(A Child’s Innocence Slowly Disappearing)
Dupli had to show the way she walked, luckily that didn’t have much trouble. Strangely, she seemed to have a pretty good posture…But, as she showed her curtsies, the nurse would hit her until she did it right. It would have been ok if there was only one curtsy to learn, but there were two!
Obviously, there were different people with different positions. Only a slight bow is needed for people who are servants like her but have a higher status, then for the Lord’s and Lady’s, the curtsy is then used. The last curtsy is for royalty, and being a maid that worked under the Princess, she had no other option but to learn this one as well.
The nanny tested her after she got the curtsies right and would randomly pick one and Dupli had to remember on which one to use.
Not having much room in the wooden house, Dupli had not understood how some things came to them after learning how to curtsy. A tea set, and clothes, would be waiting just outside the next morning…Then the morning after, something else.
She wondered why they had to stay here in this scary place as well, but she had no idea that the mask that she had to use will not be ready straight away. The nurse needed to make sure that Dupli wouldn’t be needed in the future, so any other masks that may be needed, can be directly just be given to her without her having to come back here anymore.
Learning to pour tea, was harder for Dupli to understand. It wasn’t just pouring tea, it was putting the tea cups down onto saucers and putting them down right. The cup had to be a particular way, the tea shouldn’t be placed too close…Pouring tea required much more concentration and Dupli would often forget one or two things, before she finally would get it all right in about the fiftieth try.
Then there was learning to clean up particular things, such as refolding clothes and how they are folded. How to sit in waiting for commands, how to massage, cleaning clothes and dishes. Her job would be filled with so many things, so there was quite an amount to learn, considering that she didn’t know much of these chores at all…
If she had remembered who she was, she would understand the reason why, but as it was, her memory had still not returned…
A whole week went by, leaving Dupli with red marks all over her. It was hard to sleep and hard to do as she was told, because she was so sore! She had learnt quickly, that the nurse did not care about her pain…She had not cared at all!
Upon getting hit the first time, Dupli had been really sad and upset, but when she had started to cry…She would only get hit again!
It really had stunned her so much, that she had gotten hit afterwards, because she had been blankly staring at the nurse.
The whole world changed suddenly for Dupli and she silently cried herself to sleep every night, not understanding why the nanny never liked her. Why was she being so nasty to her?
Hugging her very small pillow, for wanting a warm person’s arm around her, she closed her eyes tightly and focused upon the phrase in her head.
‘The living possesses the ability to change…Flaws could be truth, absence could develop…Yet, truth could be flaws and one can develop an absence.’
This phrase, over the next few days, became louder and louder, as Dupli tried not to think about how she was being treated and the pain from being hit.
Dupli was sure…That this kind of pain…She had never felt before. Even though her memories were gone, this all felt very new!
But…Dupli stayed silent and endured, thinking that she could find some place to run away too.
Having this phrase grow so loud in her mind, she could only try to think about what it meant. And through thinking of what it means, she thought, ‘possess the ability to change’, was what helped her think of running away…
The strange phrase and voice in her head, was able to continue to keep her calm and think of this idea. She was not happy here, she did not want to stay!
Change, she wanted to change this, but first, she had to figure out how…
After another week, Dupli was told that she was now ready to be tested on serving and cleaning in the hidden palace.
Dupli had been surprised, she had just been able to look around the area and now they were leaving?
She hadn’t found somewhere to run to yet, she had even gotten lost once and got scared of hearing animals howl in the far distance.
It had been so scary that Dupli had been ok with getting hit for a day.
But now…It was too late!
When she thought of the phrase in her head, she found herself breathing in and thinking that she might go somewhere better. Hope filled her as she packed up a small number of things.
