Apparently, I fainted.

Apparently.

All right, so I did faint. As with all things, I do not remember what exactly happened.

Except for seeing a testicle.

I gagged, coughing up the chicken broth violently. I must have startled the poor maid who was feeding me because she looked as if her neck was to be wrung by a single drop spilt. However, it was not as if I could have done anything to comfort her, anyway. She was most likely going to be chastised for my chicken broth fountain by the head maid, even though I tried to awkwardly catch the hailstorm I created with my mouth.

Yes, it was disgusting. And, yes, I did see a testicle.

A testicle. Mother of God. What the hell. How does one logically respond to seeing a testicle? I mean, really, was I supposed to fulfill the mission set of my life by seeing a devious smirk and a testicle? Is it even normal to see a testicle, faint, and eat some really delicious chicken soup afterwards?

"S-S-S-Sig-Signora? Mi dispiace! Dio!" the maid stuttered, her nervous eyes drawn tight as she looked at me in horror. "Per favore, I did not mean to—"

"It is fine. It is my fault, after all. I should be the one to apologize." This girl needed some time off; else, she was going to be the one fainting, not I. "I am sorry for dribbling. I was thinking too hard…Um…What is your name?"

I saw the girl frown, widen her eyes, look interestingly at the spoon, frown again, before she began to play with the corners of her starched apron. As a side note, I did notice that the three servants that I did see were pretty well dressed for servants; their aprons were not frayed, their hair was neatly done, and their clothes were well pressed. The only thing that I did see them lack is sarcasm and an attitude, or any type of personality for that matter. They were either meek or emotionless—at most, they were wary and cautious. I did not blame them. I must have been the odd lot.

But, anyway, back to the matter at hand. Her name. What was it?

"I…"

"Yes?" Please tell me your name so that I do not have to awkwardly look and point like a caveman for more soup. "What is it?"

"Mi dispiace, but I am not to tell you my name."

What? "Oh…Okay…Well, then. That is fi—"

And, she was gone.

Literally gone. I look to my right, and the only thing I saw was the final swish of her dress before the large wooden doors closed shut. That was incredibly rude, I sulked, moodily poking at my bandaged head. A particular jab made me wince. The only person who saw a mischievous tilt of the lips, a testicle, and suddenly hit their head on whatever had to be me.

I groggily flopped my body to the left side. My entire body was sore from lying down in the bed that had to be a mile long and a mile wide. And it was kind of weird how it was all shiny from gold and jewels. Who the hell makes a bed of gold with diamonds all over it? What a waste of resources! Do you know how many pies you can buy with a fraction of gold dust?! My entire lifetime's worth, that is what!

Not to mention, I was bored. So. Bored. I was told that I slept for two days straight. But instead, I feel as if I have not slept for two days straight. My body was sore, I wanted more food, my wounds hurt, and I was lost.

Lost. I did not know where I was. I was quite sure that I was in that damned aristocrat's abode, except I was bedridden not by choice. Every time I wanted to escape, somehow a servant would show up right on time to prevent me from jumping out of the window in just a cotton shift. It was as if they were spying on me for every second that passed. And even if I wanted to flee, from what I could see from my latest failed venture, this was a legitimately fortified castle that was several hundred feet high, with the tops just skimming the lowly clouds. If I did wish to attempt an escape, I needed proper equipment, especially clothing that would prevent the wind from making my ass get chapped. Therefore, for the time being, I had to lay low and wait.

So for the next twenty minutes, I burrowed myself in the silken sheets and pretended I was swimming in the ocean. Just how long was I supposed to stay here, I wondered, entangling myself in the blankets. I was fine now. I did not need to lay there like an invalid. I might have gotten a head injury, and mental trauma to last for a lifetime, but I was more uncomfortable getting bed sores than moving about.

And I really needed to get back to headquarters. But while I did need to get back, I was angry. Two whole days passed and not a single word? Yes, I know that I flawed in my mission, but was not one of our main beliefs leaving no comrade behind? Wishful thoughts of my companions taking their time in order to secure a successful rescue amassed my head, but I knew that I was just kidding myself. Really, they would have had an easy chance to rescue me that very night. Or even the day after, since the day after meant that everyone was partying again for some other Borgia festivity. Two whole days, and leading into a third day, was just ridiculous.

What exactly was going on?

Those were the thoughts I hated to think of as I drifted back to sleep.

O~O~O~O

Finally, I was allowed to get out of bed. Several maids had come in and began to undress me, which was probably one of the most uncomfortable feelings of my life, and then began to bathe me. My hair was washed, and my body was, too, and I was dismayed to find that the water was murky. I did not think that I was that dirty, but I was wrong. I was filthy.

That god-awful man must have had fun picking at a disheveled crow.

