Liu Lian was woken up by the sound of crying; more like loud wailing forcing its way into her eardrums unrestrained roaring and destroying her insides. Sitting up she dramatically clutched her head in pain, squinting her eyes in a misguided attempt to stop the noise, it didn't stop.
Her body shook violently as she struggled to relax her muscles before she realized her airway seemed swollen and inflamed reducing the amount of air she had the ability to inhale. Her eyes suddenly burst open and she realized she couldn't see anything; everything was pitch black, her heartbeat violently in her chest as looked around in the darkness, as she was unable to see anything, she screamed.
There was a loud shatter outside the room and soon enough a little girl came running in big brown eyes the size of saucers.
"First young miss!"
Liu Lian was suddenly brought back to reality, she was panting heavily and her hair stuck to her face due to perspiration and tears that had stained her porcelain skin. Her eyes met with the face of the 10-year-old girl whose seemed pale to a sickly extent, Liu Lian's shaky hands rose to touch the girl's face with worry, her hand rested on her forehead and stared into her eyes as she felt the girl's temperature rise instantaneously.
"Little girl are you sick?" Liu Lian asked as she sniffed when she realized her nose was stuffed and her breath was still laboured with a slight wheeze.
Noticing her mistress's shaky hands her blush quickly faded and was replaced with the fear that had consumed her when she heard the scream when she was bringing the miss her dinner.
"Miss are you ok? Your breathing is still noisy, do you still have a headache?" She questioned as she used her embroidered handkerchief to wipe off the bodily fluids that had coated her face to reveal her flawless skin.
Liu Lian was quick to put two and two together; her clothes were evidence that this was not her home country, her skin colour had lightened considerably and her hands seemed to have shrunk while her hair was darker and longer and thinner. This wasn't her, she was left in confusion as the little girl helped her to stand up as she started to undress her, taking off layer over layer before leading her to a copper mirror.
A copper mirror was the first clue that she wasn't in the present, even third world countries had glass mirrors, she was shorter and looked like she was sixteen or fifteen years old. To top it all off the younger girl had called her miss which pointed to the idea that she was a servant, Liu withheld her smile as she focused on her breathing.
She still had asthma, even in a different body.
Liu Lian stopped herself from scratching at her neck as her breathing continuously became harder, she listened to the little girl as she was awkwardly dressed up in a new set of clothes.
"Miss you won't believe what just happened; the second young miss managed to attract the attention of the Emperor at the fifth prince's birthday!" She began as she heaped the layers of clothes on top of the young girl while her wheezing became more audible. "Can you actually believe that!? The Emperor actually invited the second young miss to have lunch with him! He might actually be thinking of taking her for a concubine!"
Liu Lian's eyebrows furrowed, she picked up the fact that she had a supposed sister that was about to get married to the Emperor, was the Emperor a new Emperor?
"But it seems like the Empress is not as impressed with the second miss but she actually didn't say anything! She didn't even look at the second young miss! It must have been so humiliating for the young miss; it was almost like the Empress was saying the second young miss is insignificant! Even though she had been with the Emperor for two years she directly insulted a prime minister's daughter-!"
"-Little girl...." Liu Lian croaked as her face was slightly discoloured. "Stop talking, go, and quickly find some hot water, lemons, and honey..." Liu Lian allowed herself to kneel on the floor, as she tried to control her breathing.
"Miss are you ok!?" she asked terrified at this point.
"Just go!" She snapped as she used her right hand to thug at her collar, the little girl nodded before scurrying away leaving Liu Lian to collect her thoughts and piece together the information she had just been fed by the chatterbox.
She looked around and found herself in a traditional Chinese room with odd pale drapes and a small bed wooden bed in the middle that didn't seem comfortable, it was already a surprise she didn't have a bad hip, was she not the first daughter of a prime minister? Why was everything in such a state?
The little girl soon came back with a tray with a cup and a kettle that seemed like they had seen better days; it was cracked and it seemed like a miracle that it hadn't fallen apart already.
"I'm so sorry miss.. but we really can't afford any honey.."
She was also broke as hell.
She clenched her teeth in frustration, what kind of situation was this?
The first daughter of the prime minister that was extremely poor while the second daughter seemed to be having the time of her life. Was she the child of a concubine? Surely her luck wasn't this shitty.
Her thoughts were interrupted by a sudden banging on the door.
Liu Lian winced and stood up carefully, her legs were weak and skinny, her skin was extremely pale and unhealthy, her eyes were hazy and she had difficulty breathing.
"Who's there?" The asked and her query was replied with three more concise blows to the door that wouldn't hold up for much longer.
This was bad, she was lucky enough to have a child for a servant girl that couldn't notice that her mistress had been replaced if the person behind the door could tell what would happen to her?
"Let's go out to meet them," Liu Lian said painfully as she pulled herself together.
So what if it was death?
She had died once before, dying a second time didn't phase her.