I felt something cool and soft sweeping my cheeks.
Like the faint brush of a lone feather, it caressed my skin gently as I was stirred awake from my slumber.
Who is it
I somehow managed to open my eyes just slightly when a brutal headache zipped through my skull.
I gasped audibly, feeling my lips dry and chafed as I screwed my eyes shut once again.
I waited until the throbbing eased before I blinked a couple of times, just in time to see the soft towel be cast aside.
My vision was still blurred but I could make out the figure of a person standing in front of me, holding the towel in one hand.
When my eyes fully opened, I realized it was Lina, her face was tear-stricken and she must have been wiping my face before I woke up.
“Iona!” She called in a worried voice, “Are you all right”
I felt relieved seeing her here.
She was who I was worried about right before I lost consciousness.
Lina continued to stare at me, seemingly at a loss for words and her legs were fidgeting like she didn’t know what to do with herself.
She looked so adorable that I burst into laughter despite feeling dizzy.
“Why are you laughing You have no idea how worried I was!” Lina exclaimed upon seeing the smile plastered on my face.
She was about to berate me further when I placed my hand on hers, making her stop and look down at both of our hands with a blank stare.
Her lips began to tremble, and tears pooled the corners of her eyes.
“I was so worried.” She said quietly.
Her head dropped to her chest.
For a long while, I stroked Lina’s head to assuage her as I tried to recall the events that led me to this state. I remember leaving the room with the maids because she called me…
Then the maids harshly pushed me down the stairs.
I shivered at the recollection of how I rolled all the way down to the ground floor, how my body had struck every step with nothing to cushion my fall.
It was a miracle to even be alive.
I grinned bitterly but my lips faltered because the headache blossomed once again.
The facial massages Lina had been giving me recently loosened the stiff muscles on my face, which enabled my expressions to be more vivid than they used to be.
Lina saw how strained my face was, prompting her to come near me and placed a gentle hand on my shoulder.
The doctor said your head was severely injured.”
I touched my head with my right hand.
A thick bandage was wrapped repeatedly over my head, and the scent of herbs I am not familiar with tickled my nose.
My head must have been bruised from the fall, I thought, but I don’t seem to recall any blood that time.
I heard that falling on a staircase usually leads to broken limbs, or worse, death.
I guess the carpet covering the stairs and the floor somehow eased my fall.
I’m already having a hard time surviving here, and you’re telling me that the emperor is not the only thing I should be worried about
I was about to sigh in exasperation when the bitter taste in my mouth distracted me, and my throat felt parched and dry, making me touch my neck instinctively.
Lina noticed my movement and wiped her tears off her face and asked in a concerned voice, “What’s wrong”
My hand stretched out tremblingly, pointing to the cup placed on the table.
Lina immediately understood.
“I’ll get you some water.”
With Lina aiding me, I successfully pulled myself up from the bed and accepted the glass of water.
I brought it to my lips and gulped in large amounts, with Lina occasionally reminding me to take it slow.
The pain was so severe it felt like I was beaten to a pulp.
Cold sweat formed on my temples, cascading down the sides of my face as I adjusted my body.
I raised my left hand and sharp pain bloomed from my shoulder down to my fingertips, which was wrapped in several layers of bandages with splints.
I felt dizzy from the searing pain that seemed to erupt every time I moved.
I guess I had broken a finger, too.
It was the first time I’ve felt this much pain.
Although I have been working through day and night back in my previous and present lives, I never come close to being in an accident.
Until today, I’ve never had a cast in my entire life.
I am wondering which of the two was much worse: drinking poison, or being pushed down the stairs
After emptying the glass of water, I began to recall what had transpired before I was pushed and lost consciousness, and I remember the maids acting strangely that very day.
What happened to the maids anyway And how long was I asleep
I swept the hair matted to my forehead, confused as to what happened after I was knocked out.
I gently rubbed comforting circles on my temples to ease the looming headache.
Maybe I bring so much bad luck everywhere I go, that I had to suffer immensely in both my past and present life.
I briefly glanced at Lina and she understood right away what I wanted to hear.
“Iona only woke up after three days.
Did you know how panicked I was when I heard what happened to you” Lila looked like she was going to cry again, but she blinked the tears away and continued, “Your Majesty was furious when he found out that his beloved Iona was hurt.
He was so enraged that he cut Jenna’s neck.”
Wait, isn’t the world ‘beloved’ too big of a word Wait.
Huh Who’s Jenna Did she just say that the emperor cut her neck Did I hear her right The confusion must be evident on my face that Lina elaborated, “Jenna is the ugly maid with brown hair.”
Oh, that one.
She’s the one who tried to hit me.
“I heard that Hannah, the accomplice, was taken to the knights for interrogation.
After that, I think Your Majesty ordered the knights to find out who’s behind all of this, saying that everything seems suspicious.”