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Backstory

        ’Yellow...Green...Yellow…’Huifre lowered her head and eyed the grass. She compared patches of grass one after the other. Abraham was surprised because she rarely concentrated on doing anything. ‘What are you up to, Huifre?’ asked Abraham. His voice shocked her, she then answered shyly, ‘Th-the grass is really beautiful…’ Abraham could tell she was not in a talkative mood, so he shrugged, held her hand, and said, ‘It’s getting dark. We should go home.’ Much to Huifre’s relief, Abraham did not ask more about the grass. She nodded and secretly grabbed a bunch of grass before going home.

        At night when Abraham fell asleep, Huifre quietly got off bed despite her strong drowsiness. She tiptoed to a corner with the grass in her hands and began to weave a rought grass rope until dawn broke. She held it high and looked at it in excitement.

        However, it did not turn out to be a good day for Huifre. On a whim, Abraham looked for his old slingshot to hunt some rabbits, but he could not find it even after flipping the house upside down. It was not the first time he lost something precious. His pebble, bamboo, and fletch they all went missing one by one. The frustration drove him to yell at Huifre. ‘Huifre! Where have you put my slingshot?’

        She did not understand why he was mad and what made him believe she had lost his treasure. Although her brother’s apology later did not help much, it still soothed her gloom for a bit. She angrily took the grass rope out of her pocket and forcefully stuffed it into Abraham’s hand. The gift filled him with happiness and excitement. He instantly put it on his neck. Seeing her brother drenched in joy, her frown turned into a smile.

        ’Brother! Look! That fish is huge! Must’ve come from the big pond!’ On a sunny day Abraham brought Huifre to a creek to fish. Although they got drenched to the skin very soon, they enjoyed every moment together. Suddenly Abraham said nervously, ‘Oh, no! My grass rope got soaked!’

        However, happiness did not last. The next day, Huifre had a severe fever. Seeing her breathing in wheezing broke Abraham’s heart. Huifre felt lightheaded, unable to distinguish between dreams and reality. She saw herself floating far away to an unfamiliar tiny room, which was simply a sealed cube without any doors and windows. Several objects lay on the ground; some she had seen before, including the slingshot, the pebbles, the bamboo, and the fletch. Others were random stuff like broken branches, seeds, and shreds of grass.

        ’Do these...belong to Brother?’ She approached the slingshot to touch it. An invisible force pushed her away. In a blink, she went back to reality. She opened her eyes and saw the room spinning. The sudden nausea caused her to vomit.

        ’Huifre!’Abraham helped Huifre until she finished. Huifre whispered as he wiped her mouth, ‘Brother...I found… the slingshot…’ But Abraham could not care less about his slingshot at the moment. All he cared about was how to make Huifre feel better. He put her back to bed and then went out to scavenge for medicine.

        Huifre lay in bed alone. Her body was boiling hot. She gathered all her strength to open her eyes, and saw flames on the wall climbing to the ceiling. Smoke filled the air. Trying to straighten up her body, she fell on the ground. She grabbed a stick to support herself and hobbled outside to find her brother.

        On her way, she could hear her brother yelling, ‘Huifre! Get out of here!’ But the fire in the house had occupied her mind. She panted, ‘Brother...Our house is in flames…’ She felt someone lock her arms and she passed out as a villager captured her. The screaming of the villagers woke her up. Fresh blood splattered on her chest. A monstrous pale face, which was tearing villagers into pieces, caught her eyes. The village burnt, as if in hell. Finally, the fever took her consciousness away...

        ’Brother...Stop…’

        Huifre woke up in a sweet perfume. Her body was wrapped in a clean and warm blanket. Looking around, she was amazed to find the ceiling covered in glowing vines.

        ’Did you have a nice nap?’ asked Athena sitting next to her. ‘Starting from today, you have to atone for your brother’s sin. I will keep an eye on you in case you pursue what your brother has done.’

        The word ‘atone’ reminded her of the pale face and Abraham’s slaughter.

        ’Where is...my brother?’ asked Huifre weakly. Athena shook her head and replied coldly,

        ’From now on, you will never meet him again. When you do, one of you will disappear into nowhere.’

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