string(114) ” She was led to a bedroom, as the male handed her the mask and dress before proceeding outside to let her change.”

Vignette of You Situated within a certain mansion, buttressed by stone walls covered in mould, therein lies a portrait. This portrait, caked in dust, had lost the vibrant splendour of which it attained years ago. It depicts a grandiose mansion, windows smiling brightly as candle light filtered through them, creating an atmosphere of joy and merry-making.

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However, such beauty was sadly hidden, for it was hung in the most depilated part of the mansion, which no one roams.On the other side of the mansion though, is a couple, gazing lovingly into each other spiritual windows, as each was deeply lost in the emotions tumbling within their hearts, a girl and her fiance.

The female, a lady in her twenties dressed in an ostentatious dress, as was the fashion of the nineteenth century at that time, looks innocent and intensely infatuated with the man. The man boasted charming features yet failed in the finance department. Nevertheless, they resembled a perfect couple. The girl’s name is Akina.Akina was a greenhorn in the realm of love and naivete caused her to pour out her heart and soul to her maiden love. On a fated night, Akina tossed and turned in her bed. Sleep evaded her for no apparent reason.

Acting on a whim, she decided to explore the huge mansion which she knew as home. She wandered along the corridor till she reached a fork leading towards two different hallways. One led to the drawing room which she frequently visited as a child. The other was a path which was deserted. Some said that it was haunted. Others said it was a never ending path leading to a void.Akina felt a shiver run down her spine.

She did not know what suddenly gave her a desire for an adventure, what boosted her courage and what caused her legs to move on their own accord down the secluded path. She walked down the path, passing by various mysterious doors and passages till she came face to face with a door. The door was like no other and it towered over her. Somehow she could feel an aura around the place that gave her goose bumps but at the same time beckoned her to go in. Her curiosity got the better of her and she stretched out her hands, gripping onto the knob…Behind the door was a large musty room that was spaciously empty, bar some old furniture placed here and there. But what caught her attention was a curtained area, shrouded in darkness as it gave off a vibe of secrecy, inviting her curious self towards it. She approached it gingerly, grasping the maroon curtains before setting her heart, and pulled back the curtains, revealing a framed painting, though faded over time.

The colours were faint and the details smudged, yet it still held Akina in awe, for she had an eye for paintings.Placing her fingers upon the mansion depicted there, she wondered what it life would hold in store in such a splendid manor. Perhaps it was this very mansion in the past, or perhaps it was from the imagination of the artist which caused her to feel drawn to the mansion in the ruined painting, wishing to see the interior of the merry-looking structure. Suddenly, she felt a jerk upon her arm, and as she looked down, she noticed that her hand was passing through the painting, with no trace of a tear on the said object itself!She let out a wholly scream, panicking as she attempted to wrench her arm back out, hoping that this was all just a dream. However, to her dismay, it was not. This was proven when she bit onto her other hand; the pain coursing through her veins was enough to allow her to separate reality from fiction. Against her will, she was unceremoniously yanked into the painting, leaving an empty room once again, with strange footprints in the dust leading to the painting, and stopping there.

Akina flopped onto the ground, blinking her eyes as she glanced dazedly at the scene before her, attempting to discern the flamboyant lights and decorations, before pushing herself off the pebbled path leading to the gates. Standing awestruck, she glanced at the towering, taking in every detail as she immediately recognised it as the mansion from the painting. Although worry was etched on her mind, she was curious, and instead decided to explore. Maybe the return route was hidden somewhere in the castle, perhaps similar to the one she had just left; it was a common occurrence in books.Approaching it tentatively, she caught a glimpse of the interior: a party of some sort going on, with individuals accompanying their partners in a waltz tempo of threes, spinning around each other slowly in a romantic fashion, as the band played from a corner of the large hall. She crept in, careful to go along the sides of the wall, lest she be noticed. However, it was not long before she bumped into a lone individual, his face covered by a golden mask, intricate black designs adorning it.

She felt frightened, as thousands of questions raced through her mind, one after the other, “What would he do?Does he know that I am intruding? What if he does? Would he throw me out? Would he believe my story? ” As these frantic questions went through her mind, the man inquired demurely, “Are you lost, my lady? ” Shell-shocked, Akina merely nodded. “I see you lack a mask and a proper dress; this is a masquerade ball. However, I happen to be in possession of an extra mask, and my sister would have a spare dress in her room –I’m certain the size would fit. I would be happy to offer it to you. Would you accept it? Deciding that this was the perfect opportunity to fit in, Akina smiled, and though feeling a bit imposing, accepted his offer politely. She was led to a bedroom, as the male handed her the mask and dress before proceeding outside to let her change.

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Akina blinked her eyes for a few times, attempting to adjust to the dimness of the richly furnished room.

Her eyes swept the room, beholding its contents. A glittering candelabrum, adorned with gleaming gems of a pearl and sapphire, was the only light source in the room. It emitted a faint glow, illuminating her awestruck face.The candelabra was suspended precariously over a queen-sized bed, of which thick layers of silver satin was laid upon, complete with lace-trimmed fluffy pillows. The bedpost was finely-polished mahogany, exquisite designs engraved upon its shiny surface, its translucency endowing an aura of mystery to it. She then turned her attention towards the dress, laid upon the magnificent bed. She held out the dress, gasping for the dress took her breath away in its unearthly splendour.

Intricate designs swirled against the gleaming pearl white background.She stepped into it, careful not to ruffle the finely ironed silk. It was a perfect fit, a second skin on her. The train of the dress, frilled and curled elegantly, pooled around her ankles, sweeping the marble floor. She spotted a pair of stylish heels that seemed to have miraculously appeared at the foot of the bed. Warning bells were ringing incessantly in her head. She definitely did not see the out-of-world handsome guy bring those in but she brushed them off as her over-reacting.

