After his bath, Magnus dressed up and went to the dining hall. They were to break their fast together and Magnus was the last one to arrive. Apparently, James and Will have been there with their grandmother.
Casey was nowhere to be found.
"Where's the princess?" Magnus asked before he took his seat next to the right side of his grandma as his brothers were on the other side of the old dowager.
"Still getting dress, I presume," the dowager said as Magnus was filling his plate with eggs and sausages when the door was opened and Casey walked inside the dining hall. Magnus and his brothers stood up in the company of a lady as well as she was a princess.
And his betrothed.
"Ah, there you are, my dear. Come, have some food," the old dowager said before Casey was moving to sit next to Magnus. He had to help her to get into her seat now. So, he did what was expected of him to be a gentleman in a polite company.
"Thank you," Casey said as Magnus smelled her apricot scent on her hair. The gown that she wore was accentuated the figure that she hid when she was wearing the maid's clothes. Well, no one appreciated what was hiding underneath them before.
Except for Magnus who had known every inch of her skin. But now was not the time to reminiscence the memory of their lovemaking.
"Have some eggs, dear," his grandma said before Casey was taking some of the eggs and sausages. William and James were quiet, only the sounds of the forks and knives can be heard in the dining hall.
Until the old dowager was clearing her throat.
"Well, I have sent a 'gram to your parents and they would come here today. I know that it was a traumatic experience and you hope to have them here. So, they will arrive later this afternoon if not tonight," the old dowager said before Casey was smiling at her.
"That was thoughtful. Thank you, my lady,"
"Please, call me Grandma," the old dowager said as Casey smiled weakly. Magnus knew that the engagement was still on and he must face Casey with the truth if they wanted their marriage to work.
James and Will continued to stare at Casey as if she was just coming out under the stone. Magnus scowled at them before James smirked and they continued to eat their fast.
James and Will have left for their academy, bringing parchment each from their grandmother to excuse them from the academy punishment. And right now, they were waiting by the courtyard as the king and the queen were coming to visit with their carriage that bore the dragon's crest.
"It is nice to be out of the city for once and a while," the queen said as she was hugging the old dowager as if they had known each other for a very long time. Perhaps they did and the king was kissing her fingertips.
"Edward, it was nice to see that you are not getting more white in your hair, with that state of affairs. Say, how's your son?" his grandma asked before Magnus turned to look at Casey. She had a brother? And here Magnus thought that Vincent was bad enough.
Imagine if her brother was to stop him that night.
"Well, my son is fine and well. he was still trying to figure out the best way to rule in his own sense," the king said before they were moving into the parlor and his grandma was calling for the tea and biscuits to the drawing-room.
Another maid was coming to the room with trays of fine cups and tier of biscuits before she left them. Magnus was sitting by the mantle as he was staring at the fire crackled while the others were talking. Casey was mostly quiet, nibbling on the biscuits.
Well, it's now or never, he thought before he took a deep breath and he turned to look at the company.
"I have something to say," Magnus said as the king and the queen were looking at him. His grandma was sipping on her tea as if she was expecting him to say as much. Casey was looking at him, wide-eyed like a doe.
"I don't think I can go on with the engagement," he said as he was looking at the king and the queen. The king furrowed his eyebrows.
"But why my lad? I thought you were—"
"I did it because I did not know Christy," he said her given name and Casey flinched, "is someone that I know. But I cannot marry a person and be the husband to a wife that kept a secret from him. I'm sorry but I'm calling off the engagement," Magnus said before he was storming out of the room as the voices were calling after him.
No, no, no! he thought as he was running down the hallway, into the parlor, and went to the lake to think about his life choice and what will happen in his future now.
So much adventure, even for a mythical creature scholar from London.
Magnus was looking at the lake as he took a deep breath before he threw a stone across the lake. It did not bounce like Casey once did. It just sank to the bottom, like his heart as he knew that he cannot marry Casey for her deception but he also cannot have Casey belong to anyone.
Anyone except for him.
"Tarnation!" he shouted before he was looking at the sky, throwing punches and he took a deep breath. He was breathing hard but he knows that he has to make a choice.
After all, Magnus was not planning to stay there for long.
He heard someone was coming from behind but he did not dare to look. He cannot look into Casey's eyes and felt nothing. He knew he could never forgive her but he also cannot forget her.
I am a hot mess, Magnus thought before someone was standing next to him. it was the king, Casey's father.
"Well, this is a better view than the once that before," the king said as the wind was caressing their clothes. It swayed in the winds before Magnus was running his hands across his hair.
"Perhaps," he replied for his mind was replaying the memory of him and Casey throwing stones that one afternoon.
"She did it because she wanted to meet you, you see. You have to understand that Christy has been sheltered her whole life and when I told her that she will be married to a Flemington, she was scared,"
"Scared?" Magnus grimaced, "but why?"
The king sighed. "The rumors perhaps. She was obsessed with The Times and would listen to any gossips that were floating around the castle, noting there were scandalmongers everywhere as well," the king said as he smiled as if he was looking at the old memories of his daughter. Magnus nodded.
"Of course, the scandalmongers would love to get their hands on anything at everything," he said, remembering the time where the maids were explaining about the time before Red Cast was a walled city.
The king patted his shoulder before he smiled at Magnus. He did not return it.
"Give her a chance to explain and perhaps you will see it in her shoes. After all, you did bring her back to me and I will always be in your debt, Magnus. For you are the savior of my daughter and this country," the king said before he moved back toward the manor. Magnus sighed before he looked at his own reflection in the water.
He sighed for he also has a secret of his own, that he did not belong in this world and he will have to find a way back to London in every possible way that he could. He just did not know if he wanted to now for his heart had been snatched by a princess that disguised herself as a maid.
Magnus was walking toward the stables. The groom wanted to help him but he dismissed him, wanting to have the stables to himself. He was looking at the stalls that were empty of his horses and his brothers'.
Magnus sighed before he noticed there was another shadow inside the stables at the entrance.
"I was wondering where I could find you," Casey said as she was gripping her skirts and walked into the stables. It was so different when he was looking at the auburn hair that was shaped into a coronet on top of her head and the sunshine was making it luster with color.
The color of sunset.
"Did you look for me?" Magnus asked before he was walking away from her, trying to create some distance between them as his Hessian boots were hitting the plywood of the stables.
"I went to the lake as my father said that you were there but when I arrived you were gone," she said as she was turning her head around the stables, "but I figured you must be here. Sorry for your mare," she said as she was looking at the empty stall. Magnus smiled weakly.
"Well, you did steal it from me so," Magnus shrugged before Casey was biting her lower lips.
"I know what you're going to say, Casey, and my answer still the same," Magnus said before he was moving to get out of the stables when Casey whispered.
"Even when you're the only one that took my virginity?"
Magnus froze as he turned to look at the princess. Her chin was up and he knew that she was ready to fight, using that V-card of hers to force him to marry him.
What did I say, bloody tarnation, he thought before he scowled at her.