Chapter 10: Road to Rosewood – Part 3

A blue, flaming javelin materialized between Christian’s hands, ripping through the stone as it surged toward Grey. Yet, Grey responded with a calculated ease.


The resulting explosion sent the carriage hurtling into the woods. Even Smoke was propelled into a nearby tree. The aftermath left a chaotic scene of disrupted nature and scattered debris.

Grey’s understanding of spirits was limited, given the confusing nature of the book he had consulted. The text emphasized the importance of respect and a mutual arrangement between spirits and elves, a concept that struck Grey as somewhat foolish. To him, the notion of a mutual arrangement seemed elusive and impractical.

How arrogant could elves be?

In contrast to the anime Grey had watched growing up, spirits couldn’t be contracted or controlled. They either chose to attach themselves to a person or did not, remaining free to depart at any moment. Additionally, there was nothing tangible a person could offer a spirit in return. 

The enigma of why spirits were drawn to certain individuals remained unresolved, leading Grey to liken the relationship between spirits and humans to that of pets and their parents. In this unconventional dynamic, Grey considered himself the pet and the spirits as his parents.

Grey wasn’t sure if he had one or many spirits, but he treated them as one because the book mentioned how spirits valued unity. 

Instead of demanding spells, he respectfully requested power, recognizing these spirits as the only family he had on this unfamiliar planet. From Grey’s perspective, it was this unique relationship that empowered him to conjure a spell potent enough to counter Christian’s. 

As the dust settled, Grey stood with one hand tucked in his pocket and his head hanging low.

Selene could’ve sold me to the Castlemans. Instead, she let me have my wish of dying in Rosewood because that’s what I wanted. So, I can’t kill this little prick out of respect for her.

“Fodder!” Christian’s furious shout pierced the air, accompanied by the charge of another spell. 

But I can paralyze him.

“Coward,” Grey’s voice defiantly retorted, with some stuttering. 

The week after his eleventh birthday, Grey had humiliated a man, kicking him between the legs and punching him in the throat. Several people nearby laughed at the man for being beaten by a grade-schooler. That coward shot Grey in the back while he was busy lifting a bloody and beaten puppy. 

Christian was no different. If Grey had run from the assault, Diego and Stacy would have really died. If he hadn’t noticed it or if he had to rely on internal mana reserves, Grey would be charred flesh. But his Wind Parent treated him well. 

“Lightning Blade,” Christian bellowed, aiming to cast a spell faster than wind magic could react. 

Lightning Blade posed a challenge for wind-based defenses, firing with unmatched speed, but it only stunned the user. But Grey felt Christian was no match for him because the young master didn’t value magical parrying. 

Cancel with Dust Devil.

Grey called the quickest spell he knew with his left hand and fired it again with his right. Both were the proper sized spells for Dust Devil instead of the overpowered versions. So, the first canceled Christian’s Lightning Blade, and the second knocked him from his feet. 

Because Christian was covered in mana, he recovered quickly, but Grey was nowhere to be seen. That was because Grey lept from the ground using one bracelet on his ankle and he used the other to fire Whirlwind. 

The spell emerged from Grey’s leg like a sharpened twister. Stones scattered in every direction, and Christian found himself mercilessly pummeled by large boulders, becoming buried beneath their weight.

Joseph, still recovering from the chaos caused by the fallen carriage, called out his son’s name in a desperate plea. If he moved into the sun, the vampire would be burned alive.

However, Smoke was already on the assault, prepared to slice Grey’s neck. 

Grey knew the attack was coming. 

That’s what cowards do. 

He turned to wink at Smoke, accepting his fate. However, something surprised Grey. There was a shadow traveling with the power of the wind. 

Grey was hit hard and sent flying across the field. Despite the Wind Spirit’s valiant efforts to shield him, the damage proved overwhelming, resulting in several broken bones and rendering Grey motionless amidst the aftermath.

The pain? I can hardly feel it. My body is practically numb because of all the spirit magic I used. So why am I crying?

Amidst his blurred vision, Grey discerned Trinity’s silhouette. He understood that she intervened before Smoke to safeguard his life. In a selfless act, she feigned mourning for Christian, whom she secretly despised. She never said it, but Grey felt it for some reason. 

So why? Why did it hurt so much to be struck by Trinity? Why am I still a crybaby?


Everything hurts. Everywhere.

“You have to wake up soon, or the people you care for will make a huge mistake.”

I know that voice. Briana’s servant. It’s been in dreams that I’m too embarrassed to talk about with anyone. 

“I’ll try to help you, but only if I won’t get caught. So, hurry up and move.”

The sun was still setting. Grey knew this because the door to the cremation room had opened. His vision was still blurry, but he recognized his environment. The brick hut always smelled like charcoal and wet mud because the area known as Scorched Earth was so close. And if he listened closely enough, Grey could hear the distant sound of howls from Rosewood.

