The first thing that Anastasia saw when she opens up her eyes is a huge mirror and her own reflection looking straight at her.
'Where am I?' She's certain that this place doesn't look like a hospital. And certainly, it's not like heaven or hell even. But what she's really sure of is that... her reflection is far too different from her original face.
What happened? As far as she remember, her car was hitted by a truck and based on its speed, there is no possiblity of survival. So why the hell is she still breathing like nothing happened at all?
"Lady Doreen? The chauffeur that would bring you to the party will arrive soon." Anastasia was interrupted from her dilemma by a woman who is dressed like a maid.
But what did the woman just called her? Doreen? Since when did she change her name to Doreen?
"A party?" She ask instead.
"Yes my Lady. Lord Gilbert is expecting you to come down soon." Anastasia was about to ask more questions when the maid exited and closes the door.
What was that?
She faces the mirror once again and notice that she was indeed wearing a classic crimson gown with her hair fix with diamonds and a make up.
She looks nice. But feels so different.
Anastasia let out an exasperated sigh and decided to go outside and gather information about this absurb place she's currently breathing on.
"Lady Doreen, you took so much time." Anastasia was greeted by an old-looking man who's wearing a black silky tuxedo once she's already downstairs.
"Yes...uh, I'm sorry about that?" She apologized with uncertainty, thinking that it might be the safest answer in her current situation. But the old man only gapes at her like she grew two heads or something.
"Since when did you learn how to apologize Lady Doreen?" The old man asked in amusement.
But Anastasia was taken aback. Is there any person who doesn't know how to apologize? Now that's cruel. The owner of this body must be a cruel person, she thinks.
Anastasia then realizes that she needs to do something to avoid any suspicions so she cleared her throat to hide her uneasiness then raises her left eyebrow at the old man. Once again, she thinks this is the best action to do in this nerve-wracking situation. And also based on the old man's reaction, the real owner of the body must have an awful attitude. So she thinks she only needs to act like one according to her analysis.
Well, she didn't read mystery novels for anything.
"I'm trying to be nice here old man." She blurted out rudely. She tried her best not to feel bad or to feel any guilt.
"Now that's more look like you." Lord Gilbert stated, still looking suspiciously at her. "Anyway, are you ready to execute our plan?" He continued which made Anastasia frown in confusion. What plan?
"Oh right! the plan, yes. Of course, I'm ready." She answered instead, wearing a fake smile, and even nodded as if she knows what he's talking about. The old man will only get more suspicious of her if she suddenly asks a question.
She'll find that out by herself.
"Alright. Let us take our leave then." And as if on cue, the vehicle that would bring them to the venue arrived.
Lord Gilbert and Anastasia entered the vehicle and got greeted by the chauffeur but Anastasia stops herself from greeting back.
Meanwhile, she started to think about what will happen once they arrive. Base on the maid earlier, they will be going to attend a party. But the thing is, she doesn't even know why are they heading there. Another thing is the plan that the old man was talking about. She doesn't have any idea about that either.
She feels so lost and trapped.
Anastasia shook her head and tried to maintain her calmness. There's no use in freaking out after all. 'I just need to act according to the situation. I can do this,' she tried to convince herself.
To stop overthinking, she looks outside and notices the surroundings, which look exactly like a place from the past. It's vintage and classic and the people are also wearing old clothes. Even the mansion earlier looks old. 'So her soul was transported to the past?' she concluded. 'Whatever. I'll just gather information after the party.' she planned on her head.
After an hour, the chauffeur informed them that they have finally arrived.
Anastasia fixes herself and once the chauffeur opened the door for her, she gets outside the vehicle and doesn't bother to utter some gratitude even if she's itching to do so. She used to do that after all.
"Let us head inside Lady Doreen." Lord Gilbert invited and Anastasia complied. She slings her left hand into the old man's arm before they went inside.
Anastasia got intimidated right away as soon as they step inside the huge mansion.
"Lord Gilbert! I'm glad that you arrived safely at our mansion." Lord Gilbert and Anastasia stop on their track when a sophisticated old woman greeted them.
"Señorita Laura! It's our pleasure to be invited here." Lord Gilbert kisses the back of Señorita Laura's hand with respect. Then they started chatting but Anastasia doesn't even understand a single thing.
"Anyway Señorita Laura, may I introduce my niece, and the heir of the Garcias, Doreen Garcia." Anastasia stilled when the elders are now giving their attention to her. She tried not to panic and plastered a stiff smile.
