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Later that night, Vincent rushes into 1 of the random buildings on the massive castle’s grounds.

Quite a few dark, seemingly deserted structures sit throughout areas inside the castle’s walls. To the naked eye, they seem unguarded, but those who’ve dared to enter found out otherwise. Many in the castle/capitol speculate their uses but investigating equals death. Since Vincent enforces this rule without any bias, everyone’s curiosity about them only goes so far.

As Vincent continues through the dark building, a small house within the larger structure appears. His feet leave the ground as a speck of light finally casts over his face. It’s been a few days since he’s seen his daughter, and walking is taking too long. Electricity plays over Vincent’s skin as he flies into the house, hurrying to her bedroom.

“Miv, I’m sorry I’m late, but look at what Father brought you!”.

Cue the MC entrance music! That narrator is gone from this moment forward. Don’t worry, he’ll...she’ll...it’ll...be back in like…100 pages...... My bleak ass future.

I sleepily wiggle out from under my blankets, sitting up on the bed. My long curly dark red hair lay wildly over my face as I squint my icy, ocean blue eyes, focusing on what’s in Vincent’s hand. Doughnuts! When I rush out of the massive bed toward him, a gigantic smile presents itself. “Father!”. He grins, lifting me in his arms as I dig into the doughnuts.

Here’s a little information about me. I’m the 20-year-old, 3rd Princess Angelia Cassidy Lux, and currently, the 1 who’s been hidden away from the world. No, I’m not disfigured…at least physically. I’ve been called...unbright before, but I’m not...mental...just childish. Yes, our behavior would be considered strange, but you have to understand I have been spoiled for 20 years...and being around Vincent...feels...this world has something called Bonds. I’ll explain better later, but right this second, I just want to snack.

I inhale the doughnuts while Vincent brushes my hair..… I didn’t realize we had made it into this position already. This is the level of spoiling I’ve gotten all my life here. Honestly, I don’t have to do anything, and I haven’t since arriving here. I was born into this world after dying in my previous life...I’ll start there, then work my way back here.

Back in life 1, I was this hot-tempered screw-up. If someone asked, I couldn’t tell you where the terrible temper came from it was always there. My parents were patient and loved me, but I was a bad little daughter. Fighting and all that gang-related stuff…unpleasant times…piqued my interest in those adolescent days.

Around the age of 18...let’s just say I realized I didn’t have friends, I returned home, and my parents helped me...get my head on right. While I was nursing my wounds, Dad showed me this bad-ass army movie, and for the 1st time in my life, I received this eye-opening feeling. Once my birthday came, I enlisted, but that didn’t last very long. Discipline was a thing, but my anger took that route out before it started.

From there, Mom helped me find some interest to occupy my time. This is where my love for martial arts began. I dabbled in different classes throughout my adult years. Some stuck, some didn’t, but working out felt good. Sculpting my body into absolute perfection was just about the only thing I did right. The other parts of my life weren’t as lucky. My temper ruined every little interaction I had with people. The older I became, the harder I found it to keep from snapping at anyone. Everything pissed me off, but that violent streak wasn’t so present.

Anyone can guess what did me in, right? Ruptured brain aneurysm at the age of 33…... Mom’s...sudden death started this horrible downward spiral for me. A year after her death, Dad...died, and that...was the fucking trigger for mine. I woke up inside a baby, with Vincent crying over me.

“My precious little Angel.”.

My parent’s death was still fresh on me, so his words…pissed me off. A sharp pain pierced my chest...I...choked up...blood of all things before slipping unconscious. Since then, I’ve been secluded in this little house away from the rest of the world. Pretty early on, I...noticed how my...anger...emotions were triggering that chest pain. -_- It was damn hard for me to get that under control, but who knew that unbearable pain could help. Vincent and Ezra, my guard/aid, taught me some exercises to help me from reaching that point. While I’ve been here, there hasn’t been a thing to upset me.

For 20 years, I didn’t and don’t have to do a damn thing. Ezra has been my companion over the years, aside from Vincent, and takes care of me day in and day out. It’s always nice when Vincent visits, but the solitude I’ve treasured.

When the toddler years came...teaching started. I’ve never been the bookworm so much of that didn’t stick upstairs. It was cool as hell to learn Vincent was the King, making me a Princess, but magic...this fucking place has magic. I was so hyped when seeing it for the first time. Vincent could produce this electric current, while Ezra could create wind out of nowhere. I was excited to give it a try, but that didn’t pan out well. Those incredibly, exceptionally low attempts ended in failure. A slight spark was all I could manage, and that shit hurt worst than the coughing, and each time after, I found myself unconscious.

The doctors investigated, but to this day, they still don’t understand why I’m like this. I picked up that the magic of this world is tied to our emotions and souls, just when Vincent stopped trying to find a solution and went on explaining other parts of the world. I can’t use it, but I’ve guessed it has to do something with my soul. I got the impression that baby I was born into...had died, so I thought my soul maybe is magic-less because I don’t belong here, but all that is my pure speculation.

