At that moment a waitress came to take our order. Funnily enough, she had the same hairstyle as the woman in the pop-art picture at café’s entrance.
We ordered copiously and Malachy made sure, that there were enough fresh strawberries.
As the waitress went to prepare our order, we both sank in silence.
It was very cozy here, maybe that’s why it was the right place to address some things, that weight on my mind and needed clarification.
After a short time the waitress came back with large cups filled with cappuccino and quickly placed them on the small coffee table in front of us.
As soon as she was gone, I turned to Malachy again. Reluctantly, I brought up the topic, which was making me uncomfortable.
“Daina. Why did you protect her? The death of Soraya is clearly on her cap, but you turned the facts so that Niklas and Thorben are the masterminds behind everything.”
My disapproval could be heard with every word that left my lips.
“She and Adrian deserve to be held accountable for their actions. They killed a person and wanted to accuse me of murder and all, because they wanted to prevent our marriage.”
I pressed my lips together furiously.
“I want them to be punished for their actions! I can’t reconcile it with my conscience, if they get away with it. ”
He took my hands, before answering me.
“Love, they won’t get away with it. Do not worry. But sometimes you just have to wait until all the pieces of the puzzle have been put together properly, before acting, so you don’t punish the wrong people. I didn’t protect Daina, but you. If it comes to light, that you have used your blood-serum on a human, knowingly or unknowingly, you will face a cruel punishment.”
Now I looked at him with a fearful look.
“If you weren’t a member of the ‘House of Regents’, all your memories of your life and the Aristocratic World would be erased, your powers would be taken away from you and you would be placed in an institution for the mentally impaired. If you were to remember fragments of your previous life there, well…that would only contribute even more to your prognosis of an incurable, mental disease.”
I interrupted him with a trembling voice.
“And what do they do with a member of ‘House of Regents’?”
Malachy looked at the floor in embarrassment.
“It is not so easy to deprive an Aristocrat of the ‘House of Regents’ of his powers and to be honest, nothing like this has ever happened before. Presumably the Aristocrat would not survive the procedure, or would be physically impaired similar to after a lobotomy, as it was performed for the first time in the 1930s in Italy.”
His words made my fear increase and I turned pale.
Malachy noticed my fear and pulled me into his arms. While I was leaning against him, he assured me that he would do everything in his power, to prevent this from occurring.
With all the terrible and terrifying images that passed my inner eye, there was also a small part of curiosity, as well.
“But how? How do you steal the power of an Aristocrat?”
“You know that particularly talented healers can heal individual parts of our body or the entire body, as long as everything is still there. There is a counterpart to these abilities: the Anti-Healing. It can damage parts of a body or the entire body.”
I frowned. “I’ve never heard of it, nor even read about it, and believe me, Andre gave me a lot of books to work through.”
“These skills are not general knowledge and are only allowed to a small, select group of Aristocrats.”
I looked at him questioningly and asked him to continue with a slight nod.
“The only ones who can and are allowed to use the anti-healing, are the members of the ‘House of Regents’, but only to defend their life. Also individual, selected members of the ‘Witch-Circle’, our assassins.”
“But I belong to the ‘House of Regents’...”
Malachy took a deep breath and looked at me seriously. “That’s the problem. Using the Anti-Healing against you, would probably be problematic.”
I nodded silently. Yes, that was something I didn’t really want to experience, but on the other hand I was also curious.
“Will I learn the Anti-Healing in my training? What’s the name of my teacher, again? He is the son of Dr. McKinay.”
James was now looking at me with an amused grin around the corner of his mouth.
“Klaus should better not learn the Anti-Healing, when you get to know him, you will know what I mean. I’ll teach you this weapon, but we’ll have to wait for your skills, belonging to the ‘Witch-Circle’, to manifest.”
As ordered, the waitress came to our table with a large tray filled with several plates filled with salmon, various types of sausage and cheese and bowls filled with jam, honey, yoghurt and a large bowl of fruit. She set everything up in front of us, wished us ‘bon appetite’, and then left the table to attend to other guests.
No sooner had she left, than my treacherous stomach began to growl, again.
Malachy laughed. “We should eat before your stomach takes complete control of your body.”
I had to grin at that. Yes, that would end badly...
We both concentrated on our breakfast in silence.
After eating a salmon roll, I felt much better. My thoughts were still about Daina, Adrian and Soraya. To distract myself from the fear of the things Malachy had just explained to me, I decided to address another topic.
Before the waitress interrupted us to take our order and me steering the conversation in a different direction, we talked about Sophia. I wanted to know what had happened to her.
Malachy had promised me the whole truth and the timing wasn’t going to get any better. I took the bull by the horns and brought up the subject, again.
“Malachy, earlier we were interrupted, when you wanted to tell me what happened to Sophia. Would it be okay if you tell me about it, now?”
Malachy nodded in agreement. Then he put his plate on the table and turned to me.
“Sophia died, as you probably already know. What you don’t know is, that her death was not a tragic accident, as our parents made believe.”
He let his gaze wander to the ground and looked, as if he had to sort his words in his head first.
“Sophia, my big sister, has always been a hopeless romantic, with an almost unshakable belief in true love - too romantic for her intended position as the direct successor to Clan Fleur de Lys, if you ask me.
It was for this reason, that I took over the position of regent, after the tragic accident of Clan Fleur de Lys. Sophia had fought tooth and nail against a reign on her part.
Only the two of us knew the real reason for her resignation. His name was Matteo and he was a Half-Blood. Our parents almost went nuts, when they heard about the relationship, which was largely happening here, hidden in Norha. Of course, they wanted to marry Sophia appropriately so that their descendants would strengthen the Clan.
A short time later, Matteo disappeared. Sophia got into a terrible argument with our father, at the end of which he admitted, that he had something to do with Matteo’s disappearance. She should be prepared to never see her unworthy lover again.
Sophia was desperate. I had never seen her like this before. A short time later she tried to take her own life by poisoning herself, because she didn’t want to go on living without Matteo. The attempt failed. I found her at the last moment and took her to the hospital. Dr. McKinay, one of the aristocracy’s finest healers, did his best. She was in a private hospital for almost two years, connected to life-supporing machines, with a zero chance of coming back to life.
When the lie about her death threatened to attract attention and the real reason for her death seemed to come into the light, I as Regent had to make a difficult decision.
I had to let the doctor turn off the machines and bury her a second time.”
His gaze was deeply hurt and desperate. I wrapped my arms around him and hugged him tightly for comfort.
“I am sorry. I’m here for you”, I whispered softly.
He wrapped his arms around me and hugged me tightly. I could hear his heartbeat. Then, he said in a thick voice:
“I want our relationship, our marriage to work and to be happy. I love you Maggie, but I only know broken, non-functioning relationships, in which the partners can sometimes not stand each other and only pull themselves together for public appearances, like with my parents, or tragic relationships, like Sophia’s.”
I nodded approvingly in his arms and pulled away from him to look him in the eye. With a shimmer in my eyes, triggered by welling tears, I replied: “We can do it.”
Now, I smiled confidently and tried to lighten the depressed mood a little.
Malachy looked at me lovingly, then added in a slightly uncertain voice:
“My Maggie, I beg of you to help me be a good partner and sometimes to be lenient with me, as I am a total fool when it comes to love.”
I could see uncertainty in his eyes. I wasn’t exactly a role model of a happy, functioning relationship, but from what I’d heard about Malachy and his entourage, my relationships were nowhere near as toxic as Malachy’s.
I took his beautiful, even face between my hands and kissed him long and deeply. Then, I looked into his golden eyes, which were marked by various emotions.
“I love you too, Malachy.”