Garland - Prologue

PROLOGUE


Under the glittering golden light, the tiny bird with a pair of big round eyes looked so captivating. With its small body it kept jumping about cheerfully, looking to the left and right as if it was full of curiosity.

Reverberating through the cage was the melodious, warm song of the little birdie, which could only fly a short height and spin inside its confinement.

In reality, the little bird in the cage was not a mere thread of origami, but Jill who was confined.

Tirelessly, Jill admired the bird’s beautythe dearest and most valuable existence.

I will always protect you, he promised.

Manners, playing a variety of musical instruments, singing, not to mention origami techniques, also weaving and even knitting clothesall of it must be learned by every omega with full enthusiasm in order to get love and attention. 

Although none of the lessons above are fun. 

He felt very grateful to Albert, his childhood friend, for giving him this little bird. All thanks to the melodious chirping of the little one, the atmosphere of this place became like the midst of a dense forest.

The most valuable, beloved treasure of Jill.

Jill loved it so much, he also wanted the little one to be happy. Therefore, he wanted to free the tiny bird from its cage.

The little one flapped its wings wide inside the narrow cage. Ah, the little one wants to be able to fly freely as soon as possible, he thought. If Jill were a bird, he also would want to be freeto sail across the vast sky and above the blue ocean.

The windy blows of the blue ocean, the thickness of lush forest, looking at the world far away from here... 

Wherever, however far, he wanted to fly freely.

Even for just some mere seconds, Jill who was locked behind the cage wanted to be able to experience that freedom. 

Even this little bird, for sure it would also...

The little one was still circling inside the cage until it touched the ceiling. When it saw a ray of broad sky light peeked from the window it immediately charged, trying to reach it but failed miserably.

“….!”

Jill's voice caught in his throat.

The little birdie was not aware of the closed window, hitting it and then crumpled. It fell limp on the cage’s floor.

Panicked, Jill immediately opened the cage and held the little one in his palms. The little one looked so weak. It was breathing so fast; its body shook violently until it fell completely silent.

The warmth that once radiated from the tiny body vanished quickly; the colour of life disappeared from within. Coldness began to spread to the palms of his hand. The tiny lifeless body laid there rigidly. 

Time passed both quickly and slowlywho knows, really? Since Jill was too stunned, consumed by a bubble of shock and silence.

Everything is my fault. 

Jill had known from the beginning that any kind of bird, when it saw the wide blue sky, would have instinctively flown toward it. Jill had already known and yet...


ΩΩΩ


Not long after that incident, meal time arrived. Even so, Jill still did not leave his room. The servants had come and knocked several times, but there was no answer whatsoever. 

This made his siblings worried. His older brother finally got up and went to Jill's room. How surprised he was when he opened the door and entered. Inside the dark room sat Jill, cradling a small bird in his palm, weeping.

"My poor Jill. Why did you take him out of his cage?" his brother asked. The usual mischievous sing-song tone of his brother’s voice was absent, replaced by worry.

“…Me, everything is because of me. If only I’d opened the window… it’s my fault. If only I’d opened it from the beginning, the little one wouldn’t have died."

"Why such things, Jill?" His brother could only sigh at the sight of the younger brother. 

“You thought that everything would be better if you’d opened the window? Indeed, the bird could have come out and flown freely, but there were crows and eagles which would come after it. In the end, Jill's pet bird would still die. Even though it had to stay inside a cage, it was already born inside it and in return received so much love and care. If in the end it was freed from the cage and ended up dead in the wild, wouldn't that be very sad? Wouldn’t that be much sadder than dying inside a cage, yet nurtured till the end?"

Jill fiercely retorted, "But at least he's free!"

He looked hard at his brother. An overwhelming heat filled his heart. "I know, I understand because I always paid attention to it. It could only flap its wings in a narrow cage, even though it wanted to fly and explore the world. With its melodious chirping…  I'm sure it actually wanted to visit the forest where it came from, chatting with its siblings. Being locked up in a cage, isn't that what deserves to be called tragic?"

"...I'm astonished. You only say things that are acceptable and in-line with your ideology. Always refusing and declining those who are opposites."

Instantly the look on his brother's face changed. A sad smile.

"You just can't accept its death, so you came to compare your position with that bird. Actually, what you said was not at all about the bird, but your own desires. Right?"

“No, it’s not like that!”

"You still do not want to admit it, do you? Jill, you never want to follow etiquette lessons. You despise being cooped up inside the house all day. Your reluctant behaviours are putting mother in a troublesome position!”

Jill was stunned into silence.

“Please remember that we are omega!”

His brother's words ended with a shout, his chest heaving with deep breaths.

"Mother always said, since we were born, that omegas are special. Our existence is very important and valuable. Our lives are always filled with love, and we are also destined to live happily. Even though we have all these happinesses, you still want to go outside? Out there lays only misery. Why Jill, why…?"

“I…”

“Jill, you are equal to that bird.”

His brother’s cold eyes were pierced with implied hatred. After shooting that glare, his look turned into pity.

"A bird like yours was not born in the forest. It is us humans who take care of it and raise it with love and compassion. If there is no one to love it, the bird would not be able to live. The source of its happiness is us, humans. You were the one who selfishly released your bird, which would surely call death to take him. If only it remained inside its cage then tomorrow and next year, it would still be chirping happily."

Jill looked back at the little one in his palm.

Although he did not want to admit what his brother had said was right, Jill also could not refute his words. He really loved the little one, so he had wanted to release the bird.

Humans or even birdsboth have the right to live. Everything his brother said was all in fact, true.

In the end, the little one has gone.

…The little one and I are the same.



Due to his status as an omega, he couldn’t, and wouldn’t, be able explore the world outside. Omega are destined to be cooped up within a cage.

For the sake of getting an abundance of love and care, he was forbidden a single step outside. Even if he managed to leave, no place out there would accept him.

 Indeed, Jill is a bird that cannot fly.


tl/ed: Ron, Soya