I was Born the Unloved Twin
The wind blows over the dunes, kicking up a storm. A man stares, long and hard at the group, keep himself distanced even though he could be helping with the moving. But he does not and takes another swing of his flask.
The others do not mind, some even understand and make to keep others away. They have to when he gets like this. He can't stand the brat.
It's not fair.
This morning I was a good girl. I didn't push Lilyanne off the bed as I wrangled myself free, I diligently did my morning exercises, had my first breakfast, then quietly organized all my work and projects. When mother found me I didn't struggle too terribly even though the poofy dress she stuffed me in resembles that of a pumpkin. See I was good!
So why am I being punished?
"You're not being punished, dear."
"That sounds, odd? Why would we wish to put you in the ground? Did your father teach you something again?"
From the rumors I hear from my bar- err soda stall patrons and the cafeteria staff, the portal is going to be activated soon. Those who left on that far off scouting raid should be coming back soon if they haven't ready. But I wouldn't know because I'm not there.
I wanted to see the portal in action!
Mother doesn't forbid it but apparently I go out too much as a small child. I go out with father on rides and to the farm, then I run off and stay all day at the troops. Which is not true at all, because otherwise I wouldn't be grounded here at the mansion.
Wow, I never thought I'd ever complained about being trapped in a mansion. Oh no, forced to sit around and do nothing in luxury, what a horror. Seriously though, when I cried from work stress about needing a vacation I really didn't mean something has over the top as reincarnation.
"It's just not healthy Rosa dear. You're a child my darling You don't need to be out running around so much. Oh dear I don't think that hats are doing a good enough job. Maybe it will go back to normal come winter?"
"EH? No I've been diligent! Now you're just trying to scare me, mother."
"Come now, put down mama's mirror. That's enough of that."
I continue to sulk but does as she says. Mother can afford her silver vanity mirrors but I sometimes forget these sorts of things aren't common. They're too expensive to produce, most people just go without or use a polished sheet of copper.
It's another thought to put into the idea coin jar. Ridiculously ornate but expensive mirrors that can be sold from handheld compacts to entire hallways. That would make a pretty profit. But it's an idea to put on the back burner along with the others, I just have too many 'maybes' and not enough time and strength to pull even half of them off.
"Oh no no no, Rosalia Therese Ventrella I know that face. We are not having any more busy body ideas for today."
It can't be helped, I used the family's capital so I must play by their rules. If mother says it's a play being a normal baby day, then who am I stop override her. I can only hope for an excuse to sneak out later.
For now, though I'm trapped with mother at her desk doing household paperwork while Lilyanne and I are trapped inside the room. Sure there is plenty of space, pillows, drinks, and snacks but what am I supposed to do here? Stare into blank space giggling at the empty air?
Sorry Lilyanne, no offense meant.
Play date it is then.
She's a very normal toddler that can find amusement in anything, and I sure do mean anything. Her bunny toy unnerves me but she carries it around everywhere since grampa gave it to her. What's even more terrifying isn't that mangled wooden and sand-filled thing but that she has two of them. She keeps trying to force the short-eared one on me. I assume it's not a bunny.
"Yes! Rosa is kitti and I'm bunni!"
"I see...then that ....kitty? Is that one supposed to be for me?"
"Mmm! Grampy pwesents!"
"Really? I don't think so Lily."
"No no kwitti for Rosa and bunni for Lilli, grampy says so."
"Okay okay just move the kitty and bunny away, yes let's just put them down."
I do vaguely recall when our kooky grandfather pulled these cursed things out from god knows where. Lilyanne attached herself to the cursed looking things while I must have run off. I didn't realize one of them was intended for me. How odd?
Is this a trap?
I don't trust grampa or anything he gives. What if it really is cursed? It certainly looks like it. He knows some pretty powerful and mysterious people right? But why would he also give a cursed item to his precious granddaughter? He would never give Lilyanne anything potentially dangerous. She's the princess of this family!
"Kwitti is for Rosa but Rosa no like da kwitti. So kwitti sad-"
And the princess is tearing up now, all sweet sad cow eyes and all. Ah it's tiring to mentally keep up with real babies.
"Kitty isn't sad Lily! Look you loved kitty so much it's not sad at all."
