Chapter 6

She hands him the keys before going back to her seat.

“I think you might need some shirt,” she mumbles out more to say something than anything else.

“Do I?” is his response, removing the rest of the manacles and chains.

“I don’t think you have told me your name,” Elysia inquires, now with a good distance between them.

He lounges back on his chair, still shirtless. He really needs a shirt, she can’t help thinking.

“What is yours?”

Elysia is caught off guard by his question. “What?”

“Your name, sweetheart,” he answers reprimandingly, “You should say your name first. It’s the courtesy, isn’t it?”

Her temper rises, “Don’t call me sweetheart!” Who is he to reprimand her and to call her sweetheart, no matter how attractive he is? This guy doesn’t understand the situation he is in. She was thinking to secretly free him, if possible—it is a great risk to do so, probably dangerous, because no one has ever freed a slave and there is a reason—but maybe she should make him stay here out of spite. No, she would not do that. She would not do that sort of thing.

“Your Highness.” Her inner conflict comes to a halt because of a voice coming from the door and she finds the butler there standing.

Lasric looks around her age, although his actual age is decades older than her, about the same age as Kannax she thinks. Lasric throws a glance at her and him.  

“What is it, Lasric?” As he has been in this household since she was a baby, they are on familiar terms.

“Nothing important, your highness. I am only checking if you need anything since you bought a slave.” She notices the emphasis on the word ‘slave’. She has never encountered Lasric being cruel or mean to anyone but she knows he has the view that everyone should act according to their own position.  

“Right. Can you prepare a room and changes of clothes for him? Also, please provide him what he needs.”

“As you wish, your highness.”

“Wait. Please inform me when my mother returns, Lasric,” Elysia says to Lasric, who is preparing to leave.

“Your mother has already returned, your highness. On my way here, I noticed her coming this way. I think she was coming to you.” he answers leisurely.

“Is there anything else, your highness?”

“No. you may go.”

Elysia needs to talk with him and make things clear first; she can’t allow her mother to see him. In no chance, she would let Elysia do a dangerous thing such as freeing a slave since they have to guard up all the time no to attract unwanted attention.

Directing toward her bed-chamber, she says in a rush, “You, go hide in that room and close the door!”

He listens to her without a complaint but he must think she is joking, Elysia thinks in a sudden burst of anger. Because he rises from his seat and then takes carefree steps as though he is sightseeing in a garden. She could not deal with this!

“What are you doing?! Quickly!” she grits out.

“Alright, sweetheart,” he gives her an innocent smile, which is obviously fake, and closes the door behind him after entering.

Just in time, her mother walks in without knocking on the door as usual; she still treats her like a baby even though she has turned nineteen.

“What a pleasant surprise, mother! I thought you were at the court,” she says, trying to smile but ending up with a grimace. She sneaks a look at her bed-chamber, hoping her mother would not want to talk in there.

“I don’t even want to talk about it,” Sumerie says with a shake of her head. That phrase is a cue to ‘I am going to talk until you stop me’.

“Then don’t, mother,” Elysia replies sweetly. Her mother lounges on a couch across the room, a signal that she is not leaving anytime soon.

Elysia is so busy thinking about how to deal with her dilemma that she only catches some words such as ‘new wife’ and ‘young’. To sum it up, the king is getting a new wife, but she does not care. It is not her problem. She never understood why her mother would care about such things either. As far as she knows, her mother neither loves the king nor does she care so much about the wealth the king has granted her. From the beginning, Consort Sumerie was forced to be one of the king’s many women.

Given how the consort is quite chatty, she might look like an open book to anyone else, but Elysia knows better.

Whenever Elysia asked her about things she did not want to answer, the consort would change the subject and if she can’t she would go philosophical by saying non-answers such as ‘Ignorance is a bliss’, or ‘we should leave the past behind.’ All of which pretty much nonsense to Elysia.

About half an hour into the one-way conversation, Elysia is not even thinking about her problem anymore. She is now really bored, vaguely thinking what a relief that her mother has not found out about her activities this afternoon.

Thankfully, she hears her mother announces, “I am going to rest in my room, darling,” after it seems like forever. Upon her mother’s leaving, she crosses the parlor to her bed-chamber.

She finds him at the corner table, his back facing the entrance where she is standing.

“You can get out now,” she informs.

Getting no reply, she approaches him. As she is getting nearer, she notices he is holding something in his right hand.

She finds that out to be the crystal goblet she made Clara hide earlier. By its side is the blood bottle.

Before she knows it, she is by his side. She commands him, “Put that down! Don’t touch my things”

“This is blood,” he remarks as though he is talking about today’s weather, ignoring her. He puts the goblet back down onto the table. “That was what you wanted from me, wasn’t it? At the auction. My blood?” He looks down into her eyes, deciphering her.

“No, it was—” she swallows, “it was not—”

He presses a finger on his lips, “Shh…”

Suddenly, her bodily functions seem to stop working. She is rooted to the spot, gazing up into his eyes, unable to find the words. He takes a few steps to close the distance between them. So close. She can almost feel his hot breath on her brow.  

“Please don’t insult my intelligence.” His voice is oddly rough, like the wind that brushes past a rocky cliff, making her shiver. “I saw that. I saw your hunger for my blood.”

“It was an accident. Really.” Finally, she finds her voice. “Because I was starving!” Yes, she must be.

“Why are you nervous? I am your slave,” he says so softly, “Of course I’ll let you drink my blood.”

She wants to say ‘no’ but somehow the word doesn’t come out of her mouth. Startled by the sudden realization of her state, she turns away almost in a run to the rope that is hanging from the ceiling. Before she has completed understood what she is doing, she has summoned the guards who are followed by Lasric and they are at the door of her chambers.

“You. Did. Not. Have. To. Do. That.” There is a sudden burst of fire in his eyes. “Just say the word ‘leave’ and I would have.”

Then he strides towards the guards and the butler. As soon as everyone is out of her sight, Elysia feels all her energy drained from her and slumps to the carpeted floor. Her eyes roam around the room to all the tapestries, the carpet, the bed, and all the furniture. They are in various shades of purple and should be beautiful to her, but now they are just the meaningless things under her purposeless eyes.

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