Chapter 18- Denial
“Ah, there you are,” My mother said as she walked through the doors and came to stand in front of me with a smile on her face.
“Were you looking for me?” I asked and she nodded, taking something out from behind her and I stared down at the ancient-looking book in her hands.
“This is...” I drifted off, already knowing exactly what it was but despite all the times I’ve seen and read this book in the past, I was seeing it in a different light today since everything in this book was true and not just a silly fairytale.
“Ever since I met my future daughter-in-law, I went on a mission to find this book,” She handed me the book as I choked at her words.
“Your what?" I asked and she chuckled. “She’s not your future daughter-in-law. She’s just someone that’s going to help me with catching Alpheus,” I corrected her slip-up.
“Liar,” I glared at my mother but chose not to say anything else.
“Well, feel free to look through it and show it to my future- I mean, Eleanora,” Giggling at me, she spun around and left the garden.
I looked at the book in my hand then sat down on one of the chairs around the garden table and skimmed through the pages of the book. I stared at the few pictures in the book and due to the old age of the book, the pictures were fading.
With my index finger, I stroked over the pictures of Nora’s face but paid close attention to all the other pictures too like the one of Achilles- the sword, Andreas the floating city of mages and the old Lysandra.
It’s weird, thinking about the fact that the woman who was stood here a minute ago is the same woman that created the Kingdom that I currently rule. She, truly, created the history of this Kingdom.
I have work to do.
Snapping the book shut, I took it back with me to my office and spent the next few hours preparing for the upcoming festival and signing documents and before I knew it, the sun had started to set beyond the horizon.
“It’s getting late, I think you should go get some rest,” My older brother said from the opposite side of my desk.
“Your schedule’s packed for tomorrow so you should go to bed early,” He added with a raised brow, daring me to go against him.
“Alright,” I sighed, leaning back on my chair and massaging my forehead.
A few minutes later, we were walking down the hallway’s together with Silas doing most of the talking and me continuously yawning.
“Hey... Isn’t that Eleanora?” I paused mid-yawn and turned my head to look into one of the libraries and true to his words, Eleanora was there. Slumped over some books in the dimly lit room, she slept on the table.
“I’ll call one of the servants to take her to her room,” My brother said.
“No,” I said before I realised and he paused, giving me an odd look. “I’ll take her,” I elaborated, already walking towards her sleeping figure.
For a moment, I stood there, looking over the books she had been reading and most of them were about etiquette or the latest inventions which she may not have known about.
She’s working hard.
And on top of that, she’s helping me catch Alpheus.
I outstretched my hands and stroked her cheeks, brushing her hair out of the way but stopped when I realised that my brother was staring. Leaning against the entrance with his arms crossed and a smirk on his face, I scoffed at him.
Carefully and as gently as possible, I slung Nora’s arms around my neck then placed my hands under her legs and heaved her up, surprised at how light she was. What did she eat? Feathers?
I walked past a grinning brother but made sure to not react at all and that’s what I continued to do with all the other workers whose jaws dropped at the sight of me and Nora.
I shouldn’t have said anything and let Silas go fetch a worker but when I think about another man holding Nora the way I currently was, I felt my blood begin to boil.
I really needed to get myself a checkup.
Carefully, I placed her on the mattress and brushed her hair out of the way then pulled the covers up to her chin so she’d be nice and warm.
“I’ve never done this for anyone else before,” I mumbled under my breath as I sat beside her sleeping figure and stroked her cheek. “I’m going mad,” I whispered, leaning down so I was directly in front of her.
Closing my eyes, I moved in towards her lips but paused.
“This is wrong,” I reminded myself then quickly stood up and shoved my hands into my pockets to keep away from her and without a second thought, I left the room.
I really was going mad.
“What’s with the frown?” My uncle asked and my frown deepened.
“Girl trouble, probably,” My other uncle said and I glared at the both of them but they only chuckled before going back to their food.
“What are you both doing here anyway?” I asked.
“The festival is tomorrow, of course, we’d come,”
“Yeah right. You just came to get away from your annoying children,” My older brother corrected them and I nodded along but I couldn’t blame them for doing so, their children and my cousins were honestly beyond annoying.
Uncle Darius and Killian were twins and my father’s younger brothers. Along with them, they had a half-sister called Yvaine- my aunt but she moved to Ebraxas years ago with her husband and daughter.
Uncle Killian and Darius lived half an hour away from here but they rarely visited unless it was for a royal function or something like Eleanora’s festival. They were both married with one son each who were 15 years of age and extremely annoying. Annoying isn’t a strong enough word to describe them.
“How long are you staying?” My father, Valentino St Andres Octavius, asked while simultaneously putting a piece of meat into his mouth.
“Not sure,” Uncle Killian answered. “Maybe a week... or two,” He expanded and my dad hummed in response.
“You should have brought my nephews along,” I gave my dad a weird look from my position on the dinner table but he chose to ignore it. I don’t know what he saw in those children.
We were all currently eating lunch together. All of us being me, Silas, my father and mother, uncle Killian and Darius.
I was sat on my seat at the head of the table with mother and father on my right and my uncles on my left. Charlotte was supposed to be here too but she chose to go have fun with Nora instead and I was mad at that fact.
Charlotte’s husband, Lucien, was supposed to be coming today as well. He went to visit his family in Viaseth for a few days but he’s still not back yet which is understandable since everyone’s busy and excited for tomorrow.
“Where’s Eleanora?” Mother asked.
“She’s in the library with Char,” I answered as subtly as I could before going back to sipping on my glass of water but mum caught on and smirked at me.
“Is she your latest woman?” Uncle Darius asked and I glared at him.
“No, she’s my mage,”
“Your what?” Uncle Killian asked this time.
“My mage,” I repeated.
Now that I think about it, Eleanora’s met everyone in my family other than my father. I wonder how that meeting will go?
While I enjoyed my food, Silas and mother explained everything about Eleanora to my uncles who still didn’t believe them even after I had finished eating.
“Victor,” I gestured with two of my fingers and the steward quickly came to stand beside me. “How are the preparations for the festival coming along?” I asked.
“Everything is ready, we’re just adding in the last minute decorations,” I nodded in approval. “Is there anything left for me to do?” I asked and he said no.
“Hm... and someone said that my schedule was packed for today?” I gave my brother and first-in-command of my knights, a pointed look to which he awkwardly looked away.
“It’s not my fault you work so darn fast,” He mumbled under his breath.
I threw the napkin over my plate and pushed back against the table, standing up. “Is there anything you would like to do?” Victor, my palace steward asked and I shook my hand.
“I want to be alone for now. If there’s anything to report then I’ll be in the stables,” I didn’t wait for a reply and walked off.
Tomorrow was going to be a tiring day and I needed to get rid of as much stress as I could before then because I know that I won’t be able to get any sleep today.