Lilyanne pauses a bit to consider the ugly things in her hands with as much contemplation an emotional toddler could produce before tentatively asking.
"Yes Lilyanne! Kitty is not sad because it has Lilyanne! Yay good job for you!"
"Great so you should hang on to them."
Just when I thought I had her convinced to keep her creepy dolls away, Lilyanne's mood takes a turn for the worse. Her eyebrows scrunch up and her cow eyes get teary. What an amazing human water faucet. How does she turn them on and off like that?
"Rosa no luv kwitti? *sniff*."
Is she going to cry if I say the wrong thing?
"Waaaaaah!!! Kwitti , poohw wwwaaaah kwitti!!! *hic**hic* Kwitti!!!"
Nevermind, she was going to cry regardless. Hmm what to do? I could just leave her there to cry it out.
"Darlings, whatever is the matter?"
Mother looks up from her work and makes her way to our corner. She immediately has Lilyanne bouncing in her arms, trying to soothe her cries.
"There there, what is now my sweet little one? Did your sister make you cry? Rosa that's quite unusual of you to be mean to your sister?"
"Eh? I didn't even do anything? Lilyanne cries easily."
"Rosalia I know you're still upset about not being allowed out to the troops today but you can't take it out on others, okay darling? Especially not your own little sister."
"I'm not bullying her."
"I know you didn't mean it dear but it's not okay to make others upset when you are."
You know that feeling when your younger sibling starts crying and you need to be all 'ssssshhhhhhh, don't tell mom'? Yeah, I didn't even get the chance to do that, Lilyanne just cries as easily as she eats or poops. Really a terrifying skill worthy of a female lead in the future, ugh. Life really isn't fair.
Especially when your name is Rosalia.
"Oh darling, don't be upset. I'm not saying you can't build your lovely little things but you mustn't overdo it. I know you're excitable but you mustn't copy your papa and grandpapa so much. It isn't good for you, please try to hold off until you're a little older my dear."
Mother says all of this while still bouncing a sobbing Lilyanne. Who I still don't really know why she's crying.
"I didn't do it but ok. I'm not copying anyone either? Why would I want to copy father, he's terrible? And grampa is worse!"
"I know dear, it's all you. You're just too much like your father, it can't be helped."
Mother looks like an actual mom with a crying baby on one end and patiently facing another pouty one, that's me. I'm feeling a little wronged here. Not only am I getting blamed unjustly, but it's also a low blow to say I'm copying both the rich nerd or the old unhinged hero. How does that even work?
The crying baby in her arms starts to tire herself out and mother has an easier time taking a seat to face me on the cushions.
"Rosalia my dear eldest, I won't stop you from doing the things that please you. But it is my duty as your mother to make sure you grow up safe and healthy. You're still very young darling, there's no need to bustle around like your father or venture off so far like your grampapa. You'll get there one day, if you want to. I'm sure of it, my eldest is strong enough."
Ah it's supposed to be a serious lesson, is it? Sure sure, just nod your head and smile. Adults love that kind of thing.
".....truly can't be helped, you're too much like him. You don't have to do so much dear, you'll get tired. One day you will fly away and I can't stop you my baby bird. But not yet dear, not for a long time I hope. Until you're a older, but even then you must rest enough and not overdo all your projects and lessons."
"Of course mother, I'll hold off on working my ideas too much for until when I'm older."
"...Your father and I will always support you in what you like, so please don't be so eager to leave and see the world. We can do a lot of many wonderful new things together okay?"
My mother is the adult here but she's asking me as if she were a child herself. At her age and with her pretty face it would be a very charming and convincing puppy dog face. I just don't get why she's asking me for permission? I don't have any power here. I'm Rosalia. Oh well, mother says and worries about some strange things at times. Can't be helped, she was raised by grampa after all.
"I got it, don't worry so much mother. No making trouble. I really didn't make Lilyanne cry though she did it herself."
"Mama! Rosa go away? Rosa gonna leave kwitti and Lily and mana and papa and and bwaaaahhh no want waaaaah!"
There goes our water faucet again, just when mother got her to calm down. She starts crying and pouring, it's really very loud. What healthy lungs! Lilyanne is developing at an acceptable rate, no sickly weakling here.
