Regent's Blood - Aristocracy (Book 1) COMPLETED

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Chapter 47

When I got to the small, green salon, Malachy and Daina were already waiting for me.

Daina looked at me coldly with her violet-blue eyes. “Ms. Romanov!”

I returned her greeting.

“Lady Arone. Please call me Lady Fleur de Lys in the future. Obviously, when I was first introduced to the Aristocracy, a mistake appeared to have been made.”

Daina didn’t look away from me for a second. “Very well, Lady Fleur de Lys.”

“Margarete!” Malachy gallantly offered me his arm. When I took it, he asked.

“Who or what stopped you? We have already been expecting you. ”

I looked at him a little embarrassed.

“I had a few things to talk about with Amie. Among other things, I gave her my apartment key so that she could give it to Andre. How else are the security guards supposed to get in...”

Malachy laughed softly and replied: “They get in everywhere, with or without a key.”

Then he placed my hand on his arm in a way, that the engagement ring could easily be seen. Daina also seemed to see it for the first time and got big eyes.

Malachy replied: “We want to make it clear from the start, in which direction this conversation is going. Isn’t that right, Lady Fleur de Lys?”

I nodded in agreement.

Then we went towards the great hall and Daina followed us at a short distance.

I could literally feel the daggers, that she gazed into my back with her eyes. It was going to be fun with her.

We entered the great hall a few minutes late.

Especially for today’s meeting with Clan Romanov, the great hall was seated with a wide table, at which’s front Malachy and I took our seats.

As soon as our arrival was noticed, the fifteen or so people, most of whom I had never seen before, stood up to greet us.

All the Romanovs’ eyes were on me and scrutinized me. I could tell the moment, when they saw the engagement ring because then, their eyes widened in surprise.

Malachy greeted everyone. I just nodded silently. The Romanovs curtsied and we sat down.

Daina filled the place next to Malachy and next to me Daddy Niklas took his place and beamed at me with joy.

Adrian sat next to him with a not so pleased look and then Darius followed. I only recognized Rebecca, who had accompanied Adrian to the debutant ball as a replacement for Soraya.

The rest of the people present were complete strangers to me.

Darius eyed me curiously and unabashedly and formed a ‘later’ with his mouth.

I nodded briefly in his direction, then I smiled somewhat distantly at all the other clan members and thought that this conversation would be very delicate.

I wondered, what Adrian’s expression would be like, when Malachy was finished...

Then Malachy spoke. “Dear members of Clan Romanov! I am pleased with your numerous appearance.”

He paused for a brief moment in which he looked at me for a long time, then revised himself.

“Normally I would start an official conversation this way, but things change ... From now on, WE are pleased.”

He gestured at me with his hand. “By WE, I mean my fiancée, Lady Margarete Fleur de Lys and myself.”

At the mention of my new, real name, Niklas frowned. I don’t think that’s how he had imagined it.

I had to hold back an amused grin.

“And that brings us straight to the first point on our agenda. I’ll make it short: Lady Fleur de Lys and I have mutually agreed on a joint political alliance. Thus, the two most powerful and last Clans of the royal ‘house of regents’ will work together under my regency in the future. ”

He paused again. This was used by those present from Clan Romanov, to support his proclamation with applause.

Malachy nodded approvingly, then cleared his throat to announce his continuation.

“The reason why I am announcing this information within a small circle of people, is as follows: This new alliance will have a direct impact on Clan Romanov. After all, you are related to Lady Fleur de Lys in a direct bloodline. Normally, this close connection automatically leads to the rise of Clan Romanov to the ‘house of warriors’ top.”

Malachy paused again and fixed his gaze strictly on Niklas. He glared at him with a piercing gaze and spoke in a firm, cold voice: “This is exactly where I personally have a problem.”

The otherwise quick-witted Niklas Romanov had all colour drain from his face. He opened and closed his mouth like a fish, stranded on land, and couldn’t utter a sound.

