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"Tell me who you are," he rumbles. Liliana glanced down at the cool metal pressed against her throat. If she squinted hard enough, she could see the reflection of his eyes in the metal.

They were black as coal and sharply angled like a diamond. The skin of his upper face was covered in a crow mask that appeared both delicate and dangerous.

"I'm nobody, and I got lost in the hedges. I was just at the ball and got lost," Liliana informs him as she sharply inhales through her nose. She needed to keep it together... "Please let me go, sir, and I'll leave you alone."

He didn't relent and Liliana let go of her dress. Taking a balled fist, Liliana swings it backwards and collides it with his manhood. He yelps and drops his sword as Liliana quickly jumps away from him. She quickly puts her bare foot on the hilt of the sword and drags it closer to her. She picks it up and holds it out in front of her in defense when the man stands back up.

Looking away from the sword, she could now see the mask extended down to just above his lips and diverted in points just above his sharp jawline. His black hair was of a normal length, yet it was now all mussed up and hung a bit over his mask.

He chuckles as his eyes divert to the sword. He begins circling and Liliana has no choice but to follow pace or else she'd get caught. Liliana was ready to bolt, but he was now standing in front of the curtain of vines: AKA her only method of escape. "Heavy?" he asks as he steps closer, but Liliana held her ground and protruded the sword out further. "Not at all," she lies.

"You don't have the guts to use it," he states as Liliana arches a brow from behind her mask. "Do you really want to test that? I bet if I swing hard enough, I'll hit a vital organ."

He steps closer as he nearly impales his chest with the point of the sword.

"Run me through, then," he spread out his arms. "But, if you have a hit at me, I shall earn a hit at you."

"Fine!"

"Good, then-"

Liliana charges forward while keeping the blade steady in her hands. He sidesteps, but not before Liliana knicks him in the arm. Quickly throwing the blade in the water, she pushes through the curtain of ivy and runs down the path. Bunching her skirts in her hands, Liliana kept a tight hold of the shoes in the other in case she needs to use them as a distraction.

She snakes through familiar passageways and listens as the music crescendos and she grows closer to the exit. Twigs snap at her dress, slicing away at it as leaves plunge and weave themselves into her hair. The sound of footsteps grows louder, further fueling her adrenaline as she began to pant for air.

Soon, she began to recognize her surroundings and picked up the pace as the path becomes slightly better.

"Halt!" he yells from behind her, picking up speed himself. Turning around, she takes a heel in hand and throws it at him. The heel hits him smack-dab in the face, and he pauses, dazed. Perfect.

Quickly, Liliana runs to where the carriage line began and smooths her pace to one of a lady as she spots her family crest. Approaching the coachman, he looks at her with bewildered eyes as he stumbles to a stand.

"M-My lady! What has happened?"

"No time to talk, just giddy up!" Liliana bellows as she swings into the carriage by herself. "Drive!"

He comes to his senses and sits down once more as he starts up the carriage. Breathing a sigh of relief, Liliana watches as his figure emerges on the driveway. Even in the distance, she could see his shaking hand clenching a shoe angrily.

Victory!

'New Title Achieved: Cinderella Phenomenon.'

'Cinderella Phenomenon? What?'

'You ran away from an important societal figure and left behind a clue to find you by. This is classified as 'Cinderella Phenomenon,''  the system informs. Liliana closes her eyes as she scours the original body's mind for any memories of that man.

None.

Nothing. 

'Who is he?' Liliana asks as the system processes for a brief moment.

'Cannot disclose.'

Oh, come on!

'You do get 100 points for the achievement, though,' the system informs. Huh, not too bad...

'Points and I don't have to talk to the guy ever again? Perfect,'  Liliana muses as the system coughs awkwardly.

'With the Cinderella Phenomenon, there's a 90% chance of them meeting again.'

'But it's a shoe! There are probably hundreds of girls just in the castle right now with my shoe size!'

'It's more about the journey to meet the objective. Typically for a hero, this can be done quite simply. Especially since your mother purchased custom made shoes, it shouldn't be too hard to track you down. A hero can also locate a person randomly.'

Liliana groans as she imagines the masked figure's anger when he discovers who she actually is. This is going to probably end up with a bad end...

Wait...the system said 'typically for a hero.'

'He's a main character?' Liliana asks and the system pauses.

'Not a main character,' they finally respond. 'In the original plotline, he was never accessed by Liliana, but he has met the heroine a few times.'

That...that sounds like a second male lead! Damn it! He's probably some knightly type best-friend of the Prince, or worse: one of his brothers.

'I cannot answer that.'

Groaning to herself, Liliana slams her head against the carriage wall. Never mind the stupid second male lead, right now she's more concerned about her mother when she arrives home.

Wait! I have an idea!

Liliana removes the mask and sets it down next to her in the carriage before pressing her head out the window.

"Sir!" she calls out and the driver looks back at her. "Yes?"

"When we arrive home, can you please back up a tale I shall tell? I shall pay you handsomely for being my accomplice," Liliana give him a malicious grin as he gulps. 

My face must be truly evil for him to react like this...

Quickly, Liliana picks up the mask and throws it out into the night.

=

"You were robbed?!" her mother shrieks as she turns to Liliana's father. "She should've had an escort!"

"It was so sudden, but luckily, the coachman, Robert," Liliana gestures to him as he stood behind her with his head bowed, "was able to fight them off."

Robert nods and Liliana's father sighs. "Thank you, err, Robert, for your service." Liliana inwardly grins at the situation. All she had to do was rip Robert's clothes slightly and make him appear more haggard and it seemed to have fooled her parents...

"I'm so sorry, mother, but I lost a shoe and my mask along the way," she sighs as fat crocodile tears coming to her eyes. "The thief held a sword to my throat, a-and I threw a shoe at him to distract him long enough for Robert to help-"

"I'm just glad you're alright," her mother sighs as she gives her a tight hug, before pulling back with her nose wrinkled. "You need a bath, though."

=

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