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"Good morning, my lady."

"Good morning..." Liliana yawns, blinking open bleary eyes. "What's the weather like today, Amelia?"

"I'm not Amelia."

"Hm?" 

Liliana looks at the owner of the voice and instead of seeing the familiar face of Amelia she sees one of the other maids. She was slightly on the bigger side, with a rounded face encompassing her beady black eyes even though a greasy black bun pulled back her face. "Hello, Bertha," Liliana smiles, trying not to sound disgruntled. "Where is Amelia today?"

"An accident occurred at her mother's last night so Amelia immediately set out. She wanted me to let you know," Bertha informs as Liliana's eyes widen. What could've happened? 

I definitely need to find out...

Liliana lets out a mild cough as Bertha turns around to give her mistress some breakfast, ignoring the cough. This cough needs to be much worse...

Glancing at the croissants, Liliana imagined their fillings made of live cockroaches. How they'd crunch when she'd bite into them and how they'd run up and down her throat, laying their eggs all the while until her whole body was teeming with cockroaches beneath the skin.

She coughed much louder, now sounding hoarse and heavy.

"M-My lady! Are you alright?" Bertha asks as Liliana pushes her aside, running to the wastebasket and barfing up what she had for dinner last night.

"I...I do not feel well," Liliana lies and Bertha's face crinkles in worry.

"There, there, my lady," she soothes as she rubs Liliana's back. "Let's get you off to bed and call the physician-"

"Please don't. My parents are still away, and I do not wish for them to worry-"

"But your health-" Bertha argues but Liliana shakes her head.

"I'll be fine with enough rest," Liliana affirms. "This happens around the same time every year. I'll be perfectly fine tomorrow morning."

Bertha relents with a sigh and scurries away.

"Shall I come back for lunch, then?" She asks, covering the tray of food. Liliana coughs slightly and shakes my head. "I won't be able to stomach it. Tomorrow, I'll eat heartily. Just make sure no one comes into my room."

She pauses before nodding. "Alright, my lady."

She quickly wheels out the cart, giving her master one last look, before softly closing the door behind her. After hearing her footsteps leave, Liliana quickly jumps up from the bed and dons her winter clothes and her signature cloak. Grabbing her satchel of money, she slips it beside the dagger strapped to her side. Opening the door slightly, Liliana peers out into the empty hallway, ears searching for any sound. 

Stealthily, she sneaks through the hall and runs down the side stairs to the basement. Going through a narrow passageway, Liliana opened the door into the stable, where Peterson, the butler, was tending to the horses. He looks at her with his eyes widened.

"M-My lady! What are you doing here when you are supposed to be in bed?" He asks as Liliana throw back the hood.

"I can ask the same, where is your brother?" Liliana asks, knowing that Peterson's brother, Stewart, is the stable boy. Peterson looks aside, not knowing how to respond at first.

"Stewart...Stewart had to go home to help my parents with the bakery. The economy has been failing for a while now, and it finally hit my parents hard. They charge too little for bread to sell it, and ingredients cost too much." 

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