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16+ Language Violence

The Forsaken Race - The Hidden Truth: Chapter 33

by RavenAkuma


Warning: This work has been rated 16+ for language and violence.

Chapter 33 - A Conflict Of Tales

              

          

In the open hills of Sybilius, where the palace stood in the distance and the forest was behind her, Kita was glad to know that her plan was coming together.

A fall breeze whipped around her, throwing her violet locks back, and filling her nose with the rich smell of fresh earth and midnight dew. She found the exact person she needed, waiting patiently just a few feet away.

Despite her shining armor and the ornate greatsword on her hip, the elegant sylph queen carried her familiar aura of maternal wisdom and caring. It immediately soothed Kita's nerves.

Upon seeing her emerge from the woods, Corelia smiled. "I got your message. It's good to see you, after-"

Without thinking, Kita rushed forward and hugged her. Corelia looked surprised at first, but was more than happy to reciprocate.

"I'm sorry about last time," Kita finally spoke.

"It's okay, I understand," Corelia replied. "I would rather you have said what was safe, not what you wanted me to hear. Leiytning's not here this time, I'm assuming?"

Another voice spoke, "Doesn't look like it."

Kita gasped and lurched back, afraid a suspicious demon had discovered her.

However, the newcomer was another sylph. One of three, waiting patiently behind Corelia. Two were lieutenant women standing guard, but the curious speaker was different. She looked somewhere in her late twenties, with blue eyes and short hair, and she wore a mint-green blouse, deep navy blue pants with fern-like designs stitched in, and knee-high boots. A belt at her waist held a dagger. Contrasting against her dark chestnut hair, her gold tiara, with one shining amethyst, made her identity easy to decipher.

Surprised by the reaction, the newcomer spoke, "Sorry. I didn't mean to startle you."

"Sorry for the crowd," Corelia explained, "I wanted Atara for backup in case there was trouble, but then Shira and Maia both wanted to come as well. I hope you don't mind..." She whispered, "They're all three the nosy type."

"Hey!" Atara exclaimed.

While Corelia laughed a bit, Kita replied, "I don't mind at all. Your highness, Princess Maia, it's nice to meet you. And..." She cringed. "I'm sorry, I forgot how to address Royal Lieutenants."

"No problem," Shira remarked. "You can just use our names."

"Same for me," a flustered Maia agreed. "Now is not the time for formalities."

Kita felt surprised. Though Shira was friendlier than expected, she and Atara fit the bill of a lieutenant well enough. Maia, however, didn't resemble a future queen at all. Corelia stood tall and regal, with a voice as confident as it was mellifluous. Maia, however, seemed almost as shy and awkward as herself. There was no resemblance between them at all, in looks or demeanors.

Kita thought, I never even imagined the sylph that would remind me most of myself would be an actual princess...

Maia cleared her throat, trying to compose herself. "You know, we've heard about what you've been up to. Me and the Royal Lieutenants. As nerve-wracking as it is, it's very inspiring."

Kita blinked hard. "Someone finds me inspiring?"

"Well, joining a demon tribe and surviving is amazing, and it's refreshing to see someone making progress without fighting. And gods, you could probably write a whole book about what you've seen out there."

As Kita momentarily thought about that, but snapped her attention back to the mission. She quickly explained, "I have to make this fast. There's a time limit, so I can't stay."

"Again, you're..." Corelia sighed. "No, Kita, you have to stop this. The longer you stay, the more your risks increase. Even your illness can't be worth it, as miserable as it has to be."

"Well..." Kita hesitated. "I am feeling much better. I don't know why, nor what was causing the problems in the first place. I'm still-"

Corelia cut in there. "Wait, that's great! You got a cure. Isn't that what you wanted?"

"But I don't understand why," Kita insisted. "What's curing me, nor what caused the problem in the first place."

"I see..." Corelia paused. "I understand the desire to know everything, but you should really just take what you can and get out."

Maia spoke quietly, "There is a line between 'inspiring' and 'reckless.'"

"Exactly, and I think we all prefer you not cross it," Shira agreed. "Although, so we can get an idea of where you are, how are the demons behaving toward you?"

