Chapter 1 OLD
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Under no circumstances is this story to be replicated, translated and/or distributed in any way, without the permission of the author.
Any similarities to people, events and places are unintentional and coincidental.
Thank you very much for giving my book ‘Regent’s Blood’ a chance.
I hope you’ll enjoy Maggie’s exciting journey.
For me, there has always been Adrian.
Right now I am sitting in penumbra at our table in the VIP-area of the ‘Collosseum’, trying not to drink my glass ‘gin-tonic’ in one go.
My general rule for today is, not to look desperate at this table – my table.
Today I have been presented with my master’s degree. Proud of having reached my goal despite the circumstances, I stood there, smiling dim-witted at my real father Niklas Romanov, while wearing the typical black robe and beret hat, with the attached unnerving cord. He gave me a quick nod before disappearing into the back part of the city hall to make calls.
Directly after the ceremonial handover had been finished and I was allowed to leave the stage, my brothers Adrian and Darius fell around my neck. At least one of them was my brother, but I would be sure about this matter at dusk of the next day, at the latest.
My heart beat faster, which was probably caused more by Adrian’s presence, than the ceremony. My bad conscience came up directly, but this circumstance ought to become irrelevant as the day progressed.
Obviously nervous and visibly tense, Niklas came back into my direction, congratulated me and took my forearm – an unspoken request to follow him. I did as I was ordered, because you don’t disagree with Niklas Romanov in public.
Several steps outside the town hall, in the corridor that led to the kitchen area, he turned around and looked directly into my eyes. Up to that point I thought that a business deal had gone wrong.
I replied ironically: “I understand, if you have to go. I am glad, that you came at all, considering the circumstances. I know your time is short...and wasting it for a person, that is not even your successor...”
I was not able to finish my sentence, because Niklas interrupted me. “That’s not it. That is not the point at all.”
I frowned confused.
Before I was able to say something, he raised his hand in order to stop me.
“To make it short: You are my daughter, a genuine Romanov. The result of your blood serum test has just arrived. I assumed it for a long time, but now we have certainty. I have been searching for a long time for my true successor, but I always assumed it would be a male.”
While speaking, tears of pride glistened in his eyes.
My eyes started to fill with tears as well, but not of pride. They were tears of anger and desperation. At that moment, my world collapsed and an endless stream of emotions rained down on me and left me overwhelmed and stunned.
I answered sadly: “You weren’t able to get that information earlier? Maybe when I left Ignis and Adrian to gain some distance in Atonia, or even better before?”
Niklas stare became cynical and arrogant.
“How dare you speak to your father like this? Be happy, you have just won the lottery. And the result of the blood serum test is also advantageous for your, let’s call it situation with Adrian...
I have to leave now. My attendance is expected at an important meeting, that can’t be postponed. I will leave the decision to you, whether you inform your brother, or rather ‘not-brother’, about the test results, today.”
Then he turned around and started to walk along the corridor into the direction of the building’s exit. He stopped after a few meters to turn into my direction once more.
“By the way: well done. The first master’s degree is something special. I wasn’t expecting anything else from my own flesh and blood.”
He took a small, black box out of his jacket’s pocket and threw it my direction. I caught it. Then he put his hand above his temple to salute me with two fingers, turned around and left the building.
I stood there, stunned and was only able to stare at the now closed door.
Actually, I should have known. The behaviour was typical Niklas Romanov III. His presence usually meant nothing good. This time he took the cake. He said his own flesh and blood... his real successor.
Only one thing was for sure: Niklas had deliberately indicated, that Adrian and I could be half-siblings in order to divide us, when he got wind of our relationship. But why? What did he get out of it? It was probably just a sick pleasure for him, to see others suffer. What must have happened to him, that he had become so cold and calculating?
Slowly, I leant against the wall, closed my eyes and took a deep breath. This information changed everything and nothing. I was completely confused by the given opportunities, but limited at the same time.
Should I go to Adrian and tell him the truth? What good would that do for us, after he met Soraya and was happy with her? Should I destroy his luck for selfish reasons?
And how the hell am I supposed to tell him the news? ‘By the way, there seems to have been a mistake. Turns out I am a Romanov, just like Darius, which means we aren’t siblings. Ye-ha! Now we can have sex without having a bad conscience.’
I had to laugh out loud, simply by imagining this revelation – how morbid. I shook my head in confusion.
Typical Niklas Romanov – he always shows up in moments that are supposed to be beautiful, just to turn them into something ugly that you will remember for the rest of your life.
Just then I heard footsteps and saw Adrian, who was walking in my direction.
“Maggie, there you are. Where is Niklas? Darius and I were wondering where you were.”
Freaked out, I answered: “Niklas had to go to an important business meeting. He sends his regards.”
“He doesn’t!” was Adrian’s reply.
“We both know, that he is not a sentimental type. Is everything okay with you?” He came closer, looking worried.
I hurried to straighten myself, put back the strands of hair, which have been fallen out of my chignon, and put back a smile on my face.
“Yes, everything is fine! Niklas is Niklas, no further explanation needed. You know him longer than I do.”
Adrian smiled back at me. “Right! Whatever it was, don’t let it spoil your mood on your special day.”
Then I noticed that his look was fixated on the small, black box. I hurried to put it into my clutch.
“What is this?” Adrian asked curiously.
“A gift from Niklas. Nothing special.” I emphasized ‘nothing special’ in order to prevent him of being too curious.
Adrian offered to accompany me back into the big hall. “Shall we go back? Otherwise Darius will search for a playmate and we won’t be able to leave this place so easily.”
I took his offer, then we went back. At that moment I felt like somebody had put a noose around my neck.