Since realizing that she could never escape from a place so fortified and under close surveillance, Rococo began to succumb to her own despair. She stopped eating and drinking in hopes that she could obtain freedom through death. Eventually, she collapsed before the guards. As to not hamper their work, they dragged her aside and poured water onto her to wake her up. Just then, Rococo heard the guards’ conversation...

        “The slaves are troublesome! The trash is always increasing my workload!”

        “Just leave it. You can rest tonight anyway.”

        “Thanks again for covering my night shift...”

        “No problem! I’m getting the money for the shift after all. I won’t lose anything.”

        It was not until then did Rococo realize: ‘Right! The guards during the day are different from those during the night!’

        Since then, Rococo pretended to listen to the guard’s every order and worked silently in the harsh environment while closely observing the castle’s surroundings and the guards’ routine. After a long time, she noticed that whenever it was lunch time, no one would be overlooking the only bridge that led to the outside when the guards were changing shifts. If she wanted to leave, she would have to take advantage of this interval to climb the stone tower and cross the tall walls to the bridge. She then practiced the process in her brain a thousand times.

        It was raining heavily. The guards were hurrying to change shifts! Rococo promptly stood up and dragged the maiden next to her toward the stone tower. She told the maiden that if they could climb it together, freedom would be on the other side waiting for them, but the maiden dared not move. Knowing that time was running out, Rococo did not wait. She climbed the tower alone. It took quite some time but she was almost at the top of the tower. Pushed forward by the strength of her will, Rococo reached out her hand once again, but she suddenly felt a rope wrap around her leg before she was pulled onto the ground. The sharp stones cut her hands and her body as she fell. A few slaves came to subdue when she hit the ground.

        “You guys...!” Rococo was in too much pain to fight back.

        “Are you out of your mind? We’re not letting you go so easily! Or who’d take up your work?” The slaves responded, their emotions palpably controlling their actions.

        Guards arrived on the scene after being tipped off by the slaves, and they beat her up together. However, the slaves around her dared not act. They stood off to the side and watched because they knew it was also a warning to the rest of them. Suddenly, the maiden stepped forward, protected Rococo by covering her, and even begged the guards to let Rococo go, but the guards mercilessly grabbed the maiden by her hair, and tossed her aside...

        With the pain coming in occasional bursts, Rococo could hear the sound of water dripping. She did not know if it was the sound of rain or the sound of the maiden weeping. She passed out again. Time passed as she was fed with unknown bitter objects between her sleeps. Feeling weak, Rococo opened her eyes, and saw the maiden leaving with a guard like usual. Rococo realized that the maiden was often taken away at night time, but the maiden had never told her where she was brought. However, Rococo had a pretty good guess, and with pain uttered the phrase, “Don’t go...” Shaking her head, the maiden smiled before leaving.

        Some time later, Rococo’s fever finally went down, and the pain alleviated. Rococo knew she had the maiden to thank for that, but she had not seen the maiden since the night she asked her to stay. Just then, the cell’s door burst open, and a disgusting voice rang again as the guard walked into the cell: “You’re not dead, huh? Then get working!” Rococo had no choice but to hurry to the field despite her completely exhausted body.

        She moved stones for construction as she did before when she noticed one of the landlord’s men was using a wooden cart. Inside the cart was something resembling a Human. He pushed the cart toward where the slaves worked and it naturally drew their attention. The man tilted the cart, dumping the “person”; it was the maiden! Rococo dashed toward her and hugged her, but all she could feel was merely an ice-cold body...

        “This piece of trash, she received our lord’s love but did not cherish it! She not only hurt our lord, she even attempted to escape! Now remember, you are all trash and that your lives have no value. If anyone dares retaliate...” The landlord’s man yelled at the slaves. Rococo’s heart shattered as she stared at the ragged and blood-stained dress of the maiden. Tears cascaded down her face because she now realized that the maiden was being defiled by the landlord. Rococo wiped away her tears, and it was not until then did she notice that there were words written on the back of her hand: “Rococo, if I can make it out, I’ll ask your family to save you.”

        Anger and sorrow filled her heart and body. ‘They have ruined such a kind person with no remorse!’ She had to leave, carrying the maiden’s hopes. Rococo rose to her feet and turned to the landlord’s men. She dropped her ragged clothes and revealed her shapely body: “I have had enough of this kind of life. I want to serve the lord! Please bring me to him!”

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