My breath forms in clouds of puffs as I dance on my toes. I give another jab at the punching bag, feeling the resistance send a thrill up my arm.
Chalk coats my wrapped hands, kicking up in clouds every time I hit the punching bag. Sweat beads on my forehead and drips down the tip of my nose. I narrow my eyes and give one last powerful punch before ending my workout session.
The full weight of my heavy breathing becomes thicker as I turn around and face Xavier. His hands are shoved into his pant pockets and his face is impassive. “You’re stressed.”
I grab a towel form the bench press and wipe my forehead. “Is it that obvious?”
Xavier smirks. “No.” Slowly he walks over by me and takes a seat on the bench press. “But I’m your best friend, so it’s my responsibility to notice when you’re upset.”
I chuckle and wipe the back of my neck with the towl. “Lucky me.” I try to calm my breathing, but my racing mind refuses. I still have no clue on who the killer is. The maids case has been closed, claiming it was an accident. Maybe the books fell and killed her.
“It wasn’t an accident.” Xavier speaks my thoughts out loud. I turn to face him, arms crossed. “There’s no way it could’ve been.”
I furrow my brow. “Did you get a chance to look at the body?”
Xavier nods. “The guards were very reluctant to let me through. But I caught a glimpse of the body before they escorted me out.”
I wipe my hands. “What did you see?”
Xavier huffs and stands up from the bench, crossing his arms. “The body was cleaned. There were no suspicious wounds from first glance.. but,” he glances at me. “There were other wounds I noticed.”
I turn around slowly, my interest peaked. “Yes.. and?”
Me and Xavier start to form a circle, like vultures preying over the case, which is now supposedly closed. “There were bruises on the tops of her head. Which is probably why they assumed it was an ‘accident’.. but, there was something else I noticed.”
“Well what was it? Spit it out.”
Xavier hesitantly looks over his shoulders. I can see a red-ish gleam in his eye, a sign he’s using his magic.
“Don’t worry, there are no cameras. I made sure the workout room was specifically private.” I assure him.
He looks at me. “Why is that?”
I shrug and toss the sweaty hand towel onto the bench press. “Miss Harlo and her colleague’s had the tendency to spy on me while I worked out.”
Xavier chuckles, but I grow less patient. It’s the curious heart of a naturally enact politician, which I would put to blame. "Back to the-"
"Oh, yes. There were bruises on the tops of her heads, and big ones at that.. But as the soldiers were escorting me out.. I noticed something else."
"I'm sorry your grace, but I cannot allow anyone in the examination room." The soldier is very curt towards me, avoiding my eyes and looking straight over my shoulder.
I scowl and cross my arms. There is not much I can do to get inside. Maybe his Majesty doesn't want anyone inside to disturb the evidence. That seem's reasonable. But his Majesty trust's me. I only want to take a look.
Just yesterday, his Majesty and the officials had wrapped up the case for the maids death in the library. I had been too drunk to remember barely anything during or before the incident. All I can recall is a pair of mocking brown eyes and silver spoons.
Jabeth of course is relentless in his pursuit. He refuses to believe the maids death was an "accident". I can hardly say I blame him. I myself don't find it all too convincing. There have never been any deaths in the mansion the years me and Jabeth have been alive. The idea that falling books killed a maid is unlikely.
There are many heavy novels in the Library, but the staff has always been careful when cleaning antiques and heavy things. All I need is a peek, but the guard in front of the examination room's door is relentless.
"I am his Majesty's enchanter. What is so wrong with me just taking a look at the body?"
"The case is closed. Unless you have the written or verbal consent of his Majesty can you enter the room. Any trespassing without authorization will resolve in immediate imprisonment." The guard taps his spear on the floor to emphasize.
Seriously? All I need is a look. Why do I have to march all the way across the mansion and bother his Majesty just to have a look?
I hear the sound of something rolling in the examination room. I have to get a glimpse.
In spur of the moment, I shrug. "Okay." I go to turn around and launch myself at the guards, knocking them backwards in surprise and cracking open the door to the examination room.
"Oi!" The guards yell at me and push me off of them, but not before I catch a glimpse. Two royal doctors are rolling the body out of the room and into another branched off. The body is covered in a sheet except for the face. Blonde hair spills over the sides of the table. Her scalp is very bruised and raw, it's disgusting to look at.
My eyes wander for a moment and my eyes catch on the exposed skin of her neck. A long, scar, almost like a slit, is visible by the nape of her neck before disappearing to where she lays.
The guards heave me off, and hurriedly close the door. They raise their weapons, and I back up nonchalantly, hands behind my head. "Hey guys! I'm sorry, I tripped."
The guard sniffs and juts his chin. "Move along before I have to use force."
"Alright! Alright, I'm going. Put those down! You could hurt somebody with those!" I turn around and head back down the hall towards my room.
"A hidden scar?" Xavier's detailed story finishes with the reveal of the maids scar.
Xavier nods. "The body was probably six feet away from the door, and the time I had limited what I observed."
"For all we know it could've been a birth mark or a different pigmentation in her skin." Frustrated I flop onto the bench press. "I just need to get a look at that body. That scar could be the proof we need. The only job in the mansion that could involve a cut of any sort is the kitchen staff when they use knives. But none get a scar behind their hair.."
"Why not demand to see the body? You're the Crown Prince after all. You have the highest power second to only one, the King." Xavier grins. But not all our problems have been solved.
"Exactly Xavier. My father.. if I need his permission and I asked him, he would ask why. He may become suspicious of what I am doing and become more nosy then we need. We still don't know the full story of what happened the night we brought Josie to the mansion.. for all we know.. he could be the real criminal.."
Xavier knits his eyebrows in sympathy. "Have a little more faith in your dad, Jabe. Like you said, we don't know the whole story. Unless we have a bit more proof we can't just assume his Majesty is the culprit. Innocent until proven guilty.. Your father is a good man. Besides, what reason would he have to kill a royal maid?"
I shake my head. "I don't know. He claimed he was in the Library that night and was coming back to his room.. it just doesn't add up."
Xavier snorts. "Nothing does.. But you're right. We need to tread lightly. If his Majesty became suspicious he might investigate you.. and then Josie-JOSIE! He could find out Josie's currently staying in your west wing. Then all Hell's would break loose."
Josie. I had completely forgotten about her. My unexpected guest has currently been staying in my wing of the mansion for the past few days. Meanwhile I've been more dedicated to this case more then even washing my own face. Speaking of which, I need a shower.
I stand up from the bench press and place a hand on Xavier's shoulder. "No one is to know about the information me and you share, understand?"
Xavier smirks and gives me an elegant, exaggerated bow. "Of course your Royal Highness."
I roll my eyes and head out of the exercise room. "See ya Pervert."