Cercei's eighteen years of existence were marred by excruciating pain and suffering solely because of her uncanny resemblance to Vienna, the Alpha's daughter. Cercei found it unbearably cruel that she possessed the same beauty as Vienna, which made Vienna feel insecure, leading her to subject Cercei to relentless torment. Despite the numerous hardships, Cercei received love and care from her parents, and she remained humble. Although their Alpha never respected them and treated them as mere servants, her family found happiness. However, everything changed dramatically on her eighteenth birthday when their Alpha ruthlessly killed her father without a valid reason and mercilessly crushed his heart underfoot after digging it out. Enraged and seeking revenge, Cercei felt powerless until she encountered the King Alpha of the North, whom she slept with. This chance encounter changed her life abruptly, cracking all the hidden secrets and lies her mother had carefully concealed for eighteen years. The revelation shattered Cercei's belief in her perfect family and parents, leaving her questioning everything she had ever known.
I gently wiped the beads of sweat from my forehead, my tired body bent over the task of scrubbing the floor. The weight of the brush in my hand felt heavier with each passing moment.
“Gosh, can you pick up the pace?” came the sharp voice of Vienna, the daughter of our Alpha, piercing the air from behind me.
“Certainly, miss,” I replied, my voice filled with respect, and I increased the speed of my scrubbing.
Vienna had conveniently spilled paint on the floor, which she claimed was accidental, but her malicious intent was evident. It was now my responsibility to rectify the mess she had created.
“Stupid girl,” Vienna muttered under her breath as she turned her back on me. With one final act of cruelty, she kicked the paint can that lay beside me before departing the kitchen.
I felt completely exhausted, and I let out a weary sigh as I observed the magnitude of the work still ahead. I had been scrubbing the floor for what felt like an endless time, but the paint stubbornly clung to the surface, resisting all my efforts to remove it.
Once I was certain that Vienna had left the room, I gingerly set down the brush and allowed myself a moment’s slumber.
Leaning against the cool wall, I could feel the ache radiating through my arm, the throbbing pain in my legs, and the strain in my back. The toll of physical struggle was evident.
“You do know that Vienna would strangle you if she caught you were resting,” Maria’s voice suddenly broke the silence, causing me to startle.
“God, you gave me quite a scare,” I gasped, my hand instinctively pressing against my chest to calm the racing beat of my heart.
Maria couldn’t help but chuckle as she sat down next to me, enjoying a short break from the demanding world we were stuck in.
Despite having recently started as one of the servants for the Crescents, Maria had quickly become my closest companion, even though I had worked longer than her. Perhaps it was because we were around the same age or shared the same fate, enduring the tyranny of Vienna Crescent.
My parents had dedicated their lives to serving the Alpha, Remus Crescent, my father as his butler, and my mother as his personal maid, they had never been shown an ounce of gratitude or respect by the man they served faithfully.
Resting my head on Maria’s shoulder, I couldn’t help but voice my frustration. “What do you think fuels Vienna’s adamant perseverance to make my life a living hell?”
“Jealousy,” Maria replied with a hint of amusement in her voice.
I couldn’t help but chuckle at her response. “Yes, of course. Who wouldn’t envy my ragged clothing, extraordinary talent for scrubbing floors, and oh-so-fashionable vintage worn-out shoes?” I playfully wiggled my toes for emphasis.
A sudden shift in Maria’s tone caught me off guard, and I stopped laughing. It was a rare occasion when she spoke seriously. “Because you’re more beautiful than her,” she said, her voice sincere and without any hint of jest.
I paused, struck by the sincerity in her words. “Can we change the topic? I’d prefer some light teasing instead of being so serious, please. It’s much more comfortable,” I said, attempting to lighten the mood.
We both burst into laughter, knowing that Maria’s teasing came from pure fondness and not from any ill intent.
Unlike Vienna, who found joy in my misery, Maria used teasing as a means of expressing her fondness for me. Through these playful interactions, we found comfort and formed a unique bond.
“Scrub the floor, you silly girl,” Maria mockingly imitated Vienna’s voice, mimicking our tormentor’s gestures, which made us laugh even harder.
She even exaggeratedly flipped her hair in the same manner as Vienna, and the sight elicited genuine laughter from me.
“Shoo, off you go back to the garden,” I playfully retorted, dismissing Maria with a wave of my hand.
She made an exaggeratedly indignant face and dramatically flipped her hair once again, eliciting another giggle from me. The sight of my own reflection dancing on the wet, soapy floor only added to my joy, making the moment even more delightful.
Throughout my life, many have expressed their fondness for what they saw as my beauty. While their compliments were kind, they never truly resonated with me. I would usually respond with gratitude or return the sentiment with a compliment of my own. However, I never considered embracing their words wholeheartedly.
Nevertheless, Maria’s idea that Vienna was envious of my beauty struck me as completely absurd.
I couldn’t understand why Maria had let go of her rationality to entertain such an idea. Vienna and I were of the same height, but her figure exuded a mature elegance with graceful curves, while I had a petite frame. Our long brown hair differed, as mine cascaded in waves, while hers remained impeccably straight, giving her a sophisticated look. Her hazel eyes shimmered, contrasting with my inherited emerald green from my mother. Despite my fair complexion, Vienna’s skin was as pure and white as paper.
Apart from these distinctions, we shared many similar features, such as pointed noses, pouty lips, and freckles that emerged only under the sun’s gentle caress.
The uncanny resemblance between us may have fueled her disdain for me. At first glance, one might even mistake us for sisters. However, for Vienna, the sole daughter and heiress of the MoonStone pack, being compared to a servant, even briefly, must be the ultimate insult.
After what felt like an endless time of scrubbing, I found relief in the mansion’s garden, my sanctuary. Between the vibrant flowers and towering trees, I discovered a tranquillity that surpassed any other part of the estate.
When I strolled in the middle of the huge garden, immersing myself in the fragrance of blossoms and the songs of chirping birds, a sight captured my attention. There was Maria, bravely fighting a battle against a flock of withered flowers with a broom. Despite finding amusement in her predicament, a twinge of sympathy tugged at my heart.
Upon learning about Maria’s sensitivity to flowers, Vienna didn’t hesitate to exploit it and assigned her the punishing task of tending the garden.
Maria, in a state of desperation, mustered the courage to humbly request mercy. However, Vienna’s wishes consistently prevailed.