Thunder boomed overhead, the rain came down in sheets. A carriage just outside of town was turned over, horses dead, servants killed, a count and countess bleeding out slowly. A young girl with green hair and orange eyes laid there on the blood-soaked muddy ground. Her body twisted unnaturally, bones in her right leg broken.
How many hours had she laid here? In so much pain that her body was numb? How long did she cry out for help while others pillaged her family's carriage? Her throat hurt, she was no longer able to talk. Everything hurt so much, salty tears escaped her eyes sliding down her face mixing with the cold rain. The heat from the tears felt like fire compared to the icy feeling of the rain.
Her vision dimmed as she stared up at the sky, what was her name again? It hurt so much, everything hurt so much. She just wanted to go home.
Visions swam before her eyes feeling so real that she could almost reach out and touch them. Buildings that were as tall as mountains that touched the sky. Large metal carriages both on the ground and in the air, boats made of metal, weapons that sounded like thunder when used. So much all at once. She could only lay there silently as the information hit her.
Why was she seeing all this, a voice in her head spoke. It sounded like hers but at the same time it wasn't. 'It was from your other life. Your past life.' "Oh." She could only grunt in response. She didn't know what was talking to her honestly she didn't care at this point. She just wanted the pain to stop already. She turned her head to seek some comfort from her mother. Only to come to the same cold realization as she did not that long ago. Her mother was gone. Her father as well.
Their cold lifeless eyes stared at her, hands reaching towards her desperately as a sad final depiction of their love for her. She was alone now, she was so small and alone. Everything hurt and no one would help her. Why wouldn't they help her? She was little, she needed help.
She thought of who would help her. Her mind traveling to the thoughts of the warm and kind butler back at the estate. It wasn't too far from here... Just an hour or two of a carriage ride. Everything hurt so bad, she wanted to go home. She wanted to be in bed to eat something warm to go to sleep and wake up. Everything would be fine then. This was just a bad dream, it was all just a very bad dream.
So she flipped over on her stomach and started to crawl through the mud and the gunk. The pain was great but she knew deep down she needed to move. Otherwise, she was would die. As she crawled through the mud that was soaked with rain and blood. Her mind flashed back to that other life. Images of her family with familiar eyes that her parents had. Filled with love and pride. Parties, dances, graduations, so many memories with each inch she crawled,
Several times her face fell into a puddle, she thought of laying there and just letting go. It would be so easy to let go. But she was angry, who lets a little girl die beside the road? What point was there to kill her family? Her father spoke often of people trying to take things from them. It had worried her, but her father had always said as long as they had each other it would be fine. But they took that too. She was tired, she was tired of being taken from.
She let out a scream of pain and anger as she tried to stand. Every step hurt, every movement, even breathing. But she wouldn't die, not like this, she was Villain Ness of the Ness family! Her family was inventors and healers! They were great warriors and scholars! She wouldn't stop, it wouldn't end here. She'd make it home!
"I am Villain Ness!" She shouted into the wind, "Daughter of Viola Ness and Serius Ness!" They were random cries of insanity, Villain knew this. But they kept her going. She went to chant once more when her body collapsed and she was hit by a wave of information. With her face first in a muddy puddle, she saw a vision of a book. 'The Hero of the Sword in the Stone', a young man pulling a sword from a stone was on the cover. She saw a name, Leon, visions of brown hair and purple eyes flooded her mind.
Words filled her vision dialogue between this Leon and someone with the same name as her. 'You've gone too far!' 'I haven't gone far enough! I have done so much for you and this is how you repay me! By betraying me!'
This world... That book... They were one and the same.
She was destined to die at the hands of this Leon. Which meant... Villain gripped the mud in the puddle. Which meant she wasn't going to die here. She lifted herself up gasping for air. She let out a scream just as a carriage rolled by. They didn't stop. She didn't expect them to. She had learned a very important lesson today.
Kindness is only given when there's something to be gotten in return.
She would remember this lesson.
Step by step, inch by inch, every moment she slowly moved. She blacked out a few times, her body persistently moving. She only stopped when she felt some familiar cobblestone under her and collapsed in front of the gates of the estate beside the road. The last thing she saw was the faded chalk mark drawings she had drew yesterday. In the darkness, she heard a stunned scream of terror. Then everything went black.
