Chapter Thirty-Six – continued
Ephraim nodded once and backed away, but did not lower his knife. With shaking fingers, Abigail lowered the covers and pulled her dressing gown on, thankful the serving girls had left the thicker one instead of the thin, nearly transparent one Clarice had left for her for the summer.
She was shaking so much by the time she made it out of the bed that Ephraim had to support her. But he didn’t complain as he led her out the door.
The halls were silent and empty as he guided her down hallways and stairs she didn’t even know about. All the way, he kept his knife sheathed, and kept up a running monologue. On what, she had no idea; she could barely hear anything over her thudding heartbeat.
Her footsteps stumbled over each other, but Ephraim proved to be strong and capable despite his age. He was practically dragging her by the time they made it out into the freezing night. She had no idea where they had exited out to and how there weren’t any guards, but all thought ceased as he pushed her into a carriage.
She stared, transfixed and horrified as the carriage swayed. Ephraim sat across from her, cleaning the blood from his knife.
“Adrian will eventually discover I’m gone,” she whispered.
Ephraim waved the knife. “I wouldn’t worry too much about that. The King has been fatally poisoned. The Crown Prince will be too busy becoming King to notice.”
Her fingernails bit into her palms. “He would never.”
Ephraim laid his knife on his knees. “My friend will ensure that will be the case,” he said sharply.
Before she could think of a reply, the carriage came to a sudden stop, nearly throwing her into his knife-filled lap. She shrieked and flung out her arms, latching onto the curtained windowsills on either side of the interior before her face fell on the knife.
“Ah, here we are,” he said, his voice pleasant as he pushed open the door. “Come with me.”
Just as he had to practically drag her down the halls, he had to drag her from the carriage. Her feet hardly seemed to remember how to work, and she stumbled through thick brush as he kept a strong hand on her arm.
“And here is your final destination, my Lady,” he said by her ear as they stumbled out into a clearing.
She squeaked as he abruptly pulled her towards the tower standing tall, silent, and cold in the middle of the clearing. There was a door at the bottom. It had been propped open and he led her directly to it.
“No,” she whispered, trying to wrench her arm from his grasp, but she quieted as soon as the knife appeared.
He pushed her through the doorway, letting her sprawl at the base of the stone steps leading up, up, up into darkness above.
“Madeline will thank you for staying out of her way.” He stared down at her as her eyes widened. “She did not appreciate you stealing the Duke Murant from her.”
The door slammed closed and the lock turned before she could scramble to her feet, before she could unscramble her mind.
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