The next day, the manor was in rush. Everything was to be done before James and Will went back to their academy and their grandmother insisted to send them off. Magnus cannot argue with the woman even if he wanted to.
But he knew that there was something else going as well.
"Are you sure you want to go, grandmother? It will be nothing like what you have experienced when you went to Red Cast. The journey will kill you," James said before the old dowager was staring at him, with her chin up.
"If I say that I will be going, I meant it, young man. Now, get on with it. we don't have all day if we're to running around and not moving for Hamptor," she said before Will smirked as he hugged Magnus.
"I always will," he replied before he patted Will's shoulder. He got into the carriage before James came to hug him.
"Please tell me why grandma insisted to go with us to Hamptor. I don't think the old woman would stand it. let alone, go through Warydeval without having some scandals attached to her name or worse, she was the one that will be carrying the scandal around. You know she's a scandalmonger, always hungry for more gossips," James whispered to him before Magnus laughed. That old woman? A scandalmonger? Well, aren't Magnus in for a surprise to see if it's real or not.
"Take care, brother. And do not find trouble when they left you alone," Magnus said as James smirked at him.
"Brother, brother, brother. You know trouble would always find me, even if I don't want them," James said before he went inside the coach. The footman closed the door as his grandmother was leering from the carriage.
"Now, Magnus, my dear, do not do anything harsh while I'm gone. I will be back before we travel to the Red Cast to meet the King and the Queen of Caga as well as your betrothed," his grandma reminded him before he nodded. Then, the coachman whipped the horses and the carriage was moving forward.
Magnus looked at the retreating carriage before he turned to look at the sky. It was sunny and he took a deep breath. He has the estate all to himself for 2 nights and he did not know what to do.
Well, perhaps hit the library and—
Something stopped him as he was walking toward the stables where he heard a faint sound of music. No, not the stables but toward the lake that he had ventured out when he first heard about the engagement.
Magnus walked up to the lake as quietly as possible as he was looking at the figure that was dancing and singing in front of the lake. He did not know what she was doing but from the free-flowing of her hair to her waist, Magnus cannot look away as something held his gaze on Casey, the dancing and singing maid.
Magnus leaned against the bark of the tree as he was crossing his arms in front of his chest as he was listening to the ethereal singing of Casey. He felt like he was flying in the sky as his heart was soaring. But he knew he was not for everything that he felt was everything.
And it focused on Casey, the scurrying little maid that he met on the very first day at the estate.
It has been a long time since Casey felt like she wanted to sing something. Or do the routine dance that she learned from her grandmother. The King and Queen, her parents, did not like it when their daughter, the princess of the realm, was dancing and singing like common folk.
Perhaps Casey was not meant to be a princess. Perhaps she was destined to be common folk, working as a maid in an estate of her betrothed. Her heart ached.
Lord Magnus Flemington, the Earl of Kensington.
She did not know what to expect when she met him in the chambers after he finally woke up from his deep sleep. It was said that he was trashing on and about the runaway carriage and the death of his parents. The healer said that he could not make it.
Well, they're wrong.
Casey had heard rumors from the scandalmongers—yes, even a princess loved to hear gossip or two—that he was a very hard man. He did not like to smile and he hit on women. Casey has been terrified that she wanted to make sure that her betrothed will be as the scandalmongers described so that she can persuade her parents to call off their engagement.
Even her cousins, the Quinnston, agreed.
But the king and queen will not have any of her nonsense for they know the Flemington even before Casey and Magnus were born. They have been the best of friends and the death of Magnus' parents has cut deep into her father's heart. He lost his best friend and now, he wanted to reunite the two families together as one united front.
And Casey was the one to uphold it.
She sighed before she was spinning and twirling with the haunting melody that her grandmother loved to sing whenever she was sad or unhappy. It helped and Casey was turning the haunting melody toward the lake. The water moved.
She smiled before she felt the magic in the air. It was known across the Kingdom of Ludonea that magic was in the air. Every country has its own magical essence but in Caga, it was mostly in the wind since the practice of magic was forbidden—it was considered as a pagan belief.
And so, Caga was the only country in the Kingdom of Ludonea that hold the Holy Religion in their faith. Nothing of those pagan beliefs where Vampyre, Demons, Faeries, Sirens, or Dragons can save them.
Even if they existed across the kingdom.
Perhaps Casey wanted to meet them. She heard about the Vampyre Queen and her consort from Niapachad Island, only to the northeast of Caga. Perhaps one day, Casey will be visiting there and make an acquaintance with the queen.
After all, she was the princess of Caga.
Suddenly, she felt chills running down her spine. She did not know what it was but she knew that she was being watched from afar. She was looking around the lake before she saw that Magnus, Lord Magnus Flemington, was looking at her. She did not know what to feel.
Perhaps happy that he was here. Or fear that her betrothed will do something that will be out of this world.
Maybe she wanted the latter one.
Casey seized the singing and dancing as Magnus was running down the slope to get to her. She was nervous, her heart was beating fast as she was looking at her betrothed but he did not know who she was.
He only knows Casey as the scurry maid of the estate.
"Good morning, my lord," she said as she curtsied before Magnus bowed, the mischief was in his eyes.
"I thought we were past that. We were friends, Casey,"
Casey, such a delightful name on his mouth.
Casey smiled as she was tucking her hair behind her ear for the wind was blowing wildly behind them. She did not notice that before Magnus came to stand in front of her. She turned to look at the lake before Magnus moved to touch her.
He pushed her hair behind her ear. The touch was innocent enough but she knew what it did to her stupid heart. Her cousins have suggested that she will find flaws—any flaw—in Magnus and demanded that her parents set her free from the unwanted engagement.
The problem was that she cannot find anything and little by little, her heart was yearning for him. Every day and night. Every waking hour and when she went to sleep and closed her eyes, it was his face that roamed behind her closed eyelids.
It was insane to know someone but not truly know oneself.
Was this what falling in love entitled her to? Was she condemned to be falling in love with Lord Magnus Flemington to her last breath? What started out as a challenge to get away from an engagement that she did not want to but now, she was yearning for it?
"Casey?" Magnus called her before she turned to look into his eyes. There was heat and something else there. Desire? Lust? Yearning, perhaps? Casey did not know until Magnus was leaning forward as he held her nape and pulled her closer.
"I don't think I can forget you, Casey, for you have burned into my heart long before I know it," he mumbled, and with last dying sunlight, they kissed to seal their fate forever.
The kiss was soft and tender as if to tell them of their true feelings but none of them spoken when they were breaking the kiss. Casey smiled before she excused herself as she was walking back toward the estate, knowing for sure that her heart has been gripped and grabbed by the man that she did not expect to fall in love with.
And isn't that the most damnation thing to happen if she wished to call off the engagement?