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The Night Prince - Chapter 12Chapter Twelve
In Which More Secrets Reveal Themselves
John looked up over Lucia's head just in time to see Margaret and Claudette filing into the room. They picked up their bowls and the four servants ate in silence. When they were finished, Claudette directed Lucia to clean up, and when Lucia spun around to see the basin piled high with dishes, Claudette insisted that John and Margaret were not to help. The three lower ranking servants nodded in acknowledgement. Lucia rolled up her sleeves. Claudette stayed to watch Lucia scrub the first few bowls, and when she was satisfied that the young girl was diligently following orders, she retired to her quarters. John and Margaret leaned idly against the counter, watching tiny bubbles fill the air.
"When I first arrived in town," said Lucia, "the people flew into a mad frenzy." She looked over her shoulder to see if the other servants were listening.
The Night Prince - Chapter 11Chapter Eleven
In Which The Mansion's Other Residents Cause Hardship For Lucia
As fate would have it, it was indeed Lucia who was to clean the Great Hall. She had not been to the immense stone chamber since she first arrived at the mansion, and she had forgotten how very large it was. As Claudette led her into the room, Lucia could not help but stare wide-eyed and horrified at the many tapestries that hung overhead. The large space with its many alcoves, the carpets, and all the furniture; that would merely be time consuming. But she had no idea how to even begin beating the dust out of the massive tapestries.
Upon hearing the news that it would be Lucia's responsibility alone, John and Margaret immediately offered their help. But Claudette forbade it. She said that it was Prince Julian's orders that Lucia undertake the task alone, and to go against such an instruction could only lead to worse consequences.
The Night Prince - Chapter 10Chapter Ten
In Which Lucia Meets John and Margaret In Earnest
The morning was overcast. Grey fingers of dreariness reached into the kitchen through its many windows. It was the sort of morning that would make anyone want to sleep a little longer, or at least, if they must be awake, then they should like to keep still somewhere. If Lucia could have done anything in that moment, it would be to sit by a fire and watch the endless grey wash by outside. From the place where she stood by the largest cooking pot, she had a view of a small piece of the world outside. The weather had at last caught up to its date in mid-autumn. This was the first morning past the turning point when there were fewer leaves on the trees than there were scattered on the ground at the base of the gnarled trunks. The space on the eastern side of the house offered little more than that; grass and part of a path and trees that had thro
The Night Prince - Chapter 9Chapter Nine
In Which Lucia Has A Vision By Night Of Her Beloved
The room was cool but not cold. A fine mist filled the air, thin enough to see through for much of the space, and yet much thicker plumes still snaked around Lucia's ankles. She was drawn inexorably forwards, as if the possibility of stopping or walking elsewhere had not occurred to her. Somewhere in the distance, the thick book fell from its shelf. A mechanical clicking could be heard. Once. Twice. Again and again as it echoed through the darkness. In the distance, coming from some unknown direction, was the round of a rolling chain. And then music.
It was the most beautiful music that Lucia had ever heard. Whoever was playing the piano was truly an expert, and played with more passion than one could imagine. Each note rang pure and clean. The sounds resonated together, minglin
The Night Prince - Chapter 8Chapter Eight
In Which A Terrifying Sensation Comes Over Lucia
Even though the day was drawing to a close, the servants were still kept hard at work in the kitchen. The only pair of hands that was not dedicated to mixing, slicing, stirring, chopping, or peeling seemed to be Claudette's, whose instead swung briskly by her sides as she marched around the kitchen. She barked out orders like a military general preparing her troops for an attack. Lucia struggled to keep up. Even though she worked quite hard at home, she was not used to the additional pressure of a shouting onlooker.
"You there," Claudette shouted at the maid. "Work faster. We can't keep the Mistress waiting." The russet-haired maid, who was grinding spices, quickened her pace.
Lucia's ears perked up. Still diligently peeling vegetables, she wondered if perhaps the flustered Claudette had made a slip of the tongue.
The Night Prince - Chapter 7Chapter Seven
In Which Lucia Awakens To A Distressing Situation And Another One Of The Mansion's Secrets Makes Itself Known
Sunlight pulled her from her slumber. Lucia had left the curtains open the previous night so that the sunrise would serve to do just that. It took her a moment to remember that she was not in her own bed at home, and a moment longer to realize that what she'd thought of as her own bed was no longer hers. No. From the previous day onward, Lucia's bed would be the very one in which she had slept that night. She had had quite a restful sleep, which was fortunate, because there was much investigating to be done that day. The notion of this brought on her next thought, which was that Byron had gone away. This saddened her, especially that his absence would last for an indeterminate time. She couldn't help but feel lonely, suddenly aware of a longing that she had never felt be
The Night Prince - Chapter 6Chapter Six
In Which Lucia Receives News Of Prince Byron's Plans
It was rather late when Lucia was summoned to the dinner table. By that time, she was feeling quite confident in knowing her way around the mansion. Furthermore, she just had surrendered a few moments to vanity. Having had donned the new dress and examined her appearance in the mirror, she was quite pleased. In her home village, everyone was weary and dirty with sweat and earth. No one was vain, for no one had the time to be. Lucia had never seen herself in quite such a glamorous way. At that moment, in front of the mirror, she vowed not to let her appearance drive her to undeserved boastfulness. Of course, she enjoyed the moment nonetheless.
What she found more exciting than the dress, of course, would be another encounter with Byron. Now that she was quite satisfied that she was not entirely reliant on him, she felt
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