“Mother… Are you leaving? Does Father know you’re leaving like this? Perhaps you could stay one more night and visit the Theodore's in the morning Mother… the sun is setting and it could be dangerous.”
“Al… We must find Evangeline, look after your brothers and father for me… Don’t go too close to that girl; I will be right back.” She spoke a promise that sounded so fragile to the point of breaking with the slightest blow of the wind.
For whatever reason it felt as though I might never see Mother again if she were to leave today, at least not the mother I would hold in my memories, in that split second I made a choice, a choice that I shall never regret.
“Mum… I want to go with you, I want to find Eva too. Mum, let's go look for our family together.” My words made my mother stop what she was previously doing and look up towards me.
“Al, are you sure about this? I… I’m not sure for how long we’ll be gone if we leave now.” She came over to me, knelt down and held my hands… the look in her eyes a blend of emotions like a wave crashing against a cliff gnawing away at it bit by bit.
“I’m sure, It doesn’t matter how long it takes… I will go with you Mother, I will be by your side no matter what and Eva is my twin, if I don’t help look for her who will?” I replied with a smile.
“Alright, go get ready… When did my baby get so big? Mother loves you very much, don't you ever forget that.” She spoke with a smile that did not reach her sorrowful eyes.
- - -
The sun had set and the moon was now peeking over the horizon just when the next person was to present for the show and tell the director came barging through the doors startling everyone.
“Enough with this ridiculous game, Miss Dandy I’d say it’s about bedtime, wouldn’t you? Right children get up and get ready for bedtime,” she spoke roughly, her prior composition nowhere to be found as she clapped her hands to rush all the children out.
‘Somethings weird… Why is she suddenly rushing us back to our bed chambers?’ I asked the twins who were in my subspace and now able to hear me telepathically.
[I have not a single clue, she usually stays in her office, and she’s never bothered to come down all the way here for anything.]
‘How are you guys there? Is it comfortable?’
[Yes, don't worry about us… in fact, Rein has settled in here so well that he’s fallen asleep after figuring out how to create a bed here.]
“You 3… what exactly are you spacing out about? Time to go to bed, you two come with me and you new girl go find your way to bed, shoo start moving” she said while grabbing the twin dolls by their arms and dragging them out of the room.
‘Reuben, what's going on on your end?’
[I’m not too sure, she’s taken Rein’s doll and gone downstairs with it and mine’s being taken upstairs with Miss Dandy.]
‘Chimera, can I connect my vision to the dolls and see what the twins are seeing?’
[Yes, go back to the bed chambers for now and chant mirror reflection while creating an M with your fingers.]
I followed the Chimera’s instructions and hurried back to the bed chambers and tucked myself into bed, I gathered my mana to the tips of my fingers then created a M and whispered “Mirror Reflection”. Just then a visual popped up of both of the twin dolls and I watched eagerly to see what would warrant the director to start acting strange.
My curiosity was soon quelled when I heard Tella speaking after looking out of the window.
“Oh look everyone, I guess it’s a full moon tonight? Hmmm, did I do the maths wrong? I swear the full moon isn’t until tomorrow night…”
“Who cares? Tella hurry up and come to bed.” Spoke another girl which made Tella move away from the window and to her bed where I presumed she laid down due to the rustling of her bedsheets.
‘Reuben… I know why the director is acting like that, tonight’s moon is the full moon...’
[I just looked outside the window… How is this possible? I was sure the full moon is tomorrow night.]
‘From the way the director acted, it seems like you weren’t the only one who was startled by the sudden change in the moon phase… By the way, is Rein still sleeping?’
[No, he woke up as soon as his doll was pulled away but something’s a little weird… He says he can't really control his doll.]
‘Really? Rein? What's going on?’
[I don’t know, I just lost the connection I had with the doll as soon as she shoved it in one of the cells down in the basement.] He groaned and I could almost hear his eyes rolling to the back of his head, probably annoyed at the situation.
‘I see, well your doll is just lying there, it’s not moving or anything…’ Rein kept trying to control his doll while Reuben and myself were watching for any suspicious movements going on in Section A.
- - -
After about an hour, the doors to Section A’s bed chambers slammed open and Miss Dandy rushed in and ushered everyone to get dressed in the dead of night.
“Miss Dandy, where are we going?” Asked the Reuben doll.
“Reuben right now is not the time to question things, hurry up and get dressed before the director gets angry.” She spoke while pushing him into the closet along with clothes that were nothing like the sack they made the children wear at the orphanage.
“Are we going somewhere, Miss Dandy?” Asked another child who looked as if she was ready to fall asleep standing up straight.
“Yes, children you’re being adopted by amazing people, we don’t want to be late to meet your new mummy and daddy right? So hurry and put these clothes on.” Just as she was about to get up and rush Sam and Grace out of bed, Reuben’s doll grabbed the edge of her aprons and pulled at it urgently.
“What about Rein, my brother? Why am I being adopted all alone? What about my brother?” His doll spoke out urgently.
“Reuben, Rein will also be there, so hurry it up.” She once again went back to rushing the other children into clothes, surprisingly both Sam and Grace were also being taken for this ‘adoption.’
‘Reuben… Something’s strange, didn’t you say that Sam and Grace never get taken?’ I asked the real Reuben.
[Yh, Sam and Grace shouldn’t have been taken, something must’ve changed along with the change of the moon phases.] while Reuben spoke I glanced over towards Rein’s doll and my eyes instantly widened at what I saw.
- - -
By the time the moon was a quarter of the way in the sky, we had already arrived at the Theodore manor located near the borders of the capital, our messenger that had arrived probably a few minutes prior had announced our sudden arrival. The Duchess who was especially close to my mother came running towards us as soon as our carriage came to a halt by the entrance.
“My goodness Aya what’s going on? You brought Prince Al too? Actually, let’s talk inside, it's still chilly outside.” The duchess has always been casual in the way she addressed my mother, they have been best of friends since academy days although my mother was of common origins the duchess never discriminated and showed the utmost respect in a public setting.
“Thank you, Clara… I heard Lucas was sick. How is he now? I could ask for the Imperial physician to be sent to take a look if he’s still not feeling very well.” Mother asked while we walked towards the front door.
“There’s no need but first tell me what was so urgent that you came all the way out here at the dead of night.” The duchess asked with a face filled with worry.
“It’s my daughter, I believe she has been switched and an imposter has come back from the temple, his majesty refuses to even hear out the idea of searching for our daughter who is out there God knows where wandering the streets looking for her parents.” my mother said in a quiet voice as if to suppress the tears that threatened to escape her eyes.
“I… as in the princess?” she asked wide-eyed and looking hesitant for a second and then snapped back to a straight face that she only ever showed when she was met with a serious situation.
“Colleen, go wake up Lucas… Tell him the messenger he was waiting for has arrived…” The duchess spoke which left both my mother and I puzzled.
“What? Lucas as in your son? What is going on Clara, tell me what’s going on right now?” my mother asked, rushed and anxious.
“I… I can’t really explain, I don't know much either. Let’s go to the sitting room, I’ll explain as best as I can, oh and you there go inform the duke to come as well.” My mother froze in place with confusion and the duchess ushered the both of us to enter the sitting room and take a seat.