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OLAS Chapter 19: A new beginning – II

Impatience took over me as I tried to get up. But the moment my bare feet touched the cold marble floor, a dizzying disorientation washed over me as if I were a marionette being controlled by clumsy hands.

It was like I’d never walked before. Panic gripped at my heart. Why can’t I move properly? My legs wobbled beneath me, and I began to fall forward.

Selene was at my side in an instant, her ethereal glow almost blinding me. “Easy, Princess,” she murmured in her hypnotic voice, like a soothing lullaby. “You’ve just returned to the world of the living. It will take a few hours for you to readjust. It’s like being born again.”

Born again? The concept felt foreign and unsettling. I took a deep breath, trying to process her words. “Where is he?” I asked, my voice shaky.

Selene’s lips curled into a playful smile. “Who?” she asked innocently, tilting her head.

“Rohan,” I huffed in irritation. “Where is Rohan?”

Her laughter rang out, a sound both beautiful and sinister, like silver bells tolling in a graveyard. “You will see him soon,” she promised.

From the bathing area, I heard Umbra’s deep, resonant voice tinged with a mix of amusement and malice. “The High Lord spent all these months by your side, watching over your sleep.”

“Months?” The word escaped me in a gasp. I stumbled backward, my legs giving way beneath me like they were made of spaghetti. My arm reached out desperately and knocked over a beautifully crafted vase perched on a nearby table. It crashed to the ground with a deafening explosion, shattering into a million pieces. I flinched at the sound, my heart hammering in my chest. This couldn’t be happening… could it?

“Please, be more careful,” Selene muttered, a hint of annoyance in her melodic voice.

But I barely heard her, my mind reeling. “How long?” I demanded, my voice breaking. “How long have I been asleep?”

Selene’s dark eyes met mine, an unreadable expression on her ethereal face. “Nearly eight months,” she replied softly.

Eight months. The realization struck me like a blow. Eight months? I repeated in my mind, disbelief and confusion battling for dominance. How could so much time have passed?

My knees wobbled again, and I leaned against a column to steady myself. “Eight months,” I repeated aloud. My mind raced, thinking of all the moments lost, all the changes that might have occurred while I lay oblivious.

Before I could process further, Umbra appeared at the entrance to the bathroom. Wisps of darkness, like tendrils of smoke, emanated from her body, swirling and coiling around her like mischievous spirits. “Your bath is ready, Princess,” she announced, her voice echoing like the wind in a cavern.

I nodded, still feeling disoriented. The notion of having slept for months was a heavy weight on my mind. With shaky steps, I began to move towards the bathroom, my legs awkward and unsteady as if I were learning to walk again. Each step felt unfamiliar, my limbs betraying me. I stumbled into a chair, nearly toppling it over.

Selene was right behind me, her hands gently guiding and steadying me. “Careful,” she murmured.

How could something as basic as walking be so difficult?

I took a deep breath, focusing on putting one foot in front of the other. But even that simple task felt monumental. My knee buckled, and I lurched forward, nearly crashing into a small wooden carved sideboard with delicate statuettes. Selene’s arm shot out, catching me just in time.

“Take it easy,” she said, her tone a mix of patience and amusement. “You don’t want to break anything else.”

My cheeks flushed with embarrassment. “I’m not used to this,” I whispered.

Selene’s touch was cool and reassuring on my arm. “It’s ok. Have a little patience. It’s like you’re learning to walk all over again.”

I nodded, the truth of her words sinking in. Each step was a struggle, my legs trembling as I made my way towards the bathing area. The scent of lavender grew stronger, mingling with the faint, earthy aroma of the garden beyond the balcony. It was calming, a small comfort in the midst of my confusion.

As we approached the bathroom, the gleaming edge of a grand bathtub came into view. The room was filled with a warm, inviting steam that wrapped around me like a comforting embrace. The marble tiles underfoot were cool and smooth, a strong contrast to the heat of the bath.

Umbra stood by the tub, her eyes watching me with an inscrutable expression. “Here we are,” she said, her voice softening slightly. “This will help you regain your strength.”

I hesitated at the edge of the tub, still grappling with the surreal reality of my situation. “Eight months,” I repeated, more to myself than to anyone else.

Selene’s hands were gentle as she helped me untie the laces of my nightgown, her movements efficient and practiced. The fabric, a blend of crisp cotton and delicate lace, caressed my skin with a cool, soothing touch.  With a deft motion, Selene loosened the delicate ribbon cinching my waist, its knot now loose in her white fingers. “Yes, Princess,” she confirmed, her voice carrying a hint of sympathy. “Almost eight months.”

The dress fell away, and I stepped into the tub. The warm water enveloped me, a cocoon of soothing heat that instantly relaxed my muscles. The scent of flowers—lavender and jasmine—floated up with the steam, filling my senses and calming my racing thoughts.

Selene and Umbra moved around me with practiced ease, their hands gentle but thorough as they began to clean my skin. The sensation was both comforting and surreal, their touch reminding me that I was indeed alive, not lost in some strange, eternal dream.

As the floral-scented water lapped around me, my thoughts drifted to Rohan. I remembered the fierce intensity in his eyes as he fought to save me, and a specific memory surfaced—him leaning over me, his voice a soft, urgent whisper. “I love you,” he’d said, or had I imagined it? The thought filled me with such happiness that it was almost painful. Could it have been real, or was it a desperate hallucination of a dying mind? My heart fluttered at the memory, hope mingling with doubt.

“Is Rohan here?” I asked, my voice tentative, almost afraid of the answer.

Umbra, her movements as fluid as the water, shook her head. “No, Princess. The High Lord has traveled with his brothers to the Everdawn Woods, seeking the counsel of the Lady of the Forest.”

I frowned in confusion. “Brothers? He told me his family was all gone.”

Selene, her hands gentle as she rinsed the soap from my hair, spoke softly. “Galebor and Ororfin are like brothers to him. They have been through much together.”

As Selene spoke, a vague memory surfaced. In those moments when I was slipping away, teetering on the edge of life and death, I recalled hearing other voices—deep and unfamiliar—filled with urgency and concern. Perhaps those had been Galebor and Ororfin.

The warmth of the bath, the gentle ministrations of Selene and Umbra, and the lingering thought of Rohan made me feel both comforted and restless. I longed to see him, to confirm with my own eyes that he was safe. The idea of him out there, seeking some mysterious counsel, filled me with a mix of worry and impatience.

Selene must have sensed my anxiety. “Stay calm,” she said, her voice a soothing whisper. “You’ll see him soon.”

I nodded, closing my eyes and letting the warmth seep into my bones, trying to hold onto that promise.

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