The year 1832.
Mythical beings have co-existed with humans for more than a thousand and a half years. They were viewed conflictingly from one eye to another. Some agreed to co-exist with them but some want to have nothing with them. And in a small village in Runalia where only humans lived, the night came around again.
Breeze wind playfully blew over the trees and the golden Moon shone upon the dark bringing the shadow to the people and her surroundings into a terrifying figure in the little girl's eyes. The moon was wide, she could never understand why it only appeared when the sky turned dark or why it always followed her even though it didn't move.
Today, the night felt even frightening than usual, perhaps it was because of the fact that her aunt brought her out in the middle of the night. A young girl like her, couldn't understand the reason but she was more sensitive to the hampering future. She shifted her gaze from the moon, looking at the run down carriage with a separate container at the back that was covered with a white tent made out of a sack.
Three men stood in front of the carriage chatting something in a rage that was muted from the young girl's side. She glanced around in bewilderment and fear, playing her bare little toes on the cold ground in agitation.
Suddenly she heard a sound of laughter from over her shoulder but felt afraid to look at the source and faced up to her aunt who was wearing a tattered brown dress. As her aunt was taller than her and because of the scarce light, she couldn't clearly see the expression her aunt was wearing. But from the shouting of the men and her aunt, she was sure it was certainly not a good expression for her to stare at.
The girl looked down back at her small feet before glancing over her back to see her aunt's house. Since she could remember, her eyes had always glued down to the floor, never looking up to the sky nor the faces of the people who talked to her. Her mother told her that she was cursed since her birth. Her father ran away and in the end, her mother also left her to live with her aunt.
It wasn't her first time living with her aunt. This was the fifth time, some of them were blood-related and some weren't. The one who adopted her now was her second aunt from her father's side or in another word, her real blood-related aunt. She had been working well in the previous households, making sure to not make a single mistake that could end up with her being thrown aside again. But hard work wasn't enough, at least to her aunts' and uncles' eyes.
"Then, we will be taking the child with us ." Suddenly, one of the rough-looking men spoke before tugging the collar to her dress.
The pulling the back of the ragged dress near her collarbone, her small neck caught in between harshly, making her gasp for air while struggling to break free from the man's hand. Tears hovered on her blue eyes as she choked. Her aunty pulled her hand to stop the man. "Wait!"
The young girl drew out a small breath in relief as the man stopped. It seemed that her aunt hasn't discarded her yet and still had a small corner in her heart for her. But her hope was completely shattered as soon as she heard her aunt's next words.
"I have signed the contract. Give me the money first and you could take the girl for good." Her aunt, Angelica spread out her palm in demand.
"Tch." One of the men clicked his tongue. "Woman, how come you are so demanding? Can't you use your fucking ears? I told you that when this girl had been auction then we will pay you back."
"And how could I believe your words?" Angelica crossed her arm to hump.
"If you can't believe our words then, would you try to die first?!" The man threatening voice thundered next to the girl's ears, making it rang loudly to the point that she became dizzy.
Angelica saw the dagger that the man unsheathed and humphed to let go of the young girl's hand. "You better make sure to follow your words."
The light in the young girl's eyes disappeared. Even though a moment ago she had just thought her aunt would protect her, she destroyed her last hope heartlessly into millions of pieces. Once again she was thrown away, the young girl's eyelashes flickered downward.
The man ignored Angelica's words and dragged the girl once again by the collar off to the carriage. Before she fully entered, the man took her wrist in one hand and clicked a heavy steel collar and handcuff to her neck and wrists.
The icy coldness of the steel sent a shiver through her back, making the hairs on her neck stood up. She glanced back at her aunt who was smiling to her heart content back to her house and bit her lips.
The girl was frightened to the core for being dragged to an unknown place. She has no one to protect her and could only pray that the place where she would be going to wouldn't be as bad as her aunty's house.
The man checked the locked chains with a yawn as the girl was thrown inside with a loud thud before another man brightened the inside of the carriage by the lantern on his left hand. Sharp light brought the man's face even clearer, he was certainly not good to look to and he reminded her of the frightening fractured statue near the church.
"... Seven... and eight." He stepped back and turned around to the other two men and exclaimed. "All eight are rounded here!"
"Let's go." The other one said before riding the front of the carriage. He reached out a leathered whip and slapped it to the horse buttock that was replied with a loud neigh by the horses, starting their journey to the slavery trading.
The bumpy road shook the container of the carriage like a tornado. The young girl had never ridden one and the shakes hurt her hips. She looked around and although the container was shut off completely by the tent, the girl spotted a small hole to see the horizon transitioned from blue to orange, giving morning to the night as they exited the village where she lived.
