190 Feeling los
Mia woke up gasping for air in the middle of a grass field surrounded by large boulders of the size of a fridge.
She hurried to check her arms and legs and realized that the injuries made by Drya were gone, or rather, they were never there in the first place. The damage was done to her soul, not her body.
She stood up with a mixed sense of relief and disappointment. Relief that the pain was gone, but disappointed that she was back to her old emotionless self.
The girl lifted her head and stared at the rocks, all six of them. The grass had marks showing that these had been dragged towards where she was standing. Mia assumed that while she was taking her time sightseeing the dark void, Drya used her body to speed things up and get the stones where the demon leaders were imprisoned in.
She came closer to them and began to feel it. Her body was getting warmer and her skin was trembling as if a small jolt of electricity was circulating her insides.
"So I guess she found them while I was out..." Mia whispered.
She then noticed the sunlight hitting her eyes and decided to sit on the shadow of one of the stones.
The wind was breezing, but she didn't feel cold. She hadn't eaten in days, but she wasn't hungry. Her fated battle with Ellie was approaching, but she wasn't worried, neither about losing and end up dying, or winning and ending up killing another person.
All she felt right now was emptiness. She should be excited about finally being so close to fulfilling her dream. After facing Ellie, she would go after Hana and probably manage to perish in battle.
All her years of being unable to feel like her existence mattered, trying to remember what it was like to feel true joy, or trying to find a way to escape her hollow prison but being unable to do so afraid of becoming a demon, it could all finally be over.
But at that moment, none of that mattered.
The only thing that was on her mind was a small sensation that she wished she could ignore, but was unable to do so.
"It's so quiet..." Mia whispered, as she realized she was missing Evlin.
The girl heard a couple of footsteps approaching and took a glance to see who it was.
"So, I guess you managed to find them..." asked a man with a camera hanging from his neck, a large purple backpack on his back, and a hat that said 'welcome to Stonehenge' in it. It was the tourist from before, the one who gave the tip about searching on Avebury village and suddenly vanished in thin air.
"I guess I did..." Mia replied.
The tourist looked at her empty expression, "You ok...? You look like you had just found out that your favorite show was canceled in the middle of a huge cliffhanger because the original writer ended up having some kind of bad times with the production team..."
"..." Mia stared at him, "that is so... specific..."
"Hehe... I guess... So... What's bugging you? Are these also not the rocks you were looking for?"
"No, they are... They are exactly the rocks I've been looking for..."
"Then what's the problem...?" the man asked while putting his bag down and getting his camera ready to take some pictures.
Mia was wondering why, once again, he wasn't finding it strange that these boulders were here instead of where they should be.
"I just... I just realized that... Today is going to be another day where I'm going to have to be me..."
The man took this chance to take a few shots of Mia on her red robe sitting under the shadows of the rocks. She didn't mind it, or rather, she didn't really care.
"Dang... That's rather deep for a ten-year-old to say..."
"I'm not ten... I'm..." Mia thought about her answer but then was reminded of what Evlin said, even if she was over two-hundred years, she still stopped growing up when she was a kid, "I'm twelve..."
"I see... Still... Is this really the kind of problem a twelve-year-old should be worrying about? Wouldn't you rather be playing with your friends instead of being here collecting rocks?"
Mia began to question more and more just who was that guy, "I'm not really the type to have friends... I got a job a long time ago and have kinda been focusing on it until now..."
"Wow... Must have been one hell of a job if you traded friends for it..." he mentioned while moving along the grass to take shots from different angles.
"I didn't have a choice... I needed it to... treat my condition..."
"What kind of condition...?"
"My body was suffering from a... let's just use the word, disease... and the only way to stop it from spreading was by working for my boss..." Mia explained, "At least that's what I assumed... But now I wonder if my boss didn't just use my disease to keep me indebted to him..."
"You think your boss was the one who got you sick?"
"No... It comes from my family... But I think he could have prevented it from getting worse... and didn't do it..."
"Not really a cool boss..." the man assumed.
"Doesn't really matter... He is my only option right now... I have no other place to run..."
"Really...?" the man then finished his shooting session and approached Mia to show her his pictures. They had no reaction on her.
"Really..." she replied.
The tourist then began to smile while looking at the girl, "what if I told you I could release you from your curse...?"
Mia's expression completely froze while she was looking at the photos on the camera, and after that, she slowly lifted her face to stare at the man by her side, "... w- what...?"
The tourist kept smiling and repeated his offer, "I can free you..."
Mia was at a loss. Many questions began to float above her head at this moment. Who was this guy? Where did he come from? How much did he know? How did he know? Did he know?
"What... are you talking about...?"
The man continued to hold his calm expression, "You are Mia... The descendent of Hana, the first cursed energy user... the champion of the North god... enemy of the re-creation mage and the living weapon's son. You are on a quest to find a way to die so you can escape your fate as either an immortal unable to appreciate life or a demon moved by a desire to cause suffering... You spent the last two-hundred-years living alone after being rejected by your family and just killing anything in your path in an attempt to feel alive again... an attempt that you failed miserably to do..."
Mia had no words. This person just read her like she was an open book.
She wasn't sure how she should be feeling right now. Worried? Concerned? Scared? Intrigued? Cautious? She was already aware that her emotions weren't truly gone as she believed, they were simply buried deep down inside herself. So now she was wondering what this feeling was.
Part of her wanted to run away from this man. The fact that he knew so much made her feel like he could be dangerous. But another part had her wanting to find out more. She was curious. Curious to know who he was and how he was planning to help her.
"So... You interested?" he asked while extending his hand.
"I... I don't know..." she admitted.
"If you don't know what you want, then who does?" he asked.
Mia began to feel like she was going through a deja vu. Not too long ago Evlin made her an offer that she would stay by her side and try to help her figure out an alternative way out for her situation. Except Evlin was now locked in the dark void and Mia would probably never see her again.
"I know what I want... I just don't know if I can trust you..." Mia answered.
"why not...? You are the child with the curse that seals your emotions right? What do you have to lose? Worst case scenario, I trick you and you end up either hurt, which wouldn't matter since you can't feel anything, or dead, which you want!"
"How do you know so much about me??"
"Who knows... Maybe I follow you on social media..." he said while shrugging.
Mia kept staring at him, trying to read his true intentions, but not getting anything.
"What do you want from me?" she asked.
The man stood up and placed his hands over the large pieces of rock that were surrounding her "in a couple of days, you will be facing off against the niece of the crossbow mage, right?"
"Yes... What about it?"
"I know you are having self-doubts right now..."
"What!!?? I'm not having..."
Mia was about to oppose that statement, but one look at the man's face was all it took to realize she was not fooling anyone.
"Ok... Maybe I was... But it doesn't matter... I'm under a contract to never throw my fights, or North will undo my seal and turn me into a demon..."
"I know... That's why I'm here... Let's just say that the result of this fight will greatly affect me and my people... And I would like to make sure everything will go according to the way I want it!" the man stated while showing a strong orange glow in his eyes, the same kind of glow Lilith and Ellie would have whenever they used their power of future sight.
"You... You can see the future..." Mia whispered.
"And you saw how my fight with the mirror girl would go?"
Mia assumed her fight with Ellie would just be a quick match, but apparently it would be a much more important event than she expected if this strange man was going out of his way to warn her about it. What was stranger was that no matter how much she tried, he didn't give off the feeling of a demon, a god, or a mage.
"Who are you...?"
The man took off his hat to reveal his snow-white hair and proceeded to bow down like a gentleman, "you can call me Knucker, the name chosen for me by the people of this world... At your service!"