Chapter 8:

8: Taken: The first incident is here!

I was Born the Unloved Twin

It has been months since our debut party. Mother has returned to society functions while Father is as busy with work as ever. Lilyanne and I continue to grow peacefully even with their lack of presence. We have no shortage of maids and caretakers looking after us after all. Bookmark here

Grampa is naturally our most seen visitor aside from mother. Since that night he's shown no sign of knowing anything, no other messages. I am at once both relieved and frustrated. There are still questions I need answering but I force myself to be patient. I should be thankful for the life I have, the life he's offered to let me keep.Bookmark here

I'm not saying he's a potential baby murderer but I'm not really a baby after all. Bookmark here

No instead he's treating us, even me, as genuine baby girls. It's weird but then again grampa has always been an odd sort of individual. He treated us with more roughness than how I would think people would normally treat babies but since Lilyanne can handle it then it's fine. She's growing quite well, by the way, her health problems are nonexistent. I hope it keeps up.Bookmark here

She can now sit up on her own and has learned how to roll like me. The maids moaned and whimpered in terror the day we discovered that.Bookmark here

"Not her too!"Bookmark here

Being an unfair cheat of a baby I have since learned to crawl, making my reputation among the staff even more fearsome. The news doesn't phase mother and father at all.Bookmark here

"Oh as expected, so healthy!" Bookmark here

Geez, be a little more excited about your child's growth you two.Bookmark here

So even though we can't properly move around yet we have our means of mobility. Bookmark here

In return the maids never work alone anymore, at least one pair is always watching over us. Not to be arrogant but I think they may watching me in particular. Something to do with Gerta's orders how I'm a speedy menace I'm sure. I really have to plan countermeasures on her.Bookmark here

But lately, I don't mind staying good and in my place. Maybe the lingering fear of grampa's little talk is still affecting me. Rosalia was always intimidated and a little scared of grampa but I'm terrified for entirely different legitimate reasons. Bookmark here

Who in the world is he? What is he?!Bookmark here

Since he promised to take care of me as family, for now, I can only trust in that. Again I reason, if he wanted to get rid of me he could do so easily anytime. Why worry over something I can't help yet? If anything it just means I'm safe during these early years.Bookmark here

So I pass my days easily, not without the little ring of anxiety in the back of my head but more than peaceful enough. There are certain red flags to Rosalia's life that's best to be avoided, taken advantage of. Bookmark here

I repeat them to myself as if it's a magical incantation as if I would ever forget them and ruin myself down the line. I'd feel better if I could write them down for memory's sake but that's not an option at this point. While my memory has always been rather good I can't afford any slip-ups in this life. Bookmark here

Which brings us to this moment.Bookmark here

"Shit which one is which?"Bookmark here

Standing before Lilyanne and me in the dark of night is an unknown maid with a grim expression. Her accomplices are waiting at various points outside to ensure a smooth operation. I must credit them for getting this far under grampa's nose, but he was never good at domestic matters off the field in the first place. Not his forte.Bookmark here

The first red flag. While it doesn't harm me directly, this childhood incident lit the match to the over-protectiveness of Lilyanne and her reputation across the people. In the middle of the night, kidnappers whisked away the great hero's second granddaughter, the dawn child. Bookmark here

While they were quickly captured and Lilyanne returned unharmed it was a great blow to our household. The heaviest damage was in the rumor mill. What could they possibly want with the child, she must possess something special. It was the perfect lead up to when Lilyanne would present her powers, and make her all the more desirable to other potential kidnappers and threats.Bookmark here

From what I've been told of the story the staff was quickly alerted by my continuous crying. After discovering a missing baby they quickly alerted others to search. A messenger soon reached grampa in his military training barracks. Soldiers working that night retell how gallantly gramps hunted and rode up to the band of kidnappers.Bookmark here

They were all killed on the spot and Lilyanne was returned in under a day. A very tidy end to the story but her health took a dive and she was down with a harsh fever for a while after that. Bookmark here

While gramps method wasn't wrong, it's far too lacking in my opinion. He should have rooted out the kidnappers' identities and followed them back to the source. Too many kidnapping threats would come later on in the future.Bookmark here

Gerta had joked how they could save Lilyanne so quickly thanks to my crying but that's also what helped differentiate her from me despite our identical faces. My nature and lungs are well known now and then.Bookmark here

I can't stop the kidnapping but that doesn't mean I can't do anything about it at all, say go along for the ride. Bookmark here

These last few nights I've been insisting on sleeping together in the same bassinet as Lilyanne. My baby sister was ecstatic and happily hung on and so we've been sleeping intertwined ever since. This way it makes it harder for anyone to differentiate us. Bookmark here

If the kidnappers couldn't tell which child was which then what would be the next best option? Bookmark here

Take both of course. Bookmark here

I stay still, pretending to be as asleep as my sister is. The fake maid has a limited time window and hastily acts as I predicted, scooping us both up and hiding us away into a laundry trolley. I allow her to get a certain distance, at least down the stairs. During so I can't help but clutch on to Lilyanne protectively but she remains peacefully asleep throughout all the movement. Bookmark here

