𝔗𝔴𝔦𝔰𝔱𝔢𝔡 ℜ𝔢𝔣𝔩𝔢𝔠𝔱𝔦𝔬𝔫𝔰 (2)

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Erin inhaled, eyes observing the area she had missed for quite some time.

It was an expansive room, a palace of luxury with velvet carmen carpeted floors, intricate wallpaper patterned walls, and expertly crafted decor and furniture. There were various couches, lounge chairs, and petite round tables for many to chat and enjoy.

The familial quarters, or the family circle, as it was fondly nicknamed, was the experimental room in the manor. It was considered a modest room with a playful quality about it; bookshelves lined from floor to wall for reading and board games like chess, mancala, and other forms of entertainment were placed around. On the other side of the room was a grand piano and a massive fireplace designed specifically for an entire family to snuggle up together, laugh, and tell stories.

But she always found it funny when thought about it; the one-room designed exclusively for family gatherings just 'happened' to be the same room that needed cleaning the most often since dust easily collected.

In fact, if Sabina and she weren't there, she was certain her parents would turn the thing into a storage room. It had no purpose to them anyways, besides being there for show.

And now that she had been gone for some time. Well, the room was looking...?

A grand total of 9 maids for the small room were working diligently to dust and clean off the layers of persistent dust. They worked so diligently that the only sound that filled the room and sneaked into the background of her thoughts was the constant cycling sound of intense scrubbing, heavy dusting, and concentrated wiping.

"Just, swell," she mumbled to herself, pulling away from the doors.

As she walked further inside, time lapsed, and all eyes drew to her.

She was aware of attention so she walked with a little pompous strut, her head raised high. She tossed herself onto a lounging sofa and fell into her pattern.

She moved around and settled in the cushions, before reaching underneath the sofa, feeling around the floor.

After a few moments of searching, she nimbly twisted around, leaning over the backbone of the sofa, exploring again.

Her searches were turning out empty, and her pattern, her only daily rituals were interrupted.

She stopped, sitting up rigid, an irked look growing on her face.

"Where is my book?" she asked, her voice resounding through the room. "There was a yellow locket book engraved with my name, once on the floor underneath this very lounge chair. Where is it?" she demanded, receiving only blank stares as a response.

Sighing, she shot up from her seat and paced around the room, searching like a hound dog. But her hunt earned no game. Feeling incomplete, she paused to carefully survey the room, trying to eye out her target. Moving molasses-slow, she directed her attention to the fireplace shelf.

"What. Is. That."

She narrowed her eyes, peering at one particular floral glass vase seated on the shelf. It was translucent and hand-painted with floral patterns of vibrant cloud whites, anise greens, sunflowers, yellows, and deep purples. It sat neatly on the shelf right above the fireplace as a centerpiece, sprouting a rainbow of flowers. Every second her eye traced the lines of petals and leaves; the hideous vase nearly made her gag.

"I cannot believe this. I cannot!" Marching closer, she peered deeply at the centerpiece. Hidden behind the shadow of the vase and placed in a braided basket set to the side, was a collection of various childlike knickknacks, oddly shaped clay figurines, withered flower bracelets, and wreaths, and one small pale-yellow book.

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