People are running, screaming and trampling over one another. It is pure chaos and pandemonium where one girl is lying on the ground taking her last breaths.
'Why didn't I take more time to be healthy and fit. How was I supposed to know my life would end like this? Why did this happen?'
The girl thought before she whimpered out. "Someone… please... help… please!"
But no one stopped to help. The few people that saw her just quickly gave her a pitying gaze before they ran on. Soon there was no one left but the dead people or other dying people around her.
"Kahahahaha… dammit" The girl laughed crazily before she broke down in tears slamming her fist into the ground. Her lower half of her body was stuck beneath rubble. Not having the strength to cry anymore she was left to her thoughts.
'If only I just ignored the dying like everyone else I might not have been in this situation. No… If only I was … stronger. If I was stronger I wouldn't be dying in vain like this. I could lift this rubble off myself.'
"Ughh.." The pain was almost unbearable as the girl was slowly bleeding out. The girl just slowly closed her eyes, resigning herself to her fate.
'Mom, dad, grandma, big sis… I'm sorry I wasn't strong enough. Please be safe.'
Then everything went black. The girl died with the regret of not being strong enough and leaving her loved ones behind.
Next thing she knows she awakens in pure darkness. Her body feels light, almost non-existent.
'So this is death. Just a whole lot of nothing.' Thought the girl as she looked around searching for someone or something else in this never ending darkness.
Floating through darkness the girl reminisced about her past. She had been 22 years old when she died. Just graduating from college and starting her career as a software developer in a small startup company. After work she would always go home to read comics, play video games, or read the latest web novel.
She was a typical geek who spent most of her time by herself. She would forgo exercising and eating healthy to spend more time reading. Her life revolved around stories that helped her escape her bleak life. If she knew the world was going to emerge into chaos, she would have spent more time enjoying that bleak lifestyle.
What seemed like ages in this complete darkness with nothing but memories that seemed to be fading with time, the girl saw this faint light.
'Is it heaven can? I finally leave this darkness and nothingness.'
The girl desperately reached for the light. The more time she spent in this darkness the more memories started to fade. She couldn't really remember her loved ones or who she had been.
The one memory that was still crystal clear was her last moments desperately wishing to be stronger.
As her hand grazed the light, the light grew brighter suddenly and swept away the darkness. But it only lasted a second before everything went dark again.
Desperately wanting to escape the darkness the girl burst into tears and started to wail. But something about this darkness felt different. That's when she heard voices.
"My lady, it's a girl!" a woman exclaimed.
"A girl…" a deep gruff voice that seemed to be on the verge of tears, quickly exclaimed. "Honey, it's a girl! My little baby girl, she'll be daddy's little princess."
"Yes, yes dear" a tired voice responded.
The girl opened her eyes to a scene she didn't suspect. She was staring at an elderly woman who was cradling her in her arms and slowly passing her to another woman. This woman had long green hair and emerald eyes. Her face was sharp yet elegant even though it looked strained with beads of sweat. She smiled brightly at the girl.
"Huh… she seems to have stopped crying the moment she was in your arms my lady."
"So it seems."
"Honey she looks like you, she even has your hair."
"Hmmm… I think she looks more like you."
"Really" the gruff voice seemed excited as he rushed closer to get a good look at his daughter.
The baby's eyes widened in surprise as this bear of a man took up her view. He had short wavy brown hair that seemed like a mess. His face had two scars. One that stretched from his left eye to his lip. The other was on the upper right of his forehead.
'I look like him' The girl thought. She didn't know whether to be horrified or excited. 'He looks scary, but strong. If I look like him I can be strong.' Her sapphire eyes started to sparkle with a slight smile covering her face.
The man's thick eyebrows started to wriggle almost in excitement. "Honey, she's not crying, look she's not crying, and seems to be smiling at me. Bahahahaha! She must know she is daddy's princess. Bahahaha!" His voice boomed followed by loud laughter.
The slight smile was quickly replaced with a thoughtful stare. 'On second thought I think he's crazy.'