"They're not..." Corelia cringed. "Threatening, or harming you?"

Already feeling irritated, Kita made her tone more firm. "No. I've made progress there too. Most of them are indifferent, and some are opening up to me. It's just Timbur who can get aggressive, but even he's kept under control."

"And the twins?" Asked Corelia.

Kita hesitated. "I won't lie, it can be hard to tell. Leiytning is cold and hard to understand sometimes, and Thundur can be downright brutal in the way she talks to me. But when pushed, they've helpedme. Defended me."

Corelia seemed utterly baffled, mumbling, "What is going on with those two?"

Kita took a deep breath. "I won't sugar-coat it. I have heard them labeled 'monsters' many times by now. All seven of them, especially the twins. However, I have not seen one moment to prove it. I've seen them get defensive, but none of it was monstrous. It's just because I'm new, from a tribe they're at war with."

The reactions were as expected; Atara was a little annoyed, Shira was uneasy, and Maia listened with a look of hesitant curiosity. Before Corelia could intervene, Kita spoke louder. She wasn't going to back down now.

"That's not to say you're wrong. I've heardabout some bad things too. Like rumors of the twins 'going savage' and getting creative with deaths, in a battle with you from thirteen moons ago."

Corelia blinked hard, surprised. "You heard about that?"

Kita nodded. "A little bit. Regardless, your majesty, the idea of this war just doesn't feel right anymore. I understand they can be violent with sylph soldiers, but obviously, they don't feel that way about all of us. They're not monsters; we don't need to kill them!"

With an expression of sympathy, Corelia sighed. "Kita, I don't like this any more than you do, please believe me when I say that. I have tried to barter for alternative ends, but every time I've made an offer, they declined -to put it lightly. If they won't negotiate, and they won't back down, there's only one way out..." She spared a thoughtful glance at her daughter. "And I'd rather do it before Maia is thrust into this position. That, or worse yet, falls victim to them."

"Thousands of dead and scarred sylphs would agree," Atara grumbled.

"Well, sorry, but I don't agree!" Kita insisted. "I've seen kindness from them, more kindness than most sylphs would offer me."

Corelia shook her head. "If I saw what you saw, I'm sure I'd understand why you feel that way. However, if you saw the things we saw, you'd understand why it's so fake. Right now, I fear you'll become the next Kodin, who was tossed aside when his potential dried up. There are too many parallels in your situations already."

Though she wanted to be fair and listen, Kita only got more irritated. Heat ran through her veins, and her aggravated nerves forced her to clench her fists.

"Forgive me, your majesty, it's just that I heard something interesting. Not only did the Zyreans confirm that no one on their side killed Kodin, just as no one on your side did, but they attest that you're the one lying about everything. You consider them vermin, you chose to continue the war, and even the origins of this whole conflict sound very different from what you told me they were. Something about Sybil hunting Zyreans, unprovoked?"

Corelia seemed stricken. "How-"

"Tell me the truth!" Kita snapped. "You didn't even do that for Kodin, and I have his written words to back up that much!"

Everyone went silent there. Even Kita was surprised at herself. After a moment, trapped in stunned silence, Corelia took a deep breath.

"You don't know our history," she spoke solemnly. "In an age of severe growing pains, the Aubades started suffering. The land was strained, disease spread through towns, and our supplies were dangerously low. Subjects fought tooth and nail for everything they needed to survive, and still, many watched their loved ones suffer through slow and painful deaths."

Kita gasped, "So they killed innocent people?"

"No. The 'innocent' among the Zyreans were few and far between anyway. They were aggressive and utterly brutal. They slaughtered any sylph that was seen closeto the border, and even started encroaching on smaller villages. If we were standing in this very spot, all those years ago, we wouldn't be talking -we'd be running for our lives at best. Yet when we became desperate enough to beg for mercy and help, knowing their magic could do wonders for us, they left us to rot. Predictable, but no less callous."

"Think," Atara insisted. "In those older times, what sounds more likely? Mortals hunting demons, or demons hunting mortals?"

