Holly poked at her chicken with one finger. It looked done, but she was still worried. Closing her eyes she picked it up and took a bite. It was warm, not hot, and still a little cold exactly in the center enough that it crunched in her mouth. She wanted to vomit, but still better than bugs, rats, or snakes.
Fluffy watched her and she smiled and handed one of the tenders over. "Here boy, I'm lucky I have you with me, but I'm so tired of running." The white cabbit ignored her offer and sat down at her side resting his head on her leg as she ate. She smiled and pet him before returning to her task on hand.
Holly's hand froze mid-stroke. No way. There was no way that was another human voice. She had to be hallucinating.
But, what if?
She set her food back on the table and crawled to the entrance of her hiding spot.
A young woman was strolling through the hallways. Her tan skin was covered in pink glitter that matched her wild pink curls that curled over her shoulders. "Hello?" she called again. "Holly? I know you're here, you can't fool me."
Holly looked back down at Fluffy. The animal was putting himself in-between her and the door at this point. "Maybe I should let her know?" she whispered.
Fluffy snorted and using his nose tried to push her back.
"Girl, I don't have all day to be searching for you. I'm here to help. I know the sin has already woken up, or you wouldn't be in this crazy world."
Holly leaned out through the doorway despite her pet's protests. "How?" she demanded.
The pink-haired woman smiled and Holly got a glimpse of crimson red eyes. "That's easy, I'm here to help you, Girl."
Fluffy hissed as he once more stood between the two of them. "I know what you are," he growled.
No, there was no way. This had to be a dream at this point.
"Lust! You're here too? Where's Angel-baby and Tydeus?"
Her cabbit snorted. "I'm the only one here. Those two are still missing, but it doesn't matter. I'm enough to keep her safe. I've been with her so far. And my name is Eros." He glanced over his shoulder at Holly. "You can call me whatever you want though."
The woman giggled. "Oh, that's right. I remember seeing you falling for our Juniper, well Holly. Anyway, Holly, my name is Lachesis, and I'm here to help you with this life of yours." She grinned at Holly and Holly took a step back. "Come on now, don't be scared."
"You expect her to not be scared when she's been chased by grim reapers for the last month?" Eros demanded.
Lachesis shrugged. "I got a little distracted knowing what to wear before I got here. But I'm here now and we can easily escape from a couple of grim reapers." She grinned before she noticed the freezer meal on the table. "My God, Holly, what are you eating? You can't eat crap like that."
"I tried to give her protein," Eros interrupted.
"You tried to feed me bugs and a snake," Holly whispered. She still couldn't quite process what was going on. Her pet, her companion of all this time could talk? Fluffy's name was Eros?
"It would have been good for you. The reapers will start to move when dusk hits. You need to get some rest, Holly."
"First of all she needs a proper meal," Lachesis corrected as she sniffed at the meal. "This thing reeks. You've been eating these?"
"Crackers and twinkies mainly," Holly replied as she rubbed her stomach. "I don't understand what's going on. Any of this. I don't know who you are, or why Fluffy can talk, or why the Chasers are after me. All of this doesn't make sense." She slumped in a chair. "This is all just a really bad dream, or maybe I've been drugged."
She stared at the wild pink-haired woman then back to the cabbit. "This really explains him though, I thought it was weird that my pet was so strange, but everything else has been strange so it's not that huge of a leap."
Lachesis chuckled. "Holly, calm down. I'll explain everything. Just sit there and take it all in, okay?"
Eros snorted. "You're going to tell her a highly sterilized version of the events, I know she's here because of you guys in the first place."
"She might be, but it's because she was best for the job."
"Can we please stop talking as if I'm not right here listening to you?" Holly demanded with a sigh. "Just speak in words I can understand. You're saying these reapers are the Chasers?"
"Yes," Eros answered. "To put it simply, there is a hit upon your soul, and the reapers are going to chase you down until they retrieve it. They can't move during the daytime and that's why we do our majority of traveling during that."
"Why? I'm just an ordinary woman from what I remember. Normal family, normal job, normal everything."
"Not quite," Eros interrupted.
"Huh?" I demanded.
"Let me explain since he's bad at it. Your soul has been reborn a bunch of times by now. You wake up to your powers, you fight against the sins, and then next life you do the same thing again. Just this time I decided to help you."
Eros stared at her. "Did you just say I was bad at this? Because that was terrible. Holly, bad guys have been woken up, and it's up to you to defeat them. You have a power hidden deep inside you, and I will help you not only unlock it but master it."
Holly sighed. "But that still doesn't answer why me?"
"Your soul," Lachesis replied with another shrug. "Either a blessing or a curse, you are the reincarnated soul of the woman that has been battling these sins for three lives so far, four if you count the life she was with me."
"I have no choice in this?" Holly frowned.
"You could just let this world die if that's what you want. Just let all the work your soul has done so far be unraveled, that's up to you." Lachesis smiled as if her words had no meaning to her. "Fight them or not, it's your choice, Holly. If you don't the sins will reawaken each other and take over the world."
Holly groaned. All of this was far too heavy for her. "Can I at least think about it? I'm exhausted and I need to sleep."
Lachesis waggled her fingers. "You do that! I'll be sure to keep watch. If the grim reapers try to visit you early, I'll be here. Though, I guess that would be if they choose to visit you later than usual." She paused. "I'm not sure which one sounds better, but you understand what I mean I hope."
