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Merrie shivered in the corner of her cell. She couldn’t see anything except for a narrow silver of light underneath the door. There was a magical lantern outside and the light was steady but it did nothing to push back to the overwhelming darkness that surrounded her.

It had been years since she couldn’t see in the dark. When her shadow powers came into maturity, it had been one of the things she did without thinking about it. Now, even the simple comfort of seeing her surroundings was marred by the simple choice; it wasn’t that she couldn’t use her powers, she had to think about each one. To be consciously aware that she was activating each one.

She worried her lip and rested her head on her arm. Her breasts were pressed against the ground. The cold of the stone beneath seeped into her body, easing her body like a balm. The straw did nothing to shield her from the comfort.

Merrie tried to change her comfort with the cold like she did with her ability to see in the dark. There wasn’t a switch for that, she guess it was because her body was shadows. It called to the darkness but it was also her source of icy nature; no longer being able to adapt to the cold would mean she was either human again or dead.

That wasn’t something she would choose.

She sighed and took a deep breath. It had been hours since the guards fucked her. She could still smell their cum in the air. It brought a smile as she focused on the experience, enjoying her submission without gaining power from it.

Her tail wagged back and forth.

Curiosity intruded in her thoughts. She wondered if she could see in the dark again. Just because she decided didn’t mean that it was actually her choice. She frowned as she stared at the pitch darkness, slowly reaching out for the comfort that the shadows gave.

Slowly, the darkness peeled away and the details of her room grew sharper and in focus. In seconds, she could pick out the individual stones that made up the walls and ceiling. They were rough, just like everything but the floor.

There was writing on the far wall, ragged and difficult to read. Someone had written it in the dark but it was clear that they tried to write “I’m innocent” though the last letters trailed off.

Parn was right. Merrie still had the ability and powers, they just weren’t automatic. She smiled to herself and felt the burn of tears in her eyes. She wasn’t going to be completely helpless.

Reaching out, she found the connection between her and the shadows. It took a little more to figure out how to build a connection between the two. Slowly, the room darkened around her.

A fluttering movement by the door caught her attention. She froze and looked at it, her ears perking up as she did.

It was a butterfly. A black butterfly. There was only one person who used butterflies with their magic, Elf.

She watched it fluttering around with Parn’s promise still in her head. If the guild was trying to connect to her, a magical butterfly would make sense. However, without magic, she wouldn’t have been able to see it enter the room.

Her heart beat faster. She could imagine what the guild would do if they knew she had magic. They had already risked their lives to save her more than once. Twice now, one of the guild masters had died in the effort, first the ghostly former master and then Kirin.

Kirin’s death brought a surprise swelling of sorrow. Merrie’s ears dropped as she remembered how brave Kirin was to sacrifice herself. There was no doubt, no question about her conviction. She just stated it with a fact, as if she knew it was going to happen.

A tear ran down Merrie’s cheek.

The guild would try to save her, there was no doubt about it. They were capable of breaking into the prison. Yes, it might kill more than one of them, but the bond she had with the guild was stronger than she expected. As Kirin always said, Merrie was part of the greater family.

Too easily, she could see what her life would be outside of prison. She would be forced to live on the outreaches of society, hiding in some place like Borias did at the Puppy Mill. With the geas, she would be forced to spend her life alone; there were far too many triggers that gave her magic.

True, she didn’t need to worry about them, but she also couldn’t let them know that the geas didn’t work. There were known absolutes in the life, the Royal and Justice geasa were two of them. They were unbreakable and unstoppable. No one would believe that a treasonous whore would have broken free. The result would put that entire part of society in question. Merrie knew that many people had geasa on them. Maybe they were allowed to live normal lives instead of being thrown in prison. If those geasa were unreliable, would there be more prisons, more deaths? Abbinkey was only one of three prisons in the entire country, where the worst of the worst went.

She didn’t want to think about it. She had to keep pretending the geas had destroyed her.

More tears came as she watched the butterfly dance across the room. She didn’t move as she did, instead perked her ears and listened the flutter of wind and soft rustles of it landing on the ground.

She had to choose between the guild who loved her and the goddess who created her. It was the worst of her decisions because the idea of spending the rest of her life in Abbinkey was terrifying.

It was also where she needed to be.

Closing her eyes, she finished creating the barrier between the shadows and herself. When she opened them again, she couldn’t see anything but the sliver of light underneath the door.

She was blind.

Blind to the loved ones trying to rescue her.

Blind to anything but her own future.