More visions and images filled her mind in her slumber. A young woman, who looked like her but was different stared at her. "They took everything from us you know." Villain was silent, unsure how to respond. She was too tired to care to be honest. "Promise me you'll take it back. Take back what's ours and never let them steal anything from us again."
"I promise..." Villain mumbled softly as she felt the warm heat of sun rays on her face. She groaned softly slowly feeling pain flooding her body. She looked around and spotted a mass of black hair. "Thomas?" She asked reaching for the hair next to her bed. An older man snapped awake and his eyes widened. "Villie!" he shouted hugging her tightly. He sobbed, "Oh Villie..." Villain or Villie hugged Thomas. "Your parents..." he mumbled, "They're gone." Villain replied, the butler pulled away his bottom lip quivering. "I'm afraid I have some more bad news," he said slowly lifting up her blanket. Her mangled leg was bandaged up.
"Your leg is nearly beyond repair. You'll walk with a limp for the rest of your life-." Thomas was about to go on describing what she should do to be able to use it. But Villain's mind was filled with lines from that book.
'While the little Villain recovered, the counts and barons of nearby territories split the Ness family estate amongst themselves. Despite being only a family of counts the estate had the wealth of a maquis. Had the little girl not been injured they would not have had this opportunity.'
"Cut it off." Villain spat out, Thomas went rigid hearing such a cold tone in Villain's voice. She was a sweet little girl not but a few days ago. Now she was telling him to cut her leg off. "I have no use for a leg that won't even operate properly." Villain wasn't the same little girl in that book. "But how will you walk?" Thomas asked, "It's not that hard to make a new leg Thomas. Call a doctor and get me a piece of paper. and charcoal." She demanded.
Thomas stared at her, "Quickly." She snapped, the butler scrambled to his feet. Once she had the paper in hand she sketched out a prosthetic leg. The information came to her easily, she may have had one in that life of hers. Or perhaps had something to do with making them. A machine that generated products out of thin air appeared in her mind. Something called a printer of a third dimension?
Never the less she had the mechanics of the product down so that's all that mattered. "Send this to the dwarves along with my measurements. I will need a new one every few months or so until I stop growing." She instructed before turning to the doctor.
"You." She said pointing to him, "Cut this off." She said pointing to her leg. "I can't just cut off a child's leg!" He tried to argue, "I am no child. I am the Countess of this house. Both of my parents are dead there is no next of kin and I have no guardian by imperial law I am no child." The doctor stared at her stunned.
She had no idea why he was surprised, what person could remain a child after experiencing what she had?
"Well?" She snapped, "Yes!" The doctor stuttered, Villain was put under, and within a matter of hours, she was left with only one leg. "That's the last thing they'll be getting." She told herself when she woke up alone in her bedroom. This behavior, wasn't uncommon for someone of the house of Ness to behave that way. Suddenly maturing and creating things. Her father called it the 'awakening'. Villain began to wonder if maybe her family consisted of people with other lives just like her.
Awakenings usually happened after traumatic events such as injury or illness. Children would suddenly become knowledgeable and behave beyond their years. Villain wondered if this was the same for her. While she racked her brain trying to figure out if the Villain in the novel had the same experience. There wasn't much discussed about her.
After all, she was the first antagonist, not the main character. That honor was held by Leon. Who was, by all intents and purposes a very typical nonoffensive hero. Righteous, kind-hearted, always did the right thing. His dark side was only ever shown when he interacted with the Countess. Which, of course, was completely justified considering how he was treated by her.
Villie tried hard not to think too much about some of the information presented to her in those visions. It was hard to understand for her even still. It felt like her mind had been separated into two different people. An older version of herself and a younger version of herself.
A very strange mental situation she had, but it was her reality. Thankfully despite the difference between these two consciousnesses, they agreed on one thing. They both wanted to take back what was theirs and protect what they had. It would be a lot for a child to do. But she was no mere child.
She was a Ness.
Within a week Villie was fitted with her new leg. It was crude but it was what could be put together on short notice. The maids helped Villie strap the thing on and Thomas handed her something. Villie held the long pole in her hands. It was her father's cane.
"It's a bit large." Diana, one of the maids remarked, "I'll grow into it." Villie replied, she pressed a button on the side and the wood collapsed into itself creating a much more suitable cane for Villie. Her father, Serus, had difficulty walking due to a horse-riding accident he had a child. This collapsable cane was one of his first inventions after his awakening. It was sort of fateful she'd be using this as well.
