Regent's Blood - Aristocracy (Book 1) COMPLETED

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Chapter 27

Daina was glad, when James finally decided to end this farce. She had no idea what this little game with Margarete was about, but she had set her mind on deciphering this puzzle. When the butler took Margarete with him, Daina’s eyes followed her in anger. What was it, that James liked about such a simple person?

She turned to James, wanting to say something, when he interrupted her. “Not here. Let us take a few steps through the park.”

He didn’t comment on her snippy thoughts, at least not yet.

They went from the terrace directly into the park. After some time had passed, in which they walked next to each other in silence, James started the conversation.

“Margarete is an important guest in my house and I expect you to treat her as such. You should speak to her respectfully, especially since she is a Fleur de Lys, which makes all this anything but simple.”

Daina was outraged. “With the greatest respect, James, who can prove this assumption? Who knows where this worthless…”

“Careful, Daina!”

She inhaled deeply and calmed down. “I am sorry! What I meant to say, is this: Is there any proof, that she really is the person, she claims to be?”

James stopped for a moment. He had to be clever before proceeding further, otherwise Daina would notice immediately, that something was off. Her keen mind was one reason, why she was his advisor. This, and the fact that she had a big crush on him, which tightened her loyalty towards him.

Manipulating her thoughts, in order to keep his promise with Maggie, had to be the last resort. Daina was still his closest confidante. Allowing Maggie to get between him and Daina was already an unusual behaviour for him.

“Margarete’s vial, containing her blood serum, as well as the belonging pedigree will arrive at castle ‘Green Willow’ within the next week. Until then, I will happily enjoy her company. I am not in a hurry.”

Now, Daina got snappy: “You mean, that you are looking forward to spend some hot hours with her.”

She snorted, then continued: “If that’s what you want! It will pass. Just, don’t take too much time on your private pleasure. If she really is the last descendant of the Clan Fleur de Lys, however unlikely, you have other problems: She could claim your throne.”

Then she paused, thinking about what James had suggested. At the beginning, her face seemed stiff with concentration, then a cunning smile lit her eyes and the corners of her lips lifted. “James, you are unbelievable and a genius! Now I’ve seen through your plan. Poor Margarete wouldn’t be the first, to be swayed in her decision with a little hypocrisy and good sex.”

She giggled maliciously. “Even if I am not pleased with your means, I can see the meaning behind it. Dear Lord, I really want to be born male in my next life…”

Now, James had to laugh. At the same time he was relieved.

Daina’s solution sounded reasonable. Indeed he hadn’t thought about this possibility. His thoughts wandered to the fatal night at Club Collosseum’s private room, leading to a smile spreading across his face. This solution promised him a lot of fun and satisfaction. On top of that, it would offer him revenge.

He shook his head slightly, banning this idea to a back corner of his mind. Margarete should at least get the benefit of the doubt, until it was proven, that she was a fraud. Then, he would still be able to take revenge on her and who said, that revenge always had to come disguised as cruelty? Revenge could be very sensual…

James turned to Daina again: “I need to leave, now. There are several things, that I have to take care of.”

To make Daina more forgiving, he asked her to have lunch together, tomorrow. She took the bait, and said her goodbyes hesitantly.

James went back into the direction, which they came from. In the distance he could see a maid, who seemed to do an errand. He waved the young girl over to him.

After she arrived in front of him, she curtsied and didn’t dare to look him in the eyes. Being ashamed and having a scarlet red face, she continued to look at his feet.

He asked her to send Andre into his study, then discharged her. The young maid hurried to find Andre, while eying James dreamily from afar. Then she left his field of vision, by stepping behind a neatly trimmed hedge.

Yes, James had this attractive effect on women and he knew it. Using this effect as a weapon, as suggested by Daina, was an idea, that he hadn’t dared to think about, since his tragic loss of Sophia. Maybe he was a player before, but since she was gone, he had changed a lot.

He loathed this idea with his whole heart, because it stood against everything, that was important for him. You shouldn’t play with love – he had learned this lection from his beloved sister Sophia the hard way.

His big sister, which he had loved dearly and in the end wasn’t able to protect. Her loss still hurt him as much, as if she had died just yesterday. Resigned and sad, he went back to the property.

