"Only Lady Ophelia can enter the Royal Palace" a man in his mid-thirties states as Jade and some maids approach the building's big gates.
"It's alright Jade, I'll be back" I reassure him as his eyes were filled with concern. He was the only one that knew about my secret and even then, he only knew what I chose to disclosure. He was well aware that what I'd told him was nowhere close to everything I had witnessed and so, he was afraid of letting me go.
Even if he appears like a good-natured person who truly cares for me, I don't trust Jade. I told him these things because I needed his help, nothing more, nothing else. My feelings for him are inexistent, and so I am well aware that these feelings of concern he has for me are born from his loyalty.
"Right this way my lady" the guard walks me towards the palace door covered in precious gems and gold pieces.
'This is too much...' I think as I wander around the expensive-looking halls on the castle. I barely visited it in my previous lives and every time I see it I feel like everything is extremely exaggerated.
"Lord Terrel will arrive shortly so please take a seat" the guard gives me a polite smile and shuts the door behind me.
I sit on the couch and lean backward in an attempt to relax my body. This hairstyle was making my head hurt and this dress was way too tight but of course since it was the first time I was meeting my fiancée I needed to be in my utmost beauty.
Terrel was working in the Royal Palace alongside the second prince. Apparently, they were joining forces on a big project but, even then, I didn't know anything about it. A lot of things are new to me and honestly, that is terrifying.
Two hours passed and no signs of my extremely loving fiancée. I was starting to grow impatient.
"Excuse me, I need to go to the bathroom" I knock on the door to let the guard know I was about to leave but there was no reply. Then I turned the doorknob but the door remained shut.
'What the...?' my hands kept on turning it and shaking the door but it was hopeless.
"Who shut me in here?" I mumbled as I started thinking.
'Is there someone in the palace who wants to harm me?' I keep on drawing endless possibilities in my mind just for them to turn into nothing once I hear footsteps approaching.
I felt a shiver down my spine and I knew I had to leave. Panicking I look around trying to find a place to hide but there was nowhere that would fit a 15-year-old girl. After heading towards the window I open it and place myself on the edge. Luckily I was on the second floor of the palace and that meant that I was a little bit above the trees.
"Come on..." I try stretching my arm as much as possible to grab a big branch but I am too small.
'Shit, guess I have no choice' I bounce back and forth a couple of times and then jump, barely reaching the thick wooden branch. I strengthen my lower body and somehow manage to climb.
"Where is she!?" Terrel's angry voice echoed through the room as he looked around worriedly. I was hidden behind the tree leaves as I watched the scenario unfold.
"I told you to lock the fucking door!" the guard that brought me to the room looks confused as he tries to comprehend how I had escaped.
"It was locked, milord! No one came here either! I did everything you paid me for!" Terrel punches the guard as his breath started to become unsteady.
"Find her and bring her to me, immediately!" the rest of the guards leave the room hurriedly as Terrel tries to settle his anger down.
'I knew it, he was going to try something,' it was almost as if I had a gift for foresight. The guard brought me to an isolated area in the castle where barely any maids or butlers pass and I had to wait for hours so that means that Terrel was trying to clean up his schedule for a long period, not just for a simple greeting. Besides, it was suspicious that they didn't allow Jade or my maids to enter, for me, that was the biggest red flag.
After seeing Terrel get up from his seat and leave the room I start climbing down the tree. My arms were hurting since I was nowhere near being a fit woman.
As my feet touch the floor I let out a long breath and settle down my beating heart. I was anxious and nervous just by looking at him from afar.
"He hasn't hurt you yet... It hasn't happened... Calm down..." I start mumbling to myself as I feel the breeze cool down my face.
I remove all the weird pins in my hair and let it flow down, then, right after that, I check for any wrinkles in my dress and quickly fix them. Of course, the bottom of my dark pink dress was now filled with mud and pieces of grass, it couldn't be helped. My arms also held some cuts from climbing down the tree but that is only natural since I hadn't done it in such a long time.
"What hasn't happened yet?" I look to my right just to find a gorgeous blonde-haired man with his sharping blue eyes staring at me.
"Nothing" after checking his clothing I realized he was not someone from the royal family, most likely he was a guest.
"Nothing? You dare to reply to me like that? Don't you know who I am!?" his voice grows louder and I frown.
"Do I look like a fortune teller to you?" he grows quiet as he realized his mistake.
"Well then, I'm-a-very-important-lord, it was a pleasure to meet you, I'll now take my leave. Have a good day" I politely smile and leave the garden.
Hurriedly I head towards the front gate just to see Jade and the maids waiting.
"Master!" Jade's eyes sparkle as his eyes portraits his relief.
"Let them in. I need them to come with me," I explain to the new guards and they frown with confusion.
"They should've been allowed entry though..." one of them whispers to the other as they couldn't understand the reasoning behind their colleague's mind.
"Either way, please enter. I'm sorry for any confusion" the second guard states with a polite smile and they hurry towards me. As the maids follow from behind I call Jade.
"What happened to your hair? And your clothes master?" he asks me while realizing my whole appearance had changed from when he left me.
"Terrel happened. I think he was going to try something so I ran" I show him the small cuts in my arms as he clenches his fists with anger. Slowly I place my hand on his and nod, he knew he had to keep his head cool.
"So are you done? Can we go home?"
"Not yet, I still need to meet him, properly." I smile and we head towards the main entrance once again.
As we walked towards the castle banquet hall, we cross Terrel. His expression grows furious as he sees me surrounded by servants. Even then, he controls himself and smiles politely.