Before they left the forest though, the nanny placed the strange material over Dupli’s face…It didn’t feel natural, but fit pretty well, it seemed to stick from the sides, but also merged into her skin where there were holes for her nose, eyes and mouth. Having the nanny put a finger around her mouth, eyes, and into her nose, was to stick it to her more, so it was finally staying firmly upon her real face underneath. If looked upon, it would look very normal now, like this was her real face…
The new face she had on, was now a little darker than her original face, it had a few mole looking dots and freckles on it as well. If they had been in a cleaner environment, this new face would have looked a lot better, but they hadn’t cared for it at all…
When Dupli went to have a look into the mirror, the nanny came behind her and said, “You must wear this at all times, never remove it unless us elders say you can! I will provide a new mask for you once every few months, so keep it clean and safe from harm! Your name is Dupli and you are an orphan that Royal Consort Muriel placed into the Princess’s maid’s quarters. You will also be working at the Royal Consorts quarters from time to time. You must stay quiet and not tell a sole anything about yourself, do you understand!?”
Dupli nodded, not wanting to be hit. She will not tell anybody. Whatever they did, she won’t tell anybody!
She was very honest with her thoughts about this, but there was also another thought, and that was of change. ‘Possessing the ability to change’, stayed focused in her mind…
The new type of mask on her face, was a lot better then what she had come to the forest with. It was a lot more comfortable and Dupli even lightly touched it, not wanting to wreck it.
Did she look prettier now? Is that why they looked at me funny before, because I had looked ugly?
As they walked the hour back to the hidden palace, Dupli had noticed that the wooden box was still staying behind in the wooden house, and she still didn’t understand.
Even smiling now, to leaving such a dirty place and not getting hit, Dupli felt like she was lucky. Perhaps she didn’t have to run away when she starts in this new place.
Remembering the looks from the maids, Dupli shuddered.
Upon thinking of change once again, the innocent mind of Dupli hoped that nothing bad would happen, and that everyone will like her and be nice to her…
When she returned back to the hidden palace, they went to the head nurse first and Dupli lost her innocent smile to what they had said.
“Duplicate is ready, head nurse, I will take my leave and come back for the Princess in a month.”
The head nurse frowned, but looked at Dupli and nodded, “Nothing alike, very good. A month and then return.”
Not understanding, Dupli bowed her head, feeling her presence getting smaller and smaller. She was sure she knew the meaning of duplicate…Are they not very good with names?
“Dupli, come here!”
As she watched the other nanny walk away, Dupli slowly walked forward, once again scared…Will this person hit me as well?
“Faster, little wench!”
Widening her eyes and feeling the meaning of from the voice and words thrown at her, Dupli raced up to be in front of the head nurse.
“You must show that you are capable, otherwise…We will feed you to the dogs!”
The head nurse took the child by the arm and walked her quickly through two rooms and then outside.
Dogs growled and barked, walking and pacing close to the fence that was closest to her, Dupli took a deep breath in and remembered the words the head nurse said.
Bowing deeply, from what she had learnt, Dupli stammered, “I…I will…I will work hard!”
“Very good! Donna, get her into the maid’s quarters and working like the others. And remember…Not a scratch to the face!”
Dupli found another lady come in and take her arm, without a word, and forced her to follow her.
Tripping, Dupli quickly tried to keep up, especially when ‘Donna’ looked at her with disgust.
I don’t like it here!
But Dupli was unable to start crying, due to fearing being hurt.
Holding in her tears, the phrase came into her mind and she had to endure a few hours of hard labour, before she could eat and then lay down to sleep.
I don’t like it here!
A week went past, and Dupli had started to toughen up…Having no other choice.
She had been found crying earlier in the week and was called names, then the next time she had been found crying, she had been hit several times with a hard punishment stick!
To stop herself from crying, little Dupli would bite the side of her thumb instead and try to focus upon the phrase and voice in her mind, that still seemed to calm her down.
Working hard had made her hands hurt and turn red. Sometimes, towards the end of the working hours, her hands may even start to slightly bleed, yet, all she could do was clean the blood herself with her own shaking hands.
