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Chapter 1 - A curse

Her heart no longer obtained value.

The life she sacrificed most of her nights for had been snatched away the very moment all started to work out. The days by the witch's cavern, being apprenticed to her, working with unwavering dedication, all those things fell down to futility. There was nothing for her anymore.

She had lost.

It's been so long since she's begun roaming the Earth with no reins, her heart as black as her soul. Her mind as dark as her magic.

Unlike many others, when she was thrown into a new world for her eyes, she adjusted well, and she always tried her best to focus on the advantages. Still, without fail, her past caught up to her. Every time she'd move on, it would catch up to her. It was too much. To the point where it became a never-ending cycle, which she desperately needed to escape.

"Drop your act, Aurelia. You may have fooled the kingdom, but you never fooled me."

Those venomous words were the bane of her existence. The second she'd hear them whispered beside her ears, she'd stick the tip of a knife in her finger. She'd watch the newly created sting as it lets out its gleaming drops of blood, her favorite book getting filled once more with a brand new curse, that she creates in a moment where fear becomes her dearest friend.

This time was no different.

As her delicate fingers glided along the surface of the knife, she revised, for the last time, the plan she's been brewing for over fifty years. She had held onto the thoughts of its outcome for so long, and patiently waited for everything to fall into place, so it felt extremely rewarding to know that in a matter of days, it'd be put to action and the torture will be over. Luck will be on her side, and maybe then, she'll be liberated.

The blood simmered against the rusty pages, sizzling as if touched by scorching coals. "Mather," she called, her demand startling the guard by her door.

"Yes, queen?"

"Bring Aqua to me." She stared out of the window, watching as the droplets of rain trickled down the fogged up glass. "And don't let anyone in. Not even yourself."

"Yes, queen," he mumbled.

He wanted to hide. To evade this lonely castle and start his own life far away from someone who doesn't deserve his loyalty. He wanted to escape Rivandia, with the help of anyone who's as desperate to leave it behind as well. However, all that was no more than a wish that'll never be granted, and he knew it.

With his uneasy steps making their way to Aqua's room, he couldn't help but think of how Rivandia Aesilas stole everyone's will to carry on. This cursed town had lost its throne in everyone's heart, and became a rugged place instead of a loved home, where all hope vanishes in the blink of an eye.

"You okay there, bud?"

The voice made him come to a sudden halt, as he had been completely immersed in his thoughts. He looked up from his feet, to meet the sardonic eyes of the princess.

"Aurelia—" He cut himself off, shaking his head at his stupid fall. "I... I mean, the queen wanted to see you."

His princess smirked. "Aurelia huh? What, so you call me Aqua too?"

What he felt in that moment was nothing compared to what he would've felt if Aurelia ever pointed out something like that. Of the two of them, she was the one he feared the most, and surely enough, Aqua noticed the all familiar, fear-stricken expression everyone seemed to bear around her. And that only made her smile deepen.

"Of course not! I—"

"It's okay." She paused, watching his face etch with agonizing worry, fueling her ego further. "I don't care much. But you better go before I change my mind."

She loved the power she owned over pawns like him. Controlling them, terrorizing them, forcing them into a state of insanity driven by raw fear. Everything about it just seemed so divine. Even if she hated every single thing that served as divine.

With no more words spoken, Mather retreated with an overworked heart and a flustered face, while Aqua stood still, staring at the back of his head in disgust, making it her job to ensure he sensed it.

He did.

In Aurelia's dull room, she closed her eyes, savoring the last moments of her alone time before the door slowly creaked open. Her mind instantly became alert as her safety was yet again threatened by her daughter's presence. Even then, she pushed her shoulders back, and turned to Aqua with a confident facade.

"Cut to the chase. What do you want?" Aqua said, her tone calm but firm.

"Oh quite violent, no?"

"Shut up, Aurelia," she crossed her arms, "I think we both know you're up to something."

The way she spoke made Aurelia squirm with resentment, but she pushed it aside and remained indifferent.

"Allen Dae." She smirked.

"What?" Aqua raised an eyebrow at the name, and even though Aurelia was quick to respond, what she said, only made her even more confused.

"I want Allen Dae."

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