It played out like every night before. A bright golden light rushing towards her, her body trembling, fear encroaching her mind. It was a dream that haunted Nao. The sight of the Demon Lord's attack powering up and launching at her. And as the golden light consumed her, she could feel all of herself slipping away.
"AAH!" Nao screamed, rising from the covers of her bed. Though the rays of the morning sun trickled through the window, the nightmare persisted. Without warning, she leapt out from the sheets and ran for the bathroom. She splashed water on her face until it was thoroughly soaked, gasping and sputtering through the dripping ocean on her face. But as she looked up into the mirror, her worst fears were confirmed. She was still trapped in a child's body after all.
She wanted to cry, wanted to bawl her eyes out, but ironically something like that would align her with her newfound youth. Instead, she just got puffy-eyed and angry, splashing the water with her fist and breathing heavily. Years of her life taken away, welcome to day 10 of being 7 years old again.
Nao crept down the stairs and walked into the kitchen, finding Haru busy making breakfast. Haru looked over once he heard the sound of her seating herself at the table.
"Oh! Hey Nao. Surprised to see you awake so early," Haru greeted cordially.
Nao glared at him, not wanting to reciprocate. "Alright, that's cool… Sorry, you're a bit early for breakfast, but I'll have everything ready in… eh, maybe 30 minutes? Give or take? So, if you wanna hang out for a while you can. How'd you sleep?"
Nao grunted as if to tell him to screw off, which Haru was more than able to interpret. "Okay, so you're still upset, but you've gotta admit living with us isn't so bad, right? I mean, yeah we did ruin your plan to kidnap Reina, turned you into a kid, and then made it impossible for you to ever leave here for fear of your own death at the hands of feral monsters… buuuut, it could be worse, right?"
Nao planted her head into the table with a thud. "Yeah, I guess that is kinda sucky," Haru said, attending to the food cooking on the stove. "But cheer up though, you'll have fun being a good guy for a change."
"With every fiber of my being I swear, one day I will kill you all," Nao quietly muttered.
"Well, you'll be awfully lonely when that day comes."
Nao watched him focus on the meal, acting so nonchalantly. She scowled, a bitterness rising within her. "Keep living this little fantasy of a life, idiot," she thought to herself. "Once I'm free of this curse, you'll all pay…"
"YAY! BREAKFAST!" Reina cheered as she dug into a plate of eggs and ham.
"Commander's cooking is always so good!" Emi said with a smile as she sat beside her.
"Ish the besht!" Reina replied with a mouthful.
Nao glared at them both. Enjoying themselves so casually when their mortal enemy was in the room with them. It was unforgivable. "Oh Darling?" Saki chirped at Haru, who was focusing on his meal next to her. "How about you and I eat together? Maybe somewhere… private?"
Haru gave a grunt of disinterest, but Saki didn't let up. "Aww, c'mon. I'll even feed you myself! Here, say 'AAH'" she said, scooping up food onto her fork and prodding at Haru's face.
Haru sighed, then stuck the fork in his mouth. "Thewe. Uwe happy?" he said while chewing. Saki giggled. "With you? Always!"
Nao gagged, a feeling of sickness coming over her. There was no way she could eat with such disgusting behavior on display.
"Now do me! AAH…" Saki said. She closed her eyes and opened her mouth, awaiting Haru's fork. What came next was a splat of eggs right across her face. She frantically wiped the food off and stared daggers at the lot of them. "WHO DID THAT?!"
Nao hid her fork behind her back, whistling quietly. But Saki could tell right away where the food came from. "GRRR!" she roared, preparing her fork catapult to return fire. "TAKE THIS!"
The food flew through the air towards Nao, but within a split second, she grabbed Reina by the horn and used her face as a shield. Letting go, Reina swung forward before wiping her face. "HEEEEEY!" she whined. "That wasn't nice!"
"She started it!" Saki shouted pointing at Nao.
But Reina didn't care. She dug her fork in and flung some food back at Saki.
