Everyone meets their god once in their lives.
You can’t decide which god’s child you will be, for it had already been decided by fate the moment you were born. Your god will visit you only once, to grant you a gift. A special gift.
Our gods were animals, and animals that represent the gods like to follow those who have yet to make a wish. Yet, have you never wondered, that of the many animals to follow a human child, is there really no god in their animal form disguised in it?
“I can give you a gift, a special gift.” They said.
“But whatever you want, remember this…”
“I don’t care how you use the god’s power.
Whether you use it for revenge,
to protect someone,
or to use it in a very careless way,
You’ll have to pay something equivalent to that power.”
But what would happen to those who do not have a contract with gods?
I’m not a bandit.
I’m not a traitor.
I know that, but everyone else believes that I have committed a treasonous crime. It all started with a simple curiosity, a piece of information that I shouldn’t have been aware of. Small actions that became a big misunderstanding that I shouldn’t have done. On that fateful day, if I had acted like I didn’t care, maybe I wouldn’t be in this position. But somehow, I stupidly regret nothing.
I remained selfish to the end, and ended up destroying many happy lives, ruining their bright futures. They would have been better off never getting involved with someone like me. Everything is worse now, and I couldn’t be sorrier.
Lately, I’ve always hated myself, while curled up in a cold corner.
I want to disappear.
To begin with, I am not someone who should exist in this world, nor have I asked to be born in it. Yet, why am I this miserable? Why is this my fate?
I ran, and ran until I was out of breath, but I couldn’t stop.
They chased after me, endlessly and diligently under the orders of Emperor Kieran of the Kryfi Empire, to be more precise my father. The question that should arise in your mind should be ‘Why?’
Hell, of course because he wants to kill me. It would be more touching and sweeter if the reason behind his action was because I ran away from home, but it’s not the case.
This has been a tough week, restless. If I could I want to give up, but whenever I thought so, soon I regretted it.
– I’ll be back.
Someone said with their hazy voice before leaving me. Well, to be honest, I can’t recall their face or voice properly, or should I say I don’t remember at all? As if some magic was blocking my memory, all I could do was recall the blurry images.
‘I’ll be back.’
However, my heart quickly fluttered every time I recalled the words, a voice that I could not even remember or imagine correctly, succeeded in making my heart race, as if he was saying it sweetly, now should I consider it as a sweet lie? Then, it seems like now I know what a sweet lie tastes like.
Since I ran nonstop, I could feel my legs trembling incessantly as soon as I stopped by the river, not wanting to waste any more time I fetched water with my hands.
I, who didn’t even have the strength to lift my body or open my mouth to drink the water, could only cry–I kept suppressing these overflowing emotions until I didn’t know what I was feeling anymore, until I couldn’t express anything through my face.
Am I asking too much? I don’t know.
I observed the reflection of my appearance on the water, expressionless face, messy black hair, with cold bloodthirsty red eyes–it would be a lie if I said these red eyes aren’t terrible. But at the same time, these eyes are also beautiful, captivating. The only proof that I am still alive is because these eyes are still wide open, and I can still see what is in front of me.
I remember the first time I saw him, a radiant figure, someone I admired a lot, but just like a star… he was someone I could never reach. He is my father, someone who is chasing me and the only person who really wants to kill me now.
When I was eight years old, behind the Dandelion Palace’s Garden, where a ball was being held. He was cold-blooded and heartless, a tyrant. I knew that, but as if I was trapped in a magnetic field, I’ve always been pulled towards him, attracted in getting his attention and affection, and in order to get it I tried my best.
Achievements? Talents? Abilities? I’ve achieved them all, tried to fill myself with those things. Even though I didn’t need it and had to force myself, even if I didn’t want to. However, he never gave a damn, always giving me a sidelong glance, while thinking like I didn’t exist.
It’s okay. I thought.
I would try harder because I thought he was all I had, but in fact I didn’t have anyone.
Then, the second time I met him was at my coming-of-age ceremony, in a debutante ball. When I was fourteen years old to be exact.
At the very same time he brought a concubine into the palace.
Debutante was a banquet held by the imperial family. Every fourteen-year-old girl, or every sixteen-year-old boy would come with their partner or fiancé to dance to their first song, signaling that they officially debuted in a social circle. At that time, I didn’t have a partner nor fiancé, and became a laughingstock.
To be honest, I didn’t hate her, my father’s concubine. She was a beautiful young lady with enchanting light purple hair and stunning gray eyes, I just felt awkward when she approached me. Awkward with the love of a mother she showed me because my biological mother died while giving birth to me.
So, when did this problem begin?
When she approached me? Or because I’m jealous she got all the attention and affection from father, which I really wanted?
No, not because of those irrational reasons.
