The bathroom was big, old-fashioned and adjoining the bedroom. The tub was one of those claw-foot cast iron, porcelain jobs and looked perfect for what I felt like doing. While soaking my aching limbs I found myself lazily dreaming about the Count and his chiseled chest. I wondered how he had looked when he had rescued me; shirt drenched from the water, sticking to his bulging muscles, hair dripping with that intensity in his fiery eyes. Sophia Alexis Marcil, did you take your Viagra this morning? I thought to myself. You did not fall into some 19th century romance novel and you need to come to your senses before some lunatic forces you to marry him.
I woke the next morning to the beautiful warm rays of the sun. I had somehow managed to sleep uninterrupted by roaming hands although somewhere deep inside of me I was wishing for a midnight visitor although not the usual dreaded one. Stepping out on to my balcony I was surprised to discover it was in fact cool for a midsummer day. Excitingly giddy to run into the Count once again at breakfast I fumbled in the closet for the prettiest gown I could find. A dazzling emerald green with gold embroidery caught my eye. Just as I was about to pop my head out in the hallway to call for assistance, Anais showed up with breakfast on a tray.
“You are up very early thiz morning Madam. Here I’ve brought you some tea and girdle cakes. ” Anaise then began to fold the quilts up on the bed.
“Umm yes, I was hoping to take breakfast with the Count of Württemberg.” I said, positive that the pinkish red undertone was taking over my cheeks. She looked at my face and smiled knowingly then frowned.
“I’m very sorry to tell you but the Count had to leave early this morning. His cousin arrived with an urgent telegram from his parents but he said to tell you that he’d be back in one month’s time to visit. Anaise looked a me a little funny as the disappointed clearly showed on my face so I quickly hid it away and smiled internally chastising myself. I needed to be concentrating on finding out what had happened to my memory anyway and I didn’t need the distraction of romance getting in my way. The enticing aroma of oatmeal, eggs and honey caught my nose and my tummy betrayed me with a loud groan.
“Sit and have breakfast Madame” urged Anais. I hadn’t realized how hungry I had been until I looked down and saw only the bannocks and honey were left.
“I know this is going to seem like a silly question but I’d like to take a ride into town today, how would I go about setting that up?” I asked seizing the moment to explore. Her eyes narrowed as she stared at me for a moment probably wondering if I had bumped my head harder than they thought but then she just shook her head and smiled.
“I’ll take care of it Madam.” And off she went.
Two hours later I was strolling among the parterres and fountains awaiting my ride. A dazzling blue and silver carriage pulled up and a gentleman in a powdered wig assisted me up and into my getaway car. The beautiful scenery of the gardens and fountains did much to improve the overwhelming weight that had hit when I found out the Count had returned home. I was quite surprised at the sudden school girl need I had felt to chase him down and beg him to take me with him. We pulled into town and I asked the footman to wait for me here while I browsed the market. After getting puzzled looks from three people I went into the apothecary’s store and was pleased to find out that Rochus lived just around the corner. After a short stroll I found myself knocking on the door of an adorable little Swiss style cottage. An older man with dishelved grey hair and thick glasses hurried me in.
“Prinzessin, what are you doing back here?” He scurried me in the doorway. “It’s too dangerous for you to be seen visiting me. I thought you were going to send one of the servant girls should you require any further potions.” He mumbled fast and low and herded me through a hidden passageway behind the bookcase and down some stairs into a stone room which was lined with jars of funny things and bottles labeled potions. The amazement at his house had my neck turning sharply and my eyes rolling as I tried to take everything in. I chuckled to myself thinking how it sort of reminded me of the evil Gargamel’s lair on my favourite childhood cartoon “The Smurfs”. I bumped into a table as he let go of my arm knocking over a bottle that shattered on the stone floor. Once again I was thrown into the reality of the situation and I started to cry. How could I have all of these memories that didn’t make sense? Rochus stared at me for a moment scrutinizing me from every angle and then his jaw dropped.
“You’re not Sapphira, are you?” he said.
“No, I’m not.” I replied. I broke down and told him everything about waking up disoriented in the princesses’ bed, the Count rescuing me from drowning, the diary and the secret passageway.
We sat down at the table as he handed me a cloth to dry my tears and to add some comfort I supposed.
“Sapphira came to me for a spell about a week ago.” He started. “She was desperate to get away. Believed someone was going to murder her brother and force her into marriage.” Handing over a glass of dark strong smelling liquor which I presumed was brandy; he drank from his own mug and went on.
“She knew my Great-Grandmother had the sight so she came begging for help. She asked me to look into her future. To tell her what was happening. She was curious to know if she was right about her fears or just being paranoid.
I sniffed my glass and took a small sip. The strong taste of brandy took my breath away but made my throat warm.
“Sadly, I saw Sapphira’s future. Of course I also saw you and another woman.”
“Another woman, who?”
“I believe she was you’re Great Aunt Zafir.” He downed the rest of his glass. “The three of you were, well I guess you actually still are, connected but I’m not sure how. Anyway, so I gave Princess Sapphira an enlightening potion.”
“What’s an enlightening potion?” He turned and looked at me as though I had just asked what the sun was.
“Well what do you think my dear? A potion meant to enlighten her, of course. What I didn’t realize is that it would create a worm hole in time taking her to you. I have an idea of why it happened now but I need to know more about these memories.” He pulled two funny shaped bottles out of his fridge and poured them half and half into a vial. I just stood there listening and staring wondering once again if I was dreaming.
“There must be a reason why you’re blocking them.” He said nodding at me as if I were a child and handing me the vial.
“What do you want me to do with this?” I asked
“Well, so it may not be the most pleasant thing you’ve tasted today but you need to drink up so we can boost your memory.”
“Will it hurt me?”
“No, at least I hope not.” He laughed and I gave him a look that I hoped would turn him to stone. The shot tasted like a mixture of black liquorish and mushrooms and instantly made me sleepy. The room started to spin and the last thing I remembered was Rochus tucking me in and staring at me admirably as if I were sleeping beauty awaiting return.