Slumber Page 7

Wolfe nodded, but he never took his eyes from me as he smiled sardonically. “Of course, Princezna.”

I glared at him as he took his leave, followed by Jarvis and Ava.

Solemnly, Haydyn and I walked back to her suite, Matai close on our heels. I was afraid to mention what had just been discussed.

“I keep waiting for you to stop being unpleasant to Captain Wolfe.” Haydyn threw me a reproving look.

I snorted. “You’ll be waiting a loooong time then.”

“Rogan, really,” she clucked. “He’s not his father, you know.”

I shrugged. I knew Haydyn thought it was unfair of me to treat Wolfe badly but I couldn’t help it. He was a Stovia. No matter how much he ingratiated himself to Haydyn or into the Rada’s trust, he would always be my enemy. His father had taken my family and I had destroyed his in return. I was suspicious of his loyalty to Haydyn, when any normal man would have wanted vengeance for his father’s death.

Haydyn did not share the suspicion. She sighed dreamily. “I don’t understand how you can be so mean to him. He’s so handsome and strong.”

I laughed softly at Matai’s choked grunt behind us and Haydyn threw him a teasing look over her shoulder. He would take his revenge for that. We stopped at her suite and I checked the hallways both ways. It was clear. I nodded at them and Haydyn grabbed Matai’s hand, disappearing into her suite with him. I stood guard. Protecting Haydyn as always. Protecting her secrets. Protecting her love for Lord Matai. I felt a twinge of unfamiliar longing at the sound of her and Matai’s intimate laughter beyond the door. Haydyn was akin to my younger sister, and yet she knew more of that mysterious intimacy between man and woman than I did. All I ever wanted was to be a source of wisdom and support for Haydyn. How could I be when she was more worldly than I? I was nineteen and un-kissed, never mind…

I ducked my head, feeling silly and adolescent. I did not seek love; I’d never wanted it… but romance… perhaps. I shook my head. I had no time for romance. I was far too busy facilitating Haydyn with hers.

Chapter Three

“Mm,” I moaned, the sweet chocolate and fresh cream cake making my eyes flutter shut in rapture. “Cook, you’ve surpassed yourself,” I mumbled through my bites.

Cook grinned broadly, rolling out pastry as servants bustled around us in the massive kitchen. Valena giggled from her seat across from me, cream sticking to the corner of her mouth. “I swear, Rogan, the sweetest expression you ever have on your face is when you’re eating Cook’s desserts.”

I raised an eyebrow teasingly at her cheekiness and reached across to swipe the last of the cakes from her plate.

“Hey!” She leapt forward to grab it back from me but I held it out of her reach. If we had been standing face to face rather than sitting across a long table, she would have taken it easily. Valena may only be fourteen but she was extremely tall. At least five foot ten, a good three inches taller than me. “Oh don’t, Rogan.” Valena’s eyes widened as I pretended to pop the cake into my mouth. “Cook’s only made a few today.”

Cook shook her head at my teasing. “I swear it could be eight years ago with the way you act, Miss Rogan.”

“Well I wouldn’t have to act that way if you made more than just a few cakes.” I shoved the cake back to Valena, my eyes greedily watching as she scoffed it down in seconds. “Oh, you didn’t even take time to enjoy that. Sacrilege. I should have eaten it.”

“But it was mine.” Valena grinned through a mouthful. “You’re too honourable to have taken what was mine.”

I laughed at the manipulative twinkle in her eye. “Where is she getting this from?” I asked Cook, shaking my head.

Cook snorted. “You!”

Valena burst out laughing and I was truly thankful she had finished eating the cake.

“Valena!”

We all spun around at the sound of Raj’s frantic voice, the kitchen coming to a standstill as he fell into the room. Falling into a room was something Raj never did and we all stared at him wide-eyed as he shrugged himself back into order. But my heart was thumping as Raj smoothed back his white blonde hair and straightened his waistcoat. “Valena,” he said more quietly now. “I need you.”

Valena didn’t ask any questions. She jumped up from the table and made her way towards him. Raj shooed her in front of him and then turned his pale eyes on me. “You too, Rogan.”

I shared a brief worried look with Cook and hurried after the healers.

“What’s going on?” I asked.

“I’ve been called to the Princezna’s suite.”

I forgot all ladylike manners and lifted my dress, running as fast as I could through the palace halls to Haydyn’s apartments. Servants gaped at me as I blurred by them and I wanted desperately to shout back at Raj to hurry up. But if he did that, if he ran with me, then everyone would know something was wrong with Haydyn. What was wrong?! I knew something was wrong?! I cursed myself for not pressing her further, but ever since Jarvis and Ava had imparted the news of the hostility in Phaedra a few weeks ago, I was afraid to burden Haydyn further.

Inside her suite, I found Matai. No other servant. Only Matai, hovering worriedly over Haydyn who lay collapsed on the floor. “What happened?” I rushed towards her, throwing myself down beside her. Her skin, usually alabaster, was deathly pale, her hand limp in mine.

Matai met my gaze with dark, fierce eyes. “I don’t know,” he whispered to me. “We were only talking… and then she… she just collapsed on the floor. I was afraid to move her. I’ve called for Raj… I didn’t want anyone else to know…” he trailed off as Raj and Valena came into the room, Valena shutting the door behind her.

Raj shoved me out of the way but I didn’t mind.

“What’s wrong with her?” I demanded.

“Give me a minute, Rogan, for havens sake,” Raj replied through gritted teeth.

My heart stopped as Haydyn groaned, her eyes fluttering open. As they focused, they widened in panic. “What happened?” she asked hoarsely.

“You collapsed,” I bit out, as if it was her fault somehow.

Her eyes found Raj. “Why?”

Raj shook his head. “Lord Matai, help me move the Princezna to the bed.”

I stood back, and Valena gripped my hand reassuringly. I squeezed back. I knew something was wrong with Haydyn. I knew it.

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