Shakila's foot knocked the bucket over to the floor near Dilara, while Ingrid walked beside Shakila, chuckling viciously.
"Whoops!" Shakila covered her mouth as her eyes broadened, pretending to be shocked. "My apologies, Dilara."
Shakila and Ingrid chortled while they walked past Dilara. Dilara sighed and tilted her head left.
The hallway carried the landscape paintings on the wall. With the plants watching Dilara suffer from Mother's daughters, my sister's voices dominated her ears. A floral odor spreaded out in the air.
Dilara examined Mother smiling at her with Mother's arms crossed, chuckling a bit. "Don't forget about your duties at our church. And never miss a spot while you're at it, Dilara, " demanded Mother, moving her back away from the wall. "You know what happens, don't you?"
"Oh, don't worry, Mother," Dilara answered. "I won't."
"Good," echoed Mother's voice while she followed her daughters. They were just nothing but a pain to Dilara.
When Dilara arrived at the mansion as a poor little lass, she recalled a wealthy man, Father, taking her under his wing, even treating her like a princess. Mother did accept her for a while until he gave Dilara everything she could ever want, and spent time with her—more than his own two daughters—even though she remained unspoiled herself.
Shortly after he passed away, Mother fired all of her servants and took everything away from Dilara. She made Dilara a servant for the rest of her life and made her life hell.
Mother gave Dilara more chores around the mansion, while giving her own two daughters everything they wanted, spending more time with them than Dilara.
She picked up the bucket and stood up from the ground. Now she needed to find a mop.
She walked towards the kitchen and looked around for the mop. Only silence echoed in the kitchen apart from the clock disturbing it with its ticking sound. The perfume entered her nostrils.
The wall, the counters and the cabinets all stared at her. Her eyes finally spotted the mop near the corner.
She grabbed the mop and headed back to her spot to clean up the spill. After she squeezed the water out of the wet mop inside the bucket, she kneeled down and continued scrubbing the floor. She couldn't wait to get her chores done as soon as possible, because this was getting tiresome for her at this point.
Being the only one doing the chores around the house and church really annoyed Dilara. Dusting anywhere there was dust to be found, sweeping and mopping the floors, doing Mother and her daughters' laundry, etc. She lived with Mother and her daughters for a decade, and they never treated her any better. She hardly got a break, even during the public holidays.
After Dilara scrubbed the floor, she carried the cleaning utensils and made her way to the kitchen. She looked up at the clock just as the minute hand struck eleven-thirty. It was time for her to put these cleaning utensils up and prepare for lunch.
Thirty minutes in and Dilara set the food on the table, which had the same color as the floor. She turned to the house telecommunicator and pressed one of the buttons.
"Time for lunch," said Dilara as she untied her apron and walked towards the kitchen.
"We'll be there!" responded Mother and her daughters over the house telecommunicator.
Placing her apron on the hook, Dilara exited the kitchen and scanned her surroundings. She sighed with relaxed eyes when opening the door.
Sniffing the air, her nose was alleviated with some fresh air from the garden. A wooden fence surrounding the garden, with horizontal rows of colorful, ripe fruits growing inside her every shrub. The birds' chirping echoed in Dilara's ears as the wind and the sun's heat hit her skin. Dilara smiled at the garden.
Everything was going according to plan. Now she needed to go check and see how her those fruits were doing.
Her eyes turned to her small fruit garden at the corner. Dilara walked towards her own garden and closely examined each fruit for their maturity and pests. There was a huge black hole on one of her matured fruits, and she growled and glared at it. She knew she needed to cut those fruits off before they infected the entire shrub.
Dilara pulled out her garden scissors and cut the branch off, throwing the inedible fruit over the fence. She then looked down at her own garden which was time for her to check for any bad riped fruits off of hrr shrub.
In the process of checking out mature fruits, she made note that the rest of her fruits haven't matured nor become edible yet. After that, she turned to the rest of the garden.
Dilara pulled out her garden scissors and cut the branch off, throwing her inedible fruit over the fence. She moved on to the next tree branch to check for the black holes on any fruit and saw another black hole in one of the fruits.
She sighed with her mouth closed. "Great…another one."
She cutted the tree branch and threw it over the fence, repeating the process, needing to check the rest. After Dilara checked the rest of the garden, she continued with her chores.
