185 Frozen hear
A young couple was dashing through the woods while screaming their lungs out trying to escape from its pursuer.
"Faster!! Faster!!! We need to go!!" said the red-haired man who appeared to be around the age of thirty-three and wearing very casual clothes.
"I can't, I can't!! My legs won't move anymore!!" whispered the blond young lady who seemed to be thirty years old and was gasping for air.
The man realized that his partner was having trouble keeping up and decided to carry her on his back.
The two continued their escape while they heard the sound of the creature getting closer and closer. Eventually, they found themselves with nowhere to go as they reached the bottom of a cliff at the farthest corner of the forest.
"Drat!! There is nowhere to go!!" the man complained while gazing at his surroundings looking for some kind of gap where he could run to but finding nothing.
"Robert!! Is this the end for us??" the woman cried while latching onto the man with all her strength.
The trees started to fall as the shadow of a massive figure kept approaching with heavy steps that made the entire ground vibrate and the birds fly away terrified.
Robert began to sweat as he realized that his doom was soon to come. The blond woman just grabbed his face to make him look at her eyes, making sure that the last thing either of them would see, were each other's faces.
"Robert... If this is really it... I want you to know... You are everything for me!!" the lady shouted with tears coming out from her eyes.
"Natasha... I'm so sorry that I couldn't keep you safe..." the man replied, also crying in despair, "and I just wanted you to know... I... I..."
The creature finally emerged from the woods and revealed its form. Its entire body was a floating primate head of the size of a house, its cheeks revealed a pair of human arms coming out trying to grab anything in its sight, its eyes were a pair of flaming orbs that stared right into one's soul, and its hair a nest of serpents all screaming with a thirst for its prey.
The sight of the horrifying being froze the man's speech and almost made his heart leap out of its chest. Natasha tried to keep his eyes away from the beast.
"Don't look at him!! Just focus on me! Everything will be ok!" she whispered while shaking, "just finish what you had to say..."
"Natasha... I... I..." Robert tried to continue.
The creature came closer while extending its arms trying to reach for the couple.
"Don't stop, Robert! Don't stop!!"
The beast released a huge yell the echoed throughout the entire area with so much intensity that the entire ground started to shake in response.
"Robert!!!" Natasha cried.
"I SOLD YOUR MOTHER'S STAFF AND USED THE MONEY FOR BOOZE!!!!" Robert admitted.
He then closed his eyes to avoid looking at the creature swallowing him while covering his head, but all he heard was the noise something suddenly freezing. The man opened his eyes and gazed at the creature who was now completely stuck in a giant block of ice and unable to move.
"Wha- What...?" he gasped. Robert then turned to look at Natasha who was glaring at him with her arm extended aimed at the beast.
"You... What!!!???" she asked.
"You...? What the...? How did you?" Robert stuttered.
"I learned master-class magic a month ago, dumbass!!" she explained, "I could have killed this thing any time I wanted!"
"You... You what?? Why did you-"
"I thought you were going to ask for my hand if you thought these were our final moments!! Then I was going to freeze it to make you think it was a 'miracle from the gods' or something..."
"Oh... I... I..."
"But forget that..." Natasha moved her hand to signal Robert to zip it, "what the hell did you do with my mother's staff? My mother's staff that she gave me when I turned sixteen?? The last present I ever got from my mother before she passed away???"
"I... I... I..." Robert was finding trouble with forming words.
"Robert..." Natasha whispered while making a giant claw made of ice aimed at the man's neck, "WHERE. IS. MY. MOTHER'S. STAFF???"
After finishing off on killing the monster and freezing Robert on the bottom of a cliff, Natasha hurried to the location he had informed he had sold the staff to, a large warehouse located far away from the city and looking like it was about to fall down at any moment.
The place apparently was a hideout for a group of bandits who traded parts of animals and monsters to rich collectors who wanted to buy pieces as decoration.
"Ugh... Lovely..." Natasha whispered while gazing at the place filled with holes and covered in mud all over. The mere idea that her mother's beloved mage staff could be in here was enough to send shivers all over her body.
She entered the place and was met with a group of angry-looking men who were all wearing some kind of uniform that consisted of black shirts with red scarfs and gloves. They all had bodies filled with scars as if to show they had been in several fights.
One of them who was in the middle of a discussion with his friends spotted Natasha coming closer and moved to intercept her, "Who the hell are you and what do you want with us?"
