Chapter 3: Fighting Spirit

Christian sat in a classroom, displaying a lack of interest as a teacher wrote on the board. The beautiful girl beside him continued to cast glances his way. When the bell rang, she attempted to strike up a conversation, but Christian swiftly packed his things, ignoring her.

Dressed in a karate Gi with a mage’s cloak draped over it, Christian and his male classmates prepared for their last class of the day. They joined a larger group of kids on an outdoor field, a dusty patch of land with wooden and stone practice dummies.

While the teacher stood at the center, demonstrating how to parry a lightning spell, Christian’s attention wavered. It seemed as though he was staring through the teacher, a fact not lost on the observant instructor. 

Summoned to the front, Christian was asked to parry another student’s Lightning Blade. Instead of deflecting it, he overpowered the attack, nearly striking his classmate. The teacher intervened to nullify the attack, and Christian was noticeably irritated that the kid managed to survive.

Mockery ensued from the kids around Christian, playfully taunting him with comments like, “That’s probably why Christian goes through so many fodder in a year.” 

Another voice chimed in, “What’s the record, Christian? Twelve?” 

That comment managed to crack a smile on Christian’s face. He corrected, “Sixteen. We’re forced to leave four every year to train the others.”

Though several students burst into laughter, the instructor reprimanded Christian, emphasizing the importance of learning to gauge an opponent’s attack. But Christian brushed off the advice with an icy glare.

There’s no need to measure an attack when I can overpower anyone my age and probably even you, Mr. Slater. 

Christian’s nonchalance toward magic class stemmed from his ample supply of fodder, a luxury that set him apart from everyone else in the school and Amana. In his world, mana was equivalent to wealth. Vampires that could afford to practice using mana in life threatening situations advanced at a much higher rate. The scent of blood and death enhanced a vampire’s dark magic, which was why Christian was powerful, like his father. 

Joseph’s wealth allowed Christian to practice at an unmatched level. In short, Christian was spoiled. And he expected everything to go his way—according to his father’s rules. But for some reason, that wasn’t happening. 

Mother doesn’t understand. She’s been pampered for so long that she forgot what’s important. But I’ll remind her by killing her precious fodder. 

In a carriage traveling down a dimly lit road, the flickering flames from enchanted street lights illuminated Christian’s face.

It’s all because of Mother’s lustful nature. She brought handsome slaves into the house to lay with them, leaving everyone to listen to the despicable sounds at night.

Marcus staggered out of Selene’s room, his body dripping with sweat. His eyes were empty, making it obvious that he was still under a charm spell. There was no joy in his face, but a sharp desperation to shake the spell that he was under. 

Marcus fought to slide back into his shirt and zip his pants, and Christian watched this in disgust while continuing down the hallway. 

Along that path, Christian also saw Grey. Grey was leaving the library, which Christian found suspicious. He hadn’t caused any additional damage there, so Grey had no reason to enter the room.

What would father think?

Christian knew the reason why Joseph never allowed fodder in his house. They were young and rebellious criminals, like Grey. He was sure that Grey used the library to learn magic, which was enough reason for Christian to behead him without a resurrection. 

But if I did that, Mother would make my life hell. She had shown affection for that boy, more than she had ever shown me.

The servants noticed how Christian seemed lost in thought all night long. Even in his room, he gazed out of the window, ignoring the magical enchantment script on his desk that was due in class the following evening. 

Young boy with ponytail in poor clothing has a serious gaze

A knock sounded on Christian’s bedroom door, snapping him from his trance. When he opened it, Christian saw a young slave named Diego. This was a gritty looking kid with one arm and the eyes of a mercenary. 

“Did that new fodder learn Lightning Blade?” Christian asked. 

“William can use it without tearing his muscles now,” Diego replied. 

“And what about Grey?”

Diego shook his head. “For now, he’s just observing with Isabella.”

Christian tightened his fist enough to draw blood. He asked Selene to let Grey join the other fodder so he could have an additional target for practice. Christian knew she would refuse, but it angered him nevertheless. 