It all started when I found out she was trying to kill father. I wanted to stop her, but she realized that I had known about her plan and stabbed herself with a poisoned knife she had prepared, throwing all the blame in my face. Without hesitation, father immediately arrested me and without any chance to defend myself, my execution was immediately processed for the next day right after sunrise.
“If I die, you shall die with me.” She said, her scary eyes stared at me with a terrible smile that looked happy as if she was holding back her laughter.
My memory seems to be cut off, not much I could remember, especially how and what happened before and after I escaped from the palace.
My life as a fugitive was not a comfortable life, I struggled to live, at least at that time I didn’t want to die. From the most unworthy of life, I could slowly walk while raising my head confidently again, as if a miracle had happened to me. A freedom I could have never imagined, I went to many beautiful places… with someone, someone who is like a dark shadow in my memory.
Back then, I was so grateful when I heard the news about the mistress’ death, and now father didn’t seem like himself. Was it because you’re too sad to lose her? There wasn’t even a shred of doubt in your eyes to kill your own daughter, the world really wasn’t fair, huh?
I could slowly see the light in front of me. When I thought I would survive that hope was shattered again like that time, crumbling to the ground leaving nothing behind.
“Cut off the traitor’s head!”
“Burn the traitor alive,”
The angry cheers they gave me.
The scorn they directed at me; all sounded so clear in my ears. The pain I felt now was incomparable to the pain I felt back then, the time when I lost the light that guided me for the first time.
I, who had fallen on the ground slowly turned to the direction where the pain came from; an arrow had sunk deep into the flesh of my leg. Next seconds, my surroundings immediately took a drastic change, filled with the sound of galloping horses and the sound of bows being drawn towards me all at once.
I could hear and feel this threat clearly, and with my blurry vision, I could see a pair of legs stopped right in front of me. I tried to lift my body with difficulty, forcing myself to get up, pushed my hands against the ground, again and again until I managed to sit down. I saw the figure of a black-haired man, with his jewel crimson eyes, which emitted flashes like rubies–just like mine, gorgeous yet also terrible. I couldn’t hold back my tears.
Why? Why? Why?
The questions kept popping up in my mind endlessly, without end, filling my pathetic self.
I looked up at the person in front of me with a tear-stained face. But my father coldly looked at me, his daughter, who was crying at his feet. It was a familiar figure with his usual demeanor, yet felt unfamiliar, or was it just my imagination?
An iron blade–a sword, landed right in front of me.
Fight is the very first word he said to me for the first time after a long time. He didn’t hesitate. He didn’t even blink at the sight of his usually obedient daughter crying with despair under his feet.
“Fight, if you want to live.”
He said coldly as ever, and I shook like a fallen leaf.
I fell into deep silence.
Suddenly, something cold landed on my skin, precisely on my neck, something cold and sharp. I lifted my head, our eyes met, his red eyes were like blazing fire, raging without being curbed, creepy. It’s like if you get caught up in the raging fire, no one can survive, no one can escape.
“I said, ‘Fight if you want to live.’ I know you can swing a sword very well, Amarantha.”
He never once called my name, he always referred me to ‘That thing,’ not even once he called my name, but now he calls me with a name that I’ve never heard of.
“If you don’t fight back, you will die, or perhaps did you waiting for someone to save you again?” He grinned before continuing, “this time, no one will be able to save you. Not anymore.”
“He is died. They’re dead.”
Who? I can’t rememb-,
–I’ll be back.
–Princess don’t look back, and just run.
–Princess, we will be right behind you, so just run forward, if you reach the eastern end of this forest, you will be safe.
–We’ll see you later, Princess.
I could see a faint smile along with the words that rang in my head, without me noticing my hands were already on both ears, covering it and tears slowly coming down my cheeks, one by one, slowly.
Liar, liar, liar!!!
I screamed internally.
Now I have to die right on my sixteenth birthday.
If I can be honest…
I don’t want to die because I have something I want to confirm; whether it is true that they are dead or turns out that he is lying and they are still alive, already waiting for me on the other end.
I want to confirm the truth myself.
I held the sword, with my whole-body aching and trembling, I tried to get up.
I stabbed the blade I was holding onto the ground, making it as a support to rise, moving my legs one by one slowly, with the crushed stance I still stood in front of him.
He grinned, “Interesting.”
He smiled horribly and his gaze was terrifying as if it wasn’t him, like something was possessing him. I couldn’t recognize him.
“What should I do? Your origins are sickening, you and the cursed blood that flows in your veins, I want to quickly finish you off.”
He looked at me with contempt and a cruel voice crept into my ears.
The corner of my lips lifted. Someone who didn’t know my whereabouts until a few years ago, someone who didn’t even remember that he has a daughter. Either he was possessed by a ghost, or I had lost my mind… I really didn’t know, but I did know one thing, I couldn’t fight against the person in front of me.
No matter how hard I train myself with sword to survive. I cannot lift the sword and aim it at him.
