6 First step

After dinner, Alastair was taking a walk outside on the lawn when Eleanor decided to join him. She had been led to her room by one of the maids after the king instructed them. Eleanor had been vexed thinking that her time with Alastair had been cut short when he had walked away from her after giving the orders to the maid. She wanted to speak to him and if possible seduce him too. But the man had not given her another glance much to her annoyance.

When she was done settling in the guest room, she looked out of the window and saw Alastair taking a stroll leisurely in the garden. Under the moonlight sky, he looked so handsome like an ethereal beauty that her heart skipped a beat. He was still in the clothes he was wearing in the morning and his cloak fluttered every time the breeze blew across the garden.

Seeing his charismatic face, Eleanor smiled in delight. Now it was time to take the first step towards her plan. The king was all alone and it was easy to talk to him and if possible, she could do things that involved more than talking. With that, she lifted her dress and rushed out of the guest room, climbed down the stairs hastily and went to the garden.

However, she stopped herself right at the entrance where Alastair could not see her. She did not want to appear desperate or eager for his attention. She wanted everything to be perfect and make him yearn for her and not the other way round. So, she waited until her breathing returned to normal before she stepped onto the lawn. She wiped her face with her sleeves to appear impeccable before him and remove the sweat, if any, on her face that might have formed from all the running she had done.

With an expressionless face, Eleanor started walking making it seem as though she was out to take a casual walk after dinner. She timed it so perfectly well that as soon as she stepped on the lawn, she met with Alastair who raised his eyebrows at her.

"What a pleasant surprise, my king." She bowed slightly before she gave him her breathtaking smile hoping that it would move him a little. However, the king remained unaffected. He had seen her long back when she was ogling at him from her window and even knew the reason she was here. But did not say a thing to her, not when he wanted her help at things she did not know yet.

"A pleasant surprise indeed, Lady Eleanor. Are you here to lose weight?" Alastair asked with a straight face, making it highly difficult for Eleanor to see if he was actually serious or just joking about her weight.

Eleanor was an arrogant lady. She had been pampered by her family since childhood and had been told how beautiful she was. No man had dared to disrespect her and the biggest weapon she had with her was her beauty which was unrivaled in the entire kingdom. Everybody, be it a man or woman had to agree that she indeed the most beautiful woman ever born and this had eventually gone to her head. She had the body which the men dreamt of and a face which the ladies wanted. Now that the young king was taunting her for her weight, she started to feel a little insecure. But the thought vanished as fast as it had come.

"It is a habit of mine to take a leisure walk after dinner every day, my Lord. Are you here for the same reason?"

"Not at all. I am here to hunt my next prey which right now has come to me on its own." Alastair's ambiguous words confused Eleanor greatly. She could not comprehend who he was thinking about. So, she gave up on the thought and stepped closer to Alastair.

"Isn't it a beautiful night, my Lord?"

"It sure is." He did not elaborate any further much to Eleanor's annoyance. While she racked her brain thinking all possible topics to keep the conversation going, the mesmerizing green eyes he had seen in the evening flashed before Alastair's eyes making him halt at his feet suddenly. Those eyes made him feel something he could not give a name to. It was as though there was an invisible force pulling him to them, telling him that all had answers he needed were in those eyes.

Seeing him halt suddenly, Eleanor who had taken walked a step ahead came back to stand beside him and glanced at him. His charming face, the chiseled jaw, the soul-sucking honey-colored eyes and those delectable lips skipped a beat in Eleanor's heart. Alastair's hair had fallen on his forehead and had become disheveled. But that made him look all the more sinister especially in the moonlight.

Eleanor could not help but gawk at him while she took in his beautiful features. She had never seen a man so debonair and powerful, who looked nothing less than evil. If only she could marry him, she would have absolute power and could rule the kingdom just like how she had dreamed many times. For that, she had to execute her plan and hoped that nothing would go wrong in it and even if it did, she would make sure that everything fell into place the way she wanted.

Alastair stood still for a long time. He had long come of his thoughts and had cleared his head for now. But he waited to see how long the woman beside him could stand without complaining. Just as he was wondering, he heard the whining voice he was waiting for and his lips rose slightly.

"Is everything alright, my King?" Eleanor asked when she could not stand any longer. They had been in the same position for some time now and her legs were killing her. She just wanted to sit somewhere or go back to her chambers, and if possible Alastair's chambers deemed fine too.

"Yes. Why do you ask Lady Eleanor?"

"I was wondering if we could sit somewhere while we talked."

"What do you want to talk about, Lady Eleanor?" Alastair started walking as soon as he threw his question to her and now she had no choice but to walk beside him, even if her legs were not cooperating.

"About.. about the future."

Her answer made the king stop and he turned to give one cryptic look at her before he started walking again. "Future is a big word, Lady Eleanor. You never know when what happens. You never know when you might get killed and who might be the one to kill you. So, I advise you to keep a lookout on your surroundings, lest you should get yourself killed by your own actions. I think your walk is not done yet. I am going to retire for the night. You can continue, nobody will disturb you. Good night Lady Eleanor."

Eleanor did not understand the underlying meaning of his words. She assumed him to be worried about her and became jubilant just by thinking about it. 'The king is worried about my well being. This is a good sign.' She thought, with a huge smile on her face. She did not know how horrible she looked with that smile of hers, especially under the moonlit night. The maid who was returning after feeding the king's pets almost had a heart attack seeing her. She even dropped the basket in her hand, assuming the woman before her to be a ghost or a witch.

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