Chapter 19

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Master is sitting at his desk, legs crossed, staring steadily at me. Still, I keep my head and eyes lowered to the maple floors of his study.

I'm afraid to meet his eyes. It was glowing completely golden in the dark just earlier. He must be angry.

"Evelyn."

"Yes Master?" I say as I look up instinctually.

He folds his long slender fingers together in contemplation. "You heard everything?" he asked, deep in thought. I nodded, but he already knew. "Questions?"

I nodded. "Are you going to marry Valerie Rosegarden?"

Master looks me dead in the eye. "She will be my wife."

"What happens to Alvena?" I ask without hesitation.

"She's my child bearer. She will remain as...mistress." His tone softened at the word. This time, he looks at me with an even sadder expression. "It was I who chose not to make Alvena my wife. Now it's coming back to bite me."

Master looks anguished. He's probably talking to me because he doesn't have anyone else to discuss these things with. If only Lucien was here, he can maybe lighten the mood. But I still want to help.

"Cancel the wedding." My mouth opened on its own.

"I won't."

That was a fast response. I guess he didn't want to hear that.

His blue eyes scanned mine before letting out a defeated sigh. "Am I despicable?"

"No." Master will never be despicable to me.

He gives me a half-hearted smile. "You must be wondering why I accepted the marriage plans." Master gets up and walks to the window. "Can you keep a secret?"

"I'm hopelessly good at it."

Within a blink's time, he's in front of me, gripping onto my shoulders and leaning down to whisper in my ear.

"War."

I knew I heard correctly when our eyes met. "Master..."

He patted me on the head. "Don't worry, it'll still be some time. But it's never too early to make preparations—at least not to the Elders."

There was a growl at the end of his sentence. He must not like the Elders.

Master sent me back to rest soon after. He told me that everything that happened tonight was meant only for certain people to know. And I wasn't one of them.

But most importantly, I was to keep his arranged marriage to Valerie a secret until after six months. Master said that was all he could do for Alvena without gaining suspicion from the Elders.

After all, it wasn't like he was supposed to love her. She was human; therefore, beneath him.

"Why not tell Alvena?" I remember asking before I left.

Master shook his head. "She'll be upset."

"But she'll know eventually."

There was logic in that. Master knew it too, but he chose to wave it off.

"I just want to keep seeing her smile, that's all I ask."

If Master so asks, Evelyn will do her best.

And so, things remained as they were as if that night never happened.

Master would take Alvena to visit Lucien's castle in Emberwind. Unlike Morwenna and the rest who stayed at the castle, I had to go along. And for most of the trip, I was stuck with the lord of the land.

At one point, I thought I was going to stay there forever. Turns out, that wasn't the case. Master said that without my own consent, he wouldn't let me go.

Afterwards, we visited Niles in Ashenvale, my hometown. Alvena said it's the most beautiful place she had ever seen. She liked the green fields covering most of the land and how everything just seemed to peaceful. She told me to keep that a secret from Master. He still thinks that she's most in love with Argid.

Niles wasn't as hospitable as Lucien. In the daytime, he had Master help look over documents about Ashenvale. I accompanied Alvena to visit and care for the elderly and children.

Master argued that it was impractical to make his wife work.

This was the first time he addressed Alvena that way. It made me happy. It made Alvena even happier.

But Niles replied, "You need time apart to know how precious the other is."

Or so says Niles. We still eat breakfast and dinner everyday together since we arrived in Ashenvale.

Later, Master allowed me to go see my family.

I didn't go.

Our last destination was Flame Keep—the complete opposite of Ashenvale. Master Liam wasn't too excited about visitors. Normally, no one visits there except for Niles. But that didn't mean he wasn't welcoming.

In fact, Master Liam spent every day with us. He didn't make us do labor like Niles. Instead, he personally took us around to sample the food and life of his land. Flame Keep was indeed not what I originally thought it was. Had I been normal, I just might choose to live there. It's really hot there though.

And eventually, we returned to Argid. We skipped Rosehold. Alvena didn't ask why. I had no reason to tell her.

.....

These days, Master and Alvena seem so happy together.

And sometimes strange thoughts like how it feels to hold hands with someone pop into my head.

In the beginning, Alvena would turn red whenever Master held her hand. I thought she hated it. However, that is far from the truth—says Master.

Alvena said, "You give your hand to someone who you're willing to give your life to."

Lucien offered to hold my hand to test out the feeling. However, the only one who I'd give my life to wasn't Lucien.

So I declined.

"My hand will remain here for you to take," Lucien said with a patient smile and a tiny sparkle in his greenish gold eyes. "Whenever you want or need it."

I had a sudden urge to hit him, but I didn't. The urge intensified when Master joked that my face was turning red.

I told Master that I was angry.

Master laughed.

Though I wasn't joking.

But it didn't matter. Alvena was laughing as well.

It was a beautiful melody...as I would later recall.

Because that was the last time, I or anyone else in Argid, would ever hear it.

*****

A/N: Why hello everyone!! Fancy seeing you here at my update :)  I'm afraid I must spill the beans. From here on out...prepare for ANGST....haha jk... or am I??

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