"KYAAAA!" she screamed as it landed in her hair. With tears in her eyes, and a murderous look on her face, Saki lobbed even more food back at Reina, but missed and hit Emi.
"WAAAAH!" Emi cried, as the two began an all out war with their breakfast.
Haru slammed his hands down on the table. "KNOCK IT OFF!" he bellowed. The chaos stopped abruptly, as if time itself froze. Reina and Saki had already resorted to picking up their food with their fingers, the slop of eggs sliding out of their palms.
"... Sorry…" the girls replied in sheepish unison, leading Haru to finally hang his head and exhale a defeated sigh. He looked up and saw Nao grinning smugly at him.
"If you girls want to play with your food, you can all clean up the mess left by it," Haru said, taking Emi aside and wiping her face with a cloth. "So all 3 of you are going to help me with that today."
"WHAT?!" Saki yelped.
"Aww…" Reina groaned.
Haru gave a side eye to Nao. "Everyone grab a rag," he said. "This is going to be a long clean up."
"Alright, you ready?" Akane asked. "And ONE, and TWO!" Haru and Emi hit the deck and began doing push ups to Akane's rhythm. They both struggled to keep up under the bright midday sun, while Reina, Saki, and Nao sat in the shade of the tree outside. "KEEP IT UP! FEEL THE BURN!"
"Oh, I'm feeling it, alright!" Haru quipped through bated breath.
Nao watched curiously, actually focusing in on Haru's attempts to get stronger. "Is this seriously how he plans on getting stronger?" she muttered out loud. "Doing basic exercises?"
"I think it's great!" Reina chirped "Big Brother will get big and strong!"
"I sure don't mind it, myself," Saki slyly added.
Nao's eyes narrowed, ignoring the two brainless children next to her. "How the hell did this idiot actually survive against my orcs?" she thought to herself, before a sinister smile spread over her face. She got up from her seat and approached the group, just as they were finishing their set.
"Alright! Good work!" Akane said, as Haru and Emi breathed heavily. "We'll take a break for lunch in a bit, so for now rest up and we'll switch to sit-ups!"
"Phew… How you doing, Emi? Good?" Haru asked.
"Yeah… I feel pretty strong now!" Emi replied with a smile.
"That so?" Nao asked. "Then you probably haven't realized you've been doing it wrong."
"Huh?" Haru said.
"Hey! Lady!" Nao called out to Akane. "I've got an exercise for them!"
"Oh? Let's hear it." Akane replied.
"I think they should do push-ups again, but this time they should tuck one leg in as they go down."
"Uh… Akane?" Haru asked. "We just finished doing push-ups?"
"Hmm… No she's got a point," Akane said. "Your arms are pretty weak to be honest, a little more training wouldn't hurt. Okay! Same thing again! You ready? And ONE, and TWO!"
Like that, Haru bent down to do his push-up, only this time he tucked his leg in. As he did it a few times he began to feel it, an unbearable burn in his abdomen. He grit his teeth, not wanting to cry out in pain. He looked up to find Nao smirking back at him, but dared not say a word. Instead he simply followed through the motions, knowing this was his punishment from her.
"C'mon! Work those triceps!" Akane commanded.
"And don't worry," Nao added. "I know plenty of other exercises for you to do."
"You seem like a good teacher Nao," Akane earnestly complimented. "How about you lead the class?"
"Huh-WAIT WHAT?!" Nao yelped, as Akane picked her up and placed her on her belly.
"Here, now you can show 'em how it's done!"
"Ready when you are, 'Teach'," Haru said.
"Ready?" Akane asked. "And ONE, and TWO!"
Nao sat with her back against the shady tree, strung out with an intense burn in her body from the exercise. From here, she watched everyone else hang out on a blanket Haru and spread across the grass. It was lunch time, and that meant sandwiches for everyone. She took a big bite from hers, savoring the taste.
