Except for the rustle of vines shifting and the leaves blowing, Merrie was left alone in the darkness. She decided not to use her magic to see in the dark, instead just enjoy being blinded as the aches of her burned body slowly faded away into a quiet peace.

Soon, it was just the rustle of the animated plant life and the steady, triple beat of her heart.

She wagged her tail in happiness, moving as she waited for night to come. Despite not being able to see the sky or feel the sun, she knew that the strange silfae would make sure she would know when it was safe.

After an indeterminate wait, the rustling grew louder. She lifted her head to see a trail of green moss starting to stretch out into the darkness. There were other colors hanging from the trees and vines, creating a multi-colored tunnel toward her destination.

She wasn't surprised that the silfae didn't join her. It was obvious that he didn't like her, or probably any other human for that matter.

Crawling on her wrists and knees, she started down the trail with her ears perked up and her tail wagging.

The trail opened up sharply right at the edge of the cliff. One moment she was surrounded by trees and shifting vines, the next she was on the edge peering down at a sheer fall to the bottom. Only a thin scree of gravel marked the barrier between plant and open air.

It was just night, only a faint light clung to the horizon as the clouds in the sky were dark purples and blues. To the side, she could see the dotted lights of the village. Even from her distance, the well at the center with the strange light above it was clearly visible.

The idea of returning to the prison was terrifying but it was also what she needed to do. Her body grew warm as vague fantastsies of being abused and used hovered in the back of her mind. There will always be someone like Horge who will keep her.

She peered down the cliff to find some way down.

There was none.

Glancing, she look to see if the silfae was going to give her something. When nothing was obvious, she knew it was her responsibility to get down and there was only one way to do it.

She took a deep breath and reached out for the shadows.

In the small lip of the cliff, there was a hint of power that wasn't being absorbed by the plants. Grasping on it, she fed power into her collar until Zillia blossomed ahead of her.

The black cloak looked like an ink blot hovering in the air ahead of her. The edges rippled silently, moving in a wind that didn't exist.

(Mistress!) came the wave of icy happiness. Then the cloak draped over her, wrapping around her body and binding tight. The pressure caressed against her pussy and tail. It cradled her breasts and squeezed tight until right at the edge of comfort and discomfort.

Merrie moaned and felt a flicker of energy rippling through her body. She took a moment to enjoy the sensations before letting Zillia and her body to melt into darkness before streaming down the side of the cliff.

Once on the ground, she raced to the village. It only took fifteen minuts but her mind spun furiously on the silfae's words. She wanted to see the destruction from her fight with Rat.

Minutes later, she was padding down the narrow lane of the village in Bel Dark hound form. It was slower than her shadows but more resilient to the dim lanterns that hung in front of doors. The light still burned her skin but she felt a growing sense of dread and fear as she worked her way to the center of the village and Rat's old place.

Despite it feeling like it was only days since she left, there were changes to the village that gave her a sense of waking up after years. It wasn't just the new decorations or lights that hung in the front. There was also a crispness in the air that hinted at a rapidly approaching fall. There was also the faint scent of burning leaves, but she didn't remember seeing any trees in the prison valley.

As she approached the center of the village, she slowed down and moved silently. The familiar sounds of the village center were missing, there was no one talking nor did she hear the clink of glasses and mugs from drinking.

Merrie still dreaded when she peered around the final corner.

It was completely different. The buildings that had dissolved and melted with her fight had been completely replaced. They looked new, but not recently built. Dust and mud covered them as if they had been there for months.

Her eyes scanned to the far side where Rat's place was. It was now just a general store of some sort. The lights were off but the ruby light from the well lit up the various items on display behind iron bars.

A sense of discomfort rolled over her. She turned and looked at all the new buildings. Nothing looked the same, except for the well in the center.

The makeshift cage appeared to be identical from before. Somehow it managed to survive the fight without being even scraped by flying buildings or the tornado. The ruby light continued to shine, highlighting the keyhole openings on each side.

