15 years ago, Lothrune in the Kingdom of Germud.

In the forest, a child could be seen sprinting through the foliage. His breath comes out in short bursts as he urges his legs to go quicker. His eyebrows furrowed and mouth set in a thin line, he seemed like a war general on the run from usurpers. His ears perked up as he heard rustling coming from beside him and quickly stepped to the side as another child the same age seemed to come barreling out of nowhere with a wide smile on his face.

”I got youuuuu ” He screamed as he quickly tapped the war general on the shoulder then took off running while laughing. The war general being the competitive sort, stomped his feet into the ground like a petulant princess before running after the giggling child. As they ran deeper into the forest, the darkness seemed to shroud them deeper and deeper. Until they almost couldn see anymore. They were used to a bit of darkness while in the forest, as this forest tended to be extremely thick. Closer to their village the trees were small in number and shorter, probably trimmed by the adults, but here, deep in the forest. They reigned several tens of meters tall, all with thick arms reaching out and poking each other, competing for space among the treetops to get that sweet satisfaction of sunlight. The giggling child had been sprinting in ecstasy, and in that ecstasy, ignored where they were going. The competitive child didn care about anything, but to win this game of theirs. Seeing some glowing lanterns in the dark, the giggling child slowed down to take a closer look, getting a bad feeling from this. There aren many dangerous animals in their kingdom, most being hunted to extinction, but there still remained a few. Like, the bear, and the wolf. But none of them had eyes glowing like torchlights. The competitive child ran up to the giggling child, fumbling around in the dark, and hitting him in the shoulder, breathless.

”Got.. You… I… ” His words trailed off as he too saw what the other was looking at. Scaring him into silence. Their eyes found each other and locked in a silent understanding. They would not say a word, they would back away slowly. Both thought that, maybe, just maybe, they hadn been spotted. Crunching sounds were made as the beast slowly began inching closer. Nobody knows who broke first, but at some point, they were both sprinting towards the village, faster than ever. The child so fond of laughing had always been quick on his feet, which proved to be a boon in this case. Because he didn need to outrun the beast… He only needed to outrun his friend.

Perhaps he didn think of it that way, at that moment he didn seem to think much at all. But, when hearing the blood curdling screams of his friend, he didn stop to turn back. When his legs and lungs burned with a thousand needles, he didn stop to catch his breath. Neither did he stop when he tumbled over, rolling around two or three times before standing up in impressive athletic feet. No, he just keeps on running. For in this panic, only one thing mattered. To survive.

He didn know how long hed been running for. All that playing hed been doing in this forest was paying off, though, because he knew he was getting closer to the village. The signs are all there. More light, more branches, younger trees. Once in a while a child would get lost in the forest, but as no one ventured too far, they would, most of the time, be found. Running into the village with a look of panic, he didn stop to calm down before he was inside one of the houses. He wasn aware of what was happening before a young woman, probably in her twenties, sat down in front of him. He wasn aware that he was crying before the same woman brought him into her bosom to calm down. He wailed loudly, louder than hed ever done before.

Ruths bakery and sweets

A woman stood behind the counter, counting the days earning as she smiled to herself. Mothers recipes never failed to make people come a second time around, but she must be doing something right lately, because word had gotten around that her bakery was the best. Customers had been flocking to her the whole day, so when the doorbell rang, she didn question who it was. A customer. Imagine her shock when she sees a child, no more than 10, tumbling into her establishments. All garments torn in places and bleeding from scratches all over. Tears and snot flying all over the place, mixing fluids into a cocktail of emotions she had never witnessed before. The child immediately goes for the window and tries looking out of it, as if searching for something. She couldn help herself as she sat down in front of him, hugged him drearily, not caring about the snot. She had to know what happened.

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