Dressed in all black, Villie took a deep breath and headed to her parents' funeral never having expected she would have to bury them at age ten. But here she was. Doing just that.
The funeral was large after all it wasn't every day that a count and countess died. Villie stood at the front next to a twin set of caskets. Both jade green with gold trim. The Ness family colors. One by one individuals with greedy eyes and grubby hands came up offering condolences for the loss of Villain's family. Villie stared at them dully. Making note of individuals that rang bells in her head.
In the book, Leon actually did track down individuals involved in the divvying of the Ness estate. It was a tool to show how morally upright Leon was despite the abuse he had suffered at Villain's hands. It was also a way of showing that his one true love had healed his damaged heart so he was able to do good for his abuser.
Not exactly the best way of going about it. But the poor writing aside, That information will be insanely useful for Villain. After all, there was no harm in taking the information presented to her and using that for her benefit.
All this being said, Villie did still want to see a certain group of guests in the crowd. The Hamilton family from the Hamilton Dukedom. Her family had been on their way to meet them. There were talks of an arranged marriage between Villie and their son Samuel.
The Duke of Hamilton served as a great ally for Leon in the book. Surely this family would assist a young girl in need?
The cold look on the Duke and Duchess's face said it all. In one instance all hope for a familiar connection was gone. But nothing stung so much as the icy glare that came from Samuel. Villie had known Samuel since they were infants.
But now he looked at her as if she were the scum of the earth. "We're terribly sorry for your loss Villie." The duchess said in faux empathy. "We'd offer help but as you know the duchy has fallen on hard times up north." The Duke remarked.
Thomas, who had been standing silently with Villie all this time, squeezed her shoulders in anger. Not enough to hurt, but enough to show how angry he was. The older man was practically shaking. Villie couldn't blame him, who were they to say such things at a funeral. Even if it was a lie, it was only polite to offer help. But they wouldn't even offer her that kindness.
Villie stared up at the adults and then at Samuel. "I know better than to ask for help from those who look down upon me." She spoke formally and confidently. "It would've been best if you had not shown your faces at all." She said coldly, "After all, you are part of the reason my family is dead and my leg is gone. Had you not insisted on meeting them that day. I would have two legs and two parents."
The duke and duchess gaped at her, "How dare you--." The duchess went to scold, "Duchess Hamilton." Thomas spoke up, "The countess has asked you to leave. Please do not cause a scene." Thomas spoke loudly getting the attention of others there. Under the stares of everyone there. The duchess and duke of Hamilton buckled. Their greedy stares that were once directed at Villie were directed at them.
The duchess glared at Villie before turning to leave. The duke spoke up, "Do not call of the house of Hamilton." He spat, "Do not call upon the house of Ness." Villain replied in kind. The only one who lingered was Samuel who stared at Villain. "Villie." He spoke up after his father left, "Do not call me that lord Hamilton." Villain snapped, "I am Countess Ness, only my friends or family are allowed to call me by such a name." She scolded. Samuel went mum hearing this, he nodded silently before turning and leaving.
The rest of the funeral was quiet and that night Villain was assisted into bed by Diana and Thomas. "You must be exhausted," Diana said softly, "I am." Villain replied Diana nodded in understanding. "Well if you get hungry in the middle of the night do not hesitate to pull on the rope." She instructed pointing over to a green rope hanging near the bed.
"I'm fine." Replied Villain, they left at hearing that. Pulling the blanket up Villain closed her eyes and dreamt of the same thing she always dreamed of. Brown hair, purple eyes, and a large smile. Leon.
Villain Ness had a secret, the world that she lived in was a novel, a young adult novel called 'The Hero of the sword in the Stone'. Villain or 'Villie' had read it in her past life. And while that information had done her little good over the years of surviving as an orphan of nobility.
Everything came crashing in when Leon, the hero, showed up on her doorstep. According to the original story, Villie was supposed to abuse and use Leon until he killed her in self-defense. Naturally after spending years of expanding her territory. Villie wasn't going to let that happen.
So she came up with a plan, be kind, but not too kind, and when the time came. Villie would walk away from the story and continue with her life as she always had.
That had been the plan anyway. So, how did it end up like this?