Soft morning light streamed through the closed French windows of the bedroom. The bobbin lace curtains were half open, allowing sunlight to spill into the small room.
Victorique was resting on her stomach in the canopy bed, her face buried in a large, frilly pillow. Now and again she sneezed, jerking her small head violently. Her long blond hair, hanging limply onto the silk sheets, fluttered each time.
She listlessly raised her head. Her cheeks were bright red. Even her emerald-green eyes, normally so cold, were moist like underwater gemstones.
“Achoo! Achoo! Ahh-choo!” Her head shook in a series of sneezes, and then she collapsed into the pillow, spent.
A faint flicker of anger crossed her face. She parted her small lips, as red as a ripe cherry, and muttered, “So Kujou went on a trip, did he…”
Silence returned to the bedroom.
Flames of wrath appeared once more in her wet eyes.
“The likes of Kujou, excited about his trip, is he…” She rolled over on her back, and stared bleary-eyed up at the stained glass lamp hanging from the ceiling. Her eyes uneasily blinked open and shut, as if fever had blurred her vision.
“That scoundrel…” Surrendering to the fever, Victorique closed her eyes. “So he left on his own,” she murmured, sullenly pulling up the down quilt and slipping deep into the bed. Her small body disappeared underneath the covers, leaving the opulent, though still very small bedroom, seemingly empty.
“Achoo!” The down quilt shook.
“Achoo! Achoo!” After several more sneezes, the room went quiet, and then…
From inside the bed came a strange, indistinct sound that could have been sniffling, or perhaps sobbing.
Outside the window, a songbird perched on a branch in the flower garden, chirping a high, thin cry.