The sun was already setting, it's last beams of pure golden light shone on the Nameless Godforsaken town, Volubteam. Also known as the city of many pleasures. Nox was hiding behind a bush, his gaze was fixed on one of the houses in the Silverplate district, the rich part of town. But was not there because he wanted to rob the house, alright he was planning to steal something. He sighed, after months of sourcing, he had to find them here. Pearl roses, his mother had them in the garden when he grew up. One beam of golden sunlight hit the garden. He gasped, there was a girl in the garden. Her snow-white hair seemed to glow in the sunlight. She was not working in the garden as far Nox could see, there were no tools near her and her dress was made from expensive fabric. Although it was in a dull color and was a simple design. The girl was just sitting there. He couldn't see her face, but her shoulder were shaking a little. He didn't know why, but he felt sorry for her.
"Stop it Nox." He was talking to himself, maybe it was because he knew himself. The door of the mansion build from gray oil stone with black veins flew open, and an older woman stepped through. The girl in the garden shrunk a little.
"Raven, where are you!" The woman with charcoal black hair and flawless white skin stamped outside, and she was followed by three girls. The girls shared their mothers black hair and skin.
"I have seen her here, mother." Said one of the girls, and the others nodded. Nox had seen the look on the girls faces, but normally he would see it in the eyes of a hungry animal.
"There she is." Said another, running towards the girl with snow-white hair. The girl grabbed the girl by the arm and pulled her with some force up. "Found you, slacker." Nox cursed softly, again he felt for the girl.
"Thank you for pointing her out, Despiona." The mother gave her daughter a smile that showed how proud she was of her daughter. Nox had seen this pride on his mother's face, when he brought home his first pearl. But this kind of pride made him sick. The woman turned her attention towards the girl, raised her hand and struck the girl. Nox could hear it from where he was sitting, and he needed to constrain himself. Otherwise, he would blow his cover and everything he had worked for the last four years.
"I am sorry, stepmother." Said the girl, named Raven. "I was not hiding, I..."
"Save your breath, I don't want to hear your excuses. I ordered you to take care of my daughters." Raven looked at the three girls that were circling around her, like a pack of hungry wolves.
"I did take care of them, they send me away. Stepmother."
"Stop calling me that." Another struck hit the girl's face, it was so hard that she lost her balance and fell. The girls and their mother were laughing, when she struggled to get up. Nox could now see her face, her skin was slightly tanned but just like her stepmothers flawless. There was a healthy blush on her cheeks, and her mouth were the same color as one of the roses he was planning to steel. He swallowed, he couldn't deny that she was a beautiful girl. "I told you many times. Call me madam." Raven nodded.
"Yes madam." There was a small tone of deviance in her voice, which apparently only Nox had heard.
"Good, well come with me, your father is waiting for you." Her stepmother grabbed her by the arm and forced her towards the house. The three other girls followed them and the garden was empty.
Nox slowly appeared from his hiding place, he needed to hurry. Although, he could travel back to his island in the cover of the night. It was still dangerous, the roads around this town were heavily guarded. And he couldn't risk being caught. He climbed over a small oil stone wall. It was a small wall for a house of a wealthy family, not that he was complaining, but people who were skilled enough could easily climb over it. Like he skillfully demonstrated. His feet taught the ground, without making any sound. Slowly he shoveled towards the pearl rose bushes, while he distracted a little knife from his hunter pouch. He knelt by the first rose bushes, it was the most common color, red. Slowly and carefully, he cut a small cutting of the plant. He looked at it and nodded. This cutting would hopefully grow in his own garden. He put the cutting in a leather pouch that also was filled with dry dirt from his garden, and slowly moved towards the next bush. He looked at the pink flowers that bloomed proudly, at the heart of the flower were three little white bubbles. Nox repeated his actions and put the cutting in his with dirt filled pouch. There was one bush left, the rare yellow pearl rose. He shoveled towards it and moved his knife towards the plant.
"What are you doing in my mother's garden?" The voice, like falling rain, rang in his ear like a cry would have done. He jumped up, Raven, the girl that was forced in the house earlier, was standing next to him. He had not heard her, her hazelnut brown eyes followed his every movement. Praising himself for putting on a mask before going in to this garden, but he needed to go. Before somebody else saw him, and maybe call the king's guard. But he couldn't move, she had enchanted him. Not with her beauty, but with the fire that burned in her eyes. "I am going to ask you one, more time. What are you doing in my mother's garden?" He opened his mouth, ready to answer. But he was interrupted by a white raven. The bird with its snow-white feathers flew over his head. Breaking the spell she had placed over him. He run towards the low wall and climbed with easy over it. "Wait." She didn't yell, she had simply followed him and had grabbed him by the arm. He looked at her, did she climb over that wall? She had in her hand a yellow pearl rose, slowly he took the flower.
"Thank you." She shrugged slightly.
"It only seems fair, after all that sneaking around." He put the flower by the cuttings and nodded. He even cracked a smile.
"I better go." She simply nodded and he turned around. When he again was covered by the bushes, he turned around again. And saw that Raven climb over the wall, she also turned for a brief moment. "She looks like her." He said softly towards himself. Before he pressed on, he had where he came for.
He run through the clearing of the woods that provided him with enough cover. His horse, that he borrowed without asking, stood near a small pound. The animal was drinking from it, Nox approached the animal.
"Thank you for waiting, my friend. It is time that I bring you home." The horse raised its head and Nox could swear that the animal nodded. He made him loose and rose in the saddle. But before sporing the animal on, he froze. There was a small opening between the trees and leaves. Small enough to see someone he hadn't seen in the last four years. His best friend and rival, Leonidas. "What is he doing here?" The animal stamped on the forest floor, making clearly known that he wanted to go. But Nox held the reins tight. "I am sorry, my high-spirited friend. It seems that we are going to stay here for a while." The horse sniffed annoyed through the nose. He dismounted and followed on foot, his former best friend.