A/N: Welcome to my new story. I shall warn you now, I only have two chapters for this at the moment and I have no idea where I'm going with the plot so... Feedback and ideas would be greatly appreciated :)
A Cruel Twist of Fate:
Chapter 1: Expect the unexpected
Amelia Nightray stood precariously at the edge of the swimming pool, looking out over the water. She had been sent inside to fetch her younger brother, but she couldn't seem to find him anywhere. The air was humid and she was getting antsy, as she had other places to be and important things she needed to be doing for school. Her long black hair hung around her face as she scanned the heads that were sticking up out of the water, hoping to finally locate Daniel.
A familiar face popped into her line of vision and she sighed in relief, waving at him in order to catch his attention. He blinked in confusion, but then his head spun to face the big clock on the wall and his eyes widened in surprise as he saw what time it was. Amelia nodded at him, and was about to step away from the edge when a hand grabbed her ankle.
She cried out in alarm, but when she tried to pull free she overbalanced and fell into the pool. She could hear laughter through the water as she tried to get back to the surface, but for some reason the surface kept getting further and further away. She reached up with both arms, trying to grab at the air she knew was just out of her reach, but she continued to sink.
A bright light shone in her eyes and, as her lungs protested the lack of oxygen, she sat up.
Her head easily broke the surface of the water and she doubled over, coughing and taking shallow breaths as she tried to calm down. When Amelia's breathing evened out she sat up straighter and took a look around herself. It was brighter and quieter than it had been at the pool, so she knew that something must have changed, although she had no idea as to how or why.
"How on earth did I get outside?" She muttered to herself as she climbed to her feet in the knee high water of the massive outdoor fountain she had found herself in. She stood there for a few minutes as she looked around, momentarily forgetting that she was even standing in water. When she came back to her senses she cried out in irritation and quickly waded over to the edge of the fountain before climbing out.
She sat on the stone rim of the fountain and took off her knee high combat boots, tipping them upside down in an attempt to get rid of some of the water. Realizing that it wasn't doing much to help she placed them upside down on the pebbled pathway, ignoring them for the time being. Green eyes blazing in annoyance she reached behind her head, grabbing her waist length black hair and pulling it over her shoulder. While muttering curses to herself she began to squeeze the water from her hair, a painstakingly long task with hair as long as hers.
"This really isn't my day." She commented drily as she gave up on getting the water out of her hair. Putting her boots back on she stood up on the path and took a look around her, checking through the trees for people, anyone who might be watching. When she was satisfied that no-one was around she closed her eyes and started moving her hand around in front of her, concentrating.
Where before there hadn't even been a hint of wind there was now a circulating current of air swirling around Amelia. When she was satisfied with the strength of the wind she opened her eyes and proceeded to use the wind to dry her clothes and hair. While she was preoccupied a man with brown hair walked past the garden, choosing to glance out towards the fountain as he went. His eyes narrowed in suspicion as he saw the young girl surrounded by her own personal whirlwind, and he stepped onto the pebbled path as he headed towards her.
Amelia heard a crunch of pebbles and cursed, letting go of the wind she had created, only just happy with how dry her clothes had managed to get. Her hair was still pretty damp, but at least it wasn't soaked anymore. She ran her fingers through her hair as she looked around herself, trying to find out where the person was.
She jumped in surprise as a voice sounded from behind her. Her hair stung her face as she spun around to face the tall man with brown hair. He appeared to be wearing some sort of uniform, although it was unlike any she had seen before. It had a military feel to it, but even the uniforms she had seen during history class hadn't quite seemed so intimidating and yet so much like normal clothes at the same time. There was something seriously off about the situation. Not only the man, but her magic. It had never been that easy to use her magic before, it had always felt as though there was something restricting it, limiting it, fighting against its use, but this time there had been no resistance. She hugged her waist as she thought, a habit which developed out of nowhere and refused to go away. When she snapped out of her wonderings she realized that the man had been talking to her.
"I'm sorry; I don't really understand what you're saying. I can only speak English and Japanese." The look of surprise that appeared on the man's face at her statement was definitely out of place, at least in her mind. Should a man of the military really have such an easy to read face? Before she knew what was happening the man started to laugh. She was seriously starting to doubt that it was actually a military uniform he was wearing, his personality didn't seem to suit wartime fighting.
"Japanese huh? It's been a while since I've needed to speak in this language, so sorry if I sound a little off. Might I ask what it is you're doing here?" The teenage girl was shocked by his ability to just pick and choose languages as he pleased, or at least that's what it seemed like to her.
"Umm…" Her green eyes swept the area once more, this time trying to find something, anything at all that might seem familiar and give her a clue as to where she was. "I'm not really sure… I mean… Look, this is going to sound really crazy, but I want you to hear me out."
"You may find that you're definition of crazy differs from my own, so please, go ahead." He was acting so cheerful and understanding that it was actually putting Amelia on edge. She kept telling herself that it was all an act, that there was no way he would be that polite to someone who seemed to have broken into… wherever it was that they were.
"Okay then." She took a deep breath before continuing. "I was at the swimming pool looking for my little brother. It was getting late so mum had sent me to pick him up. Someone grabbed my ankle, probably some juvenile delinquent who thought it would be funny if I got wet. I fell in the pool and after that… well… I ended up here. Where exactly is here anyway?"
