"LAYLA!" The King's fists banged on the table. "Don't you dare talk about her like that!"
Though she flinched, the Queen rebuked: "I will call a bitch a bitch if I see one! I wouldn't have cared if you only f.u.c.k.i.e.d her and left, but that bitch just had to get pregnant! Did you think about my reputation once when you acknowledged him as your son? If this is how you respect me, I should just give you a taste of your own medicine!"
With his blonde hair with white strands the King looked very much like an aged lion when he growled: "Didn't you do that already? If you want to count, I am still one behind!"
All color drained from the Queen's face, her trembling hands grabbing for her necklace. It was a strangely simple gold chain with a flower pendant out of emerald. She looked like her spirit left her from the shock and the pendant was the last straw she could hold on to. "You -- I didn't -- "
"I hope you know now how well I treated you.", the King interrupted her and stood up. "Just one more thing: should I find out you are working with Loki, I won't care about our agreement. I will kill you with my own two hands."
His silver coat floating behind him, the King marched out of the flower garden. The Queen took a few seconds to digest his words, before fury overwhelmed the surprise. She grabbed the flowerpot on the table and threw it after his retreating figure. "As if I would work with them! Killers! Butchers! Come back so I can -- "
Her last words drowned in the noise of destruction as she wreaked havoc in the golden pavilion under the morning sun. The King didn't gaze back once, but only sighed in relieve. "Good to know you didn't lose your last strand of rationality."
With this matter settled, his attention wandered to the girl Nathaniel claimed to be his betrothed. At first, he didn't pay it much attention because he thought it was impossible. The King knew that Lady Balder was a healer, so he was positive that this was a fake betrothal.
However, his last intel made up a knew possibility. Nathaniel might really have feelings for this girl. If so, he should have a better look at her. In the unlikely case that she was willing to live in a platonic relationship with a powder keg, he as the King would support this marriage. For his contributions to the kingdom, Nathaniel deserved what little happiness he could find.
When Nathaniel got back in the evening, Katherine had locked herself in her room, with Hazel blocking every and all visitors. It was more than surprising how this formerly shy girl glared at him, the mighty Earl, when it was for the sake if her Lady. The whole night long, she'd kept the door to Katherine's chambers tightly locked, only peeking out her head a few times to try to shoo him away.
Such as right now, where the sun had risen again, and he still stood in the corridor with his back leaned against the wall.
When she stretched her red head out, she looked at him with a frown. A sleepless night had drawn dark circles under his eyes, making him look even more like a demon.
"Her Holy - uh, Ladyship isn't feeling well. She still doesn't want to be bothered", she stumbled over her words, looking only at his feet, before hurriedly closing the door again. However, before it could shut completely, a hand landed on the wood beside her face.
"'Bothered' you say? Don't you think I am bothered, standing here all night?" Without much effort, the Earl forced the door open. Gasping, Hazel let go. "Milord, that is - "
"I don't care." He glared at her. His patience was limited. He sauntered through the anteroom as if it was his own and crisply knocked on the bedroom door. "Get ready, Katherine. I'll come in now."
"Milord, no!" When Hazel tried to stop him, he pushed her back lightly and entered the room. The curtains were closed, dimming the light. Since the chairs where empty, his gaze wandered to the poster bed. Black hair laid on the pillow motionlessly. Was she asleep? He furrowed his brows. Why was she allowed to sleep while he was worried about her? Was she so angry that she deliberately left him standing there all night?
When he walked over, he was prepared to pull the blanked back and shock her awake. An angry Katherine was always better than the silent treatment he was getting right now. However, when he reached out his hand, he noticed that the thing on the pillow was a black rabbit.
Nathaniel halted. The blanked laid flat on the bed. No Katherine. A dangerous glitter entered his eyes as he turned to Hazel. "Where is she?"
Her green eyes on the floor, Hazel bit her lip nervously and fumbled with her dress. She didn't say a word.
Menacingly, Nathaniel walked closer. With every step he took, Hazel felt a thump of anxiety in her chest. Like a god of slaughter, he was staring down at her with his red eyes full of anger. Compared to him, she was the tiny bug that annoyed him the whole night and then even dared to bite him. His benevolence was used up. Betrayal was one of the things he hated the most. "Where. Is. She?"
A whimper escaped Hazel's mouth as she stumbled backwards until her back hit the wall.
"Tell me where!", he demanded and halted right in front of her. "Tell me. Last chance."
However, the maid shook her head frantically and bit her lips till they bled, only so she wouldn't say a word about her Lady. Then tears started streaming down her cheeks.
As Nathaniel looked at her unsightly appearance, all will to punish her suddenly left him and he was disgusted by himself. In the end, the maid was only doing her all to follow her Lady's orders. In another situation he would have praised her for that inwardly. It was only because he was the one that was targeted by her action that he was so annoyed.
Why would Katherine feel the need to exclude him and even run away? He couldn't understand. He only suggested that it was better to keep her ability a secret, he never said he wouldn't respect her decision if she didn't want it to be handled like this.
Silently, he distanced himself from the crying maid and inspected Katherine's chambers. Maybe she left something behind that could point at her whereabouts. However, he was sure she didn't know anybody else in the city well enough to stay at their place. Furthermore, according to the guards in front of her chambers, she was really here before. When she reached here, there were only two hours left before curfew. Too little time to pack up and leave the city. But where else could she have gone to? And did she leave through the window to not be seen by the palace guards and Pete, whom she knew would report back to him?
A fear that he couldn't admit grew in his heart. She wouldn't have left him, would she? Run away to never come back? But what did he say that deserved this treatment? Maybe he shouldn't have said that he'd kill her if she got close, even though it was the truth. Maybe, when she knew how much he felt for her...
He halted and rubbed his palms over his face. What was he thinking? It wouldn't change anything if he did that. When he told her the truth, she would still run away like she did now. He would lose her sooner or later.
But it didn't have to be now. He never thought of losing her right now.
The heaviness in his chest was nearly unbearable.