After that, I was wrestled into a clean shift, but then the real struggle began when the evil contraption known as a corset was put into view. There was no way I was going to wear that thing. I never did, and I never will. While I did flap around like a chicken without its head, I was literally forced into submission when a maid with arms the size of a titan squeezed me into the corset and tightened it to the point where I began to see spots in my vision. Another servant seemed to take pity on me, fortunately, and loosened the ties so that I could actually breathe. At that point, I was nowhere near energetic to protest having a dress put on me.

With my hair brushed and my dress fitted, I was led down an insanely large amount of stairs. I was sweating by the time a double-set oak door was pushed open by the head maid. Who knew silk was so hot—but then again, I had never worn a silk gown in my life, so it was not as if I knew how it would feel until I felt my nonexistent chest begin to scream for ice. I shuffled uncomfortably forwards until the loud doors slammed closed behind me. From my lowered vision, I made out what had to be fine leather boots.

"So you are here."

I looked up. My eyes widened as I realized that it was the man from the previous time who had saved me from that lascivious group of men. But it was also the man who led me to that cursed noble. I shifted left to right as I observed this man: He was tall, extremely so. He was similar in appearance to the noble, wearing fine leather boots and an embroidered tunic, but his countenance was quite austere. He loomed over me and seemed to know every single detail about me.

"So…uh…" I awkwardly cleared my throat. "What am I here for?"

The man nodded. "Mi señor wishes to give you your compensation."

Compensation? I balked as he said so. Then, anger rose to fester at my throat. So, I was to be given supposed payment in this way? Yes, I was putting on a façade of being a courtesan, but there was no refinement in the way I was addressed.

However, before I could give the man a very personal scolding, a large set of doors that could easily swallow half the world opened several meters away by a behemoth of a fireplace, and out came a long train of servants. I confusedly stared at the twenty or so male servants who all held some sort of heavy chests, growing even more perplexed when they all filed around to form columns on either side of the tall man.

"See if it is to your liking. If you wish, Mi señor can arrange things."

I do not think I would have thought that in any way.

The chests were all opened. And in those chests—my good God, I could not breathe.

Gold. Sapphires. Rubies. Silk. Spices. Dresses made in all sorts of luxurious material. Goblets. Jewelry. I gaped as I took in the bright scene before me. What exactly was the meaning of this?

"I…What?" My eyes shifted left and right as the tall man before me surveyed my tense posture. "So…Is this…All mine?"

"Whose else would it be?"

All right. Well, then. Well, then. Things had gotten awkward. Was a courtesan really this expensive? I do not recall them being this demanding, as much as I hated putting prices on human lives. It is just that I usually was stationed at the courtesan houses, and I had seen the usual gifts. Trinkets, dresses, some more luxurious items by the regular customers. Even the highest courtesans who were dare taken to social meetings as partners were not given such an extreme fare.

And then the part I dreaded dawned upon me. They all thought that I was a real courtesan! And they would look for an address to take all these gifts! The problem is, I was not a real courtesan, so I did not have an official house, not even an official address, unless I wanted to give the Tiber hideout away. Damned, was I truly this stupid?!

"Simply give us the address to send these items to," the austere noble said, echoing the words I dreaded. "Mi señor will be sure to call on you later on during the day after his businesses are taken care of."

Damned. "Right. An address. Well, actually.."

Just as I suspected, the man narrowed his eyes and looked at me in suspicion. I cringed. At that moment, I wanted to bust into cinders. This was not my day, as usual.

Quick, think of something! Anything! I could literally feel the sweat drip down my back, blending grossly with my corset as I burned under his gaze. I fidgeted. I opened my mouth. Closed it. I thought.

And thought.

Until I said something that damned me even more so.

"I would like to wait here until your master arrives," I proposed, trying to seem nonchalant, but probably failing to do so. I pushed forwards, anyway. "It would not be polite if I simply left."

He raised a brow. "There is no need to do so. He will come much later."

For the love of Christ! "No, I insist." Just let me stay for a little while until I find another escape plan!

We stared at each other for a good while. I refused to back down, and he refused to waver. He assessed me. I assessed him. I began to feel sorry for the poor servants who had to watch our spectacle. I swear I caught one rolling his eyes.

"Please. It is not within my…policy to leave without a farewell."

That must have been persuasive enough. He relented, albeit grudgingly. "Bien. But I can still send these gifts to—"

"It is fine," I cut in, my voice taking on a higher pitch than I would have liked. Oh, well. "I will…take them when I leave."

He stared me down. "If that is what you wish."

The man turned, and I watched as his boots struck the marbled floors with a natural gusto. I breathed a sigh of relief, only to straighten up once more when he turned around before the large doors.

"The servants will tend to you." I nodded. "Until then."

"Until then. Grazie."

He left. I sagged.

Just how much of this ordeal did I have to endure?