Injured – Alchemic Maiden

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[Excerpt from chapter three. I have written 10,121 words now! We shall see how long I stay caught up, though. I have two tests next week that I should start studying for.]

My legs were lead, heavier than ten swords, as I stood to gather my bearings. The woods looked exactly the same no matter which way I turned. Even though I collapsed during the night, I was pretty sure the tree had been in front of my path. Continuing past it should keep me from backtracking towards the castle. I took a step and cried out in pain, buckling knees dropping me to the floor.

My thigh was on fire. The slightest pressure was like being slashed over and over with a hot knife. I glanced around me—mocking myself as I did so since I doubted anyone would be aimlessly walking in the woods—before rolling up my dress.

There, on the inside of my thigh snaking around towards the back, was an angry thick red line. A yellow-pink liquid oozed from the center and it was hot to the touch. Those pointed gate pickets. I never understood why the gardeners took such care protecting that damned statue anyway. No one was going to go through the trouble of mastering the maze to steal the Clotairene seal etched into marble. The castle was full of more valuable items for the itchy palmed.

That was all I needed: a leg wound impeding me from reaching my goal. I cursed under my breath then blushed at my rudeness. Never would I have been able to express such foul language at Court. Rebelling in such a slight way, throwing decency to the wind after my life had been wrecked beyond the point of recognition, lifted the weight constricting my chest. I cursed again then giggled. I cured louder and laughed. After all that befell my family, all I received was a leg wound?

Laughter racked my body and I feel back against the tree. I knew it wasn’t funny—nothing that had happened would ever be funny—but I couldn’t stop myself. I continued to laugh until my sides hurt and I could no longer breathe. When finally everything around me solidified, sadness once again overtook me. With it came cold, hard determination. Nothing, not even a leg wound, would stop me.

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