Chapter 2: To Wake up
I woke up to the sight of a canopy of a canopy bed. 'What?'
My body feel sluggish but I managed to sit up. Observing with wide eye and a bit of slow mind on my surroundings. I was sleeping in a canopy bed draped with fully enclosed curtains of lavender and pastel blue. Upon examining by beddings, I was actually cocooned on a blanket, a duvet I realized with the same shade or a bit lighter, although the beddings were actually a darker shade.
Now I am confused, we don't have this kind of bed at home or anywhere near the area where my accident occurred I think. While trying to process this I was hit by a bit of dizziness and had the sudden urge to vomit. My body was like in auto pilot, opening the bed curtains, standing up, rushing to the bathroom that I didn't even know was located there, as if I have done these hundred times, which as far as I know I did not. After my supposed dinner (dinner?) have resurfaced in the toilet, I led myself to the sink and washed my face, looking at the mirror and met with a surprise.
The mirror shows a young woman that was not me. It was Camellia. 'Eh? But this is a mirror, right?'
Tugging of hair, touching my face, Yup it is a mirror. Meaning? 'Why am I looking like Camellia?'
Although staring at my not face, I can see some similarities. It looks like Camellia and I have the same face shape, eye shape and lips, not the nose though sigh. When Camellia is all colors, as far as I know I was all black.
'Still part of a dream, I guess'
Observing my supposed body. I realized I am wearing a somewhat dress in cream. I think this is called a night gown of sorts? Now that I think about it, looking around this bath looks a bit designed like it was from an older era in my world. 'Let's look for a tooth brush first, can't stand the taste of vomit in my mouth'
'Hmm, what does toothbrush look like in this place and time, Do toothbrush even exist here?,' I thought while rummaging to the mini cabinet near the sink. 'Aha, here it is'
After taking care of the morning rituals that Camellia does every morning according to my dream memory. I left the bath and observed her room. The bathroom was located at the south of the room. The canopy bed on the right side with bedside tables on both sides candle lamps atop of them, a study on the left nearing a vanity. A window in the north facing the gardens of the dormitory. Below the window is a mini sitting area, where I think Camellia does her reading and sometimes drink tea to relax. A bit away from the vanity almost south of the room and near the bathroom are two doors. The right one will be the door that leads to the hallway, while the left one is a wardrobe. Sitting again in the bed, I tried to deduce my current situation.
First things first, let's enumerate facts here. It looks like I am still in a dream. In this dream I am Camellia, and I 'woke up' probably from the last night of crying for her Prince Lark. Meaning if yesterday is the 5th day of the week, of course today is the 6th day meaning Camellia will be expected to be home by mid-day to the Strelitzia Family Home (more like a small mansion) at the Royal Capital. The Academy classes are 5 days a week, the afternoon of the 5th day up to the 6th day is a free time for the students. They have a choice between going home or staying at the Academy, although young maidens are expected to go home and be back to the Academy before dinner time of the 7th day of the week. The 7th day is the day of worship. So~ converting it to my world. Classes are Monday to Friday, Saturday is free day and Sunday is church day. Same as my schedule.
By the position of the sun outside the window, I can safely say that it is probably about pass 8 am. 'Does Camellia even have a clock in here?' I found the clock was by the bed side table. 'Oh I was right, I or Camellia have slept in'. Camellia usually wakes up on free day by pass 6 am and go to breakfast a bit before 8 am. It is either a breakfast in the grand hall or in bed provided by Camellia's maid servant Holly. According to Camellia's memories, Holly should be here right now, she usually comes here to help Camellia bath and dress for the day. All maidservants and aides are allowed at the Academy from 6am to 10am and 4pm to 8pm to help their masters and mistresses. An escort is also present same time as them but are not allowed in the dormitory areas.