Goranous is the country I live in, but the Capital...that’s the place name, is where the castle sits. Ezra’s love for his powerful homeland is the only reason I remembered. 2 other countries are near, but that information is long gone. Because of magic things like games and TVs...technology, in general, are missing. I guess that saves them from my rage-quitting episodes. Clothing and food seem the same but with the extra added magic-infused items….… It just crossed my mind that I haven’t been put into a dress yet. Ezra usually dresses me in these sweet-ass jumpsuits, but since sleeping or exercising is what I spend most of my time doing, they’re more practical than stylish. I’m pale, but I have quite a few freckles…I’m guessing courtesy of this body’s mother…... I’ve never asked Vincent about her...or any family for that matter.

I sigh as I finish the last doughnut. I’ve been bad at this whole 2nd life thing. This world...I don’t know much about it. I toss the empty box to the side.

“Disappointed?”.

Yes, but with myself. My eyes fall to the box Vincent’s referring to. How could I ever be disappointed with K Cream Doughnuts? “No, I was actually sleeping pretty hard before you came.”.

Vincent stops brushing and begins gathering my hair back to braid it. “I’m sorry I came so late...court was...interesting.”.

That makes me chuckle. Anytime he uses the word interesting, I know he means the opposite. I can’t say I’ve ever heard this gentle man raise his voice. Vincent is the 1 person in both my lives I can say makes me feel at ease. It’s…bizarre since this is where Bonds come into play.

The people born into this world are bonded with those who share their DNA. My bond with Vincent is the only 1 I’ve ever felt so close to. To try and put the feeling into words, I’ll say...it’s like he’s my home...family...things along those lines. At times, I feel this weird...distant sensation that my brain automatically categorizes as Bond-related. I’m sure Vincent and I aren’t the only members of the royal family…I see why I haven’t mentioned it. Family is a sore topic.

“It’s fine, Father. You’re busy being a King and all.”.

Vincent finishes my single braid, then shifts it over my shoulder. He wraps his arms around me, taking my hands in his. “Miv, listen, I need you to remember a name.”.

This tone makes me pay extra attention. Today must have been difficult for him. I haven’t asked, but I notice a few scrapes on him. This anxious feeling that’s coming from him...is making my heart wake up. I’ve never felt Vincent nervous about anything...this is entirely new. “...Okay!?”.

“Moon, they are your family. Tomorrow…I have to travel with my Officials, so please stay healthy until I return.”.

I can feel and hear every bit of his worry. I stand, only letting go of his hands long enough for me to turn and face him. “I will if you promise me the same.”....... My body does that autopilot thing where I...I lean down and kiss him on the forehead. This level of affection…I’ve never been like this before, but something inside me...pushes for it. Bonds are the only explanation I have for it. Hell, I’ll be cringing otherwise.

“I’m an Ox, so don’t worry.”. He stands, puffing out his chest, making me smirk. I punch it a few times, as he remains firm, proving his point. “What would you like me to bring back?”. Vincent smiles at my raised eyebrow.

Like he doesn’t know the answer to that already. He chuckles as I sprint to my bed, diving back under the covers. “Food!”.

“Very well, Miv, goodnight.”.

He tucks me in, but I keep myself buried...I don’t want to see his face. I listen to him as he leaves the room, leaving an...ominous feeling hanging over me. This was the 1st time he told me he was traveling, and it was also the 1st time I felt him worried and anxious. He’s usually playful...energetic-like, or calm. I can feel how much he adores me…but this night...it doesn’t mean anything. I fall asleep a little later, deciding not to let myself worry about it.

“Princess, your breakfast.”.

I stumble out of bed at the sound of Ezra’s voice, clean up, then head to the dining room. This tiny house I have to myself would be considered a 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom, single-leveled home. It’s complete with a kitchen, dining room, living room, and den. I won’t go into too much detail...since I won’t be here long, just picture a house with all the comfortable furniture and whatnot...with indoor plumbing. Somehow they’ve made magic-infused items to function like running water, lighting, heating, and cooling, but they haven’t thought to make a single game, TV, or internet…...

Ezra helps me get dressed once I’m done eating...I’ve learned to go with it. He is very...insistent, tall with decent muscles, but he doesn’t speak much...or say anything other than his orders. He’s 20 years older than me, always well-groomed with neat short brown hair accompanied by a cleaned, shaved jawline. The only thing that used to creep me out about him was his beady black eyes.

Leaving him to clean, I head to my gym once I’ve finished...the gym is basically the den I converted. Sadly enough, exercise equipment is vacant here, so I have to improvise. I’ll put in a little extra effort today because of that late-night snack. I...prefer my body from my previous life over this one. Though I’m toned...I’m...smaller than what I’m used to...height and…body-wise. I’m a fucking stick no matter how much I jump around…….. No, since I don’t have to do anything in this place, it’s not a problem…no, definitely not. Bouncing around like this is somewhat therapeutic. I’m pretty much healthy, as long as I keep a handle on my emotions and don’t bother with magic...that damned chest pain is enough to make me completely forget about it.

