(Prefix: There are times when transphobic language and deadnaming is used against Cinder in this chapter. Also, there are times Cinder is being refer by her deadname. If you are sensitive to these topics, please proceed with caution.)
Laughter, insults, and embarrassment have always been the background noise that rings through her ears. So be it from her father, her peers, her enemies, and the ignorant people in her life. She survived the worst, or she believed the worst was past her. The Nozelles are known to move past their crimes, but it is just her luck that she can't even drive past her mistakes. At least not in this life.
Rough hands gripped the top of her hair and pulled violently up to a half-covered face that clearly loved every second of disabling a noble family into dust. "Lady Cinder, wife to the weak son of the Nozelle," the face spat into her face.
This bastard's mask can't keep his saliva. Cinder thought as she remained glaring at the masked man. She could bash her head into this bastard's head to knock him out, but then she would have to deal with another, as far she could count, ten of these bastards. She could die honorably, fighting to survive, if she bashed this man head in and took the rest headfirst. She had been in a war so crucial to Haeven that she rose the ranks for her family name. Well, her 'husband' rose the ranks. She chuckled at such a thought until the masked man ripped her to his face again.
"Think something funny, eh?" His grip tightens, causing Cinder to bite down on her lips. She wasn't going to let the man be satisfied with her pain. He twisted her head towards a fire absorbing a mansion like a storm, "You're laughing when your home looks like this?"
Her eyes scan the building, following the fire consuming everything in its path. That house was home or a place she thought she could make her home because it had food, water, and riches. Yet, it never had the familiar warmth that a family home needed to be called a home. The warmth never came from her father, which she knows will never be given; the warmth couldn't be from her mother either. It was a place where she loved ones that filled the house staff, but they had been gone. It was where her father bred an heir, but that offspring had been gone. What she used to be had been gone for a very long time.
"This house means nothing to me," Cinder spat out despite her dried throat. She dashed her body away from the grip the masked man held onto her, causing strands of her hair (something she had worked so long on to grow out) to be ripped apart from her head. "You could burn every item I ever had in front of me, and I promise you. I. Would. Not. Weep."
The man enraged, removing his sword from his holster before two of his lackeys came to him with an older man between them. "Sir, this one almost gotten away had we been slower," one spoke up.
"Well, I be. Marcus Nozelle, I almost forgot to say hello."
"Why are you doing this to me?!" Marcus shouted, "I'm with Thorax! Why are you killing the man that-!"
"Lord Thorax said you aren't useful anymore," the masked man interpreted as he walked closer with his sword. Marcus's eyes widened in fear when the masked man lifted the blade to his throat. "You can," the man continued, "thank Lord Thorax for wanting you to have the quickest death for all the years you have worked together."
"P-please don't kill me!" Marcus sobbed. It's both cathartic and disheartening to see your father, who controls your life, crumble easily when his fortune comes from fighting. Cinder couldn't help but smile wickedly at the thought of watching her father fall so disgracefully in front of her. However, their eyes soon met up, and Cinder's smile faded when she realized the anger and disgust in her father's eyes.
He didn't even hesitate before screaming, "Why kill me first when you can kill that freak!?" Everyone's eyes shifted towards Cinder like daggers ready to price into every flesh of her being. "Wife of my son, Felix!? Oh please, that is Felix!" the draggers price into her skin. "My son is a perverted man that believes he is a woman!" They dug deeper and deeper into her skin as her eyes wilted up into tears from the pain. "Don't be fooled by his body! It looks like a woman, but underneath all the disillusion, it is a man's body through and through! So, why not kill the freak first!?"
Who knew her heart could still be shattered by her father? Tears ran down her face as she couldn't hold back her sobs. The masked man smiled deviously, "All these years, I heard about the beast that levels a battle in seconds during the war. And I thought I wouldn't ever get the chance to hunt that beast! But now," The masked man removed the blade from Marcus's throat towards Cinder, "I can finally kill the beast!" Cinder tries to leap to her feet until his two lackeys push Marcus to the ground as they rush to detain her. They forced her down into a kneeling position as they forced her head up by her hair. The crowd of bandits chanting to kill the beast rang through her ears, but her true focus was on her father, her miserable man of a father.
After all she did for him, and this is what she received! She went to training, schooling, and war for him. He made her hide under the stupid name Felix from birth because he couldn't handle a son that wanted to be a girl. Now, for one last ditch effort to save himself, he throws out Cinder. Just like he did for mother.
She looks deep into the eyes of her scared father, and her voice rings over to chants as she yells her final words to everyone, "I have been holding my tongue for so long for your favor, but you know what?! You are the most pathetic slimy bastard! I bled and shed blood for this empire just so you can profit from war! You are nothing but a monster! I'm a woman no matter what any of you bastards say! I'm a woman, and I'll remain a woman until I die! May hell's fire be the only thing that would ever warm your sickening heart! I will come back! I will come back and live my life for once!" Her tears stained her face, but she held her head high as the blade swapped her head off from her body.
To be continue...