The place was full of energy.
Lucas had regained his full strength and was now chattering animatedly in the courtyard with his new wife. However, not all was so pleasant as news that Courtney was missing spread around the castle. I wondered briefly where she had gone until I overheard a conversation between the servants.
I stopped in my tracks and peered around the corner. I vaguely recognized one of the servants as the blonde haired woman who had glared at me the night of the Lucas' attack. She was talking with a younger male servant.
'She's gone to fetch the antidote? But Lucas is well.'
'I know that, thanks to that meddling Elizabeth.'
I frowned at the mention of my name and listened closely.
'How did she know you were going to poison him?' the male enquired. He was obviously very much aware of Lucas' attempted murder but he didn't sound the least bit stressed, in fact his voice was full of complete admiration for the blonde.
'She must have overheard. Why she didn't tell anyone, I do not know.'
I chose to present myself at that point.
'Because I am not a murderer,' I informed them. They both jumped as I came into view and the blonde's eyes narrowed hatefully. The young lad, he couldn't have been more than fifteen now looked frightened, like he wanted to be anywhere but here. 'I could have you executed for that, you know.'
'You have no proof it is me, they wouldn't believe you anyway.' She took a step towards me.
'As opposed to a lowly servant?' I scoffed. 'They'll believe me more than you because I have one thing that you don't.' I leant closer to her. 'Power.'
She let out a low hiss and her face turned a shade of red. Pure, unadulterated fury flared in her eyes and she gritted her teeth.
The boy chose this moment to scupper away, but the other servant didn't notice this.
'Why should you care? They don't care for you. All your life they have treated you as though you are nothing. Even your own mother couldn't care for you.'
That struck a nerve and I found myself suck in a sharp breath, completely shocked that she would say such a thing, a smaller part of me curious as to how she knew this information.
'That's not true,' I whispered, shaking my head. But she saw that she had hit home and her eyes glinted with malevolence.
'Yes it is and you know it. Hence why she chose to dump you here in the first place. She couldn't support you because you were such a burden so she cleared off as soon as she'd arrived, leaving behind her unlovable daughter.'
Before I knew what I was doing, my hand flew across her face, hard. My palm stung and she clutched her already red cheek, eyes wide with surprise. She had not expected me to retaliate.
'Listen here,' I hissed. 'Your days are numbered. You ever pull a stunt like that with me again and I'll have you executed so fast you won't know what hit you.' I turned to go but paused briefly. 'Oh, and by the way...' I tugged on the small white fabric hanging out of her pocket and transferred it to my own bag. 'Don't you dare steal from me again, got it?'
I walked off, a smug smile settling on my face, clutching my handkerchief tight to my chest.