Inside the Dukedom of Alston, frantic voices echoed through the quiet hallways.
“Madam you can do it! Just a bit more!!” an old woman’s voice echoed through the room.
A young lady who was sweating profusely had a pale face. As she closed her eyes shut, she screamed out loud, her body shaking non-stop.
Soon baby cries ensued. The nurse heaved a relieved sigh as she carried the newborn baby in her arms.
“Madam, it’s a beautiful girl.”
“L—let me see…”
The nurse slowly handed the crying baby to the duchess. She stared at the baby with warm eyes.
“Baby...I’m so happy you’re born,” she whispered, kissing the baby on the forehead.
As the baby noticed the familiar person carrying them, the cries died down. The duchess weakly laughed, stroking the cheek.
“Your name shall be Aeliana. The first daughter and our precious youngest..”
The duchess smiled brightly, “I love you Aeliana.”
The door burst open, revealing a tall man with black hair and enchanting blue eyes. The nurses bowed.
He gave a simple nod to them before standing beside the bed. He smiled at his wife, holding her hand.
“Look it’s our daughter, Aeliana.” the duchess softly spoke.
The duke looked down at their daughter and chuckled.
“Aeliana is a beautiful name for our daughter. Aeliana Alston.”
The duchess turned towards him and smiled, “Remember to love her and the other kids.”
The duke laughed nervously, finding his wife’s words suspicious, “Of course, I will always love them no matter what.”
“That’s good...I’m tired..”
“Cassian, I love you very much. You know that right?”
“I love you dearly Sabrina but why are you talking like that?”
“Love the kids on my behalf of me, okay?”
“I love you, Cassian.”
She smiled brightly as her eyes fluttered shut. Her hand slipped out of his hand, dropping beside her.
Before the duke could fully process it, the magicians, doctors and nurses pushed him aside, checking on the duchess’ pulse.
“Her pulse isn’t there! Quickly shock her!”
“It’s not working doctor!”
“Don’t give up! There’s still a slim chance, do it again! Hurry!”
"We're losing her even more!"
As they tried their best to revive the duchess, she stayed quiet and lifeless. Cassian stood there, unable to move as he stared at the love of his life.
“Wahh!” suddenly baby cries were heard.
He looked down to find his newborn in his arms, crying her heart out as if she sensed something bad had happened. He bit his lip, trying to suppress his tears as he hugged his child.
“My precious daughter...I love you so don’t cry….daddy and your brothers will love you.” he muttered, voice cracking as tears rolled down his cheek, unable to control them.
On a calm spring day, a new child of Alston was born, and so was the death of the duchess.
Aeliana stared at the outside world through her room. Her silver-white hair was tied into two pigtails. Through the reflection of the window, big doe-like pink eyes could be seen.
She hugged her teddy bear tightly in her small arms before a smile bloomed on her face.
“It’s my birthday today..” she muttered to herself, looking down at her bear.
“Do you think they will wish me?” she asked her bear.
“Maybe this year they will!” she spoke in a low tone, pretending as if her bear was the one who spoke.
“I hope so..”
At that exact moment, a knock echoed before it opened.
“Happy birthday Eli!” her father, Cassian smiled widely, lifting her and spinning her around.
She laughed happily, “Thank you, daddy!”
He kissed her forehead and said, “My baby is four years old now. Do you want anything from daddy?”
Aeliana pretended to think before saying excitedly, “Let’s go on a picnic with everyone!!”
Cassian smiled at her suggestion, “Yes let’s go on a picnic! The birthday girl should go and get ready for the picnic then.”
She nodded at her father’s words and hurried off with her maids. Cassian chuckled before leaving her room to begin the preparations.
“Flora, can you make me really pretty today?” Aeliana asked her maid as she sat down in front of the vanity table, swinging her short legs back and forth.
Her maid, Flora laughed, finding her lady adorable, “Of course my lady, I will make you even more pretty than usual!”
Flora worked her hands and when Aeliana opened her eyes, she couldn’t help but gasp as she looked into the mirror. Her silver-white hair was still in two pigtails but it had braids incorporated into it and she was dressed in a light pink dress with white mary jane shoes.
“There’s an angel in this room!” her maid giggled.
Aeliana twirled around in her new dress and smiled brightly, her eyes forming crescents.
She grabbed her teddy bear and ran out of the room, unable to hold back her excitement any longer. She ran down the stairs and saw her father and brothers standing at the front entrance.
“Do we really need to go?” a young boy with black hair and pink eyes grumbled, folding his arms.
“It’s your sister’s birthday, Marius.”
“I don’t want to go! We were supposed to visit mum’s grave!”
“I agree with Marius, dad. I would rather visit mum’s grave than go to a picnic.” a boy with a left mole under his blue eyes and similar hair colour as her, spoke.
“...Mum..” another boy softly spoke. He looked exactly like Marius but had silver-white hair like Aeliana.
“Father, I think we should just cancel the picnic. All of us would rather visit mum. Today is her death anniversary after all.” a boy who looked the oldest among the four boys spoke in a serious tone.
He had black hair and blue eyes along with a mole under his right eye.
“But it’s Aeliana’s birthday today as well. We can visit your mother afterwards, okay?”
“None of us even like her!” Marius blurted out in a fit of anger.
Cassian frowned at Marius’ words and was about to scold him when he noticed Aeliana standing not far from them, her teddy bear on the ground beside her feet. She had a pale look on her face, indicating she had heard everything that had been said.
“I’m sorry…” Aeliana muttered with a sad smile.
She then turned around and ran as far as she could. She ignored her father’s voice and every servant, continuously running without a destination.
Aeliana knew. She knew none of her brothers liked her. In fact, they despised her.
Because her existence was the reason their mother was gone from this world.
Aeliana finally stopped running and slowed down. Her legs and lungs were on fire, not used to running for a large amount of time. She looked around, wondering where she was.
She had run to the garden. It was well kept with a variety of plants. Her father had once told her this garden was specially made for her mother, Sabrina.
Aeliana dragged her feet, looking around the garden before stopping in front of a large tree not far from the garden. It looked like it was about to break anytime soon.
“...Mummy..I miss you…” Aeliana whispered, her vision blurring as hot tears fell.
She quietly wept under the tree, curling herself into a ball, not caring how her dress was now ruined. She cried and cried until she had no more tears.
“..I don’t want to go back..” she sniffled but thinking about how her father was frantically looking for her, she decided it was best to go back.
She tried to clean as much dirt off as she could before heading back to the mansion. A crack sound was heard behind her but she didn’t think much of it. However, she heard another crack and then again.
Just as she looked behind, a large tree branch came crashing down, hitting her in the process. Aeliana screamed in pain before something began flowing into her head. Aeliana didn’t know what was happening but saw someone’s life begin playing in her head. She felt like she was reliving those memories.
She saw how different the buildings looked and it even had things moving without horses. It all seemed unfamiliar yet familiar at the same time but before she could properly understand everything, she felt her consciousness fading as she drifted off into the darkness.