The Devil Duchess Adopts The Villainess Chapter 21
Chapter 21: Hui Yin Wake Up!
"Hui Yin! Hui Yin! Wake up sleepyhead!"
Elise woke up bleary eyed as she found herself in an unfamiliar room, she looked down and saw the strange uniform from the mysterious dreams. She was lying down on a plain wooden desk with a small backpack on the ground beside her. There was a young girl in her late teens staring at her and giving her gentle nudges.
"Hui Yin why would you sleep through the afternoon classes? Sensei saw you and gave us extra homework to do tonight," the unfamiliar girl grumbled.
Elise sighed slowly, ever since she had left the capitol these strange dreams had not plagued her for quite some time. Yet the moment she returned to the castle, she was once again trapped in this foreign place when she closed her eyes.
Suddenly she froze in shock, why could she now understand the language?
She gazed at the unfamiliar girl and drew a sharp intake of breath, the girl's face and details were now visible. The girl was slightly plump with a cute face filled with baby fat, her hair was long and glossy, and her eyes were sparkling with cheerful emotions as she talked.
"Who...Who are you?" Elise stammered out.
The girl was now visibly confused and replied, "Are you okay? I knew you shouldn't have spent the night reading that ridiculous novel."
A spark entered Elise's head and a wave of memories assaulted her, she saw herself in another life. A little girl grew up in a city with enormous buildings that towered all the way to the heavens. She had a loving family with two brothers, her dad and her mom as well as a family dog.
She had an ordinary life and childhood just like the people around her. She was called 'Hui Yin' and was a student at this school. This other version of her was well liked by the students and teachers of the school and was fairly popular.
"Novel? What novel?" Elise hurriedly asked.
"Oh. I'm talking about that fantasy novel that you read it all the time. Well I'm not the biggest fan of it but I hate what happened to the villainess, I don't think she deserved...
The world around her slowly faded to black and Elise could not hear what the strange girl was trying to say.
"No! Let me hear it please!" Elise begged and pleaded but soon sank back into unconsciousness.
Ashley was being tightly hugged by Elena who warded off the jealous maids who tried to grab the little girl from her. None of the fear the maids showed when they were in the presence of Elise could be seen when they interacted with the little girl.
She was just too cute!
Ashley was truthfully a little bit shy among the strangers as the servants of her parents' mansion used to ignore her very existence. Here in her mommy's castle it was the opposite, these big sisters kept on trying to hug and kiss her.
"My lady are you hungry? Should one of us go into the kitchens and fetch you a snake?", a maid asked.
Ashley shook her head sideways to say no but her stomach betrayed her and let a couple of growls out. Her cheek flushed bright red as she tried to cover up her embarrassment.
The maids picked up on this and let out a series of small smiles at their adorable little miss.
Elena laughed and said, "I'm feeling pretty hungry why don't you get me a snack from the kitchen and bring some extra food for the miss."
Ashley looked at Elena with a pout, she was not a fool and could tell that Elena was just trying to save her some face. A couple maids left the back of the crowd and quickly ran to the kitchen to bring out a few platters of snacks for the young miss.
There was a small window on the one of the walls that overlooked a flower garden beneath. The flowers were a variety of shapes and colours almost like a dancing rainbow. Ashley stared utterly transfixed at the beautiful sight before her eyes.
"Would you like to visit the flower garden my lady?" a maidservant named Shriyar asked.
Ashley was unsure and glanced at Elena who nodded her head to give an okay. Elise would probably be dealing with territory matters till nightfall so it would be no problem to show Ashley around the estate.
They picked up the pace and arrived outside to explore the flower garden together. Elena had a bit of a grasp on Elise's personality so seeing the crowd of maids behind them still, she tried to disperse them.
"Listen I know the duchess called for twenty of you but truthfully two or four is probably enough, if there are any tasks you need to do, you can leave."
Elena decided to let most of them go, unfortunately after she said that not a single maid moved from the crowd.
A couple of awkward coughs and a few excuses rang out from the crowd,
"The head butler said I should stay"
"You never know if our little lady will need some extra hands"
"Well I can't disobey the duchess orders!"
Seeing that no one was moving, Elena sighed gently and just placed Ashley down so she could explore the garden.
It appeared that she was way too popular among the maids.
Ashley approached the flowers carefully and watch them sway gently from side to side, the pleasant smell of roses filled her nose and she squinted her eyes in happiness.
The flower garden was carefully maintained, and each flower was arranged in a particular pattern. There was a clear abundance of love that showed in the design of the garden.
"Big sisters who made this garden?" Ashley asked curiously.
Elena was unsure as well and turned towards the maids for the answer. A tense atmosphere formed around the maids and none seemed willing to say. Finally, after a few moments, Shriyar stepped forward and hesitantly told the story.
"My lady, this flower garden was a gift that duchess Elise's mother gave her when she was only six years old. She personally designed the garden herself and would often spend afternoons playing happily with her daughter. No one was closer than that mother- daughter pair and when she died several years ago it broke the duchess' heart. She was never the same innocent little girl again."
Warmth and laughter filled the mansion during Elise's childhood days, her father would often be summoned to the capitol to deal with magic beast exterminations in other territories leaving his young wife and child home.
Elise only had her mother for company and would follow her around like a little shadow. The duke's wife was from a foreign land, but none seemed to know which kingdom it was. Her violet eyes caused rumors that she was not even human.
This gossip was spread rapidly through the other noble houses. She was once taken to trial by the church but proved that she was capable of magic and possessed a mana circuit so eventually the rumors died down.
None of the servants were sure of what happened during the incident all those years ago, the duke had gone for a weeklong trip to tour some towns at border of the walls and bolster the defenses. Elise's mother gave all the servants a holiday for the week and despite the protests from the head butler, she remained alone in the castle with her daughter.
When the servants returned, the duke was present in the castle and declared that his wife had unexpectedly died of a heart attack. Elise was grieving and was to be left to heal in her room with peace and quiet.
All the servants were shocked and one brave maid snuck into the little Elise's room to comfort her. What she found was the child covered in bandages in the middle of a healing formation. Ugly scars ran down the sides of her face and body but the worse part of the scene was the dead expression in Elise's eyes as if the light had gone out.
The maid was immediately fired, and the duke spent the whole month guarding the room from trespassers. When the month had passed, their lady was fully healed and left the room with no outward difference from before.
Only the little innocent girl who stayed at the castle and smiled and laughed with others was gone forever, in her place was a mask with an expression of frost and a guarded heart.
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