Royal was surrounded. The Hollowed, those people she ate with just this morning didn’t know her. Their dead eyes and slack expressions showed their true purpose. Puppets.
The silver haired woman standing in the back of this unnecessarily large crowd caused this. Royal could ask what was going on. The scent riding off these things said enough. What was Mauve doing?
“Get her., Mauve said in a voice Royal didn’t recognize. She sounded cold.
Four people, four pairs of hands. The skin on her wrists crawled as though excited maggots lived under her flesh. Those holding her ankles slipped their hands under her pants.
They touched her. She struggled. More hands found her. Their touch was like needles prodding her skin.
A monster reared within her.
These things put their skin against hers. Damn the Darkness. She could bend steel. Hands roaming her body stopped her strength and skill.
“Get off me,” she roared.
Another stepped in front of her. He slipped his hand under her shirt. Her arms trembled with a brutal desire to kill them slowly.
The male pressed himself to her cupping her face. He leaned in. Royal jerked her head to the side. His hands held her face forward. He pressed his lips to hers. The monster inside raged.
She never enjoyed being kissed. Invasive, wet, nasty. Tasting another person’s mouth. More hands were on her. Stroking her face, her arm, her side. Being touched by anyone, no matter how innocent was uncomfortable. It filled her with the violent need to lash out at her torturer. She had to restrain herself when her Mom and Dad hugged or kissed her, when she shook someone’s hand.
The Hollowed weren’t touching out of desire, but their closeness went past her personal barrier. She’d smell them on her skin for days. Her body itched as if a severe rash grew at each touch. Like she was allergic to other’s skin.
She needed to destroy them for making her feel this way. For assuming they could touch her. She growled.
“Get off of me.”
The males tongue pried open her teeth in invaded her mouth. She bit down. He didn’t stop.
Her mind became fuzzy. She was in the same hallway. She was younger, not by much though. She was traveling alone either to meet someone important or wandering for the sake of it. It didn’t matter the reason. The servants appeared through a passageway. She never could navigate the secret passageways as well as they could. They towered over her. At her height, everyone towered. She ignored them and kept walking. They followed, calling her horrible names. They pushed her. Not enough to shove her off balance. She was annoyed.
Fear was stronger. For some reason, these bullies disturbed her. She was stronger, more powerful than they were. Why this irrational fear? She was terrified of almost everyone who worked here. They took every opportunity to torment her when she wasn’t with someone. She hated this house so much.
The mind inside her thundered, jerking her back to the present. No one touched the Sciell. Her entire bodied heated. She felt a slow pounding like a heartbeat, except it sat in her arms, legs and fingers. An ocean of Energy stirred inside her, attracted to these small heartbeats. Silk red smoke flowed out of her body.
The Hollowed jerked away from her, gripping their steaming hands. Deep red-orange smoke poured from Royal, becoming her skin. It flowed as though it had a mind of its own. It enveloped her entire body.
She was fire. Her power burned through her clothes—the only barrier between her and it. The red power swirled around her bare flesh, becoming a flowing dress, lapping at her skin. It thickened like red ink. It became her shield, her guardian. How could she have forgotten this feeling? The fiery Lifeblood spread. It rolled towards the Hollowed. They didn’t move. They let the smoke reduce them to ash.
Now for Mauve. No matter how the Lifeblood stroked Royal’s flesh, it couldn’t burn away the taint the Hollowed hands left on her skin.
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