"Damn," she muttered to herself. "As much as I hate to admit it, this idiot's cooking is the best I've had in years…" She took another bite, watching the others almost enviously. They seemed like they were having fun, but Nao knew that wouldn't be the case for her. As if on cue, her stomach growled, telling her it was time for more.
"Guh… Shouldn't have skipped breakfast after all," she said, taking another bite. But as she did, she realized something was off. She took her sandwich and examined it carefully, taking it apart to reveal the meat had been removed. "WHAT THE?!" she exclaimed, looking around.
It wasn't until she heard a soft munching behind the tree that she found a tiny dragon with a mouthful. "STUPID DRAGON!" she screamed, throwing her sandwich at him. Kyrian screeched and puffed out his chest, trying to scare her off.
"What's wrong Nao?" Haru asked, coming over with Reina to see her.
"YOUR STUPID PET STOLE MY FOOD!"
"Hey! Kyrian isn't stupid!" Reina whined.
` "HE IS TOO!"
"Alright, alright," Haru said. "We'll get you a new sandwich."
"And why did you name it after the Great Dragon Kyrian anyways?"
"Huh? Named after?"
"Well, obviously that's not the real Kyrian. Duh! The Great Dragon Kyrian wouldn't be someone's pet! He's revered by all monster kind as almost a deity!"
A long pause followed. "… That is Kyrian. Like… the real one…"
"Yup!" Reina exclaimed. "And I'm the one who made him all small!"
"T-That… No way! Kyrian is massive! And powerful! And-"
"Cat-sized?" Haru asked, pointing at Reina. "Yeah, blame her for that…"
"YOU! HOW COULD YOU?!"
"What?" Reina asked. "He was being mean!"
"YOU TURNED AN HONORABLE BEAST INTO A PET!"
"Because he was mean! Now he's nice!"
"Debatable," Haru said out the side of his mouth.
"YOU! I! UGH!" Nao screeched before storming back into the house.
"DOES THIS MEAN YOU DON'T WANT THE SANDWICH?!" Haru called out to her.
Nao stamped her feet all the way to the couch and angrily plopped herself down. But she was too angry to just sit, so she threw herself onto her back and laid there. "STUPID STUPID STUPID!" she muttered to herself. "I HATE IT HERE! IT'S NOT FAIR! WHAT DID I DO TO DESERVE THIS?!"
Her thoughts began to drift, as did her eyelids. "I wonder what my people are doing without me… Are they safe? Are they surviving? What kind of a leader am I, if I'm not there for them?" She yawned, eyelids finally closing. "I will find a way to break this curse… if it's the last… thing I… do…"
She breathed softly and rhythmically, perfectly and soundly asleep. "Hello?" Reina called out. "Nao?"
"Hnrgh… Huh-What?" Nao muttered, her eyes opening. She tilted her head to see Reina standing before her. "Ugh… what do you want?"
"Well, I figured, you'd want someone to wake you up."
"Huh?" Nao said, sitting up. "Wake me up?"
"Yeah… Y'know… like, from your nap?"
"You were asleep."
"Yeah… for like 3 hours."
"Are you upset? You look upset."
Nao shuddered, looking down at her hands and breathing heavily.
"Umm… Okay… I'll uh, leave you alone then…" Reina said, tiptoeing away. Nao couldn't shake the overwhelming horror that had overtaken her. Her entire body shook with tremors and her vision and mind became clouded.
"An… Afternoon nap?" she softly whispered. "I'm… regressing?"
Nao stumbled up the stairs, still trapped in her existential dread. As she traipsed into the hallway, she couldn't shake the feeling of hopelessness. She soon found herself in the bathroom at the end of the hall, once more splashing water on her face and breathing heavily. She sat herself on the toilet and tried to calm herself down.
"I'm okay, I'm okay, I'm okay…" she muttered, trying to convince herself. "It was just a nap. You've taken plenty of naps before! There's nothing to worry about. That brat's spell isn't affecting you at all!"
Knock Knock Knock "Nao?" Saki said from the other side of the door. "Can I come in?"
