The next morning, I woke up early, despite having had a restless night. Being exhausted, I stayed in my cosy bed for a little while longer.
Then I followed my old ritual, pushing aside the curtains and opening the window wide. Then I leaned out of the window, breathed in the fresh morning air and closed my eyes.
Sadly, there was no balcony attached to my bedroom and the sun didn’t shine either. I loved to step under the sun’s rays early in the morning and let my gaze wander over our manor’s garden in Ignis.
These couldn’t compare with the park of castle ‘Green Willow’, but it was a kind of home.
When I looked out of my bedroom’s window in my apartment I share with Amie in Atonia, I could look into the apartment of our neighbours – a circumstance that I had to get used to, after living in Ignis for quite a while.
Since I didn’t grew up in a manor, I was sometimes astonished, how fast you could get used to the comforts of life.
One look at the watch told me, that it was just before seven in the morning.
I had two hours left, until I met Malachy for breakfast, so I spontaneously decided to go jogging. This way I was able to explore other corners of the castle’s park, before I would pack my things and go home.
Let’s not fool ourselves. Considering the plane crash and everything that I had learned about Clan Fleur de Lys: What are the odds of me in particular, grown up in an orphanage, being the last living ascendant of this powerful clan?
This prank was Niklas’ most ingenious move so far. When the truth will be revealed, I won’t be able to show my face in the world of the Aristocracy anymore.
Once more I asked myself: Wouldn’t it been better, if Niklas had never found me?
While I was running through the park, by now slightly puffing, I came across several employees and gardeners, who were already hard at work. I greeted every one of them friendly and ran even faster.
Half an hour later, I made a short break and sat myself on a bench for ten minutes. Then I went back the same way, I originally came from.
Back in my chambers again, I went straight under the shower. I took my time, enjoying the hot water, that let my hurting muscles relax.
Thirty minutes later I was fully dressed and had light make-up on.
I left my bedroom, to make my way to the big dining room. When I noticed an inconspicuous envelope standing at my coffee table, I slowed down a bit. When getting closer, I saw that my name was printed on the envelope.
I was sure, that the coffee table had been empty, when I came back from jogging. The envelope must have been delivered here, while I was standing in the shower.
I sat on the sofa nervously and opened the lash, turned the envelope over and let it’s contents carefully slide on the coffee table in front of me: A small box, covered in black velvet, which was very similar to the one Niklas gave me at the presentation of my master’s degree, fell on the table accompanied by an additional letter.
Now, I would have loved to have Amie with me…
At first, I took the small letter, opened it’s envelope and… put it aside again.
A glimpse into the velvet box would give me certainty much faster. On the spur of the moment I opened the lid and held my breath.
It was identical with the one, that was kept in our manor in Ignis: 32 percent warrior house, 68 percent house of regents. The clasp of the vial showed the lily cross.
Completely irritated, I retrieved the document from the small envelope and opened it. A pedigree came to light, or better said, my pedigree.
I was hopeful for at least this to make sense.
I looked for my name, but wasn’t able to find it – strange.
Then I followed the lines on the paper and found a Camille, which was one of four children of Viktor and Isabelle Fleur de Lys. Only her line went on, showing a Margarete Fleur de Lys.
I frowned in confusion. Was that me? I followed other branches of the family tree and found another ‘Margarete’, which had been living in the 16th century. That couldn’t be me.
I wished Darius were here. He could help me with this…
When the landline rang, I jumped with fright.
I picked up the receiver and noticed Andre’s voice on the other end of the line.
“Lady Romanov, Sir Stuarts asks, if you are not feeling well?”
Perplexed, I replied: “Why?”
Andre cleared his throat: “He is expecting you for breakfast in the big dining hall…”
I quickly checked my watch. “Andre! I lost track of time! I will be there immediately. Please excuse me!”
I ended the call abruptly. Then I went back to the coffee table, stuffed the black box and the pedigree back into the envelope and took it with me.
Even if it made me queasy, having to stand in front of him once more and me looking like an ignorant: Malachy was able to answer all my questions.
I was on my way to the dining hall, immediately.
Up to that point, I wasn’t fully aware of the news, I was delivering. It indicated, without doubt, that I was exactly, who Niklas claimed me to be.
I hurried along the hallway so fast, that I almost ran. While doing so, I literally clung to the envelope, which would decide my future life.
Less than five minutes later, I arrived out of breath at the big dining hall. Malachy, obviously having a bad mood, was sitting in front of his cup of coffee at the head end of the table.