The 4-inch heels were cadet grey with a layer of gloss.They were a comfortable fit, enough to avoid scraping her skin. Balancing herself by clutching onto the teak bedside table, adorned with an ornamental vase of queer cyan roses, she wobbled to the door, trailing her hand along the wall, for fear of falling over. Maintaining her equilibrium, she lifted her mask, indigo-based propped by a dowel, as soft entrails of feathers rimmed the edges, akin to flurry snow white fur, as an impeccably placed dove feather embellished the top corner, flaunting its beauty as it bounced gracefully with every step she took.Opening the door, she beamed a smile as she noticed the astonishment that took residence in the other’s eye. Adonis was bewitched by the dazzling dark-haired beauty that stepped out of the room. She resembled a fallen angel with her beauty and innocent smile.

As soon as he found his voice, he found himself asking if he could have the pleasure of dancing with her. As she placed her petite hand on his palm to show her consent, Adonis felt a shiver surge through his body. He was sure of it He was in love.He could feel it in his veins, coursing through his whole body as his heart thumped against his ribs, urging him on while he led her by her hand back to the hall, wary to slow his pace to allow his lady to comfortably walk in her heels. He had politely queried if she wanted to switch her present heels to more comfortable footwear but she had insisted on wearing this pair, her fierce determination showing in her eyes. As the music played, he led her in a waltz, catching her with strong and sure arms whenever she stumbled, careful to prevent her from tripping and twisting her ankle.Akina was over the moon, enjoying herself immensely with this attractive stranger.

Her heart raced around him but she brushed it off thinking that it was just her being excited and tired from all the dancing. The song changed and the stranger led her to a drinks booth and offered her a drink to which she accepted immediately. “Sorry, I didn’t seem to have caught your name. ” the young man lamented jokingly. Akina blushed cheek tainted a rosy pink, “Akina. Yours? ” she asked. “Adonis.

” a low rich voice answered her. As the night passed on, Akina relaxed more around Adonis.At a balcony, the sound of laughter could be heard from a couple. Zooming in, one would realise that the couple is Akina and Adonis. “Akina, I cannot hide my feelings for you anymore, your beauty and character entrails me so. Akina, I love you. Would you accept my love? ” Adonis proposed kneeling down.

Only then was Akina pulled back into reality, she was already engaged to someone, what is she doing frolicking here? Being in denial, she did what her natural instincts told her: To run. ” She picked up her dress and ran towards the place from which she appeared from.Hoping that what she thought was right, she hurriedly approached a picture of a mansion that looked eerily similar to hers and reached towards it. She was once again pulled into the picture but this time not unwillingly. Once she was back to her mansion, she ran up the halls back to her bedroom. Only when she stepped into the confines of her bedroom did Akina allowed her tears to flow freely. What was happening to her? She felt so safe with Adonis she had forgotten about everything else.

Nothing was going to make her visit that mansion again, she mused.After visiting Adonis, she realised how disgustingly love blind she used to be to her fiance. Her fiance hardly cared about her feelings, hardly concerned about her welfare, and would rather spend time making money than with her. Why did she only realise all these now? She remembered her late mother telling her before that someone who truly loves you would never hesitate to sacrifice anything to save you in times of danger, even his life. Akina may be a bit clumsy but she was not dim-witted. Thus, she conjured a plan, in the slight hope that she was wrong about her fiance.One day, when there was a party at her house, she purposely set off a fire, far from the crowd, and punched the fire alarm.

Panic immediately ensued and everyone rushed to escape, pouring out of the manor in a stream. She then pretended to be trapped in a corner of the house. “Darling! Save me, I’m trapped! ” Akina shouted. Her finace however was engrossed in saving everything that was valuable to him in the house and only replied to her, “Sorry sweetie, try to wait for a while. I’ll get to you as soon as I save these things. ” Akina was heartbroken.Her fiance whom she though was in love with her does not value her above material things.

A fiery beam dropped right in front of her, hot ripples of air blowing against her face, the fire trapping her for real this time. Her pleas and shouts for help became more desperate but nobody ever come to save her. Without thinking she screamed, “Adonis, help me, please! ” She never did thought that he would come but he did, carrying her bridal style back to his mansion for safety. After they arrived at his mansion, Adonis collapsed. The masquerade party was still on.Akina clutched him, attempting to shake him awake. When he finally woke up, he was tucked in his bed, with Akina at his bedside, sobbing.

How would she know that travelling out of the picture would take away a lot of his life source? The doctors said that he would not be able to make it and that they should be prepared for the worse. Akina cried her heart out. Why? Why only when she found her true love, god has to take him away? Is this her punishment for not realising earlier? Akina touched his face, after receiving his consent; she removed his intricate mask, which he was still wearing.He was fine-looking, his looks beating every model she knew. As her last gift, Akina planted a tear-stained kiss on his pale lips. She would fulfil his last wish to carry on life… As she arrived back at her mansion, Akina vowed that she would never replace Adonis in her heart. Akina carried on with her life but seemed soulless.

The happy bubbly girl before became apathetic. She broke off her engagement with her fiance and shut herself in the mansion, leaving the mansion only when necessary. Situated within a certain mansion, buttressed by stone walls covered in mould, therein lies a portrait.This portrait, caked in dust, had lost the vibrant splendour of which it attained years ago. It depicts a grandiose mansion, windows smiling brightly as candle light filtered through them, creating an atmosphere of joy and merry-making. However, such beauty was sadly hidden, for it was hung in the most depilated part of the mansion, which no one bothers to venture. Beside it, in a similar frame of gold, is a portrait of a handsome male.

On the plague below was engraved, in neat writing: Adonis Clarities; risked his life to save his loved one but passed away in the attempt to do so; 1321-1342…