The hallways are towering and forbidding. The gothic craftsmanship seems impossible to construct, but I also didn’t know what kind of technology inhabits this place.
A thrill shoots through me, and even though I am a servant, I will admit that this is still awesome. Seriously, when we go into room after room I actually have to make sure my mouth is not hanging open. I feel like I’m starring in my own movie and all of this scenery should be bright green in the large green room. The complex special effects added later. The walls look like they’re made out of a dark organic material that reminds me of granite or marble. I don’t think a bomb could take out this place. I have so many questions, my curiosity banging on all cylinders now. But I’m not dumb enough to ask the Headmaster, “These wall are fabulous, what are they made out of?”
And then, “What’s your favorite color?”
The headmaster does not strike me as a chatty sort.
With heads lowered, nobody talks—ever. We all follow the Headmaster to our next duties. We have already beaten the carpets in some of the spare bedrooms and replaced all of the linens. Apparently, kingdoms from all over are coming for the Garthorn festivities.
Rumor has it, that grand balls will be held because Prince Apollo needs to find a dearly betrothed. King Augustus’s last dying wish is to see his eldest son married. Mort confirmed earlier that she thought the King’s sudden health decline is caused from foul play. And, Apollo could be next.
Someone wants the throne and I would assume they do not want to see Apollo be King. Perhaps a younger brother? An uncle? Hard to say, I can’t find out much being a slave so maybe the other girls are having better luck. Ivy is the spy, I wonder what dirt she is uncovering being next to the Queen.
The footman caught up with us on our cleaning spree and ran up to the Headmaster. After a few words the Headmaster claps her hands. “Attention! The house of Galleon had just arrived, spilt up into pairs and see to their needs right away!” She points at two girls to my left. “You two go to the queen and the princess immediately.”
Apparently I am their lost princess.
“Mort,” I whisper as we scurry off to help the royal family.
“I am assuming Peirce put memories of me in the family of Galleon?”
“Yes, and it’s complicated.”
We pass a couple guards and I lower my head not wanting to draw attention. “How is Laura the princess?”
“She does not have royal blood. The second Queen of Galleon had an affair without the King knowing.” We turn a sharp corner and stop, waiting till the coast is clear. If we are caught talking I am assuming there will be h*ll to pay.
“Go on,” I whisper, impatient.
“Your mother Alexandria had you with the King, Bel De Monte, then she was murdered. She fell off a cliff and was declared that she committed suicide. I do not think that’s what happened and you can probably guess the same. The king remarried Laura’s mother Irena. Irena then had an affair with one of the king’s advisors, I am not sure which one. But Laura does not have royal blood, and I believe whoever disposed of your mother also got rid of you.” Mort whispers quickly then glances around.
Is it weird that I feel pain at not knowing my fake mother? Probably because I never had parents of my own. “I’m placing a bet on Queen Irena, and If I’m right I am going to bring that ***** down.” How dare that woman kill my fake mother?! And sell me to the highest bidder, no doubt. “What did they say happened to me? How old?”
“You were four. Your family picture is still hanging in the Galleon Castle.”
“How will they know it’s me?”
I’m so confused at this point.
“Your eye color.” Mort continues, “Among other proof, like a DNA test. But you are the only other person to possess snake-eyes besides the lost princess of Galleon. Your real name if it gets to that is Ursula.”
“I picked it out, Peirce let me.”
“That’s the name you picked out?!” I ask in horror.
She looks genuinely offended. “It’s a beautiful name ungrateful human!”
“Shhh!” I place my hand over her mouth. “You want people to hear us? Fine, it’s a lovely name.”
We hear voices then they fade again thankfully, my heart pounding.
“Is this what really happened? Or is this all made up by Fairy Godmother Inc.?”
Mort nods. “Mostly. The real princess of Galleon also possessed snake-eyes weirdly enough, but we cannot use her name because she ended up dying. So you can avenge her death. Irena’s affair lead to Laura, fate works it out somehow to where it does not upset the shift in the Universe but benefits it. But everything is pretty dead on.”
“I’m starting to see, sort of.”
No wonder Peirce and Fairy Godmother were giving me weird looks, my eyes color.