"So it would seem our little Meadow Lark knows who her father is." The elegant woman left out a soft chuckle as she brushed the baby's cheek softly with her hand. "I think it's time for both Meadow and myself to get some rest."
"Ah. Meadow, what a lovely name my lady. I will take her to the nursery right away."
"But..." The man started before seeing the firm gaze of his wife that seemed to be telling him to get to work. Sigh. "I understand, dear. I will see you and our precious Meadow later." He leaned down, giving his wife a light kiss on the forehead, before picking up Meadow. "My little princess, I will see you later." He gave her a very light squeeze before passing her off to the old woman.
Meadow's eyes started to flutter before slowly closing. 'So my name is Meadow.' She peacefully went to sleep accepting the darkness.
"Young masters, you shouldn't be loud, your sister is sleeping."
"But nanny, I want to see her."
"Wanna see! Wanna see!"
Meadow woke up to an old woman's voice that could be heard outside of the room. Beyond the door the old woman was advising two young boys under the age of five.
The eldest of the two boys was around four years old. He was tall for his age and had wavy short green hair. His overall demeanor seemed fierce compared to the cute little boy beside him. The little boy was around two years old and had the same green hair as his brother. His hair was longer and had a slight wave to it. Unlike his brother's sharp emerald eyes, he had big doe-like emerald eyes.
Both boys stood side by side in front of the old woman who seemed to be guarding the closed door to Meadow's room.
"I understand, but she needs to rest since she is still a newborn. You can meet her later tomorrow."
"But nanny." The eldest countered.
"No buts. Now off you go. Make sure you take young master Oswald to his room for his nap before you head to your lessons, young master Leopold. I will follow behind after checking on the little lady."
A dejected voice responded. "I understand. Let's go, Oswald. Time for a nap."
"Nap! No want nap. I big boy like you." The younger boy whined.
"Come on Os, as soon as I'm done with my lessons I'll come find you and we can play."
"Okay…" Oswald grumbled as he trudged behind his elder brother down the corridor. After the old woman confirmed the boys were out of sight, she opened the door to Meadow's room. But the old woman didn't hear the boys plotting around the corner.
Leopold whispered to his pouting brother, "Let's sneak out and see her tonight."
"Really?" The boy asked excitedly.
"Shh…" Leopold hushed his brother and quickly checked to make sure no one was listening. "It's a secret, okay?"
"Okay." Oswald giggled softly as he followed his brother more excitedly.
Meadow laid in the middle of the room in a very fancy golden crib as the old lady entered the grand doors. The old woman quickly scurried over to the crib as she peeked in to see a wide eyed baby.
"Oh you're awake!" The old woman stared shocked at the baby. She was curious as to why the baby didn't seem to be crying the moment she woke. She was perturbed by the stare she was receiving from the baby that seemed to be observing her thoughtfully.
'Weird, it feels like she is trying to figure me out.'
The old lady wasn't wrong. Meadow was trying to understand her circumstance as well as the people she just barely met. She was certain that she had lived another life, but everything had become so foggy during the time she spent in darkness. One curiosity remained ---on how she felt like she could understand everything they were saying even though she was positive she'd never heard this language before.
She continued to observe the woman who she heard was called 'Nanny' through the door by the boys. Her gaze shifted as she did her best to look around her surroundings. Since her body felt like a rock, she could only make out certain things. However, everything she could see looked to be super fancy. 'Am I a Nobel, I believe I heard Nanny calling someone a young master.'
The bedroom was huge and spacious. It was filled with many stuffed animals and toys. The walls had an intricate design carved around to form the border. There was a huge window that was covered with curtains. 'Am I some kind of princess?'
The girl remembers the bear like a man, who she assumed was her father, calling her his princess. 'Hmmm… I'm uncertain if I'm a princess or not, but I'm pretty sure I'm part of some wealthy family.'
The old woman looked at the baby still perplexed. 'She's so quiet for a baby.' The woman was debating whether this is something that she needed to worry about. 'Is she sick, but she looks so healthy and her eyes are full of curiosity.'