Later that day, Mother stared at Dilara while Dilara walked down the stairs, with her wrinkled hands sliding on the rail. Dilara excitedly smiled and sighed while she wiped the table with liquid soap, a washcloth, and a bucket of water.
As soon as I get done with my chores, I should be able to get some rest.
Mother looked around the room before her eyes broadened. She viciously grinned at Dilara. "Now Dilara, I need you to do a couple more chores for me."
Dilara quickly turned her head towards Mother, a frown painted on her face. She was about to get done doing her chores, yet Mother expected her to do more. Good grief...
"Yes, Mother?" asked Dilara.
"I need you to-" A knock on the door reverberated across the room. Mother turned to the door, then ordered Dilara to, "Go get the door."
When Dilara opened the door, she saw a barefooted boy dressed in a red outfit, standing there. He handed her a note.
"Here's the reminder letter, Miss," said the boy.
"Why, thank you, sir." Dilara bowed her head at him.
The boy waved his hand at her and ran away from the door. "Take care!"
"You too!" shouted back Dilara as she closed the door and handed the invitation letter to Mother. She didn't bother reading it since she was illiterate. "Here."
"Why, thank you, Dilara," said Mother. She accepted and opened the letter, reading it. She gasped and covered her mouth.
"Well, what is it, Mother?" asked Dilara.
"It's the king's funeral!" answered Mother, looking at Dilara. "It's about to start soon! I can't believe I almost forgot all about it. Quick, tell my daughters to prepare themselves for the funeral while I go get dressed. And don't forget to wear your black dress!"
"Yes, ma'am," said Dilara as she and Mother head upstairs.
After Dilara warned Mother's daughters to get ready for the funeral, she entered her room to get dressed.
It wasn't an ordinary room.
The sunlight peeked through her barred window. There were a lot of stony bricks shining on the walls, and her bed only consisted of a pink blanket, a group of hay below it, and a pink pillow near it. There were also several sketches, drawings, and paintings stuck on her walls.
Her oval mirror reflected her "bed" on the floor over her dresser, reminding her of her sad life. Stacks of books stood beside her candle holder, where she would look at pictures in the book, especially at night.
She examined her necklace. It was a clear crystal that lustered from the giant mirror as they reflected her beautiful face. It also reflected how beautiful Dilara's hair and eyes were.
Memories showed a little girl exiting the castle in her space pod and leaving an older woman behind. She wondered why they kept appearing in her own mind until Mother's voice roared her name all over the mansion.
"Comin'!" replied Dilara as she put on a brown cloak and exited her room.
As soon as Dilara exited the mansion, Mother and her daughters immediately glared at her.
"What in the gods' name took you so long, Dilara?!" roared Mother.
"Yea, we've been waiting for you forever!" Ingrid agreed.
"Sorry," responded Dilara, locking the door. "My mind has somehow distracted me. I won't allow it to happen next time."
"You better not!" snapped Mother. "I will have my daughters beat you, do you understand?"
"Yes, ma'am," said Dilara as she bowed her head. Shakila and Ingrid grinned viciously at Dilara, turned towards one another, and chuckled as they gossiped about Dilara.
Dilara and her family walked down the yellow path throughout the woods. Dilara simply ignored them and kept walking, containing her anger inside to avoid trouble from Mother and her daughters. Dilara closed her eyes for a moment, then reopened them with a serious face.
Jus' keep your cool and ignore them, Dilara. Jus' keep your cool.
The trees and bushes watched Dilara and her family walk forward on the dirty path. With the birds chirping around them, the wind hitted them as the trees moved with it.
Dilara took a look up at the sky, seeing the fluffy clouds floating past the golden sun. The air smelled like heaven.
Memories of Father playing with her now entered her mind. Dilara sighed and frowned when she stared at the floating clouds, away from the sun in the sky. She missed Father being around her.
She wondered why he married a woman like Mother. She also wondered why the gods allowed Father to pass away sooner, as well as made her suffer from Mother and her sisters' abuse. It was something that misunderstood her.
While they continued walking through the forest, an old woman in a brown cloak to their left walked through the forest, preventing them from seeing her. Her hood protected her eyes in the shadows while the cool autumn wind blew her hair that stuck out from her cloak. When the leaves fell from the tree branch, they rained on her as if they were pieces of paper.
Then the visions of the necklace haunted her mind. They reminded her of the prophecy of defeating the dark lord and saving Aniva.
