I hate this place.

Not a day goes by that I don whisper those four words under my breath. How could I not? Its only half past noon and Im already banished to the shed, all alone as I sat on the corner of the small room. Whats more, in a few minutes Im about to get whooped by that man again. And the reason? Psh, I don even know anymore! Even if Im simply standing in the corner breathing, it won matter. Theyll still find ways to punish me one way or another.

Thats…just how it is here.

And its all because of my STUPID HAIR AND EYES. The color of my hair and eyes are the main reason all those around me treat me like trash. Its so unfair, everyone in the empire are mages. Elemental mages to be exact. But I am what they call a Malem. A Mage without an element, with no such strength and power. Thats what I am. And brown is the color that symbolizes that I am indeed a Malem.

How cruel. To be born like this, Im better off dead.

Now here I am. In this small shed. The small space granted to me for whatever reason. The only place where I could run to and rest my head, quickly became the place where I would hide from the Viscount. Bruises all over my body, they
e basically numb. Im so used to getting yelled at that it doesn really bother me anymore. Id probably be offended if someone even tries to compliment me. Its times like this that I wonder,

How long will I be able to survive this gruesome reality?

BANG! The doors burst open. My whole body reacted immediately, flinching, then proceeding to tremble all over. My brain starts wishing for it to be over when it hasn even started yet. The Viscount enters the room. Niles Porfirio Kad Brotillon, a well known noble and powerful water mage. Hes known for his dark blue hair and gem like blue eyes. But under all that? Is a man who enjoys torturing and belittling others. He held in his right hand a long whip rolled up in a loop, wearing that same devilish look he always had in his face as he smirked in amusement.

”Now tell me, ” He uttered in an ominous tone. ”Why an ungrateful brat like you, dare insult my darling daughter?! ”

Ah. So its about her. I shouldve known. Carolina Lavette Kad Brotillon, the youngest daughter of the Viscount. She is the exact girl version of her father and is spoiled, bratty, but most of all–wicked. Shes three years older than me and despises those who are eneath her. A trait that almost all nobles posses. I could not help but stare blankly at the viscount like I don know what he was talking about. And the fact is, I really don .

As I recalled the events of the day, I let out a soft sigh. She probably saw me looking at her earlier and felt offended that such a low ranking maid like me would even dare make eye contact with her. And so, using her cute charming personality, she rattled me out to her father.

”My Lord, I didn - ” I tried to protest, such a dumb mistake to make at a time like this.

”SHUT UP! ” spit came out of his mouth as he screamed.

My face turned bright red as his palm hit the side of my cheek. But I knew, thats just the beginning of my so called punishment. He grabbed me by the arm, shoving me on the corner of the room. My knees bled, scraped from the concrete floors as I knelt. I couldn even do as much as groan in pain.

”Heh, pathetic Malem. ” he chuckled softly.

He reached his hand out, gripping on my cheeks and jaw as tightly as he could. In a split second, my face was only inches away from his. I could hear him breathing softly, his hot breath passing through my face. From the way he was looking at me, I could tell he was staring me down. Trying his best to scare me and make my body tremble even more. But unfortunately, even as my body trembled, I wasn scared. This, to me, was normal. And the trembling, is nothing but a reflex.

When I stared back at him with such emotionless eyes, he became even more irritated. He pushed me down once more. This time, my head hit the floor with a loud thud.

”..Argh.. ” I let out a soft groan.

The Viscount stood up. I could hear him unrolling the long whip he reserved holding in his right hand this whole time.

”You
e eyes disgust me. ” he said, before pulling on my hair and rolling it in his other arm.

”Perhaps I should just gouge them out once and for all. It may even make you a little presentable. ” he continued, whispering the words near my ear.

I shivered all over. The situation felt disgusting. I wanted to shout. I wanted to at least call for help. But even I knew that no one would just magically burst through the doors and swoop me away. Thats not how real life works. Before I know it, tears began to fall from my eyes. The deranged lord started letting my hair go, slowly but gently he untangled my hair from his arms.

And thats when I knew….

WUH-POW! With one big strike, the thin tip of the long whip, pressed hard against my back.

”GRAAAAAAHHHHH! ”

My screams reached even the most secluded rooms of the Brotillon Manor.

Im used to the beatings and whooping, but Im not numb. It still hurt. He slashed his hand forward in full speed with a wide smile. Of course hes enjoying this. I closed my eyes shut, whimpering with every whoop, screaming in agony every time he increases the force of his whooping.

”Thats–!! ” WUH-POW!! He targeted the spine on my back.

”What you get–!! ” WUH-POW!! He moved on to my sides.

”For being such a trash!! ” WUH-POW!! He moved down to my legs.

Youd think Id scream as loudly as I did when the first whoop striked, but the pain was too much that I couldn even scream in pain properly. The only sound that cam out from my small self was a soft whimper.

Seconds, turned into minutes, which turned into hours. Hours of endless screaming and beatings. By the time the Viscount stopped, I could barely even let out a whimper. My body was shaking all over, exhausted and completely aching. I don even know what time it is anymore. I lost track when the 2nd round of whooping took place. There were even a couple of times when I passed out, the Viscount kicked me until I opened my eyes again.

