Friday, April 22nd, 2022.
The restlessness in his heart was eating him since last night. He was attending the dinner party at that time when he had received Karen’s call. And the smile had not appeared on his face since then. The people who dared to get their hands on Arianna were going to pay a cruel price. He had already decided so. No one could save them now.
However, right now, he was plopped on the floor after being pushed out of the room by Arianna. He couldn’t wrap his head around her behavior. She was mad at him, but why? The anger that her shout contained was out of the sadness in her heart. He understood her better than anyone could ever do, and he knew that she was in pain. And her pain was his greatest pain.
He helped himself up on his feet and took off his jacket. He wanted to enter the room again, but he knew that Arianna wanted some personal space right now.
“Karen, send Maira to my room.” He said to her as he entered his room. He knew that she had been observing him since he had entered the Palace.
Shazan had not come here in last 18 days. And it seemed like a lot of people have been sleeping in his bed. The room still contained the lingering aroma of the women in his life. He could tell who had come here when he was gone. And it was Arianna who had slept in this bed last night. His heart finally felt a little at ease. He sank back in the couch and closed his eyes.
The voice brought him out of the storm of his thoughts. It was a sweet and charmingly beautiful voice. And it belonged to a girl that was probably one of the most beautiful girls in this world. His eyes opened and stayed on her, and he was ever more content at acquiring her.
“You will address your husband as a Lord even in private?” He teased her as always.
Maira’s brows furrowed at his words. She clenched her fists tightly and took a deep breath.
“I hope I do not need to remind you of your promises, Lord Shazan. After all, the world hails you as the man of your word. I am not your woman. I am only here for a few years.”
“As prideful as ever.”
“I am a princess. And my Blood and Faith doesn’t allow me to bow down to anyone.”
Shazan nodded to her words. It was regrettable that he couldn’t touch her. An error in his judgment, he perhaps shouldn’t have agreed to hear her request back then. Who would have thought that she would defeat Ilsa in a duel? She was in his hands, but he couldn’t touch her now. This little devil had tricked him just like he had tricked her brother.
Maira hesitated but then came close to stand by his side. He offered his hand to her, and she reluctantly accepted it. He pulled her in his lap.
“Shazan!” She struggled and tried to get free, but it was already of no use.
“Shush…” He pressed her lips on her head. His arms locked tightly around her.
“Stop playing with my mind!”
“I am not.” He chuckled near her ear and inhaled her exotic aroma.
“Let go of me.” She demanded, and the seriousness in her tone was scary.
“I have no intentions of ever doing so. You are mine, forever.”
“I am not!” She cried, and her aura started to boil up.
“Oh my wildcat, calm down.” He whispered near her ear.
Tears slipped out of her eyes as the aura she was gathering started to disperse.
“Stop playing with my mind.”
“Stop struggling then.”
“You are cruel! Heartless!” She sniffled.
“I know.” He placed his cheek on her head and closed his eyes. “Stop struggling now. I need to check something.”
This time he didn’t command her mind. And she resigned willingly. She had no room to deny his request. He channeled his aura inside of her, and her body trembled in his embrace. What he wanted to see was if there were any traces of that drug left inside her.
“Did it hurt?”
“Yes.” She meekly answered.
“How did he manage to drug you?”
Maira embarrassedly lowered her head, and her anger was on the rise.
“It was the Margaritas…” She wanted to continue but then stopped.
“I made you my sister’s Shadow. You have disappointed me, Maira.”
“It’s not your fault when the person you trust betrays you.” She lightly said, but her words contained her anger.
Shazan frowned at her words.
“What happened?” He had a bad premonition about this.
“It was Asaya. She was the one who brought us those Margaritas.” She said. “If Arianna hadn’t stopped me at that time, I would have made her answer.”
Her words sent waves of anger in his heart. His clenched his fist and locked his arm tighter around her.
“It’s good that you have not hurt her.” He whispered. “If you had hurt her, I would have killed you.” His words were cold.
Maira trembled under his words. Her heart palpitated in fear.
“Asaya would never harm you!” Shazan said coldly, and let go of her. “Go back to your room.”
He could see that Maira didn’t realize where her faults lied. Her anger was clouding her judgment. And she felt wronged.
“Arianna didn’t allow you to harm her because it was not Asaya’s fault. Your faith is still lacking.” He told her when she was about to step out of the room.
Maira stopped after hearing his words and nodded to him before leaving the room.
“Asaya…” he whispered her name. Her enchantingly beautiful face appeared in her mind. Her innocent laughter echoing in his memories soothed his anger. Even if the entire world told him that Asaya tried to harm Arianna, he still wouldn’t believe it.
