Thunder crackled in the distance as heavy rain poured from the dark, grey clouds. Rivers were flooded, trees were knocked down, and crops were destroyed.
The forest fell into chaos when animals ran for shelter and the people living near the edges of the mountain braced themselves for the storm.
But this wasn't the only chaos on Earth.
Inside the enormous Bai Manor and deep within the Prayer Halls was a woman screaming for her life. Her cries were silenced by the thunder and rain.
None of the servants outside of the Prayer Halls could hear the sickening sound of wooden paddles repeatedly striking a thin child.
Bai Xueyue's face was covered with blood and bruises. Her bright-hazel eyes had lost its shimmer, her rosy lips were split open, and her cheeks were filled with cuts. Her swan-neck was destroyed by dark, purple bruises and her throat was so hoarse from screaming, she could barely speak properly.
Holding her body down was the love of her life, Zheng Leiyu. He was her childhood best friend and she had fallen deeply in love with him. Xueyue had given him her heart and her first kiss, but when she discovered his darkest secret, their relationship turned for the worst.
He threw her aside in exchange for Xueyue's younger sister, who had given him everything that Xueyue couldn't.
Bai Tianai, who was Xueyue's older step-sister, had not only stolen the love and affection of Xueyue's father, Viscount Bai, but she had also taken the heart of Leiyu.
If Xueyue hadn't fallen for Leiyu, she would've had a great future ahead of her. Skilled in archery, horseback riding, cooking, and a face that easily swayed men into her bidding, Xueyue was supposed to be a Phoenix that soared the skies.
Instead of chasing her bright future, Xueyue had snipped off her bright wings in exchange for Leiyu's love and affection. She didn't get any of it — not even a single droplet.
"L-L-Leiyu." Xueyue hoarsely cried out, in hopes he'd release her. He doesn't.
Instead, he stared down at her with disgust and pure hatred. He looked at her as if she had killed his entire family, when all she did was love him.
When Xueyue saw Leiyu was unresponsive, she decided to plea for her father's mercy. Xueyue's parents sat in the corner of the cold, dark room of the Prayer Hall.
They were drinking tea without a care in the world. Their relaxed nature made it look as if they were watching the Koi fishes swim in the pond on a warm, summer day when in reality, they were watching their daughter get beat to death.
"F-f-father please!" The woman pleads for her father's mercy.
Viscount Bai glared at his daughter. His dark, chilly eyes were filled with disdain and hatred. His eyes showed no remorse at the horrific sight before him.
The child in front of him was the reason why his lovely wife had died...And she just had to be the splitting image of her mother.
Every time Viscount Bai looked at Xueyue, his heart was filled with anger. Looking at his daughter was like looking at his late wife. She was a wonderful woman, but why did she have to die to give birth to such a disgraceful and useless child that was a murderer?
Viscount Bai swirled the tea cup he had in his rough, calloused hands. After a few seconds of observing the girl, his lips curled into a snarl. "Break her jaw." Viscount Bai commanded his men who exchanged nervous glances, but regardless, raised the wooden paddles to fulfill his orders.
Viscountess Bai's eyes widened slightly at his response. She turned to her husband, and he stared back at her with a smirk. "She's too loud." Viscount Bai said while taking a leisure sip of his tea. He scowled when he tasted it. The tea had gone cold.
"Please father! I swear I didn't do it!" Xueyue cried out in fear. Tears were streaming down her beautiful doe-like eyes, that was rimmed red with tears.
"Tianai framed me!" Xueyue naively shouted, in hopes of convincing her father. But the mention of Tianai significantly worsened his mood.
Viscount Bai slammed his tea cup onto the table besides him. The force was so strong, it caused a crack within the table.
Viscountess Bai jumped at the sudden force, but immediately regained her composure. She kept a pitiful expression on her face, but her eyes were filled with satisfaction. She inwardly smirked, 'I'm finally getting rid of such an annoying nuisance!' She thought to herself.
