Author's Note: Hi guys, long time no see, huh? I'm SOOO sorry for not updating this story in a very long time, I've been so busy with school and I've been sick. But oh well, better late than never, right? Heheheheh... Anyways, just so you all know, this chapter is kind of boring compared to the last one that I've post last April, but this also has a lot of information and foreshadowing too. But hey, this one might not be so bad after all. And thank y'all so much for your continued love and support for this story, you have no idea how much that means to me... Okay, as always, I DO NOT OWN THE TWO HIT ANIME/MANGA SERIES "FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST" OR "SHINGEKI NO KYOJIN" OR THE ORIGINAL, CLASSIC FAIRY TALE OF "SNOW WHITE"! THE ONLY THING THAT I OWN FROM THIS IS MY OC, OLIVIA! THEY ALL BELONG TO THEIR ORIGINAL OWNERS, AND THIS STORY IS FOR ENTERTAINMENT PURPOSES ONLY! Okay then, enough with that, and let's get on with the story, shall we? ;-)
CHAPTER FOUR: Bloodbath and Lost Memories of the Massacred Past…
When she barely glanced up from the book, Paninya found herself smiling as she saw that Olivia, Nina, and Elicia burst out laughing over the last scene they had just finished reading aloud. Paninya then couldn't keep herself from laughing, and then they all laughed and laughed until they heard some kind of beeping sound coming from one side of the couch. The girls glanced over to a side table only to notice a small rectangular-shaped aquamarine-coloured object with small deep purple floral designs hand painted all over the front, back, and sides. There was also a small square-shaped screen flashing as the beeping sound continued to fill up the girls' ears. Then, Paninya sighed and chuckled softly to herself as she handed the book to Nina. She then rose to her feet and quickly made her way over to the side table to snatch the aquamarine coloured object.
"SHOOT! I can't believe I forgot to turn off my cell phone… Sorry guys. I'm going to have to take this. I'll only be a minute." Paninya apologized for the brief interruption as she glanced at the glowing screen and pressed the green 'receive' button before she held up the electronic device up to her ear.
"Hello?" she spoke into the phone's speakers.
"Hey Beautiful, how's it going?" a young man's voice replied.
"Hi Sammy! I'm doing fine thanks. I'm just here with the girls, and I'm staying here with them for a few nights. By the way, how's your leg? Is it feeling better since you were submitted into the hospital?" Paninya smiled as she felt a crimson red blush lightly brush over her tanned cheek bones.
"Oh! You have no idea how much it hurts. It feels like that my knee cap is on fire, on fire I tell ya! IT'S BURNING LIKE HELL!" Sam groaned in pain. "Anyways, the hospital's going to let me out tomorrow morning, and the Doctor said that I'll be stuck on crutches and my leg will be in a cast for two or three weeks. Other than that, I'll be okay, so no need for you to worry about me honey."
"Well that's good to hear. I hope that it gets better soon. Anyways, I'm going to have to let you go now, because it's about quarter to eight, and I need to have the girls in bed for ten-thirty at the absolute latest. Is that okay with you? I'll call you back later, and I promise you that I will." Paninya felt guilt slightly tug at her heart.
"Okay then Paninya. That's totally cool with me, and besides, I won't keep you long, and say 'hi' to the girls for me, will you? Love you lots, and I'll talk to you soon. Bye…" Sam said pleasantly.
"Love you to, Samuel. Bye now…" Paninya blew a quick kiss into the phone speakers before she pressed the button that ended the conversation for the night.
Paninya then slipped her cellphone into one of the front pockets of her pajama bottoms as she slid back into her spot on the couch and took the book out of Nina's lap when Olivia asked, "Was that your boyfriend, Paninya?"
"Yeah, you all remember my friend, Samuel Linke-Jackson, right? We started dating like over six months ago, and he recently fell and broke his leg while he was away with his friends practicing Judo. Anyways, he just wanted to call and let me know that he's okay and that he's getting out of the hospital tomorrow morning. He also says 'hi' to you all." Paninya explained. Then, she smiled as she added, "So, shall we read more and find out what happens next?"