"Can't you see the room's occupied?!" Nao snapped. "Scram!"
"But I really need to get in!" Saki pleaded.
"Ugh. Do you have to go that badly?"
"What? No. I just wanted to check my face in the mirror. Think I'm getting a mole-"
"DAMMIT! IF YOU DON'T HAVE A REASON TO BE IN HERE, THEN QUIT BOTHERING ME!"
A long silence followed, prompting Nao to finally exhale. She rubbed her temples with her fingers, feeling the horrors she had experienced forming a migraine.
Knock Knock Knock "GRAA!" Nao screeched. "FINE! IF YOU NEED THE BATHROOM THAT BADLY YOU CAN HAVE-" She opened the door, but instead of Saki it was Akane standing there. She was hiding something behind her back.
"Oh… It's you… Whatever, you can have the bathroom," Nao said, as she tried to push past Akane. But suddenly she couldn't. Akane wasn't letting her. "Huh? What?" Akane didn't respond, she just kept staring at Nao with a disturbing smile.
"Why… why are you looking at me like that?" Nao nervously asked. Suddenly Akane began to inch forward, pushing Nao backwards into the bathroom. "Wait! What are you doing?!"
Akane cornered her, her back pressed against the wall. "What do you want?!" Nao cried. Akane gave a wordless response, pulling her hand out from behind her back. She was carrying a pink frill-covered dress… just Nao's size.
"N-no… Stay back!" Nao yelped. But Akane crept closer. "NO! PLEASE! YOU CAN'T! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!"
Haru looked up from his seat on the couch with the girls. "What was that?" he asked.
Suddenly Akane stepped into the room. "HEEEEEY GUYS!" she cheerfully shouted. "CHECK IT OUT!" She pulled out Nao, clothed in the pink dress and having had her hair tied into pigtails. "Isn't she just the cutest?!" Akane said, in her most loving tone.
Pfft. Haru snickered. "It's… uh… yeah, that's totally cute," he said, trying not to grin too hard.
She was on the verge of tears, but Nao endured the humiliation through grit teeth.
"Wow! You look so pretty!" Reina said, turning to Emi. "Doesn't she?"
"Uh-huh," Emi replied with a smile.
"What do you think Saki?"
"BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!" Saki roared, pointing at Nao while tears streamed down her face. "YOU LOOK LIKE A DORK!"
"GRAAA!" Nao shrieked, her mind going blank as anger completely took over. She lunged onto Saki and began tearing away at her hair.
"NAO STOP!" Haru shouted.
"Yeah! You'll ruin the dress!" Akane added.
Nao sat with the rest of the girls in the living room, having finally been relieved of her frilly confinement. Pieces of paper and various paints were scattered across the floor, as the girls scribbled about drawing shapes of all sizes.
"Look at this!" Reina said, holding up a paper with some crudely drawn stick figures on it. "I made a new family portrait for us!"
"It looks very good master!" Emi cheered.
"This one's me, and this is Big Brother, and Miss Akane, and Emi, and Saki, and Kyrian… Oh! And this grumpy one is Nao, but I'm sure I can make her smile some day!"
"You got my hair wrong…" Saki whined.
"Besides, it can't compare to my art!" Saki said, holding up her drawing: a slightly less poorly drawn picture of several people. "Look! Look! See? This one sitting on the throne in the perfect dress is me, and the other ones are my gorgeous servants!"
"It's… certainly something…" Reina replied, but shouldn't the only man you want be Big Brother?"
"Of course! That's him right there!" she said, pointing at the one massaging her feet.
"Uh… Okay? What did you draw, Emi?"
"Oh I couldn't think of anything in particular I wanted to draw, so I just drew this house," she said, holding up her paper to reveal a surprisingly well done painting of the house's facade.
"WOAH! THAT'S AMAZING!"
"Really? I think it could still use some work."
"No, it's good! You could really be an artist some day!"
"I still can't draw people very well, but thank you for the praise, master!"