Mort is typing and blinking now. “the plan of action I came up with is to get Laura’s DNA. Not sure how, maybe off of a glass or napkin.”
“They have DNA tests?”
“Of course, Garthorn is very advanced. Just no one ever doubted Queen Irena to cheat, leading to an illegitimate child. Or if someone knew I’m sure they were silenced.” Mort is still typing. “Peirce just said all players are at Garthorn castle. Update.”
A wave of panic hit me. “We better leave and go to our duties. That means house of Mont Gallow just arrived and the headmaster is probably having a cow!”
Another day has passed.
I don’t think I have worked so hard in my life.
On my only hour break I slept hard core. My body aches and my feet are still throbbing from going up flights of stairs for hours. I have not seen Apollo since our time on the ship just like I feared. I spotted Cherie from a distance, but I could not say hi, being a slave in all. Must keep our heads down an averted from our betters.
Slaves know our place.
Envy washes through me upon seeing what gown Peirce made for her. It is dazzling emerald green and cream lace, a vision. But she is also on the arm of her soon-to-be-husband. He is a handsome fellow but didn’t hold a candle to Apollo Augustus Garthorn the third. Still though, she is better off than I am. I feel like all she has to do is tell Apollo she dislikes her betrothed and wants out.
My plight is quite desolate.
“Get up!” Mort yells in my ear.
I have no enthusiasm. All hope is lost for me. I just pray someone else gets Apollo over entitled Laura. Barf.
Mort smiles. “We have to go wash up a mess that was made by the royal hounds, mud and water.”
I barely look at her, wondering if she’d lost her mind as well.
“The mess is right next to the drawing room where Laura is, and I believe Apollo is there with his brothers.”
I jump out of bed so fast I think I up-set the gravitational pull of the planet. I have to see them out of curiosity, in my defense. We both are power walking towards the main wing of the castle like it’s an Olympic race. It takes us fifteen minutes but we arrive in the main hall, the grand entrance.
The hall is gigantic with ceilings so high I can barely see the top of their splendor. People are everywhere, servants and royalty in the massive mix. We keep our heads down as I follow Mort toward the dog mess. The grand hall thins out and breaks off into two large rooms, the drawing room and the grand library.
There’re not very many people down this far and I immediacy spot the muddy mess by a back entrance to the royal kitchen. My heart starts to pound when I hear laughter coming from the drawing room.
“Look from over here,” Mort whispers and jerks her head. “You can see inside.”
I get down on my hands and knees and pretend I’m cleaning along with Mort. Don’t mind us, just poor little servants. I inch forward and slightly turn my long brim bonnet to the left.
That’s when I see Apollo Augustus Garthorn.
I have to say his full name because I don’t know him.
Que pity party.
But goodness that man is handsome. Finely dressed in an all-black dress coat and tight black pants showcasing the thick muscle of his thighs. I keep my mouth shut so I don’t drool. The style is very eighteenth century Europe but with their own futuristic twist. Apollo’s sleek boots went up to his knees and the crisp white shirt is tied together at the neck. The necktie looks like it’s weaved from pure gold matching the undertones of his hair.
He smiles at something and I realize he is leaning up against a large black piano. The color drains from my face as I hear a lovely opera voice drift out of the room.
“I guess we know what talent Laura requested,” Mort whispers next to me, rolls her eyes.
A beautiful voice.
Her blond hair is piled up high on her head and she is wearing a lovely lilac gown. Thanks a lot Pierce, way to make my life miserable. Apollo is watching her and I can’t see his expression. But I can see that Laura is closing her eyes as she hits a high note making me want to vomit.
“Her breasts are bigger too,” Mort confirms to my dismay.
“We need a diversion.”
My head whips to hers. “What?”
Mort looks ******. “Ohhhh. I hate her agent Leenie.”
I glance back and see the plain maid by Laura’s side with a smile on her face.
“At this rate they both will win.” She gets up and leaves me, disappearing though to the kitchen. “Mort!” I hiss.
I start scrubbing the floor in case anyone glances over, my nerves in a jumble.
Minutes later Mort reappears and throws a piece of meat at me, bits of steak littering my basic gray gown. “What in the world?!” I stare up at her and frown at her wicked smile.
Panic hits me. “No, Mort! Whatever you’re thinking, don’t!” I sizzle.
