I went into the throne room, feeling enraged and annoyed all at once. She had dared to speak to me in a manner no one would have tried, not considering her status or the fact that she was now my prisoner.
”Perhaps, Ive been too soft on her, ” I muttered to myself.
”By ”her ”, do you mean Layla Clayton? ” I heard Jeffrey ask.
I looked up, only to see him standing right in the middle of the throne room, much to my surprise.
”I didn know you were here, ” I noted, approaching the throne gently, after which I sat down.
”Of course, you didn . You seemed deeply engrossed in your thoughts. What happened? ” he inquired.
I shook my head dismissively. ”You shouldn bother yourself with that. So, why are you here? Have you gotten information about the girl? ” I asked.
”Yes, I have. Apparently, her mother isn from these parts and had an affair with her father. Her birth was hidden from his wife and children until her mother suddenly died when she was five years old and her father had no other choice than to take her in, since she is his daughter after all, ” he explained.
”I see. So, theyve been maltreating her ever since then? ” I asked.
He nodded his head in the affirmative. ”Thats what everyone said when I asked. According to them, the father doesn partake in the maltreatment, but he turns a blind eye to it. Practically speaking, its very possible that they used her as a bait for them to escape more efficiently without telling her where they were truly headed, ” he responded.
I heaved a sigh. ”I can really say, you know. She seems as though she knows something, I can sense it, ” I said, thinking hard.
”Well, torturing her won make her reveal what she knows. Try to be less stricter on her, ” Jeffrey advised.
I scoffed. ”I tried doing that today, but she had the guts to talk back at me. Can you even imagine? ” I inquired.
”She probably didn mean it that way. She looks innocent and gentle if you ask me… ”
”No one asked you though. Tell me something, Jeffrey. Why are you trying so hard to defend this girl? Is there something I should know about? ” I asked him in a firm tone.
”No, not at all. Im only worried that you would end up making a mistake which you would regret later on, ” he said.
”And why should I regret anything concerning her? ” I retorted.
”I know. ”
”What do you know? ” I asked.
”I know that she is the maiden you were with the other night, ” he responded.
I looked up at him as I clenched my fists tightly, wondering how he had found out about it. ”How do you know? When did you find out? ” I inquired.
”I know you better than anyone else. I saw the look on your face when you saw her, I understood your conversation and I saw the ring your late mother gave you which you had given to her, ” he said.
My eyes twitched from side to side, till I finally heaved a sigh after deciding on what to say exactly.
e not far from the truth. However, you must understand that what we shared for just one night can not change the fact that her family is responsible for the death of my father, ” I said.
”Her family, not her. Don you care for her? Are you sure you won regret your actions sooner or later? ” Jeffrey asked.
”Enough! ” I thundered.
He mellowed and kept quiet.
I stood up to address him properly, with my hands crossed at my back. ”I have no feelings whatsoever for that wolf which is as weak as a kitten. I do not care about her, and I certainly won regret my actions towards her in the future or even in my next life. You must not tell anyone that I once had something to do with her or bring up this matter again. If you do, I would forget that you are my friend and deal mercilessly with you. You are dismissed, ” I said, then walked out on him before heading into my chambers.
It was a cold dark night and I was all alone in the throne room. I called out for someone to hear me, but no one appeared before me, much to my annoyance. Certainly, I was going to fire every one of the servants from their posts due to their negligence and nonchalant attitude towards work.
I stepped out of the throne room and when I went outside, the territory was in flames and not a single person was in sight. My lips quaked and my entire body trembled as I walked gently in horror and fear.
”Jeffrey! ” I called.
He didn respond.
”Veronica! ” Silence.
”Roman! Lady Millicent! Where is everyone? ” I called in despair, flinching hard at the unbearable sight.
Everyone was gone, and I couldn even tell where they were at that moment.
”Where is everyone? Why am I the only one here? ” I asked.
”You are not alone, ” I heard a soothing calm voice say behind me.
I turned around, and there she was, dressed in a long flowing white dress with her golden blonde hair fluttering in the night wind. She was beautiful and although her eyes appeared sad, she had on a smile.
”Layla? ” I called, feeling relieved.
”Yes, it is me, ” she said.
My fingers trailed across her cheeks. ”You really are here, but I didn call for you, ” I said.
”Whether you call for me or not, I am always here with you, ” she told me.
However, right in that moment, it began to drizzle and suddenly, there was a gunshot which led to her screaming in anguish.
”Layla! ” I yelled, tears welling up in my eyes as I held her in my arms.
”Im sorry. I really wanted to be here with you, ” she said, and like that, her eyes closed.
”Layla! ” I screamed, just as my eyes opened to see that it had all been a terrible nightmare.
I sat on my bed, panting heavily as the nightmare kept playing and replaying in my mind. How dare she die in my dream? How dare she?! She couldn die. I didn want her to freaking die.
”Arrgh! ” I yelled out loud, rubbing my head which was aching terribly.
”Your Highness, are you okay? ” two guards asked as they ran into my bedroom and turned on the lights.
I swallowed. ”Im okay, its nothing. You may go, ” I said.
I wasn a novice when it came to having nightmares, but it was the first time I was having one about Layla.
I ran my fingers through my hair. ”What is wrong with me? ” I asked myself in a whisper.
Perhaps, it was what Jeffrey had said to me that was messing with my mind and thats how I had seen her in my dreams. Well, it was meaningless and wasn going to have any effect whatsoever. Thankfully, it hadn been real and that was all it was going to remain – a nightmare, nothing more.
A fierce breeze blew, stirring the curtains and sending chills down my spine. It continued to blow, and perceiving the dust which scattered outside in the air, I knew for certain that it was going to rain.
Climbing out of the bed, I hurriedly quickly to the windows and shut them tightly, after which I pulled the curtains to settle together on the rails. I opened it gently again as I stared out the window, engrossed in my thoughts as it began to rain in torrents.
It was at that moment that the nightmare flashed through my mind. Jeez! Layla! I had totally forgotten that she had been locked up outside in a cage, and she might catch a cold or probably die if she remained outside all through the night.
Immediately, I left my bedroom, throwing on a shirt as I moved with heightened speed.
The guards looked concerned, but I told them not to mind me and remain at their duty posts as I found my way outside, but not before collecting the keys to the padlock of the cage which Layla was locked in.
”Xavier, ” Veronica called as soon as I stepped on the veranda.
”What are you doing here by this time? ” I asked.
”Relax, it is only 8pm. I was having a discussion with Roman and lost track of time. He has gone to get me an umbrella, so that I can be on my way home, ” she explained.
”Okay, then, ” I said, then walked away from her.
”Where are you off to in this heavy rain? ” she called after me.
I didn bother to reply her as I raced now to where the cage had been placed, which was at the back of the Palace. It was raining cats and dogs, and I couldn imagine the kind of agony she was probably going through presently.
Seconds later, I came across the cage. There she was, drenched in the rain as she shivered tremendously. I didn know why, but seeing her that way, my heart ached and it hurt me to see her hurt.
”No, this can be. I should be rejoicing, not pitying her condition right now, ” I said to myself.
As much as I tried to deny it, I knew better than to deceive myself. I felt drawn to her, and with every drop of rain that fell, so did the thumping of my heart increase.
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