But what did the old man just said? She's a what?
"It's very lovely to finally meet you, Señorita Laura. Im Anast-I mean Im Lady Doreen Garcia madamé. I would like to give you my gratitude also for having us here." Anastasia wanted to give herself a round of applause for mastering how to speak formally. Then she tried the cheek-to-cheek greeting like what she always saw in the classic movies and silently wish that she said the right words and did the right thing.
"Of course I would love to invite you here Lady Doreen and Lord Gilbert. After all, the Garcias are one of the richest family in our country." Anastasia tried not to gape in surprise at what she had just heard.
Anastasia doesn't have time to collect herself when another old man greeted them. "Señior Victor! It's nice to see you again." And Lord Gilbert greeted back. Anastasia concluded that the other old man is Señorita Laura's husband.
'But wait, Señorita Laura and Señior Victor? Why does it sound so familiar.' Anastasia thinks, trying to remember it.
The elders chatted and Anastasia tried not to talk as much as possible until they are called inside to finally join the party.
Anastasia gaped in awe once they are inside. A chandelier that lights the whole surroundings, the tables that are neatly placed at the center, candles, flowers, and a buffet. If Anastasia didn't know that this place is a mansion, she will think that this is a palace or a castle.
Then she secretly scans the whole room. As of the moment, there are only 10 people in total inside, including them and the married elders. There are other four elders and a couple in their mid 30's. The guests are wearing different expensive gowns and coats, pieces of jewelry, and a presence that screams power. This party is indeed for high-class people only.
Anastasia feels so dizzy whenever someone is greeting them. She had no choice but to greet back out of respect.
'Acting like a high-class person is very very exhausting.' she said in her mind.
Lord Gilbert is talking with Señior Victor and Señorita Laura once again when someone interrupted them.
"Señior Victor...Señorita Laura, forgive our tardiness. Some circumstances happened that causes to delay our arrival." A guy that Anastasia thinks the same age as her said.
"Scholar Francis, you arrived. Where's your highness?" As if on cue, another guy made his appearance wearing a royalty coat.
"Prince Alistair! It's our pleasure to finally have you here." The three elders bowed their heads and Anastasia immediately copied their movements.
"It's my pleasure, Señior Victor. Even though, we're sorry that we are late." The prince greeted with his baritone voice.
Anastasia doesn't stop herself to stare at the said prince since it's her first time seeing a real one. 'I can't believe an actual prince is in front of me right now. Even his voice is so handsome. Maybe transferring here is not that bad.' Anastasia thinks.
"Lady Doreen?" Anastasia was interrupted from her thoughts when Lord Gilbert tap her shoulder to bring her attention back.
"You're spacing out." The old man stated and Anastasia notice that all of them are now looking at her in curiosity.
Now that's embarrassing.
Anastasia cleared her throat and tried to gain her composure again.
"I apologize. I was just thinking of something." She excuses.
"While staring at me?" The prince questioned and Anastasia doesn't know if it is in amusement or annoyance.
She tried to hide her embarrassment by saying,"Why? I cant?" which earned a light nudge on her shoulder from Lord Gilbert.
"Forgive my niece for her rude behavior, your highness. She doesn't know what she's saying." Then Lord Gilbert bowed and glared at her sideways, signalling her to do the same.
"That's right. It was rude of me to say that. Forgive me, your highness." Anastasia bowed her head, mimicking her uncle.
'Earning a bad impression, especially from the prince is the last thing I should do...' Anastasia thinks.
"That's fine. Just try to hide your desires next time my lady, if you don't want to get caught." Then the prince gave her a playful wink and Anastasia never have a desire to smack someone until now.
"I'll take that in mind, your highness," Anastasia said blankly and force a smile.
"Anyway, I think I need to greet everyone else. Can you accompany me?" The prince asks the elders and they agreed easily.
"Of course your highness." Señorita Laura said.
"You'll come?" Lord Gilbert whispers at her.
"I rather not." She replied and sighs for the nth time.
The three elders agreed to accompany the prince, leaving Anastasia and the guy who they called a scholar alone. The prince gives her one last glance that the latter doesn't notice.
"That was so bold of you Lady-?" The other guy that is left with her said. They called him Scholar Francis earlier if she's not mistaken.
"Doreen. I'm Doreen Garcia." She introduces herself to the other guy.
Unlike the prince, this guy looks polite.
