Chapter 39- Explanations
“First of all, you were only living on the streets because of his horrible leadership skills. When my great-grandfather, father and I ruled this kingdom, homelessness wasn’t and still isn’t a thing. It only became a thing for a short while during Alpheus’s reign which my father and I have had to fix,” I explained.
“You weren’t the only one he took in. To hide his mistakes, Alpheus sent people to go undercover and get all the homeless people. The boys were forced to enter the military and the girls either become prostitutes in the black market or very few of them started working as maids in either the palace or other nobility households,”
Her jaw fell agape and I shut the file, handing them back to Don.
“You have to be at least 16 years of age if you want to join the military, you can’t be forced and even after joining, you have to undergo strenuous training to prepare for battle. This was a law that the first King created but Alpheus broke that law and enlisted boys under the age of 16 in his army simply because he felt threatened by our rival Kingdom,”
“What’s this got to do with me?”
“Everyone knows this by now but it would seem that you don’t so I’m simply educating you on the wrongdoings of this man that you’re apparently so loyal to,” I scoffed and she flinched.
“I don’t think you know this either but if Alpheus didn’t have any use of anyone anymore, he’d dump them in the black market. You got lucky with working in the palace because if you were sent to another nobility household like other women then you would most likely be dead by now,” She jumped at those words.
“It would have been better to be homeless than to be sold like a slave,”
“Have you got any idea of how treacherous that man truly is? Do you know how many people he’s killed and is still planning on killing? All because of you and your goddam mouth!” I screamed the last bit, stomping my foot and jumping off my seat.
She jumped at the booming of my voice.
“Because of your damn naivety that bastard got away! Nora almost died protecting my men! All while you were in my palace having the time of your life!” I slammed my fist into the stone wall and she yelped, falling back.
I breathed heavily, closing my eyes and trying to control my anger.
“Tell me the real reason why you helped him get away and don’t give me some dumb answer or I’ll punch your face instead of the wall this time,” I turned my head to glare at her and she shivered at my sudden change of demeanour which went from being calm to filled with rage.
She scoffed. “Does it matter why I did it? I’ve already done it and Alpheus is long gone so instead of interrogating me you should be wasting your time by looking for him,”
“Get her out of my sight,” I spat.
“What should we do with her?” Don asked.
“Lock her up in the dungeon with no windows. She’s not allowed visitors for the next month and no solid food for a week, only water,” I spat out, spinning around and walking away, ignoring her screams as she struggled.
What a waste of time that was.
As I walked up the stairs with Don behind me, my mother was waiting by the entrance of the place with a worried look on her face.
“So... Is she innocent? It’s just a mistake, right? Right?” She grabbed onto my shoulders and shook me. Holding her hands, I moved them away from me and sighed, rolling my eyes.
“This is why you should make friends with people on the same level as you. You were too kind to that woman and look at what’s happened?” Her face fell even more at my words and she sighed sadly.
“What will you do to her?” She asked.
“Nothing. I’ll let her rot away in the dungeons,”
“That’s me being lenient, mother, I’m holding back right now. Her actions almost killed Nora and my men, she released the man that made your life horrible too. You should forget about her,” I said then walked away.
“How long did that take?” I asked Don.
“An hour and 15 minutes,” He looked at his wristwatch.
“Damn it. I’m late, where’s Nora?” I picked up my pace towards the dining room where I had asked her to meet me.
“She should be in the dining room,” He said as the double doors to the informal dining room were pulled open by two guards and I glared at the sight.
“What are you doing here?” I asked, going to sit at the head of the table.
“I wanted to spend some time with Ela,” Charlotte said.
“I don’t want to look like a loner by eating alone,” Silas said.
“You told me to be here,” Nora said and I sent her a smirk before glaring at my siblings.
“Exactly, I only told Nora to be here. Why do you guys always have to but in,” I placed the napkin on my lap and sipped my glass of water while the maids piled the food in front of me.
Don took a seat beside Nora, opposite my brother and started eating his food without a second thought and I followed his actions, stealing glances at the mage every few seconds throughout the meal to which she was oblivious to.
“Did you catch the rat?” Nora asked.
“Yes. It took longer than I would have liked but we managed,” I answered while cutting into the steak but paused when I saw her struggling. Rolling my eyes, I swapped our plates and began cutting her steak for her, not missing the thankful smile that graced her lips.
“It would have been quicker if you accepted my help,” She mumbled.
“As I said before, I didn’t want to see you wasting your time on a single rat,” I swapped our plates back and she dug into her food.
“What kind of rat are we talking about here?” Silas confusingly asked.
“One that’s hard to catch, Vince even named it,” Nora laughed at me and I jokingly glared at her to which she only laughed even more.
This woman was amazing. Making me enjoy the simple things that I used to think of as a chore. From walking around the palace with no destination to talking and laughing while eating dinner. I never thought I’d become like this but I have and I’m not complaining.
“Did you enjoy your time with Amadeus?” I asked.
“Yes, he’s so cool,” She gleamed and I couldn’t help but chuckle.
That night, when I was about to get ready for bed, I was sat in front of the fireplace in my chambers with Don sat on one of the couches beside me, sipping on a glass of wine. Dressed in some plain pants and a white shirt, I read through some papers.
“What are you planning on doing about Alpheus?” My best friend asked.
“For the time being, I’m not going to rush anything. The last time I did that, Nora got hurt and I don’t want that to happen again. I’ve sent some men out to search for him for now,” He hummed his reply.
“Well... I’m going to turn in for the night. I’ll see you in the training grounds tomorrow,” I nodded as he got up to put his glass away at the bar but before he had the chance to leave, I quickly called after him.
“If you were to get Amira a present, what would you get her?” I asked.
“Why Amira?” He narrowed his eyes at me.
“You know why,” I smirked and he rolled his eyes.
“So... What would you get her?” I asked again.
“For a certain occasion or just to show her how much I appreciate and lov-like her,” I coughed when he made the slip-up and subtly sipped on my glass of wine when he blushed.
“The latter,” I answered, holding back my laugh.
“Something she likes,” Don simply answered and I huffed. It was my fault for even asking for his help. I rested the side of my head on my knuckles while racking my brain for some ideas.
“Jewellery, Nora could do with some jewellery. Books, no- she doesn’t like reading...” I drifted off when my mind went blank. Why was this so difficult...?
“I’ll leave you to it. Good luck,” Don waved and walked off, shutting the door behind him and leaving me alone with my thoughts.
I stayed up most of that night, staring at the ceiling and thinking about every moment I’ve had with Nora, looking through my personal library for ideas in the books and when that failed I ended up going to Charlotte.
She wasn’t very pleased with the fact that I had woken her up so late in the night but she tried to help me either way, proving to not be very useful when she only told me about things that would make her happy and not Nora.
By the time the sun was starting to rise, I had a perfect idea.