The Emerald Goddess

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"So you're saying that this helps with headaches?" I heard my father's voice through the thick doors, before the Princess' voice answered back.

"I have taken it once or twice myself, and the results were almost immediate."

My whole body went cold, the hair on my neck standing up as my hands reached for the handles.

I opened the door to find my father holding the half-empty bottle that Quincia gave my mother.

"Ah, Aristia. How was your mother?" I smiled at him.

"Her color returned after drinking the tea mixed with Quincia's elixir." My father looked relieved.

"Would you like to try some?" I heard Quincia ask, before gesturing to his cup.

"I'm sure it would be more useful for someone who needs it much more than me." My father's voice chuckled, handing the bottle back to Quincia.

The Princess shook her head. "Please, you have said that you have had pain and heartache for the past few days. I see you as someone who needs this elixir as much as the Duchess."

I felt my blood run colder.

This is wrong.

This feels wrong.

Quincia stood up, unplugging the cork and pouring the remaining liquid into my father's tea. She took a small spoon, stirring it slightly before gesturing to the small cup.

"Please, drink this."

I saw his hands reach for the cup, and my whole body froze.

This is wrong.

I know this is wrong, but what exactly is wrong?

"Ahem, Royal Princess of the Stars." I heard a deep voice from the entrance of the study before I looked at a familiar face.

He was someone who came with the Princess. One of the knights that escorted her off the carriage.

"I believe it is time for you to return. I am sure His Majesty is worried." His face stoic, while his voice firm. The sheathed sword by his side shined brightly, as his posture was straight.

"Ah, Victor." I heard the Princess say before she stood up.

"I suppose I have bothered the Duke and Aristia long enough. I shall be excusing myself now. Thank you for taking the time to talk to me." The Princess bowed her head down, before walking to Victor.

My father stood up, his cup empty, as he smiled. "Feel free to visit anytime." He looked at both the Princess and Quincia, as they left the room.

"Aristia, please escort our guest to the entrance." I heard his voice strained before I nodded.

"Yes, father."

As I reached the door, I heard him cough softly. I took one look at his face before I excused myself. "I shall return shortly."

*

"What are you saying, her fever won't go down?" The voice of the Alexandre boomed within the large bedroom, the loud volume causing the maids and butler to flinch.

Myrandia was covered in a cold sweat, the white nightgown clung to her body as sweat was apparent on her body, her eyes shut, while her brows furrowed. A large cloth was placed on top of her forehead, dripping with cold water.

"The reason is unknown, but she's not reacting to any medicine and her symptoms are not correlated to any known illnesses." The medic replied, looking through his notebook, flipping frantically.

Alexandre's hand flew to his forehead as the tiredness consumed his frame. He felt his head spin before he sat down on the chair beside his wife.

"What can we do?" His voice softened, barely above a whisper. The medic looked at the sullen man before he closed his eyes.

"I will take the information I have gathered here to the council, and I will do my best to get an answer for you by tomorrow, however, based on the severity of her symptoms, I just pray that it won't be too late." The last words echoing in the room as the maids and butlers let out an audible gasp.

Alexandre took Myrandia's hand, interlocking them with his as he kissed it gently.

"You will speak nothing of this to my daughter, do I make myself clear?" His voice stern, directing the order to the head butler.

Anna looked up from the ground, her eyes shifting from her mistress and her Master. Her body tensed up before her voice managed to come out.

"But, My Lady deserves to know." The room fell silent, as the rest of the maid shifted their attention to Anna, while the head butler lowered his head down.

Alexandre drew out a sigh, his eyes never leaving his pained wife.

"Anna, you have taken care of Aristia since she was a baby." His voice showed weakness, cracking with each word.

"I have asked you to not concern your duties with me and my wife, but instead focus all your attention towards making Aristia the person she is today." Anna's eyes wavered, her head bowing down out of instinct.

"But I am asking you, not as an order, but a favor; please do not let Aristia know about this."

Anna choked back a remark.

"Her intuition has been sharp ever since she was a child. If she saw Myrandia in this state, after she expressed her explicit concern, she would be unable to forgive herself for allowing this to happen."

Alexandre felt the pain in his chest return, as oxygen became a struggle to intake.

"Master..." Anna's voice laced with worry, what is she supposed to do when the person who took her off the streets and allowed her to take care of their precious child is on the verge of death.

Anna closed her eyes, connecting her fingers in front of her apron before she bowed.

"I understand." She whispered, before stepping back behind the butler.

Alexandre's head fell on the soft sheets, the pain in his chest combined with the growing pain in his head becoming too overbearing.

"I shall check back in the morning." The head butler let out, gesturing the maids and the butlers out of the door, before looking back at the couple.

He dimmed the lights to the room, before gently closing the door, allowing privacy for the Duke and Duchess.

Turning to the line of maids and butlers, he gave a reassuring smile.

"Everyone will return to their quarters off of the estate, get a great night's sleep, and report back in the morning to await the good news from the medic."

Though hesitant, the maids and the butlers each walked off, leaving Anna standing in front of the head butler.

"Anna." His voice rang, standing in front of the dazed girl.

No reaction.

He snapped his finger, catching the girl's attention before calling her name once again. "Anna."

His hand rested on her shoulder, as the girl looked up, her eyes on the verge of tears, while her fingers played with the hem of her apron.

"Yes?" Her voice cracked, her shoulder slumping down, arms falling to her side as she saw the older man in front of her.

"Will you be able to stay beside Lady Aristia tonight?" Anna's eyes widened before her head frantically nodded.

"Of course I will!"

The head butler turned his head behind him, his eyes wandering to the door of the kitchen before turning to face Anna once again.

The head butler showed Anna another smile, however, this one was not inciting a reassuring feeling.

"Is something wrong?" Anna looked closely at the butler's expressions.

Though he was young, his face was aged due to his position at the estate, wrinkles were creeping onto his face, his eyes became gifted with eye bags. His dark hair slicked back to expose his forehead while his brown eyes rested behind thick-rimmed glasses.

"The Lady wasn't the only one who had a bad feeling about the Princess and Lady Radline's sudden visit." He simply stated, turning towards the kitchen.

"Anna, please promise that you will be beside the Lady tonight, no matter what happens."

Anna felt sweat on her palms as her shoulder trembled.

It was rare for him to repeat himself.

"Of course, Byron." Anna let the name slip from her lips as he looked back at the girl.

"It's been a while since I heard that name from you, Annabelle."

He gave a smile, before disappearing into the kitchen, leaving Anna alone in the hallway.

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