ℌ𝔬𝔴 𝔐𝔢𝔰𝔰𝔶 𝔖𝔥𝔞𝔩𝔩 ℑ𝔱 𝔅𝔢?

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Erin felt the heat from the bowl seeping into her hand as pushed it into Ezra's chest, but she didn't mind the burn because she enjoyed the result: steaming was spilling and seeping into and all over his clothes, and mushy smears of vegetable and oil were splattered in a mess.

"Erina!" Lady Sutherton gasped, horror on every inch of her face.

"Sorry." Erin shrugged nonchalant. "My hand just slipped." Her tongue was coated in sarcasm. "Mista Ezra?" She peered at him, knowing he was trying to process the chaos on his body. "Are you alright?"

He was unresponsive.

"Mister Ezra?" Lady Sutherton called, concern in her wavering eyes.

Lightly exhaling, he looked up from his damp clothes. "I'm fine." He spoke a rigidly and his jaw moved stiffly. "I apologize to concern you all. But I'm fine. It didn't hurt me. It was warm, but not boiling. And besides?" He craned his head towards Erin. "I believe it was an accident." His smile didn't waver, even as he viewed Erin's mean indifference.

"Mmhm," she nodded, the corners of her lips raised into an empty smile.

Lady Sutherton sighed. "Next time Erin don't make such a mess at the table."

"Of course, mother." Smirking, she held out an empty hand. "Now my fresh glass? You never gave it to me?"

In Ezra's raised hand was Erin's wine glass, stuck in his clenched fists. To Erin he appeared to be clutching so tightly she could see the bones in his knuckles.

He glanced at his fist and then to Erin. "Yes." He sat the glass on the table gently. "Do you want something to drink now?"

"Mmhm," she happily purred, smile wide. Just the mere sight of his dying, fizzling smile was enough to make her feel accomplished.

"Alright." He reached into the service cart, randomly tugging out another wine bottle and refilling her glass with tense silence.

"Thank you, Dullard." She exposed the whites of her teeth and sharpness of her canines.

"Of course." He returned her smile. "Now, shall I continue with my story?" He turned his eyes to Lord and Lady Sutherton.

"Please do." Lady Sutherton was eager to say.

Erin's smile quickly died. Just as soon as she controlled the room, he snatched it right back.

"So, as I was saying, what happened next sounds unbelievable, but it is entirely true." Ezra continued with a gesture of his hands. "The Lord happened to be racing the horses with a fellow acquaintance. But they were running a little too rough."

"This doesn't sound good already," Lady Sutherton cautiously added.

"No, no, no it doesn't." Erin interrupted with a mocking tone. "Oh, I'm so excited to hear you continue, Mista Ezra!" Disgust crept along her lips as the words escaped.

He smiled. "Thanks. But, yes, you are both right, it wasn't good because soon he was launched off his horse. He hit the ground so hard everyone could hear the crack of bones from afar. So, immediately we called the doctor. Doctor comes in, does the check up, and determines him to be fine. He had some scratches from the incident, but he seemed in good health---according to the doctor."

"Then what went wrong?" Lady Sutherton asked.

"The key was the problem was not physical, it was mental. The duke had hit his head on that bad spot in such a way that a fit of mania and delusion took him. He falsely assumed that his doctor was his long-lost and very dead brother whom he despised."

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