Zephyr World Zoo

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Chapter IV

Luna

A small girl made her way towards the group by the door, rubbing her head. Luna was covered in cuts and bruises, but managed a soft, sweet smile as she got close. She had been listening in on their conversation, unlike the others in the room, who were merely trying to get back to sleep.

“Well, take a look at me. The others aren’t the most welcoming bunch. Just at least try to act like you’re following along, otherwise...” The battered sixteen-year-old gestured at her thin frame, and the marks on her pale skin, all of which were obvious, due to her only wearing a long t-shirt and underwear. “I got these because I’m too dumb to remember my tricks, and I have stage fright. A lot of people hate me, because when I mess up, everyone gets punished. And so the others punish me, too, for making them go without food...”

She looked down at the ground, her bare feet shuffling nervously on the concrete, her hands clasped behind her back. “I’m Luna, but the way,” she added, rubbing the back of her neck. “You must be the sister that Richard has missed so much.”

“We don’t hate you,” Richard said, which made her look up, hopefully. “Well, at least, most of us don’t.” Luna watched as the fox boy gave Callie a look, and then turned back to the new girl. Robin, she thought she had heard him call her.

“There are some here who keep the weaker in line for rewards from Marcus, the owner. Or just so that we all don’t get punished for their mistakes, like forgetting a routine, or not doing as he and his men say right away,” he continued, explaining the situation to Robin. Luna nodded in agreement, and then his hazel eyes were back on her.

“You’re not dumb, Luna. Your water tricks are complicated and difficult to remember. Anyone would have a hard time doing them right,” he said, trying to reassure her.

Smiling tiredly, she replied, “Thanks, but... after four years? And I mean, while he keeps adding to the routine, I should work harder. You and the others in our group haven’t eaten in a few days, and it’s not fair to you guys...”

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