"Sure." Elicia beamed as she watched Paninya then flipped the page over to the start of the next chapter. "I want to know what happens to Petra now, but I have a feeling that she will soon find the inner-strength to fight back, survive, and save herself from Envy. What do you guys think?"
"No way, I think that Sheska, Rio, Ling, and her little brothers will save her. That's just me though." That was Olivia's only response.
"Nah, I don't think so either. But something tells me that Levi will be the one rescuing Petra from Envy and his cruel tactics." Nina only smiled and laughed as she shook her head with a boost of confidence.
"Well let's read on ahead and see how things turn out for our heroine." Paninya replied one last time before she continued with reading the next part of the story out loud to the three girls by her side.
'In less than twenty-four hours, we'll all be on our way to Hyōsetsu City to help out as many people as we can.' Sheska thought aloud as she glanced at the miniature mantel clock that sat near the edge of the side table that stood just a few inches away from her bed. The clock softly chimed twenty times, which indicated that it was ten o'clock at night, but Sheska didn't feel sleepy. In fact, she felt so tense that she felt as though she could stay awake for many days in a row without a moment's rest. She glanced at the dark world of the night outside her window to see that the stars sparkling like diamonds in the black sky and a pearly white moon rose way above the horizon, gleaming brightly. The cool, crisp evening breeze blasted through her open window and parted drapes as it lightly brushed over her face and tousled her short, dark brown locks of hair. Sheska then glanced down at her lap and into her medical journal as she then snatched a feather quill and a tiny bottle of jet black ink and quickly began to flip through multiple pages at a time. She then kept flipping through the pages of her journal and scanned them for less than half a second until she finally found a fresh clean sheet of parchment paper for her to jot down her last-minute notes and scribble in some sketches before she called it a night.
The only source of light in the room was the silvery moonlight that streamed into her room through her open drapes and window and the tiny cream-coloured candle that glowed dimly with a small amber flame, which sat in a small, round pale blue porcelain dish beside the miniature mantel clock on the side table. Despite her being a near-sighted person, Sheska had incredible eye sight thanks to her reading glasses and she was able to see what she was doing in the dark with what little light was being provided. Multiple strange thoughts on the discussion in the Royal Castle Library from over two or three hours ago began to race through her mind as she heard the sound of the tip of the feather quill covered in black ink scratching against the clean, smooth surface of the white parchment paper. The room she was currently staying in seemed so still, silent, and empty that Sheska could even hear the sound of her own breathing and the gentle breeze passing through the window and drapes.
'The castle is way too still, empty, and quiet at night that it might as well be haunted, let alone abandoned. I can even hear the sound of leaves of the mighty oak tree fall and lightly brush against the surface of the shingled roofs and stone walls and the echoing sound of the lone wolf's cry out to the moon.' Sheska thought aloud again as she finished writing down her last-minute thoughts into the pages of her medical journal. As she then put the tiny glass jar of jet black ink and the feather quill back on the side table, Sheska then flipped through the pages of her journal until she came to the very first page.
The very first page of the journal was a hand painted picture of a young girl perched on top of a small bench made of stone, which of course was held fast to a stone wall, next to a large castle window. There was a beam of silvery blue moonlight that poured through the open castle window and into the room, which made the dreariness and dull of the room seem to be brighter and more cheerful than it really was. As the beam of moonlight seemed erasing all the dark shadows off the stone walls surrounding the girl, the world outside of the window was covered in nothing except for a thick blanket of darkness. The girl herself appeared to be around seventeen years of age, and she had pure white skin tone, long, smooth dark golden brown hair that was left loose as it reached all the way down to her waist, a warm pink blush that lightly brushed over her cheekbones that added colour to her pale face, pale rosy lips, and a pair of amber-coloured eyes with a hint of gold that glowed brightly like two fiery stars in the night sky. There was also a small, gentle smile that graced the girl's small rosy lips lighting up her face, and she was clothed in a simple yet beautiful dress that was made of silk, satin, and lace, while her dainty, little feet were revealed to be exposed.
