The dinner was quite peaceful. Everyone seemed happy and conversed on different topics. Kaiya got to meet everyone that lived in the Silverstein Palace. The gardens and other areas around the Palace were managed by butlers that were not allowed to step inside this building, so there were only eight maids. And two of them were solely responsible for accompanying Roselyn Silverstein. The little devil that loved creating mischief all the time. Kaiya was scared of this little girl. She looked like a beautiful child, but she was terrifyingly intelligent for her age. And then there was the strange ability she had demonstrated earlier. Kaiya couldn’t help but imagine what might have happened if it was her skin and not her dress that had been turned to waste.
No one had explained to her what had happened earlier, and how this little girl was able to do what she had done. But she remembered Keira telling her that Shazan had a strange ability where he could control the minds of people, and so she thought that his daughter must have inherited something similar. Merilyn introduced Kaiya to the maids first. The eldest of the maids was only 20 years old, and she was responsible for the management of the other maids. Her name was Lena, and her specialty was her cooking skills. And needless to say, the dinner was mouthwateringly delicious. She had no appetite after the scare she had received by the little girl, but after she took her first bite, she just kept eating. Kaiya had never before eaten so much in her life.
“Lena can cook every cuisine in this world. Just let her know what your favorite dishes are, and she will prepare them for you.” Merilyn told her.
“Yes, Mother.” She nodded.
What intrigued and surprised her was that all the eight maids sat on the same table with them. They were all conversing happily with each other, and it was just like they were all part of one family. She didn’t voice her questions or ask Merilyn about it. It was not like it bothered her. She was just curious why things were the way they were. Also, every single maid was beautiful. It was as if the most beautiful maids in the world had been personally hand-picked by someone and placed in one place. Lena was a Latin beauty with olive skin and chocolate hair and eyes. The two 15-year-old maids responsible for Rose were fraternal twins, they were both blonde and had hazel eyes. And their names rhymed as well. The girl with the heart-shaped face was Mina, and her sister who had a round face was Nina. Ella, Joanna, Mary, Isha were the names of the other maids. The last one was a red-haired beauty named Renesme. She was Shazan’s Personal Maid.
The two people who were not present on the dinner table were Arianna Silverstein and her shadow Maira Aryan. They were out on a dinner party with their friends from school. Karen just seemed too busy feeding and conversing with the little Rose. She looked just like a mother showering her care and love on her beloved child. Kaiya kept looking at them, and the cheerful laughter and the beautiful smile of the little girl warmed her heart up. She was Shazan’s daughter, and that meant that she was her daughter as well. The little Rose caught her looking at them and smiled brightly.
“Kaiya Mommy, we will play all night tonight! It’s your welcome party!”
“Y-yes.” Kaiya was flustered when she heard her address her as Mommy.
“No, you are not playing tonight. You have had enough fun for the day. You will go to bed after dinner.” Marilyn said to Rose.
“Mina… Tell lady Marilyn that I am not talking to her.” Rose pouted and said to her maid.
“I said I am sorry… I was busy this evening. I promise I will take your dance lessons in the morning. Please don’t be mad at me?” Marilyn gently said to the little girl.
“Nina… Tell lady Marilyn that I will be waiting for her in the practice room in the morning.” The little Rose said and accepted the spoon full of dessert that Karen had offered.
Marilyn could only helplessly sigh at her behavior.
“I will be there. It’s a promise.” She said. “But you are not allowed to stay up tonight. You will be going to bed, and if you don’t, I will inform your Father about it.”
Roselyn stubbornly locked her arms on her chest.
“Huh… He didn’t come home in the last 17 days. And he didn’t even meet me today. I am going to punish him when he returns.” She said and nodded to herself.
Kaiya could not help but smile at her words. Rose seemed to be the kind of daughter who could punish her father. And she was certain that Rose would keep her word.
“Come, I will take you to your room.” Karen said and gestured to Rose.
“But I don’t want to go to bed right now.” Rose complained but accepted the hand Karen had offered.
When they were about to exit the room the little girl turned around and pulled her hand free from Karen’s hand.
“Renesme!” She excitedly said. “I want to sleep with you tonight.”
The red-haired maid smiled gently at her and got up from her seat. She went over and picked the little Rose up in her arms.
“Come.” Her voice was gently sweet, and she planted a kiss on her tip of the nose.
Rose returned her kiss by kissing her on the cheek and wrapped her arms around her neck.
Karen kissed on her daughter’s head before Renesme took her to her room. She then came back to the table and looked at Kaiya.
“Come. I will show you around the Palace.”
Kaiya nodded and got up from her seat. She took the hand Karen had offered and nodded to the rest of the people on the table before leaving with her.
“Karen-nee, let’s head to my room first? I want to change my clothes.” She embarrassedly said. She was wearing Marilyn’s gown right now and was naked under it.
“Don’t worry about it. No guards and butlers ever step inside the building. There are only us here.”
Marilyn had already informed her about this. She was really glad that there were no men in the building. She didn’t want to show this state of her to any man.
“Why do you think Rose broke your dress?” Karen asked her lightly and smiled.