"See she does it all on her own!"
"Oh dear, sweetie no. Lilyanne my love all baby birds will leave the nest one day, even you will one day fly away, though I don't know for how long or how far. But right now none of my babies are going anywhere, none of you can fly and thus are staying home nice and safe for a very long time."
"No fliii away? Lili don't wanna leave mama!"
"Oh, there there don't cry."
While mother is stuck comforting the sensitive little Lilyanne I'm struck with another thought. Oh god can people actually fly in this world? I haven't seen it before but surely anything is possible with magic. Oh gods would that be cool, I really drew the short end of the magical genetics.
Well, there's always flying beasts I guess.
Maybe I can just substitute flying on that giant bird thing if we ever get it some seatbelts. I wonder if Ms. Tamera will figure out a safer method. She should steadily be growing as a world-renowned beast tamer in the near future.
Saddles? Safety harnesses? What would the stables look like?
"Oh not again." bemoans mother. Funny, she's patting Lilyanne in her arms but she's staring hopelessly at me while she says that. What the hell did I do?
Our attention is back on Lilyanne though when she jolts like a baby who just remembered a mission. It's a little disturbing, to be honest, babies are cuter when they're a little dumb.
"Mama! Rosa no luv kwitti so kwitti sad. Lili luvs bunni an kwitti but Rosa has to take care of kwitti! Dat da rwules!"
And we're back to the cursed dolls. I guess I can just take the damn thing if it makes her stop crying. It can't be natural for kids to be able to cry so much but it is.
"Oh my, did papa carve these things? He's gotten a lot better at making them cuter!"
"Mother, excuse me?"
These creepy deadwood looking things are cute? I'm lost in understanding this family and perhaps I always will be.
"Oh yes, you grampapa would carve me many uncute things when I was a child. The first toy he gave me was a carved bear."
"A Mr. Beaw?"
"That's....not so bad?"
"It was a life sized rhinohide swamp bear. It was so large your grandpapa could fit me into the mouth but it was too high up. I wouldn't be able to get out on my own for years. It was horrible but very well carved, all 3 layers of teeth and all."
"....okay that is bad."
"Yes these small simple things are much cuter!"
I don't think I would use the word cute but I can see where mother may be coming from. Just how insane was grampa in his younger days? Has he gotten better or worse over time? The answers vary per person so no one can tell.
"Rosa! Rosa has to wuv kwitti too!"
"Now now Lilyanne, you can't make your sister like the same things you do. It's not fair to force things on others."
"But kwitti so sad, she lonely."
"Lilyanne my precious baby girl, who's happiness is more important to you? Your sister Rosalia or the kitty's? "
"Hmmmm ...Rosa. Rosa better."
"Then you shouldn't make your sister do things that make her unhappy to please others, no matter how sad they are."
Wow what a wise lesson, I'm surprised that it's actually coming out of mother's mouth. She actually sounds like a parent, huh? Maybe she's just this responsible way around Lilyanne. To me though it sounds very funny, given the life I've lived before.
I don't think the original Rosalia heard such a lesson, let alone know something like this applied to her. She was always trying too hard to make others happy and distracting herself from her own lack of it. She was rather pathetic really.
So this kind of scene leaves a bad taste in my mouth, just by witnessing it. Like the bile after taste of being sick.
"It's alright mother, I'll take kitty if it makes Lilyanne happy."
"Well that's very kind of you Rosa dear but the toy doesn't appeal to you does it? Lilyanne your sister likes toys that spin or do things, like the buttter churners."
Excuse you, my appliances are not toys!
"I'll take kitty already okay! Just let it go."
I groan and make a swipe for the rough deadwood doll with the shorter ears. Guess we're stuck with each other for now little guy. Ugh it's really not cute to look at nor soft to hold. Not my idea of a childhood toy.
Maybe I can knit a cover for it? Fill it with some cushion? Knitted animal dolls are a tad rustic but it's very chic in some circles. It can be creative or vintage cute. Definitely better than these....things, on their own.
"Yay! Kwitti get Rosa now! Kwitti home an happy!"
"Yay, kitty gets a happy ending! Yay! Now everyone and Lilyanne is happy and there's not more crying. Right?"
