The beauty looked down on her servant with irritation. There were many people she hated and didn't want to see again. How would she know which one that dumb servant was talking about? "Who is coming back? Speak clearly!"
The servant flinched. She knew better than to call out the name as the last time she dared to speak that man's name - oblivious what it meant to her master - , she had been graced with the burn mark on her cheek. She didn't know what the connection between her master and that seemingly insignificant man was, but his name alone had been enough to turn her into a madwomen. Ever since, she had carefully avoided the topic. "It is..."
Her voice left her out of fear, and her mouth felt dry. Pressing her head even deeper onto the ground as if she wanted to bury it in the earth, she opened her mouth again. Tears of fear threatened to fall from her lashes on the ground between her hands, that were clawed into the earth for support. "He is... Your highness, it's the earl of the southern boarder!"
Last second the servant had decided to better call one of his titles then his name. Now she pressed her eyes shut and waited for the worst. This time, there wasn't a fireplace in the vicinity, but her master was a creative women. Even in a flower field, she would find something to hurt her... or even kill her. What was the life of a servant compared to royalty? Maybe she would be found in the ruins of the pavilion tomorrow or drowned in the pond not far away... As the silence continued, the servant got more and more anxious.
For a few seconds, the beauty just stood there, a confused look on her face. Which earl? Was there any earl significant enough for her to remember?
"Southern border...", she whispered. Wasn't there something with the southern boarder? That invasion. The Renat army had - no, that wasn't the point. He. He was on the southern boarder. That monster was there!
As realization set in, the flower in her hand dropped to the floor unnoticed. She understand directly, because 'earl' wasn't what they used to call him. He was not an earl, he had never been an earl, and he would never be satisfied with being one either. That monster... would it never be satisfied until it killed everyone she loved? Her dear children... No, she would not allow it! Never!
Rapidly, her shock turned to rage and her delicate hands balled into fists.
"How dare he.", she gritted through her teeth. "How dare he let that monster return!"
As her nails dug into her hands, she wanted to destroy something. How dare he not listen to her and bring that monster in their middle! How dare he keep him alive all this time! Countless times she'd tried to kill that monster! Finally, after all this time, she thought that he would not dare return. He would stay away form her children. And when she relaxed just a little, that monster used the opportunity to sneak back again! That useless bastard even invited it!
Ahhrgg! She wanted to rip him to shreds! Rip them all till there was nothing left! She grabbed onto the hair of that useless servant in front of her, and pulled her head up to face her.
"Why don't they understand?", she hissed, her eyes flickering between pain and desperation. Then she stilled and gently wiped the tear strains from the girls cheeks. "Don't you understand? Can't you see? I just want to safe my children!"
As the girl only whimpered and pressed her eyes close, the beauties face distorted. She shook her harshly. "Look at me! Look at me you ugly thing! Tell me why! Why can't they see?!"
Pained by the grip on her hair, the servant yelped, and anxiously blurted out: "I don't know! Your highness! Please! I don't know!"
The woman ceased her shaking. Her exterior was still beautiful, but if one looked into her eyes, there was only insanity and the craving for destruction, for blood. Why can't they understand her? Why did no one understand?!
Her voice was nearly a whisper, but viciousness excluded from every tone like the slow poison of a viper. "Then what are your eyes there for?"
"We will prepare everything you need, milady.", Sam said earnestly. "But you need to accompany the patient. Please."
Katherine's eyes flashed with a dangerous light. "No! How can the earl demand something like that? His brother is not healthy enough for such a long journey. He's not even awake! Does he want to kill him?!"
Sam pressed his lips together at the harsh words. This was much harder than he thought it would be. Since when did she develop such a protectiveness for the patient? He remembered how in the beginning she even wanted to refuse to treat the patient for her own good. Now she didn't even move, although he had offered her much more than the last time. Such a stubborn lady! There had been countless times in the last week where Sam wished for the earl to wake up, but never as strongly as now. How should he convince her to go with them?
With a deep sigh, he stared to climb that rough mountain. "No, of course not. However, the earl has no other choice. I can't explain the exact circ.u.mstances to you, milady, but he really can't let him stay here."
"No other choice?", Katherine shook her head. "Tell me, what can be worse than killing him? What if the poison acts up again while we travel? He's getting thinner and thinner by the day! His condition won't get better in a worse environment!"
They could still feed him water with much patience, but food was nearly impossible.
"I know! Of course, I know that and believe me, milady, the earl would not o this if it isn't the only way. Besides, the doctor said, the poison is unlikely to act up again, so..."
"That quack doesn't know anything!", she interrupted in annoyance. "Did he foresee the last outbreak? No! I won't let you take him to his death!"
"But that is exactly what we want to prevent, milady!" When he heard his own voice getting louder, Sam forced himself to stay calm, and closed his eyes for a second. Of course he knew that both ways could led to the death of the earl. However, he had been by his side all the while the earl fought for this opportunity. Until the moment he decided to be a monster in the eyes of others if that gave him a possibility of return. The opportunity to face them and ask 'Why?', and then take back what they owed him.
How could he step down now?
And even if he didn't bring the earl to the capital - then what? Being hunted for the rest of his life? A threat by the king wasn't a joke. Being hunted by him was the last thing he wanted for this boy.
When Sam opened his eyes again, he found Katherine looking at him with raised brows as if waiting for him to continue. "I am sorry, milady. My emotions got the better off me. You know, the health of the patient is our priority. However, this mansion soon won't be safe anymore, and as the earl was ordered to return to the capital, he can only take the patient with him if he wants to protect him."
Katherine's brows lifted even higher. "He is coming with us? I thought the earl was searching for the origin of this black tower thing?"
"Well..." Why was this girl so difficult to handle?