NOTE: Hello, this is the revised version of chapter one. I decided the change the name to Secret Garden, the reason will come out later as to why. Anyway please enjoy, and please, if you could spare the time, contribute a review. Any comments and suggestions will be most welcome. Thank you.
A rose, as fair as ever saw the North,
Grew in a little garden all alone;
A sweeter flower did Nature ne'er put forth,
Nor fairer garden yet was never known:
The maidens danced about it morn and noon,
And learned bards of it their ditties made;
The nimble fairies by the pale-faced moon
Water'd the root and kiss'd her pretty shade.
Sunlight streamed forth, showering the glistening garden in a crystalline sheen, while small raindrops fluttered down from the dripping leaves of the willow trees. The garden appeared even more beautiful after the rain. Lime green glass glistened as they crunched gently under her polished red slippers. The girl breathed in deeply, the sweet pure scent of spring refreshed her, bringing such tranquility shivering across her skin. A sea of roses in every imaginable color surrounded her. Crimson, magenta, indigo, violet, gold… Each was like scintillating gemstones embraced by emerald leaves; each wafted an exceptional, intoxicating aroma. The girl giggled and spun around delicately, letting the currents of nature's perfume and beauty submerge her within its waves. A subtle breeze fluttered her frilly white dress, the light silky fabric spread in the wind like the opening wings of a dove.
She twirled one last time, smiling in delight. It was all so perfect and gorgeous, befitting a princess. This was her new home. This was her special rose garden. Her own secret garden... She smiled glancing contently about, then suddenly frowned. Slowly she approached one particular bush. It was lovely, like the rest, manicured consummately and embellished with fifteen cerise roses; smooth light green leaves waving, piercing thorns concealed within, however, there was just one small problem. There, at the top of the rose bush, barely visible among the greeneries, was a small white rose bud, soon to blossom. She stared at it with repelled disdain.
"…Maids." The girl uttered in a low, soft voice.
Instantly, as if out of nowhere two young women dressed uniformly in black and white gowns appeared, bowing. "Yes, My Lady." They politely inquired in unison.
Out of the corner of her eye, she swept a glance at them. "What is this?" The girl asked in a pleasant, curious voice.
The maids respectfully raised their heads slightly to regard with interest at what their mistress was questioning about. At the sight of the small trembling white rose bud their eyes grew wide and a sense of apprehension assaulted them. With pallid cheeks and faintly quivering voices, they stuttered in reply, "W-We are most a-apologetic My Lady! How could we have been so thoughtless! Please forgive us! W-We shall paint it right away!"
The exquisite little girl smiled at the maids sweetly, and then beckoned them forward towards her. They obeyed with reluctance, shuffling their steps. When they got near their Lady, one of them fell to her knees and groveled at her red slipper feet. Begging for clemency, "I have a family and children Your Highness! Please!" She sobbed. At this the other maid too fell to her knees and imitated the same process, both were shuddering in fear. The girl signed dramatically.
She looked down at the maids in a sympathetic, innocent expression. "Really just what are you guys thinking? Don't worry, all I want you to do is to paint my rose, that's all!" She laughed at the expressions of great relief displayed so blatantly on the two young woman's faces.
"I-Is that all… My Lady?"
With that, the two women's bodies were sliced into shreds. Dagger shaped candles spun over their corpses, reveling. Blood splattered over the surrounding plants like a flowering fountain of rich red wine. Burgundy droplets rained down from the clear blue sky as if another spring shower, this time tinting the garden in garnet red. The petite girl tittered in a hysterical childish manner as she stared in rapture at the stunned expressions on the maids' faces, which were rolling in a pool of their own sweet fluid. Unable to suppress herself, she danced in the cherry red rain smelling like salt and iron until it finally, abruptly ceased. Licking the blood off of her slender fingers the girl skimmed her surroundings in wonder. The lovely garden had been disseminated with scarlet splatters and blotches, or had been wholly tainted in a dark, pretty, velvety red.
Oh, of course, there were a few pink fleshy pieces here and there, some hair, sliced drenched clothing, a eyeball rolling… She gently kicked that away. A little chaotic, but it wouldn't matter, she'll just politely ask the other maids to clean it up. Then her garden would be impeccable again, just like the enchanted rose orchard of a beautiful enchantress. The girl smiled merrily, but for now she wanted to enjoy such an extraordinary vista, this masterpiece deserved to be acclaimed. Skipping over towards that particular bush again, which had so, caught her interest, she glanced up at that tiny white rose bud, except that it is no longer white at all, it was dripping red. Standing on her tippy toes, the girl fondly kissed the rose bud. "Now you are just as beautiful." She whispered.
"What a twisted little monster you are." A voice sneered.
She whirled around, scarlet-white skirt swilling, spraying claret droplets. Blood trickling candles as sharp as needlepoints rose menacingly as she narrowed her eyes at the intruder to her private garden.
