It was just like I remembered. The house on the hill in the middle of a forest, near a stream and a twenty minute carriage ride from town. The walls were the same, no trace of the fire, no hint of death... but it was empty.
All six of us stood in front of the huge building and stared, I shivered involuntarily and Tyce's arm tightened around me.
"We could just have another house built near the castle," Draven said, glancing at me. "Azel's already making you see him every month as retribution for running off before we found out what happened."
Both Tyce and I stiffened a little at that. I still loved Azel, just not in the way he wanted... I really did not like having to see him every month like this; but if it gave me Tyce, I'd deal.
"We have to get over what happened," I said bravely. "Besides, I want to be home. I want to see the headstones."
"Okay," he nodded. "Let's go then."
"After you," I smiled wryly. He just laughed and stared up the steps to the all too familiar front door.
It was even the same inside... Azel had spared no expense with the re-build. Someone cold and splintery turned in my chest at the sight of my old home. Images of my siblings running around like headless chickens, my mother laughing, father sighing with a smile... they all haunted me. I couldn't help but feel a tear well up. I brushed it away quickly and walked further into the house.
There were little differences, like the color of the rugs and drapes and sound of shoes clacking against hardwood. Those differences helped, helped me to remember that things had changed, that my family wasn't going to simply come back from a long holiday.
"You okay?" Tyce asked gently.
"Yeah," I nodded. "I want to see the headstones."
"Okay," he said, steering us towards the back of the house and the back door.
There had been nothing left after the fire, so there was nothing in the graves... but there were headstones and it somehow made me feel better that they were there. It felt like they were still here in a way. I knew instantly that I'd be spending a long time talking to mom, it was nice to have here close, in a sense.
We stood by the headstones and I tried very hard not to cry. I promised myself on the way here that I would not cry. The brothers were waiting for us at the front of the house. It took a long moment, but I composed myself, gave a little prayer to my mother and went back to the front of the house.
We waited for Draven, my hand in Tyce's and when he came back; I unlocked the door with the key Azel gave me. I didn't really want to go inside. I was sure that I would instantly relive the last moments I spent in this house... but Draven took my hand and tugged me along. He was right, we had to get this over with.
I walked through that door, prepared to have a breakdown, but found that I was perfectly fine. In fact... it was like some great weight had been lifted off of me. I took a deep breath and for the first time in over two years, I relaxed. It was like I was being welcomed, I felt my family close and it was wonderful.
I hitched my bag up over my shoulder and went for the stairs, pulling Tyce along with me by the hand. My brother and his brothers had no idea that we'd slept together and for Tyce's sake I wasn't going to tell Draven... but I wanted to show him where my room was so he could have the one next door. Whenever I could, I was definitely sneaking into his room. We all took rooms close to each other and Draven went out pretty quickly to hire servants to start getting this place up and running.
I knew that the news that we were back was going to spread like wild-fire... most people would assume that I'd be getting back together with Azel, especially if the news gets out that I'm seeing him every month. It was going to be difficult to get through this, but as I said before, if all this gave me Tyce, I didn't care what I'd have to go through.
That night we had our first servant cooked meal in the house. I was surprised that servants and cooks were that willing to come back here considering what happened two years ago... but I soon found out why. I was swamped with people asking questions. I told them that Azel was innocent and that we were not together and that it was Lord Marc Parr who had ordered the arson of my home.
Then there were the maids. Four maids came to be my personal servants; I had no idea that I'd been so popular to people while I was here. They fussed over me like crazy. My hair was brushed a million times, they mourned at the sight of my scars and laced me up into corset dresses so tight and elegant I felt like I'd pass out if I so much as stood up.
So at dinner my hair was all piled on top of my head, my dress was suffocating me and I absolutely adored how sexy Tyce looked in those high-class clothes. I also loved how he looked at me in the dress. The looks he was giving me was the only reason I put up with the dress, otherwise I would have been walking around in peasant clothes with no problems.
"How does it feel?" Draven asked the brothers. "Being waited on by servants."
"Weird," Nix admitted.
"I like it," Finn said happily, digging into his meat.
"The clothes are more comfortable than I expected," Ryder said, looking at the slightly ruffled sleeve of his shirt.
"Speak for yourself," I said grimly.
The laughed at that. I couldn't laugh if I wanted enough air to stay conscious. Tomorrow I was telling the maids that comfortable was more important than fashionable. I wasn't really trying to impress anyone here. Well I was always trying to impress Tyce, but he'd seemed impressed with me when I was sweaty, exhausted and covered in dirt; so there was no real point in huge fancy dresses that threatened to suffocate me.
We agreed to all go into town tomorrow for clothes and furnishings for the house (all it had was beds, wardrobes, a sofa and an armchair) then turned in for the night. It was true that all our rooms were close, but only mine and Tyce's were side by side. In fact they had a connecting door. His room had been a spare room, I'd used it as a play room as a child because it attached to mine.
The maids helped me out of the tight dress and into a cotton nightgown. I sighed in relief; it was so nice to be able to breathe again. Draven came to tell me goodnight a while later and finally I clambered into bed. I was exhausted with all that had happened. I was home... it was such a fantastic feeling I could have died of joy in that moment. With a sigh of content, my eyes slipped close.
Someone clicked in the corner of my room, but I was too tired to look up. When someone slipped into my bed a moment later and a warm arm curled around my waist I grinned. Okay now I could have died of joy.
"Goodnight," Tyce murmured.
"Night," I wiggled, making myself more comfortable against him.
He laughed softly and tightened his arm. I sighed again and drifted off.
Ok... that's it for the Emerald Theif :-) I really hope that everyone who read it all the way to the end liked it! I must confess that it's my favorite story on Wattpad at the moment ^_^
I am posting a sequel called 'The Cloaked Lady' very very soon, it's already started :-) I hope that everyone who liked this story will read it! The sequel starts 5 years after this story ends... I hope you like it x
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The Emerald ThiefFantasy
Esmeralda Stonegate has lived on the run for the past 2 years. She doesn't talk about why to anyone, not even her brother. She swore to herself never to cross the sea back to the land she's running from. She's about to break that promise. The Knight...