He had not seen her in a while and wanted to see her right now. Something had happened last night, and it was something more serious than what it appeared to be. Arianna’s anger must have an explanation. From what he had heard, Arianna had seemed to be mad at Asaya for something.
A thought appeared in his mind, and his heart thumped hard against his chest.
“I am in trouble…” He helplessly sighed.
Shazan walked out of his room and headed to the opposite wing. He needed to see the video again.
The cutest voice in the world called him out. He turned around to look at the little girl running towards him. He opened his arms, and she jumped in his embrace.
“I missed you!” He smiled at her and planted a kiss on her forehead.
“Huh… Why didn’t you come to see me in so many days then?” Rose complained and pouted as she sternly looked at him.
“There were just a lot of things… My apologies, Princess.”
“And, yesterday, you didn’t even take me with you to see Serafina Mommy!” She was not going to give in. “I wanted to dance too!”
“Oh.. You saw the recordings of last night’s party?”
“Mhm…” Rose nodded her head. “I saw them some time ago, together with Arianna mommy.”
Shazan smiled palely at her words. Arianna was mad at him, but he knew how much she cared about him and loved him. And someone had tried to harm her. The anger inside of him boiled again.
“Don’t change the topic! The thing is that you didn’t take me for the dance!” She was too fond of dancing. It was all the influence of Renesme and Marilyn.
“Come on, Princess… I will take you on a dance whenever you would want me to take you. Don’t be mad. You know your Father loves you a little too much.” He teased her as he nudged his nose with hers and then planted a kiss on her forehead.
It was not possible for him to hold this girl in his arms and let his heart hold anger. She called forth all his affection even without voicing it.
“Your Arianna mommy sent you to see me, right? I am pretty sure that you would have been a little angrier at me if it was not the case.” He said and laughed lightly.
“Huh… I wanted to punish you, but Arianna Mommy has already done so, so I am fine now.” She pulled her tongue and kissed on his cheek. “ You made her sad.”
Shazan looked in her lustrous eyes that were of the same color as his. The sparkle in those eyes belonged to a child, but they were intelligent.
“I will not let her stay mad at me.”
“Good” She nodded her head. “Are we going to see Karen Mommy?”
“Yes…” Shazan had planned on going there on a serious note, but this little princess had already made it clear that she will be accompanying him.
He carried her in his embrace and approached the wall that was sealed. And like always Karen hadn’t waited for him to place his hands on the wall, it split open, and he stepped inside. He pulled Roselyn to the side and opened his free arm for the girl that plunged in his embrace.
“I missed you!” Karen whispered and kept her head buried in his embrace.
He didn’t answer her back and only planted a kiss on her head and wrapped his arm tightly around her.
“You are not allowed to stay out for another night. At least for a few weeks.” Marilyn said and smiled affectionately.
His eyes stayed on her smile, and he couldn’t smile back to her. It was all so clear that she was hiding her anxiety behind that smile.
“I will try.” It was all he could say to her. And this was the answer to her unvoiced request.
Shazan knew that every time he stained his hands in the blood of a person, the weight of the sin was heavier in Marilyn’s heart. She was kind, and her heart was fragile. And that’s how Mother’s were. She had raised him with all her care and love. She had raised him to be kind, and he once was. But the world had stolen his kindness away from him. And now all she could do was cry for him.
“It’s a sin to take an innocent life. And it’s painful to have stained your hands in the blood of those that deserve it. Be strong enough to allow yourself a life where you won’t have to stain your hands in anyone’s blood.”
He still remembered her lesson. Her words had proven right. It was painful. And he would never be able to wash away this pain now.
She looked at him with her misty eyes that seemed reluctant to leave his embrace.
“Take Roselyn to see Serafina. She will feel much better by having this little devil accompany her.”
“I am not a devil! I am a fairy!” Rose lightly smacked a punch on his chest. “And what did you mean by Serafina Mommy will feel better by having me around her?”
“Umm… She has not been feeling well for the last few days.” Shazan gently smiled at her. “Your Serafina Mommy will be stronger when she gets better in a few weeks. It’s just that she needs to concentrate on her mental strength.”
“Yay! Serafina Mommy is shedding her realm!” Rose excitedly screamed.
“Yes, she will soon be entering a new realm of mental strength. However, she’s in pain right now. Keep her company, okay? Keira is with her in her room.” He said to her and handed her in Karen’s arms.
“Mhm.” Rose nodded to his words with a serious expression. Her eyes, however, couldn’t hide her excitement.
Karen smiled at him and tiptoed to reach his lips.
