Chirps of birds adjoined with the sounds of a rapid stream and bustling leafs to cradle the hands of the nature, painting an idyllic scenery one would only ever come across in utopian paintings. Yet, it lived, barred in the tall fences spanning on for miles in each direction. Paths lay carved out in-between like a guiding hand for all those who may wish to gaze upon the wonders, sides adorned with throny roses and flourishing, white gardenias.

At night, fireflies would join the nature to light it up like lanterns, their warm, orange glow washing over every inch of a very concealed garden. During the day, the sun would blast its rays across, feeding it whole.

Chirpy, jovial laughter echoed out from the small paradise’s center where a rapid stream converged into a roundabout, spinning into a spiral before exiting on the other end like a waterfall. Above the spiral rose a spire stacked with gems, acting as a centerpiece of the entire display. By its edge, dipping her toes into the chilly water, was a young, crimson-haired girl, seemingly no older than nine-ten.

Her emerald-green eyes shone as brightly as any of the gems on top of the spire, her colorful dress matching the marvelous garden around her. Dimples adorned her cheeks stretched out into an innocent smile, her hair waving down her back freely much like the waterfall on the other end. Score of small, transparent fish nibbled at her toes, tickling her as she laughed.

World around appeared beyond innocent, as though carved out from a dreamer’s dream. The little girl suddenly raised her head up and saw the branches on the tree across from her scuffle, her smile widening. Jumping up, she raced around and leapt over the stream in a single jump, racing over toward the tree and climbing it as though she’d done so thousands of times before.

Reaching the top quickly, she reached her rather skinny arm over through the branches and grabbed at something fluffy. Pulling back, a white-haired creature appeared in front of her, reminiscent of a rabbit save for the horns instead of ears.

“Hehe, caught you again!” she exclaimed through laughter, settling herself on a thick branch of the tree and hugging the animal tightly. “You’re really bad at this, you know? By now you should have figured to hide better.”

“Kur-kurr! Kur!” the small animal cried out in a high tone.

“What do you mean I’m cheating?!” the little girl puffed her cheek, angrily staring at the animal. “Just because you suck at hiding doesn’t mean you can accuse me of cheating!”

“.. kur, kurr...”

“That’s right, own up to your suckiness, he he.”

“Hannah?” a voice that quickly put a frown on the little girl’s face adjoined the other sounds the little paradise made. “I know you’re here.”

“... over here mom.” the little girl sighed as she let go of the rabbit-like animal, jumping off the tree and racing to the other end of the stream where two women soon joined her -- one she knew and another she didn’t. The former was her mother, bearing similarly crimson hair with a pair of black eyes instead, tall and as beautiful as any other woman the little girl had seen -- except the woman standing right next to her.

“Hey, look how dirty you’ve become,” her mother sighed lowly, waving her hand gently and sending a gust of wind over at Hannah, cleaning her up in one fell swoop. “I told you that if you are going to play here, you need to be careful! Besides, shouldn’t you be training with Maestro right now?”

“He told me to ‘become one with the world’,” Hannah said, avoiding her mother’s gaze. “I’m doing exactly that.”

“... right. Of course you are.” the woman chuckled bitterly, turning toward the one standing next to her. “I’m so sorry, she can be a bit mischievous. Come here Hannah and meet your new Big Sister. Her name’s Eos,” she added as Hannah walked up to the golden-haired woman of unparalleled beauty who was currently smiling gently and warmly. “And she’s just like you -- a Bearer. Can you guess which one?”

“... of Light?” Hannah probed.

“Very good,” Eos chuckled, crouching down and caressing Hannah’s hair gently. “You are quite clever.”

“I will leave you two to it, Lady Eos. If you need anything, please do not hesitate to call on me.”

“Don’t worry Lady Eona,” Eos said, smiling. “I have a feeling Hannah and I will get along just fine.”

“Very well. Hannah, behave yourself properly, alright?”

“... yes, Mother.” Hannah nodded meekly as her mother kissed her temple before leaving. Turning toward Eos, she quizzically looked at the tall woman, wondering whether she would ever become so beautiful. “You’re pretty.”

“Ha ha, thank you very much. You are far prettier than me, though.” Eos said, grabbing Hannah’s hand and leading her toward the center spire. “All women in your family are. That beautiful hair of yours... puts many of us to shame.”

“But you hair is golden,” Hannah said. “Like the sun. Sun is far prettier than blood.”