The food was very little and not often, as Dupli was already losing weight from when she had been in bed recovering, so more weight was lost. And then, there were the strange stares again from the other maids.
They had only bullied her twice so far, other than being called names, and Dupli was unsure on what to do, as they seemed to slowly become worse and worse over time.
She found no one to turn to, and she felt so tiny in their presence…
The first time she had been bullied, was two days after she had returned from the forest.
Doing laundry at that time, she had a certain amount of time to clean the dirty clothes and then hang them up…But, after she had been on her last cloth to clean, her basket of clean clothes had suddenly become empty.
Dupli was sure that she had put the clean clothes there and could only stare at the empty basket, not sure on what to do next.
“You might want to take a detour around the garden, little wench. Haha!”
Looking up at the voice, she saw another maid smirking at her.
Dipping her head down, Dupli clenched her little hands in the last remaining clothes, that she had just finished cleaning, and took a few deep breaths.
Putting the clean clothes into the empty basket, Dupli then picked it up and went towards the garden. Yet, before she could go far, she had been tripped, and being unable to see her feet, she fell forward. Not only had the clean clothes tumbled onto the dirty ground, but she had broken the basket as well…
The maid just laughed and walked away.
It had been nightfall, when Dupli had finally finished her chore, and she was still punished by Donna for being late.
From this point, Dupli was sure that this was only the beginning…
The second time that she had been bullied, was when she had to clean dirty dishes in the kitchen.
Before she could even start her chore, she had scolded her hands upon wanting to use the water.
Looking at her hands, Dupli saw them shake and rapidly turn red. They were hurting so bad, that tears formed and slid down her cheeks unknowingly. It was abnormal to have washed dishes with such hot water, as it would be wasteful, yet, such lengths were taken to give other maids, who were looking from around a wall, a chance to chuckle and snicker at somebody else’s misfortune.
“Stop crying, little wench, and work!” Donna yelled, hitting Dupli’s back with a stick.
Having been shocked to the hit on her back, Dupli had fallen forward, and her hands went into the scalding, hot water once again.
Yelling out in pain, Dupli pulled her hands back out in a rush and looked at them again.
“Come here!” Donna said, picking Dupli up by her collar. She knew that others were watching, but didn’t shoo them away, instead, she wondered how to make the show even more interesting for them. For a normal head maid, she should scold the other maids and either wait for the water to cool down or change it, yet, she wasn’t a normal head maid…
Not too far away, was a well, and Donna let Dupli go and pushed her, making her fall to the ground, “Get some cold water! Hurry it up!”
Dupli’s shaking hands picked up the bucket and dropped it into the well, biting her lips to the pain of using the rope to lift the bucket back up from the well.
Putting down the bucket, Dupli went to put her hands into the bucket, hoping to relief herself of the scolding heat and pain from the hot water, but…
“Ah! That isn’t for you! Put it into that sink and continue with those dirty dishes. Hurry it up!”
Shaking and swallowing, Dupli looked up at Donna unbelievably and just then realized, that she had never intended to help her…That…She will never get any help here…
Feeling a strange emotion go through her, Dupli was able to calm down. Picking up the bucket, she emptied it into another, and picked that up without another word.
It was then, that she realized that she had a strange extra strength inside of her, and this extra strength, without her knowing herself, was called inner force.
Having found this strange strength inside of her, Dupli had noticed that she could use it to last longer and pick up heavier things. It didn’t work all the time, and it took her a week to figure out that when she was pushed into a corner, with no way out, a strange feeling overwhelmed her, and she was able to apply this inner force that was inside of her.
Dupli could not say how she obtained this extra help, but she found herself starting to rely on it, as the time went by.
The Princess had personally invited Dupli to her quarters, to pour her tea, during the second week.
Yet, it all ended up in punishment for breaking the teapot.
Dupli was sure that she hadn’t broken it, she had come in and everything was already arranged, all she had to do was pour the tea…But, that was their agenda, their prerogative.