Malachy continued: “My problem concerns the succession plan of your clan, Mr. Romanov. I am quite ready to give your clan more power and thus, it’s rightful place, but there is one condition: I demand an internal power shift within your clan. I explicitly expect Darius Romanov to be your official successor. ”

Niklas looked at Malachy with wide eyes and wanted to reply something, but Malachy shook his head. Then his eyes wandered to me for help.

Shrewd as he was, Malachy used this gesture to his advantage. “Oh, as you are looking at my fiancée. Please be assured that Lady Fleur de Lys is very familiar with the topic at hand and agrees to the details of our contract. It was she herself, who insisted that access to all the resources of Clan Stuart will be available, not only to her but also to Clan Romanov, once Darius Romanov is at it’s top. I had offered her to act as the clan’s head herself, but she declined with thanks. ”

Now, Niklas’ jaw dropped. He quickly closed his mouth again and briefly let his gaze wander back and forth between Adrian and Darius. Then, a greedy smile spread across his face and he looked at Malachy benevolently.

I knew then, that in his mind, he had already sacrificed Adrian. Malachy’s offer was just too good for him to refuse, and I suspected Malachy knew that too.

In the background one could hear the other clan members whispering softly. Many already had big grins on their faces.

This was probably due to the fact, that no one had dared to dream of such a rapid rise of Clan Romanov and now, this unique opportunity was within reach.

But Malachy wasn’t finished yet. In order to continue to make himself heard in the increasingly louder murmur, he spoke further: “Ladies and gentlemen, I am not finished with my elaboration.”

Suddenly all heads turned in his direction and were dead silent again.

“I don’t want to hide from you, what this alliance means for Lady Fleur de Lys, who also belongs to Clan Romanov. First of all, it should be said, that a contract is always a compromise, where you sacrifice something, to get something. For this reason, Lady Margarete Fleur de Lys gives up her claim to the throne, in favour of me and my descendants.

So there will be no possibility, that any member of Clan Romanovs take the throne.

In contrast to that, after our official engagement party on Saturday in three weeks, Lady Fleur de Lys will have full access to all assets from Clan Stuart as well as my private possessions.

In addition, she has a partial veto right, which will come to effect after our marriage. Together with the three of the most powerful heads of clans of the four royal houses, she can block any of my decisions. This should also be in the spirit of the Romanov clan. ”

He nodded benevolently around the group. There was another thunderous applause.

At that moment, my gaze wandered to Adrian. Pale and with his lips pressed together, he sat bravely at the table.

Then, out of the corner of my eye, I saw Daina’s hand gesture. I looked curiously in her direction and could see how she first looked at Malachy and then pointed in Adrian’s direction.

Malachy raised his voice again: “I would like to ask for your attention one last time. As a sign of your cooperation, I would like to see Mr. Adrian Romanov excluded from this meeting’s further proceedings.”

My eyes went as big as cartwheels.

Why was Malachy doing everything possible, to humiliate Adrian even more than he had already? I didn’t know him being so vengeful and I really didn’t think anyone deserved such treatment.

Contrary to my intention not to intervene in what was happening, I put my hand over Malachy’s, for everyone to see and spoke loudly to him:

“James, I don’t think, that’s necessary.” All heads at the table turned in a split second in my direction, followed by an oppressive silence.

“We have already announced all the details. My brother… ”I paused for a moment because I had a huge lump in my throat. Malachy looked at me with cold eyes.

“My brother will honor us in the future with his absence, but today on the joyful announcement of our engagement, I am pleased about his presence.”

As soon as the words had left my mouth, I could have slapped myself for them. How could I have been so stupid, as to expose and humiliate the regent in front of the entire Clan Romanov, and thus in public?

Malachy looked at me in disbelief. Daina held her glass to her mouth as if petrified. I suspected she was holding her breath.

Then Malachy put on a cool smile and replied, “If it means so much to you, love. Who am I, to refuse you this wish. ”

Then he raised a hand and a crowd of servants came into the room, with plates filled with delicious cakes and serving trolleys with coffee pots. “Ladies and gentlemen, let’s eat!”