"Doreen. Lady Doreen. What a gorgeous name. It suits you." Scholar Francis compliments. "By the way I'm Francis and they call me Scholar Francis. Nice to meet you, my lady." He introduces and held his hand for a handshake.
Anastasia smiled, not force this time.
"Nice to meet you too Scholar Francis." She said and accepted the inviting hand. But she was taken aback when the scholar suddenly kissed the back of her hand and she tried her very best not to get flustered.
'Anastasia relax. The gesture is only normal.' She mutters in her mind.
So she tried to compose herself as they started to have a conversation together and surprisingly, Anastasia is comfortable to have him.
"What's the meaning of being a scholar?" Anastasia asked in curiosity.
"Let just say, as a scholar, the palace will take care of me and my future but in exchange, I'll serve the royalties with all of my life, and now I'm assigned to serve prince Alistair." Anastasia snort hearing the prince's name that didn't go unnoticed to Scholar Francis.
"How about you? What are you doing in life aside from being a heir of the Garcias?" The scholar changes the topic but Anastasia cant find a word to answer him.
Because first of all, how the hell would she know?
"Oh?...Nothing really much. Im just helping our family in you know, some stuff." She answered unsurely.
The scholar only nods in understanding and Anastasia was so thankful that he didn't ask any further.
"But I spent a lot of time reading books." She added, pertaining to her real self.
"Really? Do you perhaps read novels then?" Anastasia gasps and feels like her eyes are now glistening after hearing her favorite pastime. She absolutely loves talking about books.
"Yup!" She answers in excitement."
"Yup...?" The scholar asks in confusion.
Then Anastasia recalled what she had just blurted out and almost slap her forehead.
"Oh, I mean. Yes! I love reading novels." Thankfully, and once again, the scholar did not ask any questions.
They started to share their knowledge about novels and Anastasia feels so happy that she can still talk to someone about her hobbies even in this kind of situation.
"Lady Doreen." They stop when someone called her name. It is no other than her uncle, Lord Gilbert.
"You're back." She said in a stern voice. Lord Gilbert then glance at Scholar Francis.
"Scholar Francis, your highness is looking for you."
The scholar look at Anastasia and bowed.
"It's nice to have a chat with you Lady Doreen but I think the prince is looking for me so I'll be going now." Scholar Francis said politely.
"Thank you for your accompany Scholar Francis." She smiled then the scholar takes his leave.
Anastasia noticed the look that Lord Gilbert is giving her but she decided to just ignored it.
After a minute, they have reunited with Señior Victor and Señorita Laura once again. Lord Gilbert was conversing with them when Anastasia notices someone. There is another woman who entered the room, looking so exhausted for someone who just arrived at a party.
"I'm sorry I am late Señorita Laura and Señior Victor. I just have so many things to do." The woman that looks like her age said when she approaches the elders.
"It's fine Alice. We're glad that you made it." Señorita Laura dismisses with a kind smile.
Anastasia tries to remember the another familiar name. She must have seen it somewhere.
"Anyway, Lord Gilbert...Lady Doreen, I would like to introduce you, the detective who helps us in our son's case, Detective Alice Potter."
Then it finally sinks in.
The party, the high-class people, familiar names, the plan, Detective Alice Potter. Now everything suddenly makes sense.
'My soul was not transferred to the past. It was transmigrated inside my favorite mystery novel which is titled 'Book of Murder' but not as Detective Alice Potter but as Doreen Garcia.
