“Tomato soup? Are you alright miss Roland?” Lord Wellington said after taking a sip of his own soup. Standing up from his seat, he came up to Margaret. The servants rushed towards her carrying a new spoon and some towels.
“It does not taste like tomato soup My Lord.”Margaret stated shaken up remembering the salty metallic taste. She knew how tomato soups tasted. They definitely didn’t have a cold, blood like metallic taste with a hint of bitter.
“Let me taste it if it pleases you then. ” Lord Wellington didn’t even wait for a nod and took the spoon from the maid and took a sip. As if like a ticking bomb, the tense atmosphere that had built up from her dropping her spoon blasted.
“Elber-!” Margaret watched as the Lord called for the man who brought her here.
The servants were going into a frenzy and all the food was being taken away like something had been said or signaled in their own secret language. Yet again, a peaceful moment was ruined for a reason unknown to Margaret. Unlike the other times, her heart was beating fast, she could hear the blood flow in her ears like a song for rebellion.
“What in the name of stars and everything celestial is happening in this manor-!?” Margaret screamed wanting to pull her hair out of her head as she saw Becka approach her. She didn’t want to be in the dark anymore. She felt like killing someone. Her inside was burning in fury and head felt strained. Any sense of calmness she had retained since the moment she heard the news of her father’ s capture was gone. The only thing left were questions, anger and amongst it an inner relief.
“Becka, take Miss Roland to her room please. ” The once shaken up Lord said in an eerily calm tone.
“Yes, Lord Wellington.” Becka said looking at the Lord and bowing her head slightly before turning to Meg.
“I am going no where Becka. I shall stay right here for I need answers and I need them now. I am overflowing with questions unanswered. My head, it literally hurts. ” Becka took Margaret’s hand and tried to save her from her Lord’s anger but was unable to as Margaret brushed the old lady off forcefully .
“Miss Roland!” Becka exclaimed as her small old body tried to Balance herself.
” This is an unexpected behavior Miss Roland!” Lord Wellington exclaimed but Margaret was too far gone. All she could see was red like the flame and all she could hear was the angry voice in her head telling her to hit someone , leave somewhere, kill something.
” Oh no, you do not get to start about unexpected behaviors Lord Wellington. You are rude, annoyingly secretive and frustrating to no ends! I have no words or energy to even explain half the things I feel in this manor. “Margaret screamed at the Lord. By now, all the table had been cleared and all the gates had people she didn’t even know existed in the manor. The only thing that could be heard in the room was the shouting.
” Miss Roland try to-” Becka tried to talk to her but it seemed to be gibberish to her head adding to a pounding headache.
“Becka do not go to her. She is not herself. I presume the witch put something in the soup the servants got to her. ” Margaret distantly heard the Lord say but couldn’t decipher the words.
“Yes, my Lord ” Becka said with a slight bow and with a flick of Lord wellington’s wrist, everyone made a circle around Meg as she screamed her heart out.
“Alberto? What do you think it is?” Lord Wellington asked the loyal servant as he waited for the young girl to calm down.
“It does not looks like a curse or a enchantment. It started with the soup. It may be some herb my Lord. We would have to search which.” The tall servant said in his raspy voice as he saw the girl scream and shout obviously frustrated and in pain as if something was eating her from the inside. If he could, he would have petted the girl.
“Go fetch the scholar while I see to the girl here,” were the last words Margaret heard before she blacked out again.
150 years earlier
He looked down at the lady in front of him. She was truly a sight to behold. With hair so golden that they could outshine the sun and eyes as blue as the sky, the lady was a true beauty.
She was going to be his that night. They all ended up being his. No one could deny a handsome Prince. It just didn’t happen. They all wanted to be Princesses. Every last one of them. A wink and they would agree to do anything. He was a Prince after all. Being handsome was just an added bonus to those court ladies.
“Good day my Lady. Are you new around here ?” He asked as he came up to the pretty golden haired Lady. He saw as the lady slightly bowed and looked at him through her black rimmed eyes and his only thoughts were about the line he was going to use woo her . Surely a pretty thing as hers would have a little game in her.
” Yes my Lord, I come with my sister and cousins for the ball. You must have heard of them, the twins, Elena and Eric Stones? ” He thought for a second before his memory put faces to the names. The twins were way too notorious to not be in his memory. The children of the captain on the palace gaurds. They had extremely curly brown hair and from what he could recall, the looked nothing like the lady in front of him.
“I do know of them. A fine duo of trouble. ” He replied to the lady as they took a glass of wine and walked around the hall. It was an extremely lavish ball that the King and the Queen had thrown for him to find a Princess.
“They never mean any harm my Lord. But yes, a duo of trouble they are. Aunt Elaura is always worked up because of them. ” She said as they continued walking and soon entered an empty corridor away from the crowd.
