Chapter 1: Prologue
To all the unseen little villains
I hurried along the hallway holding a jewellery box. Sunlight streamed through the windows and made every surface shine like gold. The air smelled sweet, like freshly baked bread, with a hint of cherry blossom and vanilla. I loved this place.
Reaching the end of the hallway, I knocked on the big door, balancing the box in the other hand.
"Come in," a soft voice penetrated the air.
I stepped inside and saw the maids lining the wall, their faces pale and some shivering.
I slowly turned towards the dressing table. A maid, poor Jane, lay on the floor with the sharp edge of the hairbrush on her neck. Blood seeped from the wound and pooled around her body. Her mouth was open and her eyes dull.
I looked at the figure standing above the body. Lady Charlotte. With wild red hair and cheerful blue eyes, she was the apple of everyone's eyes.
"Myra! You're here!" Charlotte giggled.
"Milady, I got it." I stepped forward and opened the box, revealing a sapphire hairpin that looked beautiful against the red cushions.
Charlotte's eyes widened. She took the pin from the box and held it up, admiring it. "Whoa… It's beautiful."
She sat down in front of the mirror and continued admiring the hairpin. I went to the body and took off the hairbrush from her neck, then turned to the maids and tilted my head towards Jane.
The maids quietly held the body and carried her off, out of sight.
"It's good that they're gone. Brush my hair. No one does it better than you."
"Thank you, milady."
I wiped the blood with my handkerchief and began combing her hair. Her red locks can be quite a nightmare. But it was nothing for my skilled hands.
As long as it didn't hurt too much, it was manageable.
I finished brushing Charlotte's hair and admired the results of my work. She looked radiant.
"There, you look beautiful, milady."
Charlotte giggled. "Of course. I'm always gorgeous."
"That's not what I meant." I shook my head. "You're breathtaking. You look exactly like a princess."
A pink tint crept across Charlotte's cheeks, and she averted her gaze. "Really?"
"Oh, you have a sweet tongue," she said, hitting my shoulder.
My sugary mouth guarantees my survival in this harsh world. And I know how to use it when necessary. Like now.
"Well, let's head out."
Charlotte walked ahead, her movements graceful. As they made their way down, a maid came rushing to them.
"Young lady, I'm sorry to bother you. But the Marchioness is calling for Myra."
Me? What for? This cannot be anything good.
I looked at Charlotte. "I apologise, milady. You can go-"
"I'm not going anywhere. I cannot let mother bully you. Let's go."
She grabbed my hand and dragged me back upstairs. We rushed past the servants, who gave us worried glances.
The moment we reached the top of the stairs, a servant stopped us. "Lady Charlotte, may I ask why you're here?"
"Mother asked Myra to attend her. It seems urgent."
"Very well. I will inform the Marchioness that you are on your way." He bowed and left.
This can only mean trouble.
As soon as the servant left, Charlotte pulled me into another room where a small group stood. The Marchioness sat on her chair, with the Head Servants on either side. Their expressions were grim.
"Charlotte, why are you here?" The Marchioness frowned.
"Mother told me to come."
"I asked for Myra, not you." She sighed. "Well, since you are here, have a seat." She gestured to the empty chair beside hers.
Charlotte sat on the sofa and I took my place behind her. The Marchioness's stare boreholes into my skull.
The doors of the parlour burst open, and the young Marquess came in, followed by Peelers.
Oh, they found out. That's too bad.
A constable came forward, and the two Peelers behind him pointed their rifles at me.
"Mercy Benedict. You are under arrest. It'll do you good if you come obediently," he said.
"Who?" Charlotte exclaimed. "This is Myra, not some Mercy."
"We are aware, Lady Edenshire."
The Peelers came forward and flagged me on both sides, grabbing hold of my arms.
I could see Charlotte's expression darken, but all she did was glare daggers at them.
"Let her go!" She screamed.
"Charlotte Edenshire! Sit down and shut your mouth at once!" The Marchioness shouted. She turned towards the Peelers. "You can take her."
They dragged me across the parlour, Charlotte's scream following us. I sighed. Well, I knew something was wrong.
My life is going to be hell from now, ain't it? It's best if they finish it with a death sentence.