Unfamiliar Home

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I awoke the following morning with a servant knelt by the foot of the bed, waiting for me to wake up

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I awoke the following morning with a servant knelt by the foot of the bed, waiting for me to wake up. I almost flipped and yanked myself up as I covered myself with sheets, even though I'm fully dressed. Seemed like it would be anyone's natural reaction finding a stranger in their room.

"Forgive me, mistress." She murmured. "I didn't mean to frighten you this morning. I was given a task to tend to your every need as long as you're here."

My own maidservant? I never had the luxury of having my own maidservant before. My family might be rich but we didn't have that type of luxury of having our own personal servants.

The southern kingdom of Wang must be rich, I heard this is a thriving kingdom full of wealth that's why my parents were more than happy, having married off Ying Yue to their crown prince.

The Wang's don't meddle with their neighboring kingdoms since most of their battles are fought with spirits, demons and the underworld, but they are known to be good fighters, and I wonder how would prince Wang Jian pair with prince Jungqi if I was to ask him to rescue my brother?

The Wang's are in another league compared to the rest of the three kingdoms and I could tell it based on the gothic aesthetic of this palace. The walls seemed so dark as though there's life lurking in the corners of the walls and shadows in the room.

A little too creepy for someone who is not used to dark and dampened places. The hair on my neck stood up and I felt the prickly pimples on my arms rose. Goosebumps, I have goosebumps just sitting here.

The maidservant groaned after I continued on my silent rumination.

"I have your breakfast prepared on the table, mistress."

I looked at her, my appetite still eluded me, but I stood up anyway and strode over to the table and sat on the chair. The maidservant immediately got up on her feet, pouring hot tea for me. I began eating.

"How was your sleep, mistress?" She asked opening a casual conversation.

"It was good," I said, biting into a piece of fruit. I nibbled on my breakfast as she stepped away yanking the sheets off my bed, undressing it. "U-umm, where can I typically find the prince at this time of day?" I asked.

"He's more likely with his father or tending to his usual affairs. My apologies, mistress. I'm not one to know the prince's schedule. You could perhaps inquire about his personal guard or his esquire. They could let you know."

And here I thought it was difficult getting his audience last night. It seemed I'm going to need a sacrifice to the gods to even speak to him at this point.

"So, where can I find his esquire or his personal guard?"

"Lord Chansin is usually with the prince and so is his esquire. I'm afraid there's not much I could tell you. You could probably catch them walking about the hallways." She suggested instead.

It took half a day for me to even get ready. I wasn't expecting to be treated like a princess after I was welcomed coldly yesterday. And yet, here I am, being tended by my personal maidservant. Clothes brought out to me for my choosing and my hair made in an intricate manner worn by nobles and princesses.

Someone can only wonder how good he was with my sister. He must have spoiled her and showered her with luxury when they were together. But why would she leave him? I remembered how in love they were on their wedding day.

I stood up abruptly, feeling the sudden urge to search for him. I rushed to the door while my maidservant chased after me.

"Wait, mistress! Where are you going? I'm not done fixing your hair!"

"No worries, my hair is fine," I responded as I escaped to the hallway and down to the path of more hallways, getting lost in the maze of the massive palace.

I paused and turned around when I ran into a dead end. Guards stationed in the corners watched me with curiosity.

"Careful running in these hallways, lady He Lian. You don't want to fall and break your face." Lord Chua Chanshin approached from the other end of the hallway, there's an easy swagger in the way he walked. So calm, so reposed. His hands tucked away behind his back, his lips thinned in a gentleman's smile.

"Huh?" I turned to gaze at him.

"You're a grown up now, you should be acting more like a lady." There's a certain characteristic in his voice. It's a bit too elated, too high pitched, too loud as if he's talking to a child.

"Then why you speak to me as if I'm still a child?" I asked.

It was his turn to say, "huh?"

I managed a soft smile and glided my eyes shyly to the ground. The ladylike gesture seemed to satisfy him.

He groaned and brought his voice down to a gentleman's vibrato. Not a lover's purr, but more like a man would speak to a delicate woman.

"That's more ladylike. My apologies, lady He Lian. Last time I saw you, you were still but a little tyke."

"Is that so? Last time I saw you, Lord Chanshin, you couldn't stop admiring eldest brother on my sister's wedding day."

He turned red and I think I picked up more than I intended. Silence descended while I waited for his retort, and when none came, I spoke immediately of my wishes. "I wish to seek the prince's audience this morning. Can you take me to him?"

"Yes, I can. As a matter of fact, I was on my way to your chamber to see how you're doing."

"Forgive my anxiousness lord Chansin, but I still need to talk to him about a sister and my brother."

"The prince is aware of your trouble, lady He Lian." He murmured. "I came to fetch you, so you may speak to him. He did promise an audience after you got your rest."

"He did." I nodded in agreement.

He jerked his head for me to follow. "The prince waits in his office."

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