Today was not a good day. It just wasn't. Though, of all the ways to go, Lorena had never imagined that this would be it.

Sacrificed to a demon.

Part of her appreciated the sentiment, the other part was just stunned at how uncreative those assholes in town were. "Maiden sacrifice..." Yeah. Totally original.

Still- you couldn't exactly blame them. Things had only seemed to get worse when Sparda turned on the human race and the survivors were desperate. Nearly thirty years of oppression, poverty and death had taken their toll...what had once been a thriving race was reduced to mere scraps of a former glory, and everyone was scrambling to survive. Those idiot townspeople probably figured that they might be spared Sparda's wrath if they threw her at him.

Key word- idiot.

Being what she was, she knew better than anyone that a demon wouldn't think twice about eradicating them. Given that some of those dumbasses had been stupid enough to actually provoke Sparda... well, let's just say that she doubted this would change anything.

At the very edge of the outskirts of town, the engine stopped and she was none too gently removed from the jeep they'd thrown her in. Two men- the ones responsible for pissing Sparda off, in fact- gripped her by the shoulders and dragged her over to a platform with a giant cross in the center.

Okay, she had to give them points for crucifixion- not a common practice nowadays. The first man, who was shorter and more slender, produced a stool. The larger man hefted Lorena up onto the platform and held her arms up. Standing on top of the stool, the first man secured the shackles on her wrists before blindfolding and gagging her. Unable to see, Lorena simply listened to the men's footsteps on the platform.

"Do you think this will work, Agnus?" asked the slender man.

"You d-d-doubt him, Credo?" replied the other, incredulous. "S-s-sanctus is n-never wrong."

Lorena heard Credo sigh.

"You're right, I know, but... Will one girl really be enough to placate him?"

"W-w-would you rather we g-g-g-gave him your sister?"

There was a pause in Credo's footsteps. He said nothing, but Lorena could imagine the glare he shot the other man. She heard his footsteps a moment later as he descended from the platform.

"Just light the signal," he snapped. "We don't want to be here when he shows up."

Agnus fumbled with some matches as he lit the small signal fire before following Credo's example and leaving the platform. The sound of the jeep driving off told Lorena that she was left alone at the edge of the vast expanse of forest, chained to a giant cross, to be a peace offering for a bloodthirsty, merciless creature. This was not a good day.

She wasn't sure how long she stood out there in the crisp autumn air. Minutes... hours... days- hell if she knew. All she could think about was how uncomfortable the whole setup was.

When the wind changed, however, she felt a knot grow in her stomach. It only seemed to increase in intensity when she heard the sound of wings not too far off. This was really happening- she was really going to die... and what's worse, she was going to look like a complete fool when she did. The inhumanity!

The wings grew in volume, swooshing overhead before doubling back to where she was stranded. A loud thud was followed by heavy footsteps that seemed to grow softer as... whatever came closer to her. Unable to see, unable to speak, all she could do was listen. The wooden boards of the platform creaked and she tensed up, bracing for something- anything- since she couldn't see what to expect. Instead of the sharp pain of something ripping her open, she was blinded by the light of the setting sun hitting her eyes. Blinking, she tried to adjust to the fact that she could see again. Once everything came back into focus, she was greeted with the sight of someone standing in front of her. A man.

The man looked older, maybe in his forties, with white hair neatly slicked back. He was remarkably handsome for his age, with a seemingly flawless complexion and icy blue eyes, and he was looking her over with a sort of bemused expression. They stared at each other for a few moments before he spoke.

"Well my dear," he said with a sigh, "I have to say that looks rather uncomfortable."

Still gagged, she gave him a look that said "No, you think?" The man laughed upon seeing her expression and took a step closer.

"Sorry about that- forgot you were still gagged."

He reached up and removed the particularly annoying piece of fabric from her mouth. Lorena didn't speak at first, choosing to stretch her jaw. He continued to watch her, seemingly amused. Now Lorena is not a stupid person- she knew exactly who this was. After all, there were very few people in existence who looked like this man. Since he looked older, she had to make the assumption that this was indeed the Dark Knight himself. The self-proclaimed king of what was left of the planet. He raised an eyebrow and looked at her curiously.

"Cat got your tongue?" he asked.

Lorena thought- she thought hard. Deciding it was best to resign herself to her fate, she simply sighed and looked straight at Sparda.

"Look, if you're going to kill me or eat me or... whatever it is you do, please get me down from here first. I look like a complete idiot."

His other brow shot up to join it's twin, obviously taken aback. Lorena felt her own eyebrow raise in response.

"What?"

"Nothing," he replied, "That's just not the attitude I was expecting from a, quote, 'virgin sacrifice.'"

"It's the attitude of an angry one. You know the only reason I'm out here is because I'm not actually from here."

Sparda's lips quirked in the makings of a smile.

"Really?"

"Well... that, and I may or may not have (accidentally) burned down the church."

The Dark Knight erupted in a fit of laughter. He stood there for a good few minutes just laughing at the girl chained to the cross. She, on the other hand, was terribly confused. She wasn't sure if she should be relieved or insulted that the great Sparda was standing there laughing at her. When he finally calmed down enough to speak, chest heaving for air, he shook his head.

"Young lady," he said in-between pants, "I have not laughed like that in a very long time."

He straightened up and adjusted his coat.

"What would you say if I were to make you an offer that would result in me sparing your life?"

Lorena shrugged.

"Nah, I just figured I'd stay up here and do my Jesus impression."

The Dark Knight grinned.

"Yes...I think you'll do nicely," he murmured.

Drawing his sword in one smooth movement, he sliced the chains holding her to the cross on the platform. Lorena wobbled a little bit, falling into Sparda when she lost her balance. Sheathing his sword, he scooped up the girl in his arms before starting off at a jovial pace into the forest.

A/N: Okie dokes, everybody. I'd love to know what you guys think so far because I had WAY too much fun writing this, and there's still more in the works.