Beth had always been made aware of the fact that she was not a legitimate Blythe's daughter like her sister, Louisa. It was her mother who made her more aware of the fact than her father who was more considerate, holding his reservations in his mind rather than spewing out every single thing he thought.
The Blythes neither bathed her in too much love nor let her have the littlest of their affections. Still, Beth held not a single grudge in her heart, neither hated them for it. Instead, she felt gratitude. But at times like this when her sister intended to be the meanest to her, she knew in all certainty that she was doomed to be saddened by the outcome of Louisa's cries.
"Oh, my dear Mr Pickle. I fear that they would take you from me in a matter of minutes and our friendship shall be abruptly cut short," Beth sniffed in an attempt to keep back the tears that was fated to escape her eyelids in a few seconds.
The fair skinned rabbit, looked into his guardian's eyes and immediately understood her sadness.
"Not now my dear Mr Pickle. If you look at me for so long with your cute eyes, I really might break."
'It is just a pet. I can find another rabbit. I believe someday when I become a princess, I would be able to own anything I want, and do everything I like.' Her nebulous Eden-green eyes did so much to hide the sadness of having her pet whisked away from her. Then, she suddenly remembered who she was and where she was.
"Do not be a fool, Elizabeth," she said to herself, this time aloud, "You are a nobody. Any fine gentleman that comes for your hand in marriage, your family would gladly oblige. No! I will run away before that happens," she said, affirmatively.
In the living room, Mr Blythe could not believe his daughter had made so much fuss over a mere rabbit. He hated that she was totally spoiled by his wife, her mother. His eyes revealed how crossed he was at her, but his wife feigned ignorance of the subject, altogether.
"My dear, do you think she has no sense in calling it a beast? If you do not, then I do."
"I have no words for you Louisa," Mr Blythe directed his gaze on his daughter who realized the purpose of his long stare, and hid behind her mother.
"Leave the girl be. I keep telling you. You have only enough love to give to one daughter."
"Oh, are you saying I should hate one and love the other?" said her husband, as was his clever scheme to make her regret her careless words. Only that his wife's regret or guilt was forever short-lived, majoring in the act for which she purposed to portray.
"Oh my! Gracious Lord! I never meant such wickedness in my speech, my dear."
"But I perceived it to mean exactly so." said her husband.
"Why do you enjoy ridiculing me because of that girl?" asked Mrs Blythe.
"That girl, as you call her, is our daughter."
"You have certainly ascertained in your speech earlier, that you alone have parental love over her, and not me."
Her husband was getting fed up with his wife's manipulative words.
"How so? By saying that Louisa was wrong in
addressing a rabbit as a beast?" he frowned after speaking. He never could understand how shallow-minded his wife was about her opinions with regard to such matters.
"No, my dear. But if a child errs, is it wrong for a mother to correct her?"
Mr Blythe remained silent because he knew where her speech was headed.
"So," his wife continued, "If the other daughter feels her life threatened by a beast, the erring child has kept in her room, should the parents just let it slide? Certainly not! I believe we could talk to the daughter that did wrong about her actions and reach a compromise. I would do it on your behalf since you are clearly not thinking well about it." she snarled, and turned around.
Planting a firm grip on Louisa by the hand, Mrs Blythe was determined to lead the way to Beth's room.
"Come now, child. Forgive your father for being inconsiderate on this matter," were her words to Louisa who simply nodded her response.
Her husband ignored his wife's comment and decided to let her do whatever. Somehow he hoped in his heart that Beth was grown enough to handle her problems. She was the most practical and well-studied of both girls after all.
*Tap* * Tap* *Tap*
Three knocks on the entrance door caused his wife and daughter to stand aloof as they turned around waiting to see who it was. While, Mr Blythe made out for the door to open it up.
The rich embroidered silk fabric of the man by the door, made Mr Blythe feel that he was a foreigner, and more so, of Royal origins, but of a lowly rank, or somewhere in the middle.
His wife and daughter who peeped from a safe distance behind him, were intrigued by the physical appearance of the beautiful man by the door.
"Greetings inhabitants of Griffinwald, I come bearing good tidings..." The man who had a cloudy white hair reaching long to his shoulders, began reading from a scroll.
"Thirty days have elapsed since the demise of the Emperor, Lord Voldemort of Barad-dûr, and as its tradition, the succeeding Lord is one of his sons. In a fortnight, the inauguration would happen at the fortress. Be presentable, you and all your household!"
Thus, the man rolled up the scroll shut, and had it bound with a glittering golden ribbon.
Mr Blythe was puzzled at the invitation because why his family, and to Barad-dûr? True, his family was averagely rich in the small town of Griffinwald, but something was amiss, he thought.
"Kind gentleman, thank you for the news you came to bear but why me and my family?" Mr Blythe demanded of the Royal fellow.
"Only families with maidens were invited." Thus, he swung his long black coat behind him as he held on to the reins of his feisty black horse. Hopping on the man beast, he galloped away from the Blythe's dwellings.
Mr Blythe shut the tall onyx-painted wooden door, and turned around to see his wife and daughter listening in on the conversation all along.
"Father, did he just say only families with maidens can attend?" asked Louisa shaping her lilac soft lips into a smile, as her brown eyes glinted along to reveal every gleefulness she had intended to portray by simply asking her question.
"Not now, child. Let your father speak. Hide your excitement," her mother warned.
"It does not mean we would go, just because we were invited."
"My dear, let us not be hasty to conclude. Is this not a royal invitation? Nothing wrong if we honour it, do not you agree?"
Her husband thought hard and long, contemplating on the subject as he had once more returned to sitting on his favourite armed chair tapping his bearded chin every now and then with a stroke of his index.
"The castle of Barad-dûr is a big place surely one could go missing if they weren't looking. Also, this is far away Aegremonth. We would not-"
"We will, my dear. Think long about this and do not be hasty. We have until a fortnight to make preparations for the journey. So, let us deliberate on it together."
"Father, mother I want to go. Wow! I would love to see the young master Aldrich. So many young maidens fantasize about his looks," Said Louisa.
"You see how happy she is my dear? Imagine the famous master Aldrich taking delight in our precious damsel. All our prayers would be granted, and she would be treated as the queen that she is," said Mrs Blythe.
However, her husband had something else in mind.
"You did not pay total attention to the message the kind gentleman delivered to us."
"Did he say anything more?" asked his wife.
"He said one of his sons would ascend the throne. Young master Aldrich has a brother I presume. He could be the one to succeed his father instead."
"Well then, Louisa would catch his attention as well." Mrs Blythe affirmed.
"Hahaha. Such a dutiful mother you are tossing your daughter from one Lord to another. And does she not have a say of her own?" her husband teased her but she bluffed.
"Mother!" Louisa began, "I only know about the young Lord Aldrich. I have heard a lot about him. I know it would be him and not his brother. Also, I hope that I catch his eyes."
Beth had grown weary of waiting for her verdict because by her calculations, she should have been joined by her mother and sister by now.
'Maybe I should go and meet them, and apologize for my actions instead,' she thought.
Turning to Mr Pickle, she smiled and assured it that everything would be alright. After which she made out of her little room and walked towards where she hoped the rest of the family should be.
Beth arrived just in time to hear her father's words.
"They are both going. We have two maiden girls not one," he said.
"Louisa is the only one accompanying us," her mother interjected, "Beth is fine at home."
The conversation trapped Beth's interest so much so that she forgot the reason why she had come out of her room in the first place.
"Father! Mother! Where are we going?"
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40 G. Ts = 1 Extra chapter 80 " = 2 " 150 " = 3 "