What relaxed Christian was knowing that Grey was on the field. That was a step in the right direction. Now, all he needed was proof that Grey was studying magic. If he could catch Grey in the library somehow, he would expose that. Then, Selene would have no choice but to send him with the others. 


“Follow me,” was all Isabella said to Grey. 

Grey finished organizing Selene’s closet and followed Isabella. Something in her demeanor felt different—her words sharper, teeth clenched. Though Grey couldn’t fathom the reason for her unrest, he sensed her deep-seated frustration.

Silently, they walked beyond the confines of the estate, delving into the heart of the small forest that enveloped them. A narrow dirt road unfolded beneath their footsteps, accompanied by a symphony of cicadas. 

Grey had acclimated to the demanding life of a slave under Isabella’s rigorous training. Frequently, she tasked Grey with transporting hefty materials alongside other male servants, a routine that began sculpting his muscles. But this hike was long and exhausting. 

At the end of the journey, they reached a clearing in the forest, similar to Christian’s gym class. The ground had been battered by magic for so many years that the dirt had turned into glimmering stones. 

In this desolate field devoid of grass and trees, Grey felt an unspoken darkness lingering in the air. Despite being unable to pinpoint the source, a sinister aura enveloped the surroundings, making it almost surreal to believe they were still on the plantation. They were extraordinarily far from the main house.

But are we far enough to escape?

Grey’s eyes turned to the mighty trees of Rosewood that towered over the Ward forest, hardly a mile away. 

Isabella snapped, “Don’t you ever think about escaping to that forest. I’ve personally seen a coyote the size of a bus run out to snatch fleeing slaves.” 

The size of a bus? I have to see those. 

Grey hid the excitement dancing in his heart. 

Grey’s deepest passion rested in his love for animals. From his earliest years, he harbored a singular ambition—to become a wildlife ranger, driven by an unwavering affection for nature’s creatures. Though people in his neighborhood viewed Grey as a thug, his classmates regarded him as a sweetheart, particularly due to his tender care for injured animals.

Ms. Lam, his science teacher, granted him the opportunity to house a python he had discovered outside of his apartment complex. Despite Grey’s earnest attempts to locate the owner of the house pet, no success was found. 

Grey’s compassion extended to nursing and recovering other animals that belonged to classmates, but the bond between Grey and the snake transcended mere caretaking. The reptile, at times, refused to eat if Grey missed too many days. Their connection was palpable, with Grey spending his lunchtime in close proximity to the terrarium, sharing anecdotes about his life with his slithering friend.

Now all Grey wanted to do was catch sight of a giant snake, the size of a bus or even better, a plane. The allure, even at the cost of his death, was irresistible. Despite Isabella’s earnest attempt to dissuade him from escaping, he wanted to live in Rosewood even more, if only for a single night. Falling within Rosewood’s shadows was more desirable than succumbing to death by Christian’s hands.

While relished in his new objective, a peculiar scene unfolded on the stone field—three children in torn garments and light armor were casting magic. A young girl with tears in her eyes was listening to Diego bark instructions about holding her arms without being too stiff. He yanked her arm and callously threw her to the ground. Diego’s friend, Frankie, laughed at the fallen girl, urging her to rise amidst tearful protests. 

Young girl with sad expression in white gown

Grey wondered why he was forced to help on the field when both he and Isabella were usually asked to complete tasks within the house. He considered that it might have had to do with Christian’s threat to make him fodder. 

Maybe Selene wanted me to understand what it means. But why was Isabella forced to join?

Grey noticed that Isabella was trembling. Inside the house, she seemed angry, but now Grey felt like she was on the verge of tears. Unsure of what to do, he placed one hand on Isabella’s back and closed his eyes. He imagined pouring every ounce of happiness he had into her soul, but Grey thought he failed once he heard Isabella’s sob. 

