I used the more natural original manga hair coloration
in descriptions… For odd reasons, I have a tendency to prefer
it, you know, over pink and purple and lavender. …It doesn't
impact the story, I just thought I would point it out.
I was strong, once.
Legs and arms well muscled from endless sunlit hours running in empty fields; chasing butterflies. Poking around in rabbit holes and searching for rocks that were heart shaped, or otherwise special. From days spent in the woods, climbing trees, picking up eggshells from the baby birds that had already hatched, finding leaves and twigs whose type I'd never seen before. Finding plants whose properties I knew, edible mushrooms, certain herbs. Of course I'd always bring them home to share. There's no fun in discovering things alone. All of my rocks and eggshells and twigs and leaves and herbs and mushrooms came home, where my brother could see them and appreciate them. And he always did, of course. We always marveled over them together in the evenings, by the light of a cheerily burning fire.
He doesn't care about such things, anymore. But then, neither do I. And even if I did, I haven't the time or the space to go searching for them, any longer. But it wouldn't matter, even if I did, since he no longer cares. There's no fun in discovering things alone. He only cares about the roses that I can bring him, now. Of course, they're different than they used to be, too. The roses I used to bring him were wild. But the ones I keep now are domestic. Shaped by humanity's hand. It disgusts me to think of it.
My strong time wasn't to last, anyway. People saw me, running free. They saw me, without care, without duty, unbridled and unchained.
And they envied me. They envied me, because I didn't have any duties, and I didn't have any burdens.
But most of all, they envied me because they knew. They knew that he was mine. They knew that at the end of the day, it wasn't their daughters that he was coming back home to; and they knew that it never would be. And so they lashed out at me. They said things behind my back and made up lies about me.
see how she goes about with her head uncovered? she isn't one of us, she's fey, a child of the forest she's after something, no doubt, she'll steal us blind and make the land and the cattle and the sheep and the chickens and our daughters barren see her bringing home plants see how she knows which ones are for what like we don't see how she is the only thing that he really cares about
I'm his sister.
she's his sister but she's also a witch, and she should not be allowed free run of our world she must be restrained
He didn't let me go outside so much, after that. He did it for me. He didn't want people to say hurtful things about me. I know that he did it selflessly, everything he did then was selfless. Now it would be different. Now I am restrained because of how I would reflect on him, were I not restrained. Things have changed.
Someone tutored me. And someone taught me embroidery, and how to play a harp, and how to make clothing. It was, in its own way, exciting for a while. He would still come home to me at night, and I could tell him what I'd learned. I could show him what I'd made that day, or the new song that I had learned to play.
And when on occasion I was allowed to roam freely, I still brought home herbs and mushrooms and rocks and eggshells, and we still admired them by the light of a cheerily burning fire.
And he was still mine.
And they still knew it. And they still talked about it, but they could find no way around it.
They were getting more demanding all the time. When he came home, he was often too tired to listen to my new song, or hear what I'd learned that day, but he sat up with me, anyway. I didn't even notice how weak he was getting; not until the night that he was too tired to even try.
He apologized so much for it. I suppose he thought that it would hurt me, that he was unable to spend time with me that night. I suppose it might have, if I had been a young child. But I wasn't. I understood just fine that he needed his rest. It didn't hurt me that he couldn't spend time with me, no, but it hurt that they were taxing him so, when they didn't even care for him.
It didn't even hurt my feelings when nights like that started becoming the regular occurrence. I understood, even, on the nights when he didn't come home at all. The nights where he was just too tired to ride back to our home and therefore slept on the cold, hard ground, soaked with the blood of whatever beast had been attacking whatever princess, and perhaps even some of his own blood.
I understood, but they didn't. They couldn't comprehend how all of the constant exertion could tire him so. That is what I can't understand. I cannot fathom how they could be so blind. It is because, I suppose, they didn't want to see. They blinded themselves, the fools.
Even they tried to ignore it up to some point. Up until he became so ill, so tired that he could hardly move without a struggle.
It was, I believe, at that point that I knew that it had to stop. I made a sleeping draught out of the various herbs that I'd been able to collect and gave it to him- in order to keep him from harming himself.
And then I went out to face the crowd that was already gathering.
It hurt so much. Words can't even begin to describe the pain that I felt. They had always hated me, but had never had an opportunity to act on it without the risk of alienating him; without taking the risk that he would no longer help them. But if he could no longer help them anyway, then why not take the anger they'd always held inside out on me?
There's a chunk of my memory missing after that. It was just… blackness for a while. And then I remember him. He gathered my body in his arms and brought me back inside our house, and showed me the difference between a brother and a prince. His skin was the color of the earth, and his eyes were the color of the treetops, and his hair was the color of midnight.
Just like mine.
Needless to say, I am not strong anymore. The only exercise I get is from physical education class; and forced running isn't quite the same as pleasure running.
You know, she gave me something, the other day.
"Himemiya," she said. "Look what I found outside of the doorway."
And she handed it to me. It was a little rock. A little rock shaped like a heart.
I think I must have smiled at her. She smiled back, and then went off to class, Chu-chu trailing at her heels.
I stood there with it in my hand for a long time. And then I threw it. I threw it as far as I possibly could. Because I don't deserve to hold anyone's heart in the palm of my hand.
And you know, her skin is the color of snow on a mountaintop, and her eyes are the color of blue sky, and her hair is the color of the sun.
The color of the sun. The color of midnight. It matters not.
And even though their owners are long dead, I can still hear them whispering in the sound of metal scraping metal, every time I move.
she's too good for you she belongs to us you'll lose her just like you did the last time lose her or we'll take her away because you cannot have her, not when you destroyed the last one like you did WITCH!
I am a witch.
And sometimes I wonder if I have a heart of my own, or if I just have a small hard lump in the place where one should be. A small hard lump of cold stone… in the shape of a heart. And I'll rip that out, too. Rip it out, and throw it as far as I possibly can. Which will be very far, even with arms that are no longer strong. And then I won't feel anything, when they take her away from me, too. He'll help me rip it out.
I won't feel anything at all.