With a confused mind, I walk out of my room. When I walk down to the place where we usually have breakfast, an angry looking girl is staring at me.
“Who are you?” she demands while crossing her arms over her chest.
It should be me asking you, I retort in my mind. But who knows, maybe she is someone who I cannot afford to offend.
“I am Lord Valentine’s assistant.”
She glances me over with distaste. “Lord Valentine’s assistant? You?”
I have had enough. “Who are you?”
“I am the maid of Lady Olivia, Jessica!”
“Lady Olivia?” I have never heard of the name and I believe she is not a character in the novel.
“Lady Olivia is going to be the future mistress of this tower. And she told me to clean up this place, as you know my future lord shows no interest in such matter.”
I do. Of course I do. I was the one who tidied up the place for the past five years. So Lord Valentine has a fiancee, which is not a surprise. Lord Valentine is a side character in the novel, so of course not every single detail of his life is mentioned in the novel. This world is slowly completing itself.
“I see. Nice to meet you.” I offer her a friendly smile.
Why do I feel upset all of a sudden? Why does my heart seems to ache?
She replies with a sneer. “I have no idea Lord Valentine’s assistant is a girl. You are dismissed. We will hire a male assistant.”
So I am fired just like that? Maybe that’s the reason why I become the ladies’ maid of Princess Cordelia. Finally it’s the beginning of the novel.
And I thought I could avoid my inevitable death by staying with Lord Valentine. So is this the end of my time here? My only home in this world. The place that provides me with warmth and security.
Who is she to dismiss me with just a word? If someone has a right to dismiss me, then that’s Lord Valentine. He is the one who saved me. He is the one who named me. He is the one who appointed me as his assistant. He is the one who taught me magic.
“I am hired by Lord Valentine, and should be dismissed only by him.” I walk past her, to the tiny kitchen table. My usual tray of breakfast isn’t even there. I have always found my breakfast tray together with Lord Valentine’s on the kitchen table when I woke up in the past. Every single day for five years. But there is nothing on the table.
Pretending as if I do not notice such things, I pick up two tea cups and snap my finger. Hot tea fills the cups. I place them on an empty tray.
“Jessica, would you like some tea?” I offer her another polite smile.
Jessica is still staring at me angrily. Apparently annoyed by my reluctance to be dismissed.
Even if I have to be dismissed, I want that to be said to me directly by Lord Valentine.
Lord Valentine does not return.
I wait for three whole days.
My head is aching, maybe my heart too. I don’t understand what I am aching for. The fact that Lord Valentine did not have dinner with me the first day I returned? The fact that Lord Valentine was nowhere to be seen for three whole days without even a single word? The fact that a maid came to dismiss me for her future mistress and lord?
I should stop thinking like that. I am just a maid. An assistant. What gave me the courage to think like that? I should stop this train of thought. I should put a stop to this treacherous feeling sprouting inside my heart before it is too late.
My head has been aching since three days ago, after waking up from that dream. It’s getting more and more severe. A drill seems to be drilling into my head.
I slowly drift into sleep.
It’s the same setting as that dream. The woman with red high heel shoes once again sits opposite to me. Once again I cannot see her face.
“Don’t disregard my advice, you’ll regret it, ” she says harshly.
She is threatening. Is this really a dream, or is this not?
“I don’t know who you’re referring to.” I tell her the truth. I have had enough of people ordering me around.
“Stop fooling around, young lady. You might have died, but your family is still living here.” She motions me to look at a computer on the table. My parents’ faces appear on the screen. They look older. In the photo, they are having dinner in the restaurant near our house. It’s a typical Sunday afternoon. Just without me.
“Dad… Mom…” Tears begin to slide down my face.
“You don’t want them to die too, young lady. So do as I said, leave where you are. Leave without a trace. Leave.”
I wake up with a start and see Princess Cordelia in the process of sneaking past me.
Leave. Leave without a trace…
“Princess, are you searching for something?”
“Ahhhhh, ” Princess Cordelia screams. “You should make a sound when you wake up! That’s common courtesy.”
“I am sorry, your highness. Are you searching for something?”
“No. No. I am just on my way to my room and pass through here. Thought I should just drop a… Why do I need to tell you?”
“I can help you, your highness.” I give her a smile. “I know where the potion is stored. I can give you what you want, but just with a tiny favor in return. Do we have a deal?”