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16+ Language Violence

The Forsaken Race - The Hidden Truth: Chapter 4

by RavenAkuma


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

Chapter 4 - To Medicate

     

            

As a stray beam of evening light hit her eyes, Kita flinched and glared at the window.

Since Yuna left, she had been alone. Stud passed out in his bed, something very typical for the lazy creature, while Mao was still gathering her things for an overnight stay.

Everything seemed normal for a while. However, as Kita studied the pattern of sunset lighting through her lace curtains, like amber stars in a field of cotton, she could've sworn she saw the light flicker and spit. The gentle star-like glow gave way to tiny flickering flames. From the corners of her eyes, shadows began to overcome.

In her mind, she heard the ominous whispers. Although they were distant, they didn't seem to be coming from anywhere in reality. An echo of her own conscience.

"'You can't trust them anymore. They look down on you.'"

"No," Kita murmured, hitting the sides of her head. "Stop it."

"'Leave them.'"

"No.”

"'They are trying to hurt you.'"

"They would never, you liar!"

Just like that, she froze, stiff and paralyzed. First it was just her limbs, but then it crept deeper. Her heart was slowing down, and her lungs stopped expanding.

Kita tried to cry out, but could only wheeze, "C-Can't breathe..."

On the very brink of passing out, she convulsed uncontrollably, before it all went away. She shot up, coughing and panting, with only a headache to mark anything had happened.

"Rrgh..." Kita held up her own hands, watching them resentfully. "Why won't you listen to me?"

Her attention was drawn by the sound of footsteps racing up her stairs, before they stopped in front of the door. Mao slowly opened it, then jumped inside. She was now carrying a large white bag.

She pointed to the door. "I didn't slam it, this time!"

"Yuna's not coming back, is she?" Asked Kita.

"I wish," Mao groaned. "She's too busy, between her boss and her little brother."

Mao dropped her bag just beside the door. The heavy 'bang' it made was menacing, but Kita was more than used to this routine by now.

Mao grabbed a vial from her bag. "You don't mind if I use your bath, do you?”

"No, go ahead," Kita replied.

"Thanks, I’ll be right out!"

Mao scurried into Kita's small bathroom, closing the door behind her.

As Kita stood up, both of her legs were stiff and numb. They nearly caved in when weight was put on them. The silver clock read seven-thirty, matching the twilight sky outside, but it felt even later than that.

Kita crept downstairs, and after a few quiet moments in her kitchen, she returned with two porcelain cups. Both were filled with chamomile tea. Their warm steam, drifting up from the golden liquid, gave off a delicate floral fragrance. However, as Kita carried it toward her bed, it became lost in a strong waft of sweet strawberry and rose cream, which Mao was applying in the now-open bathroom.

Kita faintly smirked and thought to herself, Classic Mao. She'd give up a whole house before her beauty regimens.

Kita set the tea on her nightstand, then glanced toward the bathroom. Even in the unflattering light of the oil lamp, Mao's hair shone, her skin looked flawless, and her figure resembled an hourglass. The silky forest-green night dress complimented her perfectly. Whether by natural means or her array of remedies, her beauty always shone through. The only shock was how undesirable her friends were, when she could attract any company she wanted.

By the time Mao finished up, Kita had already laid out two blankets and a pillow on the ground. The white rug softened the area, making it much better than sleeping on bare wood.

"You can have the bed," said Kita. "It should be your turn anyway."

"Nope!" Mao happily insisted. "You need to sleep more than me. That's an order, so no arguing!"

Kita rolled her eyes, but sat on the edge of the bed. Mao fixed herself in a cozy position on the blankets, although one leg was still bouncing restlessly.

"I made tea, if you want some," said Kita.

"Sure, I'll take some," Mao agreed. "This must've been a recent adjustment. I can't remember you drinking any tea while we were growing up.”

Kita shrugged her shoulders. "I picked up the habit when the problems started. Besides, it's not so bad. I like some flavors a lot.”

