”… ”

I had promised myself to never touch that novel again. But now, for some reason I had picked it up once more. Was there something I had missed?

I grimaced but managed to read the last few lines again. ”I had forgotten what true love was. It was not the fervent desire for new love, but the acceptance of the person who was best for me. ”

I nearly gagged. Never again.

I stood up and walked to the fireplace. The cinders had died down a bit, but the flame was still active. With all the strength I could muster, I threw that wretched piece of writing into the flames. The pages immediately caught fire, and I watched as the flames rose high. So high that I nearly thought the mantle would start to burn. But the embers became smaller, and soon I was able to see the inside of the firebox clearly. ”Forgotten Love. ” The title slowly burned until nothing remained. Forgotten.

”Ha. I feel so much better. ”

I pulled out my mattress from the nearby closet and spread it next to the hearth. I flopped onto the mattress and almost immediately fell into a deep sleep. It was without much effort, as the tiles had warmed up significantly since my brawl with the poker. However, unbeknownst to me, this sleep would be the deepest one I would ever have.

***

And that was my last memory.

I was in a large bedroom. The translucent white curtains danced, filling up a substantial portion of the room. I sat up. My vision was being obscured because of the drapes, but it was bright enough to assume morning had arrived. I brushed the curtain near my face aside and looked up to see someone staring at me.

Ratty black hair landing just above shoulder length. Piercing blue eyes that stared back into my own. A pale face with dark rings under the eyes. This man seemed to have been sleeping like I had been. Ah, and now he is glaring at me. Had I woken him up?

I raised my hand apologetically but stopped midway through the action. I should have realized it before, when he was adamantly studying my face without looking away even once. This man was undoubtedly… my own reflection.

Had I been in a coma? My hair is so damn long. Ugh, and my face looks awful! How could I be sleep deprived when all I have been doing is sleep! Why is there a mirror next to my bed anyway? How mean… I bet the nurses thought it would be a funny little joke. Well, I really do not find this very amusing-

BAMMM!!!

”AHHHHH!!! ”

The door leading into the room and swung open, but a sudden gust of wind had forced it to smash into the wall. With my heart lost somewhere on the floor and my body a trembling mess, I slowly turned to see who it was.

”Oh, my apologies young master. I thought you had left for morning practice already. ”

A girl of short stature was standing in the doorway with a basket of clothing. It piled up high enough so that I could not make out her face.

”Ha… ha… ha, ” I choked out.

All right, good. I had managed to form a normal human connection despite not understanding a word of what she had just said. I observed as she set down the basket and started up the extinguished fire across the room.

Wait. Extinguished?

Suddenly a bone chilling realization hit me. The fire. It must have died halfway through the night. Is that why I am here? I had better ask if that is the case.

”Um… excuse me, lady? ”

”Yes, young master? ”

”Was I… in an accident or something? ”

She finally turned around. I was met with an expression even more confused than my own. Her plum-coloured bangs nearly covered her eyes, but I could still see that she had narrowed them in disbelief. She only looked about 16 or 17, but I could not help but feel like I was the child in this situation.

”Young master, the only accident you have ever been in is the royal carriage incident from two years ago. I am sure you remember. ”

”Huh? ”

Carriage? Two years ago? What is she talking about? Is this how a coma patient feels after waking up?

I was so confused, but more so afraid. Afraid to acknowledge that something worse could have happened to me that night. This body. It looked a bit like me, but it did not feel like my own. I cannot think. I do not know what is happening.

The maid lady had now started to notice something was wrong, as she had stopped her work and watched as I continued sitting on the bed, chewing my right thumbnail until it turned red.

”Young master, you will catch a cold if you do not get dressed soon. Would you like me to assist you? ”

Ba-thump. The moment she said the word ”cold, ” I froze. The chipped nail was now completely torn open, and its blood was running down my lips as I failed to move my body. Was this a post-obit response?

I meekly nodded ”yes, ” and she swiftly led the way.

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