Technically, it is my second life. I knew that new experiences don’t always mean fun and unexpected adventure. I already know things can turn very bad and people can be cruel.
But it’s not something implausible to imagine. I will try it to make my mother and father happy. They give me so much love. They teach me how emotions can be learned. And, I loved them. This is something doable. If that makes them happy then I would give it a shot.
“I’ll think about it,” I said.
Mom planted a kiss on my forehead. I gathered half the letters on the floor and asked Amy, who had been lurking outside the door, to help me get the rest. I then made my way to my room.
The edges of the sky were painted orange but the light didn’t reach the narrow, dirty alleyway of the Underground District. Only when the sun was directly above did the underground district see any kind of light.
The Underground District was like that: narrow, dirty, and neglected. It was a brutal place to live in. A place where no one even bats an eye despite the women’s bodies hanging from the signboards.
People were afraid in this place, with good reason. Murders happened in the districts every time but no one had ever shown it off by hanging their handiwork from the rafters. The prostitutes were terrified. The women who had been killed had been prostitutes. They were petrified that they would be the next. They clung to each other and hurried back home. Always in pairs or groups. If they found themselves alone, they would cover themselves with shawls over their head and hurry their steps
He liked seeing that. He enjoyed it greatly. It filled him with pleasure when he saw women look around in fear. He liked seeing them horrified anticipating a crazy person jumping out from the shadows. He wasn’t a crazy person. He was a God of this place. He taught women their place in this world. He was a great man who would make an example out of women who tried to step out of line.
The moments when the sun rose were the quietest in the Underground District. The shops closed. Prostitutes hurried to their homes. And the women and children who worked odd jobs for a scrap of food hurried away. The guard patrolling the streets went home. The streets turned silent as though not one soul existed in the world.
He worked in this silence. He moved quickly. He carried the corpse of a woman, emptied of organs, and tied the rope over the signboard, stringing her up. He then tied the other end of the rope to the doorknob of the shop.
The End. His stylish decoration is complete.
Unfortunately, what he did in the Underground District did not spread throughout Schway. His story was featured in “One Week in Schway”, but nobles with no relations with that district will not even bat an eye. They think the Underground District belongs to another world. They think such fate won’t come after them.
They are gravely mistaken. God’s judgement doesn’t only stay in this dirty underground. They will all eventually receive it. You have to pay for the sins you’ve committed. These filthy bugs from here, and those fat ones that wrap themselves in luxury. Every single person will pay for their sins.
But he can’t hurry. Everything has its own time. He had a goal and a great plan. He had to bid his time if he wanted his plans to come to fruition. Especially ‘that girl’ cannot know.
He was a god. A god, who does not obey anyone, is not trampled by anyone, and who eventually will fly up and take the highest position in the sky.
Seeing the body hanging in the heavy, silent air, he smiled with satisfaction and walked away.
“My lady, a visitor has arrived for you.” I turned away from the man I had been talking with, to see Amy standing there, looking flustered.
“Who is it?” I asked.
Amy walked up to me and leaned down. “It’s the Grand Duke of Glouster,” she whispered in my ear.
The Grand Duke…. He had mentioned in the party that he would visit. But after that, he had never even let her know if he was alive. No conversation, no letters, no nothing. And here he was, visiting so suddenly! This was far from proper etiquette.
I looked at Hugo Duplo and smiled at him. “Would you kindly excuse me for a moment?”
“If it is someone important, I can leave for now.”
“No, no. That’s quite alright,” I said. “Please enjoy your tea and wait for me for a moment, if you don’t mind. I will be back in a few minutes.”
Hugo smiled brightly. He seemed ecstatic that I had stopped him from leaving. “Of course!”
Well, considering the men I had met so far, he didn’t seem bad. Many of them were very boring and only wanted to talk about themselves. Some of them were plain rude. Compared to them, Hugo was working very hard to make a good impression.
I left with Amy. “He’s in the Southern Drawing Room, My Lady,” said Amy. “Master Alex is talking with him.”
“Why would Alex be talking with him?” I asked, frowning.
“He is your relative. He should be treated differently than other visitors.”
Ah… I forgot. He is the distant uncle. I chuckled. Amy’s eyes narrowed. “My Lady? Are you alright? Your reaction changes drastically.”
“I am alright.”
I smiled at her and walked towards the Southern Drawing Room. The Southern Drawing Room was for family. We gathered there for anything and everything. If he was taken to that drawing room, then he was considered close to the family.
“…. the Princess participating made the situation extremely awkward.”
“Yes, I understand.”
“Someone should tell her off, but no one has the courage to come forward and do it. But still…”
While Alex talked, the Grand Duke’s eyes froze on me as I entered through the door. Every time I looked into his grey eyes, I felt as if I was transported back to my past. But he didn’t have grey eyes back then. He wasn’t the same person he was back then.
The world wasn’t the same. The time wasn’t the same, either.