1 The Beginning of the End

Death did not frighten the lilac-haired female. The cold light of the moon splashing upon the bars illuminated her haggard face, alas, there was not a hint of desperation that colored her face. There was only unhindered anger, fingers tangled into the hem of her dress; the rough fabric engraining itself against her palms as she slammed her fist against the wall.

Lumielle Asterley Castillo was rotting away inside of a cell. The daughter of Eldrige Vance Castillo, the former Emperor of Endora, and the older sister of Aristele Damian Castillo. She did not regret her actions. Her manipulation and schemes had allowed her precious brother to sit upon the throne that so many had coveted. The death of her father had been all a plot to increase power as on his dying breath, he reached out to his daughter and whispered that he loved her.

It was something so foolish for Lumielle had been the one to place the poison against his cheek, her lipstick providing him the kiss of death. Yet, despite it all—she was here facing death. Alas, that was not the reason behind her indignation. Her brother had been deposed of the crown and killed. Just today, her halcyon eyes watched as her little brother was executed amongst the people; all of them screaming that he was a traitor and the one who had killed his own father to gain power. Lumielle had conceded the truth, stating that her brother had done nothing wrong but her words were in vain as the blood of the one person that she had ever loved kissed her feet.

"Cosette," Lumielle responded out, her eyes glancing up at the blonde-haired girl who sweetly smiled at her. The acrimony that had festered inside of her heart easily vanished from her features. There was a lack of respect as the hem of the female's skirt touched the dirty prison ground. She looked almost angelic; fair-hair had been clipped up with pearls delicately shimmering against her tresses. She looked beautiful; ethereal with the light of the moon painting like a goddess.

Cosette touched the lilac fabric of her dress, the color almost matching Lumielle's hair that had become sullied by dirt and mistreatment. Cosette had always despised that color, "Such a shame that Aris had to die, isn't it?" she mumbled, "If only he was willing to throw you aside. I would have been the perfect older sister."

Lumielle's lips twitched, she couldn't help but want to laugh; "Is this all apart of your inferiority complex? After all, you always coveted everything that was mine." Indeed, the standing young woman had been the final knife that was inserted into her back; "And when you couldn't get my brother's love, you decided to kill him. Are you proud?"

Aris, her precious younger brother, the one reason for her to live had died and now, as she stared up at the blonde woman—the woman who had taken everything from her, she felt nothing but smug indignation.

"You act so prideful for a woman who is about to die tomorrow."

"And you act so pitifully for someone who supposedly won."

Cosette's perfect victory was supposed to be the downfall of Lumielle; she had taken everything from her. The man that she had loved, the father that had never looked at her, her place in high society, and when she finally had nothing left, Cosette perfectly targeted Aristele. Unlike the rest of the fickle trivialities, her brother stuck by her side.

"You're the pathetic one," Lumielle stated, her lips finally curving into a smile. Despite her wayward appearance, she leaned against the cold stone backing of the prison cell, "Coming here to inflate your own ego. I hope God is forgiving towards you."

Cosette's eyes narrowed, dangerously flickering as the heliotrope female continued to talk, verbally berating her. "As if you have any right to talk about God after everything you've done."

To admit that Cosette was right wounded Lumielle's pride. She had stained her hands with crimson; she had not acted righteously and in that, she had neglected her younger brother. She had done everything for him but in the end, it was all for naught. Killing, scheming, hurting, Lumielle's path had become twisted with her own agony being the only remedy. Yet, if she was the only one to die that would have been fine. Her brother didn't deserve it. He had done nothing wrong. He was innocent.

"Luckily, I'm not a religious woman," Lumielle countered back a smile on her face.

"Even after your brother died, you're still the same. Did you even care for him?"

What a useless jibe to try and gain her anger. "Is this why you've come here, to talk about the death of my brother?" Careful, an easy answer slipped from her lips as Cosette sneered at her. Her face twisted into a rather evil appearance. It did not suit the woman who was called the "lily of the valley". Platinum hair that almost looked white like fair snow and deep grey eyes. Lumielle's hostility toward Cosette was the only constant.

"Let me tell you why this happened, it's because of your personality. If you're going to be so wretched and wicked, you should at least pretend to hide it."

Cosette's laugh rang in Lumielle's ears as the imprisoned female tilted her head back, "I didn't know you were here to give me wisdom."