The nanny brushed Meadow's forehead and repositioned the baby blanket. "The temperature seems fine," she mumbled under her breath. The soft brush of the hand made Meadow tired again.
'What's up with this old lady? She's looking at me all concerned. Ah. I'm so tired again.'
Meadow yawned and slowly her eyes fluttered closed. Seeming satisfied that her assumptions were wrong, the nanny turned to exit the room. "I'll be back to check on you in a bit." Meadow didn't even hear the door shut because she had already fallen asleep.
Meadow woke up later that night to the sound of a door creaking open. Peaking through the bars of her crib she notices two small blobs stealthy enter the room. The taller of the two advised the smaller to be as quiet as possible, as the smaller blob stumbled into the room slamming the door behind him.
"Os you got to be more quiet. This is a top secret mission remember."
"We are already in so I guess it's not that big of a deal if we are caught now."
Leopold comforted his brother as they both ran up to the crib. However the crib was a bit too tall for the youngest of the two boys. Meadow could no longer see the two green hair boys.
"I can't see." Oswald grumbled as he struggled to look up through the bars on his tiptoes.
"I can't really see her either." Leopold stated as he was struggling to make her out through the bar gaps of the crib. Leopold looked around the room and spotted a chair in the corner. "Os, let's try and move that chair."
"Okay!" Oswald nodded excitedly.
The sound of the chair being pushed across the room. The boys struggled to push the fancy lounge chair. Especially Oswald who fell a couple of times the chair moved more than he was ready for.
"We gotta try to be more quiet." Leopold whispered. But his efforts to be more quiet seemed in vain.
After the chair was in position next to the crib. The boys climbed up and stood on the chair together. Oswald standing on his tippy-toes peered over the crib with his brother next to him. They both looked at the wide-eyed Meadow in the crib.
They stared at each other in silence for what seemed like a couple of minutes. Meadow was just shocked to see these tiny humans looking at her with sparkling gazes until Leopold broke the silence.
"Ugly" Oswald interrupted and overpowered Leopold's remark.
"--small and cute"
'Ugly?' Meadow blinked in surprise at the disgust in this little boy's voice.
"Ugly?" A bombing voice asked, which caused the two boys to almost fall off the chair. They were steady by their father who looked down at them with a big grin before turning his gaze down into the crib. "My little princess can't be ugly."
"But she is. She's all wrinkly and fat."
"She may be wrinkly but I still think she is still cute."
'I am a baby, of course I am wrinkly and pudgy. What did he expect.'
"Bahahahaha! Oswald, your brother has the right mindset. Just look at how cute your baby sister is. Look at her closely and you still tell me she is ugly."
Oswald took a moment and seriously looked down at Meadow. Meadow did her best to look semi-cute and reach her hands out to her brother, but her body was still new to her. The most she did was squirm and blink a bit.
Oswald looked back up at his father and made eye contact. He had a serious face before he blurted out, "Still ugly." He quickly jumped from the chair and ran out of the room.
"You little shi." The father caught himself before he swore and chased after Oswald who was booking it down the hallway laughing.
Once Leopold was left alone in the room, he gave his greetings to his little sister.
"Hello Meadow, I am your big brother Leopold, I promise I'll talk to Oswald about calling you 'Ugly'. As your biggest brother, I promise I will always protect you."
He reached his hand down and pet Meadow's head.
'It's so warm.' Meadow thought as she slowly fell asleep.
"So the boys and their father went to go see Meadow tonight."
"Yes madam both young masters snuck out of their rooms together to see the little lady. And Lord Lark snuck away from his duties. The lord and young master Oswald woke up some of the staff running through the hallways. Young master Leopold followed behind eventually and gave his apologies."
A maid informed Lady Lark who was laying in bed reading some documents with thee nanny at her side.
"Sigh. It seems like I will be having to scold my husband and keep a close eye on him now with Meadow being born."
"It seems so my lady, but for now you should rest." The nanny responded before taking the documents away from Lady Lark.
"You are right. They can wait until tomorrow."