The butler asked me to follow him back into the lobby. He explained that it would be easier for me to find my accommodations from this starting point. Then I followed him upstairs onto the first floor and along a long hallway. We passed many doors, until he finally stopped in front of the last one. He opened the door, asking me to go in.

I found myself standing in a beautifully decorated room, which was a well balanced mix of a cosy living room and a library. The predominant choice of colour was azure and gold and the lily cross was inlayed in the furniture in many spots and embroidered into the blue curtains as well.

The butler went across the room, opening another door.

“Here you will find your bedroom, as well as an adjacent bathroom. The wardrobe is already fully stocked with your clothes and your suitcases are in the chamber, attached to the bathroom.”

Then he moved towards a small table, which was situated in front of a window, pointing at a telephone. “Please deal 18, if you need anything. This is the servant sector’s main number. If you want me specifically, please ask for Andre.”

He took pen and paper from a small box, which was standing on the table next to the telephone.

“Sir James asked me to write down your mobile number. He wants to be able to reach you later, when the doctor has arrived at the castle and in case of you not being in your chambers.”

I nodded and dictated him my number. After he had double checked the number, he left the room and closed the door behind himself.

Finally, I was on my own and could catch a breath. I looked at my surroundings in curiosity. It really was beautiful here. Then, I went into my bedroom. I was already used to a luxurious interior by living at our manor in Ignis, but these rooms here topped everything that I had seen so far.

I moved towards the window, from which you could look at a small part of the castle’s garden. I saw a neatly trimmed, spacious lawn in which’s centre stood an ancient willow. Directly under the willow’s hanging branches stood a little brick-built well, with an eye-catching red pitched roof. The shape of the little well and the red roof reminded me of a Swiss cuckoo clock. It was breathtakingly beautiful here – truly royal.

Behind the big willow was a small path, on which I noticed Daina and James. The two seemed to be engrossed in a heated discussion. I couldn’t shake the feeling, that I wasn’t entirely innocent about it.

The wind blew gently. The long, dangling branches of the tree moved with the breeze and covered my sight of them like a curtain. I had to yawn. By now, I had been on my feet for over thirty ours and felt dead tired.

I looked at the four-poster bed, which was painted white and looked extremely comfortable. Slowly, I moved towards it and let my hand stroke above the bedspread with the embroidered lily crosses – so soft and cosy.

I decided that a short break wouldn’t be so bad. To be reachable anyway, I fetched by mobile and put it on nightstand. This way, I would be woken, if James tried to call me.

Then I sat on top of the bed, took off my shoes and laid down as comfortable as possible in my colourful summer dress. Less than three seconds later, I fell in a deep, long sleep of exhaustion.

Meanwhile James had arrived at his study, where his Butler Andre was already waiting for him.

“Andre, good that you are already here. Did Dr. McKinay contact you? He is supposed to come by the castle today, to take blood from Margarete.”

“Yes, Sire. I contacted him earlier. He is on his way. His original plan was to do the deed this morning, but then an emergency occurred. Now, he is on his way and will arrive at castle ‘Green Willow’ within the next half hour.”

James nodded. Please call Margarete and put her on line one for me, will you? I want to inform her about the doctor’s arrival in person.”

“As you wish, Sire!” The butler bowed and left the study.

Then minutes later, during which James was waiting in vain for his phone to ring, he became impatient. He dialled Maggie’s direct line, listening to the monotonous beeping. She didn’t seem to be in her rooms.

He switched to her mobile number. The call was picked up after several rings by the mailbox, only. He ended the call, without leaving a message. Then he thought: ’She wouldn’t let herself be brought here, only to run away after several hours, would she?

No, he didn’t judge her that way. Again, he took the receiver from the hook, dialling Andre’s number. The latter picked up the phone immediately.

“Sire, I wasn’t able to reach Ms. Romanov. I was just about to send a maid to look for her.”

James answered: “That is not necessary. I will go to her accommodations myself. The fewer people get involved in this matter, the better. Please accompany Dr. McKinay into the small salon, directly after his arrival and have him wait there for us.”

With these words he put down the receiver. Then he left his study by going into the direction of Maggie’s rooms.

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