The only thing standing in the way of Tianai inheriting all of Viscount Bai's fortune was Bai Xueyue, who by legal and birth rights were supposed to gain a large portion of his fortune.
Viscountess Bai inwardly sneered at the beaten girl in front of her. She would've pardoned the girl if she wasn't so beautiful. Xueyue's face resembles her mother, who was a renowned Beauty that many suitors sought after. Bright hazel-eyes, resembling a baby deer, lips as soft and naturally pink as peonies, and perky nose, Xueyue had a very angelic and innocent appearance.
Viscountess Bai snapped back into reality when she heard her husband's thundering voice. Even though the hatred wasn't directed to her, she still shivered at the fearsome voice.
She hadn't realized that in her daydream, Viscount Bai had stormed towards Xueyue. Her white clothes were torn and tainted with bloods and false sins.
"Don't you dare bring your innocent sister into this mess!" Viscount Bai roared at his daughter. He had a fresh cup of tea in his hand, and it was piping hot.
Before anyone could react, he grabbed Xueyue's dainty jawline. "Father-" Before Xueyue could finish her sentence, Viscount Bai had forced the piping tea down her throat.
"AHHHHHHH!" A loud scream ripped the silent air. The cries that filled the air were bone-chilling.
Xueyue choked and screamed out in pain, when the tea burned every inch of her lungs.
Xueyue tried to thrash in her father's hold, but his grip was as strong as iron. More tears rolled down her eyes.
At the disgusting sight of his daughter, Viscount Bai threw her back onto the ground.
Even the servants felt remorse for the poor girl. She was only thirteen years old! This punishment was too severe and harsh on such a frail and young girl.
"Continue the beating." Viscount Bai said to his men who immediately nodded.
The servants cringed when the men raised their paddles and continued beating the girl. They never expected the refined Viscount to be so rough and heartless towards his firstborn, and true-blood daughter.
He had urged the Emperor for an Imperial Decree that gave permission to kill his daughter. Bai Xueyue was framed for the murder of the nursemaid that had taken care of Viscount Bai since he was a child. The nursemaid had a gentle spot in his heart, and he was furious when he found out she had died.
The sickening sound of wood against bones and splints against cracks was beginning to bother Viscountess Bai. She felt her dinner begin to rise up her throat and the more she witnessed the scene, the more she felt unwell.
Placing a gentle hand on her prodding stomach, Viscountess Bai wiped the sweat off her brows. Sensing his wife's distress, Viscount Bai turned towards her with a soft smile.
She was pregnant with a baby boy, and Viscount Bai would finally get an heir. He was beyond elated when he had found out about her pregnancy, and because it was a boy, he cherished her more than ever.
"It'll harm the baby if you listen and watch this scene any longer. I'll end this now." Viscount Li gently told his wife. He placed a hand on the baby's stomach and turned towards his men.
"Finish this brat." Viscount Bai spat out the last word. Just using any nouns to describe Xueyue was a nuisance to him.
When the soldiers raised their wooden paddles, thunder crackled in the distance. The sound of the sky immediately blended with the sound of a skull being cracked open, and the flash of the thunder revealed a pool of blood on the ground.
The pain was so excruciatingly painful, Xueyue doesn't even register what had happened to her. Her tear filled eyes fluttered, and black dots tainted her vision.
In her blurry sight, she saw Viscount Bai guiding his pregnant wife out of the prayer halls.
The heavy weight on her body was lifted.
Xueyue saw the blurry figure of Leiyu running towards Tianai. She was awoken by the loud thunder and was tiredly rubbing her eyes. At the sight of his precious girlfriend, Leiyu immediately ran to her.
Xueyue felt her heart painfully clench when Leiyu tenderly hugged Tianai like she was the most precious thing to him.
The last thing Xueyue saw before blacking out was the sight of Leiyu bending down to press a kiss onto Tianai's lips.
Hatred and a thirst for revenge grabbed Xueyue's heart. Using her last breath of air, Xueyue vowed to seek revenge on the injustice that had fallen upon her.