9:59 PM



“Tell me, girl, what’s your name?” I said nothing; instead I fought to break the bag that I was in, to escape to freedom. “Girl! You belong to me now. Tell me your name.”

“I don’t belong to anyone.” I snarled. My captor paused, and I froze, suspicious and frightened. I heard the click of a door, and suddenly I was sprawled on the ground. The man that had taken me from my home began to shake me out of the bag.

“Here, as a token of our partnership, I give you this. It’s an alloy of silver and gold, embedded with emeralds, rubies, sapphires, amethysts, any jewel you could think of.” The light blinded me, and I squinted at the circlet that he presented me. It glowed softly in the moonlight. Wear me, it said. Wear me and all your worries will be gone. Suspiciously, I snatched the crown from the man’s hands and put it on my head.

The first thing that I was aware of was a sharp pain in my right arm. That stupid throwing knife may not have killed me, but it had scored a long gash on my arm. Someone was cleaning it – a boy, probably, for he was not as gentle as my sisters had cleaned my cuts when I was a girl. I’d probably lost a lot of blood; I was dizzy and weak. Damn that madman. At least, now that I was free, I could help stop his insanity…if anyone trusted me, that is.

And the crown! The crown that has stolen my freedom. My pretense of unconsciousness slipped, and I twitched. The hands cleaning my wound froze. There was no point in pretending now; slowly, I opened my eyes.

The tints of red in the corners of my vision had vanished. I was really free. The young man observed me cautiously. He had spiky black hair, and brown eyes. For a minute, we only stared at each other. I did not move, and neither did he.

“Are you expecting me to sit up and try to kill you?” I asked. He blinked.

“…yes.” He admitted. He still did not move.

“Relax, man. Destroy the damned crown if you will, but I’m not going to attack you. Unless you attack me first, but that’s beside the point.” He glanced at the crown, but remained frozen. “And let me heal myself.” I focused on my arm, willing it to heal, imagining the skin to close up, and the muscle underneath to come together as if nothing had happened. The teen’s sharp intake of breath revealed that the crown had not stolen my white magic after all.

“How’d you do that?” He asked.

“White magic. Nullified under the crown.”

“The crown…?” He glanced at the crown again, and an expression of hate skittered across his features.

“Robbed me of my will. By the way, I’m Alexa.” Finally, he relaxed.


“You were headed for the East town, weren’t you? Allow me to accompany you.”

“But-” Stephen protested.

“I know they’re out to kill me. You’ve seen that from my gash, right? Well I don’t care. I’m going to stop the madman, with or without you.” I interrupted.

He conceded.

Both of us weak, one from hunger (I could hear his stomach complaining) and the other from blood loss, we sluggishly made our way towards the East town. The first person I saw was pale blond-haired one that I’d nearly killed last night.