She frowned as she stared at it. Why was the well untouched? The buildings on all sides had been obviously destroyed and rebuilt but not the center?

Other than the well, nothing looked sinister or out of place. She sighed and shook her head. The silfae didn't know what he was talking about.

(Maybe Kivas is one of these people?) projected Zillia. (Hiding out in the open like Rat did?)

(But how can we figure out? Or am I just jumping at shadows?)

A door creaked open.

She jumped at the sudden sound. Ears perking up, she looked around until she spotted a younger man coming out from one of the buildings across from the store.

He had short, sandy hair and a slender form. His attention was focused on a book that he carried with one hand while he absently carried a bag of what appeared to be garbage in the other. Without looking away from his book, he headed straight for the well.

A loud click noise echoed across the center of town and the door opened before he reached it. The metal creaked loudly.

Without looking up, the stranger chucked the bag into the well and turned around.

The gate closed behind him, clicking loudly. Above, the ruby light grew brighter minutely. If she was looking at it, she wouldn't have noticed it but with her sensitivity to the light, it felt like someone digging their nails deeper into her skin.

(Kivas,) projected Zillia.

(Yes,) Merrie answered as she felt a shiver of fear coursing through her veins. She thought about the violent fight they had before she was decapitated. It was clear that Kivas had taken advantage of the violent to remake his image into something else.

(Zillia, this may turn violent at any second. Can you cast spells?)

(Yes, but only with energies in the collar.)

(Prepare to cast but don't pull energy yet. Kivas may be able to sense magic being used.) Merrie lifted her foot in preparation to back away. She didn't move though, in fear of knocking something over and alerting Kivas to her presence.

(What are we going to do, Mistress?) The cloak fluttered lightly against her throat.

(Run. Find a place to hide. There are tunnels where everyone works, we'll head there as soon as Kivas goes back into their house.) Being outside seemed a lot more dangerous than it had only minutes ago. She had never been to the tunnels but she had an idea where to find the entrance.

The man reached the door to his house.

It swung open without being touched.

Merrie frowned. Obviously Kivas was using telekinetic abilities with this version of himself. Assuming the silfae was telling the truth.

Kivas stopped in mid-step. He slowly lowered his book and turned to look directly toward Merrie. His eyes sparkled for a moment and then ignited into a pair of swirling, multi-colored orbs of light. “You survived.” It wasn't a question.

At the sound of the layered voice, a surge fear of coursed through Merrie. She stepped back with a growl and started to cast spells. Black calligraphy raced across her mind, followed by a second line of complementary spells. Her body blurred as her combat spells snapped into place with startling rapidity.

I had guessed the second regeneration spell was that powerful, but I'm impressed at its effectiveness. Rakin was a talented mage, a pity that geas made him into someone less than useless for my needs.

Merrie froze. The memories of the man who sought to bind her with the collar rose up. She had forgotten he was also at the prison, though she had not even seen a hint of his presence. Maybe he had already ran afoul of Kivas. To her surprise, she was almost sad to think he had already died.

Kivas' eyes narrowed. “But you and your collar? You still have your powers, your natural talents. You are useful to me. That power can be used.

A terrible feeling rose up in her mind. She could almost anticipation what he was thinking and it cause her stomach to roll. (You can't have me.)

Why not? You are a submissive. You get off on being dominated. I can do that.” He hesitated. “I can do that for a few centuries at least. What do you think? Become my bitch for a century until I can pry that collar off your throat?

An intense image slammed into her. It was chaotic and powerful, shifting from scene of torture to another. One moment she was having needles shoved into her breasts, the other she was being used as a fuck toy for every prisoner in the valley. A flash later and he was ripping her arm off.

A sense of helplessness exploded inside her, quickening her pulse and sending hungry desire raging through her mind. He would use her, abuse her, make her beg.

For a century, I'll make you my undying slave.