This daughter has no idea, all this time your heart has bear so much hatred towards me… fa-Your Majesty.
The pain slowly spread. One, it was from his sharp cold sword. It was a pain that I’ve never felt before, short but also managed to cut and destroy my soul. I could not say anything more.
“Die without fight back is your loss.” He spoke.
But did you know? Instead of seeing father’s face, I caught the figure of that wench, his dead concubine.
I took a step back, pulling my body away from the sword that stuck right into my chest.
I turned my body slowly but surely fell to the ground in the direction of my other pain was coming from. I caught a cloaked figure not far from the gap in the crowd of Kieran’s soldiers, it seemed like he was coming from the eastern end of the forest, only accompanied by the bow he was holding.
The archer who landed an arrow at my back, hit my body’s vital point; central spine, as I tried to read his lips, the words which he let out silently.
“If only things had gone in a slightly different direction-,”
A sudden flood of fragments of memories from the lost time flowed into my head, all at once. I felt my head was about to explode, it hurt so much. Among the many people I have met, there was someone who was familiar, someone who has a similar figure like that mysterious archer, and he was kissing the back of my hand.
I could feel something warm running down my cheeks, as my body collapsed to the ground, I felt a deep sadness as if I had done something wrong.
I forgot something important! But what was it?
I, who was trembling and getting more and more anxious and slowly, I sank deeper into the sea of darkness that tried to engulf me alive.
Again, a figure that was either female or male appeared in front of me, smiling.
What a gentle smile; I felt sad.
“It’s a promise—”
“If you get tired of crying, then smile for me.”
His words that fluttered inside my ear managed to make me smile faintly.
It looks like we can’t see each other anymore.
We really can’t see each other anymore, I can’t see your dead body, neither can you see mine. A broken promise. A sweet lie that holds an ironic truth, my life is really pathetic, right? I make you suffer; I make you all suffer, and I make everyone who knows me suffer.
I haven’t even thanked you guys yet, even if on the other side of you guys who couldn’t come back to me, I still have to thank you for the time that I spent with you, I might not remember it well, but my heart knows it clearly, that I’m very happy and grateful.
As long as I live, this is the best and the worst, I have never gotten the things that I really wanted, starting from love and warmth, but this happiness, the happiness that you guys gave me even though it was short, it was the best thing I ever get, and your death makes this the worst thing either.
What’s the benefit of all this? Instead of my short happiness and freedom, everyone who has a relationship with me will experience a tragic end, you suffered bad luck because of me, in the end all of us, including me… can’t avoid this tragic end.
I regret this.
Did you guys end up regretting this too?
What will you do if there is ‘next time’?
What … what will I do if there is ‘next time’?
If there is next time, I hope you don’t have a tragic end because of me, so in the next life, I hope you and I don’t have to meet. Yeah, let’s not meet each other and parted our ways for good.
It’s a pity for your valuable life.
I sank deeper and deeper into the darkness, engulfed in a rough of misery. The more I couldn’t breathe, the noisier my surroundings became; my head ready to explode at any time.
“Sleep, and let us handle the other things that bother you,”
She said, her voice like an old granny, a voice that seems it could eat you alive, very tempting yet also atrocious.
“Don’t be afraid and doubt.”
“We will guide you; he is waiting for you-”
My body slowly felt like it was covered in something viscous, my eyes could not be opened, I tried to fight, kick, and hit, but I just felt weaker, and my movements were getting slower and powerless.
“The outside world won’t be able to hurt you, let us protect you, you will be safe with us, so don’t fight and let us enter you, accept us.”
“Accept us, Keisha.”
The voice grew louder, the granny’s voice was gone to be replaced by another. The voices increased in volume, getting noisier and louder. They sounded urgent and impatient as if trying to conceal something from me. The voices came and went, slowly intertwining as one; loud and unbearably deafening.
“No one will love you, but we will love you, accept us.”
“Accept us, and we will do anything for you.”
“You will not be able to escape from us, even if you reject us now, we will still chase you.”
“We will chase you.”
“Accept us, Keisha.”
I could not resist anymore. They tore up my defenses, I really could not do or say anything to refuse or refute them, and on the other hand, they were right anyway.
I stopped resisting and rejecting them.
Yeah, you are right.
However, the sensation around me changed drastically, the darkness that was trying to eat me alive turned into a darkness that gave warmth and comfort, the darkness that seem to be enveloping me and trying to protect me from the other darkness, which had a violent and evil aura. When a male with a silvery voice could be heard, it feels like my chaotic mind starts to feel refreshed.
[Do you still want to live?]
When a miracle happened to someone, would you start hoping for a miracle to happen to you too? Even if you had the same situation, you know… not everyone had the same luck. It means that a miracle would not happen to anyone, if it happens to anyone, was it still appropriate to call it a ‘miracle’?
Then, if it was you… what would you do?
Edited: 2023, August 25th.