"Aaah…This can't be…!" The woman spoke to herself as she sensed something near her. She saw four women walking in the woods.
She slowly walked towards one of the trees and stood behind it, watching them from afar. Her hand held onto her crooked walking stick.
"Ah, I found it at last!" She whispered when she sensed the necklace. "I have to get a woman with that necklace to save Aniva! One of these women definitely has to have it!" She followed after them throughout the forest.
When Dilara, Mother, and her daughters entered the kingdom gates of Castoria, they surveyed their surroundings. The passenger and merchant airships flew across the skies for trade and travel, bringing prosperity to Planet Arosca.
A few people's yabber echoed across the area as the majority of stores were closed for the funeral. It was less busy than usual. The majority of the people there all wore black. The men wore pants and the women only wore long skirts, with children dressing the same as adults.
The soldiers held onto their guns and reminded the citizens of the incoming funeral. The remaining citizens complied as Dilara's ears caught a man's yell. She watched the guards pin him down on the stony ground and arrest him for refusal to attend. Mother and her daughters also noticed this, haunting their hearts.
The woman in a brown cloak walked behind them, her walking stick clicking as it hit the ground with every step. "Oh, yes. Once I get to that funeral, I should be able to find the one with that necklace," she whispered to herself.
The closer Dilara, Mother, and her daughters were to the funeral, the more crowded it became. The funeral hadn't even started, yet the crowd was already boisterously chatting. They said their excuse mes while fighting through the crowd until they made it.
When they stopped near the guards, the soldiers blocked the people's advances while Dilara, Mother and her family moved their heads sideways for a better view. There they saw a young newly appointed monarch standing near the burial bed of the late old king's corpse with a bald head. The rest of the people behind them, who appeared to be aristocrats, stood away from them.
They all wore their silky black dresses and the women's faces were covered behind the see-through black veils. It was customary for aristocratic women to wear a veil for the late member of nobility in Castoria, not men.
They believe the veils colored in black would protect them from spirits of the recent dead, from invading their bodies and making their souls impure. The funny thing was those spirits never invaded aristocratic men, only women.
The fact is, no aristocratic woman had ever done this anywhere else besides in Castoria. And besides, those veils were expensive for the average person.
Aristocrats stood in front of the gray castle with gigantic, brown wooden doors. It was a sad day for them to lose another member of nobility.
Dilara gazed at Mother and her sisters chatting with one another. Then she turned to the late king with her dejected face. It was an awful thing for her to see the king go up in Heaven, but it was just how life was for her.
After a while, one of the soldiers blew his trumpet so loudly that the crowd came into complete silence. He shouted, "The funeral is about to began. No interruptions or you will be arrested as soon as possible."
After the soldier shook his head to the monarchs, the funeral had began. Dilara, Mother, and her daughters watched the funeral with their eyes moving a bit sideways. The women's cries vibrated all around the funeral and Mother and her daughters' cries were no exception. Their tears were poured down on their cheeks. They wiped their tears off with either their hands or handkerchiefs.
Dilara watched Mother, Ingrid and Shakila cry first before she returned her attention to the funeral. She was about to cry too yet she closed her eyes for a few moments and held her tears back. The woman in a brown cloak stood near the crowd without even an interest in watching the funeral.
Her visions of the necklace continued haunting her as soon as she stood near Dilara and her family. She scanned her surroundings to see whether or not people had seen her in the crowd. Once she was sure no one saw her, she began to search for the right woman.
Putting her hand out forward, she tried to determine if the three women near Dilara had the necklace but failed. But when she pointed her hand at Dilara however, visions of the necklace and the black silhouette person shone the white light from the necklace at another one wearing a crown.
Her hand was shaky a bit, looking up at Dilara. She smiled at her, believing she finally found what she was looking for. "Ah, yes, yes. This one's the one I'm looking for. Yes…I finally found her at last!"
She checked her surroundings before she turned back to Dilara, raising her hand up in the air, getting ready to snap her fingers. "Time to freeze the ceremony. Charozum!"
After she snapped her fingers, everyone was frozen except Dilara. Dilara widened her eyes when scanned her surroundings front and back, noticing everyone wasn't moving, not even Mother and her daughters were.
Wh-What the hell's goin' on here?! Why are people frozen all the sudden?!
"In case you're wondering why people are frozen," the mysterious voice echoed behind me, turning around, making me wonder who it was.