And as for the girl's attire, it consisted of a light cherry blossom pink silk dress that lightly trimmed with pale gold lacing, and has long sleeves, a floor length skirt, and an oval-shaped collar. There was also a light purple satin surcoat, which was trimmed with dark pink lacing that is layered and sewn directly over top of the dress itself. The surcoat contained a bright pink bodice-like threaded stomacher that is lightly decorated with swirling golden vines and tiny, milky pearls that climbed from down the waist and all the way up to around the edge of the chest area. Along with this, the girl was also wearing a long, dark pink sash around her waist to hold both the dress and the surcoat in place while there was also a long, white translucent cape sewn to the back of the surcoat. She also had a silvery star-shaped locket that had a tiny heart-shaped sapphire that hung on a long, silvery golden chain around her neck along with a tiny matching pair of earrings. And on top of her head was a small, shimmering crown made of tiny silvery golden leaves embedded with tiny multi-coloured gemstones, and there was also a light blue diamond-shaped sapphire adorned exactly within the center on the front of this particular accessory.
The girl appeared to have her left arm reaching out towards the window while a small, pure white turtle dove was perched on the index finger of her hand with its smooth, delicate wings spread out. And in the bottom right-hand corner of the drawing, there was some hand-printed words in gleaming pearly white paint that said, "'Heaven's Light' by Sheska Myers, October. 17th, 1849".
Sheska felt herself smile as she then whispered loud enough for herself to hear, "I really miss you, Petra. I really do… If only I could see you again, then I would know for sure that you're alive, and that you're doing okay. And if you really are alive, then don't worry… Because no matter what happens on our way to Hyōsetsu City or how long it takes us to get there tomorrow morning, we will find you and get you back home A.S.A.P, and that's a promise… But until then-"
"Are you talking to yourself again, Sheska?" a familiar voice suddenly interrupted her thoughts and brought Sheska back to reality.
"GYAAH!" Sheska gasped as she nearly tumbled all over herself and out of her bed in panic and fear. But then she heard the sound of someone chuckling to themselves, and slowly turned her head to one side only to find a certain someone standing in the doorway to her room with a smug look on his face. Sheska then frowned and growled in a low voice, "Grr… Levi! You idiot! Will you quit doing that?! If you keep this up, then at this rate, you'll never have a girlfriend!"
Levi only just smirked back at Sheska mischievously before he replied, "Oh come on Sheska, you're no fun. I thought that you would've known by now that I only do that once in a while. And besides… I find it rather amusing whenever I do it to people like you."
"Oh shut up, you jerk. I might have known you since we were kids, and so I thought that you would've broken that horrible habit of scaring people like that. But apparently you proved me wrong. That's because you don't seem to have the brains or maturity to smarten up and act like the nice, young man you are." Sheska remarked back at Levi disapprovingly.
Then with a sheepish shrug, Levi sighed heavily, "Tsk! Yeah, yeah, whatever… Anyways, what are you still doing up? This isn't like you for you to be doing that, unless of course there's something heavy that happens to be on your mind at this hour."
Sheska instantly felt her body tense up at Levi's words. 'What the- Did he just read my mind?! I mean, how the hell does he do that?!' she thought to herself as her hands suddenly grew weak and shaky. For a moment, an awkward silence filled up the room, making both the Prince and Sheska feel extremely uncomfortable. As she darted her vision at the journal that lay wide open in her lap and right back Levi's face, which now expressed a mix of concern and frustration, Sheska breathed in as she replied, "It's nothing for you to worry about, Levi. I'm only just writing down some last minute notes in my journal in regards to the discussion back in the Royal Library a few hours ago. You know that it's normal for me to do this every night before I go to sleep, right?"
Levi seemed to frown at the girl's response as he shook his head in disbelief and heavy-sighed once more. "Come on, Sheska. I know you better than this. You're my childhood friend, and you have no idea how much I care about you." And somehow, before she could even blink, Sheska jumped when she found Levi sitting at the edge of her bed with his arms crossed over his chest and the same, stern scowl that remained plastered on his face. "I know from the tone of your voice and the way you're looking at me that something's bothering you. I understand that you don't always want to say what's on your mind, but you can't hide it from me forever. So now I'm going to ask you again… What's wrong, and why are you staying up late worrying about it anyways?"
