The After Effects

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A couple of hours later, I picked Harper up from Day School. She was beaming and talking the whole way back to our rooms.

Locke had decidedly joined us as we ate dinner in the living room. Harper was definitely more comfortable around him then she was any other male, which made me happy as I knew that Locke wouldn’t be leaving us alone any time soon.

As much as I hated to admit it, it felt nice to have my brother back. Despite the horrible situation we were stuck in for years, we always tried to make the best of it. We’ve always been best friends, that was until we got away from the North and our Father and I just needed to figure stuff out.

It brought me great pain to leave him behind, but I could tell King Samuel would ensure the best for him, and I up and left in the middle of the night. Limping on a broken femur and praying that my stitches stayed intake, I left any and all security. I headed North, ironic right?, until I found the dark cover of the Black Forest. Where I healed, started scavenging, and found Ragnar.

Speaking of that beast, I better visit him tonight. I mused as Harper told Locke about her day.

Locke smiled and nodded, watching her animated motions as she spoke.

“You better eat your dinner there, Buckaroo,” I told Harper, who must’ve just realized the plate sitting on her lap as she immediately stopped talking and dug into the food.

Locke chuckled at the little girl, something like admiration shone in his eyes as he watched her. She must remind him of her too. I thought.

“Did he say anything after I left?” I asked Locke.

His green eyes flicked to me. “Lots of threats and curses that I’d rather not repeat at the moment.” His humorous tone made me laugh.

Harper finished her plate and I offered to take it from her. I grabbed Locke’s plate and turned to Harper. “I’m going to go take these down to the kitchen, are you going to be okay to get ready for bed while I’m gone?” I asked her softly.

Harper’s gray eyes flicked to Locke’s. I could tell way to many thoughts ran through that ten-year-old before she answered me with a nod.

“Are you sure?” I double-checked.

“Yes.” She verbally responded.

“Alright. Go pick out a nightdress and brush your teeth. Locke will be sitting right there the whole time.” I gave her a plan to follow, hoping that she’d be able to handle this while I was gone.

Locke seemed confused at my caution so when Harper got up to go pick a dress, I briefly explained her past.

Complete disgust and indignation were visible on Locke’s face when I told him about the Vikings.

“That poor child.” Locke shook his head, something like grief contorting his face.

“Just no sudden movements, try not to speak, and stay away from her. I trust you, I just don’t trust her past.” I told him before getting up and leaving.

I carried the three plates to the kitchen, making sure to keep them from clinking together and disturbing anybody.

The kitchen was empty and just like last night stuff was set out for breakfast and plates were drying in their racks.

Walking over to the sink, I set the plates down, retrieved a drying rag, and got to work on cleaning the dishes.

Also like last night, I felt that prickling feeling of someone watching me. But considering the last three times I’ve found no one, I didn’t even bother turning around to look. Instead, focusing on scrubbing every last inch of the plates.

Once done washing, I used the drying rag to dry the plates, but still set them in the drying rack along with all the other dinner plates.

Finished, I turned around and my eyes immediately checked the room. Big surprise, nobodies here.

I huffed a sigh of annoyance and left the kitchen. I made to head back to my rooms, that was until I heard the thump of someone landing behind me some distance down the hall. If I lead someone back to my rooms, I have to kill someone in front of Harper, and that’s a trauma I’d like to avoid.

Changing my course, I kept my steps even and my heart rate calm. Even though I couldn’t hear any footsteps, I knew that someone was following me.

I knew I only had one dagger on me, which made me a little sad as I realized I couldn’t have any fun with whoever was following me.

Turning down the corridor, I saw the massive doors to the library at the end. Perfect. I smirked.

The doors made a low grumble as I squeezed in, allowing them to shut behind me.

My steps stumbled slightly as I took in the massive library. This room never ceases to amaze me.

While looking at the huge bookshelves, I caught a figure hovering in the ceiling beams.

How did they get up there so fast? And why do I always forget to check the ceiling when I’m scanning a room?

“What kind of Noble washes their own dishes?” The figure asked as it paced on the wooden ceiling beam.

“A respectable one.” I rolled my eyes and crossed my arms as I strained to see the figure as they jumped to another beam. Not going to lie, that was kind of impressive. I mused.

“What kind of adviser mouths off to a King and their Heir?” The figure asked again.

“Aww is someone feeling left out?” I asked, throwing a little sass into my words.

“What kind of girl throws daggers perfectly into a target and at a Prince?” The figure asked as they sat down on a beam directly above a bookshelf.

“A badass one.” I scoffed.

Where is this going?

The figure jumped from the beam, landing on the bookshelf, and then jumped to the floor. The drop is close to twenty-five feet, as the library was one of the biggest rooms in the Castle, I was impressed that the figure seemed unfazed by the drop. He landed with a thud that sounded familiar to earlier, his knees bending before he straightened and sauntered to me. Much like I had earlier to him. I realized it was the Prince as icy blue eyes bore into me.

“I see.” I nodded as he got closer. “You’re jealous.” I felt a cocky smile bloom across my face.

The Prince paused, “I’m not jealous.” He snarled.

“Yes, you are. You wish you could look as good as I do while washing dishes or throwing knives.” I said dumbly. As much as I wanted to reveal my true identity to him, I realized it was kind of fun to lead him on a pig chase.

“Who are you?” He asked, eyes searching me for clues.

“Why me? I’m just Lady Bjerke.” I curtsied to him.

Soren took his hood off and narrowed his stunning eyes at me. “What’s your first name?” He asked, still trying to figure me out.

Only a few know the Acer’s real name, so I told the Prince with no hesitation.“Ivy.” I smiled.

The Prince frowned, displeased that my name meant nothing to him. "Well, Ivy," He spit my name, "I don't know who you are, but I will find out and I will wipe that cocky ass smile off your face."

Stepping up to him, I reached out and patted him on the chest. "Well, you have fun with that, Princey." Completely dismissing him. I smirked to myself as I turned away from him and saw the shock written all over his face.

What do you want to bet that the Prince Of the South has never been dismissed before, especially by a female.

As I walked out of the library and to my rooms, an evil thought crossed my mind.

It's going to be so much fun to lead this man on a wild goose chase. I vowed to enjoy every second of it because I knew that nothing would bring me more joy than the look on the Prince's face when he finds who the Acer really is.

Oh, how things just got interesting.

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