"Here you go sir!" the salesperson said with a smile on his face. I gladly took the food and joined my parents and other relatives that were already chowing down on the amazing food that the fine dining chefs prepared for us. Today is a special day because it's the eve of my birthday, starting tomorrow I can get anything I want from anyone as long as I'm willing to pay for it. I'm a little excited and worried too since everything will get a little harder with me having to pay for things on my own. "So how are you feeling birthday boy?" my mom said after having a chat with my aunt and uncle. "I've got a lot of mixed feelings about turning 18 to be honest, it's a huge turning point in my life" I said with a slight smile. "I bet" my dad said after finishing his food,"I remember when I was your age and had to finally start paying for things on my own." I stared off into the distance thinking about how different my life was going to be now that I had the opportunity to shop around for popular things and basic items that everyone needs to survive from day to day.
Almost everyone around us was having a good time, thanks to the new rules brought about by a group of citizens from the old world who stood up to end the suffering brought about by the greed of others who were not willing to give up their wealth to help the people who were dying of starvation and being overworked to make money that almost wasn't worth the effort. The year was 2100 when those brave citizens made the new rules that govern our new country known to all as the Blood Ruby Nation. Ever since I was a kid I was happy that there was a change that made everyone equal in terms of wealth and status, as long as you were willing to pay the price for something you could have as much of it as you want. Not very many people gathered more than what they actually needed since the prices for some items wasn't worth it.
The rules of this society that I've been a part of ever since my birth are both simple and in most people's opinion completely justified, the first rule of our nation is that anything you want you can have as long as you are willing to pay the price and you can't be denied that right, no matter if it's a personal belonging or an everyday item that you can find anywhere. The second rule is that you can wait to pay for anything you want, but the price you have to pay is increased every day up to one whole month, that is the maximum amount of time anyone is allowed to wait until they have to pay. There are other rules in our country that we follow but those are the most used rules that people are partial towards.
We live in the city of Claret, not as well known as some of the major cities such as Rosethorn or Cherrywine, but still a well traveled place that has a good trading center for items that are popular in demand. In our family most of us never really cared for having the newest items that were popular with everyone else, every time there was a special occasion though a few relatives always took pause to think about someone they loved and wondered if they would like having one of the newest and most popular items the Claret Center had. Going to the Claret Center was like walking into a gift box filled with all the items that anyone could ever want. The place was filled to the brim with items from a to z from all corners of the world, there was food, books, electronics, musical instruments, weapons, tools, vehicles, pets, toys, etc. Anything you could think of was at your fingertips, and most of it for a reasonable fee.
I was taken out of my ponderous state by a voice that was inquisitive towards me. "What was the question?" I asked clearly confused about the conversation that I had missed. "I asked if you were ready to go home yet" my mother said in a superficial voice, realizing that I had been thinking of my birthday that was now a day away. "yeah, I guess I'm ready to go now" I replied still half paying attention to what was going on around me. We said goodbye to our family and a few friends that decided to join us for the early celebration. We were just about to leave the restaurant when a random stranger asked us if she could give me a present for my birthday that was coming up. We were all so shocked that this woman was kind enough to give me a present for my birthday, despite not knowing us or having any relationship with us, that we stood there dumbfounded for a few seconds before I finally replied "That's very kind of you Ms?" I asked hoping to properly thank the stranger.
"My name is Opet Seraphila, may I ask your name?" she asked courteously. I hadn't got a good look at her until this moment, our backs were turned until we swiveled around to see who was talking to us. I looked into her eyes and became sheepish because I felt as though I had been staring into the eyes of a fallen angel. "M-my name is uh, it's Bethelod Shed, but my friends call me Bloodshed." I liked the nickname my friends had picked out for me, my actual name was odd to pronounce and not very threatening. "Bethelod Shed, what a unique name!" she smiled and stared straight into me, her face was perfectly angled and not only did she have pleasant facial features and silky white hair, but also she was almost the same size as me. I felt as though she was flirting with me, and I was so awestruck that I felt as though I were paralyzed. "Thank you, your name is unique too." I wanted to smack myself for not thinking of something better to say.
"Awe that's so sweet of you, thank you!" she was so cheerful I felt as though I could go anywhere in the world with her and be happy. "Oh yeah, here's the present I had for you" she pulled out two long shiny red boxes that shimmered like water against the light. "Oooh! these presents are beautiful, thank you so much!" I was so excited to see what was inside, but I was so mesmerized by the wrapping that I almost didn't want to tear into it. I finally brought myself to break apart the wrapping, and inside both boxes was a lightweight red leather sheath holding two long elegantly curved dark red swords that felt as though they were made to fit perfectly inside the palms of my hand. As soon as my hands felt the hilt of the perfectly molded blade I felt as though a part of me was complete in a way that I never expected.