According to Camellia's memories, she have asked Holly not to come to the Academy on the afternoon of the 5th day, but to come as usual the next day. 'So, where is Holly?' Standing up, I made my way to the wardrobe, upon opening I was already expecting it but was still surprised by the garments inside. The usual academy uniforms and other dresses that belong or can be categorized in my world as Victorian era fashion. 'I really need Holly for this, even if I can technically dress myself, I don't even know what half of this garments are called or where to use what.' Rummaging more in the wardrobe. 'Corsets, seriously?' While trying to wrap my brain on the sheer ridiculousness of the clothes. I heard a door slam open. Three girls already dressed for the day entered, both are older than Camellia, probably her brother and Prince Lark's year mates. They look surprised to see me still in night clothes though.
"We deeply apologize for this Lady Camellia, but please understand Prince Lark have ordered us, we don't have a choice" they said while bowing.
"What are you-" I was trying to ask but, suddenly there where arms wrapping both of mine and trying to drag me.
"Hey, wait! Let me go" I was struggling to free myself, but they were stronger, and considering that whatever happened to Camellia last night her body is weaker than normal. I barely saw and understand what really is happening. I was dragged out of the room and thru the hallways. People are looking, whispering and pointing at us. While this is happening I was still struggling and trying to free myself, I can hear my own heart beating faster, and my breath became pants, cold sweat are forming. When we came to the floors common room, they dragged me to the center in front a group of people standing in semi-circle, and others are loitering in the corners of the room, but were looking at me with pity, others with glee. The girls forced me in kneeling position, then let me go. I tried to stand up but a firmer, stronger hand stopped me, obviously a man.
"Please let go of me" I said to the man. Sir Trevor of House Yarrow son of the chief of the 3rd squadron of Knighthood. A son of a Baron. 'He's strong as expected of someone who was trained for knighthood from early age'
"Could you please let go, you are hurting me" I said to him, but he did not even give me a reaction at all, just looking down at me. "Let go of me, you who calls himself a knight, the one who have sworn to protect the weak, you are showing the opposite right know. Let go!" I demanded.
"Weak? You are not weak. Don't make me laugh" another male voice have spoken. I looked up and saw my older brother Jarred, looking at me with eyes full of sarcasm, expression full of disbelief. Upon seeing him, I realized that the people forming the semi-circle in front of me, was Prince Lark's friends and of course Althea's also. Prince Lark was at the center, holding Althea in his left arm almost hugging her. Our eyes met.
"Why have you been harassing Althea?" Prince Lark asked with a tone of barely restrained anger, eyes full of scorn.
"Harassment, what harassment? Right now I am the one who is being harassed by this man" I said confused but defiant while talking about Trevor.
"Do not make excuses, Camellia. I already heard most of it! You who has been snubbing Althea, you who demands that she should distance herself from me! You who have created rumors making her sound like a harlot! You who had insulted her by leaving the afternoon tea she had lovingly prepared without per say!" Prince Lark looked at me, glared at me as if challenging me to deny all those accusations. 'How dare this man make such accusations which technically is true but I digress, Camellia might wither by that look but I will not'
"With all due respect your highness, from whom did you hear such rumors. Yes I might have snubbed her at first but that is befitting with my position, you must know your highness that I cannot interact with people below my social status without formal introduction. Your highness you have never introduced us to each other, but I had let it slide and let her talk to me to please you. Demands? Was it wrong for me to ask her to respect my status as your fiancé?" I answered with pride, with reasons that I have come up with a drop of a hat. Yes I can admit I am making excuses for Camellia. This situation is already out of hand and I am just going with the flow as usual in my life and also try to deviate the worse possible consequences Camellia might face. But am I helping her or not?
"Excuses!" Camellia's brother shouted, and his cohorts nodding, agreeing with him.
I looked each of them in eyes, a glare to Jarred and settled back with Prince Lark. "What evidence do you have, your highness?"
"Trevor, let her stand" Prince Lark ordered. I let out a relived sigh when I was assisted in standing up, Thinking finally it is over, but I was wrong, really wrong. Price Lark suddenly held my arm tightly, holding me as if trying to squeeze my arm and make it burst. And it was too painful, I know it will bruise. He looked at me in the eyes and said "Your status as my fiancé? Is that your reason? Then let me relieve you of it" He gave me mocking smile and addressed everyone in the room.
