CROWNS FOR TITLES

DISCUSSION AMONG SIBLINGS

In the next morning, Neirin found herself dressed in her night gown covered in white blanket sheets. The whole room was dark and the only light she can see was the rays of sun seeping through the curtains. She turned and hug her pillow smelling the fragrance. The sun has already risen and it was a day she was looking forward into.

Shes been in this mansion for 3 days now and she still felt everything so unreal.

Last night, maybe because of her fatigue and shock after being strangled by Vincent, she fell asleep without eating her dinner. Maybe her lady in waiting was the one who changed her clothes and fixed her properly on the bed. Neirin can feel her stomach grumbling.

As as she went off the bed, a knock was heard.

”My lady, this is Rianna ” Neirins eyes went to the clock inside her room. ”The duke requested for your presence in the dinning hall. ”

Neirin saw her reflection on the mirror. Her hair was a mess and clearly she doesn look too decent for the breakfast. ”Rianna, come inside and help me change my dress. ”

Rianna entered inside. She was already holding a basin with a towel. Putting the basin on the table, Rianna offered her greetings lifting her uniform a little. ”I greet the young lady of the household. ”

Neirin smiled gently. ”Such formalities won be needed in the future. ”

Neirin observed the lady in waitings reaction. She appeared too stiff and formal. Furthermore, she was speaking the way she was expected to be. This was an odd thing for Neirin, to be respected this much. She was just a stranger a few days ago.

However, this woman, right, Neirin should not be going through fast conclusions. Turning her back, she walked to the table where the basin was. Splashing her face with water, she then used the towel to wipe her face.

”Help me get dress. ”

Rianna bowed. ”yes my lady, ” she answered.

Neirin went towards the bathroom and let the water warm the bathtub. Just as the tub was nearly full, Neirin let her night gown slip through her body and soaked herself in a tub feeling the hot water warm her. Rianna help her brushed her body and her hair.

After her bath, Neirin changed to a beautiful black dress with white embroidery threads with laces. She let her hair cascaded over her shoulders. Looking at her reflection back in the mirror, she can help but reveal a small smile comparing to herself now and her life before. She looked intimidating now a perfect example of a noble.

Back then, her clothes were never this luxurious. She often find herself steal through stores and boutiques just she can have a fabric to wear. With her earnings at that time, she can only afford a bread and a simple house- cabin where she can rest.

”My lady? ” Rianna called her out of her trance. She smiled thinking that indeed, life gets better.

”Lead the way. ”

”Yes, my lady. ”

As she walk through the magnificent hallway of the Halstead Mansion, Neirin was greeted by every servants she passed. With her appearance, every servant right now was on the edge making them think that something was brewing inside the mansion and there will be a big change that will soon happen. Maybe, in their minds, they must be thinking that they needed to adapt as soon as possible with the changes if they wanted to keep their jobs.

Neirin like that kind of mindset. She was here before. She knew most of the servants working here. And most of the servants that work in the Halstead mansion were smart for they were trained to be that way.

She only gave a simple smile and nod acknowledging their presence for if she engaged in pleasantries, she might be late for the breakfast the duke prepared for them.

Soon as she arrived, the door opened revealing the previous scene she saw the day before yesterday. Luxurious long tables and chairs. Big windows and thick curtain draped over the edges for the suns rays to come in and countless decoration on the wall.

Just as her eyes surveyed the whole place, Vincent was already seated on the chair casually drinking his morning coffee. It was a little weird that he was early this morning. Neirins gaze lingered a little more. From the looks of his tired purple eyes, seemed like he wasn able to sleep well.

As soon as she entered, a heavy atmosphere surrounded the whole dinning hall. The servants were sensitive and a little bit afraid but the two people, Neirin and Vincent acted as though they were acquainted with each other.

Neirin smiled taking her seat in front of him while they both waited for the duke. ”Good morning, Vincent. ”

Vincent put down the mug on the table making a sound. He raised his head with a cold smile on his face. ”Good morning, elder sister. ”

His cold words caused Neirin to paused. She felt a chill running down her spine and all the hairs of her body stood up. Her voice was somewhat threatening. However, composed as she was, Neirin still gave a smile.

”Its odd that you are calling me your sister now, ” she opened the topic. She was a little bit curious. Eyes scrutinizing, she pressed, ”Did something happen? ”

The servants who was situated on the dinning hall prepared for her coffee and placed the food on the table while waiting for the duke. As the servants were busy, both of them were having a conversation before breakfast.

Vincent paused for a while as though he was thinking. Their gaze met. One was smiling happily while the other had no expression at all.

”I wanted to be close to sister, ” He said causing some servants to flinched. Neirin saw it all but she acted as though she was a naïve orphan finally being accepted. Her smile spread over her cheeks.

”Is that so? ” Neirin grabbed the mug placed in front of her and sipped the coffee. For some reason, the coffee tasted sweet. ”I am glad. ”

Vincents sharp eyes continue to linger. There was a heavy atmosphere in the dinning hall and everyone, even the servants can sense it. Vincent opened his mouth to speak again, ”I spent the whole night thinking and I realized that you are indeed right. I am still a seventeen year old young man. I am still naïve. I hope that you continue to guide me well, Sister. ”

The heaviness of his voice and the mean behind his words, Neirin could sensed them all. ”If thats what you want then I would be glad to teach you. I am available later for high tea. Would you like to join me? ”

Vincent gave a small nod. ”Yes, sister. Thank you for your kindness. ”

Neirin revealed a sweet smile. The servants felt chills over them. They were afraid to even make a single mistake right now for even though they were both acting like this, they felt a sudden bloodlust between them.

