Theodora glared at her father as she walked in his way. As soon as she stopped in his reach, he hugged her to his heart.
”My princess, you scared me again. When are you going to stop doing this to your father? ” Ralph was more worried than angry.
Pulling away from him, she looked at her parents. ”I will stop doing this when you stop caging me in this jail! ”
”Theodora, we are your parents and not enemies to put you in a jail. We are just trying to keep you safe from the evils in the world, dear. ”
”How mother? By snatching my right of freedom from me? And what evils you are talking about? I am a grown-up girl. The blood of Longhurst runs in my veins. I am capable of handling myself. But, you never trust me!
Mother father, there are evils I know. But there are also a million things that are beautiful, that spiked my curiosity. I want to explore and learn. I want to live… normal! ” By the end of her speech, Theodoras voice came thick with emotions.
But her heart fell on the deaf years like all these years.
”Enough of this Theodora! I do not want to listen anymore. And you… get ready for the punishment. ” Ralph glared at bertha, who stood with her head low.
”Father! You can not punish her. ” Theodora protested.
”Why? ” Ralph asked in a challenge.
”Because she was following her mistressess orders. And there is no punishment for that. ”
His daughter always had a fair point to argue that would just shut his mouth.
”Cordelia, look after your daughter. She is getting out of our hands every day. I do not know what to do with her anymore. ” Ralph said in frustration.
He loved his daughter dearly, but at such times when she embarrassed him in front of people, it made him infuriated.
”What I am suppose to do when it is you who spoiled her like this. You never listened to me when I told you to act strict with her. And now you are passing your responsibilities to me. ”
As expected, Cordelia and Ralph engaged in another argument over their daughter which would last for hours. They both went inside the palace, still arguing and blaming each other.
Theodora sighed. She loved both of her parents, and they both loved each other too. But at times like this, she wished they could be more understandable. They would pay more attention to what she had to say or heed more importance to her thoughts. Alas!
”Zerith, why do not you speak to them? I am suffocating in these four walls. ” Theodora turned to the only well-wisher of her after her dearest friend Bertha.
”Theodora what should I tell them? You yourself do not know what exactly you want from your life. Till you do not know, no one will understand you. ” Zerith said wisely.
She hated the way he always had something wise to say. That made her feel like a fool.
Zerith was her friend, her guide, her trustworthy man. Only he was allowed to call her by her name only even though he was her fathers servant.
Although he was loyal to her father, she knew she could count on him in time of need.
Shaking her head, Theodora looked at Bertha, who was still standing with her head hung low. She noticed her dirty dress.
”Bertha are you alright? What happened to your dress? ” Theodora asked in concern.
That made Bertha look up and glare at Zerith.
”She is not good at running, what can I do for that? ” He shrugged his shoulders innocently, then walked away laughing loudly.
”I still wonder if he is indeed a warrior because he looks more like a clown to me! ” Bertha grumbled, heatedly glaring at Zeriths retreating back.
With a frustrating huff, Theodora left for her private chamber. Bertha, like an obedient child, followed her silently. She prepared the bath for Theodora after getting in the chamber.
She was scrubbing her back when another maid came with Lord Ralphs message.
”Lady Theodora, My Lord has asked for your presence in the main hall. ”
”Tell him I am not coming! ” Theodora grumbled.
The maid shifted uncomfortably. ”But My Lord has some guests and he is asking for you and Lady Cordelia. ”
Theodora turned her head angrily. She did not like people forcing her to do the things she did not want to do.
”Get out! ” She warned.
The maid now looked alarmed. ”But Lady Theodora- aaaahhhhh! ”
A mug went flying in the maids way and hit her on the chest.
Half an hour later, Theodora was dressed in an orange coloured dress. Bertha had tied her hair in a one-sided braid. Completing her look with diamond earrings and a simple locket, Theodora admired her reflection in the full-length mirror.
”How do I look, Bertha? ” She asked even though the smile on her face told her that she liked the way she looked today.
Well… she never thought she looked bad even once.
Bertha smiled. ”You look very beautiful My Lady! I think we should go and see your father. He must be waiting for you. ”
”Let him wait some more, ” Theodora said carelessly.
”But Lady theodora, he said he has some guests. And if he is asking your urgent presence then it must be something important. ”
Bertha had a fair point. She always made sense. The only thing that made Bertha Longhurts favourite was, only she could talk some sense into their hot-headed daughter.
Theodora sighed exasperatedly. ”Fine! Lets go. ”
She stomped her way, and Bertha followed. They reached the main hall where Theodoras parents, Zerith, and two more men sat conversing with each other.