"Everyone, from this day forward. I Prince Larkspur the first prince of Anthos hereby declare that my engagement to this woman Lady Camellia is annulled!" He looked at me still with that mocking smile of his "Now you do not have a reason" He then let go of me by pushing me back. I almost stumbled but I caught my footing. Thank god for ballet lessons from my world.
'What the F~, that escalated quickly, I have made it worse, I'm sorry Camellia, but this is for the best, we will walk away from this with dignity as much as I can.'
I looked at him somewhat teary eyed channelling all of Camellia's frustration and heart break, but holding it back so it will not look like I was losing my cool. While holding my somewhat injured and still painful arm I gave him a teary smile and said "Your highness, if your real agenda is to annul our engagement, we could have done it without this much humiliation on my part. Accusing me of such things without evidence, dragging me from my room, presenting me to this people while I am still wearing my night clothes, and then subsequently announcing such thing. You have ensured that I will be exiled from high society, my reputation in tatters. What have I done to deserve this kind of humiliation" I breathed deeply and continued "The only thing that I have done is to love you and give my heart to you" Prince Lark looked taken a backed by my admission, but before he can say something, I continued "But why? Why have you humiliated me like this?" I let a lone tear freely flow for the effect. I am such a good actress.
The room met with silence. I can feel most young maidens are a bit sympathetic with me. And the young men are looking away from me as if suddenly realizing, that yes I am still wearing my night clothes. Which is a Big No No in this society as far I can guess with Camellia's dream memory. Being seen in public with only night clothes especially by a man, is a big social suicide for a young maiden. Having your engagement annulled is big stain on a young maidens' reputation. Having an annulled engagement with a royalty in this setting as if he is declaring that you are severely lacking is a guarantee that you will not have any further courtship in the kingdom at all. Combining all of this is a sure expulsion from the high society and the Academy.
Addressing everyone in room I said "I know that this will be the last time I will see everyone in this Academy. As such I would like to express my farewells and gratitude to the people that have supported and treated me well. Farewell my friends"
With much dignity that I can muster. I turned around and headed to leave the common room with the intent of going back to my room.
'Camellia, Stop!" Prince Lark called. My heart skipped a beat. 'Is he going to apologize to Camellia?' "Aren't you going to apologize to Althea?"
Seriously?! Apologizing to her is tantamount as bowing to her. It is as if his saying that the Grand Ducal house of Strelitzia should bow to a Viscount house. This is not pride, but this is how this society works. Daughters are still representative of their house, their actions are more scrutinized than that of sons. Camellia's exile from high society will be met with punishment from the Grand Duke, bowing to a daughter of Viscount might lead to drastic measures.
'The nerve of this man, what did Camellia have seen in him? He is not that lovable and kind as what her memories portray, hmmm…that can probably be accounted for blindness of love'
I turned around and faced him. "I will not apologize. I have done what I taught at that time was right. I have done it for self-preservation. I will not concede"
For the more subtle shift of focus and more sympathy, I let my tears freely flow and addressed the woman who have started this all "Lady Althea, I wonder what more can you deprive me further? You have taken everything already. My position, my fiancé, my brother... The least you could do is to let me leave this place with dignity."
I turned around and immediately left. But before I was completely turned I saw Althea's reaction. She might have looked like confused as if asking what am I saying, but her eyes show subtle satisfaction. Camellia herself might not be able to see that subtle shift of reaction, but I was able too. I trained myself to see such things, she reminds me of my family from my world. This Althea is nothing but trouble.
Exiting the common room, I took a deep breath and proceeded to walk to my room, already thinking of ways to lessen the pain in my arm. But I was hit by a sudden realization.
'Pain?, Why am I feeling pain. This is a dream. I should not be able to feel pain….right?'