Chapter 1.1

Chapter 1.1

She used to be a killer.

Human memories are such curious things. The oldest memories seem to surface unbidden at the most unexpected times. This time, it was of the sound of splattering of crimson on the floor and crushed bones.

The dripping blood was from her oldest brother, Alex. She saw him curled up on the floor, golden brown hair disheveled and stabbed in the abdomen. Given the amount of blood flowing from his body, the speed of the flow and the gaping wound, he would die from massive blood loss in very less time.

The one groaning from having his bones crushed was her second oldest brother, Aaron. His shiny blond hair was plastered on his face with cold sweat and pain. His green eyes, usually bright and full of life, were dark and sunken. He bit his lips in pain and his body trembled sporadically. From the looks of it, it was a compound fracture in his legs. It wasn’t life threatening but it wasn’t something that could be left untreated either.

All these cold and calculating thoughts came to her mind, vividly. This wasn’t her first time envisioning the scene in her mind. She recalled dozens of blood-soaked bodies, and couldn’t forget the faces of those beaten and mangled. Oh, she wasn’t who did it. She didn’t have a penchant for violence. 

Death was best kept clean. And there was a way to leave fewer tracks behind. The messier the crime scene, the easier it was for the culprit to leave evidence behind. She never intended to be caught by the police, so she didn’t do such disorderly acts like beating or torturing the victims herself. Many things had to be considered when a woman killed a man.

“Alright, so there’s only one left behind? It’s time to have fun.”

A mean voice dragged her back to the present. The voice had made her snap back to reality. Past, present. For a second, all of the memories had been mixed up and filled her head all at once, but it was her specialty to focus on what was right in front of her. Now was the time when her speciality was needed.

The one behind the smile, distorting his lips, was the second son of Count Thoreau, the lord of the neighboring estate. His name…. Well, it’s not important now (truthfully, she didn’t have a clue), so let’s just call him Sir Slanted Eyes for now.

As if he had come to deliver the count’s very important message, he arrived in the castle and drove out the three siblings, claiming he needed a quiet place to talk. He, with his two soldiers, then attacked Alex and Aaron. The brothers tried to fight but an eighteen and nineteen-year old can only do so much against seasoned men who attacked from behind. The remaining sibling, Alice Warwick, the only daughter to Marquess of Wishburn, only fifteen years of age at the time, could do nothing.

She looked down at herself. The first place her eyes landed on was her breasts spilling halfway out of her sky-blue blouse. The lace decorations between her chest and neckline extended to her waist, where a colourful, multi-layered skirt puffed out under a pannier around her waist. The heaviness of it all left her feeling unfamiliar.

A wandering poet who had entered the castle sometime ago had said to her, “Lady, in about a year or two, even the most beautiful woman in this country will praise you for your long, curly hair which flows like a waterfall, your sweet, soft skin like a flower petal, and your eyes, the most precious green jewel.”

At that time, she had taken it as the best compliment ever, but now she felt none of that was relevant. Because…

“If I play around with her for a few days, she’ll get pregnant, and when she gives birth, not even Marquess of Wishburn can do anything about it. He’ll have no choice but to let her marry me. I’ll have the marquess’ entire mansion in my hands in no time.”

That was all she heard, day in and day out. Well, however she looked, he’d still say the same thing. Sir Slanted Eyes made a snarky noise and laughed. Alice barely withstood the urge to roll her eyes. He really was the kind of guy to make such a noise. Doesn’t that make him look creepy in front of others? she wondered.

He and the soldiers laughing along with him didn’t look like they had much going on inside their brains. They just followed Sir Slanted Eyes around because he had a lot of money, and they had high expectations that they could fool around with an aristocratic young lady. Sir Slanted Eyes looked like a house soldier, he was not an outstanding knight in the first place, nor did he train well. Alice knew that much because he worked only as a messenger. This confused her. Either Count Thoreau had given his permission or Sir Slanted Eyes had acted on his own.

The answer was clear, of course. Sir Slanted Eyes wasn’t bold enough to act on his own, he was working with the Count. With the Marquess of Wishburn having gone to the capital, leaving the castle unattended, Sir Slanted Eyes had killed the two sons and tried to frighten his daughter. No matter how Alice tried to look at this gruesome act, there was no way the bastard could have done it alone. It was unclear why he had sent his second son instead of his eldest son, but it was clear that the count was involved.

Alice’s gaze fell on her two brothers again. It worried her that Alex had stopped moving on the floor. She had no time to try to fool Sir Slanted Eyes, she needed to act fast to save her brothers. She needed to do something and call the medical services. 

Pockets? No, not in a dress like this. Bracelets? No use. Necklace? This was something she wore when she had lots of time. Pannier? This was also something she could change into a weapon at any time; but right now, it was impossible to even take it out of her skirt. Hair…

Oh, praise her extravagant and vain fifteen-year-old self. She didn’t expect a fancy hairpin that had been specially ordered for her coming-of-age party to help her in a time like this. Unable to hold back a grin, a bright smile appeared across her face.



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