Part 4: Conflict

The sunlight streaming through the large windows awoke Aislin the next morning. She rolled onto her back and stared at the ceiling. Her body still ached slightly, and her head was also still fuzzy. She briefly noticed that she wasn’t hungry like she expected to be after the night. The thought was forgotten as she ran her hand through her hair, bumping her ear. Aislin flinched in pain, and then remembered about the earring Ria roughly stuck through before she left the library.

“…Damn jewelry.” She cursed as she twisted the ball a few times, mentally noting to take it out for cleaning later. A knock on the sliding door brought her out of her thoughts.

“Lady Aislin? May I enter? I’ve brought breakfast for you.”

Aislin sat up, pulling one of the sheets around her “…Fine.”

The servant entered the room with a tray. “Today’s meal is rice with a side of fruit grown from the orchard here. I’ve also brought some hot tea.” The girl looked up at Aislin, and blushed. “A-ah…I could…also help you get dressed…?”

“If you want.”

The servant blushed more, but went to the pile of clothes left in the room the previous night. Picking out a set, she returned to Aislin. “Please stand, my lady.” Aislin obeyed, and the servant skillfully wrapped the kimono around the girl’s body, followed by the traditional obi to hold it shut. “You look beautiful, Lady Aislin. I’ll take your dirty clothes to wash.” The servant girl bowed, picked up Aislin’s uniform and left the room.

Aislin walked around for a bit before sitting down to pick at her breakfast. Even if she wasn’t hungry, she didn’t feel full either before or while eating. The food was good and it would be a shame to waste it. She shifted a bit. It was too awkward to sit any other way than kneeling in this kimono, and her legs kept falling asleep. She had just finished eating what she could when there was another knock at the door.

“Aislin? It’s Ki-Lin…may I enter?”

“Yeah, sure.”

Ki-Lin quickly opened the door and slid in, shutting it as quickly behind her. “Good morning, I assume you slept well? The servant that checked on you around dinner time said you were fast asleep…but I didn’t expect you to sleep for sixteen hours.”

Aislin blinked. “That…long?”

“Well, you left my room around half past five, and I guess it took a bit for you to fall asleep. It’s about half past ten now, and you only woke up a short time ago…”

Aislin sighed. She wasn’t typically a long sleeper, though her hours depended on schoolwork. “I see.”

Ki-Lin laughed. “Oh, you look so shocked! I didn’t expect you to be, honestly.” She laughed more. “The look on your face…was also unexpected.” Ki-Lin reached up towards Aislin’s face. Aislin jerked back. “I-I apologize…” The princess retracted her hand. “Your hair, covering your face…I was just curious.”

“There’s nothing special there. Why did you come? Hiding again?”

“Oh, no…not yet, at least. I do have a meeting later with someone. It’s…confidential.” Ki-Lin was nervously fingering her kimono. “I’d just like to spend some time with you before then. We can walk around the garden, it’s beautiful this time of year.”

“Mm.” Aislin stood up along with Ki-Lin, and the two walked outside together.

Afterlife: Second Tale – Chapter 4

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