It was such a lovely little town, so quaint and full of life. The peaceful city was well known as a hub of relaxation where many people, both natives of Fiore and those visiting from other countries, came to vacation. It was filled with shops large and small fill with beautiful but largely useless items. There were several restaurants with a large variety of cultural foods available, and lots of small coffee shops. And of course, what Hosenka was most well known for: its day spas.
That was what Thana had come for today, but that didn’t stop her from taking her time getting there. She was in no real rush. Afterall, she was here to relax and enjoy herself, to see all of what this famous town had to offer. The stores didn’t exactly hold too much of interest for her, at least aside from one rather large adult store she found that had a number of fun looking gadgets.
“Okay, seriously. What the hell would you even use that for?” Aeron asked. The other woman was utterly disgusted and embarrassed to be in this particular shop, and had been complaining about it since before they’d even walked in.
Thana raised a brow at her and then gave her a sinister little grin. “I can think of at least seven different circumstances in which a cattle prod would come in handy, easily. Remember that time back in Seven when you got caught and your magic got severed? Oh! Or how about that time in the forest with that guy I killed? If I’d had this baby, I could have made his death so much worse if I stuck it--”
“Aaaand just like that, I’m out.”
Aeron shuddered visibly and walked out of the store, making Thana giggle. She was completely obvious to the fact that everyone in this corner of the room was staring at her like she had grown a third arm out of her head. Aeron didn’t actually exist. At least, not in a way that others could perceive. She was a hallucination in Thana’s mind, a very vivid one that could carry on long conversations and even retained all the memories of their time together over the years. But since no one else could see her except Thana, that meant that she was quite literally talking to no one, and it was drawing quite a bit of attention.
“I’m getting it,” she decided cheerily to herself, throwing it in the basket with everything else she’d picked out. Thana made her purchases at the counter where the worker did his best to ring her up and get her out as quickly as possible. He didn’t make much eye contact, just dumped everything into a sack, took her money, and wished her a good day.
Thana had no idea where Aeron had run off to, but she didn’t plan on waiting around for her. She’d show up eventually, like she always did. Instead, Thana decided to go ahead and make her way to the biggest, most popular spa in town. It was a large building set up on a picturesque hill that overlooked the city, making it easy to spot from almost anywhere in town and giving them an iconic look that surely made it onto plenty of postcards.
Making her way up to the entrance, she paid her entrance fee and for a locker to store her earlier purchases in. After changing into a swimsuit, she went outside to see what all the place had to offer. There were saunas, mud baths, massage stations and pools. There was also a salon and a bar, as well as snack stations and a small deli that sold sandwiches and salads. “I can’t believe I’ve never thought to go to a spa before,” she told herself. This place was relaxing just being here..!
She took her time to enjoy the place for what it had to offer. First was a manicure and pedicure, both received while she also had her head and shoulders massaged by a delicious looking man in khaki shorts and a white polo. From there, she relaxed in the sauna. After a quick rinse in an outdoor shower, she moved on to the mud bath and covered herself in the dark clay before laying down on a bench in the sun to relax a little.
It was all quite lovely, but even after a few hours and testing nearly everything they had to offer, something just felt… off. Missing. She couldn’t think what it was, but surely it would come to her if she just gave it some time and thought. Thana went to the bar and ordered herself a martini before making her way over to a jacuzzi that had a small group of people lounging in it. She lowered herself into it and hummed softly in pleasure as the scalding water licked against her skin.
“This is just lovely, isn’t it?”
Thana opened her eyes to look at the woman sitting beside her. She was older by a couple decades, with slightly graying brunette hair that was pulled up in a bun to keep it out of the water. There was a soft smile on her face. She appeared to be there alone, and just looking to make casual conversation. Thana smiled back. “It’s not bad. Lacking… something. I can’t decide what though.”
Taking a sip from her martini, Thana listened to the idle chatter of those in the jacuzzi. Most of it was talking about their jobs or their families, some of the local guilds. Eventually they started sharing some of the recent news in their different areas. Gossip was always so delightful to listen to. It was while one of them was going on about a recent attack in his city by dark wizards, however, that the gears fully started shifting in her head.
“I just couldn’t believe it,” the man was saying, shaking his head. “Not just the Magic Council and the Rune Knights, but the entire city of Era was under attack. I don’t understand how a single dark guild could have accumulated so many members, and so much power. It took them days to pick up all the bodies off the street, weeks to fix the damage -- even with magic. The Knights lost almost half their force. I swear, the city still smells like blood…”
The others clucked to themselves in sorrow and concern while Thana’s eyes lit up with revelation. “Ah, yes! That’s it…” She had finally put together what this spa had been missing. Looking to the man, she gave him a smile. “Thank you, sir. You’ve been so helpful!”
He gave her a confused look. “Oh, uh.. You’re welcome I gue--”
His voice cut off as a single, sharp claw pierced his throat, the monstrous finger stretching across the expanse of the small jacuzzi from Thana’s hand. The man choked heavily, his face blinking in absolute shock as he struggled to process what had just happened to him. There was a brief pause as everyone went through a split second of denial before the woman next to Thana shrieked in horror. Everyone in the jacuzzi made a mad scramble to try and get out, but the young woman withdrew her finger from the man’s esophagus and extended the rest of the fingers on her hand into sharp claws. The others were cut down before they could even make it fully out of the water, falling back in even as the first man struggled to try and breathe.
It did not take long for the spa to become fully saturated with blood as it leaked out from the half dozen dead bodies floating in the jacuzzi around her. Nearby patrons that saw what happened screamed, and before long the entire spa was in a state of sheer panic. Men and women flooded from the building and into the city, practically trampling one another in the chaos as they made all haste to save their own skins. Among them were the workers, most of whom had decided that they did not get paid nearly enough to stick around for a murdering wizard. Unfortunately, one of them was not quite quick enough to get out of the area before catching Thana’s eye.
“You.” He stopped dead and stared at her in fright. Thana gave him a sultry little smile and beckoned him with one of her long fingers to come closer. “Why don’t you come on in here and give a lady a nice foot massage?” The man gulped, obviously horrified at the idea of getting into what was literally a small pool of boiling blood and floating corpses. But a dangerous grin from the black haired beauty made him think twice about trying to run.
Taking off his shoes, he slowly got into the jacuzzi. He had to resist the urge to hurl several times, particularly when he accidentally bumped one of the bodies. Thana lifted a long leg out of the crimson water, the limb red with watered down blood. He took it carefully and began to massage it, doing his best to keep her happy until help would hopefully arrive. Thana closed her eyes and moaned again, sinking a little deeper in the pool as she relaxed.
“Now it’s perfect.” She took a sip from her martini.