It's regretful to wake her up to this ordeal but it can't be helped. The least I can do is gently nudge her awake before proceeding to cry my lungs out.Bookmark here

Lilyanne is naturally quick to react and wails along with me. The kidnappers curse and hasten their pace, getting us out of the house as quickly as possible. Hopefully, our famously loud crying has done a decent good of alerting someone. There's staff placed throughout the mansion at all times after all. Bookmark here

When they unload us out to a waiting band of horses I'm sure we look exactly identical, just a crying jumble of babies. Lilyanne's sobbing can get just as loud as mine I smugly note.Bookmark here

How's that for weak and delicate!Bookmark here

"Shit, why'd you take both? The plan was just the smaller one."Bookmark here

"You pick them out then! The info was shit, they look the god damn same."Bookmark here

There's no time for anymore bickering, the house is stirring. The kidnappers quickly load us both up, still caught in each other's sticky embrace. We continue wailing like an ambulance siren through the cloth that covers us. As they take off I only calm after a few paces of distance away. Lilyanne can continue the alarm call crying after all. Bookmark here

It's far more useful for me to clear my eyes and keep myself alert. Now let's see who you trash are and what you want.Bookmark here

Multiple horses, we're riding in the center I assume as we're flanked by other riders. Two riders behind us. I can't see the numbers in front but I can safely guess at least two as well. Their panic makes them reckless, they're bound to leave behind something for grampa to follow. He found them last time after all.Bookmark here

The crying in my ear eventually calms down into hiccuping. I can't imagine the fear and discomfort a normal baby would feel through this. There's nothing I can gather now while we're on the run. Might as well settle down and conserve strength till grampa comes to the rescue. There there Lilyanne, it's okay. Go back to sleep, big sister here will keep watch. Bookmark here

"How much further."Bookmark here

"Keep riding, we're almost at the transfer point."Bookmark here

When they change horses at dawn I count a band of at least 7 men and our fake maid. They're all wearing cloth masks at this point smart. Won't save them from dying by the end of the day of course.Bookmark here

"Should we split them up?"Bookmark here

"Can you tell the brats apart?"Bookmark here

"No but-"Bookmark here

"Then why even mention it?! Can't risk it, they need the dawn child for their plans. We deliver the cargo as is. They can get rid of the useless one later."Bookmark here

The kidnappers split up, to throw the trail off I suppose. The fake maid leaving with the other group. I don't even bother crying at the change point though Lilyanne does, there are no witnesses here. Bookmark here

It's an uncomfortable and shaky ride. Aside from the slight bits of information I manage to gather the kidnappers remain mostly silent. They're stressed, grampa must be on their trail. I refocus my efforts to comforting Lilyanne, cooing her to sleep. Can't have her falling ill again after all this. I even afford a few short naps for myself.Bookmark here

After a miserable amount of time being lugged as stolen cargo on horseback, I hear the change. A rush of oncoming galloping horses, a horn blowing and the roaring of warriors approaching. Bookmark here

Finally!Bookmark here

I'm getting motion sick here.Bookmark here

Our rider slows and stalls. Though I can't fully see the fight I can hear it in the neighing of horses and clanging of weapons. My ears don't need to strain to hear a familiar piercing voice even over the chaos of the scene.Bookmark here

"Hand them over."Bookmark here

Our basket is tossed around like a carnival ride gone haywire. Lilyanne's crying would be deafening if not for the more fearsome noises outside. She can only hold on to me for comfort as we're thrashed around. Bookmark here

Grampa will win that much is clear. I don't know if they caught the other group yet but they'll die regardless. Either way I ready myself.Bookmark here

They're outnumbered and as our grandfather finishes off the fight with last kidnapper, the one fleeing with us, I let out a cry. Forming the syllables as clearly as I could muster, I scream. Bookmark here

"Nooooooooo!"Bookmark here

I repeat it, again and again, to make sure he gets the point, don't kill him yet. He must have understood since his killing intent dissipates and he shrugs nonchalantly, tossing away his sword. The rogue is still beaten to the point of unconscious though. Grampa scoops us into his arms and after confirming Lilyanne's condition he gives me questioning almost amused look. In response, I hold out a single finger.Bookmark here

One, I signal. I bring the digit to my mouth and tap at it, trying to make my message universal simple to understand. Bookmark here

Leave one alive to talk. Bookmark here

Grampa is a questionable man but he's not a dumb one. He only raises an eyebrow at me and sighs with what could be called relief before ordering his men my repeated instructions. Bookmark here

"Bind him and take him to the interrogation unit!"Bookmark here

"Yes sir!"Bookmark here

"Round up the corpses, horses, everything. I want a full investigation."Bookmark here

"My Lord, we and the other squads will take care of everything from here. Please return with the children home."Bookmark here

"Then I leave it to you."Bookmark here

With that it's over, the first checkpoint in a terrible series is altered. Just a little change made with the efforts of a useless little baby. I can only hope it butterflies into something for the better down the line.Bookmark here

---Bookmark here

Author: Like many authors I like talking about my story. Free free to comment and ask ?s and I'll do my best to answer (as long as it's not too much of a spoiler)Bookmark here

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