For the first time, there were a handful of servants inside of the hut. They all sounded anxious and were moving around a bit too much, quietly shouting at one another, Isabella being the mightiest voice in the room. 

“He’s my son. I will carry him.” 

Idiot. You don’t have the strength. 

“Don’t be a machismo, you idiot,” Isabella said while throwing Grey over her shoulder. “You’re not strong enough.”

Amused, Grey chuckled inwardly. Over the past few years, either he had become more like Isabella or vice versa. Still, it was a pleasure to hear her lose her formal tone and speak with a slight accent. Grey hummed at the delightful sound. 

As the door creaked, Isabella said, “Wait! The other kids were breathing when I brought them here.”

“Hey! Can you hear me?” One of the house servants asked while slapping Diego’s face. “Can you walk?”

Diego stammered to his feet and blared, “What’s going on?”

Isabella smacked the back of his head, instructing him to hush. She reprimanded Diego in Spanish while pushing him outside. Stacy, supported by Sharlene, followed suit.

No. No. No.

Everyone began running through the forest toward Rosewood. Grey faintly lifted his head, observing the setting sun. 

You have to leave at midday or anyone can chase you.

Grey observed a total of seven slaves from the house, two of whom played pivotal roles in breakfast preparation and carriage readiness. Their absence would undoubtedly be conspicuous, leaving a noticeable void in the daily operations.

Once again, their knowledge of this location could only be attributed to Selene. She had ingrained obedience into her servants, so they followed commands without question. Where could they run? The servants discussed Rosewood with a childlike fear akin to dreading the monster beneath their beds. Even Isabella’s portrayal of a coyote “the size of a bus” was likely an exaggerated perception, a mental construct evolved through abuse and oppression. It explained why plantations lauded the Wards for having the fewest escaped slaves, despite the mockery for residing in such close proximity to Rosewood. Vale had perfected the art of slavery, shaping it into an inescapable prison marked by multiple resurrections. 

Once again, Selene’s consent lingered in Grey’s mind. He knew it was likely driven by desperation. Grey understood that even if the group of servants genuinely sought refuge in the tunnel, they would be caught. 

In one of the books Grey read, it was estimated that traversing the forest from the nearest northern state of Sheridan to the southern state of Amana would take a grueling thirty days due to the challenging conditions. The estimate reduced drastically to five days on foot if monsters and obstacles didn’t hinder their progress.

Still, Grey harbored no illusions. Without a midday start, their chances of being caught in those five days were inevitable. Vampires, with their superior stamina and the ability to use mana for enhanced speed, would likely catch up. Isabella was the only servant who had a chance of escaping, if she left Grey behind.

Once they reached the entrance to the tunnel, Sharlene shouted, “It’s really here.” 

“I’ll see if it’s dangerous.” Marcus declared before sliding down the ladder. Once he reached the bottom, Marcus looked around and made random sounds to alert any potential creatures. “It’s safe. There’s even a strange stone or ore that lights the path, so it’s easy to see.” 

Magical underground railroad

Sharlene nudged Stacy, saying, “You kids go first.”

Diego and Stacy obeyed, their wounds making it a slow process. 

“You and the other ladies next,” Isabella asserted. 

As Sharlene descended the ladder, a chorus of shouts echoed from the nearby woods. Upon reaching the bottom, she promptly alerted Marcus to the distant commotion.

“Just slide down!” he shouted. “The ground is muddy and wet. Slide!”

The other women and men followed the instructions as the vampires approached. 

Now able to move, Grey acted swiftly. He sketched an arrow on his forearm, utilizing the still-fresh blood from the wound above his eyebrow.

Once everyone was safe, Isabella placed Grey on the ground, saying, “You’ll have to get down there on your own. Can you do it?”

Grey wore the familiar smile that had always comforted her, the very reason she summoned the courage to break free from Selene and embrace the risk of her own life. That radiant smile represented her emancipation on this farm. She would rather face death with it in her arms than witness its disappearance once more.

In a familiar gesture, Grey placed one hand on Isabella’s back, transmitting his joy through the gentle touch. Following this, he offered a silent prayer.

Wind Spirit, this woman watched me when I thought I was alone. She protected and guided me with her actions and not her words. Please do the same for her.

Grey propelled Isabella with an invisible force, guiding her swiftly to the tunnel’s bottom. Yet, her acute instincts swiftly activated, allowing Isabella to seize the ladder just before falling onto the others.

With determined resolve, Grey dug his fist into the muddy ground, channeling a wind spell through the makeshift tattoo adorning his arm. Grey’s forearm exploded, exposing the bone. He wailed mournfully as the earth shook, shielding the tunnel’s entrance in dirt and stone. 

Grey saw the angry faces charging after him. Christian led the pack with a noticeable limp, and Smoke wasn’t far behind. To his surprise, Grey saw Briana. That was when he remembered her servant’s voice. 

I hope I get to dream about her before they resurrect me. 

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