"Neither justified, of course, but..." Shira sighed, "Even if you believe they're okay now, that's only now. There used to be demons that would exploit their own kind; it's no wonder they would turn on those they see as 'lesser beings.' And surely, even today, you can tell that's their consensus on mortals."

Though the words lingered in her mind, Kita refused to acknowledge them. "Then what?"

"More desperation," Corelia said quietly. "We could get what we needed from other tribes, but obviously, we needed something to give in turn. However, we didn't have enough resources to sustain ourselves, much less enough to give away. Once the Zyreans' aggression pushed her far enough, Sybil made the order. We didn't hunt, but retaliated against their soldiers, and we sold what we picked up from them. Weapons, supplies, and magic artifacts."

She slowed down a bit and looked away. "I'm ashamed and sorry to admit that a select few would cross the line, which is why the rumor exists, but it wasn't under royal order. Our tribe's actions may have fueled the fire, yes, but we didn't have much of a choice."

Kita felt horrified, her voice cracking with dread. "You've already reduced the Zyreans to nothing but seven damaged warriors. How can they be a threat?"

"Kita..." Corelia kept her patient tone. "With what you've seen firsthand, would you deny that those warriors would be strong enough to cause us trouble?"

Kita wanted to protest, but she felt the truth creep in and block her throat. She remembered the many impressive feats she had seen from the demons, and from Leiytning himself, a display of power, stealth, and speed that out-performed any mortal when it hadn't even peaked.

"Exactly. Leiytning and I were forced to lead a war we didn't even start, and regardless of its history, we both have the essential goal of victory. As long as alternatives fail, which they have, we can only press on until someone's downfall. I'm willing to bet they will tell you the same thing. That is the cold, naked truth."

Though Kita felt very bitter about those words, she still couldn't bring herself to respond to them. Not directly.

"If nothing else, I'm mad that I've been lied to."

Corelia nodded in understanding. "I know. I kept things from you for the fear they would overwhelm you, and I'm sure that now looks like deception. I'm sorry."

"I..." Kita hesitated. "I want to believe you, but I don't know if I can."

Shira stepped forward. "Kita, don't-"

Corelia gestured for her to stop and stand down. The queen remained silent for a long moment, as if contemplating what to say -more specifically, if she should say it. When she finally did, Kita felt uneasy.

"Stories aside, if nothing you have heard thus far, or nothing you have witnessed, has changed your mind about returning to that accursed forest..." She hesitated again. "There's still more. There's the savage you mentioned."

"What do you mean?" Kita interrogated.

Corelia's tone turned uncharacteristically cold. "The truth is that those leaders are murderers."

Kita furrowed her brow. "Being a warrior is being a murderer? What does that this group, or your whole army?"

"I didn't say that. I know the difference well. I say that because their victims go far beyond the battlefield. It goes beyond Aubades, even. They make use of a horrible weapon, and when the damage is done, they use their status and wordplay to brush it off. That is why they are so scourged, not a mere misunderstanding."

"Huh?" Kita murmured. "If it has spread to other tribes, how would you even know?"

"Legends, records, grizzly personal accounts, even a grim nursery tale. Paper trails, word of mouth, and there's still more. If you don't believe me, watch that elusive demon leader closer. Whenever he is pushed too far. You may notice black eyes and a silver dagger, before-"

"Black eyes?" Kita murmured.

As she looked down, her vision grew hazy. The memory of a terrible vision had filled her mind. One where an unreasonable, unexplainable amount of dread had struck her, before she found herself staring into an eye of death, Pitch black, with a white ring that pierced her very soul.

I've received that same warning before, haven't I?

"It's an evil omen," Corelia solemnly explained. "The last thing many poor souls have seen before meeting a horrible fate, including those who thought they were allies of the Zyreans. I've been scared witless, ever since learning that you left Sybilius, that it would be used on you next. Because even if Leiytning seems stable, he's not. He can turn on a dime, and when he does, you can't run or fight back. You can only pray. And Thundur may be slightly more stable, but she's done it just as well."

Crossing her arms in an attempt to flatten her goosebumps, Kita kept her eyes cast down. She didn't know what to make of the words, and as far as applying them to either side, it only made the image hazier than before.