“Mr. Ward used this field to kill my boy,” she confessed with a choking smile. “And your hand felt like Antonio was telling me everything will be okay.”

Well damn. How the hell can I comfort her? Yeah. That’s not possible.

After a deep breath, Grey did some horrible shadowboxing and started marching toward the plantation in an exaggerated fashion. He was trying to show Isabella that they could take down everyone, knowing they couldn’t. 

With a grin, Isabella grabbed his collar and lifted Grey from his feet before placing him next to her. “You weigh fifty pounds, sopping wet. What are you going to do?” 

Seventy five pounds, at least!

Though he tried to mask his unease with a smile, Grey was pretty shocked that Isabella’s son died on the farm. He wished he could truly comfort her, but their moment was cut short when the young girl held out her hands, displaying a silver bracelet with a red gemstone. Then, she shouted, “Fireball,” causing an enchanted circle to appear before her palm. The circle released a small but powerful fireball, causing a wave of heat to rush past Grey and Isabella.

The girl whimpered and fell again once the boys released her. They berated her for not enduring the exertion of a single fireball, instructing her on the proper arm positioning to prevent dislocations during the spell. Diego took the lead in explaining the toll that mana took on the body. “Because humans have weak mana flows, our magic erupts violently. So, do exactly what we tell you.”

Isabella looked down at Grey’s eyes, which didn’t seem as lively as they were when he first arrived at the plantation. “What’s wrong?” she asked.

Grey smirked, knowing he couldn’t talk to her. And he assumed Isabella would never understand the complexity of his struggles. 

“Are you worried about your father?” she asked. “You two don’t seem to have a good relationship.”

He froze before turning his eyes to the dirt. Grey didn’t care much for that man, but seeing Marcus losing weight steadily and stumbling through the hallways was hard. 

“Marcus was placed under Selene’s charm. It works like a love potion, but vampires say it also drains a person’s life force.” Isabella kept her eyes on the field as though she was avoiding eye contact with Grey. “He’s not in any immediate danger if he’s able to keep his health up.”

Grey released an inaudible sigh. Now, he had to worry about Marcus getting enough to eat every day. 

“You’re in more danger,” Isabella droned.

Grey raised one eyebrow. 

“This is fodder training,” she said. “Diego and Frankie are preparing Stacy for her first fight with Christian. Joseph doesn’t bring children to his farm unless they’re used as Christian’s fodder—sacrificed to grow his mana.”

Grey didn’t need any further explanations from Isabella because she had already narrowed his focus. He aimed to observe and decipher Christian’s magic practice with the hope that he could formulate a counter if they ever had to fight.

“Diego,” Isabella’s voice boomed across the field. 

Diego stood upright, like a cadet reacting to a captain.

“It’s time. Summon Christian,” she said reluctantly. “And Frankie, replace Stacy with William.” 

The kids were on their way, but Grey had noticed something off about Diego. Grey couldn’t quite understand what he was seeing because of the dim lighting, but he felt hostility from Diego. 

It didn’t take long for Christian to join them because he arrived on horseback. Seconds later, a monster emerged from the forest. Well, the kid looked like a monster to Grey. William was muscular and tall, like a basketball player. The rugged looking teenager had lots of ink on his skin, similar to Marcus’ gang affiliated tattoos. 

Christian didn’t wait until the boy had stepped on the field. He blared, “Lightning Blade,” and threw a bolt of lightning at the monstrous teenager. But Frankie had prepared William, warning him that Christian was a dirty fighter that didn’t want to train. He wanted to see slaves die and scream in pain. 

Vampire elf boy wearing school uniform with sinister glare

William cast the same spell, throwing a Lightning Blade that canceled the attack and broke through it, though barely. But the recoil caused the teenager’s body to go numb for a moment as lightning bounced around his skin. Still, William’s eyes trailed Christian who dodged the lightning strike and sent another wave of energy toward the teen. 

