2 Chapter 1

Clink.

The porcelain bowl made a reverberating sound as it came in contact with the steel drying rack. It was sometime after dinner and a few of the maids were in the kitchen cleaning up after the wastes of it. The cooks had taken off to their breaks, nibbling after whatever is left over from what they made for the royal family.

"Oh my god!"

Sorine jolted at the sudden exclamation beside her. They were drying the dishes after they had been washed thoroughly. The maid beside her squeaked like a squirrel as she jumped up and down, scrambling towards Sorine.

"The fourth prince. I saw him!" She uttered turning towards Sorine.

Sorine frowned, looking over at her left and right in order to make sure that the girl was surely talking to her. She must be new because none of the other maids remotely like her to even strike up a conversation with her voluntarily. The new girl bobbed her head up and down excitedly,

"You! Yes, it's you! It doesn't matter! I saw the fourth prince!" She squealed out, jumping up and down on the tip of her toes. She couldn't have looked any more elated.

"I knew coming to work in Newarfa would pay off." She gushed, waving her hands excitedly. Sorine smiled, more to herself witnessing the girl's energy.

"Is that so?" She calmly replied, rubbing the bowl dry with the soft muslin cloth. The girl continued to ramble in her enthusiasm.

"Yes but it was only for a short moment, a glimpse but I had a feeling it was him! Can you believe that? He never steps a foot out of the tower room and counsels the king only during night time. I have got to be one of the few people who has actually seen him! Can you believe that?" She peered her large eyes over to Sorine, gripping a glass plate close to her chin. Sorine scoffed in amusement.

"That's...nice. Good for you." She replied, wondering if she is going to keep talking to her without repercussions. The girl seems too excited to care. She continues.

"So this is it. This is the moment we fall for each other, isn't it? Do you think so too? No? Yes? I think so too! He must be so dreamy, I heard that Neddie also saw him once as well and she said that his eyes glowed red. No red red but like dark red. Blood red. Like burgundy red."

"So what'd he look like?" Sorine asked, making idle talk to the girl. She didn't get many chances to converse with most people in the castle. This was a welcomed change. The girl gave her a crestfallen look, features drooping down in sadness.

"Oh no, but I didn't see his face. But I saw his hand! His left hand to be exact and you could just know that the man is just dreamy hot because I could see the veins running in his muscular hand! And it was so so hot because he had these strange black markings running down his hand and is that what they call a tattoo? I think—"

SLAP!

A roll of newspaper came out of nowhere, hitting the new girl at the back of her hand. An echo of silence settled across the kitchen.

"Ah!" She winced sharply and set down the glass plate that she was holding onto the kitchen counter.

"New here, aren't you?" An acute commanding tone, distinct to the head of maids, Madam Supervisor Ila cut through and Sorine stiffened up across her back visibly. This was all a mistake, she shouldn't have talked to the new girl and now this little girl was going to get an earful because of her.

"Yap yap yap. Is that all you are going to go about throughout the day?"

"I am sorry, Madam Supervisor." The girl mumbled under her breath with guilt, looking downward. The moment that Sorine feared had come.

"Think truly of what you are doing! Why did you come into Newarfa if you are just going to babble about instead of completing chores!"

"I-I am so sorry!"

"And you!" Madam Supervisor turned her attention to the accomplice and stopped for a while as she realized that it was none other than Sorine. She turns up her gaze, glaring harshly towards Sorine, "Do you have nothing better to do than to listen idly? Have you no awareness as a senior maid? Oh wait that's right, you wouldn't even have that. You don't even work even though you are a maid! Do you have to be this useless? If you aren't going to put in anything useful, at least look a bit decent!"

"My esteemed apologies." Sorine replied calmly with her voice under well control. She refused to be affected by such petty wiles.

"As if your apologies would be esteemed. Leave. You have been summoned."

"Summoned? By whom?" Sorine replied in question, looking up at Madam Supervisor. A look of hate met her eyes, and shifted towards apprehension.

"Are you doing that on purpose or do you really need to ask?"

Oh, so she meant him.

"I understand Madam Supervisor." Sorine bowed to her Head and turned about, walking away. She heard the voices drifting on as she turned her back against them and walks off towards the door.

"New girl! What's your name?" Madam Supervisor asked the new girl who was left trembling behind.

"N-name? M-mary."