Maia stepped toward her. "Kita? Are you okay?"

Kita turned toward the forest and halfheartedly muttered, "Sorry for snapping."

Atara rushed forward. "Don't go back! Come with us, we'll keep you safe."

"She's right," said Corelia. "What will it take to convince you to be done?"

Kita shook her head. "I'm running low on time. I have to."

"Then you certainly shouldn't return," Corelia said sternly. "And I didn't want to use this tactic, but may I remind you, young lady, that you are breaking a very crucial law?"

Kita cringed, thinking, I should've guessed this would happen. I'm trying my luck, and I think I just made her mad. Well, as mad as Corelia can get with me. There's no way I can outrun her, but if I had a head start, I could hide in the woods...

Facing the queen once more, Kita responded, "If nothing else, I just need to retrieve Stud before-" She suddenly gasped, "Leiytning?!"

Maia jumped and glanced back, and both lieutenants assumed defensive stances. Corelia, however, only looked extremely unamused.

"Really?" She muttered.

Kita felt her face heat up with embarrassment. Should've figured that wouldn't work.

For once, Corelia reflected a bit of impatience. "Kita, please, do not make this difficult. Don't take this as a threat, but if you return, we may just have to act on it."

As she adjusted her crown and took on a firm stance, Kita easily picked up the unspoken message of authority. Not exactly a threat, not intimidating, but a warning. She wasn't being a friend anymore, she was being a queen.

"Mark my words, you may not continue staying there, and you may not cross that stream again. You're not in trouble, but you need to come home."

Panicked thoughts raced through Kita's mind. If she returned, the demons would be put at risk, and she would risk being detained anyway. If she stayed, she would lose any opportunity among the demons, and likely make them angry. This attempt to push for peace had turned into a reason for either side to expect more danger, and the pressure forcing her to choose one side or the other had become even stronger.

Kita mumbled, "Leiytning asked me if I would be willing to give up the life I know to find the answers..."

So many words came flooding back to her, it created a burning conflict in her mind.

Yuna's tone of deep-seated unease, "'Demons exist, alright, and they're horrible people. I don't even know if they are people.'"

Seyber's tone of sincerity, "'We're not mindless beasts or wicked ethereal entities, nor has any demon been for a very, very long time. We're people, fangs and all.'"

The somber story from Sybilius, "'They were aggressive and utterly brutal...When we begged them for mercy and help, knowing their magic to do wonders for us, they left us to rot. Predictable, but no less callous.'"

The contrast in the Zyrean story, "'All we ever saw was greed and bitterness. Sybil exploited the desperate situation to start a trend that would richen her and her noble circle, and we were the method.'"

Corelia's tone of experience, "'It is dangerous to trust a disguise.'"

Only rivaled by Leiytning's, "'The mask she puts on around you civilians is laughable.'"

"'Even if Leiytning seems stable, he's not.'"

"'You are inherently risking the emergence of Corelia's bad side.'"

The more she listened to the internal feud, the more Kita felt like reality was slipping away from her. The desire to hide, to disappear from everyone, was so strong that she had to refrain from dropping to her knees and curling up like a bug.

Until one voice made her come plummeting back down to reality.

"I knew you would do this."


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Sun May 12, 2024 9:06 pm
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dragonight9 wrote a review...



Hi again! Couldn't wait to see what happened next, so here we go!

That upon which my dragon's eye fixed

I don't have much to say on the beginning and introductions other than they were good and accomplished the goal.

I'm interested to see Corelia's (and the others) reaction(s) to the twin's actions.
Though I sort of get it, I find it hard to believe negotiations have completely broken down. To me it seems like Corelia simply isn't willing to pay the price the Zyreans want for peace.

Corelia shook her head. "If I saw what you saw, I'm sure I'd understand why you feel that way.

I like this line from Corelia. She's not shutting down Kita's opinion but explaining she has a different perspective and thus cannot agree with her.

"Think," Atara insisted. "In those older times, what sounds more likely? Mortals hunting demons, or demons hunting mortals?"

This sounded like they were trying to manipulate Kita again. Thankfully Corelia seems to understand that they were not guiltless in the conflict either.