“... why blood?” Eos asked.

“... that’s what other kids call me,” Hannah said, jumping onto the edged platform of the roundabout, balancing herself. “Blood-haired Maiden. I’ve heard even some Servants call me that.”

“... they are just jealous,” Eos said, holding back a pained smile. “That their hair isn’t as pretty.”

“... I guess.” Hannah mumbled dismissively, dancing around the edge as Eos sat down next to the stream, observing her.

“How do you get along with your Writ?” she asked.

“Astrum?” Hannah stopped, glancing at Eos. “She’s... boring.”

“She?” Eos arched brow.

“She told me to call her that,” Hannah shrugged. “Something about relating more to me than the previous Bearer.”

“... Andis... ah, he was a bit aggressive.” Eos chuckled. “She taught you anything?” she decided to play along.

“... a lot of things,” Hannah’s gaze turned strange for a moment, but Eos ignored it. “I learned a lot more from her than any of my tutors.”

“I imagine you did.”

“What about you? Do you get along with yours?” Hannah asked.

“Very much so.” Eos replied. “Is there something you don’t understand?”

“... not a lot,” Hannah said, smiling faintly. “Mostly about the E--khm, the seventh one.” Eos frowned. “Astrum... doesn’t like talking much about him, and she still hasn’t shown me any Record with them involved.”

“... you are still far too young,” Eos sighed, smiling faintly. “But, if you’d like to know something, feel free to ask me.”

“... are... are they really as terrifying as I’ve read?” Hannah asked, sitting down on the edge, dipping her feet into the water yet again. “In the books, I mean.”

“... they are,” Eos said. “Actually, they are far more terrifying than words can ever describe.”

“How so?” Hannah asked with interest.

“Because they are driven by something the rest of us have long since evolved past,” Eos said. “By animalistic anger, bloodlust and fear. They can never be reasoned with because they never listen to reason. With them... it’s always their way, and no other way.”

“... I’ve also read they’re quite dangerous,” Hannah said, lowering her head. “That the rest of us usually have to pair up to fight them.”

“... it’s the advantage of being driven by madness,” Eos said. “Acting like cornered beasts at all times. They care for no one and nothing, just for sowing chaos wherever they tread. This means that, unlike us, when they fight, they care little over dragging innocent into the fray and destroying the world.”

“... that’s scary.”

“It is,” Eos nodded, chuckling. “But you have nothing to worry about. I’ll always be right there to protect you, against him... and everyone else.”

“Heh, thank you.” Hannah chuckling, her cheeks blushing faintly.

“Always,” Eos said, smiling and getting up. “I’ll have to go and settle into my new home and you can continue to play here. We’ll meet for dinner and talk more, alright?”

“Of course, Big Sister Eos.” Hannah nodded.

“I like the sound of that.” in a flash of brilliant light, Eos disappeared, leaving behind the still-smiling Hannah; that smile, however, quickly vanished, replaced by a gaze of distrust and anger.

“She’s just like the rest,” Hannah said coldly. “Lying, selling stories like a filthy merchant.”

... reign it in a bit there, little soldier.” a robotic voice echoed inside her head. “You’re going to get us made, and it’s not the time yet.”

“When’s it going to be the time?” Hannah sighed, sitting down. “You convinced me to do this, but then forced me to stay here. Do you know how suffocating it is? How painful it is to listen to my own Mother and Father spouting lies every day?”

Patience,” the robotic voice replied. “What can we do right now? A new Empyrean is yet to even be born, and even if he has, we first have to examine his qualifications. Until then, just pretend to be your average, cheerful and curious girl.”

“... I’ve a feeling this new bitch will drag me all over the world,” Hannah muttered after a short silence. “And I will not have fun doing it.”

It’s your chance to learn how they create the reality you were born into,” the robotic voice said. “Both the beautiful and terrifying side of it.”

“... I would have ended up just the same, huh?” Hannah said.

I doubt it,” the robotic voice seemed to chuckle, rather awkwardly at that though. “If I were like the other Writs, I doubt the two of us would get along. You like to challenge authority, after all.”

“I just don’t like being lied to. Ah, whatever. I guess I’ll go back to my room and play with dolls or something until the dinner. Ataxia, Ataxia, Ataxia, wherever you may be, just hurry the hell up already...”


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About the author


Bio: Bad writer, worse painter, terrible singer. Accumulation of all things gone wrong. Rather proud of it, actually.

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