They stopped when Theodora walked in, followed by Bertha.
Cordelia had a frown on her round face.
”Theodora, we are waiting for you since more than thirty minutes! ” She said in a hard voice.
”And now I am here, am I not mother? ” Theodora rolled her eyes.
Cordelias face turned red at her daughters lack of mannerisms. She did not care if there were guests before retiring back to her mother. Cordelia side glared at Ralph and, he just told her to calm down with the movement of his eyes.
”Come my princess. Take fathers blessings! ” Ralph said, pointing at the old man, who seemed living on this planet in overtime.
Theodora was annoyed now. Her parents fussed so much for what? Meeting this old man? Ridiculous!
”Who is he? ” Theodora asked a little rudely.
Ralph shifted uncomfortably in his seat while Cordelias glare intensified. Sensing the tension in the room, Zerith was quick to come to aid.
”This is the seniormost priest on the Warthford Island. Your parents and every person on the island respect him a lot. Your family has been giving their share in a good cause of helping the poor, which is supervised and run by him.
Taking his blessings means paying respect to the feet of God. Now come and take his blessings. ” Zerith explained.
Theodora turned to leave with Bertha but stopped when she saw Bertha already had her hands joined on her chest. She walked towards the old priest and sat on her knees in front of him.
”Father, finally I got the opportunity of seeking your blessings in person! ” Bertha said with the utmost respect.
Seeing that after this she had no choice of walking out of there, Theodora also stepped forward. She did not fall at the feet of the old priest like bertha.
Theodora was too proud and held the highest status than Bertha to do that. So she only bowed a little in front of him.
To her surprise, the priest held Bertha by her shoulders and made her stand up.
He looked at her for a long minute, then said, ”You are a good soul but with an unfair destiny my child. ”
The smile on Berthas face faltered. Zerith leaned forward with a frown on his face.
”You are a part of his plan. Do not run away from your responsibilities. They will lead you to hardships but keep faith in your values and that almighty creator. He will guide your way. May his blessings always have your back! ” The priest said.
Bertha was overwhelmed and confused. She did not understand what plan the priest was talking about. But she took his every word by heart.
”I will not disappoint the almighty one, father! ” She said with a bow.
The priest had a strange look in his eyes as he looked at Bertha. Maybe it was pity or, was it he praying for her wellbeing, Zerith did not understand. But he was certainly more cautious for Bertha now.
”Please, father. Tell our dearest daughters fortune. What is writen in her destiy? ” Cordelia asked excitedly.
But Theodora was not pleased by her mother.
”Mother, what are you doing? I am a Longhurst, the only daughter of the great Ralph Longhurst. I am the creator of my own destiny. Nothing can go against my wish in my life.
You do not need to ask my fortune to some old man who might be spurting lies all these years. ” Theodora threw a disgusted glance at the old man.
”Lady Theodora! ” The man who accompanied the priest rose his voice in anger.
But the priest held him back. He was not angry, he was not hurt or embarrassed by her words.
Berthas face paled hearing such disrespectful words coming from Theodora. Cordelia shared her feelings.
”Theodora! Mind your language! Do you know who you are speaking with? Apologise to him right now! ” Ralph stood up from his chair in anger.
”But father, I did not say anything wrong. You know that! ”
”Lord Longhurst! ” The priest finally said, silencing Ralph.
”I do not expect her apology. Do not worry about I getting angry. I do not take her words by heart. ” He calmly said.
Theodora glared at the old man, pushing her chin in the air.
”Father, please forgive our daughter. She is still young and does not understand how to behave at times. ” Ralph apologised on his daughters behalf.
Zerith shifted uncomfortably in his place. How many times, Lord Ralph was going to apologise to people on behalf of his impulsive daughter?
The priest stood up from his chair, ready to leave.
”Father, please father. Do not go before telling my daughters future. Please! ” Cordelia too stood up, requesting the old man.
The priest stopped. Turning to Cordelia, he said with a serious face.
”The right time is yet to come, Lady Cordelia. When it will come, I will be there to tell you the prophecy of you daughter. ”
He turned around again, walked followed by his follower. But then the priest stopped beside Theodora. Taking a longer look at her, he faced ahead again.
”The hard time is about to come, Lord Longhurst. I hope you will handle it well. ”
Saying that the priest walked off.
Theodora scoffed. ”Mother, father, do not ever invite such frauds again. If you do then do not bother to waste my time with them. ”
Left alone behind after two minutes, Cordelia asked her husband. ”What father said… ”
”I do not know Cordelia. But we need to be more careful from now on. I promise I will not let anything harm our daughter. Never! ”
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