At this point there was a small crowd of people who had gotten interested in the events that had transpired in the restaurant, and they were trying to act casual while straining to catch a glimpse of the present the mysterious woman had given to me. I turned to thank her again for such an amazing gift and saw her walking off into the distance. I ran towards her and said "Wait! I wanted to know if I could see you again sometime!" she turned around and smiled slyly "Oh you'll see me again sometime don't worry, I'll be seeing you more than you see me though" after her last words to me she took off running and disappeared out of the restaurant and drove away on a dark black motorcycle. I gave thought to what she had said and was unsure of what she could have meant by her saying she would see me more than I saw her.
When we finally left the restaurant I saw my parents grinning and knew they were about to tease me, "So I see you got yourself a girlfriend didn't you?" my dad said picking at me some. "No, if I had a girlfriend she would have stayed and gave me her number or something instead of running off" I was a little upset that I wasn't going to be able to see her for a while, she was one of the few people that seemed to have an interest in me; most people wouldn't even give me a second glance let alone have a conversation with me. "I'm sure she just ran off because she was having a hard time deciding how she felt about you" my mom tried to make me feel better about how the girl I like ran away. "Either that or she thought you were just way too ugly to look at for too long" my dad joked. I laughed, in this country almost everyone over the age of 18 was pretty rough looking after they had to start paying for things on their own, since I wasn't 18 yet I looked better than most.
Once we finally made it home I went to my room to relax and take my mind off of the events of the restaurant that had me so shook up. Try as hard as I might though I couldn't forget about her or the presents that she had given me despite not having any idea who I was. I picked the swords up from the chair that I set them in and had a better look at them. The color was dark but just barely, it was bright enough to shine red whenever a ray of light hit it. I played around with it for a while and felt like a warrior holding these two majestic pieces of art that had not yet been decorated with the blood of its enemies. It was like staring at a blank canvas, something simple that has the potential to be something more, as long as the artist can find the inspiration to make something of it.
I had so many thoughts going through my mind as I went through the motions of cleaning up a few things and then taking a break to have fun on my phone or video game console that my parents had gotten me. Once I had passed the time doing all these simple things until it reached night I couldn't sleep because I felt like I was missing something, I had always felt like I was missing something though ever since I changed from a kid to a young adult. Those were some of the toughest times I had been through, not because I was unhappy with the condition of things around me; but because I had become aware of the fact that the only people I had ever been able to connect to personally were my family and a few friends. The thing that I felt like I was missing was someone I could love and take care of myself, everyone around me was always making sure that I was taken care of and I wanted someone I could love like that.
I finally fell asleep despite all of the somber thoughts that had raced through my head that night, and I woke up feeling a pang of sadness followed by the happiness of finally being 18 and able to make my own decisions for all the things I had waited so long to be able to do. I went to my parent's room and knocked on the door to see if they had woken up yet and I heard my mom yell "one second!" and heard a strange rattling sound before my mother opened the door to reveal a fully decorated birthday cake just like I had hoped it would look. For years I had waited for a cake as good as this one, everything just as I had imagined it; It was enough to take my mind off of the events of yesterday and make me appreciate the things that were happening right now. My parents were walking out of the room singing happy birthday holding the cake that I was so proud to be able to take the first bite out of.
My 18th birthday was by far one of the best birthdays I had ever had, all the other ones were simple and I still loved them; but this one was so over the top that I couldn't imagine how it could get any better. As soon as we had all the cake we wanted we went to the Claret Center and my mom and dad took turns buying things for me that I would probably have a hard time paying for on my own. I didn't expect to get so many things from them, this was the most that my mom and dad were ever willing to pay for anything, it was hard enough having to pay for basic needs such as food and water let alone all this. After we got through with getting luxury items from the Claret Center we went back home to open the rest of the presents that my family had given me from yesterday.
I had a whole week to enjoy all the presents I had gotten for my birthday before I had to worry about other people being able to claim any of the presents that my family gave me. Thanks to the rule given to special events, anyone receiving gifts on a holiday or any other type of celebration gets to keep any presents they get for a total of 7 days after they obtain them. Luckily most people only use the first rule for any items they need, but sometimes there are people who use the rule to the fullest extent that they can, taking anything and everything they want with no thought of how it will effect the person they are taking it from. The price they pay is always high but it can make someone else's situation much more dire.
A week had passed and I thought I had gotten lucky and was going to keep all of my presents, but then a group of strange people we didn't know came to our house and demanded that we take their payment for everything that they wanted. I knew that they seemed familiar after I saw a few of their faces, it was one of the same small groups of people that had been looking to see what present I had received from the young woman in the restaurant that we had been to. I was furious because those two one of a kind swords that she had given me were the only thing that I had to remember her by and now I had to either risk death by hiding the swords I had been given, find the people who had taken my swords and pay to get them back, or make the price that they had to pay for the swords so high that they regret trying to take them.