“Sounds hectic. So my Lady, would I have the pleasure of your name?” He asked giving her his best smile. Usually ladies were introduced instead of him going up to them. This one was different. She had an aura of beauty and appeal.
“Eliana Stone, my Lord. ” The Lady replied politely. He smirked to himself. She had a pretty name and a pretty face. She would be a good conquest.
“You must already know who I am I hope.” he said as he took her through a palace garden.
“That I do.You are Prince Drake Wellington of Alerea. ” She replied with a bowed head not meeting his eyes. This was going to be easy.
Margaret was burning up.
Her insights felt like hot lava and whatever Becka was feeding her was not working.
She twisted and turned. Grunts filled the room as she sweat and felt like these were her last moments.
“Nothing is helping my lord,” Becka told someone. Not much registered through the haze Margaret was in but she could guess who it was.
” No, no, no. Becka, You need to keep her alive and awake. Elber is out to get some herbs. Keep her up. ” The lord said in desperation. Was she hallucinating?
“I can only try my Lord. Whatever she gave her is beyond my understanding. It is no usual herb. Most likely we are dealing with witchcraft. ” Becka said hopelessly. “Maybe once she wakes up and is well, you should let her go.”
A scream from Margaret broke the tensed atmosphere that came after Becka has suggested something so outrageous. She was not safe within the walls of the manor and Lord Wellington understood that now. He had to let her go even though he is bound by the promise of the Rosa to marry her. He knew what letting her go meant. Forever damnation.
What could he do now?
“Becka! I got the needed herbs.”
Margaretwoke up panting. She had had a dream. A really vivid dream.
After being fed some awful tasting herbs, Meg had started sweating and gotten a temperature higher than anything she had endured before.
She had tossed and turned for hours. Water and a strip of cloth on her forehead did nothing except turning the temperature of her head in a matter of seconds. Comfort seem to be in another universe all together and the anger and frustration she had been feeling had left her body more tired than it had ever been in her seventeen years life.
Sleep was hard to come by and when it did she woke up uneasy in a matter of minutes. The only long sleep she got resulted in a vivid nightmare.
She was standing in front of a mirror. It was huge and had a abstract frame with jewels of red and blue encrusted in the golden metal. Other details or the mirror were blurry. She looked down to her feet and noticed a wooden floor. Even in her dream she realized the place was not something she was familiar with. A small part of her thought of the Manor and its people and suddenly the mirror lit up magically and she was sucked in.
She saw Toby. He stood in front of her disappearing and re appearing again and again. Her dream self chased after him when he took off not realizing what was happening. Then she saw Becka. She was much like Toby. It felt like her fragile self could disappear any second.
She looked around the room as if searching for Toby and the vision blurred into an office with no windows. Everything was a mess. Feathers were scattered along with the paper and table was broken into two from the center. Her eyes widened and the dream self shifted to the corner in a second. In front of the table something inhuman materialized.
He had claw like hands bleeding red. His skin was a pale blue and looked as if he could be passed for a dead person. Alas! he was not dead and she started chasing after her in a mad haze. His tall limbs seems to have advantage over her short ones as they went from one lobby to another. Suddenly she was trapped. Cornered in a room that appeared magically and the monster was at the door.
His face was a blur. Her eyes couldn’t move from his menacing posture. Step by step he came forth. She looked around to find anything to help her escape.
The only thing she found was a rose in her hand and a portrait of a blurred face hanging on the wall on her side.
She closed her eyes and screamed out loud and suddenly breath came down on her throat.
“Miss, Miss, are you all right ?” Were the first words Margaret heard as she tried to catch her breath. The maid was someone unfamiliar and from what Meg could see, she had waist length light coloured hair. She helped Meg sit up straight and then proceeded to pour her some water.
“Who are you?” Margaret asked bewildered. “Where’s Becka?”
“Becka is off duty today. Even us maids need rest. How do you feel now?”
“Just one word. Horrible. My throat hurts. My body is tired beyond anything I could ever have imagined. My mind is tired and I feel like a pig. Can you draw me a bath?” Margaret asked and started to feel sleepy again. The sweat on her body made her feel awful and was the only thing that kept her awake. She was only a minute away from trying to fall back into an uneasy sleep but she decided that it would be better if she had a bath before it to sleep better.
“Give me a couple of minutes. Till then rest. You need it. ” The maid said and started to head out. The cool air was already starting to relieve her from the horrid nightmare and she couldn’t even remember in detail anymore. Dreams were weird, vivid one second and forgotten the next. The only thing she remembered was it consisted of the very red rose that brought her here and a beast that could make a dream a nightmare.
In the aftermath of the dream, Meg forgot to notice one thing. The maid never gave her a name and her parting words were more menacing than caring. If only she had known then that Becka never sent any maid to serve her.