Chapter 106 – The Filendells (I)
“No one knows me better than you do.” Levisia frowned. And it was true. No one on Earth knew more about her than Pel and Sheila.
“Well. I also used to think that but now I think I was wrong.” Pel said, his voice smug.
“Then what do you want to know?” Levisia asked, folding her arms and frowning. “And no, I am not going to tell you everything. Not unless I decide that it’s an innocent enough question.”
Pel shook his head and sighed, almost as if he was banking on doing just that.
“Never mind. If you’re going to be like that, then I won’t bother.” He said, getting to his feet. “I should be getting back to my carriage. We’ll be setting off soon.
Levisia watched as he opened the door and climbed out. She waited until he was about to close the door again when she called out his name. He poked his head through the gap, a confused expression on his face.
“I’m sorry.” Levisia said, looking down at her hands. “I just feel everyone knows everything about me. Is there nothing about me that is private anymore?”
“I’m sorry, too. I didn’t mean to confuse you.” Pel said with a brief smile, and properly closed the carriage door.
“See you later.” Levisia said to the now-empty carriage, knowing that Pel couldn’t hear her. She leant back against the chair and waited for the carriage to start moving again.
Much to Levisia’s delight, the first night on the road would be spent in the home of the Count and Countess of Filendell. She had started to get worried as the sun set, and conjured up images of her sleeping in a cramped carriage. Or worse, outside on the ground.
As the carriage rolled up to the manor, the Countess of Fildendell was standing on the stairs leading to the main door. She held her arms out as if she was about to embrace them all.
“Welcome to my humble abode, Your Highness. The Emperor contacted me in advance and informed me that you would need a place to stay for the night.” The Countess stepped aside. “Please, make yourself at home.”
Levisia carried her luggage up the stairs and stared in awe at the décor. Whilst it was nowhere near on par with the palace, the Count and Countess clearly took pride in their house. The rich golden walls, the lavish tiled floors, the chandeliers that cast a warm glow on everything… Levisia felt as though she had been transported to another world.
“This way, please.” The Countess said as she walked up a curved marble staircase. “I will show you to your rooms so you can deposit your bags, and then you can rest before dinner.”
Levisia remained silent throughout the tour, as Elizabeth did most of the talking. She frowned when Elizabeth requested that their rooms be next to each other.
“Your Highness, the rooms are all close together. There is no need for you to worry.” The Countess smiled. Levisia could tell that it was forced, and she bit her lip.
“It’ll be alright, Elizabeth.” She said, desperately trying to diffuse the situation. “Which room is mine, please?”
The Countess shrugged; her fake smile more obvious than before.
“Take your pick.” She spun on her heels. “Dinner will be served in an hour’s time. I assume that, after a day on the road, you must all be famished.”
Everyone watched her leave, her shoes clicking on the tiled floor. They all collectively breathed a sigh of relief when she disappeared down the stairs.
“Levisia.” Elizabeth grabbed Levisia’s arm. “If you go to dinner, they might find out who you are.”
“They probably already know who I am. What difference would it make?” Levisia snatched her arm away from Elizabeth. “Besides, wouldn’t it be dangerous for me to stay alone? Plus, I am hungry. I am not missing dinner.”
Elizabeth sharply exhaled, and sulked off into one of the bedrooms. As soon as the door slammed shut, Levisia turned to Sheila.
“Go to your room and rest Sheila. You look exhausted.” She said, gesturing to one of the closed doors. “I’ll wake you up before dinner.
Sheila looked awful. All colour had drained from her face, and she appeared as though she was about to collapse without warning.
“They said we’ll only be here for one night, right?” Sheila swallowed. Her hands were shaking. “I’m a bit worried about this place.”
“Yes. We still have a long way until we reach the South.” Levisia said, picking up Sheila’s bags. She escorted her to one of the rooms and instructed her to get some decent sleep. With Sheila and Elizabeth in their rooms, it was only her and Pel left in the corridor.