Lost & Found

Isabella, calm and composed, knelt beside her mistress, Selene, who appeared untouched by time in her eyes. The room, after forty years, retained its vintage charm, with a mounted wolf’s head on the wall—a relic from the past.

She gently caressed Selene’s hand, noticing the striking contrast between Selene’s flawless, smooth skin and her own weathered, wrinkled hands. Selene’s hand felt cold and lifeless, as was characteristic of vampires, yet Isabella found it strangely thrilling.

Selene sat in an antique wooden chair, adorned with intricate embroidery. Her untouched lunch remained on the table before her.

“Take a seat, Isabella,” Selene beckoned.

“I couldn’t, Mistress.” Isabella held Selene’s hand tenderly, despite the discomfort in her aging joints. “Is it true? Can you make me young again?”

“My dear Isabella,” Selene replied, her gaze fixed on the moonlight streaming through the window. “My magic was sealed away by Joseph when I was still young. Since then, I haven’t been able to move mountains, but he couldn’t take my true power, the strengths that even elves envy.”

“Mistress, I…” Isabella’s words trailed off.

“My most sought-after ability,” Selene continued, “the allure that once ensnared the hearts of men, was my alchemy and not my magic. And my best process involves you consuming two gallons of my blood and pledging your life to me, sacrificing your identity. The men who did are empty vessels that have no thoughts except the ones I give them.”

“Two gallons,” Isabella’s expression remained unchanged, but a hint of disgust tinged her voice.

“I call it Immortality,” Selene said with a casual shrug. “Though I can’t guarantee it grants eternal life.”

“Is that what you want from me?”

“Absolutely not. That process isn’t for someone at the end of their time on Vale,” Selene said with a sly wink. “To be honest, what I demanded from them was quite harsh. I required the blood of their grandchildren, children, and wives, and their bodies underwent unnatural transformations for my pleasure.”

“So, is that the cost?” Isabella inquired, her eyes weary.

“Darling,” Selene cooed, “you’re Joseph’s slave as much as I am. What children would he allow you to have now? And what need do you have for such things in this state? Those men willingly became my servants, and as dedicated as you are, I’m sure you’d cherish your freedom, wouldn’t you?”

“I could never bear to part from you,” Isabella declared.

“But slavery is temporary,” Selene affirmed, a wicked smile playing on her lips. “It waxes and wanes with time. What I yearn for is your freedom, your future, your progeny, and your ultimate triumph. But to achieve that, we have to outlive Joseph, right? A man who ages while I remain unchanged.”

“Mistress,” Isabella stammered, “have you employed this on yourself?”

“I age slower than elves, dragons, and perhaps even fairies,” Selene said, a shimmer of light emanating from her palm. “And so can you.”

“You’re saying…” Tears welled in Isabella’s eyes as the aches in her bones seemed to slip away through Selene’s touch. “I will never look this old again?”

“Never,” Selene confirmed. “Not only that, you won’t be entirely human. You’ll become something more, possessing strength and agility beyond ordinary mortals.”

“Please,” Isabella sobbed, “do not play with my heart.”

“Funny enough, I call this alchemic process Death.” Selene flashed a wicked grin.

“Your sense of humor remains unwavering.”

“Others may learn of this,” Selene teased, “and you know how they mock those who seek to appear young again. But, don’t worry, for many have come running to me on their deathbeds, and even Joseph has inquired about the process once or twice. It’s a desire etched deep in every heart.”

“I won’t let their taunts affect me,” Isabella declared.

“You should choose an age,” Selene advised. “Each has its pros and cons, and your decision is irrevocable.”

“You’re right,” Isabella nodded. “What age would you recommend?”

“Some say thirty-eight—”

“Where the wrinkles begin? No.”

“Perhaps an age that would appeal to younger men physically?” Selene suggested, her eyes twinkling mischievously.

“Mistress!” Isabella exclaimed.

“Choose an age that offers you a fresh start,” Selene urged, lifting Isabella’s chin with her radiant hand. “I remember the way you carried yourself after your loss. With the right body, you can have countless children, raising powerful generations.”

“Mijo,” Isabella whimpered.

“And languages,” Selene continued. “They evolve over centuries, and you’ll want a mind capable of mastering them all. A youthful mind retains information far longer. Wheras, an olderbody is quicker to become burdened by everything in their head.”

“At seventy, I’m rather set in my ways.”

“You don’t wish to be confined by your habits. Wisdom and empathy come with age, but I’d select the ability to burn fat over always making the right choice.”

“So you’ve noticed my weight,” Isabella quipped.

“You remain beautiful in my eyes,” Selene assured her. “You will assume various forms and sizes throughout eternity, and the experiences you accumulate will be a weight you can proudly carry when you return to me.”

“I don’t have much to offer you. What can I give you?” Isabella asked.

“For what?” Selene inquired, her tone somewhat absent. “To attain Immortality, you’d need to sacrifice generations for me to procure two gallons of high-quality blood. Once I’ve had my fill, I’ll subject your body to torture that arouses me, erasing everything you’d lived for. But I’ve been told that it’s a price worth paying, despite all they lost.”

“And for Death?” Isabella asked eagerly.

“Death!” Selene seized Isabella’s hand and led her towards the stairs. “It’s but a kiss, my dear. The exact location of that kiss may surprise you, but the more desire you apply, the more magic you receive.”

“I don’t mind.”

“And remember, you can’t reveal our conversation or the process to anyone,” Selene cautioned as Isabela opened the door to her room. “But even in a thousand years, after we both outlive this bondage, don’t forget—I’ll always be here, and you can return to me. I will accept you and the people you love with open arms.”

Isabella smiled and nodded eagerly as she closed the door behind her.

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