Being a curious little girl she was, her eyes peeked around the carriage. Even though most of the young girls inside the tent were older than her, they all looked like a doll with lifeless eyes that held no single intention to either greet or converse with her. Like her, they were also leashed by a collar and handcuffs.
As she was about to start a conversation with the girl beside her, she heard the slave traffickers outside their carriage bustling aloud.
"What about the young child? We can't possibly send her the way she is without any learning as a slave, can't we?" The man held a whip for the horses in one hand and a glass of beer, on the other hand, his breath stank of alcohol that the person who he spoke to beside him couldn't help but pinch his nose in nausea.
"I don't get the foggiest clue the nobles are thinking or the superior's mind. Well, there are enough bastards that would love to get their hands on virgin and child, so I guess she had her own job to do."
"What a low-life bastard." The other slave trafficker chided.
"Bringing young children to the hell on earth, what we are doing is also low-life, idiot!" The man whipped the horse once again.
The other replied with a shrug on his shoulder. "But I don't lay my hand on the child, so I'm pretty white."
The other sneered, "Pretty white, your ass! Well as long as they aren't buy by the sorcerer for sacrifice, being bought by the nasty old men are still count as lucky." The man beside him snorted, "There is hardly any luck from the options fool. Both are hell."
Hearing their conversation, the young girl's heart sunk to cold ice. Her prayer couldn't reach God yet and it already been stamped all over in the mud.
The word hell on Earth was not a new term for her as she heard it from the priests before. Hell was the place which was filled with unending burning fire, sharp cliffs with piercing stones bellow that would tear your heart once you fell in, a frightening place for sinners.
But she had not made any sins that could lead her to hell. She couldn't understand, why would her aunt send her there?
Hours and hours on the carriage, the sky turned black twice before the carriage finally halted its place on the destination. On her whole way to the slave building, she couldn't form any conversation with the other older girls as they kept their mouth tightly pursed all the time, ignoring her.
Perhaps they were also scared, comforted the girl to herself.
After hearing the conversation of the slavery traffickers that her place would be worst than hell, the young girl had no other choice than imagining the worst outcome that would soon be her fate.
As she was drowning on her thoughts, the previous slave trafficker who threatened her aunt knocked on the roof of the tent.
"Wake up, damned beings! We are going down now!" He shouted before lowering the railing guards of the carriage tent for the girls to go down.
Being the first one to be pulled by the slave trafficker, the young girl had long accepted her series of misfortune with a gloom heart.
It hurt, her body hurt, her throat hurt, and her hips hurt. But she has no place to complain nor make a grunt from it.
"Walk! Walk! Use your legs to walk!" The other trafficker held a whip made out of thin-cut leather that would surely hurt if it was slapped on her skin, thought the girl as she obediently followed their instruction to enter the underground.
She looked around the place which was created like a jail for prisoners that the girl once heard from the villager's gossips. Inside each cell, women older than her by few ages looked terrifyingly ill and slender to the bones as though their life had been sucked out from the place they were living in.
The dimmed long corridor that seemed to have no edge, cold gust of wind that often came out of nowhere and the flickering lantern brought nothing but more dread to her.
As she was inspecting the whole place, a shrilling scream from an unknown woman made her small feet to stop in fear. Her hands trembled and her knees were about to give in when the girl in front of her had fallen first and shrieked from the pool of blood that stream down to the corridor from the other cell.
"What are you fucking doing?! Stand up!" The guardsman loudly screamed as he whipped the girl who fell with his leash. Following the hard slapping sound, fresh blood dripped down in a diagonal strike on the girl's skin, making her shuddered in fear.
I shouldn't fall no matter what, the girl thought to herself and further walked down the corridor to the cell that gradually grew dimmer. She couldn't see the end of the corridor as it was dark but the deeper she goes in, the frightening it became.
The long corridor for her small wounded legs tired her out. Not only the fear and uneasiness catching up to her, the tears that she tirelessly held back glossed out her blue eyes.
Not long after the direction her fellow carriage mate fell, the man stopped at a place and unlocked the cell that was made of iron bars and pushed her in harshly. As her body was smaller than the average girls at her age, she fell miserably to the floor making her knees bleed out.
The guards couldn't care less if any of them was wounded as he had too many other slaves and whammed the door with a clanking noise. Seeing him disappeared for a moment, she drew out a breath and stood up from her place trotting with uneven steps to the corner of the room. On the corner, the girl slumped down and hugged her knees to bury her head.
What did she do that her aunt would send her to the places that those men called hell on earth? She had behaved very well last time, abiding by all their heartless order and beatings, but that wasn't enough as in the end, they sell her away.
"A- Are you alright?" A woman spoke in a hushed tone, stammering her parched lips and crouched next to the little girl, appearing from the shadow beside her to sit nearer with her.
The girl looked up and nodded without a word, to be exact she didn't know what to say as her state at the moment was far from alright.