She gazed around and spotted a group of imprisoned monsters who appeared to have been tortured for days without rest, but tried to avert her eyes in order to focus on her mission.
"Who I am doesn't matter..." she replied, "as for what I want, your little book-club has taken my staff by accident, and I'm here to get it back..."
The man just smiled at her, "Hehe, piss off lady... Before you get into trouble..."
"... You know..." Natasha answered back, "on second thought, maybe who I am does matter a little bit after all..."
She noticed that the rest of the members of the gang were now standing up and approaching her. Many of them were gazing at the woman with lustful eyes while observing her long blond hair, pale skin, blue eyes, white shirt, black pants, and black boots. There were no women in the warehouse, and these people all were acting like they hadn't seen one in a long time.
"Let me introduce myself... I'm a mage who holds very dearly her magical items, and among these items, there is my staff that was passed down by my beloved mother... Which was, mistakenly, sold to your people, again, by accident, by my incredibly stupid EX-boyfriend... So... If you would be so kind as to return it to me-"
"You heard that, boys?" the man interrupted Natasha. She assumed he was talking about how much her staff meant to her and started to get relieved that this would be resolved so simply, "blondie over here just told us that she's single!!"
The entire place started to shout in excitement like a pack of wolves after hearing that comment and started to approach the lady with even more hunger in their eyes.
Natasha just tried to keep a calm smile, "you... really don't wanna do this!"
The man grabbed her hair and took a deep sniff out of it while smiling back at her, "pretty sure I do, sweetheart! You just made yourself our plaything for the rest of the night!"
Another one of the gang members came closer and placed his arm around her shoulder, "what are you going to do?? Fight all of us without your weapon?"
Natasha just kept smiling and finally gave her final answer, "did I mention that I'm also a master-class mage?"
The group of men just started trading glances at each other a little confused.
"The hell does that even mean?" one of them asked.
"It means..." she explained while lightly touching the arm of the one who was grabbing her and completely freezing him in mere instants, "that I don't need a weapon... I AM the weapon!"
The gang members started to lose color and began to shout "Kill her!!" while readying their weapons, but not even a second later the entire place had been completely overrun by ice everywhere as the woman released an explosion of freezing magic.
The entire building had been caught by her spell. Some of the man got terrified of her power and just run away terrified, others were stuck on ice and could barely flinch. The monster cages also got hit by the attack, allowing the monsters to break free and escape as well.
Natasha began to stroll around the building like a little girl while lazily observing if any of them had her beloved staff anywhere and just watching all the members cursing her in silence while being unable to move a finger, "What would you know... You guys are a lot less annoying when you can't speak or move..."
She finally saw what she was looking for. Her mother's magic staff was resting on top of a table right next to another one of the members who also had been caught by her ice move.
"Ugh... I'm going to need to wash this later..." she mumbled. As she kept trying to spot any kind of problem with her item, she realized another one of the monster cages hidden behind a curtain, and a pair of eyes were looking right at her.
She let curiosity take the best of her and moved the curtain to see what was behind it, and when she did, she saw a small kid entrapped inside the cage. He was wearing nothing but rags and his body was full of scars, but unlike the bandits who appeared to have battle scars, these looked more like torture scars.
He was thin as if he hadn't eaten in weeks, his hair was so dirty that she could barely recognize the color, and his eyes were holding a huge expression of defeat, as if the child had lost the will to live.
"Hey, buddy... are you ok?" she asked while opening his cage and letting him free. The boy started to crawl out of its prison while shaking a little and looking at Natasha.
The boy didn't say anything and just kept looking at the woman. Natasha then bent her knees to apply some healing magic on the kid.
"Don't worry... Nobody is going to hurt you anymore..."
Natasha felt disgusted that she ever held feeling for a man that could make deals with people that would lock a small kid in a cage. If she ever met Robert again, she would lock him in a block of ice then times stronger.
"What's your name, young man?"
"Do you know where your parents live?"
"... Can you... Talk...? At all...?"
Natasha considered her options. On one hand, she already had a mouth to feed, that was one of the reasons she was even trying to find a man to bring home after all. On the other, she couldn't just abandon a kid like that right after she found him.
"Would you like to stay with me for a while? Just until I find where your parents are?"
The boy finally showed a reaction and released a wide smile while shaking his head up and down.
"Great... I hope Marcy doesn't mind if I bring her a new friend..."