“Because she wanted to show her strange ability?” Kaiya was not sure why Karen would ask this.
“She might behave like a child and always wear that cheerful smile, but she’s very intelligent and highly protective of Shazan. The things she does almost always have a reason behind them. Well, she does some things without any reason as well.” Karen said and laughed lightly.
Kaiya thought about what Karen was trying to convey in her words. If Rose didn’t do it without any reason then what must be her reason for doing so?
“Was that a warning for me?” She asked as her brows furrowed.
“Yes, she was telling you that if you ever do something wrong, you must remember that she has the power to hurt you.”
“What wrong she doesn’t want me to do?”
“Don’t sadden her family. And just so you know, she loves Arianna, Keira, and Shazan the most.” Karen said and patted her head.
“I won’t hurt anyone.” Kaiya lowered her head and whispered.
“Sometimes, it’s just not in our power.” She said. “But you don’t have to worry about anything. She won’t hurt you because that would make Shazan upset.”
Kaiya felt a little better after hearing these words. She didn’t mean to hurt anyone, and she wanted to get along with everyone in this Palace. It was her family now.
“If you have any questions, you may ask me, okay?” Karen said and showed her around the ground floor.
The ground floor had several dining rooms. One of which was reserved only for the Family. There was a separate wing for the guests. The other wing belonged to Shazan. Karen informed her that it was his study room and personal training room. His room was on the top floor, but there was one on the ground floor as well. Other than these things, there were two gym rooms, one of which was for the family and the other was for the guests. And then there was a movie theatre. It was quite spacious and big.
“I scanned your fingerprints and took out a drop of blood when you were asleep. The rooms here have scanners on them, even on the door knobs. You can only unlock them if your prints are on the main computer.”
Kaiya nodded to her and absorbed all the information that Karen showered on her. It was so interesting, even though she didn’t have much interest in scientific stuff, things that Karen shared with her were all very interesting.
“Also, the private wing of Shazan is the place where no one disturbs him. It’s not like you are not allowed there. It’s just that he doesn’t want to be disturbed when he’s in there. The only ones who disregard this rule are Keira, Arianna, Rose, and Renesme. His Personal Maid is almost always with him when he’s in his wing.” Karen informed her. “Well, sometimes I disregard the rule as well. If it’s something important, you can also disregard it.”
Her words reminded of a question she had in her mind since their dinner.
“Karen-nee, why is Renesme different from the other maids?” She decided to ask this question.
“Renesme is his Personal Maid. And if you are wondering why she looks so refined and beautiful, that’s because she is a princess.”
“Oh…” She was surprised and shocked.
“Also, every woman in this Palace belongs to him.” Karen looked her in the eyes. “So we are all a family. Always remember this.”
That explained why they all sat on the same table and chatted as if they were all sisters. It was an uncommon family. She felt glad about it, but then some part of her heart became uncomfortable. There were just too many pretty girls around him.
Karen caught the change in her expression and gently smiled.
“He has a few more women in his life. But they don’t live with us here.”
“It doesn’t bother you?” Kaiya asked.
“Nope, I have been with him since the day I was born. I am well aware of my importance in his heart. And I am content with it.” Karen said without any hesitation.
Kaiya kept thinking about her answer as they moved to the first floor. Perhaps if she too finds her worth in his heart, him surrounded by women won’t bother her.
The first floor belonged to the women of this Palace. It was their Common Floor. There was a spacious bathhouse, a big living room, a movie theatre, a theatre where Plays and Dances were performed, a practice room, and a firing room.
The firing room scared Kaiya. It was like an armory. There were many different types of guns behind the glassed shelves.
“I will be taking your shooting classes here from tomorrow.”
“W-what?!” Kaiya dumbfoundedly looked at her. “Why do I have to learn this?”
“Umm… Just to learn a new skill? You never know when it might come in handy.” Karen smiled at her. “The swords and blades classes will be taken by Keira and Maira. And it will be either Ilsa or Isha who will be taking your hand to hand combat classes.”
“Does everyone here learn these things?”
“Yes, everyone at least possesses the knowledge of the basics.” Karen nodded. “Also, Marilyn or Ella will be taking your Language classes. You will be learning almost all of the major languages.”
Just the thought of all these classes and work bored Kaiya. Her shoulders slumped down, and she looked at the floor. She felt that too much was being expected of her. All these girls in this Palace were skilled and special. She was worried that she might disappoint Shazan.
“Don’t worry, we will make the learning very easy for you.” Karen gently patted her head.
“Mhm.” Kaiya nodded determinedly. She would at least try her best to learn all these skills.
“Come now, let’s head to the second floor.”
Karen led her to the second floor and then to the third floor. Both the floors had the bedroom that belonged to the ladies of this palace. Majority of the rooms were vacant, and each floor had a big living room on it.
The topmost floor was where Shazan’s room was. Karen only showed it to her from the outside and didn’t take her in. Then she led them to the room next to his.
“This room belongs to Arianna, and the one next to it is Keira’s room. Also, you are not allowed to step inside the secret rooms of this wing.” Karen said solemnly.