“Good Morning!” I ignored the prepared seat at the other end of the table, rushed towards an empty seat directly next to him and sat on the stool so fast, I almost fell over, taking the chair down with me.
In parallel, I put the envelope on the table, whereas the act as such could be seen more like throwing. Malachy looked at me astonished and slightly amused.
“Good Morning to you, too. Did you forget about our appointment, or didn’t you simply get out of bed?” He relied equally amused and upset.
“Neither”, I said honestly. “I got held up.”
Then I placed my hand on the envelope and added more quietly, so nobody was able to eavesdrop in on us: “The result of my blood-serum test has arrived.”
Now, I had his full attention: “Go on.”
I looked at him insecurely and said sheepishly: “I don’t know. I can’t make sense of the result…”
My answer made him look at me, as if I was completely stupid. When he wanted to reply something, I grabbed the envelope and took the black box and pedigree out of it and put it on his unused plate. “Please see for yourself.”
James groaned in agony, as if he had been beaten. Then he asked me to give him the envelope.
As soon as he held it in his hands, he put the box and pedigree, which were laying in front of him, back into the envelope. Then he grabbed my wrist: “Please follow me and I don’t want to hear a word from you, until we have reached our destination.”
He stood up and pulled me with him. On our way to the dining hall’s exit, he asked Andre to bring the serving trolley, containing our breakfast to his private dining area.
I followed him in silence until we had closed the door behind us, which separated his private rooms from the rest of the public rooms of the castle.
We walked past his study, in which I had already spent a short amount of time and moved two doors further. When I entered the room, I found myself being in a tubular kitchen. At the end of the kitchen unit was a wide opening, connecting the kitchen with the living room next to it and in this opening was standing an overstuffed seating arrangement, as you would normally find in a diner.
Malachy sat onto a stool and put the envelope in front of him on the table.
I took a seat opposite of him on the bench.
“Maggie” he started to speak composedly. “Outside of my private rooms, there are eyes and ears, looking at and eavesdropping on you, everywhere in this castle. Nothing you are doing or saying, however low you whisper, trying to be inconspicuously, stays hidden.”
Then he handed me the envelope. “Please show me what you don’t understand.”
First I took out the box, opened it’s lid and placed it in front of him on the table. The vial was, as to be expected, identical with my first one: blue and red blood-serum, with a 68% printed in golden signs on the glass and the lily cross as the clasp.
“The vial is identical to the one, Niklas gave me approximately two and a half months ago.”
Malachy nodded and waited patiently for me to go on.
Then I took the corresponding pedigree out of the envelop and put it next to the box. “I wasn’t able to find my name Romanov anywhere on this pedigree and two Margaretes are mentioned. There is for one the Margarete, who seemed to be from the 16th century and the other one, a descendant from Camille Fleur de Lys.”
Malachy grinned, while I was speaking.
After I was done, I looked at him indignantly. “What is so funny?”
“The Margarete from the 16th century might be known to you as ‘Bloody Mary’ from your human history lessons.” Now, he couldn’t help but laugh. “Assuming you went to school…”
I replied indignantly: “Of course I went to school! It was a public one, and by your standards probably not the best, still I was able to graduate from high school with flying colours and even have a Master Diploma. The Aristocracy’s history is not on the curriculum of a human school.”
That made him look at me slightly embarrassed. “I am sorry.” He apologised meekly. “Sometimes I forget that you haven’t grown up in our society. A pity, considering that we should all kneel before you.”
I frowned. “Why?”
“Oh Maggie? What am I going to do with you? So innocent and naïve…”
He stared at me again, for a long time, with an impenetrable expression. Then he continued speaking: “You are Margarete Fleur de Lys, daughter of Camille Fleur de Lys, who is the youngest daughter of Viktor and Isabelle Fleur de Lys, our former royal couple. This makes you a princes, so to speak.”
This comment made him grin in amusement.
“So why haven’t they written Margarete Romanov on the pedigree?”
“Because it is an aristocratic rule, to be named after the family, that shows the highest amount of your blood serum. Therefor you belong to Clan Fleur de Lys foremost and that is your actual name.”
My lack of knowledge made me upset. “But why did my father introduce me as a Romanov? He must know, that I am a Romanov only in second place.”
Before Malachy could answer, Andre entered the attached living room, pushing a serving trolley in front of him and bringing us our breakfast. In a flash, he sat the table and poured us coffee.
Malachy thanked him and informed him, that we would be able to take care of it by ourselves from here. Then Andre quickly left James’ private chambers. When we were on our own again, Malachy said incredulous: “Maggie, you still have to learn a lot, concerning political finesse.”
Then he hungrily bit into his bread roll.