"This is indeed strange." He concurred, ignoring her question and focusing solely on the explanation. She scrutinized his expression, trying to see through what she was certain was an arrogant mask. He was too accepting, to carefree about what she had just told him. Maybe he was a professional after all, although she couldn't imagine why anyone would want to flash their military uniform in this day and age. It was the 21st century after all.
"Hey, you didn't answer my question." She protested irritably, suppressing a bout of shivers that arose from her still damp hair and her cold clothes. "Because this ain't the pool and this sure as hell ain't Dunedin." There were goosebumps all over the exposed skin of her arms and she was freezing. It was summer where she had been minutes before, and though it wasn't hot like Hawaii it was at least warm enough to warrant a t-shirt and shorts. The air by the fountain was cooler, not cold exactly, but enough that she was likely to get sick if she stayed in her current attire much longer.
"I have no idea where this Dunedin you speak of is, but we can talk about that sort of thing later. Right now I think there are more important things to deal with." He gestured at her outfit, water still dripping from the hem of her white shirt every now and again. She sneezed before nodding, crossing her arms across her chest in an attempt to warm up her fingers.
"Uh… My name's Amelia. Just thought you should know." Introducing herself to strangers wasn't something she normally did, but she had a feeling that she was going to have to trust at least the man before her. Otherwise she wasn't sure how she was going to get by in this strange place.
"Ah, my name is Conrart. I probably should have introduced myself earlier." She tilted her head to one side, staring at the man.
"Right, this has been a problem before too… It's fine if you call me Conrad, since that's probably easier for you to pronounce."
"Oh, okay then." With the introductions done she let the man – Conrad – guide her towards the building that she never noticed. He walked close to her but never touched her, like a possessive shadow. Apparently he didn't think even for a second that she would bother running away. Even if she did it would be easy enough to get her back.
What Amelia had originally thought of as an abandoned place was actually bustling with activity. Men in guards uniforms passed by them in every direction and she had to wonder why there were so many. They even passed a young blond boy who appeared to be about her age in a blue variation of Conrad's uniform. As far as she could tell the boy didn't even spare them a glance. Were strangers not a big deal?
She sneezed again as Conrad hailed a passing maid. Wait, maid? What kind of weird place is this anyway? The only place I'd expect to see maids is in a maid café… He spoke to her in the language Amelia couldn't understand before turning back to face her.
"This is Doria." He informed her, gesturing at the maid dressed in blue. "She's going to find you some clothes to change into, so go with her for the time being." Before she had a chance to protest or question him he was gone down the corridor and she stared blankly at his retreating figure. The maid tugged on her arm and she reluctantly followed the older woman, quickly getting irritated by the wet squelching noises her boots were making now that she didn't have anyone to talk to for a distraction. Still, she didn't really want to get rid of them since she was afraid someone might steal them. There was no way for her to know what sorts of people were residing in such a place.
It didn't take much concentration to follow after Doria, so as they walked Amelia scrutinized the hallways. There were torch brackets and lanterns on the walls. That fact only continued to confuse her. Was it possible that she had ended up in some medieval re-enactment society? Although for that to have happened she would have had to be unconscious for a long time for it to only feel like minutes since she fell in the pool.
"Where are we going?" She asked, forgetting that the maid obviously couldn't speak or understand English. Drawing her eyes back down to the ground she noticed Doria was standing in front of an open door, gesturing at her. There were going to be some severe communication issues if she were to stay there.
Rolling her eyes she wandered into the room. The maid followed and shut the door behind her. Amelia couldn't help but feel slightly trapped, but the woman merely handed her a towel before turning to rummage around in the chest set against the opposite wall. She shrugged and began drying her long black hair.
The clothes the maid gave to her were definitely out of her comfort zone, although there was no real way for her to complain or request anything else. In the end she could only be thankful that it wasn't a maid uniform.
It was unnerving for her to change in front of the other woman, but to her embarrassment she ended up needing help changing anyway. The dress was apparently worn by someone with a slightly smaller bust than Amelia, so it was a bit of a squeeze. Once she was finally dressed it didn't seem so bad, although she really despised wearing dresses. It was a dark red fabric which covered a lot more skin than some of the other dresses she had glimpsed in the chest, and for that she was thankful. Then again, by her calculations the owner of the black dresses must be incredibly well endowed, they would never have fit her in the first place.
Exhausted she sat on the floor in the centre of the room, probably getting dust on her dress. She didn't care though. She shivered violently before sneezing. It was only a matter of time before she got really sick. Ever since she fell in the pool she'd been feeling a bit off. She sneezed again, and suddenly everything started going blurry. Her vision was fading in and out and as she sneezed again it disappeared entirely. She let out a small groan before she fell sideways onto the ground, unconscious.
Doria watched in alarm as the young lady she had been charged with suddenly keeled over. She was obviously still breathing, but it couldn't have been a good sign. Worried, she rushed from the room, hoping to find Conrart but anyone strong enough to lift her would do just as well.
In the end it was Gwendal that she came across first, so she bravely attempted to enlist his help. He certainly had no desire to help, he still had to check up on the Maoh to ensure he was doing all the paperwork he had left him, but he was also ever so slightly curious about the mysterious stranger that had collapsed in the castle. In the end he refused, but he grabbed a passing guard and told him to go with the maid instead.
The two servants quickly moved the girl to the infirmary, since not only had she passed out, but when the guard went to move her he noticed that she had a very high fever as well.
A/n: So there you have it, the first chapter. The second shouldn't be too far away, I'm almost finished with it.