Eros rolled his eyes. "She'll be fine with me. You can go back to your spying post, she doesn't need your help."
"You really don't want me around at all, huh?" Lachesis giggled. "I'm not going anywhere Eros, baby. I'm staying right here with Holly."
Holly groaned at the both of them. "You two just do whatever you want. I'm sleeping while I can before the Chasers," she paused. "I mean the Reapers start chasing me again. I hope you guys are a lot more useful when I wake up because so far all you've done is confuse me."
Eros nodded and padded over to her. "Let's get some rest"
"No," Holly interrupted. "I'm still dealing with the fact that the companion that I've had for I don't even know how long now, has been able to talk. You could have spoken to me at any point, instead, you were silent. I don't need you around me until I can calm down."
Lachesis chuckled as Eros wilted from the lecture and padded over to the door and sat down. "Sorry, Holly."
"You should be sorry," Holly scolded.
Lachesis watched as Holly gathered the paper napkins and paper towels and pushed them into a corner for a pillow. "Wait, you're sleeping on that?"
"It's better than the ground," Holly replied as she stretched out. "Just wake me up if those guys start moving early, otherwise just leave me alone."
Eros and Lachesis glanced at each other but Holy didn't care what they decided.
They couldn't possibly expect to drop bombshells like this on her and for her to just accept it. She'd figure this out when she woke up, if they were lying she'd figure it out.
And if they weren't? If what they were saying was possibly true?
Holly bit back a groan. She would have to think about that later. For now, she was going to sleep. This evening she'd handle these two weirdos and the Chasers. If she had to she'd just run away and survive on her own.
It would be lonely, but she was fully prepared to do what it took to keep herself safe.
"Juniper?"Holly looked around this strange land as she tried to track down the voice. Everything was foggy and misty. Nothing was solid around her. "Hello?" she called out into the dark.Had the Chasers tried a new tactic?"Juniper, I can't believe it's so easy to find you this time. Your soul is like a blazing torch." there was a soft chuckle.Whoever it was, they
Holly woke to find Eros pressed tight against her in his usual spot. He was still sleeping, his ears twitching, as he was on guard even in his sleep. She sighed and ran a hand through his soft fur as she pet him. He had kept his identity secret, but she couldn't hate him. Not after how much he had been with her."You're awake?" the woman, Lachesis, was sitting at a table nearby, her leg swinging. "I was on guard while he got some sleep.""I thought you didn't like him." Holly pointed out."He's a sin," Lachesis answered with her foot still bouncing. "But, he's been caring for you, and he turned sweet for Acacia. If I can give Tydeus a chance, I can do the same for him." She smiled over at her. "Are you hungry? I can fix you something to eat before we have to get going.""I won't eat bugs, or rats, or snakes," Holly stressed once more.Lachesis giggled. "I didn't expect you
Lachesis stepped in front of both Holly and Eros and erected a simple barrier of wind that the scythes grazed off. "Why are you after Holly?" she demanded."I haven't done anything to you," Holly added. "There's no reason for you to hunt me like this! Leave me alone and let me go back to my normal everyday life."The three hooded figures took a few steps back. The one in the middle swept back their hood and the woman revealed stared at them with her green gem-like eyes."Do not misunderstand
"So that's why you'll wait for the other Prince," Eros pointed out. "I'll have you know, ours is infinitely better than yours. You have a cruel master, but ours is capable of kindness."Quix burst into laughter. "Kindness? None of them are capable of that. They're all selfish and only do or help with things that will benefit them. You're clueless if you truly believe that yours is any different. But I'll let you prove it because there's nothing more that I love when someone is proven wrong. The shock on their faces, it's like a drug."Ruby rolled her eyes at him. "Lust, while I'm not as fanatic about it as Quix, he
Holly tensed as the fog completely covered the two of them and all contact from the others was halted."Relax," Ruby ordered her fingers moving in small circular patterns on Holly's shoulders. "Just relax.""But, the others," Holly whispered."Not important right now, I need to focus on you and see if you have magic inside, and for that, you're going to have to relax and trust me."
Holly wasn't surprised when Ruby took away the barrier or when Eros grabbed her and hugged her hard. "Don't you ever do that again," he hissed.Holly pushed at him. "I was with Ruby, it's okay, Eros. She's my friend now.""Friend?" Eros stared at the reaper. "Why in the world would you befriend her? You do remember they are our enemies right?""You're the one that suggested they stay with me, right?" Holly challenged with a smile. "That will work out much better if we're friends."
"How are we going to figure out what magic she has anyway?" Quix questioned as he walked around Holly. "It could take forever if we try it one thing at a time. Besides, I'm sure that not one person knows all the branches of magic here. Even if all of us worked together, we might not cover them all."Eros sighed. "I don't understand how Angel figured it out so easily. He should have shown up by now, or at least Tydeus." He stopped then turned on his heel. "Wait, Holly, didn't you mention something about Tydeus? While we were arguing.""Yes, he visited me in my dreams," Holly responded. "He insisted on calling me Juni
Holly didn't waste any time, she shoved Quix back and knocked him onto his back as she held a hand against her lips."Please, don't do that again. I'm not a toy for you to mess with. You can't just do what you want to try to make me blush."Quix raised himself on one elbow and grinned at her."But that's the fun of it. Ruby doesn't do anything but roll her eyes. You do all kinds of wonderful things for me. Your breath gets shallow and fast, your heart beats faster, your cheeks change color.