Anastasia is now certain on three things. First she is currently inside a book entitled 'Book of Murder'. Second she is now looking straight at her favorite character Detective Alice Potter and lastly she is currently breathing as Doreen Garcia, and its not very amusing at all."Lady Doreen are you alright? You look pale." Señorita Laura was the first one who notice her mental break down."I-i,..yes im fine. Just feeling...a little dizzy." She said earning a concerned look from the married elders."Do you want to rest? We have a guests room." Señior Victor offer but she just shook her head and thanked them."Thank you but I think im fine." She declined politely."Maybe she just lack sleep or probably hungry. That usually happened to me." Alice suggest and Anastasia stop herself from idolizing the woman. She cant believe that her idol is actually in front of her."Maybe yo
"Detective Alice, Inspector Sachi assigned you to another case.""What? But my current case is not yet done." Alice ask in confusion and frustation. She investigated so much for this case. But now they wanted her to just discard it?"But the victim's relative wanted the police to stop investigating." Her assistant said."Why?""We don't know yet. But you know we cant take an action if the relatives doesn't want to. For now you should concentrate on another case." Alice cant help but to sigh. She almost have the culprit. She just need more evidence to catch the murderer but now it is back to zero."Fine. As if I can do something about it. Anyway give me the details of the other case." Alice instructed and the assistant immediately obliged."There's a man found dead at the Loire River and the police already started the investigation. They concluded that the cause of death i
"What?!" The four women blurted out in unison."L-lord Jeremy found dead at the bathroom." The maid uttered again, stuttering.But before they react, Señorita Laura suddenly collapses on the floor."Señorita Laura!" Alice immediately catch the old woman and Anastasia help her to lay her down."Señorita Laura wake up!" Alice tried to shake her but the old woman is showing no response.Anastasia check her pulse and sigh in relief when it is still beating, but incredibly fast."Don't worry, Señorita just fainted because of too much emotion. Maybe her system doesnt take the information well. She will wake up later." Anastasia assured since after all, she's originally a nurse. Alice looks relieve."Detective Alice, I think they need you there. Let me take care of Señorita." Madame Leticia offered and Alice thanked her, knowing that they will really need her at the
"Let me come with you.""No you will not.""You're not the one I am talking to.""Who said I was talking to you?""Then why are you answ-""Both of you, can you please be silent for once?!" Alice uttered in annoyance.But that's understandable. Afterall its still early in the morning, still raining heavily outside and still having their suppose to be 'peaceful breakfast' when Lady Doreen(Anastasia) and Prince Alistair started bickering at each other again.It started when Alice announced that she will going to continue the investigation later and probably needed to see the body again so she ask Señior Victor if she can go to the basement. Then Anastasia ask if she can come with her but the prince contradict it and that's how they start arguing nonstop.And Alice have enough."How about both of you will come with
"We need to go back." Alice instructed with urgency and the rest immediately followed her."What are we going to do now?" Anastasia ask anxiously, knowing that there was a possibility that someone will die again. And who knows when the killer will probably attack again."Lets talk when we're already complete so the others can also hear it." The detective replied instead.After going through on so much stairs, the four of them finally arrived at the ground floor.Alice approach the maid who was passing by and ask her if she can call the other guests since they are going to talk about something important. The maid immediately obliged."Whats with the sudden call detective? And why the four of you look so dejected. Did something happened?" Madame Leticia instantly ask when she arrived. The other guests are behind her."Please take a sit everyone we're going to discuss about s
Anastasia learn that the man's name is Nicholas Montenor when Lord Gilbert introduce him to the other guests. She also learn that the Montenor manor was just a few kilometers away from Señior Victor and Señorita Laura's mansion. And finally, she notice that the man was very touchy and quite obsess to Doreen Garcia.And it is somehow alarming given the fact that she's trying to stop herself from punching the man who keep on touching her."So the two of you we're really dating. I thought its just a humor." Madame Leticia said.Nicholas smiled and put his arms around Doreen(Anastasia) making her gasp, not in surprise but in annoyance."Yes. Ofcourse we are. Right my lady?" He said then look at her, waiting for her response. Anastasia just fake a smile and deliberately change the topic."Earl Monte–" she stops when the man gives her a loo
Madame Irene was dead.Once again, they're too late to stop it.Detective Alice sigh, close her eyes tightly and hands coming up to rub down her face from too much frustration."Detective get a grip. This is not the time to mourn and cry." Prince Alistair remind behind her."I know." She said before walking straight to the lifeless body.Alice wear her gloves and carefully place her hand on the body's wrist, checking the pulse. She sigh once again when she realize that they were really too late. The body's temperature is starting to get cold means the crime happened about an hours ago. Also, based on the body's posture, it is no doubt that the culprit used a poison to kill the victim.Alice scan the room and notice the bottle of wine and a shattered glass on the the floor."The victim was poisoned." She announced.Madame
"So you were saying that Madame Irene ask you for a bottle of wine?""Yes detective.""What do you think is the exact time she ask you that?""Around 8-9 in the evening we think." The maid answered.That's how the conversation is going when Anastasia arrived at the living room where Detective Alice is currently interrogating the two maids. She silently sit on one of the chairs and listen to them."B-but I swear we delivered the wine unopen and safe. W-we really dont know what happened." One of the maid defends."Detective, I assure you that our beverages including wines are safe." Señior Victor informed and the detective just nod her head at him in understanding.As much as possible, Alice is trying not to suspect the married couple that she known for years and treated like a real family. She hope that her trust for them will not be wasted.