Mao took the tea and began sipping on it. Kita had some hopes that the chamomile would calm her down, but she already knew that would be a fruitless venture.

“Hey, Kita?” Mao spoke.

Kita didn’t think much of the silence being broken, until she noticed Mao’s uneasy expression.

“What’s wrong?’ Asked Kita.

“It’s about earlier…” Mao sighed, “I'm sorry if I was pressuring you. I feel like that incident could've been avoided if I just took you back when you told me to. I didn't realize it would go that poorly; usually, even when I have to pull you out of the house, I can cheer you up for at least a minute. I'm still adjusting to these new conditions."

"It's okay," Kita replied. "As you said, you didn’t know how bad it was. Besides, I did like spending time with you. It's just better at home, right now."

Mao flashed a grin. "That's just as good to me.”

Kita awkwardly cleared her throat. "So, are you tired yet?"

"Nope! Let’s keep talking for a while.”

"Why are you so happy? You're staying in the house of a madwoman."

"Hush, you're not a madwoman. Even if you were, I don't care. You're my best friend no matter what! It's better than what's at my home, anyway.”

Kita sighed, "Are your parents fighting again?"

Mao nodded. "Gods only know about what, and it's gotten worse lately. I'll hear them yelling throughout half the night, so you're not the only one losing sleep."

"Why don't you move out? I know you had trouble when we just moved here, but surely, things must've changed since then."

"I've tried. Even though others are willing to hire me, my parents butt in and shut down the opportunity. Every time I start compiling money, they conveniently want 'rent costs.' The nearest open house that isn't completely destitute is two towns over, we've already talked about why living here isn’t an option, and I just can't move in with Yuna. She already has Keiru to take care of, and that's enough of a crowd in her little apartment."

After a moment of thought, Kita sighed again. "Okay. If it gets out of hand, I may be able to fit another bed in here. It’d be cramped, uncomfortable, and we'd both be broke, but maybe it'd work..." She cringed. "With the number of things you have, maybe too cramped. Still, I'd work with it if you would."

Mao looked like she was about to burst with excitement, before clearing her throat. She managed to look more composed.

“Maybe we should. If it gets out of hand, as you said. I'd love to live with you, but you're right, it'd be cramped. I don't want to add to your stress either.”

Mao took a moment to look around, before she mumbled something that left Kita utterly baffled.

“Sometimes I find myself in disbelief, seeing all that you have."

Kita arched one brow. "What do you mean? The three of us came to this village together, from the same place, and we drew from the same pile of resources."

"I know," Mao replied. "It's just strange to think about. You would think I'd be the best off, but I can’t even hold a job. You came from the worst place of all, and you were doing great for yourself, until the sickness hit. Probably better than all of us."

Kita thought bitterly to herself, I think we have different ideas of what 'doing great' means, Mao. The only reason I've ever been comfortable in my life, and had the will to move forward, was you and Yuna. Now things are so miserable, I can't even rely on you.

Mao interrupted her train of thought, speaking, "I guess my only mistake was to think that reuniting with my parents would be good for me. When I got that message begging to know why we ran away, I really thought they had a change of heart. Lo and behold, as soon as they catch up, it's all the same old problems in a new village. Even when they’re not mad at me, they’re just…" She sighed, “They just don’t like the idea of me being independent, and for what? So I can take over the ‘great family business’ of peddling poor quality tobacco and faeleaf?”

"It is annoying," Kita agreed. "They act like those overbearing nobles we see in the city."

Mao nodded. "At least we don't have to worry about the lowlife that will not be named, though. Good riddance."

Kita didn’t want to respond to that.

“Do you sometimes wonder what happened to him, or have you heard any updates? Maybe he finally croaked, for all we know.”

“I don’t think about him,” Kita bitterly muttered. “And I wouldn’t care either way.”

Mao sipped her tea with a nostalgic gaze. “Neither would I.”

