2. A king's daughter
I wake up with sweaty hands and a loud beating heart. Nothing in the world could have prepared me for what I opened my eyes to.
It sure wasn’t England. No, it didn’t look anything like England, this looked like a whole different universe. A whole different world...
Who was I kidding?
I rub my eyes and pinch myself, not believing a second of it. Not being able to in the slightest. How could I?
It was surreal.
I was on an uncomfortable bed in what looked like ancient China. My clothes were soft on my pale body, maybe it was silk, maybe it was actually threaded with gold, whatever the material was, it looked expensive.
Just like the rest of the interior. The bed, the furniture, the porcelain vases, the gold, the embroidered sheets and pillows, the silken curtains. Then my eyes caught the monkey statue staring back at me and I nearly jumped out of my skin, screaming in fright.
“My lady princess, are you alright?” A woman in her mid-thirties appeared out of the doorway, looking at me with concern gleaming in her brown eyes.
She spoke a language I understood, yet...I didn’t know why I understood it so well. It was almost as if I’ve spoken it my whole entire life.
I recovered from my shock to ask her “Where am I?” as it seemed like a sensible question right about now.
She didn’t seem to understand me for a second before she laughed “Princess, are you playing your usual games with me again? Of course, my lady is in her room in the imperial palace”
What in the world is she talking about?
“This is my room?” I asked, slightly bewildered.
“Of course this is my lady princess’s room, perhaps my lady isn’t satisfied with it? Would you prefer a new room? My lady will be turning nine years old soon-”
I’ll be turning NINE?
I was going to turn eighteen. Why am I turning nine? I look down at my hands and feet, and sure enough...they were smaller than the last time I’ve seen them.
That’s when the panic settled at the bottom of my stomach.
“I’d like to see my appearance in a mirror, please” I tried to ask the lady as politely as possible and she smiled.
“Of course, I’ll call the rest of the maids and we’ll help my lady princess get changed-”
“No, I’d like to just..look at a mirror!” I raised my voice, which was unusual of me “Please?”
She seemed to get my desperation because she nodded without asking too many questions and handed me what I’d call a fancy mirror.
“My lady princess is as pretty as always, like a blossoming flower”
I glanced at my appearance and nearly screamed. I have become smaller, like... much more smaller and younger. My hair was an unusual black, which contrasted like day and night to my pale skin. My eyes were bigger, a pale purple tint that I’ve never ever seen before. My skin was soft, almost delicate.
I wasn’t looking at myself, not at my blue eyes or my blonde hair. The girl looking back at me wasn’t me. She couldn’t be...
She looked almost like a painting.
I recognised her features from somewhere, I just couldn’t decipher where. No, it was more like I didn’t want to believe where I knew her from.
I just couldn’t.
My throat clenched shut and breathing itself became a bit too difficult for me. I turned to look at the maid, at the bed chamber and then at my appearance again. Taking it all in.
It couldn’t be possible! It was absurd, unheard of..
“M-maid, what do they call me?” I suddenly asked her, praying to the almighty that she wouldn’t respond the way I suspected she would.
“My lady, princess Ai Minxia of Choi kingdom, of course, you’re the only princess of our kingdom, the Chen Dynasty..”
I felt nausea hit me in the gut. It couldn’t be possible, but it was stupid to deny it, I really did...
End up inside the book!
And I had the luck to become Ai Mingxia, the poor innocent and misunderstood villainess! My life from here onwards...will surely be a tragedy.
Stupid stupid birdy really wanted me to die after all, huh?
The maid rose a brow at my worried complexion “Perhaps my lady does not remember? Oh, would my lady like to know what his majesty calls your gracious self? Wouldn’t that be Midnight Summer?”
Midnight summer. The king of this kingdom doted on his only daughter and spoiled her rotten to the point where the child became a little brat. She became naive and trusted just about anyone, which led to her death halfway through the novel. I read all about it in the book...
I just can’t believe I’m now her! Like...how does that even work?
The maid suddenly spoke up, bringing me to back to this sad and unbelievable reality.
“My lady, this maid will go call the rest of the palace maids to accompany you and aid you with your morning shower” She said and I nodded, ready for her to go so that I could scream all I wanted without being interfered.
It was all I could do to avoid insanity.
“My lady must not move, we will return with your hot bath in no time” The maid warned and I nodded again as she left the room with a bow.
Now I'm alone.
I can finally have a normal meltdown and freak out properly.
Suddenly, a feather fell from thin air and my eyes widened in shock as the bird from my dream appeared in front of me once again.
“Clarity Klemont, you’ve been given a second chance at life, why are you so worried? Your wishes will soon be granted” It spoke and I knew for certain that I was no longer dreaming.
What happened earlier actually happened.
“But I never wanted to end up as a villainess in a historical book where nearly all characters get killed, or worse..assassinated!” I complained.
“Hmm, I really think assassination is also part of the getting killed thing, but that does not matter! You’ve been granted three wishes and you’ll have to pay for them, child” The bird smirked, like actually smirked!
“That is why I’ve given you a role that’s small but meaningful, why don’t you work harder to...become a main character?”
My eyes widened in confusion “A main character? With this weak body and tragic future? You and I both know that Ai Mingxia will die, the only position for main characters..would be the ones fighting for the throne!” I said, utterly enraged.
"Then fight for the throne, child. Go fight for that crown...for survival. Isn’t that what you wanted? A bit of adventure?” The bird questioned me and I sighed.
“This wasn’t what I had in mind” I finally whispered under my breath.
“Well then, next time be more careful what you wish for, that is...if there is a next time!”
And then it disappeared again, leaving me slightly unnerved. When the door of the room opened again, a dozen of similarly dressed women bowed before me and I sighed.
"Please let us aid you, Lady Mingxia" They said politely and I tried to smile but failed miserably. Who could smile carelessly at a time like this?
Not me, obviously.
But what was stranger was how all these grown ladies were treating a toddler like a grown-up. This child is eight years old, for god's sake!
"We prepared your rose bath, all we need to do is get you changed-"
And I refused them politely, not ready to take a shower where everyone might be watching me. That was just something I would never be able to...get used to.
I needed to get out of there, but the food stopped me. It was delicious, it melted in my mouth and it made me want to stay in this goddamn place forever.
There was a luxury I've never ever dreamt of having in my previous life, and it was all in front of me, I just couldn't bring myself to touch an ounce of it.
It wasn't mine.
It all belonged to a princess who was far too good-natured, far too naive and gentle and pure to realise that she was being taken advantage of even in shitty circumstances. She was so selfless to the point where she died instead of that damned prince.
She was the one character I pitied the most in the novel.
The fallen princess.