"Ophelia, my dear! I'm so glad to finally meet you!" he approaches me and I feel my hands starting to tremble. I quickly hide them behind my back as my breathing gets unsteady. I could sense my brain losing control of my body.
'Don't... No... Don't come close...' my mind started to be refilled with memories from my previous lives as I stared at him with horror.
His touch felt terrifying. His voice was monstrous. His stare was horrifying. I felt like I couldn't breathe. I felt disgusting.
As his arm was about to touch mine I feel the fear I thought I had forgotten rising back again, ten times worse than it was.
Those dark brown eyes looked almost as if he wanted to eat me whole, keep me hidden to everyone's sight except for his. His hands wanted to choke every last sin of me while his mouth wanted to bite pieces of me off.
"Don't..." I mumble softly while my body was consumed by the terror of his presence so close.
'Disgusting. Filthy. Whore.' these were the words he whispered to me every night making me feel like the most useless and ugly person on this entire planet. And even though I thought I could manage his presence while accepting this past of mine, I can now see how wrong I was.
I stumble and as Jade moves forward to prevent Terrel from getting too close to me I feel someone grab my waist and push me towards him.
"Are you alright?" those blue eyes that harbored the ocean and that bright bloodstained hair made me understand my situation right away and a deep breath of relief exhaled from my body. The crown prince places his hand on my forehead softly and looks at Terrel.
"Your fiancée has a fever, I think she should go back" Blake's eyes focus on him as Jade looks at us conflicted, without understanding what was currently happening.
"Of course, it wouldn't be wise for my fiancée to be outside with a cold. I will take my leave then..." his dark brown eyes look at me filled with the lust of his evil intentions while his grin made me realize how strong his obsession had become just from seeing me once and a shiver runs down my spine.
As Terrel's figure disappears I instantly put myself straight right before placing some distance between us and, without any glimpse of hesitation, I bow down on the floor, kneeling. All my servants follow my lead.
"Glory upon the royal family who guides and provides. Ophelia Criswell greets his royal highness the crown prince." I don't dare to face him or even look at him in the eyes. I remember everything too vividly, the night I died to the arrow that pierced my arm and set me on fire. Blake just watched it happened as I succumbed to the flames. He was heartless and even if he helped me now, I knew how he truly was.
'The last thing I need is to catch this guy's attention' I think as I start to realize the terrible timing. In a way I was thankful for his help however, at the same time I just wish someone else had intervened instead but, even then, if it wasn't someone of a higher status than Terrel, he wouldn't have backed off so easily.
"You may rise" after hearing these words I slowly get up and look down. I didn't want to find his gaze and raise any sparks among us. I just wanted to leave.
"Thank you for your assistance, your highness. I am eternally grateful for your kindness." I politely say after grabbing the hem of my dress.
"Have a fast recovery" he states as he passed through me. His red cape flew along with the wind as his pearly white suit was covered with golden jewelry.
"Let's go" we head back to the gates as the sun started to set on the horizon.
✽ ✼ ✽ ✼ ✽ ✼ ✽
"It still freaked me out..." as the moon rays shined down upon the room, I couldn't fall asleep. Nero was resting soundly at the end of the bed while I was just sitting on the chair as my upper body laid on the wooden desk. Since Gilbert was still healing from his deep wounds I sent Jade to his room, I'd rather have him rest and, I would like to be alone.
"I..." my eyes focused on my hands and I felt like throwing up one more time. When I returned from the castle I went straight to the bathroom, where I threw up everything I ate today. Maybe it was the nerves, maybe it was the uneasiness or maybe it was just the fear from my other lives returning.
"Disgusting..." my right-hand starts pressing its nails onto my left underarm. Re-opening up my wounds. It was painful but I needed to punish myself for my incompetence. I needed to cleanse myself.
'Take it off... This feeling... Take it off... I'm so disgusting... I'm so...' my mind echoed with depressive thoughts as I tried to skin myself alive.
'His hands... His voice... His touch... His smile... His eyes...' I kept on remembering every single night, every single scar he had left me.
"You must be pretty on the outside even if you're filthy on the inside" I mumbled repeatedly as Terrel's words echoed in my head.
"Disgusting. Filthy. Whore." I get up and start walking in circles as I bit off my nails.
I stop. The mirror was reflecting me. My pearly white nightgown contrasted with my deep black hair and, as I saw my beauty I started crying in despair.
"Whore!" I yell as I push the mirror to the side, making the glass pieces shatter on the floor but, even broken I could still see my reflection.
I kneeled on top of the glass, making it pierce my skin after ripping part of my gown as tears fell continuously. I covered my mouth with my left hand and started yelling as I grabbed a piece of the broken mirror that dug into my right hand, piercing its skin.
'It won't matter, I can't die either way' I drop the glass and get up noticing that my dress was now stained with blood.
Everything grew quiet, so quiet. One would almost think it was peaceful but in reality, it was still a storm.
"Why me...?" I mumble.
"Why me!?" I yell as I cover my face with my right underarm, hiding my eyes as tears dropped from them. The blood coming from my arm and hand was finding its way onto the purple carpet.
It was painful, so painful. Much more painful than I thought it would be. I thought I had gotten used to it, used to him. I thought I didn't care anymore but my body is still so afraid of him, of his touch, of his presence close to me.
"That's enough" I hear a voice, calm and serene, right before my eyes started to feel heavy and ended up closing. My body was losing its strength and I fell onto someone's embrace.
'It's warm...' my thoughts looked so far away, almost as if they had never happened.
"Who...?" I try to question but quickly lose consciousness and end up falling asleep peacefully.