"What do you want? You're not welcome here." The girl stated impassively with half lidded eyes.
"Now, now. What's with the manners? You've been here long enough to know how to act properly, don't you? Or should we continue with the lady lessons?" The man teased lightly. He was leaning casually on the white marble terrace over looking the colorful garden. The man was dressed in sleek black; an especially tailored and modish suit displayed his sculptured figure strikingly. His thick, dark wavy hair was combed back in a lose ponytail tied by a black trailing ribbon. Eyes flickering gold glanced down in amusement at the glowering little girl drenched in crimson. She glared up at him with animosity. "Road, you better get cleaned up before dinner. If anyone sees you like this…" He broke off chuckling. "Be glad the others are absent."
The girl, Road, was annoyed, and sends several of her candles whipping towards the handsome man on top of the terrace. He avoided them easily, all the while mischievously teasing her for her inelegant actions. "What a barbaric, violent gorilla princess you are!" He admonished. Road growing more frustrated by the minute clenched her small fists and was about to advance into an all out battle before something stopped her. "Tikki… If you're here, then, does that mean?"
The gentleman called Tikki smiled equivocally. "If you had listened instead of trying to tear me into pieces I would have informed you sooner, Earl Campbell had some business he will be tending to. Hence, I, your new temporary guardian am here to watch over our dainty little Lady." He bowed gracefully, "I am at your service Your Highness," the man taunted.
Road pouted for a second, she would like nothing better than to continue what she was doing, in fact she deliberated if a Noah's blood would make her roses look even more prettier. However, the girl also did not want to upset her father, whom she loved. Grinning mischievously Road countered, "How nice of you, although I do miss The Earl, my sweet, sweet foster father. I don't mind such a handsome servant either." She smirked. "Clean this up for me would you? Make sure no bit of guts or drop of blood (except on my roses) is left in my precious orchard when I return, after all this is no environment for a growing angelic girl!" Tikki scoffed, he was about to object flatly when Road cut him off, "If you don't, I am sure your consciousness will hunt you with unpleasant endless nightmares at night, you are such a kind person after all, am I correct?"
"Road, don't be ridiculous, you just transformed, there's no way your powers-"
"Plus~ my wonderful foster father would just hate for me to get abused at his absence, wouldn't he? Oh, I wonder what I should tell him? That Lord Tikki refused to aid me in distress and instead mocked me? But I can't possibly! I couldn't get Lord Tikki into trouble, right?" Tikki was speechless. He certainly hadn't expected the Earl's new daughter to be like this, from what he heard described of her… Why, it was completely the opposite! The newest member of the Campbell family was lethal and demonically sadistic, despite appearances.
Taking his silence as his agreement. The girl giggled and skipped towards a white gallery to her right, leaving delicate bloody footprints. "Thank you, Tikki! I look forward to having you as my new slave!" She called out cheerfully. "W-Wait!" However Road pretended not to hear him and hummed a lullaby as she left, her small form soon swallowed by the numerous white halls of the mansion. The floating candles vanished with the girl, without him noticing. Tikki sighed, rubbing his temples. Who knew baby-sitting a twelve-year-old girl could be such a tedious task? Perhaps the alternative mission would have been a more pleasant option. No wonder the Earl has hinted at something involving discipline. Releasing his head, the man inspected the bloody rose garden with passive lowered eyes, if only slightly sickened; glancing briefly at the scattered pieces of body parts and guts sprawled around in a phlegmatic manner. What an atrocious, sarcastic, and sinister child she is, he thought. Then smiled sadly as another thought hit him, she'll make a wonderful Noah.
"Well, I better do as the little Lady commands." With an exasperated sigh Tikki went off to find some better suited maids for such a task. In fact, he better replace all the maids in the mansion, it was an enigma as to why the Earl hadn't done so already considering how expendable Lady Road was toward her servants.
An intricate black butterfly fluttered above the garden, flying over the elaborate marble balcony, the weeping angels that sat on the ledge of the terrace, the grand white hall, and ultimately, it landed softly on the shoulder of the young man strolling briskly across the gleaming marble. Tikki stopped. Aroused from his contemplations by the arrival of the insect, he glanced towards it in pleasant surprise.
"Hello Teeze, do you have some news for me?" Tikki asked, smiling. He held out his hand, and the butterfly leaped lightly onto his index finger, regarding its master with sparkling obsidian orbs. Rapidly the butterfly's glossy wings twisted and folded, while the thin body curled. Before long, a black folded envelope lay unopened in the man's palm.
Interested, Tikki prayed open the envelope and took out the white, crumbled letter folded within. Straightening it, he began to read-
Dear Lord Joido of The Great Family of Campbell,
Although you may not have been acquainted with me previously, we are related through matrimonial connections. Please forgive me for my arbitrariness and selfish irrationality, but I must solemn request a desperate favor of you…