Finally….Finally its over….

Lord Brotillon left without a word. He stormed out the moment he was satisfied with the way I looked; almost dead. But I didn mind. I glanced slowly at my bed as I layed on the ground, trying my best to at least lift myself up. But it was no use. Looks like Ill lay here for a while. I laid on the floor as I wondered just how am I still alive?

Ill be turning 6 in the next two months or so, I don even know if thats really the month I was born. But what I know is, its been almost 6 years since I was found near the maids quarters. I wouldn really call myself lucky, cause Im so not. But at least…for now…Im alive.

I could feel my strength slowly fading away. The last thing I remember was seeing my own blood, stained on the wall. And as my consciousness slowly degenerated, I blacked out.

*-*-*-*-*-*

Minutes? Hours? I don even know how long I laid there, but I woke up to someones familiar touch. A warm comforting hand caressed the side of my cheek. As I felt the coldness of the floor that my unconscious self laid on, I jolted up.

A young woman with beautiful golden hair came into a slightly blurry view. But even then, I immediately recognized her luscious grey eyes staring back at me, filled with tears of pain. Its as if she was the one who got beaten up.

”Addie… ” I called out, forcing a smile on my face.

She immediately reached out to me, giving me a tight hug. ”I came as soon as I heard. ” she whispered near my ear.

”Im so…very very sorry… ” she kept repeating those words over and over again, planting them in my brain.

Even though my body ached all over, Addies hug was worth the pain. Still, I had no strength. I couldn even hug her back. When she felt me quiver a little, she quickly pulled away. She looked at me like Im some sort of fancy base she accidentally broke.

”Oh my! Oh dear, Im sorry… ” her voice ever so mellow and comforting, but she wore such a sorrowful expression. ”Your wounds must still hurt huh? ”

Indeed, Addie was the only one who would look at me with like that. No one but her, cared about how others treated me. Though she couldn really do anything about it, she would at least help clean my wounds up and bandage them.

”Cmon, ” she said. ”Lets get you cleaned up. ”

Her two strong arms lifted me up, carrying me into her arms. I can tell she was trying to be careful, her arms shook slightly as she carried me to the bathroom. Once inside, she put me down carefully on a small wooden chair before proceeding to fill the small tub with warm water.

”Ill make sure the temperature is perfect, ok? ” She smiled to gracefully at me.

I nodded in reply. ”Tha…Thank..you.. ”

Once I felt the warm bath water on my skin, my body finally starts to relax. I glanced at Addie, who was carefully cleaning the wounds on my left leg.

”So, ” she uttered softly. ”Whats his excuse this time? ”

”The usual. ” I giggled mockingly. ”Apparently I insulted the young Lady Carolina. ”

”Oh really? ” she raised an eyebrow. ”And how did you manage to do that? ”

”He didn really tell me the real reason, just that I insulted the young lady. ” I snorted.

Addie scoffed, shaking her head in complete disgust and disagreement. ”Thats….the third time this week. ” she continued.

”Well, I am a Malem after all. Its not like they had no real reason to begin with. ” I answered.

Addie shot me a disturbed look, as if confused at how I could say such things so normally. She stared at me for a while, her mouth opened and closed. It seemed like she wanted to tell me something, but the words just won come out of her mouth.

In the end, she just smiled and looked away without a single word, carefully rinsing the dirt off my wounds with the same disturbed expression.

”I hope you don think that beating up a mere 5 year old child is normal, cause its not. ” she uttered in a serious tone, clearly annoyed.

She no longer made eye contact with me, focusing her attention in just cleaning me up.

”I…I know, ” I answered, looking at Addie with a sigh.

A soft melancholic smile could not help but appear on my face. It had been 5 years. Yet until now, I still don understand why she voluntarily agrees to help me, even when I don ask her to, even when shell clearly get into trouble if she did. At first, I found it quite comforting. Who wouldn want someone like her as company? But gradually, it started to feel as if she felt guilty for bringing me to the Viscount instead of just leaving me somewhere else.

Indeed, it had been 5 years since the head maid of House Brotillon took the poor malem baby she found near the shed of the Brotillon mansions backyard in her arms and begged the Viscount to let her raise it. After all, it wasn just an it in Addies mind, it was a she. A living, breathing, non-magical being. Yes, Ive heard that story a million times. Thats the story of how I came to this hell hole in the first place. I bet Addie regretted taking me in soon after I turned three, thats when the gruesome punishments started.

In my mind, her guilt will always be the number one reason she gets annoyed when the Viscount beats me. Her guilt will always be the main reason why she helps me even though she might get in trouble badly. That guilt, her guilt, am I a terrible person for wishing that it will never go away? It is true that because of her I am now a punching bag for the Brotillons. But, it is also because of her that I am able to survive this long. Whether or not I am thankful for that, I do not know yet.

In my state,

Its hard to be thankful for something thats not worth being thankful for.

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To Be Continued…

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