“Yes.” Kaiya didn’t know the reason, but she felt that it was better to not ask for it. Karen sounded just too serious.
The two of them went over to the other wing where Karen’s room was, and also the secret monitoring room. Karen took her inside the monitoring room and showed the rest of the Palace from here.
Kaiya was baffled when she saw that there was a camera in each and every room of this Palace. And it made her a little uncomfortable.
“Don’t worry about it. Only the family members have access to this room. And mostly it’s only me monitoring everyone.” Karen laughed lightly. “And it’s not like I don’t know what happened between you on the plane and then in the car.”
“W-what?” Kaiya’s heart skipped a beat, and she almost fell down from her seat.
“Well… There are cameras on the planes and in the cars as well.”
“You watched it all?”
“Yes, and I even made commemoration tapes for you. You can watch them any time you want.”
Kaiya just didn’t know what to say. Things were just so unusual in the place. And the people were even more unusual. She felt that Karen had invaded her privacy, but seeing that it was the same for everyone else, her uneasiness lessened.
“Alright, now pay attention to these places.” Karen brought her back from her thoughts and pointed to the screens. “These are all the entrances of the secret rooms in this Palace. The map is also on your cell phone, but it’s better to remember these places.”
There were dozens of Secret rooms, and it was just too hard for her to remember their positions. She felt so dumb right now that it was embarrassing. However, they had not finished all of the screens when a beep sounded, and a notification popped up on the main computer screen. Karen clicked on it, and then the footage of a car heading towards the Palace appeared on it.
“Arianna’s back.” Karen said and frowned. “She’s early.”
The thing seemed to be really bothering her as she worked on the keyboard at a lightning-fast pace. The next footage that appeared on the screen was of two ladies sitting inside a car.
Kaiya just amazedly stared at the girl that had appeared on the screen. She has more beautiful than any girl she had ever seen. And yes, she was even more stunning than Keira. Her eyes landed on the girl sitting next to her and she was the true embodiment of what one would call a Persian beauty. But even then, her beauty paled in comparison to the girl sitting next to her. She didn’t need to ask Karen to know that this was Arianna and the Persian girl was Maira.
“Shazan.” Karen spoke and hesitated. “Arianna faced some trouble in the dinner party. The son of Michael Angel tried to take advantage of her. And it looks like both of them were drugged.”
The words of Karen brought her back from her trance. She looked at Karen and found her on the phone. The expression she wore was anxious, but her voice was still calm.
“No, Asaya seemed to have not been drugged. Yes, I just checked on it and she has safely reached home.”
Kaiya just couldn’t follow up her conversation. Her eyes landed on the other screen that had a video playing on a loop. The video showed a boy standing together with a girl and trying to lean over the three girls sitting on a couch. The three girls were Arianna, Maira and one other with soft brown hair. And they were clearly not happy with the behavior of that boy. Kaiya couldn’t admire the beauty of the third girl because what happened next was terrifying. The boy was trying to molest the third girl as well as Arianna. He ignored the threatening glare of Arianna and grabbed the arm of the third girl. The girl screamed, and the boy was sent flying out of the scope of the camera.
Kaiya snapped out of her thoughts when Karen grabbed her hand and led her out of the room. They hurried their way down the corridor, and then entered the lift. When they reached the ground floor they found the two girls heading towards them.
“Arianna, are you okay?” Karen rushed over to her and grabbed her shoulders.
“I am fine, Karen.” Arianna smiled palely, but she was clearly trembling.
“Wait… I will get the antidote.”
“No need. I don’t need one. Just give one to Maira.” Arianna refused it and headed to the lift. Her eyes finally landed on Kaiya and stayed on her.
“What’s a Freston doing here?!” She almost yelled at Karen.
“She… is his fourth wife.” Karen said and lowered her head.
Kaiya felt like the air around her had vanished. She couldn’t breathe, and her body trembled under the gaze of Arianna. It was terrifying.
Arianna walked past her and entered the lift.
“Come to my room tomorrow at noon.” She said. With her words, the pressure surrounding Kaiya vanished, and the lift closed.
Marilyn came there with the maid named Ella. They had been chatting about something, but when her eyes landed on Maira, horror struck her.
“What happened?” She inquired and rushed over to her.
Karen explained to her about what they had seen in the footage.
It was not only Maira who was trembling now. Marilyn was the same.
“D-did you inform him about what happened?” She looked at Karen and worriedly asked.
“Yes.” Karen said and lowered her head.
“Why?” A tear slipped out of the eye of Marilyn. “You know what he will do now… right?”
“I can’t keep things from him. I am sorry.” Karen kept her head lowered and answered.
“M-mother.” Kaiya was just too scared of everything that was happening around her. She had never been so scared in her life before. These people were just too unusual. And every word they were speaking now and anxious expressions of their faces, scared her more.
Marilyn looked at her and walked over to her. She smiled palely and wrapped her in her arms.
“What happened?” Marilyn gently inquired as Kaiya couldn’t stop trembling.
“A-Arianna” That was the only thing that came out of her mouth.