1 Prologue

Deep in the night, under the heavy downpour; a dull carriage with five escorts stealthily advanced towards the back of the Capital.

Despite its appearance, the carriage's interior was fancy. Its walls were adorned with jewels and a lion's head with a sword between its fangs. It has a fluffy cushion with a small table by the corner, a lamp, a wine glass and a bottle of wine on it.

"That bitch! She dare," Loretta's voice broke the silence, gritting her teeth before screaming, "... she dare challenge me!" Her voice was filled with anger as she shouted.

Loretta is a small, overweight young woman, who looks unsightly due to her round fatty cheeks and baggy fashion. She raised her right foot, kicking the person kneeling on the floor, who uttered a groan and crouched in pain.

She laughed, feeling a little better after that moment of superiority and kicked the person again, sending the latter flying to the corner.

This time, however, the hood had come undone, revealing a handsome boy with brown long hair and cerulean pair of eyes.

Loretta hates her position being challenged, but what she hates the most were good looking people. Hatred, envy, and madness flashed through her eyes as she looks down at the boy kneeling on the floor.

Irritation boiled inside her and snapped after catching the latter looking at her with pity through its gem-like eyes.

She raised her hand holding a whip and was about to hit the boy when the carriage abruptly stopped, followed by the agitated neighs of the horses. She was thrown out of balance and fell to the floor.

"What!? Knights!?" Loretta shouted as she pushed herself up with difficulty before glaring towards the boy at the corner. "You swine! What are you doing?! Help me!"

The boy crawled towards Loretta. However, the former took the bottle of wine rolling on the floor and smashed it on the latter's head.

Loretta felt her world spinning, "You..." She mumbled as she touched her forehead, feeling hot, sticky liquid trickle down from it before lossing consciousness when she saw blood on her fingers.

Clay had no idea on what's happening but thought that this is his only chance to escape. He searched Loretta's coat for the key on the handcuffs and fetters, but he could only managed to unlock the chains connecting them, leaving them be on his ankles and wrists, since he could already hear the sounds of swords clashing and a series of footsteps approaching.

He took the sword on the lion's head, peaked at the carriage's slightly ajar door and saw the escorts fighting against a group of bandits. Then he noticed two men approaching the vehicle, and kicked the door when they stood before it.

He hopped out of the vehicle, stabbed the legs of the bandits hit by the door before sprinting away as fast as he could. "After that slave!" He heard the bandits shout and ran after him.

He put on his hood and ran through the forest, silently and nimbly, that only the sound of raindrops could be heard. The bandits chasing after him could even hardly make out his figure under the downpour, and finally lost sight of him as he vanished to the darkness under the shade of the thick canopy.

He hid behind the large root of a tall, old tree and heightened his senses as he listened to the fading footsteps of the pursuers then started to move again when they got farther away.

He passed few more trees before finding a grotto of rock formation covered with a curtain of leaves. His movement slowly eased as he approached the rock grotto, feeling worn out from running and the pain on his bare feet.

He would like a little rest before moving once again, he thought. However, much to his horror, he felt several presences behind him. He abruptly looked back and found the bandits who were out of breath.

He unconsciously stepped back, took few more steps as the bandits approached him, and finally turned back and ran to the grotto, feeling as if the world is in slow motion as he reached out for the curtain of leaves. He could clearly hear the banidts' boots against the ground, the splash of the water, the raindrops and his awfully loud heartbeat.

While he was running, the hood had come undone when it was blown away by the wind, sending his hair flying, to which the leader of the bandits had his hands stretched out to grab with only a few more centimeters away.

At the same time, he passed through the curtain of leaves but, what was waiting on the other side was a cliff and he eventually fell down to the darkness.

Due to the falling motion, the blue rose hairpin slipped free of his hair, turning his brown hair to silvery bluish-green in color. He reached out for the pin and at the same time when he touched it, the raindrops froze, a hole with black red sparks around it appeared beneath him and sucked his body to it.

Then as if nothing happened, the raindrops fell to the ground once again.

***

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