I suddenly hear dogs, lots of them.
Oh for the love of everything that is holy.
It happens so fast I don’t have time to run, I am being trampled by three large and slobbery blood hounds. I scream. I hear fabric ripping from somewhere on my person and I make out distant shouts to my left. I am covering my head as I am being trampled by hyper and hungry canines.
I feel a sharp pain on my leg and I gasp in agony.
Make it stop!
Mort will pay.
I scream again as I suddenly feel myself being lifted and my whole body being thrown off kilter. Panic rises in my chest as I realize I’m being carried like a sake of potatoes! I hear a loud male’s voice yelling something causing me to tense.
My hair is tangled around my head preventing me from seeing straight, but I know that voice. My heart leaps to life and fright sets in. seconds later I am dumped on something hard and it’s not until I can get the hair out of my face does my world come into focus.
Apollo’s face is right in front of mine and his dark eyes widen when we make contact. The impact of the eye contact felt like someone took a bat to my head. I slowly glance around to see that he carried me into the back entrance of the kitchen. I am sitting on a table, Apollo’s face in line with my chest.
“You,” he accuses. He glances past me to all of the kitchen staff that is frozen from shock by the incident. “Everyone leave now. Tell someone to fetch the healer.”
Then he leaves! He leaves me sitting here on the table and I hear voices talking outside the door. I don’t think my pulse has slowed down even a hint from ramming speed. What am I to do? My cheeks stain red in embarrassment. I wince and I try to move off to table right when Apollo returns.
He points at me. “Don’t move.”
He comes to stand right in front of me, arms braced on the table on either side.
Oh. My. Goodness. He. Is. Close.
I swallow and try to breath. “Thanks for saving me,” I whisper not knowing what else to say.
His dark gaze glitters as the light catches them. He says nothing as his stare travels down my neck and lower to my ripped gown. “You’re hurt.”
“Not bad,” I get out, still scared to move.
Apollo’s hands move to my torn dress and yanks it open making me gasp. My thighs are exposed and my nylons are ripped. I have a gash on the side of my leg but I am too focused on my exposed thighs. I take steady breaths as I watch Apollo stare down at me, his chest taking a large breath.
His hand feathers across my knee then higher to my exposed thigh causing an army of butterflies to take flight in the pit of my stomach. “Your skin, is soft, perfect,” he says almost to himself.
Thank you Fairy Godmother Inc. for that one.
Very grateful for that at this moment because my legs do look killer.
He raises his black gaze and a shiver runs down my spine. “Amnesia you say? I had my people look into your situation further and I can’t find anything. Why is that?”
I shrug and glace away, not being able to hold his stare. “That’s the thing with amnesia, you can’t remember.”
“Uh-huh,” he murmurs and nods. He looks back down to my legs and I can see his jaw flex. Then he grabs both of my thighs making me yelp. I am helpless as he spreads my legs and steps in between them bringing us very close. I can’t breathe. I feel his heat, I can smell the intoxicating sent of him and it makes me dizzy.
The position is scandalous.
Even for my standards.
But I don’t move. I look up at him and narrow my eyes. “You think you can man handle me because I am a slave?”
His face mere inches from mine. “Absolutely. But you should already know that being a slave,” he shot back and shifts his weight, hands tightening on my thighs.
I bite my lip as he leans closer, I feel his breath on my jawline. “Maybe I was not a slave beforehand.”
Apollo laughs. “I think that’s a safe bet.”
“You’re so sure?”
I have to ease into this lost princess thing.
Time to stop acting like a slave and grow some balls. “Then help me find out who I am,” I offer and grin up at him making Apollo raise a brow. “And, Let go of me. Seeing how we both know what I’m clearly am not.” I jerk my legs and kick him hard in the stomach.
That shocks him, his eyes are wide but he is quick and he pins me yet again. His mouth right next to my ear and grabs my hair to prevent me from moving. A thrill shoots through me. I feel his hot lips on my neck and then I feel him smile. “I would watch yourself Angel, because I am the complete opposite.”
He lifts back from me and walks to the door without a second glance. I am left there breathing hard and a smile spreads over my face.
Mort deserves a metal for this one.
I still have a silly smile on my face as the medical help arrive.