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The Golden Calix
The Golden Calix
Author: Lucy Nobher

Irina

Attempt number twenty-one.

It looks like I failed again.

I slowly open my eyes, and look at my hands. They are small and delicate. This is a person that hasn’t worked a day in her life. A lady, I suppose.

I sigh. You would think I am already used to it since I have repeated this countless times, but waking up in a new body always gives me the same kind of uneasiness. I slowly get out of my bed and look around. It’s a pretty decorated room and spacious enough for at least three people to live there. But everything is kind of… old.

I don’t know how to explain it, except that it looks like the room hasn’t been taken care of in a while. But I don’t care much about it right now, I am just looking for a specific item.

I search the room and… Oh, there it is.

I get closer to the big, kind of dusty mirror in the corner of the room, and look at my new body. A, probably, fourteen-year-old girl stares back at me. Her skin is so pale she looks out of this world, her light blue eyes flash a violet color from time to time when the light hits the right angle, and her pink hair falls in a cascade of messy waves. The problem is that she looks really skinny, and fragile. Like a blow of wind, it’s all it would take to blow her away.

“You have really bad luck.”

I turn my head to find a tiny spirit. His name is Vian. He has accompanied me through most of my lives. He usually looks like a kid. Well, if a kid could float in the sky and be the size of a peach.

“I can’t really argue with that. Vian, details of this body, please.”

He sighs, which is kind of a hobby for him and starts summarizing the information he gathered about this body and the last owner.

“Her name is Irina Everleigh, the third daughter of Viscount Everleigh. She is sixteen years old, but doesn’t look like it because of malnutrition and the poor way she is treated in this mansion. She has only one close sibling who is from the same mother. His name is Adiel Everleigh, and he is six years younger.”

When I wake up in a new body, everything is confusing, the soul of the last owner tends to linger in it, but I can’t grab any information. When time passes, some of its memories come to me like fleeting images. But what remains the most are the feelings: sadness, nervousness, resentment. All the people I reincarnated into were too young to die this way and now I am intruding in what once was its life. Not because I want to, of course, but there is a curse I can’t just get rid of.

A knock on the door interrupts my train of thought. Without waiting for an answer, a maid enters the room carrying a tray with food. She pretty much throws it at me, more like a guard will do to a prisoner than a maid to her master.

“My lady, dinner is served,” she says without looking at me.

I see the tray that contains a soup made of leftovers and a dubious glass of water.

You were really treated poorly, Irina.

If I let this go, I will continue to have a hard life in this mansion, and it will be too bothersome. Not to mention, there is no way I am eating that food.

I kick the tray making everything fall apart and creating a mess.

“Am I a joke to you?” I ask, crossing my arms.

The maid’s expression changes in a split second. She looks at me like I have lost my mind. Since she doesn’t say a word, I continue.

“I asked you a question and I expect an answer. I, Irina Everleigh, daughter of Viscount Everleigh, am a joke to you?”

“No, no! I am very sorry, my lady. I don’t know what came to me.”

“Pick up this and bring me some decent food.”

“Yes! Right away!” she says, picking the tray the best she can and hurriedly going out of the room.

I sigh and go to sit on the bed.

“Don’t you think you were a little hard on her?” Vian asks. He has been here the whole time, it’s just that normal humans can’t see him.

“Maybe, but if I didn’t do that, she would keep on treating me the same. She will surely tell this to her friends and in no time the whole mansion will know about this. I am just resting before that happens.” I lay on the bed and close my eyes, but, just as I predicted, someone bursts into my room.

This was sooner than I expected it. As they say, news travels fast.

“Irina! Can I know what’s gotten into you?! What is this sort of behavior?!”

I raise from the bed to look at the person shouting in front of me.

It’s a middle-aged woman, dressed from head to toes in fine clothes and jewels, a clear contrast to my old-fashioned and plain clothes.

“Isabella Everleigh, Irina’s stepmother,” Vian tells me.

I nod slightly, taking my eyes from her for a moment.

This doesn’t sit well with Isabella.

“Impudent child, look at me when I am talking!”

When I was not looking, she got closer to me and raised her hand, ready to strike.

