With every day that passed, The Void grew larger.

Nastasia's eyes flickered as she stared intently, ruminating on the growth of the all-consuming entity lying just beyond one of the windows of Castle Bleck. The hulking mass pulsated, thundering in the distance, the purples and black hues strikingly contrasted against the darkened sky.

She quickly sketched something down on the clipboard she was carrying, glancing over it momentarily to stare outside through weary dark eyes. Her gaze was dull, seemingly pondering on something. She had tried to forbid wandering thoughts, due to her train of thought unable to slow until every possible outcome was viewed and conceived and analyzed.

But, she knew Count Bleck had everything under control and in order. Of course he did. He was clever, an experienced man controlled by only unbridled knowledge and wisdom bestowed upon him from years of being held within the confines of his clan. Boundless years of experience dictated his every move.

But, after their most recent discussion...

She couldn't help but wonder.

Bleck was once so in love with all the world had to offer, exploring every inch of the land without stop. He told stories of how he would scour the world to uncover its secrets, spinning tales of danger and dire situations. Nastasia would listen, and would ask questions, and he would answer so eagerly. She had never seen someone so excited to talk about the beauty of the land he so often traversed.

But, after that night, when he confronted his father... that was when Bleck's persona had lost his love for the world. He only wanted to destroy the world that so cruelly stole his beloved from him.

Nastasia sighed, hugging her sides, as she found herself glancing out of the window once again.

The team, as kooky and odd as they could be at times, were all entirely loyal to the Count, and would be by his side as the Void slowly approached. Nastasia, despite herself, knew better. She knew it was only a matter of time before the Void consumed all in it's path. The Count had promised them all a better world. But, she didn't know if...

She shook her head, fixing her glasses.

What was she saying? Of course she could trust him! After all, she most likely wouldn't be standing here in this winding hallway today if it weren't for his actions.

All those years ago, with his dark heavy voice speaking to her so gently, holding her limp body in his arms with a caring expression in his gaze. His eyes seemed to sparkle as he met hers, her own eyes opening hesitantly as he met her hand. His dark skin was bruised, he was bleeding, she could recall. He examined her wings, whispering softly to her that all would be okay. He hadn't a clue how a bat had wound up trapped within a cage in the middle of the woods, but he wouldn't stand idly by and allow the poor thing to be caught like that.

He whispered gently to her as he tried to nurse her there in that clearing, a heavy accent lacing every word when he spoke. His voice was so comforting. Nastasia, in her weakened state, practically melted in his hold. All she ever wanted was for someone to hold onto her, and never let her go.

He was warm. That's what she remembered the most. He was so warm.

She had been freezing, trapped in that awful cage with no hopes of escape. She had spent the night flapping her wings futilely, screeching and shrieking for someone to release her. Her cloud had abandoned her, the colony she had grown up with had left her behind to remain stuck in a trap she had so curiously approached, so stupidly gotten herself caught without warning. Maybe that's why her cloud had flown off without her. She was dead weight. She'd given up hope, waiting for her end. She hadn't a care left in the world at this point.

And that's when he found her, and everything in her life changed.

He freed her, and she was forever in his debt. When he held her close, and when she eventually transformed into a humanoid state, he did not flinch. He showed no fear. Nastasia swore her allegiance to him, thanking him for freeing her and saving her life. She spoke quickly, trying to constantly remind him how thankful she truly was, but he shushed her, merely running a hand through her hair and calling her beautiful.

She couldn't help but blush.

She didn't know if this was love. She'd heard the stories, the fairytales about finding love in perilous encounters with ghouls and princesses, but... that wasn't what this was. Was it? It was a chance encounter. A mere interruption in the man's day. Admiration, at best.

But, she couldn't help feeling these emotions. When he glanced at her and she hid her gaze behind her hair, she swore there was something more.

He'd made her feel something. It was a warm feeling, like a fire in her chest, and it made her insides feel all fuzzy. She held her hands over her chest, trying to understand what she was feeling. It was just reignited every time they met eyes. She didn't want to speak, despite his attempts, asking if she was hurt. She would only respond with faint nods, or gently shaking her head.

She didn't want to scare off this kind man, who had been so polite to her.

She swore, out of love, eternal loyalty to him.

Nastasia snapped back to the present.

She was clutching her clipboard to her chest, tears slipping down her face.

She could never even hope to replace her.

She made the mistake of glancing out the nearest window, the void pulsating with a brilliant light beyond the castle.

"Focus, Nastasia." She spoke to herself, shaking her head and wiping at her eyes. She fixed her glasses. "Back on track."