"What did you draw, Nao?"
Nao silently held up her drawing: a man being pierced by a hundred arrows. The speech bubble read, "OW! MY SKIN!"
After all the paint was cleaned up, the rest of the girls went back out to play some more, leaving Nao alone indoors. Her stomach growled, telling her she shouldn't have skipped out on her meals. She wandered into the kitchen, looked around, and began scavenging through the cabinets. However, all she found were fresh vegetables, certainly not what she had in mind for a meal. She shut the cabinets with a grumble, pondering what her next move would be.
That's when she looked up and spotted it, a small lid covered clay pot at the very top of the cabinets. She recognized it right away, it was the same pot Haru used to store his newly made cookies. She had hit the jackpot, but only if she could reach it.
With a lick of her lips, she grabbed a chair and brought it over to the cabinets. She climbed up and reached up on her toes trying to grasp the pot, but was too far away. She climbed back down, this time grabbing a stack of books to aid her. She went up once more, but still couldn't reach.
A stool, some rope, a sack of potatoes, these were among the items Nao picked up one by one, as she constructed for herself a tower of babel to reach the chocolate chip heavens. Nao looked her creation up and down. It was crooked and swaying ever so slightly, but she was confident it would work. With that, she began slowly climbing up, taking her time so as not to topple over.
At last she reached the top, and the cookies were within reach. She leaned forward, her heart beating nervously as she stretched out to just barely touch the pot. She was moments away from being able to wrap her hands around its neck, when suddenly the tower creaked and gave way. With a look of shock and horror, she tumbled through the air, the tower crumbling beneath her feet. As the sounds of debris crashing to the floor burst into her ears, she shut her eyes expecting her body to be the next thing that hit the ground.
But it didn't. She opened her eyes, wondering why she was still in the air, only to realize she was in someone's arms. "Geez! You sure do get into trouble when alone, dontcha?" Haru quipped, as Nao found herself sandwiched between his hands. He placed her on the ground, away from the fallen mess. "There you go. Next time you want something, come get me to help, okay?"
Nao scowled, it was bad enough she couldn't do something on her own, but to be rescued by someone like him was downright insulting. Haru reached up to the top of the cabinets and grabbed the clay pot, bringing it down to his level. "This is what you wanted right?" he asked. Nao couldn't bear to look him in the eyes, choosing not to respond to the question. And so, Haru opened the lid, reached inside, and pulled out a single cookie. "Here you go," he said, offering it to her.
"What?! Only one?!" Nao yelped.
"Well… yeah. I can't let you spoil your appetite now, dinner isn't too far off!"
Nao grumbled, but took the cookie anyway. It was better to have one than none.
"Well, I better clean all this up. Try to stay out of trouble from now on, okay?"
Nao wandered out, but not before giving Haru one last look of annoyance while he ignored her.
"Keep on acting like I'm not a threat Human," she thought to herself. "You'll get what's coming to you soon enough!"
Dinner time arrived, and as everyone sat at the table ready to feast Haru looked around at their smiling faces. Or, at least most of them were smiling. Nao, on the other hand, kept her trademark scowl going throughout the meal.
"Alright everyone!" Haru announced. "This one's a classic! I give you: seared pork cutlets!" He pulled the cover off of the pot centered on the table, revealing a row of seared slices with crunchy cabbage on the side. "And I expect you all to take some of the cabbage!"
"But Darling! I don't want to eat that yucky cabbage!" Saki pleaded.
"No dessert until you eat your vegetables."
"WAAAH! You're so cruel sometimes!"
"Oh don't fuss, you don't see anyone else complaining. I mean, look at Emi! She's taking plenty of it!"
"I like cabbage!" Emi replied with a smile. "It doesn't taste as bad as some vegetables, especially when it's cooked well!"
"Very good Emi, You keep eating your vegetables and you'll grow up big and strong."
