Her whole body felt as if it were on fire as the guards yanked her from the meager cot she had been placed on after the operation. Screams ripped themselves from her chest, leaving her throat hoarse as she cried out. She felt so weak, even with adrenaline surging through her trembling body. Urged on by the guards, she tried and failed to walk as her knees buckled beneath her. The guards managed to catch her before she hit the ground, but that was all the kindness they would show her.
The armored men dragged the broken woman through dimly lit stone halls, the grime on the ground cold against her bare feet. All the while, pained moans left her mouth as she regarded the straining sutures holding the skin of her back together. Gritting her teeth, she attempted to focus her vision on wherever it was that the guards were escorting her to. However, black and white spots danced in the corners of her eyes, making it difficult to make out what she was seeing.
The sounds of clanking armor reached her pointed ears and caused her to wince at the bothersome noise. Her head was already pounding, with the physical and psychological stress really getting to her. The so-called surgeon hadn’t even bothered to use anesthetics as he ruined her body permanently. It’s not like any of them would have granted her that mercy, given that she was a fairy. And she’d been penalized for the unforgivable crime of using her magic to protect herself and her friend. How could such a cruel punishment fit the situation?
The fairy perceived the vexed grumbling of the guards; they did not want to be there. One of them proposed that they could still be in danger, given that they were dragging around a now-incapacitated fairy. Another dismissed this concern, arguing that she was no longer a threat because the operation ensured that she could no longer perform magic like the one she used on the guards she had attacked before.
After several complaint-laden minutes, the group reached the end of the corridor. The exhausted fairy managed to stand on her own, not really leaning on the guards for support anymore. One of the two guards that wasn’t clutching her arms walked over to the door and unlatched its lock. He then pried it open and murky sunlight filled the area. The doorway revealed an alley just outside of the castle walls, with very few people walking nearby.
It seemed to be early morning, noted the woman as the armored men holding her began pulling her away from the door. Abruptly interrupting her observation of the environment, the guards threw her to the ground. She landed on her side, thankful for the moist earth that somewhat cushioned her fall. The fairy attempted to sit up but ultimately couldn’t as the movement pulled at the sutures on her back and caused her immense pain.
Her distressed cries fell upon deaf ears. However, her escorts began walking away towards the door they’d emerged from not long ago. Tears pooled in her eyes and spilled onto her cheeks as the door slammed shut with a resounding thump. Now fully realizing what had happened to her, her resolve broke as she sobbed on the ground. Her whole body shook violently as she cried, both in physical pain and at the memories of the events leading up to this moment.
Her friend, Naolyn, had been caught using his magic by a pair of law enforcers. They didn’t care that he’d been using them to heal peasants who couldn’t afford medical treatments; he was a fairy, after all. So they arrested him and that was when her plan was born. She would get another friend of hers to help her break Naolyn out of jail. When she pitched the idea, Louis had paused for a moment before agreeing to be the getaway driver. But when the time came for him to get the fairies to safety, he was nowhere to be found. And thus, the now-wingless fairy had been forced to use her magic against the kingdom’s guards.
She flinched at hearing her name and looked up, finding none other than Louis standing above her. Anger and frustration settled themselves on her shoulders as she sat up as quickly as she could. Questions and a fresh wave of tears poured out for her, expressing how she felt betrayed by his absence after he promised he’d help. Coldly, Louis explained that he’d sold her out to the authorities. His reasoning was that there was a bounty for turning in magical beings who went against the law. There was also the fact that she’d been helping a criminal and that she’d used magic to assault guards. This would also gain him the law’s trust and perhaps even the King’s favor.
All Ilkka could do was stare in disbelief at his words. He turned her in. Even though he knew what was done to fairies who used magic in the kingdom. Her jaw went slack as tears continued to fall. Ilkka’s mind was now nearly as cloudy as the sky above. She faintly heard Louis say something to her before walking away but she didn’t process it. She couldn’t. She trusted him and he crushed her hope. Was it just a human trait to display such cruelty?
Defeated and unsure, Ilkka slumped against the wall behind her, wincing at the pain stemming from her injury. She had managed to tear some of the sutures and blood stained some parts of the bandages that wrapped around the back of her torso. “What now?” She asked herself, looking up towards the gray sky. A drop landed on her cheek, soon followed by another. Shortly thereafter, a light rain fell and helped mask her tears. “Was any of it even worth it…?”