Having fallen to the ground and tried to claim that she was innocent, had never worked, and Dupli was still punished.
The Princess watched all of this, unfeelingly.
She knew that this servant in front of her was going to act out as a Princess, in an attempt to save her life. Having gone through quite a few assassination attempts, she wanted this servant to endure as she has had too. She wanted her to know what pain she had suffered…
But, when everyone wasn’t around, the Princess would loss her arrogant and cruel face, to one that showed sadness.
Her life had been a struggle and it was hard to get any kind of retribution for it all. She would never show anyone this side of her, where she felt lonely and hopeless…
As morning comes, she would become the same Princess that everyone knew…The one that enjoyed seeing others getting hurt. Yet, they never knew that she just wanted others to know what she had felt…
Surviving a fire, poison and other kinds of attempts at her life, had thoroughly destroyed her heart, and all she could remember was the bad things that had happened to her. Running her little legs as fast as she could…In bed and coughing up blood…
To others, she would be nasty and cruel, but to her, she felt nothing when others were inflicted in pain. This was just how she was able to let out her frustrations, how she had chosen to survive with being who she was…
Touching a scar under her collar bone, made from a dagger from two years ago, the Princess decided that the duplicate of herself should endure this as well…
Upon the third week of coming back from the wooden house in the forest, Dupli indeed went through another visit of the Princess. A cut had been formed upon Dupli’s skin, close to the way it was on the Princess’s skin. This scar was made when the assassin had been killed but still had the Princess as a hostage. The knife had still hurt the Princess, as the assassin had fallen to the ground. It wasn’t straight, as it went down to the side of her waist but it wasn’t as deep as near her collar bone. The assassin, already knew his life was coming to an end, had still tried to kill the Princess upon his death, but her clothes had helped prevent the scar being bigger…
Dupli now had this same kind of injury, making the Princess smile in satisfaction.
Having thrown Dupli out of the Princess’s chambers, to make her own way back to the maid’s quarters on her own, Dupli had to use the new, extra strength inside of her, to make it there by herself. Two people had seen her, and the blood that came from this new injury, but seeing as she was coming from the Princess’s quarters, they did not help her.
Dupli had fallen onto her bed in exhaustion. Having worked the entire day, to having been harmed by the Princess afterwards, she couldn’t even keep her eyes opened a moment longer, leaving one foot still hanging off the small, crude bed…
Upon the fourth week after returning back from the forest, something strange had happened and Dupli was pleasantly surprised to find herself travelling in a grand carriage somewhere.
Earlier in the week, they had gotten her to go to someone else, and persisted on many things.
They had said something about visiting another person a few weeks prior, Dupli guessing that this was it…Except the other person didn’t seem to be here.
She had forgotten the name of Royal Consort Muriel, but this was her quarters, for when she stayed here in the hidden palace.
Upon entering, they still treated her harshly and didn’t tell her one word about what was going on…She just had to do as she was told, mainly by a new madam that didn’t look familiar…
When her hair went through the same process, as what happened at the wooden house in the forest, they finally stated one thing. And that was that she was to act like a Princess and not do anything wrong or she’d be fed to the dogs…
Dupli nodded, she had been told this that many times now, it was somewhat natural to nod her answer in return. But, she started to wonder if they really would do it? Are they…Trying to scare her?
She was not to speak, and if she was to speak, then she was to say very little. The proper words of a lady were installed into her exhausted mind and she would have to repeat it all back to the madam, to show that she understood. She was to be graceful with her body, so she had to learn how to lift her hand and softly land her feet upon walking. Having to sit or stand straight, all the time, and to not fidget with her hands, instead, she had a certain way she had place them.
Upon being forced to enter a big barrel full of water, Dupli had been scared out of her wits…She had stopped and didn’t want to walk any closer towards it but there were four others there that nearly picked her whole body up, not taking her scared look into any kind of consideration.
After she had entered this barrel she had then finally noticed that they had even taken her clothes off in her frightened state, and now they were scratching at her skin, making her groan to the pain.