Sheska only raised an eye brow at him in suspicion as she felt Levi's dark grayish, icy blue eyes bore intensely through her own deep, navy blue orbs, and piercing right into her skull. "Are you sure you really want to know?"
Then there was a long pause of awkward silence before either of them were able to take the chance to say anything else, which made it feel even more uneasy for both Sheska and the young Prince to even have a normal conversation with each other, let alone being fairly close together as any other childhood friends normally would be. As each second passed by, Sheska saw that the more Levi stared at her, the more his stare became intent as if he had the ability to see right into her soul. But she came to realize that she knew better, and that it was only a matter of time before he is able to know what she has been thinking. However, after several moments of resisting to blurt out what's on her mind, Sheska then lowered her head in defeat and muttered aloud, "Alright, fine. You win this one. It's just that… I've been having a lot of things on my mind lately, and sometimes I've just been so busy with helping Rio and Doctor Marcoh that I haven't been having the time to just take a moment and sort out my thoughts before moving on to the next thing."
As she then began to explain her worries, Levi felt so relieved that Sheska was finally being open about her thoughts and emotions and able to secretly share them with him while he only remained silent and listened. After all, that's what childhood friends are there for, right? Anyways, as Sheska continued to speak of her worries, Levi felt his heart sink with despair and sympathy for her as he let every word she spoke absorb his mind. When she was finally finished, Levi then gently brushed the dark brown bangs out of Sheska's eyes and laid a hand on her shoulder.
"So are you just worried about some kind of Ishvalan serial killer coming after your family and everyone else you know in Marosina Village?" Levi asked.
"Well not just that, but I'm also worried that whoever was responsible for kidnapping Petra around five years ago must've done some really horrible things to her." Sheska felt scorching tears burn her eyes as she tried to fight the urge to release them. "I can't imagine being held hostage and having to put up with a lot of cruel tactics and abusive torture for that long. It's not fair… And no one really knows if she's even alive anymore…"
"Oh. I see… I'm really sorry to hear that, Sheska. I'm sure that everything's going to be fine." The young Prince whispered reassuringly. Then he added, "I've also noticed that Sky hasn't been around here for the past three days. I hope that he's alright, and that he'll turn up again soon."
"You're not the only one who's noticed that he's been gone for three days straight. But wait a second…" Then it her hard like a wall of bricks. "I've just realized something. Do you remember when it was mentioned that a few kids from Marosina Village and two young female cadets from the military had disappeared around three days ago or something like that? Sky also went missing around the same time that happened. Do you think that-"
"Way ahead of you, Sheska. If I had to take a guess on what happened over the course of the past few days, then something tells me that Sky could have been kidnapped along with those kids and the two cadets exactly at the same time." Then Levi suddenly realized something. "I know I've been wrong before, but I'm starting to think the person who is responsible for kidnapping Petra must've done this. And whoever this person is, they're going to be sorry for what they did to hurt the innocent."
Sheska stared back at Levi, stunned at what he just said. "Whoa... That's something that I've never thought of before Levi. I'll have to bring this up when we leave for Hyōsetsu City in the morning. Speaking of which, we should get some sleep so that we're not so tired. Alright, I guess I'll see you in the morning then." She yawned as she then smiled and removed her reading glasses to set them down next to her on the bedside table.
"Right." Levi only nodded in reply before he rose to his feet and exited the bedroom through its doorway.
The next morning, before the bid goodbye to Lord Sig and Lady Izumi and Levi's family, Doctor Marcoh and the six selected companions loaded up a huge supply of medicine and many other supplies made necessary for embarking on a journey upon a large wooden wagon. Soon after, they mounted their strongest and fastest horses in the stables and they were on their way to the glacial community of Hyōsetsu City. As they traveled on the dirt road to the town, Ling noticed that the landscape and climate began to change. There was a chill in the breeze, and soon enough, small crystal-like snowflakes began to fall from the sky. After many hours of non-stop traveling, they soon came upon Hyōsetsu City. The wintery landscape was exactly as many people who passed through the region described as, but…
"What the- How… How did this happen?!" Rio shouted at the top of his lungs while the sound of his voice echoed throughout the arctic valley.