Merrie hesitated. Underneath the intense images that were causing her pussy to grew slick with desire, she felt something missing. Kivas was powerful but he was too chaotic, too shifting. Even as he projected scenes of submission, she could feel his attention drifting. He was putting a show on for her, a role.

He wasn't a master, not the type that she needed. He would be worse than Kine, a master who would never use her to her fullest potential.

Despite her juices dribbling down her thigh, Merrie found the courage to bring up her metal defenses and quiet the overwhelming images of lust and submission.

You don't have a choice.” The images grew more intense.

Merrie focused on the collar. (I need you, Mistress.)

Zillia's presence shifted like a card flipping over. One moment she was obeying Merrie and then the next was the strong presence of her mistress, the force that knew how to command her. (I'm your mistress, not him.)

Bolstered by the stable presence, Merrie shook her head and stepped back. (I have a mistress,) she projected toward Kivas. (I cannot be your slave.)

He grinned, his eyes brightening until they began to melt the eye sockets around them. The air grew thick with the scent of scorched skin. “What makes you think you can stop me? I am Kivas, the man who killed his own reaper and bound a promise of all the gods of death to never take his soul.” He smiled a little too widely to be natural. “I can break a slave like you because I will never give up.

He took a step toward her, the ground melting underneath his feet. “You will come back, time and time again. Every time you draw a breath, I will crush it out of your throat. I will destroy you until time becomes nothing more than a memory!

Kivas swung his hand back. It would have smacked into the side of the building but instead it dissolved into rainbow energies. He snapped his hand forward and a streamer of killing force speared toward her.

Her magically enhanced speed kicked in and she dove to the side. The entire building behind her dissolved into energies, splashing out into a cloud of mist. The edge caught Merrie's flanks, the energy burned through Zillia and seared her skin.

She gathered the shadows around her, forming them into pitch black tendrils. Five of them shot forward.

Kivas knocked them aside with brilliant, multi-color energies. With his other hand, he pointed at her and darts of light shot toward her with supernatural force.

The light almost blinded her as she dove to the side.

(Keep dodging!) snapped Zillia.

With a surge of lust fueling her, Merrie continued to sprint to the side as she felt more buildings exploding into energies around her. Among the noises, she heard screams cut off and the sound of people dying left and right. (He's kill people.)

I must get out of this damn prison!” screamed Kivas. “I will have that collar! I will have you!

He flung out his hands and a wave of energy crashed into the buildings surrounding him. In a matter of seconds, stone and wood dissolved into a rainbow of colors. She saw bodies briefly suspended in air before they were consumed by the man's powerful magic.

Kivas inhaled loudly. The boiling, multi-colored mist streamed toward him as he sucked it in. From the inside, his body began to glow as she saw the remains of his surroundings begin to glow from inside his bones. His body twisted and grew larger, arms stretching out into hands the size of boulders. Moments later, the rest of his body followed suit until he towered easily five meters.

She didn't think she could fight such a creature on her own. She couldn't stop either. With a flick of her ears and tails, she launched more black tentacles at the glowing giant.

Kivas knocked them away. He flung his hand forward and a streamer of energy exploded from his palm straight for her.

Zillia's surge of energy and unspoken command had her moving. She dove into an alley and out the other side as the entire street ignited into rainbow flames. More buildings disappeared in a cloud of energy before he inhaled them again.

(Mistress?) Merrie asked, her mind trying to find some way of defeating the powerful being.

(We need get away from the others. He's killing everyone.)

(The tunnels or the entrance?) Merrie dodged another blast that tore a line clear through the village and well beyond it. She heard the screams of surprise and agony stop in an instant as Kivas slaughtered the other prisoners without hesitation and then inhaled their energies.

(The garbage pile. No one is there.)

A wave of agreement rushed through her. (Run, Bitch,) came the order.

Burning with the brilliance of submission, Merrie turned on her heels and raced away.

Behind her, Kivas howled in rage and threw bolt after bolt of rainbow energies at her.