The sound of the door creaking open caused Cosette to adjust her position, her knees clattering to the ground as she clutched at the bars, "My dear Lumielle, I'm so sorry. I love you so much!" Her voice sounded strained as her face twisted in pain and this time, it was the lilac haired female's position to laugh. It seemed that Cosette was almost teaching her about her wrongdoings. She could almost hear Cosette whisper, 'This is how it's supposed to be done.'

"I hope hell greets you warmly, Cosette."

Staring down at her was the face of the Grand Duke; his face was twisted in anger, lips curled up indignation, "Do you not have any emotions?" He snarled out. That was the man that she had loved.

"If I did, would I need to waste them on people like you?"

Cosette clung to the Grand Duke, his dark hair glittering in the light. There was disgust present inside of his deep blue eyes, "Cosie, let's go." The affectionate nickname fleeing from his lips only made Lumielle's bitter simper deepen. Though it pained her pride, she would have to admit that Cosette had outsmarted her; she was far more intelligent than Lumielle had given her credit for. To take everything from her and then have the final laugh, how absolutely disgraceful.

The two stood up as Cosette tossed one last look towards Lumielle; victory tasted very sweet didn't it? As the door shut, the female leaned against the wall. Her face twisting into one of absolute rage; her fingers trembled as they clung to the bars attempting to move them so that she could escape.

Revenge. Revenge. Revenge. That holy trinity was the only thing inside of her mind. Lumielle slumped against the bars, it was pointless. It was all pointless. The last memory that she gathered was the sound of the door opening again before darkness encompassed it all.

"Sister!" A familiar voice cried out as she struggled to open her eyes; heaven should not have opened their gates for her so why was she hearing her brother's voice?

"Sister! Please!" His voice grew hysteric as Lumielle's face crinkled and slowly, she opened her eyes to see her precious brother sobbing. His glassy halcyon eyes glittering like fair ochroid gems. Yet what surprised her most was the age at which her brother was at. Aris couldn't have been no more than a young child as his eyes widened at seeing his sister's response. Arms wrapped tightly around her as he hugged her, tears wetting her shoulder.

Shock infiltrated her body but instinctively, Lumielle's body moved to embrace him, "Aris," she said her voice hushed; the sound of her own words surprising her. What had happened? He had died. Lumielle had seen her own brother's lifeless body strung up to the crowd to cheer at. She had seen his face; the resigned expression as he promised to protect her.

"You almost died!" He sobbed, his fragile body pressed against his own.

No. He was the one who had died.

Yet, these words were hauntingly familiar. It was when she was only twelve and her brother was eleven. There was an instance in her childhood when Lumielle had almost died due to the negligence of the maids in the palace. Allergic to nuts, one of the maids had carelessly added nuts inside of the pathetic excuse of a meal. The room was filled with only three people counting the two young royals. No one else had even shown up.

Evangeline Sinclair, a completely capable maid that had died when Lumielle was eighteen due to being framed for a crime that she did not commit. Hilarious because her ledger was red enough to saturate the seas with blood, yet, somehow they tried to frame her with a crime that she had not committed and as such, Evangeline was sent to the gallows.

Sylvia Desposa, another maid, had been killed by Cosette. Sacrificing herself for Lumielle, the female had taken the blame for a crime that she had committed. Dead. They were both supposed to be dead and Heinz, the head butler was supposed to be blinded and kicked out of the country. Yet, they were all here with worry and relief intermingling their expressions.

What had happened? Clutching onto Aris, she could feel his warmth. Did she simply imagine her own death? Was that one elaborate dream? No, there was no way. The more probable reason would be reversing time. Alas, she had never heard of any magic or sorcerer capable of doing such a feat. "Aris, I'm alright," she responded, her words caught in her throat.

Without realizing it, she was crying. Golden eyes spilling as she clung to him even tighter, "Aris," she sobbed. Her younger brother was alive. Along with her sobs, he also started to cry, clutching onto his sister. There was confusion in her mind. Tangling like rose thorns and sinking into her brain; there was no logical sense. She could not comprehend the madness that stemmed from this experience. Yet, what mattered most to her was that her brother was alive. Aris was alive and that meant that she had another chance; she had a chance to save him from death.

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