"I don't know, but something's not right…" Sheska gasped as she stared at the current state of the village. "Do think that there was a raid here?"
"No, I don't think so. It looks as though there was a huge bloodbath of some type. What could have possibly done this?" Ed muttered under his breath.
"Well we don't have time to just stand there, twiddling our thumbs and toes and stare at it. Come on! We've got to search the town for survivors!" Levi then grabbed hold of the reins of black stallion he was riding on and began to lead the rest of the group into what remained of the massacred Hyōsetsu City.
And meanwhile, somewhere within the northeastern borders of Resembool, back at the hideout in the forbidden forest…
'Five years… I can't believe that it's been over five years since I've last heard from my family… I wonder if they're doing alright. Have they forgotten about me? And in those five years, I've failed more than once in attempt to escape from this place, and the farthest that I've gotten was no more than the gateway to Marosina Village…'
Many thoughts raced through Petra's mind as she blankly stared at her reflection in a dusty, broken mirror shard that nestled in her small, delicate hands. The girl in the mirror shard stared back at her, with golden-amber eyes filled with sorrow and fear. Her golden brown hair grew all the way down to her waist, and over the time in her absence, she grew taller and her body took on the form of a young woman around sixteen and seventeen years of age. She also noticed that she now looked so thin and narrow, and that she was sick and weak compared to the time back before she was captured at the age of twelve. And her physical condition grew steadily worse, due to going on for over five years without her medicine. And as for her clothing, she wore a dark gray floor length dress with no sleeves over top of a long-sleeve, sand coloured shirt with a matching long strip of cloth that she used as a headband to keep the bangs out of her eyes. She also walked around barefoot, and the only things that she had to remember her family and past life were of course her locket and the matching earrings that she inherited from her mother before she died of the Serpent's Venom.
As she continued to stare down at her reflection in the mirror shard, Petra then turned to the open window in her cell that revealed the tops of the trees in the dark forest and other bits and pieces of the outside world as far as the human eye could see. The sky grew dark as the crescent, silvery moon barely peaked above the horizon while the tiny, diamond-like stars began come out and glow in the midnight blue sky like fireflies.
'I can't believe that I'm saying this, but…'
The young princess then felt tears glaze in her eyes, blurring her vision as she then turned away from the window. Then, suddenly not caring who would hear her, she then dashed over to the window and cried out to the outside world,
"HEELLLPPPP! SOMEBODY! Anybody… I don't care who or what you are, just please… Help me." Petra then pressed her back to the stone wall of her cell as she then slide down to the floor and sat back against it. She then took one last look at her reflection to see hot, steamy tears roll down the sides of her face before she gently set the broken mirror shard aside and brought her knees to her chest. She choked on her own sobs while she buried her face in her arms in attempt to muffle them. And before long, she found herself slowly drifting away from her surroundings as each minute passed by like the wind. Soon enough, the young princess finally ran out of tears to cry out her sadness before she fell asleep, lost within the depths of the dream world...
Author's Note: Alright, that was a bit longer than what I first expected, but oh well... And BTW, the line that Petra screams out at the end of this chapter was inspired by one of the most devastating scenes in Disney history: (SPOILER ALERT IF YOU HAVEN'T SEEN THE MOVIE, SORRY...) the wildebeest stampede and Mufasa's death in the hit film, "The Lion King". If you seriously haven't seen or even heard of this movie, then WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN ALL THIS TIME?! JK! XD I recently re watched it and some parts of it made me laugh while others made me cry. *sniffle and blows nose with a tissue* Sorry about that, and so yeah... And as always, remember to R'R, and NO rude comments please or I'll send a certain, angry "Prince NeatFreak" after you! XD And yeah, like I said, thank y'all so much for your continued love and support for this story, you have no idea how much that means to me... Okay then, thank you all again, and I'll hopefully see you again soon. I love you all, b'bye, and stay awesome bros! *Gives you all a brofist* ;-)