Chapter Thirty-Seven – continued
“Your Majesty,” a soft, quivering voice said from behind him.
Adrian whirled around. A young woman, little older than a girl, stood in the doorway beside Lacile. Her hands were folded before her and her head was bowed, showing him the white of the top of her cap.
“You are the maid who last attended to Lady Olidan?” he asked, finding it impossible to strip his voice of the tension running through his body. He wanted nothing more than to look at the bedchamber, to hunt for any clues as to what had happened to her. “The one she sent away?”
The girl dipped a curtsey, still studiously keeping her head down as her small frame began to tremble. “Y-yes, Your Majesty. I arrived around midnight and found her lying awake in the bed. L-lady Olidan said she did not wish to eat and d-did not wish someone to sit watch over her. She said her guards would be enough and she would see you, Your Majesty, in the morning.”
Adrian’s brows drew together. “So you left her alone.”
“Y-y-yes, Your Majesty,” the girl said, the tremble in her voice overtaking the tremble in her body.
“Your Majesty,” Lacile said softly.
Adrian pressed his lips together and nodded. He would gain nothing by unleashing his anger on the girl.
“She seemed well?” he asked instead.
The girl drew in a shuddering breath. “Yes, Your Majesty. She was curled on her side and looking at the moonlight.”
“Was there anyone in the hall after you left?”
“Other than the guards? No, Your Majesty.”
“You lost my sister?” a voice screeched.
The words were what he would expect from Camille, but it was not Camille’s voice. He squeezed his eyes shut as everyone turned to see the woman who had barged her way in, fighting to tamp down the sudden surge of anger. How she’d gotten in was a complete mystery, and one he would solve.
“Lady Olidan,” he said through gritted teeth, his eyes flying open. “How did you get in here?”
Madeline waved a hand as she clasped the other to her chest. Her eyes were wide and she gulped as she took in the two bodies still lying at the doors. Then she turned piercing eyes on him, but he could almost see a calculated look behind it.
“That doesn’t matter,” she snapped. “Where is my sister?”
“Your stepsister is not here,” he said, his voice clipped. “And you should not be here.”
Unexpectedly, Madeline softened. “Perhaps the news of her father’s death was too hard on her. I’m so sorry, Adrian, but do know I am here for you. I would not abandon you.”
“Your Majesty,” he snapped. “You will call me Your Majesty.”
She blinked at him in surprise before the color abruptly drained from her face. Just as quickly, she collected herself and drew herself up taller. A flush filled in her white cheeks and she held out a hand to him.
“Please, Your Majesty, allow me to soothe your pains.” She shook her head. “All of this must have been too much for Abigail. She is not made of sterner stuff.”
Movement caught his eye and he looked past her to see Kyanan standing in the hall. She’d fully recovered and had her hands full of papers and scrolls already.
“Your Majesty,” Kyanan said, her voice crisp. “I have deployed guards to look for Lady Olidan and have sent a messenger to inform the Countess Olidan.” Compassion filled her eyes. “I’m afraid Her Majesty is ready, and, as she said, you are to hurry before she collapses.”
Adrian clenched his jaw, but nodded. He swept one more look around the chambers. His aunt would not wait long for him. His crowning was not to be a grand affair, not yet, at least. The members of court who were still in the castle, including the bickering advisors and councilors, would be taking witness. Later, there would be the formal ceremony with invitations sent to all in the Kingdom, and he planned on having Abigail by his side. If Kyanan said she had taken care of it, he would trust her, no matter how much his heart lurched at the thought of Abigail being in danger.
“We will do a thorough search,” Lacile said quietly. “If there are any clues as to what happened to her, we will inform you and Lady Kyanan as quickly as we can.”
“Thank you,” he said through the lump in his throat. He turned reluctant eyes on Madeline. “As a member of the royal family, you are invited to the ballroom. Kyanan, if you will?”
“Of course,” Kyanan said as she quickly took hold of Madeline’s elbow. “I will escort you, Lady Olidan.”
Madeline frowned and cast her eyes over her shoulder as Kyanan began to pull her away. “I thought I would accompany-”
“His Majesty will walk with his guards,” Kyanan smoothly broke in, her grip not allowing an inch to Madeline.
Adrian clenched his hands into fists, reluctant to move from Abigail’s rooms. His heart felt torn, pulled in two different directions. But there was nothing he could do to find Abigail; the Queen would only wait so long to pass the crown to him. But, once he was officially King, he would have all the power in the Kingdom to find his Queen.
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