Despite the answer she had given, Kita took a moment to reminisce about the long journey she had already been on. Particularly, the stark contrast that had been mentioned. However controlling Mao's parents were, she had at least been spoiled with many treasures and trinkets.

Kita hadn't been so lucky. One memory proved that more than any others.

             

              

It was when Kita was about eight years old, and had invited Yuna and Mao into the remote cabin she lived in. They met several times after she had snuck out into the woods, but Kita had never let them inside.

That day, while her father was too busy to see, Kita brought the two other girls into her old room for the first time. It was small enough to rival a closet. The wallpaper was flat gray, the air was cold and drafty, and the only possessions were an old mattress and a trunk of gray or beige tatters. There were three locks on the door, none of which could be used from the inside.

Mao and Yuna, respectively eight and ten years old, looked uneasy. Kita’s adorable self was completely unphased, but they were clearly uncomfortable. If not from the sobering state of the room, then from the overpowering smell of dust and mold.

Yuna cringed. "This is your room?"

Mao leaned over and whispered, "I know. Be easy, though, she doesn't know."

Young Kita looked confused. "What's wrong with it?"

"I..." Yuna groaned, "I just can't! This is nowhere to keep a child! Where's the color, toys, or even the bed?"

"Right there," said Kita, pointing to the mattress. "And I'm not allowed to have toys."

"Really?" Yuna interrogated.

"Nope," Kita replied with her innocent smile. "Father says it's not good for me. That's why we're secret friends, remember? That's also why Mao can only bring me to her pretty room at night."

Yuna and Mao exchanged a sympathetic glance. Kita had such a lifeless room that even a prisoner would be undeserving of it. All she had to do was her so-called ‘chores,’ and her plethora of scrapes, bruises, and calluses proved that they weren’t easy.

"I thought Mao's room was the strange place,” Kita remarked. “This is normal, right? Yuna?"

Yuna hesitated, then sighed, “Not really. Mao's is dressed up quite a bit more, but still, that’s normal. If your father can afford half the equipment he gets from the village, he can certainly afford real clothes and a few toys, and frankly, it wouldn’t take anything to let you have friends. But more than anything, you need to know..."

Yuna pointed to a line of bruises along one of her arms, which Kita looked at curiously.

"That is not normal either," Yuna said firmly.

Young Kita wasn’t alarmed, afraid, or even angry. She just looked confused, like Yuna was talking in another language. However, before she could ask any questions, a very angry voice rattled the room.

"Kita, you stupid brat, get out here!"

Kita flinched. "I'm sorry, but I have to go. Once we're gone, you two can sneak out through the back. Okay?"

Mao and Yuna nodded, while Kita ran back through the wooden halls of that old cabin. She soon met her imposingly angry father at the front door. He was lugging a large bag of mostly hunting and camping tools.

"You're supposed to come when I call you," he spoke lowly.

"But I didn't hear you," Kita murmured.

"Then listen better," he spat. "You know your job."

He held out the bag with a demanding glare. Kita discreetly sighed, but held out her hands. The moment she received the bag, however, she collapsed. The weight dragged her down with it.

"It's too heavy!" She cried. "I can't lift it!"

Her father's glare became far more intense. Kita looked down in shame, trying to brace for the worst.

"We're hunting a new creature. A bigger one. This is the different equipment that I need. I gave you one gods-damn job, now do it."

"B-But-"

"Do it now!"

Kita tried, but she only managed a few inches before her tiny muscles burned out. She dropped it again, trying to catch her breath. To her horror, her father stepped forward. He shoved her down hard enough to create an audible 'thud' when she hit the floor.

"Do your duty," he growled. "Never ignore me. Suck up whatever crying you do, and focus on your job."

"I know the rules, father, I-"

"Don't call me that, you're an embarrassment!" He snapped.

Kita gulped. "Yes, sir."