I lift my gaze and look at her coldly. That seems to freeze her on the spot.

“You…” she musters, shaking a bit.

“I am so very sorry, mother. But I am not feeling well, can you please leave so that I can rest?” I say, more like an order than a plea.

She bits her lip, lowers her hand, and hurriedly goes out of the room.

“Your father will hear about this!” It’s the last thing she says.

I don’t even have time to lay on the bed again because another person rushes into my room.

Without bothering to knock, of course.

This time it’s a middle-aged man who enters the room. He has the same light blue eyes as Irina, and I can see a faint resemblance.

It’s Irina’s father, Arthur Everleigh. I don’t need Vian to tell me this, as time passes Irina’s body merges with my consciousness and I can see more of her memories. But is not just that, her body involuntarily trembles in fear when she sees him.

I put my hand over my arm to stop the trembling.

You are not the same Irina, you are me, I tell my body who slowly but surely regains its senses.

“I just heard from your mother about your disgraceful behavior. What’s gotten into you? You should act like the respectful daughter of the household.”

As soon as he says this, a burst of laughter I can’t stop from emerging leaves my lips. It comes like a whisper at first, but it turns into a boisterous cackling.

I grab my belly that starts to hurt, while Irina’s father looks at me like I am a lunatic. Which is the third time in a row and which makes me laugh even more.

They are not completely wrong. You see, after twenty lives you kind of start losing your mind.

I brush the tears that form in the corner of my eyes, and try to regulate my breathing.

But it’s hard. They have never treated Irina like a “daughter of this household”, they have never even treated her like a human being. It’s so easy to spat nonsense when you are not the one suffering the pain.

Irina’s suffering flashes through my mind in sudden haste and it almost makes me choke, but it doesn’t, it just makes me laugh even more.

Arthur takes a step back, and I can see a hint of fear in his eyes.

“I’ll come back when you come to your senses! Until then, you can’t leave this room!” he declares walking out of the room. But he almost collides with the maid who is bringing the food I asked for. “What is this?” he asks her.

“Lady Irina asked for better food so I…” the maid cowers at Arthur’s gaze and stops talking.

“She is locked in her room until she learns some manners. Don’t give her even a glass of water,” he orders. The maid bows and retreats.

The last thing I see is my door closing with strong force.

“Can you stop? You are starting to scare me,” Vian asks and I realize I have been laughing all this time. I nod and take a deep breath, finally able to stop. Then I flop into the bed.

“Ah I am hungry!” I declare, kicking the sheets.

“Well, you should have thought about that before laughing like a maniac,” Vian states floating above my head.

“I couldn’t help myself. The situation was so ridiculous. You are so lucky to be a spirit and just feed on the magic of living beings.”

Vian sticks his tongue at me, and I roll my eyes.

A soft knock on my door distracts my attention.

“Can I come in?” asks a small voice on the other side.

“Come in!” I answer standing up from my bed to welcome my new visitor. The only one decent enough to knock at a lady’s room.

From the door emerges a small boy carrying a plate of food. He looks exactly like Irina but even more fragile if that is even possible. He looks at me with shy eyes and a trembling smile.

“I hear father was mean to you again so I brought some food,” he says leaving the plate on my nightstand. Irina’s memories tell me that it is probably his food.

His name is Adiel Everleigh, Irina’s younger brother, looking at him makes me dizzy, a sudden wave of regret and guilt crosses my body. I hug myself with one arm and cover my mouth with the other hand.

“Sister! Are you ok?” Adiel says, putting his small hand on my shoulder.

She must have really loved you. I am sorry she is not here anymore.

I breathe once again to steady myself. You are not her; I think over and over again.

Finally, my body calms down, and I give him a small smile.

“I am fine, Adiel. Don’t worry,” I tell him.

“I am so glad. You have to take care of yourself,” he says and he smiles.

“I am so glad. You have to take care of yourself.”

It’s a soft smile, one that reaches his eyes.

He looks so much like him…

I shake my head, erasing the past from it, trying to focus on the present.

This is my twenty-first life, and I should focus on finding a way to break the curse because this is probably my last chance. The problem is I am not sure if I care anymore.

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