"Pfft…" Saki sputtered, eyeing the cabbage. "Hey elf," she said, smugly looking at Nao. "Maybe you should eat all that cabbage, it'll help you grow up big and strong!"
Nao didn't respond, even to the taunts. Much as she wanted to start trouble again, even she knew when defiance wasn't worth it. Instead, she simply stuffed her face as fast as she could, not letting any scrap go to waste.
"Hey, slow down there Nao. You're eating a little fast," Haru warned. But she didn't stop, in fact, she went faster. Shoving whole forks of meat into her mouth and barely chewing.
"Wow, look at her go!" Akane quietly said. "Not even the soldiers could keep up with that!"
Nao grabbed her cup and guzzled the water within, finally pulling it from her lips with a gasp for air.
She breathed heavily, then relaxed, finally feeling full for the first time today. "Aaa… BRAAAP" she belched, startling even herself. She covered her mouth with both hands, glancing around nervously. All eyes were on her, giving her looks of concern. "I'm-uh… I'm gonna go now…" she whispered in embarrassment, excusing herself from the table.
Dead silence filled the room, as everyone looked back at one another.
"I guess she's still kind of an adult in some ways…" Haru muttered. "But lady-like she is not."
"Alright, see you guys next time!" Akane said with a wave, as she left the house. Haru waved back, sending her off. As the front door shut, he turned to the girls.
"Okay girls, it's time for your baths," he said.
"'Kay," the girls replied, as they ran off towards the tub. Haru turned his head and spotted Nao still standing there. "I meant you as well, Nao," he said.
"Forget it! I'm not going," she bluntly responded.
"And why not?"
"Shadow elves are naturally clean, just as we are one with nature! We can go months without bathing!"
"That's disgusting. You have to take a bath everyday young lady, that's an order."
"Excuse me?! Last time I checked, I'm older than YOU! And furthermore, what gives you the right to order me around?!"
"My house, my rules. Now get in that tub."
"AS IF! You can't make me!"
"HEEEY!" Akane shouted, bursting through the front door. "Sorry, forgot my bag… huh?" she said, looking at the standoff.
"Hey, Akane…" Haru said, turning to her with a sinister look. "Mind showing Nao to the tub?"
The words rang in Nao's ears, distorted and booming. It was as if he were evilly cackling as he said them. She could see Akane look at her with those awful perverted eyes, longing to see her undressed. Her body trembled, knowing what would come next. "That's okay, I can take myself to the tub, thank you," she finally blurted out, before shuffling herself off in the direction of the bath.
"Thanks Akane," Haru said, watching Nao leave.
"Uh… sure?" she replied. "What'd I do?"
"Good night Reina," Haru softly said. As he tucked the pajama clad Demon Lord into bed. "Good night Big Brother…" she replied in a sleepy voice.
Nao could hear them from across the hallway. Infuriating as it was disgusting to hear, but she couldn't do anything about it in her current state. All she really could do was jam her pillow over her head and try to drown it all out.
"Goodnight bed…" Reina continued. "Goodnight toys… Goodnight house… Good night moon… Goodnight-"
"AAAGH! WILL YOU SHUT UP?!" Nao screamed, thrusting her face into her pillow. Haru glanced in her direction, giving her an eyeroll. "You need anything Nao?" he asked.
"What I need is for you all to die!"
"'Kay, let me know if you actually need anything important."
"Ugh," she moaned, falling backwards onto her bed. "I can't believe I spent yet another day with you people!"
"Not like you can do much else," Haru said, stepping into her doorway. "As long as you're a child, the outside world is too dangerous for you. Well, that, and you're a wanted fugitive, but mostly the being a kid thing. Besides, what else would you be doing otherwise?"
"I… I don't know! Something! Shut up!"
"Yeah, that's the kid in you talking right there."
"I SAID SHUT UP!"
"Fine. Be that way, just get some sleep because tomorrow you do it all over again," Haru said, shutting the door behind him as he left. Left alone with her thoughts, she began to tear up, wiping her face with a clenched fist.
