PROLOGUE

Mors liberatrix


"You are lying," the voice was barely a whisper, yet it sliced the silence that followed the man's declaration.

Dark figures remained mute, observing a small form in between them amusedly. The man in question didn't even bother to answer the girl's accusations. He knew, as well as all of them did, that she herself did not believe in her own words. He merely chuckled in sick humour as he watched the young woman's petite body tremble deliciously.

"You… are lying," the girl repeated louder this time, digging her short nails into the stone of the statue. Long, dirty strands of hair shadowed her face, concealing her bemused eyes.

She reeked of mud and gore.

One of her shaky hands lifted from the rock and went to cover her lips, nails bloody from scratching. She was resisting the urge to vomit.

"Hey, I reeeally don't think the lady looks good," an obscenely loud childlike voice exclaimed, adversely cheerful in the gloomy darkness of the cave, "I'll take care of the pretty lady, because Tobi is a good-"

"For fuck's sake, would you just shut your goddamned mouth already? I swear to Jashin-sama if I don't kick your rainbow-ass one day-" another figure started yelling obscenities, of which the girl seemed completely unaware. The entertaining dialogue that took place as other voices joined in on the argument fell on death ears, for girl was consumed with bone-chilling thoughts.

He's lying...

(but you know he is not.)

It's impossible...

(you've expected it from the very beginning.)

Everything. Everything is gone...

(they are ALL gone.)

I have lost purpose...

(you have never even had one.)

The last morbid thought hit home and she felt all the despair, helplessness and loneliness she had suppressed for so darn long drown her in another wave of nausea. Memories she'd have preferred to forget plagued her mind in a cacophony of words, laughs, mockeries.

(it was all meaningless)

"I'm just... so cold…"

(you've lost it all)

"So naive…"

(so why struggle?)

"Pathetic…"

(why will you live now?)

"Worthless…"

(what. ever. for?)

The girl felt as if scales have been lifted from her eyes. She was free of duty. Free of pretense.

She refused to submit anymore. No, there was nothing in the game for her now. Nothing to lose, nothing to gain. And if the dark was all that had ever been meant for her then, by all means, she would make sure it was she herself who chose it.

All threats came to a halt when laughter echoed off the wet walls of the cavern. Multiple pairs of eyes, each as monstrous and deadly as the next, regarded the slim figure as it started to rise to its feet. Picking herself up, the girl laughed dryly, like to a stupid, humorless joke only she knew, rid of any real emotion that might have been behind it.

Laughing long and hard.

"The bitch is fuckin' crazy," uttered someone.

Her laughter grew harder, rising almost hysterically, and she stood up, gracefully, elegantly, in a comical contrast to her bloody, shattered clothes.

"What," ringed eyes flashed in the darkness, "do you find so funny, girl?" Under the seemingly aloof tone of his voice shone such challenge that a few silhouettes flickered uncomfortably. Yet, to their utter surprise, the young woman gave him no heed as she intently straightened her clothes…

"Maybe she didn't hear you," the masked one pouted, "Tobi thinks the pretty lady doesn't like us-"

"Why," a sugary voice cut him off, drawling almost triumphantly, "are you so eager to play a fool-" The girl had raised her head; chin high tauntingly, green eyes glittering with expectance.

"tell us then... U – chi- ha Ma – da – ra ?"

The words oozed down her tongue, each syllable dripping like bitter honey.

The masked man stopped, straightening ever so slightly.

Turned to her.

Come on now. Do it.

The unfortunate girl knew what to expect before her gaze even fixed on the single black hole of his mask. There was a glint of a malevolent onyx eye. Cold. Sharp.

Flash of crimson red.

And then…

. . .

oblivion.


Translation: Mors liberatrix- Death the liberator.

A/N (edited): Dramatic enough for you to linger for a little while? But this is not the beginning of the story. In fact, it is the endwell, sort of… The story truly begins in the next chapter. If you liked it, read on. But a piece of warning to all who venture further?

This is not a happy story.

This is not a fanfic written for the pleasure of seeing already-ill-reputed OCs throwing tea-parties with the characters and finding true love. This story is not about me proving that my characters are unique/special/different than the others out there, or even getting into the whole 'Mary-Sue debate', so please leave it out of it. Also, if you're here expecting the OCs to be playing 'matchmaker' with canon characters, I suggest you turn back now. Just... no.

True love and true happiness are abstract concepts in this story, because the OC is trying nothing but to survive in a completely different reality, with all its highly negative aspects as well as those positive. This is not out of pure sadism- I promise this story actually has a certain point to make...

First, an apology: I first started writing this story when I was new to writing, writing in English, fanfiction as a whole, and not even properly sixteen years old, so as for the first several chapters I will say outright that it is not up-to-standards. Please bear with me. I considered editing all the beginner mistakes and clichéd dialogue, but have decided to leave it as it is. It is inspiring, to me as its author, to go back to my old writing and remind myself that I should always keep improving.

'The Price of Living' is written in the as-realistic-as-I-could-get-away-with way (meaning: without having the OCs killed off instantly, of course, allowing the realism to stray for the benefit of actually having a plot). This story is going to a long, looong walk, written from one OC's point of view (hint: which means that what the OC doesn't see or know, you won't see or know), with a slow, slow build-up, but I sincerely hope that this (and my already-too-long rambling) won't put you off.

Constructive criticism is more than welcome, of course. I hope you'll be tolerant to any and all grammar/spelling mistakes in this and the future chapters: English is not my mother tongue. Enough from me now- enjoy. :)