7 VII. The Dinner

After his affair with his brother, Magnus soaked in the hot bath that was drawn by the servants. His valet helped him to get out of his breeches, waistcoat, shirt, and shift as he was wearing a banyan before he went to the bathing chambers.

He pushed the banyan and it pooled to the ground before Magnus was slipping into the water. He sighed a bit before he was looking at the ceiling. The gaslights were shining his dim bathing chambers as the sun was on the horizon.

Magnus took a rag and soap before he lathered on his skin. It smelled of lemon verbena and he sighed in content for his sweat of the day was washed off. After that, he stood up as the water droplets slid down his bare skin before wrapping himself in a fluffy towel.

The valet came again and helped him to get dressed. This time, it was a plain shirt with breeches and a black waistcoat. His hair was still damp from the bath as he exited his chambers and went downstairs to find that his grandmother and his brothers were already there.

"Took you long enough," Will said before Magnus bared his teeth to his youngest brother.

"What can I say? He loves to spend his time in the bathtub, I assure you," James said before Magnus was glaring at him.

"Enough, children. It is not polite to be jesting in front of the food," the old dowager countess said before the servants were serving them. There was soup and beef stew as well as a hearty loaf of bread. It was nothing as simple as Magnus read up in his history books.

Perhaps Caga was different from Medieval England, he thought but still, the painting of Saint George and the dragon disturbed him like a thorn in his ass.

"I hope that you are well and prepared to go to the castle in Red Cast next week, my dear. I know you are dreading to see the princess yourself," the old dowager said before Magnus smiled, not knowing what to say to that statement. James beat him to it.

"Of course he was, grandma! It's the princess that he will be marrying. I would be lucky to replace him if Magnus chose to step aside at the very last minute," James said with a smirk on his lips. Will snorted.

"And it would be a miracle for you to stay with one woman, James. It would be scandalous if you're to take a mistress while married to the princess," Will added as Magnus was sipping on the soup. Someone poured the wine into his goblet and when he turned to look at it, it was Casey.

She seemed fine after that even with the constables.

"Right. And I think the spoiled brat of the princess will be charmed with me that she overlooks my discretion," James said before Will threw a piece of the loaf at him. James smirked.

"Children, do not be wasting your food," their grandma said before all three of Flemington were focusing on their food, not wanting to earn the old dowager's wrath.

Magnus was eating wholeheartedly. He did not know what it was about the food that he kept asking for more. The old dowager was smiling at him.

"It is good for you to be up and running, my dear. I can only wish that the Lord will not burden you anymore with illness," she prayed before his brothers followed her. Amen echoed in the dining hall.

After their dinner, they went to the drawing-room to enjoy Will playing the pianoforte. Magnus made a note that William can play like a prodigy on the pianoforte.

Without the singing of course.

Then, their grandmother was asking for tea and some biscuits for their desserts. They were discussing James' education and William's extra activities outside the formal education.

"Will you join the training again, brother? I know that 2 months can do to your muscles memory on how to fight with a sword. It languished," James said before Magnus was blinking his eyes at him. James smirked.

"Do not tell me the Earl of Kensington forgot on how to defend himself?" he jested before Will smirked at him. Magnus rolled his eyes before he noticed the old dowager was eager to hear his response.

"I do not forget the skills that I had acquired, James. I simply get better at it," he said before he was arching his eyebrow at James. The young lad laughed before they were talking about something else, let say the engagement of the princess to Magnus for instance.

"What was she like, grandma? I heard that she did not like to be out in the open and she shied away from in her tower," Will, the know-it-all, said as Magnus was biting on the chocolate biscuits. So much better than the talk, he thought before the old woman was sipping on her tea and put it down a moment later.

"Well, The Times said that she was a fair maiden with hair like the sun shining on it and her eyes were the palest of them all. Some of the maids that served her when she was younger told the editors that she was as gentle as a lamb and as graceful as a swan. It was told that she cared for the animals around her. Especially horses," the old dowager said as Magnus was biting on the biscuit, not wanting to be drawn in the stories as his brothers.

"And now?" James asked her before their grandma smiled. She turned to look at Magnus where he deliberately ignored him. You will not bait me into this, he thought before the dowager chuckled lowly.

"Now, she was ever more beautiful than anyone else in Caga and she was said to be the most intelligent royal between her cousins, the Quinnston," his grandma said before Magnus scowled. Then, he was sipping on the tea and it did nothing to subdue the curiosity inside his chest.

"Ah, what a dream to have a lady like that by my side," James said before Will shook his head.

"I think she would know to avoid you first of all people. You're screaming as a rake with your fancy dresses and attitude," Will said as James glared at him.

"And you're a miserable old scholar who only cares about books. I bet that you're still a virgin, brother," James hissed before Magnus cleared his throat. He has to dispute the upcoming fight between James and Will. They all turned to look at him.

"I saw the painting in my room. What was it called?" he asked before his brothers were blinking their eyes at them. Then, they laughed. Magnus scowled.

"What?" he asked before Will was clearing his throat as James was still laughing at his expense.

"You meant to say that you cannot remember the odd painting that you bought yourself from the market in Scatterford? What a fool you have been, brother," James said before Will turned to look at him. He was hoping that this brother of his will helps him out.

"It was called Saint George and the dragon. Surely you can remember that name?" Will asked him as Magnus was rubbing his temple.

"I believe so, yes,"

"You insisted us to get it in Scatterford that you stated you were dreaming to have been looking for this painting. And luckily for us, there was one vendor that sold it and we paid him a fortune to get it. He said that it has a magical ability to summon the dragon, what nonsense," Will said before he was sipping on his wine. Magnus nodded, considering that it was just a painting.

Surely no one would be a bloody fool to be tricked like that.

"And while you were ill, you have been staring at the painting for as long as I can remember whenever I visit during the weekends, saying that the man in knight armor was calling for your help," Will continued before Magnus was blinking his eyes at his youngest brother.

"Oh hush now, dear. There is no such thing as magic in Caga or in the Kingdom of Ludonea for Lord's sake! It is the most pagan thing to say," the old dowager said before she stood up, her skirts rustled as she moved to get out of the drawing-room.

Apparently, the night was coming to an end.

"Come along now, you have to get your beauty sleep for your trip tomorrow, boys. I don't want you to be late to the academy in Hamptor now," their grandmother said as James and Will were grumbling at each other with Magnus' question still in the air.

So if there was no magic, then how do I got here? He thought before a scurry maid was coming to clean up the tea that they have left.

"You're not delusional you know," Magnus jerked as Casey spoke to him for the first time after their ride together from Warydeval to Fiktown, the location of his estate; The Flemington Manor.

"About what?" Magnus asked before Casey turned to lock her stormy eyes on him. Magnus gulped as he remembered their shared kiss in the alley. His gaze flickered to her soft, kissable mouth.

"Magic. They're everywhere. You just have to believe that there was something out there in the other countries around the kingdom. Most likely you would encounter it if you're traveling by sea and visit Niapachad Island. Their queen is a Vampyre," Casey said as she was smiling wickedly at Magnus. Good lord, his cock twitched at the sight.

"Vampyre? What is that?" he asked, trying to form a sentence as Casey moved about before she took the tray and smiled as she stepped away from Magnus. A knowing smile of something that she knew but left him in the dark.

"Would you like to know my lord?" she purred before she stepped out of the drawing-room as Magnus' thoughts were turning in his head. If there was magic then, there was a chance for him to get back. If only he knew how.

Long after they went to bed, Magnus was still staring at the ceiling as he was still thinking about the painting and how it landed in this foreign land. And how he can use it to get back to his time, to London where his work was not done.

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