Disclaimer; In a world beyond my imagination, I do not own Heart no Kuni no Alice or any of its bishies.


Clockwork Hearts

Preface

The air was rank with the overwhelming scent of death and blood. Bodies were splayed haphazardly across the floor. Some lay prostrate over their own blossoming pools of blood. Others had heads detached from their bodies.

Most would cringe at the disconcerting massacre, cower away from the encompassing carnage.

He considered himself the exception. He lay perfectly content standing in the middle of the bloodbath. He had long hardened his clock heart, making him almost immune to the bloodshed. After all, he had been the one who had caused such a bloodbath.

His scarlet orbs, hidden behind the protective cover of his mask, lay fixated on one sole figure, the only other living figure in this whole room.

The man followed the girl's gaze down towards the fading form of one dead body. Shadows of the incoming night seemed to swallow the body up before making it completely disappear from sight. Lying in place of the body was a single clock. Its glass face was shattered into small fragments. Its metal arms were broken and bent.

The young girl slowly cradled it gently in her hands, allowing her long locks to shield her face from his stare.

"Can you give me that?"

The girl froze in her place, refusing to acknowledge the man's presence, refusing to face the man that killed a person she held so very dear.

"I don't think you heard me." A low gasp escaped from her lips, seeing the assailant appear directly before her. With a dark smile on his face, he repeated, "Can you please give me that?"

Upon hearing his request, the girl lifted her eyes to meet his scarlet orbs.

Or at least what should have been her eyes.

Standing before him was a mere faceless girl. She was of no importance and usually wouldn't have garnered any interest in normal circumstances.

Perhaps it was because this was not a normal circumstance. No matter the reason, she had his undivided attention.

Even without eyes, he could still feel it, feel her emotions exuding from her being with such a corporeal intensity. Anger and hatred burned her cheeks, contorting her features into a vicious scowl.

But the emotion that truly acquired his attention?

Tears of inexplicable despair drenched her visage, rolling down in hot rivulets down her cheeks.

He never thought it possible. A faceless person? Crying? Where did those tears come from? She shouldn't be able to cry without tear ducts. He just could not wrap his brain around it, but there was no way denying it. She was crying right before him, indignation radiating her diminutive person.

Then his gaze watched her arms outstretch to the side, holding the clock tightly between her shaking fist. Her intent needn't be spoken; he completely understood.

"Oh, no! I wouldn't do that if I were you!" In response, he lifted his bloodied sword, its sharp point barely touching her chest. "…Unless you have a death wish."

The girl did not flinch at his threat, not even at the thought that he would kill her without absolutely no hesitation. In fact, her reaction almost disturbed him.

The faceless girl laughed and smiled. "What's the difference if I'm dead? I am only one faceless person, a person so insignificant in this crazy, violent game… perhaps not as insignificant as you."

"What do you mean by that?" the scarlet-eyed man questioned, his stance unwavering.

"Isn't it obvious? You don't think everyone is blind, do you? We have a sense of who you are, role holder. We all can sense your importance, your nearly invaluable sense of worth… is that why you garb yourself in that ridiculous attire? Do you truly hate your role so much you would resort in participating in such menial affairs? Do you really think that's enough for you to be relieved? Don't make me laugh." The girl winced, feeling steel pierce the first layer of skin, allowing a steady stream of blood to rise up and flow down her chest. That did not deter her train of thought. She continued without hesitation or deterrence. "Face it, knight. You're more pathetic than I am. You don't even understand who you truly are."

"Oh, and you do?" he challenged, his veneer melting into general stoicism.

She smiled. "I know myself enough to know what I stand for, who I fight for. I know myself enough to know how to keep my promises, knight… and know when I've got nothing to lose."

Just when the clock crashed down onto the floor with a devastating shatter, the girl's vision fell into a deep darkness. She barely felt it. It all went by so quick for her to actually experience any pain. Everything gave way to a cold numbness when the red knight struck her in her heart.


A/N Notes: New story idea that has been racking my brain. I've got quite a bit planned for this. Because this is only the preface, this chapter is not that long. Keep it in the back of your minds when reading (or when I actually get updating).

Thanks for reading~