Chapter One: Enough is Enough

Seeing his sadistic smile hurt her.

It hurt her so deeply like a scar hissing as it burned into her skin, like a ball of sickness settling in the pits of her stomach. She was lost, terribly lost, because of him. It was his fault for changing. It was his fault for planning these twisted events for the game he played with, carelessly toying with humans like that of a child with a doll. They were just pawns in his live chess game, and he had the power to control any of the occasions and the opponent's move- which regarded cheating and foul play.

Of course, he also could cheat for his own benefit, too. Whilst the opponent stared at the chess board, he would give a flick of his jet black, spiritual hands and cause distraction and havoc amongst the competing player. Those disgusting creatures that he had created pitched in on it, too, and mercilessly asked questions that would send chills up her spine... "Excuse me... My master believes that you'd fend off much better in helping him with this war. He wants you to know that it's not too late to surrender. So, what do you say, stonekeeper?"

She wanted so bad to scream her frustrations to the world and throw her arms in the air, embracing any soothing emotion that her hands may touch. She wanted nothing more than to endlessly cry out all the depression and toss the obsessions away, to pull on her hair and bite her own hand. She saw a gap, one that she hadn't noticed until recently, one that shook and boggled her mind. Why hadn't she seen the change? Why hadn't she paid any attention to the strange yet gradual change that sent cool shivers traveling down her spine? Was she even awake at all? Did she know that this would happen? Was she aware that everything regarded her, too?

Was she sleeping?

The thought made her rock on her feet. "Oh, my…" she was, wasn't she? He had cast a woozy spell on her, no doubt. He had enchanted her so that she would comply with his every order without objecting. Because, he would know her well enough to know that, wouldn't he? So what woke her up? Was it seeing this fiery opponent of his? She had seen many of his opponents in her time being, but none of which had crimson red hair that was set aglow in the fiery sun. None of which had sparkling russet brown eyes, or olive-white skin. Great sadness enveloped her. She and the opponent, had they not been in separate worlds, could be great friends.

She watched, naturally intrigued, as this opponent lashed out with neon pink energy and touched the monster to confront her with a small 'pop!' How clever! In awe, she leaned forward, her eyes trained on this young girl. The girl was staring at the chess board intently as a pawn shifted itself- on its own- one square ahead. Oh, Thelonius, please don't… she winced, knowing what the opponent's move was going to be next. He was challenging her to a dilemma, but little did she know the challenge was suicide. No… she whispered, staring, enthralled by this daring situation.

"So you want to play?" The girl hissed, glowering daggers at the chess board. With a twitch of her fingers, the opponent leaned closer and shifted her own of pawn one step forward. Then she removed her hand and boldly stared ahead, knowing, somehow in someway, he was hiding right before her. "Fine."

Emily breathed, her chocolate brown eyes glimmering with fury.

"Let's play."

NOOOOOOOOOO! She who watched intensely silently gave a scream of desperation. NOOOOOOOOOO! Another victim, fallen innocently into his twisted games of chess and careless, merciless, heartless gag. What would he possibly gain from all of this? Why would he even bother to toy with one so juvenile, not even having a proper outlook on life before not thinking and making brash decisions? This creature was so young, too young, to handle the responsibilities of being a stonekeeper. A training one, perhaps, but one to lead a city into war? Too much. Too much to ask of anyone.

When his shape appeared, a murky shape of black figures, it pretty much sent her wheeling. Oh, Thelonius, when I get out of your evil doings, I'm going to kill you. Then I'm going to revive you and kill you again. The young creature's mind boggled with furious emotions. After all, she was still 'asleep'. And shackled by spiritual chains built to restrain malicious souls and beings in the Voice's Distortion World. Here, everything was opposite. Everything. Critters bounced flamboyantly around during the night, and then nightingales stretched themselves in the day. You could walk up a tree if you wanted to, and lay on water if you so desired.

A theory formed in her head. Distortion, eh? Smirking slightly, the spiritual form writhed and wiggled from her shackle. She was pinned to a tree, with the chains dangling around the stump like a vine. Hmm… Let's see, what was I just thinking? 'Spiritual chains built to restrain malicious souls and beings…' I see! Mmm… Perhaps it may restrain evil creatures, but what about the innocent? Worth a shot. With a frivolous smirk, the mischievous humanoid spirit flexed her fingers and uttered a few prayers before closing her eyes.

Tight.

"Rrrrrrr…." She grunted, slowly peeling herself from the thickness of this chain. The pain was excruciating, but the will to live depended more on her. "RRRRRR…." The chains leisurely slipped from her, their grip ever so tight. "GRRRRRAAAAHH!" then she broke free.

She'd never felt so alive. She ran energetically through the moors, her lungs screaming for air as she tried to reach her safe point destination. Her heart was at a million pumps per second, and her heart weighed heavy on the burden she carried. Tears streamed from her eyes like rivers of silence, and her arms flailed desperately as she struggled to keep herself calm. C'mon, Feferi, we're almost there! Her thoughts screamed in valorous joy, making her grin giddily and speed up in exhilaration—

"GET BACK HERE!"

Her blood froze. Had Emily woken up? NO! Her thoughts of gay and delight swiftly turned to horror and terror. It couldn't be true. It couldn't! "NoooOOOooo!" she yelled back, her eyes trained on her exit, her only freedom of this living nightmare. Inauspiciously, she forgot one thing…

He could teleport.

She halted at her destination, slack-jawed with horror as Thelonius coolly stood in her way. He appeared to be collected and calm, yet even with his voice as smooth as butter (as it always had been), she knew he was ready to explode. "Feferi…" he forced one of his sick and sadistic smiles, one that always sent chills down her spine. "Where are you going?"

Just behind him was the portal to her new home- her new world. It took a second to answer—probably because of the pressure—but when she did answer, she said something she'd yearned to for a long time.

"TTYLXOX, pops."

She smiled. A smile that was strikingly familiar to her mother's before she passed. Thelonius gawked at her, his jaw agape at this simple beam of light, and was paralyzed too soon as she bolted underneath his legs and threw herself through the portal.

Something in his head moved to make room for something else. Perhaps it was, of all things, that smile that had him thinking of Artemia, his love—former love—and life. Perhaps it was this spirit girl saying goodbye, deliberately as if she were escaping him, unlike his other half's passing. Perhaps it was the fear in her eyes, or the hurt that was so clear on her face, like a book to read. Perhaps it was that she was horrified at his work, at his deep and thorough projects with his humans—from Max and Emily and the Elf King to so many others—but if this little girl were to truly understand the weight of his actions, perhaps she would know.

It could be any one of those options. We may speculate, but we may never know the truth.

One thing we do know, however, was that the moment ended when a cold smirk grew on his face and a single train of thought rolled smoothly into his head.

Well, that adds another pawn to my chess game.


Author Note: Hi, this is my first actual story for Amulet, and the other one is just series of short stories and stuff... So, enjoy and as always, review! Constructive critizism welcome, flames unwelcome. Thank you! :)