It actually reminded me of what Leiytning had said about him improving his clan over the years, meaning that at one time the brutal, dishonorable, demons they are talking about did exist... but not anymore.

Exactly. Leiytning and I were forced to lead a war we didn't even start

This is a nice summery of the war as a whole and why there seems to be no choice but to end it with the annihilation of one side.

I liked the reveal of more about Lieytning's dark side and I had forgotten about how it appeared in her dream/vision. So that was a good reminder as well as character motivation.

I loved that Kita is now realising how she can't simply return to the Zyreans if Corelia doesn't want her to go and that bit where she pretended Leiytning was they confused me at first but when I realised what was going on it was a great cringe moment. (Not in a bad way but it gave me second hand embarrassment)

Oh! I love how her decision finally comes to a head and the build up with the opinions of both sides was amazing but Dang! That cliffhanger! It was too good! I thought I was only doing one review today, but now I might end up with three!

Some loose scales

Maia, however, seemed almost as shy and awkward as herself. There was no resemblance between them at all, in looks or demeanors.

I think the them referred to here is meant to be Maia and Corelia but because of the previous sentence it seems like you are comparing Maia and Kita so it might be a good idea to specify.

That's not to say you're wrong. I've heardabout some bad things too.

Just need a space between "heardabout."

Being a warrior is being a murderer? What does that this group, or your whole army?"

I didn't understand the second sentence here. Other than she was saying if the twins are murderers it applies to more than them.

As mighty wing soar overall

This was an awesome back and forth as Kita reveals what she has learned and seen from the Zyreans while Corelia (and company) share the other perspective. It was good to have some important figures in the kingdom learn about the Zyrean's perspective and honorable treatment of Kita.

The climax and build up to the end of the chapter were very well done and it seems like Kita is or has finally made up her mind.

Final wisdom of the scaled one

I'm almost 100% sure that last voice is Thundur, but it might be Kita's friends, in which case I have no idea how she is getting out of this.
Again, a great chapter which left me excited for more.

May blazing dragon-fire light your path and ignite the flames of your inspiration.




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Tue Apr 09, 2024 2:27 pm
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keeperofgaming wrote a review...



Spicy.

When I smiled:

The contrasting tale, yet not contrasting too. Corellia speaking as though they are the victims, the Zyreans speaking on victimhood too. However, the Zyreans also mentioned what Corellia did, that many Zyreans would hunt mortals for fun. Also, Corellia mentioning Leiytning's mask, just as he mentioned Corelia's. Ooh that was good.

I also absolutely loved that she could relate the princess. They're both so shy and adorable. I hope they become good friends in the future.

And that ending was awesome. I knew something like this would happen. Thundur is way too strong to be knocked out by meds for long, and with Corelia holding her from leaving was also acknowledging that that would happen. I can only hope that Thundur is understanding and holds to the promise she gave Leiytning.

A Line to Remember:

"As she adjusted her crown and took on a firm stance, Kita easily picked up the unspoken message of authority. Not exactly a threat, not intimidating, but a warning. She wasn't being a friend anymore, she was being a queen."

This shows great symbolism. It's been shown numerous times that Corelia cares deeply about Kita, and wants to make her comfortable, but she can't hold as a friend, due to the perceived severity of the situation, cementing her care even more. Corelia is being built up as a good but misguided person. I feel like she believed Sybil's lie or misconception, and she has tried to make peace, as shown in the prologue. I hope that peace is made with Kita at the center.

The Catalyst's Growth:

Kita is learning a lot here, her want to connect it, and her trouble with doing so is so relatable. I love how she doesn't just get handfed the situation, instead, both sides push their narrative leaning in their own ways.

But I think that both I and Kita agree that the demons are a bit more correct, as there are only seven of them left. It shows that Corelia thinks of the Zyreans as savages while the Zyreans think of Corelia as a monster. Frankly, both sides would be smarter to negotiate a treaty, but, oh well, as my dad always says, people are idiots, whether that means jerks or stupid.

Overall:
Well written, I'mma read the next one as soon as my school's power works again.





It is a happiness to wonder; it is a happiness to dream.
— Edgar Allan Poe