~Life is Hard~

He couldn't take it anymore. He just couldn't. He couldn't live through another day of torture and humiliation at the hands of that despicable Lathan Tuketu. He couldn't go through with that anymore.

Did he have to?

The insults, the tricks, the beatings...He wouldn't have to put up with it anymore, if only...

-

"Don't...don't pretend like you're surprised! I knew! My mother told me you had some terrible past. She didn't say what. But she said it's the only reason you ever married me. Just to cover it up. Just to keep her from ruining your reputation. Just so you wouldn't lose any respect and prestige," Phinelli said. Her voice was cracked; her eyes were moist.

"Why do you think she set us up in the first place?" Zarador said.

"Stop avoiding the subject! It isn't about her! This is about you!"

-

"O-oh my goodness...Nara, quick, get a healer...a doctor...anyone!" Yusuke cried.

"No! Don't try to help! I don't want to be healed!" Zarador protested.

"Hurry, hand me a cloth, anything...I need a tourniquet...Please!" Yusuke attempted to stop the flow, but the blood poured out nonetheless.

"NO!"

"Calm down! You'll be alright..."

"I don't WANT to be alright! I want to die!"

-

"Why do you want to know?" Zarador said.

"I want to know because...Because...Because we've been together for five years now and I think I deserve to know something about you!" she said.

"It's...depressing. Wouldn't you rather know something good?" he said.

"What could you possibly have done that was so horrible? For...for all I know you might be a, a murderer!"

"I can assure you, I'm not."

"Then what can be so bad about it? You never killed -anyone-?"

"Listen, please, let's just not talk about this."

"You didn't answer me. You never killed anyone?"

"No one -else-...No, it's not important. And I'm not talking about it anymore," he said.

"What? Don't you even trust me?"

"It's not nearly about trust. It's - "

"You know what else my mother said?" Phinelli interrupted. "She said you had a problem with the wedding ceremony. She said it wasn't just because it was unfamiliar, but because there were vows. She said you hate making promises. She said you try to avoid them. She said it's related to your past. Care to tell me why?"

-

Sierra stood next to Zarador while he lay on a bed. He was a saddening sight to see. He was much paler than usual to a frightening degree, multiple swathes of bandages were wrapped tightly around his injured wrist, and he seemed listless...gray in mood.

"How could you?" she said softly. "Why?"

"I...I just...couldn't take it..."

"You mean Lathan? Listen. Once you're an adult, you don't even have to live here anymore. You can leave here. You can leave all of this behind. You'll never have to see or hear him again."

"I can't...think that far ahead...I don't even care how good it might get in the future...I only care that I don't to be in pain NOW."

"Well maybe I care. Did you consider that?" she said. She sighed. "Please, promise me...That you'll never try this again. Ever, as long as you live."

He didn't respond at first. She frowned sadly down at him.

"Promise me or I'll never talk to you again," she said.

"You can't mean that," he said. She didn't say anything.

"Very well..." he said. "I...I promise."

"You mean it?"

"Yes..."

-

"No matter how much you pester me, I'm not going to tell you. Looking at the penchant for malicious gossip your mother has, it's difficult to tell what you might say to whom," Zarador said.

"Don't compare me with her!" Phinelli cried. "Why do you have to compare me with everyone else? Can't you ever see me as just me and not sorta like one person or kinda like some other person?"

"Phinelli..."

"No! I don't want to hear any more of your excuses or lies or whatever!" she said, turned and ran back down the hall, crying.