Trembling to fear and pain, Dupli was stiff and still, while flashes of bad memories flowed through her…
Closing her eyes tightly, she listened to the phrase in her mind over and over again, trying not to think about the water…
Clothes were fitted and even jewellery was used, changing her look completely from a dirty maid and into a Princess. Then, lastly, her mask was taken off, and some cosmetics was applied to her face.
Then, before she had set out in this carriage, she had met the Princess in this form.
“She looks exactly like me! Amazing!” The Princess said.
Dupli blinked, as she was still feeling the aftermath from the water and was scared of what this Princess will do to her.
…Was it true…Did I look like the pretty Princess?
“Yes, she will help keep your life! Her name is Duplicate, but you can call her Dupli.”
Dupli frowned, as she had already met the Princess…
The other little girl walked up to Dupli and she folded her arms in front of her, “Don’t you dare ruin me! I won’t just feed you to the dogs, I’ll ruin your face and split you into pieces! I’m a Princess! Never forget who I am!”
Dupli stared dumbly at the other girl, wondering if perhaps she had things wrong. Why would she ruin her?
“Princess Regina is right. You can never forget how to act when you are in this attire! Don’t ruin the Princess!”
Nodding, because she was sad and scared, Dupli looked at both the madam and the Princess, then she curtsied, trying to show her sincerity.
But, why were they saying not to ruin her? What would I do to do something like that!? Can they tell me how not to ruin anything? Please?
Dupli still didn’t quite understand…
Now, travelling in this carriage, her innocent self had been able to get over the scary idea of being split into pieces and the water barrel.
The nanny inside the carriage with her, had told her that she couldn’t look outside, but she really wanted to! Can’t she just have a tiny look?
It wasn’t a small trip, taking two hours to get to the capital from the hidden palace. So, for two hours, Dupli had to find a way to stop her curiosity from doing her harm. It was strange to her how strongly she wanted to oppose this nanny and look out…
But what she hadn’t been able to figure out, was the fact that before becoming ‘Dupli’, she had been doted upon extremely well and was hardly ever stopped from doing whatever she had wanted to do. That kind of feeling was slightly felt, as it would be hard to change it after so many years…
Only really been within the hidden palace before now, Dupli had no idea what the outside world will look like. Having been found and woken at the river, she hadn’t seen much and then she had already been within the maid’s quarters at the hidden palace. Then, all she had seen, was half of the hidden palace, as she had done her chores…And a bit of the scary, dark forest…
The curiosity of a child of wanting to know more, made her want to forget about the pain that might be inflicted upon her if she were to disobey orders…
Dupli really had to suppress herself, and sighed, what is going to happen?
Even the nanny was something she was not used too, giving her another reason to worry. This nanny was the personal nanny that had brought up the Princess since birth and it would only help declare this fake princess in being the real princess, if she were by her side. But, Dupli had not thought of this and could only sigh to not knowing what this nanny will do if she were to disobey her…
Unable to totally understand that she was acting as the Princess as a look alike, Dupli took on the idea of wearing good clothes and not having to work as a great thing!
This was very good, she really preferred doing this, other than working!
Yet…She finally thought again of the previous weeks and knowing that she was alone. Throughout the whole time she had been bullied, she had wanted to run to someone’s side and cry, yet, there was no one like that!
A bad feeling spread through her, but she didn’t understand what it was.
As she ventured as the Princess, she was able to sit and do nothing, eat delicious foods and was treated a little better. It was so nice, that her most favourite day of what she could remember, became this day of leaving the hidden palace! Her smile was genuine, and she was relatively happy!
Even though she could see a small amount of what she was missing in her life, it was still such a grand day, that she didn’t want it to stop!
But the bad feeling she had felt earlier…It had finally made sense…
It was because she had to return…She was only dressed up and at the capital for a couple of hours, and then she had to return…
Through this, everything got worse!