I lazied around the rest of the day as usual, but that night I got a burst of energy, which is why I’m currently sweating it up in my gym again. This is the life. Nothing ever happens. I get to do what I want every day without having to stress about money or any shit like that. Yes, this is the life. I can see now why my brain chose not to absorb all that crap.

“Princess!”.

I just...jinxed myself. I can hear all the telltale signs of a fight, but Ezra sounded…... When I ease out of the gym, I can easily hear the struggling to my right, but the smell of smoke pouring from under the door to my left draws my attention. That door leads out…to the larger building. Did someone set it on fire? My eyes then jet to the right...at the fighting coming this way.

Ezra dashes out of the living room, barely ducking under the blade behind him. He scrambles to stay on his feet as he runs down the hall towards me, but the 3 people dressed in all black are attacking him as they give chase…… Their blades literally rip through the wall when it comes into contact. When Ezra is close enough...the slashes on his skin look painful as hell...his eyes dart to the door behind me before meeting my gaze. Hell no, we won’t be running through whatever is out there. Ezra spins around, releasing...something...I’ll say a burst of wind since the 3 intruders flew back a few feet.

“Stay close, Princess.”.

His voice is low, but I can hear the uncertainty there. They fucked him up good...if it was more then them, I’d give him props. I move up next to him as the 3 charges once more. This magic shit is going to make this...tricky. Most of my time is spent narrowly dodging...forget looking for an opening...Ezra takes the offensive while I focus on countering. They aren’t using magic, but something about their blades is pissing me off. These short-ass daggers are sharper than they need to be and fucking hurt! The small hallway is at least cramping both our styles. It’s definitely not a perfect location for a close-quarter…assassination attempt. Let’s just call this what this is! I’ve magically become the center of someone’s fucking attention!

I’ve never been so fucking glad that I, and let me quote my Dad, “Spent so many years wasting your time and energy on something so useless. Why not focus on something other than…fighting?”………

Without it…I would have been more of a handful. It was the outlet I needed to keep from ending up in prison. This painful ass fight stretches out longer than I’d like. Ezra finally manages to get them down…the plan was not ideal, but effective, at least. I allowed...cuts so he could find an opening. Ezra leans against the wall across from me, trying to catch his breath. The look in his eyes is filled with nothing but curiosity.

“Surprising combat skills you have, Princess.”.

That compliment almost makes me smile as I brace against the wall behind me. Looking at him...neither 1 of us has the energy to have another round of…that.

“Miv, I’m sorry. Please forgive me.”……....

The sound of Vincent’s voice flew into my mind like a glass of ice-cold water streaming into a warm body, but just behind it, a river of sadness creeps in...depressing the hell out of me. Pain immediately hits my chest as I register his words, his tone, and his feelings...he’s gone.

“Princess!?”.

I’m losing a father for the second time in my life. For the second time, he unexpectedly left me. What I’m feeling...this pain I can’t describe…this shit fucking hurts…… Something deep inside me is like wailing out with all its might. As I struggle with my emotions, I notice the fire…is moving unnaturally. “Ezra...the...fire.”…….. I’m hurting way more inside than I should be. It didn’t feel this horrible when I lost my original parents...or anyone else for that matter. I feel like part of me has died while the other doesn’t know how to handle it.

Ezra glares at the flames. “A damn caster!”.

The fire is engulfing the house at an alarming speed, way faster than if an accelerant was used. The way it’s spreading almost looks like it’s alive...... A pulse of magic shoots out of me as that sharp pain hits my chest...dammit, I got distracted. Blood shoots out from my mouth, causing me to lose my balance, but Ezra catches me. My body begins...shaking as I cough up more blood. He lifts me in his arms, running the best he can down the hallway. The fire…like it’s really chasing us...this is weird when you see how consumed the house is. I can hear Ezra chanting something as another pulse shoots out of me...I can’t get control of this shit now. I have no choice but to deal with it…… I’m slowly rising out of his arms as I cough up more blood. A wind pulls me up, smashing me through the burning roof.

“Ezra!”. My eyes dart down to him. No! I don’t want him to fucking do this!

“Live Princess! Live!”.

He falls to the ground seconds later...the flames immediately swallow him. “No! Ezra!”. I know...he’s gone as I continue to cough out blood, floating above the burning house I’ve called my home for 20 years. The thick black smoke rises, blending in with the dark, bleak sky. It’s my first time leaving that house, and it’s in this way. I chuckle sadly as tears, snot, and blood pour from me. His death –

Why am I floating higher!!!!???? I…I don’t know how to get down…… Now I’m going to fall and die fucking great. I cough and cough until I guess the blood loss finally sends me unconscious.


Submitted: December 27, 2021

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