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Chained…But Free (Part 7)

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The ship certainly went down in flames, once Mira was done. It was by sheer luck that Mira, Norrin, Gent and many other of the freed slaves had made it off the tanker before it was completely engulfed. At least, that is what she was told upon slipping in and out of consciousness after Norrin had successfully pulled her from the water. Faintly she remembers Gent’s voice in the background, a long line of expletives laced in every other word directed at her and Norrin. 

Body aches still rumble through her body with every movement she makes. Walking to the medical quarters felt like it was miles away, each muscle where she took a bullet feeling bruised and stiff. She moves in a daze, her thoughts constantly living in her scattered memories. Striving to make them all clear, even though each new clarification brings further heartache. She wanted it to stop. She needed it to stop. Entering the medical room aboard Gent’s spaceship, bleary gold eyes settling upon Norrin having his stitches cleaned up. He reminds Mira of a jigsaw puzzle with how many stitches adorn his biceps, much of his left leg and more along his shoulder blades. Mira notes a few burn marks as well, red and blistered but only topical at best. 

“Hey, Mira.” He says with a flinch of his eyes when the nurse presses too firmly upon a stitch under his ribs.

With his left arm propped up and his hand holding the back of his head, he watches her carefully. She’s obviously been crying. It’s been a week now that they narrowly escaped that slave ship. When she does not respond to his greeting, he lowers his arm, nodding to the nurse to leave them be. It takes only moments for the nurse to clean up her utensils and walk out of the room. Mira slowly walks over to the bench Norrin sits on, and she leans against it heavily. Giving Norrin a sidelong look, inspecting his stitches, she lifts her chin up towards him. 

“…It’s just about time to finish up this plan…” She says quietly to him. 

“Are you healed up enough for that?” He asks in the same quiet tone.

“I’ll never be healed up, Norrin. I’m broken from all of this. Once this is done…I’m going to disappear. And I don’t want you trying to stop me.” Her voice is hollow. As she watches him, she sees him finally nod his agreement. Even though his jaw is tight, and she knows how he feels about her disappearing, she believes he will stay out of her way. 

“When do you wanna do this?” He asks in a somewhat sullen tone.

“Meet me tonight in the hanger. Make sure you won’t be missed.” Before Norrin can even reply, Mira gently pushes her weight off from the bench and leaves the medical quarters. Time to handle the other issue at hand. 

__________________________________________________

The heavy metal doors creak and echo upon the many locks moving, the door swinging inwards. Stepping into the very small holding cell, Mira coldly stares down at Eryth, sitting with his back to the wall and his knees drawn up so his arms rest upon them. His head is tilted back, chin held high as his gold eyes watch her. His wide mouth is a hard line, no smile or frown fixed in response to her. The bracer around his neck shows red rub marks against his tanned skin, a product of him trying to rebel against his newest captivity. For a moment Mira pauses. Gauging him. Then, reaching behind her, she withdraws the wrist brace from her back pocket. Her eyes never leave Eryth’s, even as she sees a flash of defiance glide along his face upon seeing that brace. Mira slips it onto her wrist. It expands and then constricts to fit her perfectly. She sees how Eryth shifts his weight against the wall, no doubt feeling Mira’s presence through his body. 

“Stand up” She commands.

Eryth stares at her with daggers in his eyes. He makes no move to stand until Mira sighs irritably and sends a warning through the slave bracer. A quick hint of pain, though harsh, gets him to stand before her. Watching his fists clinch and unclinch with anger, she steps closer. 

“What do I do with you, Eryth?” She says his name with pure venom. “You. Who deceived me. Invaded my thoughts. Tricked me into the hands of the slavers. And for all I know, killed OUR people. And…the man I was with. The one I…love.” She has to stop speaking, for the lump in her throat threatens to make her cry. Taking a moment, she wets her lips. “What happened to him?” 

Mira blinks as Eryth slowly smiles. A cruel, unforgiving smile. He slowly leans towards her, but she refuses to retreat, to give him even one inch of confidence. “He abandoned you once he knew he couldn’t take me on. Left you for the slavers to have. Disappeared into the desert, most likely swallowed by the sands.” With that answer, Mira sends a spike of pain down through his spine. A clipped howl leaves his lips and he staggers back to slam against the cold metal wall. 

“LIAR!!” She seethes at him, lunging at him and digging her fingers into his hair to slam his head back. “Tell the truth! And I’ll stop the pain!” Her will presses into him, sending more pain into his body at just a thought. He struggles against her, trying to cringe away, groaning against the punishment. After what feels like hours of pressing more and more pain upon his body, he falls to the floor, yanking away from her cruel fingers. Finally he shakes his head and screams out.

“I don’t know! Chaos broke out once the slavers found our people! I was fighting them!!” Spittle flecks his lips, eyes screwed shut against the onslaught of pain. “Fuck him! You belonged with me! We could have protected them all had you not denied me!” When his eyes pop open, Mira sees pure resentment alight like flames. “We can still salvage this, Mira. Release me. Understand, I did everything for our people, for You!” 

Mira shakes her head slowly. “No. You did everything for yourself. For power. You want me because I’m stronger. You thought you could harness that. Use it as a tyrant to our people. To me. And for that, I’m going to dump you back into the desert. With no one. No provisions. And you will die there.” The words are hardly above a whisper. But Eryth hears every word, his face falling by the second as she tells him of her plans. 

Without another word, Mira turns and leaves the cell. As the door is locked behind her by one of the guards, she sighs heavily. Still many unanswered questions. Closing her eyes, she rubs the bridge of her nose. 

