Is she alright?
Get the doctor!
Where’s My Lord?
How is she, doctor?
The maid di...
Her head hurt. A lot. Denise needed medicine for the headache. She touched her head and the bandages around it proved her point. She had hit her head, but by doing what? The Duke maybe?
“My Lady, you’re awake” someone clasped their hands together. Denise wanted to shake it off, she wasn’t one to enjoy touch from strangers.
“My Lady, how do you feel?” Denise wanted to puke. That’s how badly she was feeling but nobody was asking for her well being, Colette must be...
Her mind reeled from the information she had just processed. Her legs... Denise wanted to cry. She was a cripple now. It was only a matter of time before they tossed her back to the duke and her mother would do anything in her power for her. But she wouldn’t let her. Denise would rather kill herself first. She opened her eyes, tears already flowing and she grabbed her legs, the realization that she wouldn’t move her legs was torturous but they moved.
“My Lady?” the old woman was looking at her. A motherly face and a kind smile.
“Who are you?”
“My name is Nina, my lady, I’ve been taking care of you since the accident.”
“Yes my lady, your maid and yourself, it was tragic. Your maid... nothing could be done to save her. She was buried in the woods.”
Denise was about to hurl whatever was left in her stomach.
“Pardon my lady?”
“Bring me a mirror”
The mirror was brought. She didn’t want to look but she had to. She grabbed the mirror from Nina and stared at Colette. Colette stared back. Denis blinked, Colette blinked.
“It’s just a few scars my lady, they’ll heal right up...”
“Yes, her name was...”
Nina was shocked at her knowledge of the maid’s name.
“Yes, she was crushed by the bolder from saving you. Such a virtuous act.”
“And she’s buried in the woods...”
“We couldn’t get her body from under the bolder. It was tragic.”
Denise stared at her face a bit more.
“Yes my lady”
Nina left and Denise stared at her situation or rather Colette’s face and the room she was in. The bed was luxurious and her room was in line with the theme, wealth. Her hands shook the more she stared at the mirror. The realization, the truth, the reality...it felt like a lie. She was afraid. She wanted to sleep. Maybe if she slept, she would wake up in the heavens with heavenly legs.
That wasn’t the case when she got up. Her reality was still as it was, she was still Colette and no one had noticed that she wasn’t. A meal was placed on her bedside. Surprisingly, a maid appeared when she reached out to eat.
“I’ll take care of that for you my lady”
She was young, the maid. She had her hair tucked in the same uniform that Nina wore. Denise wondered if that would’ve been her fate if she had arrived with Colette.
The maid fed her slowly and quietly. She also stared from time to time at the mirror that Denise held so close to her person. Once she was done, the maid left just as silently as she had come. Denise got up when she heard the door close.
It was night time but the castle lights were bright. It wasn’t cheap to keep the castle lights on till nightfall. Especially the whole castle. The General must have numerous spoils of war and numerous rewards from the empire. She surveyed the room and saw Colette’s chest and interestingly enough, her small chest. It made her choke,tears welled up in her eyes. Her own tiny chest made it out of the forage but not herself. Well... her soul made it out.
Just that her body didn’t. She was buried in the woods. She cried at her miserable end. Once she was done, she wiped her tears. She needed to have a plan. She was scared. If someone found out what happened, the whole empire would be on her throat ready to kill her, The Duke of Hildebrand at the helm, even if she was in Colette’s body. The Magic Tower would claim a cure and she would be offered to them. The probability of torture at the hands of magic was worse than the probability of dying from the General’s hands.
Colette. What would Colette do in this situation? Probably write a sob story to her father asking her to go back. That’s what she would do. Her mother would know... Her mother understood their family past better than Denise ever did. She would do that and claim trauma. But the Duke would never allow it. He had failed the emperor. She would be forced to stay.
She had to maintain her image as Colette. Do things as Colette would. Do not deter from the nature of Colette and they wouldn’t know what had happened in the realm between life and death.
She climbed into bed. She didn’t know how to deal with the impending issue that is the General. He was an unpredictable man. Just as the book depicted him. He hadn’t even come to visit his betrothed. Maybe check if she hadn’t died?
But she would avoid him and his men. The General and his subordinates were well known for their inhumane war like tendencies in and out of the battlefield. Avoiding them would have the highest probability of survival.
Denise died once, she would not die again.
Second chances at life never come again. She didn’t even know if anyone else had achieved it. She shuddered again at the thought of the Magic Tower. Colette would prioritize getting better and staying in her room.
The General was not a kind man, he was a butcher and a rich one at that. Meeting him and his men was out of the question. She had a life to preserve. It had a different body but it would work. Right?
It was two weeks into her recuperation when she received the summon. The general wanted to see her in his war room. She had healed enough. She should visit her betrothed. She has one job. The message was clear. Denise opened Colette’s chests for the first time.