Then he unobtrusively pulled his hand from under mine and looked at it, as if he had burned himself.

He didn’t even look at me for the next hour. After tea time, what felt like eternity, he apologized by saying that he had another appointment and that he was leaving me to represent him. After all, I partly belonged to the clan and would be good company.

Daina rose too and followed him. Before she turned her back on me, she gave me a malicious, disparaging look.

After a short while, the first members of Clan Romanov said their goodbyes. They had a long journey home ahead of them and therefore didn’t want to stay too late.

Darius asked me briefly where he could find Amie. I asked a maid to take him to my premises.

Now, Niklas took my hand. “Margarete, I’m proud of you!” A devilish grin appeared on his face.

“Whatever you did to James Stuart, keep doing it. You have no idea what benefits your influence can bring to us. That’s just wonderful.”

I looked past him, being ashamed. I did not share Niklas’ opinion in any way, but my acting earlier in this meeting, suggested the exact opposite.

Stabbing Malachy in the back in public was the stupidest thing I could have done and the last thing I wanted to do.

But at this moment, I found his behavior impossible. Adrian was already on the ground - why step on him? That was not the Malachy I knew.

A huge knot formed in my stomach.

I definitely had to apologize, and under no circumstances should such a slip happen to me again.

I had no idea, how I could ever make amends for this betrayal...

After a while I noticed, that Niklas kept talking the whole time. I was so lost in my thoughts, that his words didn’t even reach me.

Finally he noticed my absence. “Margarete, are you okay?”

I looked at him with compressed lips. “No, father. I don’t feel so well. I think I need to take a rest. For this purpose, I will now go to my premises. Please, excuse me.”

Then I got up slowly without waiting for his answer and left the great hall.

On leaving, I noticed that Adrian hadn’t uttered a word all afternoon. Close to tears, I went to my rooms.

In the living room, Darius and Amie sat on the couch and were deep in conversation.

“Hello,” I replied meekly.

Darius replied: “Hey Sis! One moment please, I’m bringing Amie up to date. ”

“Okay!” Exhausted, I fell into an armchair across from the two of them.

After Darius had explained everything and repeatedly expressed his astonishment, at how much I could make James dance to my tune, Amie brought up another topic: the burglary in our apartment.

Darius reassured himself, whether we were really okay and expressed his relief, that we would stay here in the castle for the next couple of days.

I explained to him that my diamonds were missing from the debutant ball and that the police wanted a document, including the serial numbers, so that they could find the precious stones more quickly.

He offered to bring these documents to the police station. That way, I wouldn’t have to go to Ignis to get the papers.

I gratefully agreed.

Then Darius said goodbye and made his way back to Ignis.

Shortly after he left, Amie looked at me worried. Still deep in my thoughts, I had been sitting in my chair since I entered the room and had hardly moved.

“What’s the matter, Maggie? You are acting strange. Is it because of the burglary? The last few days were just too much for you - that would have knocked anyone out of their way. ”

I shook my head, exhausted and remorseful. “No, it’s not that. It’s Malachy. I made a huge mistake and offended him publicly and personally. Amie, he went and left me alone, fending for myself. I knew he didn’t have an appointment today. I wasn’t aware of the impact of my actions at that moment.”

Close to tears, I put my hands in front of my face.

“Malachy doesn’t just leave when a situation is uncomfortable. That I drove him out, speaks volumes. It seemed as if he couldn’t stand my presence. ”

Amie looked at me and considered her next words. Then she said, “Maggie, pull yourself together! This is not the end of the world. In fact, he has proven time and again, that you mean something to him and thus made himself vulnerable. Go to him and apologize! You are grownups, who are also engaged to one another. Talk to each other. ”

I slowly took my hands off my face and nodded to her. “Thank you, Amie!”

With renewed courage and resolution, I got up from the chair and headed for the door.

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