I spent the whole night crying, angry and confused. I couldn’t understand a thing. Why didn’t Lothaire help Lucian, why was Lucian not coming home yet and where was Irene? Did Lothaire do something to her? If he could kill his son then he was capable of doing anything. What confused me the most was the reason Lothaire came here. If he didn’t care for Lucian then why did he come here to take me with him?
The morning came quickly with me not getting any sleep or any answers. The head maid Edith walked into my room without knocking and placed some clothes on my bed.
“Change into these. His Highness has requested your presence.” She informed then left without waiting for a reply.
I took the clothes and looked at them. It was a beautiful yellow dress with its white gloves decorated with lace. Clearly, he wanted me to look good so I did my best to look the opposite. I just slid into the dress without taking a bath or getting cleaned up and walked out the room without brushing my hair. I needed to look awful in case he wanted to take advantage of me.
The maid who was supposed to lead the way stared at me in surprise but then quickly averted her gaze.
“This way, My Lady.” She gestured.
I followed her to the dining room where Pierre was already waiting. He sat at a large table where several extravagant dishes were served. When he took notice of me he stood up and dismissed the maid, then he just stood there and observed me for a while before he burst into laughter.
“You…you…” He tried to speak but he kept laughing in between. “If you were trying to make an impression you certainly did.”
“I am not trying anything.” I said coldly.
“You know…” he began crossing the distance between us, ” I have never been so patient with anyone before. I don’t know why I am so patient with you.” He seemed thoughtful, but then he shook his head as if dismissing his thoughts.
“Come and sit.” He said and went to hold the chair out for me. I sat down slowly and looked at the food on the table. My mouth already began to salivate, but as soon as Pierre sat down next to me my appetite went out the window.
“All this is for you.” He gestured toward the food. “You can eat however much you want.”
“I am not hungry.” I said.
The smile on his face disappeared and got replaced by a displeased look.
“You know…,” he began, “there was once this girl I saw when I passed by a small village. She was so beautiful so I brought her here with me. I gave her everything and I treated her well, but she was never satisfied. She wanted to go back home, to her childhood sweetheart, a shepherd.” He said the last word with disgust.
“She chose a shepherd over a prince.” He shook his head. “So do you know what I did to her?” He asked.
I just looked at him without replying. I knew he did something terrible to her and I didn’t want to know what it was.
“I let my men have their way with her while I had some wine listening to her screams all night long. She was begging me to save her but I had already given her many chances. What a waste, she was a beauty.” He shook his head again then grabbed his glass and took a sip of water.
I knew this wasn’t just a story, it was a warning. My stomach twisted in disgust and fear and I suddenly felt like throwing up.
“Are you alright?” He asked looking worriedly at me. “You look pale.”
“I am fine.” I forced myself to speak.
He chuckled darkly. “Don’t worry. I won’t do to you what I did to her.” He slowly moved closer and grabbed my chin. “You are a precious one Hazel. I liked you from the moment I saw you, it was just unfortunate that you were my brothers wife. If you were mine I would treat you like a queen, but you see it’s not too late. You can still be mine.”
I wanted to slap his hand away, push him away, anything but I couldn’t. What if he did to me what he did to that girl? I knew he could even do worse if I angered him enough. Maybe that story was his way of telling me that he was running out of patience.
Suddenly he grabbed the back of my head and pressed his lips to mine. My whole body froze in shock but got quickly replaced by emotions of disgust and anger. I placed my hands on his chest to push him away but he pulled my hair harshly and kissed me more urgent. So I did what I had to do, I bit him.
He hissed in pain and drew back. I took the opportunity and ran away as fast as I could. Running into my room I closed the door behind me while my heart drummed painful inside my chest.
What had I done? He wouldn’t let me get away this time, he would let his men defile me.
I sat down, curled in a corner of the room, waiting for Lucian to come. If he was alive he would come and save me and if he didn’t come this time then I had to accept that he was gone. Praying to God I waited and waited but he never came.