"Mary! Straighten up!" Slap! The sound of the newspaper hitting the new girl echoed through the kitchen and Sorine finally grimaced to herself now that her face was turned away, "I am only advising you as your senior and the Head but truth be told, I honestly do think that it'd be better if you didn't converse or interact with that woman."

"That woman? What?"

"Did you not know? That woman is the…"

Sorine rolled her eyes and quickly walked off. She was already affected enough with what the maids seem to talk behind her back and she didn't need to listen to some more. It has happened too frequently that the only thing she needed and preferred now was peace. And she didn't care if Madam Supervisor was to turn the new girl against herm

She walked to the room that was well known to her. She stays there the majority of the time and spends her nights there as well. The path to the room is well lit as she walked along the corridor with candles lamps along the wall. As she neared the room that she intended to visit, loud crashing noises came clear, and dread picked off their shoes, settling down in Sorine's stomach.

There she was. The Crown Prince Eric's room. She took in a deep breath and pushed the heavy oak door open.

CRASH!

The bowl of stir-fried meat came shuttling through the air and hit the wall right beside Sorine, missing her by a good few inches. She doesn't flinch, only closing her eyes momentarily as a splatter of the contents in the broken bowl comes flying, hitting her on the cheek and across the chin.

The door was still hanging open and Eric glared at it, giving a dissatisfied grunt from across the room as he casted his eyes on it. Raising a hand, he released a blast of cold shatter of icicles. It impacted against the door and closed it shut with a loud bang and Sorine wished for something. She wished that this wasn't so normal and she would feel rattled, that her heart would thud against her ribcage in panic like the first time he acted like this. But instead, she felt nothing but calm running across her veins.

The room was a mess with a new shatter of icicles splayed across the dark woven carpet of the floor, soaking into it as wetness as the minutes ticked by. Right across the wall was a huge stain from the stir-fry dish being thrown across the room, pieces of broken porcelain lying shattered and ready to prick anyone that dared to touch it. The small sliver of food on her cheek was hot, the oil searing into her skin as Eric glowered at her, not moving from his spot yet. The clock ticked nine pm and the lamp burned orange into his angry profile.

"Where were you?" He gruffly asked, taking heavy steps towards Sorine whose breath hitched in her throat. Reflexively and out of habit, she backs up against the wall behind her, just beside the stain on the wall. The expression on her face is cool and she doesn't even react as he walks closer to her.

"The kitchen." She answered stoically,

"What have you been up to again, my Sinne?" Heavy thuds filled the room as he takes steady and deadly steps towards. Sorine wished she would melt into the wall behind her but at the same time, she called out to him. To come closer and to touch her. She felt dread yet at the same time, she wanted his weight on her body.

"Nothing, I merely thought I would help the maids." She told him normally, straightening her back up. A low disgruntled sound erupted from his throat as he closed in on her. He ran his hand, fleetingly down her cheek and to her neck, stopping just at her collar bone. Then he turns his eyes up, glaring at her

"Listen, I put you up as a maid in this castle only for namesake. You are not to touch a dirty dish or a single broom. I thought you understood that."

Sorine shivered under his touch as his grip closed in on her neck and she felt his cool hand wrapping around her warm neck. Her body trembled slightly and his mouth turned up, seeing the effect he has on her.

"I understood. I am sorry. I didn't do anything bad."

"Is that so? And is that why you didn't let me partake in my dinner tonight?"

"Eric. I said I am sorry."

"Hush." He whispered, rubbing his thumb across her lower and pressing against it. He wiped the droplet of oil sliding down her cheek and pushed his thumb into her mouth, "Taste." He ordered and Sorine did as he told, running her tongue against his thumb and she closed her eyes, her irises glowing gold through the skin of her lids. His lips tilted upwards as he watched her, cupping her jaw and caressing it with his face inches away from her own. Sorine held back the low moan almost rising up from her throat, drowning in the rise of magic in her veins.

"It's okay." Sorine reveled, taking in a deep breath and the glow in her eyes faded as she drew her lids open. She opened her eyes to find Eric just mere centimeters away from her face and inching closer. She took in another breath as she felt his lips run against the skin of cheeks. He stopped near her lips, gripping her jaw in his hands tighter.

"Good, don't forget who you belong to and stay quietly in the room."

And with that, he closed his lips upon hers claiming her as his mouth ran over her lips, kissing her. He dragged the tip of his tongue over her lower lip before catching it in his teeth and he pulled, nipping at it.

"You got that?"

"I got it." She relented, closing her eyes to the feel of his lips on hers.

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