"It's not fair…" she whispered. "It's not…"
She sat there moping for a while, as everyone else in the house drifted off to sleep. Eventually, the thoughts in her head became like a hurricane, whipping around her brain at high speed. She couldn't sleep, and there was nothing she could do to quell her outrage. She pushed herself off of the bed and walked herself over to the window. Pushing the curtains aside, she stared up at the moon hanging over her, letting the white light from its face fill her eyes. She dropped to her knees, clasped her hands together, and shut her eyes.
"Gods, if you can hear me, I beg you for forgiveness," she began. "This personal hell that has been wrought onto me is too much to bear. All I want now is to be returned to my people as I was, so that I may lead them as I should have. Whatever shred of dignity left I have, I would gladly shed it if it meant this nightmare would be over. So please… please…" Her body trembled, unable to finish her thought.
"What do you want?" she called out with a sniffle.
The door opened, and Emi poked her head into the room. "Umm, Miss Nao?" she quietly said.
"What is it kid?"
"You sound like you're really having a hard time sleeping, so I thought I'd come and help," Emi said, pushing further into the room. She carried her stuffed rabbit in her arm, cradling it gently.
"I don't need help from you. Get lost."
"Well, okay, but I really meant help from this," Emi said, holding up her rabbit.
"Well, whenever I can't sleep, I hug my rabbit really tight, and it makes it easier to calm down. So I figured, you could do the same. At least for tonight."
Nao sighed, knowing arguing with a child was pointless. "Look kid, I want to say that's a nice gesture, but I hate you all so it's pointless. Just go back to your room already."
"Okay… well… If you change your mind, I'll leave it right here," Emi said, placing the rabbit down on a nearby chair.
"What? Don't you need it?"
"Actually, I'm starting to get better at sleeping alone," Emi replied. "The trick I found is that I just think of all the happy thoughts I have about everyone here, and it makes me feel better. So you can use it if you want."
"Pfft. Whatever, just go away."
"Okay…" Emi said, slowly shutting the door. "Goodnight Miss Nao." With that, the door shut, once more leaving Nao alone. She climbed back into her bed and pressed her head against the pillow, shutting her eyes.
"Mmmmm… Hmmmm… MMMMM… HRNGH!" her eyes popped open, completely restless. "Oh come on! Don't seriously tell me you're thinking about what she said!" she shouted at herself. "Y'know what? Fine!"
She jumped out of bed and walked over to the rabbit. Snatching it off the chair, she carried it back under the covers with her. "There! You happy?!" She said, as she then gave the rabbit a squeeze. A moment of silence went by. Her expression slowly began to change, bit by bit progressing from a solid frown to a look of tiredness. "I feel… better…" she muttered to herself, feeling the bad thoughts ebb away. "Well what do you know…"
She pushed her head back against the pillow and slowly shut her eyes, finally feeling at peace. "It's you and me against the world Mr. Rabbit," she mumbled. "Someday I'm going to find a way to get out of here, and even the gods won't be able to do anything to stop what comes next. But you? You can stay right here by my side…" she said, as she let out a yawn. "As long as we're together… everything's… gonna be okay…"
Her breathing went shallow and rhythmic, and she fell asleep.
A/N - Hey everyone! Still on hiatus. Turns out if you procrastinate for months on end you get nothing done. Man, I have no idea where my motivation went. I blame Escape Simulator, that game is addicting!
Anyway. Here's a little something something I whipped up to fill in the gaps of my uploads. Hope you like it!
Oh. And P.S. - I'm thinking about getting a group together on discord for writing these kinds of stories. Y'know, the manga/light novel-esque stuff? It'll be like a workshop where we can talk and create. It gets boring being the only one in my friend group that writes original stories, no one to talk to you see, so I figured if I made a place that writers like me could go to it'd be nice. Or, at least, I'd have some more writer friends, which is undeniably good. Let me know if you're interested, and if you want, you can add me on discord - Psycotica!#7781.
Have a great day!