....? She....she....” Rowen winced and turned sharply at Ayame, joining in the interrogation. “What did you do to him this time?!”

Ayame opened her mouth, trying to give her inquisitors a reasonable answer but gave up after a few feeble attempts, letting her head fall. “I’m sorry....,” she squeaked. “I’m so sorry....... I can’t help it.......” A few stray tears rolled down her face.

“You have no right to cry!” Ryo snapped, drawing a scared, whimpering sob from Ayame in response.

“Leave her alone!” Cye protested, pulling Ayame away from them and locking her in a protective hug. “ ‘Yame, it’s okay, darling, I won’t let them hurt you.... you know that....”

“You’d rather let HER hurt US,” Kento bitterly countered. Ayame glared out at him from behind her tears, then bolted out of Cye’s arms; she dashed down the driveway, vanishing in a trail of gravel dust.

“Ayame!” Cye yelled as he hurried towards the porch stairs, only to be caught in his friends’ net of arms. “Let me go!!” He looked between the three with an expression of pained confusion. “Why are you--..... How can.....-- I love her, don’t you.....” He stopped; his friends’ stoic faces answered his pleas.

“You better go lay down, Cye,” Ryo said, doing his best to sound supportive. He quietly exchanged a glance with Kento and Rowen; maybe now they could finally find an end to this unwarranted torment and stop it from taking anyone else.


*Venefica....... have you brought me my new servants?*

**No, they...... uh........ got away. But at least I have a new vessel, hmm?**

*It’s okay...... Can’t you at least give her to me?*

**She’s, uh, putting up resistance. This is tougher than I thought.**

*It’s nothing else?*

**No, of course not. I’m in complete control here.**

*Great...... Have you met your new brother?*

“Cye?” Ryo called as he knocked on the locked bedroom door. “I wanna talk to you.” A muffled reply came through the door, something that, to Ryo’s ears, sounded like, ‘Lick me.’ “I’m coming in.” He knelt down to the doorknob’s level and jammed an antiquated wire hairpin of Mia’s in the lock; after several minutes of metallic ticking, the lock clicked open, and the door swung ajar. Cye just sat on his bed, staring vacantly at his fishtank with his back turned to the door. Ryo stepped as lightly as he could, letting the bubbling of the aquarium drown out his footsteps. If he said or did the wrong thing, Cye would be angry, VERY angry, and Cye angry is not a pretty sight. “Can I sit down?” he quietly asked.

“You already broke in, didn’t you?” Cye bitterly countered without removing his gaze from the fishtank.

“I’m sorry, I j--”

“Just sit.”

Ryo sat next to Cye, getting a brief acidic glare as he settled. “I just wanted to talk to you.” Cye rolled his eyes with a low, grumbling sigh and began watching him out of the corner of his eye. “I’m sorry about Ayame,” Ryo started. “I know you love her, I... I can relate, but she brought all this on us. You can’t deny that, no matter how hard you try. She may have been a sweet girl and a loyal lover, but she would’ve killed us all. She wouldn’t mean to, but she would. She already took Mia and Sage, and she almost took us all. We don’t wanna die over your lust, Cye. Can you understand that?”

“I can understand,” Cye answered flatly.

“You can? G--”

“I can understand that you hate me. If you had any kindness in your hearts at all for me, you’d have let me be happy.”

“Cye, we don’t hate you. We’re trying to save you.”

“LOOK. I wasn’t happy for a long time, and you guys only made it worse. When Ayame came into my life, I was happy--honestly, truly, wonderfully HAPPY. And you did everything you could to destroy it.”

“Ayame was killing us! She didn’t even know it, and she was killing us off one by one, and just because YOU’RE happy, WE can die?!”

“If you keep this up, yes! You don’t understand at all! I LOVE her, and she loved me. If she didn’t, I wouldn’t have let her--....” Cye cut himself off and stared down at the floor, slowly stewing into a red flush.

“You wouldn’t have let her WHAT?” Ryo demanded. He shook Cye’s shoulder, jerking him violently. “What did you....... My God, you didn’t sleep with her, did you?” Cye pushed him away and cradled his head in his hands, his face a bright crimson. “You DID? Yo....... You IDIOT!! You had a tryst with a DEMON! She probably owns your soul now or something!”

“I don’t care,” Cye grumbled, his voice shaking slightly under hidden weeping. “You don’t know what it’s like to be in love and have some HEARTLESS BASTARD like YOU destroy it!” He jerked his body up and stared Ryo down with his saline-worn face, his eyes cold and cutting.

“Yes, I DO! I lost Mia, and the person responsible was Ayame! She’s evil, Cye! She’s killed us five times over by now, she raped Rowen, and she’s done God-knows-what to Mia and Sage! She was just using you, and now that she’s been caught, she’s just left you behind! You meant NOTHING to her!”

Cye seethed quietly before forcing his response from between his teeth. “Get out.” Ryo stood up, still watching him as he, too, stood, trembling and red-faced. “GETOUTGETOUTGETOUT!!!! I NEVER wanna see any of you again!! Just leave me ALONE!!!” He deteriorated into bitter crying as Ryo crept out, closing the door. Even through the wooden door, his sobbing was loud, along with his frustrated shouts to nothing. As the personal denunciations echoed through the hall, Ryo walked down the stairs and hurried to the living room.

“Dude, you shouldn’t have yelled that loud,” Kento quietly admonished as he watched his somber friend fall into the loveseat.

“Chickens, right?” Ryo asked with half a laugh.

“What? No, it’s just... we could hear everything. Where’d you get chickens from?”

“....Nothing.” Ryo smiled sadly at Rowen as he sulked in the recliner. “Sorry I brought it up.”

“At least someone was honest about it,” Rowen sighed. “He’s gone now.”


“He’s never gonna speak to us again, and that’s just the start. Wouldn’t surprise me if we never SAW him again.”

“He can’t stay mad forever,” Kento offered. The other two looked at him in amused disbelief. “He CAN’T. That’s not him.”

“I can’t believe I’m saying this, but.....” Ryo started as he rubbed the back of his aching neck, “..... after this, I don’t really think we can trust him anymore.” Ryo smiled sadly at the two and let his head hang in depressed doubt; they had now lost their confidant and friend along with two of the dearest people in the world. After all this, what’s the point of finding an end to this misery? It would never go away.

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