Once William had recovered, he rolled over the stone field and lept in the air. With more energy, he sent a wave of lightning toward the young master. Christian’s eyes widened with excitement as he spun around while forming an enchantment in front of his palm. 

Christian blared, “Lightning Spear!”

The night sky illuminated with an unsettling purple glow as a significantly more potent spell materialized, overwhelming William’s initial assault and subjecting him to a jolting electrocution. 

William’s screams persisted for some time, echoing through the chilling air as Christian calmly mounted his horse.

Isabella smacked her lips angrily. “Young master, the practice is to nullify these skills using the same spell.” 

Christian ignored Isabella’s voice. He rode back toward the plantation, lacking care or concern for the death he caused. 

A shiver coursed down Isabella’s spine as her gaze fell upon Grey. She anticipated that sleep might evade him after witnessing another child being murdered. In the past, the kids in the shack were tasked with handling the aftermath, but that work took a toll on their spirits, leading to added anxieties before facing their imminent deaths.

While removing the enchanted bracelet from the charred young man, she said, “This may be hard for you, but there’s a brick shack where—” Isabella stopped as Grey calmly grabbed the charred boy’s ankles and began dragging him toward the area where the cremations were performed. 

Isabella stared at Grey’s eyes for a moment. They were like the silver moons above Vale, wide and vibrant, unlike any slaves on the estate. But after taking another look, she realized their depth. 

This was far from Grey’s first time seeing a murder.


Grey’s hands were still covered in the embers from  William’s boots when he and Isabella returned to the estate. To their surprise, all of the servants were missing and the floor above seemed to make an exceptional amount of creaking sounds.

Isabella shot Grey a quick look, hitched up her dress, and sprinted upstairs. Grey stuck close, weaving through the servants whispering in the hallway.

“Isabella!” called a small servant with dreadlocks. “Ms. Trinity’s coughing a lot of blood!”

Isabella barked orders at everyone, commanding, “Well, get a mop for the blood, Margaret. Richard and Michael, grab a new mattress and maybe a bed frame too. Sharlene, get the mana suppression pills. And everyone else, go do your jobs!”

Grey wasn’t surprised by the somber expressions on the servants’ faces as they slipped away. Christian was a kid to be feared, but Trinity, the complete opposite. People loved her, though she was often secluded to lower her risks of germ exposure.

In nearly eight months, Grey hadn’t seen the young girl. He only heard she was beautiful and frail, which he recognized was true. The young girl’s hair was scarlet at the top and silver on the sides. Her eyes were pink and even in her miserable state, they were alluring. 

The elf, Trinity, looks sick while sitting in her bed

Trinity’s problem was due to a mana circulation disorder, which was similar to a blood clot. Her energy clustered and obstructed proper mana flow. For undead elves like vampires, disrupted mana flow meant certain death. 

The solution was to forcefully circulate her mana around the blocked passages, but it required the help of someone with strong magic control and had a high risk of hurting both parties. Even doctors found the process too risky, but Selene volunteered, sometimes leaving her bedridden for hours or days afterward. 

Once the servants cleared out, Grey could see Selene circulating Trinity’s mana. 

Despite Trinity’s small frame, the room and bed were massive, with a modern touch, unlike the usual furnishing around the house. White blankets, stained with blood, covered Trinity’s sleek bed, surrounded by floating shelves, magical paintings, books, and stuffed animals. 

Trinity coughed, and the energy she released forced Grey to take a few steps back.

Selene was in tears as she pressed both hands to her daughter’s back, laboriously moving her daughter’s mana through the blocked pathways. “Try to control the outbursts, sweetheart. And breathe. Breathe, please.” 

Grey watched in awe, curious about the process. Though he couldn’t see mana like vampires could, he could feel it circulating through the room. It was like the wind was breathing, swirling into a figure eight. 

Grey listened to Trinity’s gasping, Selene’s sobs, and Isabella’s uncomfortable groans. It was fortunate for him that everyone was distracted because Grey couldn’t mask his demonic grin. 

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