Opening the door with the robe wrapped around me and my hair dried out, I found the maid waiting leaning against the wall.
"Thank you for waiting."
There was no answer.
Frowning, I turned to look at her. She was staring at me bewildered and her mouth had fallen open a little.
She started. "Oh! You're done… Let us go to the kitchen."
Bread and meat were staring at me from the table.
"Well? Hurry up child! We haven't got all day! The Young Lady ha' told me to make sure ya aren't given any work to do, but ya gotta eat fast. I can't wait for ya."
I nodded gingerly and picked up the bread between my fingers. taking a hesitant bite I slowly chewed on it. To my surprise, a pasty satisfying flavour filled my mouth and I grinned, taking a larger bite. And another.
It was slightly rough on my throat, considering all I'd been eating for the past few days were hot, gloopy broths, but I marvelled at the freshness and the hearty texture it had. I took the meat too and smiled at the lack of blood on its flavour. this meat was much easier to tear through than anything I was used to and had a strange flavour. I knew meat was expensive and they obviously wouldn't give me anything hard to come by but it didn't taste local.
After the plate was clean, the plump lady took away my plate and passed me a handkerchief. She told me I could never eat like that again even if I was as hungry as I was, that I was living in a mansion now and I had to act more politely. I was confused but I just nodded.
Living in the mansion?" Was that what those noble brats intended when they brought me here? I didn't want to live in their mansion. I wanted to find out where I was and how to return to the forest where I was living. I narrowed my eyes. Why did they want me here? By the looks of it, they weren't desperately in need of any staff, nor had they given me any specific purpose.
Though they did heal me. Gave me a bath, in an extremely fancy room. And they fed me. Meat. It says a lot, if I'm needed in good health. My position is well enough to be treated that way.
"You've been requested by the Lord of the House. Remember ta be polite in front o' them, ya' hear? An' be grateful. They saved yer life."
I narrowed my eyes at her reminder, but ducked my head so she didn't see it as defiance. She took that as a nod and waved me off. The same maid from before was waiting outside.
Wordlessly, she turned around, and began walking away from the kitchens. I followed her.
"Did Cook say anything to you?"
I lifted my head at her question. She was asking me something? Somehow, I think I guessed what she meant. "She's a pretty one, tha's fer sure. She won' be put in my kitchen."
The maid hesitated for a second, then shook her head. "Nothing." She went on walking in silence, me following, round the bend of the seemingly never ending castle hallways - till we stopped before double doors. She passes me a glance, before walking up and rapping her knuckles on the wood.
The two doors move open of their own accord.
Behind the doors is a huge room, almost as big as a cavern in the mines; wide enough to fit two thousand people, and longer still. Pillars line the sides of the room, intricately carved from the base to the top. The walls grow as tall as northern trees and then stop, and arch further with glass domes broadly stretching to touch tips with the thin lattice bars.
It's only just past sunhigh, and the sunlight sparkles as it filters through the glass, lighting up the patterns engraved in the faintly shimmering marble. The center of the room is carpeted in a deep red; the same colour themes jumping from the mahogany panelled walls, from the crested tapestries and the curtains. The carpet runs till the end of the room, climbs up the few steps, and spreads out on the elevated platform, where two chairs stand regally, But in front of the thrones are -
The Marquess and the noble brats.
Dimly, I'm aware of the maid turning around and leaving. Only after the heavy doors bang shut do they move.
The tallest turns first and starts to step down the carpeted stairs.
He's got a confident stride and his boots clink as they hit the floor. His hands sway by his sides, but even empty they move with a purpose. His flaming hair is stark against his surroundings and it moves like a cape around his head; it commands attention. His eyes are narrow and dark with experience.
So this is the Marquess Zephyrus.
I ducked my head as he approached. There was a murderous intent bubbling within me and I clenched down my tongue to prevent the other me's rage from taking over.
"You. What is your name?"
"It's Aelin, Sir."
"Aelin what? You are addressing the Marquess of House Zephyrus. Answer properly."
"I don't have a last name, Lord."
I didn't lift my head but I felt his glare.
"You were found unconscious and in a fatal state on the side of a path, deep in the forest near Bartonville. My daughter took pity on you and decided to save your life, without knowing that you're a runaway slave and that you belonged to Baron Moss. Imagine my surprise when you were the only person alive out of the slaves he recently bought."
Oh no. How did he?
Fuck! I need to escape right now!!
So we finally come to know our MC's name. yay!
So what did you think of this chapter? Are you curious as to what happens next?
Let me know your thoughts in the comments ฅ'ω'ฅ
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