Chapter Four: Ruby Like Eyes

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 Sweat ran down my cheeks and fell to the flaming hot ground. The scorching sun hurt my eyes as my vision became blurry. Wondering where I was, I mustered up the last bit of strength I possessed to look around. In front of me stood people of all ages, and among them I spotted a familiar figure. It was Raelia...the source of all my pain and hatred. I wanted to kill her right then and there but I could not stand up. My feet were shackled to the ground. I stared deep into Raelia's dark violet eyes to see my own reflection. I was twenty-four again, on my knees, my crimson hair dishevelled and my whole body covered with scars and bruises. My amber eyes no longer shined like the sun. However, the most disturbing thing was that I had a sword held to my neck and it didn't take me long to realise that the crowd had gathered here to look at an execution, more precisely my execution. This feels like déjà vu.

Isn't this how I died when I was twenty-four years old...but I had gone back in time. How is this possible? I was going to take my revenge. Was that all a dream? Ahh, I really am hated by God.

I gazed up one last time only to see Raelia and Uken sneering at me. I trembled in rage but there was nothing I could do. I was going to die. As the sight in front of me grew hazier and hazier, someone caught my eye. A man emitting a murderous aura as if he would kill me at any opportunity he got. I didn't fear him because I was as good as dead so I returned his gaze. He had jet black hair but what captured my attention was his blood red eyes. They looked like gems as light rays were reflected on them. His eyes had held me captive and I could not look away. It felt like time had stopped as everything stood still. The surroundings around me, slowly, went pitch black and my consciousness slipped away from me.

When I came to, I was in my room. The soft bed cover felt cool against my skin which was burning from the sweltering heat a few moments ago. I sat up and saw Mariah who was startled by me suddenly sitting upright. Her surprised expression quickly turned into one full of concern.

She ran to me, held my hand and shouted, "Oh my Miss! Your complexion...you look so pale. What's wrong?"

"Mariah what is my age?" I asked her in a low voice, afraid to hear the answer.

"Uhh...you turned 12 last year but why are you asking me this?" Mariah answered in confusion.

"What did I do last day?" I posed another question in the same low voice.

"You visited your father and then entertained his guest Duke Orion's son, young master Uken. Instead of asking me such random questions can we focus on your health Miss?" Mariah replied, angrily.

I let out a huge sigh of relief. Almost breaking down to tears, I told Mariah, "I had a nightmare, a terrifying one which felt awfully real. It was horrible."

Mariah wrapped her arms around me tightly and I soon started bawling my eyes out. After I had stopped crying, Mariah prepared a tea with a pleasant floral scent to it to calm me down. Mariah informed me of my schedule for the day while I sipped on my tea. I was supposed to go to the town. I shuddered at the thought of the town as it reminded me of my nightmare but I couldn't forget the excitement I felt the day before. I had to overcome my fear and I couldn't just avoid the town forever. I should get used to it so I told Mariah to prepare my commoner disguise.
After dressing up, my father, one of his trusted aides who was also a knight, Sir Aaron and I headed out for the town. I wanted to ask father why he had decided to go to town in disguise. I knew he was investigating something but I refrained from asking as all I wanted to do today was explore and have fun. I wanted to act like the 12 year old I am.

When I reached the town square, meaning the center of the town, my father turned to me and said, "Eli, this is where we part ways. I have some things to deal with. Have fun exploring but never leave Aaron's side, okay?"

I nodded furiously in response, impatient to look around the town.

My father glanced at Aaron and ordered, "Be vigilant and look after her properly. Let's meet here again at dusk."

"Yes My Lord, as you command," Aaron obeyed with a bow.

After father left with his subordinate, Aaron and I started our trip around the town. The town was bustling with life. I looked around to see shelves in shops adorned with precious jewels and extravagant dresses. We got ourselves a meal at a nearby restaurant. Aaron tasted all of my food to check for poison which brought us a lot of attention from people at the nearby tables. Commoner food tasted way better than I had expected. As we continued our stroll, we saw a huge sea of people approaching us.

One of them among the many shouted, "I heard there is a sale taking place around the corner. They are selling everything at such a cheap price! Let's hurry!"

Soon both Aaron and I were being pushed away by wave of crowd. We drifted apart from each other till I could no longer spot him. I was not worried at the disappearance of Aaron but I was concerned about Aaron who I bet was freaking out right about now because he lost sight of me. Well, I have a good sense of direction and decided to explore the town a bit more and then return to the town square before it turned dark. I ran down the streets and accidentally bumped into someone, both of us falling to the ground as a result. He stood up quickly and didn't offer his hand to pick me up.

Do I always have to encounter such trashy guys?

As I helped myself up, brushing the dirt off of me I looked at the person I had bumped into. He seemed around 15 years old and judging from his clothes he was quite well off.

What so he is just a young noble? That doesn't give him the right to be this arrogant.

Irritated, I called out to him, "Hey! Where are your manners? You should at least help me up!"
In response he walked towards me and in a cold tone said, "Why should I? You were the one who bumped into me."

Anger surged through me. As I was about to scream at him, something stopped me in my tracks. It was his eyes. Blood red eyes. They pulled me in. I feared them but I also felt attracted to them. It was an indescribable emotion. Those eyes looked familiar, as if I had seen them before. In fact, I had seen them before in my dream. Terror coursed through my body and I wanted to run, run far away from him. However, I remained paralysed. I had delved too deep into his eyes.

"Young master, are you okay?!" a servant of the red eyed boy exclaimed.

The servant's loud voice brought me back to reality and I noticed that the boy had also been staring at me.

He slightly opened his mouth and mumbled, "Crimson hair...amber eyes...you are Eliza...no doubt about it."

How did he know my name? He is definitely suspicious.

While he was talking to his worried servant, I decided to make a run for it. In the distance I could see Aaron, who was clearly distressed by my absence. I reached him and tugged at his sleeve.

His eyes widened and almost in tears he shouted, "Miss where were you until now!? Do you know how worried I was!? Are you hurt anywhere?!"

"Aaron, I am fine. Calm down. I was just looking around the town and look I am not hurt anywhere," I said while twirling for him to see that I was unharmed.

After calming Aaron who was on the verge of crying, we headed for the town square to meet up with father. We safely met father and after a carriage ride, which felt like forever, returned to our estate.

I skipped dinner because of a churning sensation in my stomach. I felt uneasy and retired to my bed early. When I closed my eyes to catch some sleep, those red eyes flashed in front of me. Sleep deprived, I tried to figure out the identity of that boy.

Red eyes, pitch black hair...they were all characteristics possessed by the Xavier bloodline. If I recall correctly, in the Empire there was another Duke other than Duke Uken...what was his name again? Ahh that's right! Zenos Ciel Xavier, Duke Uken's mortal enemy!

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