"This is the way things need to be. You must be strictly managed. Do you want to end up like your damnable mother, rotting in a shallow grave?"

"N-No," Kita stammered.

"Then show me respect," her father growled.

            

                 

Before the memory showed her anything worse, Kita bit her lip, breaking her train of thought and grounding her back in reality. Thankfully, as if he sensed her discomfort, Stud hopped up and laid in her lap.

From the floor, Mao was looking up at her. "You went quiet. Are you okay?"

"Sorry, you just brought up a lot for me to remember…” Kita remained silent for a moment, then gained a weak smile. "You want to know one of my secrets, though? I don't think I ever told it to you."

"That's a surprise," Mao remarked. "I didn't think we had any secrets left."

"Before we ran away to the Royal City and got help there…” Kita winked. “I stole a lot of money from my father."

Mao looked surprised. "Really?"

"I know it sounds bad, but-"

Mao burst out laughing, almost falling on her back. "Bad? Kita, that's amazing and hilarious! That old brute deserved to be stolen from! The only thing missing is a good punch to the face.”

“I think we did enough damage on the night of escape,” Kita murmured.

A long period of silence came over them, with Kita looking like she was entranced again. Neither of them wanted to speak first. It was as if they were locked in a stalemate.

Kita broke the silence with a heavy sigh. "I don't like being a recluse, you know. Even though I'm easily scared by new things, somehow..." She hesitated. "I think about exploring. I hear a lot of stories about magic, natural wonders, and mysterious beasts. That's why I actually had some interest in looking around the pawnshop. I hope to get some ideas without having to find them for myself."

"That makes perfect sense to me," Mao said sincerely. "As a matter of fact, whenever we finally get the solution to your problem, you and I can go on a little adventure. But this time, if you start to feel uncomfortable, I'll listen and we can go home."

Kita managed a real smile. "Sure thing."

Mao casually sipped her tea. "By the way, what time is it?"

Kita checked the clock. "It's pretty late now. Maybe we should try to sleep."

"Don't forget your new medicine!" Mao chimed.

Kita gagged. "Right..."


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Fri Feb 23, 2024 3:27 pm
keeperofgaming wrote a review...



The illustration of a purely evil father is interesting. Could Kita be half Demon, is that why her father hated her so much.
Is that why her disposition is negative and why she seems to not blame people for her unpopularity.
These questions are coming to my mind. It's certainly interesting, especially since I still don't know the fate of Correlia and the Demon King.
I'm interested in reading more, and I see that you went more into practicality in this chapter, which I like. I can definitely tell that the story is about to turn. I can't wait for the next one.
The emotional aspect provides a darker look of the cruel world they live in, but I am curious to see more on how Kita was affected by her father's evil.
The story attracts my attention and makes me want to read more. I like it.
Thank you for writing it.




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Mon Dec 18, 2023 7:45 am
dragonight9 wrote a review...



Hi Raven, hope you're having a great day. Here's my review.

As I'm reading through:

I think your first sentence could have been worded a bit better though it still got the message across clearly. Though I was a bit confused about this part "Since Yuna had recently, ...". Did you mean to type something other than recently or miss a word in between 'had' and 'recently'?

I really liked how this (new?) dark voice seems different from her own thoughts and she is actively fighting it. I also liked the hint that she has experienced it before. Seems like a kind of sleep paralysis demon from what came after. Did you perhaps use that as an inspiration? (if not the concept could provide some cool avenues for your story.

I really like how Mao apologised for pressuring Kita after receiving the tea. I like how you showed a bit of her character growth and flaws there. Great job!

That scene of her father's abuse really shows how bad her upbringing was. I like how Kita thought it was normal and tried her best despite everything. It really showed a real side that I don't see too often. Most people who are being abused don't even realise it's abnormal until an outsider shows them what 'normal' looks like.

When Kita is speaking here "Yuna really helped me, then, and so did you."
I think you could do a couple different options to make it flow better.
Either you can remove the comma after 'me', or you can say "Yuna really helped me. Then again, so did you."

