Regent's Blood - Aristocracy (Book 1) COMPLETED

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Chapter 72

As soon as Maggie and Darius had left the room, James began to explain everything to Daina.

“Listen carefully. This is the official version, which you will burn firmly into your mind:

I blamed Niklas and Thorben for your clever plot with Adrian. I implicated, they had planned from the start to kill Maggie, if she didn’t cooperate. Adrian was their tool.

Unfortunately, their plan backfired, because Adrian went nuts. He used the forbidden martial arts of ‘Anti-Healing’ on both, Soraya and Darius.

Soraya as a human, had no chance to survive and died and Darius got away unscathed only, because I came in time to heal him.

Maggie, Darius, you and me, we worked together from the start. There was never a doubt about loyalty or secrets between us. Understood?”

Daina looked at him in disbelief and then frowned before she said:

“I do understand you and your plan, but there is one thing I don’t understand. How do you want to make believable, that Adrian has mastered the martial art of ‘Anti-Healing’?

In the event of a trial against him, this theory will be tested. How are you going to prove your statement? You can hardly teach him the ‘Anti-Healing’ yourself.”

Daina shrugged her shoulders helplessly, while James rubbed his temple with his hand and then answered soberly: “That is the least of our problems, because Adrian actually mastered this martial art and also used it on Darius.”

Those words made Daina turn her head to James in a flash. “Oh my God! How can that be? Who taught him, how to use this weapon?”

James hesitated a moment, before answering her.

“I don’t know, Daina. But far worse than the fact, that Adrian is able to kill with a single touch is, that he must have support from much higher circles, than we thought possible.”

Daina nodded in agreement to James and tried to rack her brains over who was supporting Adrian.

However, she didn’t get very far, as her thoughts quickly drifted in a completely different direction. Why had James kept her completely out of this? There had to be a reason for that.

She looked at him with wide, hopeful eyes. Then she asked meekly: “Why have you kept me out of this whole drama? Does this mean, that your feelings for me run deeper than...”

James didn’t let her finish the sentence. He knew exactly, what she was getting at. It was time to finally address the unspoken things between them and to clarify them for good.

He raised his hand in the air to interrupt her.

“No, your assumption is wrong. But I’ve always been honest with you, so I owe you a few explanations.

The only reason I’ve kept you out of this, is to protect Maggie.

Should it come out into the open, that Maggie’s blood-serum was used to change a human into a Half-Blood and killed him in the process, knowingly or not, she will be charged with murder.

Which is harmless compared to the punishment, she’ll get for using her blood-serum.

Not even I can save her from this.

I expect you to play along from now on and to protect my future wife from this danger.

Please don’t get me wrong. If you don’t comply, I will personally ensure that you and the entire Clan Arone will go down, even if I harm myself in the process.”

Daina, who had never seen James so beside himself, agreed with his plan. It was clear he wasn’t bluffing.

“One more thing, Daina. I owe you an apology for my behaviour after meeting Clan Romanov in my private quarters at Castle ‘Green Willow’. I am sorry, that I hurt your feelings. That was never my intention.

I’ve known for a long time, that you harbor feelings for me, that go far beyond your position as a consultant. For a long time, I ignored them and dismissed them as irrelevant. It wasn’t right to play with your feelings, just because I was jealous of Adrian.”

Embarrassed, he paced the room. Then he stopped right in front of Daina and looked her straight in the eye.

“As you probably already suspected, I am not reciprocating your feelings. I love Maggie. You have to come to terms with that, otherwise we will have to part ways.”

Daina pressed her lips together tightly and nodded to let him know, that she had understood.

But that wasn’t enough for James. All the guesswork and contingency had to come to an end. Maggie’s blood-soaked bed showed where this was leading. So he asked directly:

“Do you agree and can accept, that there will never be more between us, than friendship and an employment relationship?”

Daina thought for a moment. Then she meekly said, “Yes, I agree”.

“Good.”

After a short pause, he added: “Then all I have to do here is make sure, that everyone who has heard or seen something, knows the correct version of the incident - ours.”

Maggie’s POV:

I sat in Malachy’s car with Darius and waited for him to finish having a serious word with Daina. That’s at least what he called it, whatever that meant.

I was pissed. I felt like a child, who had been sent away, so the adults could talk. With a sour face and arms crossed in front of my chest, I grumbled to myself.

Darius looked at me amused, but also worried.

“What’s the matter, Sis?”

I was distracted, because the coffin was loaded into the car’s trunk next to us.

With an annoyed undertone, I replied with delay: “Do you know, that James kept Daina out of the whole incident, as if she were not to be blamed? And now, the two of them are in there to discuss important matters.”

I snorted bullishly.

“I’m so tired of being left out all the time. I’m not a little kid anymore. I thought, I was going into this marriage with James as an equal partner, but I’m not so sure anymore...”

Darius put a hand on my shoulder.

“Believe me Sis. James is fully aware of the fact, that you are a grown woman.”

He turned his head in the direction of the main entrance.

“Here he comes. Talk to him, you have a lot to discuss.”

No sooner had he said the words, than James opened the driver’s door of his Audi and asked Darius with a wave of his hand to get out.

“Thank you for keeping Maggie company. But now I have to relieve you of your duty. I have to ask you one last favor for today.”

Darius got out of the car and looked questioningly at Malachy.

“What can I do for you?”

“Can you drive Daina to Atonia? I want to be alone with Maggie.”

Darius grinned happily.

“OK. But for that, you owe me one. Two hours alone with the dragon in a narrow, locked room are not a fun ride.”

Malachy replied, a little amused. “Sure. You got it.”

Then he got into the car.

Darius turned and walked to Daina.

“One more thing!” Malachy called after him.

Darius turned again on the gravel and looked questioningly at Malachy.

“Don’t expect our presence in the coming week. We need a few days away from everything.”

Darius saluted Malachy, but the mischievous eye pincer was meant for me.

Malachy closed the driver’s door and immediately gave me his full attention.

“I promised you a date last night. I think we should extend this by a full week. We deserve a break. Where do you want to go, my love?”

I didn’t respond to his question. This time I wouldn’t let myself be lulled in by his charm.

“Is everything okay, love?”

Slowly, he raised his hand and moved it in my direction with the intention to stroke my cheek.

Annoyed and in a bad mood, I turned away from him.

“Why did you send me away to wait here with Darius for you? Are there again important things, that I am not allowed to know?”

I looked angrily into his golden eyes.

“If this is to work between us, then you have to put all the cards on the table and we can no longer keep secrets from each other. I’m not a porcelain doll, that breaks under too much pressure.

I expect you to inform me about all important things in the same way as Daina.

Besides, I don’t understand why you kept Daina out of everything and thus protected her. Is there more between you two, than you admit?”

Now a loving smile showed onto Malachy’s face.

“Maggie, darling, as soon as we are out of here, I will explain everything to you in as much detail and as often as you like.

Now all I can say is: I didn’t protect Daina for the reason you suspect. Out of sheer calculation, I kept her out of everything so that she owes me. Now I can force her to help me protect the woman I love.”

Then he took my hand, raised it to his mouth and placed a gentle kiss on the back of it. For the whole time, he didn’t take his eyes off me.

“I love you, Margarete Fleur de Lys, and I would do anything to protect you.”

After a short pause, he added in a rushed voice: “And now let’s see to it, that we get out of here as quickly as possible.”

I looked at him in disbelief.

I had expected anything, just not an expression of love.

“Where do you want to go, my love?”

Still completely perplexed, I replied:

“I don’t care, as long as it’s not the castle.”

James nodded, started the engine and drove out of the parking lot.

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