He lowered his head and sipped her delicate and warm lips.
“I love you.” He told her.
Her cheeks bloomed in her blush, and she lowered her eyes.
“I love you.” She whispered and walked out of the room as Roselyn started giggling at their affectionate words.
Shazan shook his head lightly and walked over to Marilyn.
“I am fine, Mother.” He wrapped his arms around her and squeezed her lightly in his embrace.
Marilyn didn’t answer him and only nodded her head. She rested her head on his chest and closed her eyes. They stayed in this state for a minute before she eventually opened her eyes and separated from his embrace.
“You want to see the video?” She inquired.
She walked over to the desk and clicked on the minimized tab on the screen. The video was already playing on it.
“Curious, why Arianna didn’t kill him?” She asked and looked back at him.
It was the moment when in the video the boy was sent flying out of the scope of the camera.
“He got lucky.”
Shazan had his eyes fixed on the girl standing by the side of Arianna in the video. He had already understood what had happened there, and why that boy was still alive.
“What are you going to do now?” Marilyn asked.
“Arianna is mad at me.” He said and sighed. “And I have hurt her this time.”
“I am not talking about her. Arianna can never stay mad at you for long.” Marilyn caressed his cheek and smiled. “Are you going to bring them home or not?”
“It’s not like I have a choice now. But I don’t want to force Helen.”
“True. You don’t have a choice now. Arianna will bring them here if you don’t.” Marilyn laughed lightly and grabbed his collar to pull him down to her. She sipped his lips and tugged on his lower lip.
His arms snaked around her soft waist, and he kissed her back fiercely. Soon Marilyn was gasping for breath, and her heart was racing in anticipation. A playful smile crept on his lips, and his hand grabbed her soft and ample breast that fit perfectly in his palm. He squeezed it, and she bit his lip in agitation.
The door of the room clicked open, and Marilyn hurriedly separated from him. However, he didn’t allow her to escape his embrace. He looked over to the door and saw Karen enter.
“That was scary.” Karen laughed and clumsily walked over to the desk. “Keira and Serafina are having a pillow fight.” She said and pointed towards a screen on the wall.
Serafina had her eyes closed, and it looked like she had closed her sense of hearing as well. Keira was throwing pillows at her, and she was catching them and throwing them back at her. Roselyn was heartily laughing and jumping on the bed watching them play.
The scene was truly heartwarming, and the warmth brushed away his worries. Their happiness was his happiness.
“The tide of time is changing again.” He said and smiled.
A lot of things had happened in the last few weeks. The fourth Lord had finally made his move, Grandfather Kaizuki’s war, Kaiya Freston and now Silverstein, Michael Angelo’s ambition, and now the matter with Arianna and Asaya. The last three years had been quiet and peaceful, but now things felt like they were about to change.
“We are here for you. Always remember this.” Marilyn told him and hugged him. “We love you.”
“It’s more fun this way. And it feels like we will be getting some new family members as well.” Karen too wrapped her arms around them.
“What makes you say that?” Shazan asked her curiously.
“Just a hunch… And the fact that you are too lascivious.” She laughed, and Marilyn too joined in.
“It’s not like I go out and hunt down the most beautiful women in the world.” Shazan argued, but even he felt it lacking.
“Isn’t that what you did with Maira?!” Karen seemed to be in a good. She never talked in a high pitch unless she was happy and around him.
“Have you decided on who will be taking Kaiya’s classes?” He asked them to change the subject.
“Arianna will take Kaiya’s classes. She told everyone to leave Kaiya to her.” Marilyn said and seriously looked at him. “Shazan, are you…”
“I am fine… Don’t worry about it.” He didn’t allow her to ask the question. He knew what she wanted to ask him.
He separated from their embrace and gently patted Karen’s head.
“I will be staying out tonight.”
“Where are you going?” Marilyn worriedly asked.
“To see Helen and Asaya.” He said to her and smiled palely. “And I need to make some people pay for their actions.”
“They will get what they deserve.” He told her.
“Let Rysar and Caius deal with them… There’s no need for you to go personally.” Marilyn requested.
Shazan knew that any more words that he would say would only hurt her more. He traced her lip with his thumb and caressed her cheek.
“I love you.” He looked her in the eyes and told her.
Marilyn didn’t answer and only lowered her head.
“But you still won’t listen to me.”
“The world is not as kind as you, Mother.” He planted a kiss on her forehead and walked out of the room.
There was no way that he could forgive people who held ill intentions towards his family. He wouldn’t allow any tragedy to happen again. And for that, he needs to bear the sin and the pain.