The Night Prince - Chapter 28Chapter Twenty EightIn Which Something Terrible Happens To Lucia And ThomasLucia burst through the apothecary's front door so fast that the shop bell's ring sounded more like a high-pitched thud. Breathless, she fell against the inside of the door and leaned against it with all her might.Looking briefly in Lucia's direction, the apothecary nodded, and then just soon returned to what he was doing. He climbed up on the stool once more and began to rummage around in the upper shelves. Scarcely looking, he extended one long arm out to where he had left his hat. He grasped it between two fingers, brought it up to his head, and dropped it on top. It fell lopsided, or at least more lopsided than it looked before, and threatened to slide off his glossy brown hair.A moment passed. Lucia sunk to the floor and caught her breath. From somewhere up on the highest shelves, glass bottles tinkled as they knocked against one another. The apothe
The Night Prince - Chapter 27Chapter Twenty SevenIn Which Lucia Is Chased By An Angry MobThe man who had initially spotted her had very few teeth remaining, and those that still clung to his mouth were darkened by years of ale and tobacco. His decaying grin contributed to the menacing look on his angry face, which, had he been in better health, would still be terribly frightening. He raised one arm and pointed at Lucia as he marched towards her."You," he barked. "I know who you are."Frozen on the spot, Lucia could only watch as the townspeople behind him fanned out, creating a half-circle around her. Amidst the crowd, Lucia could scarcely pick out several different faces, for each one was dirtier and more furious than the last."Please, please. I think you are mistaken."A hand fell on her upper arm. It was grimy, black under the fingernails, and large enough to nearly encircle her upper arm entirely. Lucia gasped and instinctively pulled back, but lacked the st
The Night Prince - Chapter 26Chapter Twenty SixIn Which Lucia Sets Out To Do Something That She Meant To Do A Long Time AgoLucia left the mansion in the early morning. The sun had not yet risen, and along with her mother's cloak, the scarcity of light was enough to provide cover. She silently shut the great wooden door at the front of the mansion and then paused for a moment, just to feel the wind in her hair. And then, she set off. Quietly, she crept further and further away from the towering stony walls that had so quickly become her prison. Step after step, out into the coldness of morning, she ventured. In all directions around her, purple clouds rolled along the horizon, creating the impression that the town was nestled in the protective barrier of some vast mountain range. But such cover would soon be gone as the sun climbed ever higher into the sky, and when it became bright enough, Lucia's attempt at a mask would vanish as well.Therefore, she hurried.
The Night Prince - Chapter 25Chapter Twenty FiveIn Which Claudette And A Perturbed Prince Julian Make Life Quite Miserable For LuciaThe next morning, after very little sleep, Lucia was awakened by a loud and persistent knocking at her door. Groggily, she picked her head up and looked towards the door, which concealed the source of the noise. She muttered a response incoherent to even herself, which garnered another loud series of raps at the door. At long last, a gruff voice barked out at her the late hour.Lucia pulled herself up to a sitting position and rubbed the back of her neck. She was in a great deal of pain and found her movement quite restricted. In addition to which, she had a terrible headache that stung like lightning through her temples, and it was only worsened by Claudette's ranting from outside in the corridor."I'll be there in just a moment!" Called Lucia."You'll be there now!" Was Claudette's sharp response. Lucia groaned. The prev
The Night Prince - Chapter 24Chapter Twenty FourIn Which Julian's Curious Reaction Causes For Lucia An Unpleasant SurpriseThe clouds that night were so thick that they obscured all the glow of the moon. Once again, the senses became confused upon entering the secret room, tempting one to believe that they could see with their ears and hear with their skin. Lucia clicked across the bare floor, navigating mostly by using the source of the music as a beacon. The notes fell loud and hazardous, and even when Lucia's path curled around in front of the piano, Julian seemed to take no notice of her whatsoever. Standing just offside of the path between him and a weakly flickering candle, she took the opportunity to gaze upon his face. He was playing with his eyes closed once again, letting his eyelashes sweep his face in a way reminiscent of black fabric against the white sheets of his bed. She watched his thin, white fingers waltz across the keys, not so much taking in the mus
The Night Prince - Chapter 23Chapter Twenty ThreeIn Which Lucia Becomes Understandably Quite Vain While Preparing To Meet JulianThe evening was filled with the sounds of Claudette ranting and complaining. Very little had gotten done that day in the way of cleaning, although no residents of the Drake mansion had suffered from this in any way. Much of the afternoon had been spent taking care of Margaret, whose condition worsened as the hours wore on. She grew more and more fatigued, which could certainly be expected of a sick person. However, seeing as this was Margaret, someone so usually energetic and filled with good cheer, to see her become exhausted over nothing was quite disconcerting. As the sun set, her actions dealt less with jokes and smiles and more with quietly holding John's hand. Although she claimed that the notion of sleep was quite an appealing one, she also confessed that her physical discomforts would unfortunately prevent her from doing so.The medicine that John had brought that a
The Night Prince - Chapter 22Chapter Twenty TwoIn Which Lucia Tends To Margaret And Also Discovers A Lovely Item In A Curious PlaceThe remainder of the morning passed quickly. Lucia had hurried through her chores – or, at least, she hurried through making it seem as though she had done a thorough job of her chores. Instead, she concentrated her efforts into many clandestine trips to the servants' quarters to check on Margaret. If Claudette found her there while she was supposed to be working, there would doubtlessly be some sort of trouble, and while Lucia would certainly have preferred to avoid being caught, she did not particularly care one way or the other. To see the once strong Margaret degrading to a state of weakness and helplessness awoke in Lucia a new resolve. Margaret had been so kind to her that Lucia was able to summon new bravery in taking care of her. Every hour or so, she would slip into Margaret's room to bring her a hot cup of tea or to chat for a few minutes. Remarkably, Margaret