“Ma’am…” the guard at her side says hesitantly. Mira blinks, looking up at the skinny man. He looked scared to even be talking to her. Swallow, she nods for him to continue. Watching him lift a hand, she frowns at what he shows her. “We took this off of him when he was brought to the cell. Didn’t seem like something a man of his stature should have…” Mira’s hand opens, palm facing upwards as the guard places a beautiful, flawless ruby ring circled with smaller diamonds. Her fingers curl inwards almost instantly. Her breath catches painfully. It takes her several moments to find her voice.

“I’ll….I’ll take care of it, thank you.” She manages to squeak out. Abruptly she turns, stalking down the narrow hall and disappearing around a corner. Hot tears rolling down her cheeks. This ring was hers. A promise given by it’s token. A promise now lost. 

____________________________________

Midnight. Most of the ship inhabitants are asleep. A few straggler guards off in the mess hall, getting drunk on the bosses dime. Preparing for the huge fortune that was about to supposedly come their way.

Standing before all of the now freed elementals, Mira shifts her weight. The large vaulted ceilings in the hanger allowed for many transport ships, at least 20 at a time. One of the transports’ ramp is open, the empty seats within visible to those gathered round. Her voice is low, in order not to allow it to carry into an echo. Norrin stands at her side, arms crossed tightly as he stares at the ground in preparation.

“You all need to leave, now.” She says sternly. 

“Leave? But where would we go? You freed us, we are indebted to you.” The tall water elemental spoke first. 

Mira shakes her head. “No. You have no debt to me. If you stay here, Gent intends to re-enslave you. Sell you again. I made him think I would help him, gain your trust and capitalize on your sense of debt to me to do so. I’m getting you out of here while I have the chance. We won’t get it again.” Her words are fierce. Never letting her eyes leave theirs. “This ship will take you back to Hellifyno. From there, you must scatter. I don’t know if I got all the slavers, but I am quite sure I got the majority of them.” Mira reaches to her side, producing a pouch of gold coins. She hands it to the water elemental. “Divide this amongst you all. Get away. Get safe.”

“What about you? Come with us!” He says fervently. 

“No. Someone will have to face Gent’s rath.” Stepping back, she motions for them to get aboard the ship. They all hesitate, looking at each other in sheer confusion. Huffing heavily, the elemental nods to those around him. And slowly, they all board the ship, many of the freed elementals quickly hugging Mira or giving a kiss to her cheek. It is all a numb feeling. As soon as they are aboard, she looks to Norrin as he comes to stand before her. 

“Mira…” His eyes show that he wants to say so much more. But he is struggling, as far as Mira can see. Instead of giving him a moment to find his words, Mira steps in close to him, pressing a finger to his lips to silence him. After a moment, she merely nods to him, lifting upon tippy toe and pressing her lips briefly to his. When she pulls back, she gives a haunted smile. 

“Thank you for everything, Norrin. Until we meet again in this life or the next, my dear friend.” She feels his hands squeeze hers, threatening to not let her go. Finally, he releases them, his eyes holding a deep sadness. 

“Goodbye, Mirabar.” Is the only thing he is capable of saying. Then, he turns, getting into the transport and closing the doors behind him. 

___________________________

Morning time, in space. It was so easy to lose track of time. But Mira has not slept a wink thus far. 

“YOU WHAT?!!” Gent explodes as Mira announces his haul of fortune has been commandeered. 

Mira does not even look up from the chair she sits in, idly looking at her nails like she could care less that a warlord is moving in her direction like he is about to strip the flesh from her body. As soon as he rounds the large table in the expansive quarters, she snaps her eyes up to meet his looking down at her. The scars on his face are stretched, the artery at his neck bulging with rage. Slowly, Mira stands, watching Gent’s every move. And he moves fast. His fist connects with her left cheek perfectly. Stars burst behind her eyes, feeling her body quickly meet the ground with such a blow. 

Spitting out blood from the cut inside her cheek, she blinks a few times, regaining her feet only by Gent grabbing her by the shoulders and yanking her up. He violently shakes her, his hand finding her throat and squeezing so tight, she feels his fingers breaking her skin. 

Gold eyes flash up at the hulking figure, the sound of his voice raging obscenities at her nothing more than a buzz in the back of her head as heat rises in her. His fingers are quickly seared, his hand releasing her throat and pushing her violently away from him. It registers in his eyes, he had forgotten for a moment what she was capable of. 

“You conniving Bitch! WE HAD A DEAL!” He roars at her, watching her uncertainly. 

“We did. And you are the idiot that believed I would hand over slaves for you to profit off of!” She croaks, smoothing her hand against her bruised throat. “They’re gone. And if you so much as ASK anyone where they are, I’ll burn the flesh from your bones, slowly!” Her eyes lock to his, deadly intent very clear. “You’ve seen me do it. Know what I’m capable of now. It would THRILL me to do it.”

Gent’s lip curls into a snarl. Still fuming, he turns away from her, looking the room over. If she started a fire here…it would be the end. If not burned or exploded, being sucked out into space certainly wouldn’t be much better. Turning back to her, he flexes his jaw muscles. 

“I’ll get you back for this, bitch. One way or another.” He vows lowly. 

“I’ll keep my eye out for ya, Gent. But for now, I’ll be leaving your wonderful company.” Licking her lip of the remaining blood flecks, she leaves the room without taking her eyes off of him. “Anyone tries to follow me, and I’ll blow a hole through your pretty space ship.” 

Gent is left there, seething and fuming while he watches the red head elemental take her leave, royally screwing him over with this whole mess. Yes. There would be retribution. When the time was right. 

THE END (for now)

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