” I am just doing this for the sake of my little brother and father as well. ”

”Indeed, sister. You are really kind. ”

Just as they finished talking, the duke entered the dining hall. Both Vincent and Neirin stood up and greet their father. ”Good morning, father. ”

The duke nodded. ”Indeed its a good morning. ”

”I heard from the servants that Vincent called you his sister, ” The duke opened the topic as soon as breakfast was over and she went to his studies to settled down the will of the duke and the future works she needed to do as the future duchess.

Neirin nodded. She was quite happy hearing those words coming from him since from her first life, it took Vincent a long time for him to call her sister. Now, even though he meant it as a warning and a threat she was just happy hearing those words.

”Hes a sweet child, ” Neirin answered flipping through the books that the duke gave her. If someone was looking at her right now, they won be able to see her thoughts through her face as she appeared to be quite happy and brimming with energy. It was odd- weird even.

”Its odd for you two get along. ” The dukes suspicious gaze lingered a little more. Fixing his glasses on his eyes, he sat down. ”Hes a child who can potentially kill you if he sees you as a threat. Would you be okay? ”

”Fret not your grace, ” Neirin was confident. She closed the book and went to the other one. ”Vincent is a smart child who knew how to act in front of his enemies. Youve train him well, your grace. ”

The duke opened the map of the empire on the table and used different chess pieces to pinpoint some locations. Neirin watched him do his work. The places he had marks on were the location of all the powerful nobles she needed to take note of. The duke spoke once again.

”Still, his actions are suspicious. ”

Neirin blinked putting down the few books she finished reading. Neirin understood the dukes action and reaction towards him hearing the news. The duke knew about his son well enough however, She doesn want to disclosed what they had talked about yesterday. ”We just had a simple talk yesterday. ”

”A talk? ” He pressed. Neirin nodded.

”Yes. Ive told him that I am not a threat but an ally. ”

”He believed you? ” He scoffed eyes full of disbelief and confusion. With the dukes tone, he clearly wasn believing anything she was saying.

Neirins smile remained. ”Of course not, your grace. But it left him thinking and I think thats better. ”

In the end, Duke Sebastian sighed with resignation. ”I guess that would be better instead of just pointing a sword to you. ”

Well, he strangled me yesterday Neirin thought busying her once again as she put all of her attention back to the flow of power the duke was discussing a while ago.

In the afternoon, just as promised, Neirin prepared for high tea waiting for Vincent in the balcony of her room. The sun was completely out but with the winter snow on the ground, it wasn really hot. The table were already set and the maids were just standing a little far away waiting for her orders.

Just as she settled down, she heard a knocking coming from outside. One of the maids more to open the door.

”Sister, I am here. ”

A smile formed her lips. She was a little bit excited. ”Please come in Vincent. ”

The door opened revealing Vincent who was dressed in his causal attire. Neirin stood up ushering him inside. They walked side by side peacefully.

”Are you well? ” She engaged in exchanging pleasantries with him. He removed his black gloves as they walked to the balcony.

”Yes, sister. I am under your guidance, of course I am well. ” Hearing his words, the servants flinched again. Neirin chuckled.

”Its better for you to choose your words lightly my dear little brother. You are scaring the servants away. ”

”Is that so? ” Vincent acted as though he doesn know. Both of them seat down to their designated seats. They were facing each other.

The maid poured the tea and gently placed it on the table in front of them. Just as everything was served neatly, Neirin waved her hands signifying that the servants can dismissed themselves. The maids sighed with relief and did not waste any time to moved out of the room.

Now they were alone, Neirin took the initiative to speak. ”Is there something you wanted to tell me now that you are calling me sister? ”

Vincent stared at her with his tired purple eyes. Whatever hes thinking, Neirin wasn sure at the moment.

”I do not trust you and probably this will remain until you were out of this mansion. ” His words sting like a sword cutting her through her skin. However, long before, Neirin was a thick skin person who can be shameless from time to time. So she just shrugged it off.

Vincent continued his words not looking at the tea prepared for him. ”However, I am quite curious about the agreement between you and my father. Just like what you said before, he is my father, his plans affect me in a large scale hence, I need to be more open and understanding. After hearing your thoughts, thats the time Ill decide if I am going to kill you or let you live for a while. ”

Neirin sipped her tea and tasted the sweet cake on the table. ”For a seventeen year old young man, your words sure is harsh. If a normal noble lady was here, she would be crying now. ”

Vincent stayed silent. Neirin moved to the next topic. Form a far away perspective, if someone sees then, they mostly likely have thought that they were getting alone but of course, that was far from the case. One was giving a threat while the other one was challenging him.

It would even be close to impossible if they get along well in the future.

”Your father is mostly involve with all the crimes happening in the court of miracles, brother. However, even though he was the one managing the whole underworld for the sake of the empire, he had pledge his loyalty to the emperor. ”

This time, Vincent took the tea cup and sipped his tea. He then asked, eyes on her. ”Court of Miracles? ”

Neirin gave a smile as though she wanted to tell a big secret she knew from the very beginning. ” The court of miracles is the place where your father rule over. It has 6 guilds that are in charge of any things or matters involve in the underworld as the proper term used. They
e mostly in charge of setting rules for the criminals. Furthermore, the Duke has a connection with the emperor regrading this place. ”

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