Disclaimer: All characters belong to Naoko Takeuchi. I am merely using the characters for my literature work, which will not be sold in any way to gain profit.
Warning (Please note that most of what I mention might never occur in the story): Language, a brief mention of rape, sexual content (brief). Dark Darien. Violence.
I give credit to my (ex) Beta-Reader, Starling Sinclair. She helped me before with my writing in the past. Even though, I've changed in my writing style, I still credit her for helping me when so many others did not respond to me. I thank her for the time-even if she helped with only two chapters.
Welcome to Hell
As a child, Serena had imagined the world like a fairytale. Her brother, Samuel—Sammy, as she would often call him in affection—filled her mind with princesses and princes falling in love, and battling those who opposed their love.
Although, as enchanting he described love, he also frightened her with tales of beasts roaming the lands along with humankind. Minotaurs, beasts with hooves, and a chest of that of a human male, protected the land to the west. It—or he—was never alone.
Harpies nestled in the coniferous trees, uncommon for their kind. Harpies were to believe to come from the south, of where mountains ruled the land. Here, below sea-level, it was hard to imagine them living near civilization, along with a Minotaur no less.
"Why do the beasts protect the land of the west?"
Sammy had looked at her, and then had placed his hand on top of hers. "The beasts protect the land to the west because it brings fortune. Food is plentiful. Water tastes like wine. Elysium is what they call it. But I doubt it is paradise."
"Why do you say that?"
He had looked away, thinking about what to say to her. She was only seven-years-old, unable to comprehend the evil that shook her world. He had eased her mind with words fooling only a child, "You think too much about what I say. It's just a tale."
If only her brother had told her instead of sheltering her from the world how real Elysium was.
At that moment her thoughts came to a rest. She heard footsteps approach. By her bedroom door, voices, which she had come to distinguish in the past months, hushed into whispers.
She knew who was behind that door. That person became the reason her dreams were never sweet. Harsh and gruesome nightmares kept her up at night. The morning sun, how it used to peck her nose with a light kiss and welcome her to another day of living, now mocked her with cruelty, being trapped in hell.
She scanned the closet that she was in, hoping that the expensive dresses, hanging on a wire, shield her from being seen. In front of her, a chest filled with garments, became the barrier between the door and the wall.
It was all so pathetic. She knew that she would be caught. Her hiding spot was easy. It was better hiding under the bed in the end. But, then again, she only wanted privacy, a chance to face reality. But reality will never sink in completely.
The air began to suffocate her with suspense. Instead of smelling the strong scent of red roses in the air, she could smell her fear pumping in her veins. She turned her thoughts to the hedges outside. Prickly thorns and roses intertwined with green, the hedges were tall and mighty, covering the land in a maze, where many had surely died in attempt to escape.
This was her prison now. Her home. That person, she kept regarding as, was her husband that ruled this land. Elysium—she was in it; although, this part of the land kept the name the lost kingdom. Indeed, the title described the land well.
Serena began to tremble when the door opened. Against the cool tiles, her husband ambled toward the curtains and swept them opened. Light showered the room and colored away the dark atmosphere.
All this she could see through the crack of the closet doors, left opened to her pleasure. Reduced to her knees, she moved her head and forced her eyes to follow his movement. She caught a glimpse of his dark clothing. He then turned his chest toward her direction, noticing the ruby necklace chained around his neck.
"Must we start our mornings this way?"
He carried himself with a soft-spoken voice. But she was no fool. Even with a solicitous tone, he held a sharp tongue.
Even his appearance seemed approachable. With black, short hair, it framed his face with light touches when he moved his head, like a feather touching the skin. His bangs parted to a side, sweeping across his forehead. Blue eyes, dark like the deception he played, enchanted others with his beauty. It even made Serena fall into his gaze, and take in his pale complexion and stark lips.
She stopped from thinking about him and moved her back to the wall.
He headed toward the tub, and slammed the doors behind him when he did not find her there. He then approached the plentiful bed, fitting for royalty, and lowered himself on his knee. Serena swore when he turned his attention to the closet.
"Hiding in a closet?" He began his stride toward her. "I thought better of you."
She held in her breath and watched as he opened the closet doors. The dresses slid apart. She was found, but it did not matter. She had enough time to bask in her privacy and face reality.
Looking up, she met his eye, and took in his handsome face. He moved the chest to a side, the barrier she had now gone. He then gave her a wicked smile, and cupped her chin when she stood up.
"Good morning. How was your night, love?"
Love—how she wanted to spit in his face. He carelessly used it as a mockery to the real thing, and tossed it around as a chess piece. There is no love between them. Even if he whispered those three words in her ear, she hardly believed it.
People do not do this when they are in love. Then again, she was lucky enough to have two parents in love with each other than having two parents who simply married because their social status mandated it.
He wiped his thumb across her bottom lip.
No matter how much she stared at him, she still could not believe her luck. Middle class, and married in two days, Serena never thought her prince charming would be a cold-hearted king.