Thunder was heard from afar. It was followed by the heavy pour of rain. The dark clouds turned even darker. No stars could be seen. Even the moon seemed to be hiding.
Below the heavy rain, a tragic scene unfolded.
On the road, black cars whose doors hung open were left abandoned. Dead bodies laid scattered around those cars.
In pools of blood and guns, a beautiful lady sat on the road with a bloodied man on her lap.
Her once beautiful wedding dress was long dirtied with blood. Her shiny and long black hair loosened from the bun flowed freely on her pale shoulders. Yet even when the lady was covered with blood and rain, it could not conceal her stunning beauty.
On her usual cold and indifferent face, there was a rarely seen tangle of emotions plastered while embracing the man.
Fear, panic, anxiety, confusion, exhaustion, and hopelessness interweaved.
Her tears flowed in rhythm with the rain. She had never cried as much as this in her life, not even in her parents' funerals, nor in her grandfather's death. She remained indifferent to them.
But this man... This man who had made her heartbeat, who had made her smile and laugh for the first time, who had made her feel wanted, precious, and loved...
The man who brought 'life' in her otherwise empty, dead life.
This man was already holding her heart and life in his grasp.
If he died, she did not know how she could possibly live again. She cannot live without him.
"No... Linfeng... Linfeng... Don't leave me... Stay awake..." The lady held the man tightly.
The man tried to open his beautiful eyes. Although covered in blood and disheveled wet hair, it did not hide the man's attractive features. His eyes that were always sharp, cold, and full of vigor before, were now in a daze.
He tried to see the beautiful woman whom he had sworn with his life to protect, to care, and to love.
He fought to open his eyes and stay awake, but he could not see her face clearly. He laboriously reached for her face with his bloodied hand to feel her beautiful features. He began to reminisce about the past.
" Zhi'er... Do you remember when we first met? …When I saw you, you already captured my heart... from that day. No matter what I did to stop my feelings from g-growing... I... I cannot help but love you and long for you... This must be my retribution... for being selfish. I am incapable... and let your life be at stake... You should be living in luxury, with a perfect life, which I cannot give to you... Forgive me," Linfeng said between heavy breaths.
"No, no... You've done everything you can to save me. I don't regret escaping with you... I cannot live with that beast. The only thing I regret in this life is holding back my feelings for you. We should have enjoyed those times, those times we were together without a care for the world... Because I'm weak, I don't have enough power to protect both of us... If I was just stronger, more powerful, they could have never separated us or bullied us to this point... It's my fault… because I'm so weak...." Xiong Zhi cried harder. She had never said this to him before, nor told him how she truly felt about him.
Linfeng tried to draw his last strand of vigor to wipe her tears.
"What are you saying...? I should be the one to protect you... But because I'm born lower than you, I could not gain enough power to be with you... cough…" He coughed up more blood.
"In the next lifetime, if we meet, I will surely fall in love with you again... cough, cough," he coughed a couple more times.
"In the next lifetime, I will be strong and hold every moment of us. I will express all my love to you... To never regret again," Xiong Zhi said with conviction. She had never been this determined before. But alas, it was too late. If she was given a second chance, she would do everything in her power to stop this from happening. She would defy her fate.
She saw his eyes dimming, and his breathing became slower.
"Without you, I cannot live. Wait for me… we'll be together soon," she whispered.
She watched as his eyes closed and his breathing ceased to a stop.
The heavy rain continued to flow endlessly. Xiong Zhi stared at the lifeless Linfeng, her eyes empty. Her heart died at the same time the man died.
She slowly looked up at the dark sky. She laid there thinking about her tragic life.
She had wealth.
She had the brains.
She had the beauty.
She had a handsome fiancé.
Life seemed to be perfect for her. That was what they said. That was what they knew.
They did not know that…
She was an orphan. She never experienced being loved by her parents, even when they were alive.
She had an unloving grandfather who only used her as a pawn to expand his business and arranged a marriage to her with a beast in the prince's clothing.
She had schemer and evil relatives who eyed her like wolves, ready to pounce at her wealth.
So what of wealth? So what of her surname Xiong? They cannot be used. They were thorny decorations.
Her beauty? Her brains? It cannot be used… She was only a puppet and a trophy of her grandfather.
She had never become herself. That's why she grew up to become cold and indifferent and never opened up to anybody.
Until he came.
Xiong Zhi looked at the man and caressed his cold face gently.
He became her light. She did not care about him at first, not even giving him a glance before, thinking he was only another pawn his grandfather had put into staying at her side. But he was different. He cared. Even when she did not look at him, he had always gently given her reminders, advice, courage, and warnings that an aide should not cross. When the world schemed at her, he was the only one who patiently stayed at her side. He gave her comfort, protection, and love.
He had let her feel loved.
He was the only one in her life that she never regretted knowing.
Now her most precious one was gone.
He was gone.
Xiong Zhi closed her eyes and stayed at his side, holding him endearingly.
She did not feel the cold nor the heavy drops of the rain that prickled her skin.
For hours, she did not move. She did not even hear the sirens and shouts. While her breathing was becoming fainter, she whispered.
"To never again be weak... to never again waste our precious time... I promise... In the next lifetime... I will protect you... and… love you..."
The police approached the lady holding the man on her lap. He tried to talk to her but noticed something. He felt for her pulse and sighed.
"What a tragedy. Everyone is dead here."
The dark sky, witnessing the tragic scene, thundered once again.