I also liked how Kita gagged at the end. It brought some much needed humor to the end of a somber chapter. Even if only a little.

Overall thoughts:

This chapter did a good job filling out the backstories of the characters and developing them.

After reading it feels like very little happened but I learned a lot. (which I've felt about wonderful books like Wings of Fire before)

Last thoughts:

I liked the development you showed here and it seems like you've started to move on from reinforcing the concept of Kita's struggle. It's good to keep us aware of it but you don't need to reference it every few paragraphs now that it is established (which you did in this story). I'll have to keep reading to see how often you mention it in the future.

Have a great day/week!




RavenAkuma says...


Ah, thank you for pointing out that sentence flaw. The first chapters have been rewritten a lot (the gist stays in place, but I've moved things around and rewritten dialogue, etc). Little flaws like that get left behind, and I swear, they're the bane of my existence XD

Thanks for reading and reviewing! :)



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Wed Dec 13, 2023 11:24 am
IcyFlame wrote a review...



Here we go again!

At the start of the chapter I assumed we'd jumped to the middle of the night, given that Kita was lying down and Stud was asleep. So to begin with I was kind of questioning why Mao wasn't there and wasn't hearing Kita's distress. A bit of clarification in the scene setting at the beginning might be helpful there!

"You don't mind if I use your bath, do you?" Asked Mao.

Another point on dialogue tags - you don't need to capitalise 'asked'. I've linked one of the helpful resources we have on YWS that explains it far better than me! Punctuation within Dialogue

Mao took the tea and began sipping on it. Though chamomile was supposed to make anyone drowsy, she showed no signs of tiring out.

the chamomile wouldn't have an instantaneous affect though, would it?

Kita sneered, "Why are you so happy? You're staying in a psychopath's house."

Some of the dialogue tags also seem to fit a bit oddly. Sneering sounds like a mean term so to me it felt weird to have here.

"Why don't you move out?" Kita suggested. "I know you had trouble when we just moved here, but surely, things must've changed since then."

She should totally move in with Kita!

"Here I am, twenty years old and living like I am. You have this nice home, Stud, and nice- er, decent clothes. You got all of this at the age of seventeen. How did you do it? I remember that we got you away from the 'lowlife we will not mention,' then there was the situation in the city, but how did you get as far as here? It seems like it just wasn't, then it was. I never wanted to ask, because I was afraid of stirring up bad memories."


This is good to give us a bit more context with their friendship. I'd kind of gotten the impression they were originally childhood friends but I guess the friendship is more recent if Mao doesn't really know that much about her past? --- I'm amending this as I've just finished the next section and realised that they have indeed known each other much longer so I guess the dynamic is actually a bit different? I'm not sure it doesn't work, I think maybe it's just a bit unclear. Given that there's two/three years between them too, it's interesting that they became so close - is it more like a sibling relationship?

I think the dynamic between the two of them is my main comment for the chapter. They seem close, but there's this whole quite major thing that Mao wasn't aware of. Kita doesn't seem to averse to disclosing it, so why was it never mentioned before?

Good character/setting building in general though - and a look into Kita's past helps qualify what's happened to her character. Looking forward to the next part!

Icy




RavenAkuma says...


Ah, I think you've made it clear that I need to clarify a few things about Mao/Yuna/Kita's relationship. Not that I'm complaining, I'm very grateful that you brought it to my attention ~

To clarify, so there hopefully won't be any more confusion in future chapters, Mao, Yuna, and Kita have been friends for a very long time. Kita just has a tendency to hide things, a result of being known as "the freak" for so long. Then, as her sickness gets worse, she's withdrawn even more (as mental health problems tend to cause).

Thank you very much for this helpful advice! :)



IcyFlame says...


this makes sense, thanks for clarifying! I think it just didn't naturally fit for me with them seemingly so close since childhood




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