"Okay, okay, so let me get this straight." I pinch the bridge of my nose.
Henry and Thad shuffle in front of me. Meanwhile Josie is still unconscious on the sofa.
"You two broke down my door, chased my fiance, and then dropped a painting on her?" I stare at them, hard.
"W-Well, yes.." Henry rubs the back of his neck before swallowing thickly. "T-That about, sums it up."
I sigh before glancing over at Josie. A purple bruise is right smack in the center of her forehead. It takes those type two weeks to fade.
This is bad.
"You know, if this were a different scenario," I clench my fist. "I would've half killed you by now."
Thad stamps his foot. "Now its your turn." He points at Josie, almost laughing hysterically. "What is she doing here?"
I bite the inside of my cheek, zoning out. "Long story short, I don't know.."
Henry cross's his arms. "What, did you smug her over into the Hell's? I mean, I knew you two were starting to get along.." A grin forms on his face as he turns toward Thad. "But I didn't know you were that far along."
I fake a smile. "And just for that, you're not only paying for my door, but you're going to pay for Josie's injury."
Henry gawks at me. "What the Hell! What do you mean I'm paying for your door? Thaddeus is the one who broke it down. I was telling him to leave, but you never listen to me, do you Thad?"
"Hey, you're the one who dropped a painting on her! You could've murdered the future Queen of the Heaven's!"
"ENOUGH!" My hands curl and uncurl, even my magic rolls around in me, begging to be released. The temptation is strong, but you can only do so much to your own brothers. "Stop being a bunch of Petty Princesses. This will get us nowhere, dammit."
Henry and Thad look half about ready to rip each other's hair out.
I start to calm down, my boiling anger subsiding. "Listen, we have to keep this a secret," I whisper. "I'm just as confused as you are, but she arrived only last night. We have to hide her until the train comes back next week."
Henry and Thad separate. "Why not just tell Father? He could send her home-"
"I was very iffy about this too. But if anyone, and I mean anyone finds out a Risen is in the Hell's, the Crown Princess? You both know the tension between the realms. The fact we weren't prosecuted is surprising enough as it is." How can they not see the danger? Josie should've never come here.
"There would be riots." Henry adds.
"And protests." Thaddeus says.
"Worst of all," I finish. "They could demand for her blood. Her crown, my crown. We don't know the lengths the people would go to. We have to stay cautious."
With a heavy sigh, Henry nods, resigned. "Fine. We won't say anything."
Thaddeus agree's with a nod of his own. "Okay."
I clasp my hands together. "She's staying in my wing for the remainder of the time."
"Has anyone seen her?" Henry asks.
I flick my eyes to Josie, before flicking them back to my brother. Solid as a statue and blank as a canvas. "Hm?"
"She has, hasn't she?"
I hesitate before nodding. "Charis saw her."
Henry covers Thaddeus's mouth. His words echo through the wing and down the hall.
It's no good. Someone could be eaves dropping.
I press my index finger to my lips before casting a spell on the wing. Crimson and black magic spread over the walls and ceilings of the room in an instant, almost like a force field. It shimmers to see the boundaries before turning invisible.
"What was that?" Thad mumbles underneath Henry's hand. Henry cringes and jerks it away, wiping it on his jacket.
"It's a vacuum spell. No one can hear us outside of a ten foot radius." I wipe my hands together before shoving them in my jean pockets. "It's safe to talk."
"So what about Charis? Did she recognize her?" Henry asks.
I shake my head. "No one in the Hell's knows about the engagement except for us, Father and Xavier."
We all look to Xavier, whose reer-end is stuck in the air while he drools on-Shit not the sofa.
"But she probably saw her eyes right, every Fallen knows a Risen's eyes are-"
"She wore m-a scarf. It shielded her eyes." I shake my head, "I don't think anyone recognized her as Josie James or even a Risen."
I flinch before talking again. "They did, talk though. And she is suspicious. By the way, whenever you see her, you are to address her as Jojo."
"JoJo ThE BeEr TeStEr.." Xavier slurs in his sleep.
Thaddeus bursts into laughter, when suddenly Henry elbows him in the gut.
"It's all we could come up with in the spur of the moment. Her new identity in the Hell's is Jojo from Madfert, her job is a beer tester."
"Wait," Henry interrupts. "Madfert? That place? I mean, it's inconspicuous enough, but don't you think that some girl from the other side of the Hell's wouldn't have some form of an investigation?"
I shake my head, when a thought pops into my head. "You heard, right?"
Henry and Thaddeus look at each other before turning to me. "No."
Maybe the news hasn't spread that fast yet. "I got an alert from one of the guards." I just my chin towards the open entrance of my wing. "A maid was found dead in the Library."
Their eyes widen. "What, whe-" Henry looks at Thaddeus. "Thats the scream we heard."
I furrow my brow. "Scream?"
They both nod. "Yeah, I was about to toss out Josie when suddenly there was this, cheese curdling scream."
The Library isn't that far from my wing.. no wonder they heard it. Father's office is on the other side of the mansion.
I flick my gaze to Xavier.
"Has the case been solved?"
I keep my eyes on my friend. "Not that I know of. The second I heard I rushed over here as fast as I could." I shake my head, slowly meeting my brother's gaze's. "Which is another reason why we have to keep Josie safe. If we have a murder in the mansion we can't afford any risks."
"Who says it's a murder?" Thad asks. "It could've been an accident."
He's not cracking.
Father drums his fingers on the table, obviously avoiding my question. So I decide to ask again. "Father, where were you last night..?"
"The Library." He chides. "I had just gotten back from some late night reading. Why..?"
He sounds suspicious.
I fake a smile. "No reason."
I had left this morning to question Father. There couldn't be the slightest possibility that..
I shake my head. No.
No. He's the King, he's my Father. He's a kind, warm and wonderful man..
A sparkle of silver and rippling waves of amber flash in my mind. He couldn't be associated with the maids death. He couldn't.
It doesn't make sense.
I shake away the thoughts before shooing my brothers out the door. I un-cast the spell on the wing before then charging it on the doors. In a billow of magic, as if time itself was reversed, the doors pull back onto the hinges, screwed in tight.
"Go on, it's late. You both need to head on to bed." I shove them into the hall before closing my door.
Suddenly a foot blocks me, and I look up to see Thaddeus, curious and worried. "You don't think that maybe they were.." he juts his chin to Josie.
I blank for a second before shaking my head. "No, I don't think so." I push his foot out before giving them both a curt nod. "Good night."
I shut the door, blocking out the rest of the mansion. I cast a lock spell on the door for good measure before turning to the matter at hand.
The unconscious bums laying on my sofa.