The Escape of Layla
Chapter 1 Part 1

Author: Somei Yukino
Source: xxZeiNxx

Layla Ashbury, the Duke's daughter, has been sleeping for two years. When she woke up, the first thing she learned was that her fiancé, the crown prince, was about to marry her younger sister, Rose. Her parents excused themselves, saying that they must ensure that their family is to unite with the Royal Family in any way, and in the end, it was her younger sister Rose who won. Although it was only a political marriage, Layla truly loved the crown prince; but now her only option was to marry someone else and see her little sister be happy with him.

At the end of her rehabilitation treatment, Layla was able to walk around her house and it was at this point that she decided to enter a monastery on the outskirts of the Imperial Capital, which is famous for "denying access to anyone who wishes to enter".

I was kicked by a horse. Even though I've never been involved in other people's love lives.

Yeah, that was an unfortunate accident. Such an unfortunate accident for someone like me, who was born the daughter of the Duke of the Kingdom of Altair; a great Kingdom loved by god himself and where great sorcerers were born. That day, under a clear, cloudless sky, my fiancé, Prince Lewis, unusually asked me out on a date. Did I mention that the destination was a popular botanical garden in the imperial capital?

His Highness the crown prince has been my fiancé since I can remember, but I can't count the number of times he has asked me out on a date; because, it's been only once. That's why I was feeling restless.

Normally I look for a more modest way of dressing since it is more than impossible for me to compare myself with the great beauty of my younger sister, but this time around I decided to put a little more effort to fix my makeup and decorate my flaxen hair with the accessories that the prince gave me for my birthday last year. My eyes, which are the same color as my hair, looked straight into the mirror, staring straight into that freshly made dress of a pale cream color; and in these, certain happiness was shown that I could not hide.

As usual, his Highness came to pick me up just at the right time and we rode a gorgeous, gold-decorated royal carriage. His Highness's slightly longer, moonlit silver hair fluttered in the breeze, and his expression was unreadable, but I was still happy.

Maybe I was careless. Maybe I wasn't paying attention. Yes, if I had been a little more careful about my surroundings, I could have prevented it.   

I loved the warmth of his Highness' hands through the silk of his gloves, and I stared at our joined hands. It's a habit of mine that I had developed over the years, and his Highness doesn't particularly pay attention to it.

And yet, only then did his Highness looked at me. As if in amazement, he opened his beautiful blue eyes.   "Layla!!"

At the same time that his Highness called my name, I heard the sound of the horse's neighing that must have been tied to the carriage close by.

By the time I turned around, it was already too late. A groomed white horse, which should have been meticulously cared for by a royal servant, swung its paw wide towards me. And just behind the horse, I saw the coachman trying to soothe it down.

Oh, I've never seen a horse's belly before. Even when I had riding lessons, I always rode a docile pony.

The last thing I remember is a passing thought that all this was kind of out of place, and my mind instantly became fuzzy. My head hurt badly, and I felt uncomfortable with the warm, sticky liquid around my face. I couldn't even hear his Highness or the other servants, who were supposed to be near me.  I just felt scared.

I wonder what happened to me after that. I wonder if I just went along with his  Highness like that. I can't remember anything. Even though his Highness invited me on a date, I just made him waste his time with me.  When we meet next time, I have to apologize.

Determined to do so in my hazy consciousness, I woke up as if nothing had happened.

My body felt as heavy as lead. That was the only thing I felt as soon as I woke up.  Even my eyelids felt like the muscles in my face tingled and ached when I opened them a little.

The canopied bed with a sky painting embedded in it, which is said to have been painted by a famous artist, without doubt, is something of mine. Confuses that I couldn't move my body well, I somehow managed to look around with only my eyes. Through the shiny, thin silk curtains, I could see a maid. She seemed to be working on something at the small table beside my bed. 

... Oh, did I always had a side table in that place?

I tried calling her, but for some reason, I couldn't speak. Instead, a scratchy breath of air squeezed out of the back of my throat.

"All right, Miss, this morning, too, I'll prepare you for the day."

While saying that, I recognized that the maid that was coming through the silken curtain was Jessica, my maid of honor. She's been by my side since I was a little girl, my most trusted maid. But Jessica doesn't usually call for me until I get out of bed, so I wonder what's going on with today?

I wanted to ask her that, but I still couldn't find my voice. Instead, my eyes met with Jessica's as she looked down at me, her reddish-brown eyes widening in surprise. A hairbrush with a rose pattern on it, which Jessica seemed to be holding in her hand, fell to the floor with a thud. She made a mistake that is so unlike her.

"... Miss?! Miss Layla!! You finally woke up?!"   I frowned lightly at the loudness of her voice, which was unlike her normally ladylike personality. It wasn't that I was uncomfortable. It just surprised me to hear such a loud noise as soon as I woke up.

"Jessica, what's wrong with you? Yelling like that..."

From somewhere within the room, I heard the voice of, maybe, another maid. It was an unfamiliar voice.

... It's so weird. I would usually be able to recognize the voices of the maids that were always with me.

The Jessica in front of me looked severely disconcerted; and in the end, she also began to cry.

"M-my lady... Miss Layla has..."

"Did something happened to the Miss...?"

Instantly, the tone of the stranger's voice laced with anxiety. A strange woman appeared next to Jessica, disarranging the silk curtains. She was wearing the same maid uniform as Jessica.

Has this maid always been working on the Duke's house? I don't think I've ever seen her, and she doesn't look like my sister's maid either.

I looked up at the strange maid and Jessica, distracting myself with this thought. Then, the strange maid grabbed Jessica's shoulder and shook her.

"What are you waiting for!! Jessica, go call the Master and the Madam! I'll go call the doctor!"

"Y-yes ..!!"

Jessica wiped the tears from the corners of her eyes and gave me an awkward smile.

"Miss, I'll go call for the Master and the Madam...! Please wait for a little!"

I just woke, so I couldn't understand why they made such a big deal about that. I didn't understand the situation, so I was idly thinking about what kind of tea we would have for tea time today while waiting for my parents to arrive. 

------------------

Translator corner:

Hi! Sorry for starting a new novel when I'm still working with other two. Haha... I recently read the manga version of this novel, and really loved it. I'm trying to improve my English while translating, so I hope that my work improves with the time. I would really appreciate if someone would help me out with grammar and stuff (?).

So far, thanks for reading!

-xxZeiNxx 

The Escape of Layla
Chapter 1 Part 1