11 XI. Red Cast

Magnus woke up the next morning, sated as if he never had been before. He did not know if Casey did it just to get him in her bed or vice versa. If anything, it was worth it.

Until he realized that Casey was nowhere to be found.

He waited for her to carry the breakfast to his chambers when his valet helped him to get dressed. She did not come even after his bath and Magnus was curious enough to ask of the maid's whereabouts.

"Have you seen Casey today?" Magnus asked his valet before the young lad shook his head at him.

"No, my lord," he replied before he went out with his dirty laundry from last night. Magnus rubbed his hands on his new, clean-shaven cheeks as it was still pink from the aftershave. He sighed before he was making his way to the dining hall.

He descended the stairs before he was making it to the head of the table as the servants were waiting to serve him. They served eggs today and some sausages with some potatoes. He was looking around for any sign but no Casey was around.

Then, his butler came to bear the news to him.

"My lord, there is a 'gram for you," he said before Magnus wiped his mouth as he took the yellow parchment and read its content. It was from his grandmother and she instructed him to get ready to go to Red Cast.

Without her.

Magnus sighed before he instructed the butler to prepare for his traveling trunk for his impending doom to meet his betrothed.

And I slept with a maid last night, Magnus shivered as he had not been faithful to the princess. He has to tell the truth and let her decide if she still wants him for who he was.

Knowing that she will never have his heart now for Casey was the one that took it with her.

*****

Casey was looking around the Fik Forest before she was turning to look at the path that she took. No one dared to come to past this forest to get to Norkins or Scatterford through the forest. It was rumored to have bandits and all kinds of trouble that the travelers don't want to deal with.

And I just walked into the death trap.

She pulled the rein of the mare before she stopped and dismounted from the horse. They were walking through the creek as she did not want anyone to track her down. She got her wishes before she sipped some of the water from the buckskin and went to lead the horse to drink from the creek.

It was high noon as she had been wondering in the forest far more than she'd ever been when she was a princess. Being a princess meant that she needed to be well protected and she needs to bring her escorts with her.

But not when she was a maid, she had the freedom to do anything.

She patted the mare before she was looking around the creek. The birds were chirping before she knelt down and filled in her buckskin so that she would not be hydrated later. She was listening to the forest singing before she heard a twig snapped.

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She pulled the buckskin before she turned around and saw something that she knew she was looking for trouble when she first stepped into Fik Forest.

Just my luck, she thought before a net was covering her from the top as the mare neighed.

*****

Magnus was getting ready to leave The Flemington Manor behind as he was looking at its looming walls before he got inside the carriage. The footman closed the door and the coachman was whipping the horses before it neighed and the carriage moved forward.

So long, Casey, he wished goodbye as he looked at the manor went away as he was looking at it from the outside of the carriage's window. He leaned against the seat before he was folding his hands on his lap as he was waiting for his impending engagement and the princess that he will be meeting later.

It only took half a day to reach the walled city of Red Cast. It was where the castle of the king and queen resided as well as the princess. There was a tower that was known as North Tower to secure the capital of Caga from any invasion if the other countries choose to attack them. But the treaty that has been conjured up when the Kingdom of Ludonea was formed still held until this day.

Magnus knows from his reading from one of the tomes in the library.

He was looking at the faraway sea that could take him away from here, away from Caga to other countries that might have different landscapes and climates. In Caga, it has always been sunny all around throughout the year so they have no problem changing their clothes quite often.

Unlike Frostia, a country in the south that was winter all year, a complete opposite of Caga.

The carriage ran through a hole that made Magnus jumped in the seat. He cursed before he was looking outside the carriage and saw that coachman was guiding through the gravel path that was old as it can get. Magnus sighed before he shook his head.

He just wished that he will be in Red Cast as soon as possible and get this over with.

*****

It was almost evening when Magnus' carriage was coming to a stop in front of the gates that control the in and out of the Red Cast, the walled city. He was sitting in his seat before one of the constables were knocking on his window and Magnus drew the curtains away before he rolled the window down.

"State your business," the constable asked before Magnus was looking at him. he was not one of the constables that he met in Warydeval that had called Casey a wench. So, he took a deep breath and told him his urgent business in Red Cast.

"I am here on behalf of the King and Queen of Caga. They will be expecting me," he said before the constable arched his eyebrow.

"My name is Lord Magnus Flemington, Earl of Kensington. Surely you have your orders regarding my arrival," he said before someone was yelling at the constable. He went to his colleague before someone was shoving the yellow parchment that was known as the 'gram to the constable that just talked to Magnus.

He waited as the constable's eyes went wide before he was rushing toward the carriage again. Told you I have urgent business here, Magnus thought before he schooled his facial expression as the constable was smiling at him now.

"Sure, Lord Magnus. We have been expecting you," the constable said before he was yelling to open the gates. The gates were lifted as the carriage moved into the walled city. Magnus was looking around the city as it was different from the outside of the wall.

It was luxurious with people moving around in different styles and colors. Some wore hats that were as big as an elephant and others were bare. He shook his head before he rolled up the window and the carriage moved across the sprawling city of Red Cast.

Magnus heard everything inside the carriage, even smelled the spices that were exotic and rare in Fiktown. He never smelled something so sweet and tangy as well as hot and spicy. It was a city of different cultures and tongues were speaking in different languages. He knew that he spoke the Common tongue—which was known as English back in his time—and he heard another language that was spoken around in the crowd.

Magnus never thought that he would be like this; experiencing something that he would never have in his own time and right now, the carriage was moving away from the main crowd before he was heading toward the castle.

Magnus looked out the window and he saw the castle that stood enormously on itself before something was flashing inside his mind. He gripped his temple as he was rubbing it with his fingers.

A smile.

Charming eyes.

A castle.

It was the first few flashes that he got when he was dying on the street. It was one of the visions that he got before he woke up in this land of Caga. And one of the flashes has come true. It was the castle of his new home where he will meet his betrothed and his upcoming doom if he did not find any way to get back to his hometown.

*****

Casey was looking at the impudent males that were laughing as they were circling the fire inside the Fik forest. Don't they know that fire will attract some other beings that she did not wish to encounter when she was in their territories?

Casey shuddered when she thought about it and one of the bandits noticed her.

"Ye scared of a little dark, lassie? Surely ye know that when ye entered the Fik forest alone," he smiled as Casey was glaring at him. the bandits did not touch her, she knew that she was too valuable to be touched by any of them for she heard that they will be selling her in the slave market in Norkins.

Why was my fate has been so cruel? She asked herself before she noticed something in the air. The rain was coming and it brought thunders with it.

"Scared of a little lightning?" the bandit asked before he dropped a rotten apple to Casey. She was still in her red riding habits and the mare—Magnus' stallion—was nowhere to be found. He will have her hides if he knew what she had done to it.

"I was not easily fond of what was coming," she replied before she was making a quick prayer so that the thunder will not strike her. Or elsewhere that she might be later on. The bandit sneered at her before mumbling a wench that thought she was better than anyone.

Maybe she was for she was a princess. A captured princess now.

Casey sighed before she was looking at the apple. Well, at least they don't want her dead as she was tied to the trees and the bandits were singing as they were sharing their ales among them as Casey was looking at the sky.

Yeah, she will be safe and hopefully, her parents will forgive her for running away just because she did not want to be married to a lord that she heard from the scandalmongers and found out later that she was falling in love with him.

Oh, Magnus, I hope you will forgive me, she prayed as she was closing her eyes when the first tickle of rain poured down.

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