A tear fell down my cheek. Lucian was dead. My husband was dead.
I burst into tears. The pain was too much to bear that I wished I was dead myself. I cried and cried while holding my chest as if it would lessen the pain but it only got worse until the pain and sorrow turned into fury. Fury toward Pierre.
He was the one who killed Lucian. Now I would kill him.
“Don’t be stupid.”
I looked up from my tears, not that I needed to look to know that the cold voice belonged to Lothaire.
“What are you doing here? I thought I was clear last time.”
“You were angry last time. So I came here to ask again.”
“The answer is still no.” I said and he sighed.
“You will gain nothing from killing Pierre.”
I would gain a lot. I would gain some relief from this unbearable pain and raging anger.
“You think so but you won’t.” He said reading my thoughts.
“How can you not be angry? Did you not care about him at all?” I asked standing up to face him. “What kind of father are you? You seem to be able to do anything so why didn’t you save him? Why did you let him die? Why?” I screamed and cried while hitting his chest violently.
He just stood there like a statue, letting me hit his chest until I let all my anger out and got tired. Then to my surprise, he wrapped his arms around me and let me collapse into his embrace. I didn’t protest, I just let him hold me for a while.
“I did care about him.” He then spoke slowly. “My way of caring is just different from the human way.”
Because he wasn’t human. He was quiet for a while before he continued.
“Our kind are not supposed to reproduce, it disrupts the balance of nature and it doesn’t go well with those who protect it. The Witches. So when they realized that it was one of their own who was bearing the demon child they became even angrier, and trust me angry witches are not fun.”
One of their own? Irene?
“Yes.” He said reading my thoughts.
I pulled myself away from his embrace.
“Wait! So Irene is…is…”
“Yes. She is Lucian’s mother.”
No, no. It couldn’t be. I shook my head refusing to believe. Lucians mother was dead. Irene, my closest and only friend couldn’t be his mother.
My head began to spin and Lothaire grabbed my arms to prevent me from falling.
If Irene truly was Lucian’s mother how could she do this to him?
“Irene’s mother who was the most powerful witch cursed Irene to never see Lucian again, and if she or I ever tried Irene would die. Despite that being the case Irene told me to help Lucian several times and the few times I listened she almost died. That’s why I refused to help anymore.” He continued. “Don’t blame Irene. There was nothing she could do. Before she could do anything she would have died.”
My head was spinning even more now. I couldn’t even think clearly.
Lothaire looked at me with a worried expression. “Hazel, come with me. Lucian wouldn’t want you here.” He said softly.
“Lucian is dead.” I whispered my voice void of emotion.
“Come with me. Irene needs you.”
I shook my head. How could someone need me in this state? Then I remembered that Irene was Lucian’s mother. She was probably as sad as I was. The son that she never got to meet was dead, but right now all I could think of was my own pain, and there was only one way to end it.
“I’ll stay here.” I said determinedly.
Lothaire let go of my arms, annoyed by my decision. He paced back and forth in the room probably thinking of a way to convince men then he finally spoke. “Alright. I’ll come by some other time, I hope you change your mind till then.” Then he was gone in the blink of an eye.
And here I was left confused, angry and hurt. I still couldn’t wrap my head around the fact that Irene was Lucian’s mother. She looked so young, yet if I thought deeply about it there were so many similarities between. How could I not have noticed?
I became even angrier. Lucian had died without meeting his mother. All this time he had thought that his mother was dead when she actually was alive. He had suffered so much and been so lonely and confused. How happy he would have been to see his mother, but he was never going to.
He was never going to be able to see his mother or his real father and all this was Pierre’s fault and of course Irene’s mother. How could she do that to her own family? How could she separate a mother from her child?
Hatred filled my chest. I wanted to scream, kick and punch something but I calmed myself down. Anger wouldn’t take me anywhere. Now I had a mission to accomplish. I had to kill Pierre.
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