Yeah, let's work on knitting something to make this doll actually look like a doll. I have time, I'm trapped here for the time being after all.
Mother seems pleased the source Lilyanne's tears seemed to be solved. She even pats my head and smoothes down my hair for being a good older sister. Okay, maybe she's just fixing my bow ribbon. I really am such a well-behaved child, since I'm not mentally a real child. Of course, mother doesn't know this but I really should be given less grief then I get about random things.
Just as she was about to either say something or head back to her desk, a senior gray maid comes knocking with a message.
"My lady, our staff members from the troop's excursion have returned to their posts. The head butler has already taken care of their arrangements and requests they be given a night and another day off to recuperate before easing back into their duties."
"Yes of course, I leave it Alfonso capable hands. I trust they will have no issues reacclimating after their travels, they may certainly take more time off if need be."
"Thank you for your generosity my lady, I shall be delivering the approval back to our young staff then."
"Mother?! Georgie and the other's are back? May I go see them, please oh pretty please mother! We have to go welcome them back!"
"Wonderful idea, we must welcome our people back yes. Why don't we go down to give our greetings? Oh, Rosalia, you would love that wouldn't you?"
"Yes! Yes let's go!"
They're back, they're back my spices have arrive- uh I mean my employees. Sorry, everyone, food rules my growing little heart and body. It's always hungry.
The senior maid makes a weak attempt at aversion though.
"My lady that may not be a good idea. The returning employees are quite tired from their journey, a few are even feeling under the weather from the trip. It wouldn't do for my lady or the young misses to be exposed to any diseases or the mess that is their return."
"Oh no, I hope no one is down with anything serious! Shall we order for the doctor, oh of course we should. "
"Alfonso is already on it my lady, no need to worry. Please continue on with your day as usual."
Uh huh, how suspicious. This maid is a pretty bad liar but perhaps she didn't outrightly lie, mother is a rather easy person to fool. It balances out. What is she hiding down in the kitchens and staff quarters? This is my domain here!
"Mother please, I'll be good and won't bother anyone. But I promised Georgie and the cooks so many things, please let me go welcome them back. Pretty please, it's just downstairs and I'm still home. Please, mother?"
"No you mustn't, there are those ill and -"
Mother looks back and forth because she sincerely looks convinced by this bad liar of a maid. She means no harm though, they're just hiding something from us. It can't be that serious if they sent this simple sort of maid, Alfonso knows how to manage the staff. If he really wanted to he could keep something a secret.
"I'll be fine and wash in lots of soap, I won't get sick so please."
I can see mother cracking, she just needs a stronger push. Time to pull out the big guns. It shames me to act like Lilyanne sometimes since I can never pull it off as well. But it small increments, with my current tender age, it should be super effective.
"Pwetty please mama?"
Bullseye. She crumbles and breaks with the cuteness grenade. Cuteness rules the world. I may not be as well equipped as Lilyanne but I am experienced in working with I got.
"Oh alright dear, remember not to get in the way of their rest. They must be awfully tired. I'll come check on everyone's condition later on after dinner."
"Yay! Thank you mama!"
With that, I scamper off, much to the reluctance of the listening maids. It's not like that can catch me anyways, I'm too small and agile. If anything I'll just go under their legs and crawl around the rafters. Which is exactly what I do.
To avoid getting mother's probably too expensive pumpkin poof dress dirty I swap it out for some simpler clothes I keep in the space bag. Then instead of running down the long way, I stealthily take the dumbwaiter to the kitchens.
Stealthily till I arrive that is.
Surprise everyone! Do no fear, Rosalia is here!
But everyone in the room is shocked suprise, even me. Everyone except one person with all the wrong reactions.
"Oh, hi Rosalia! Why are you in there? And why is your head red now?"
"....well this is my kitchen so I can be wherever I please but more importantly, why is your head bleeding!?! That's red!!!"
"Oh, it is isn't it?"
Nearby Georgie boy, dressed in some foreign clothing, facepalms and the silence in the main kitchen room is broken. The gig is up.
A small child is sitting on my kitchen counter messily bleeding through some sloppy bandages on his damn head and he has the audacity to laugh like he has no idea why either. Is he brain-damaged?
Seriously why is Amar here and bleeding all over my kitchen?!?!