Alpha Nocturne’s Contracted Mate by A E Randell
Chapter 98 Return to the Palace
As soon as the Royal Court of Elders had released them into the hands of their specially trained guards, they were escorted back to the palace in an unmarked car with blacked-out windows and no trace of the usual pomp and ceremony that followed them everywhere.
They sat in silence as they headed towards the palace, the guards watching them like hawks with impassive expressions on their faces.
The trial had been a disaster for all of them, especially Leopold.
This latest installment in the saga of events that revolved around Ada’s obsession with trying to destroy Ann had exposed the long-standing defects and flaws that Narcissa had spent so long cultivating in Leopold’s character.
The time and energy it had taken to chip away at his sense of righteousness, the seduction and whispered persuasion that it had taken to twist his mind with her poisonous words, and the sacrifices of flesh that she had been f0rced to make over the years to bind his heart to hers, ensnaring his wolf in a bottomless void so that she could take control of his every move…
She had been so damn close…
Narcissa raised her eyes carefully to sneak a look at her husband and her heart sank as the cold stare that met her was devoid of all emotion.
All of her hard work had been completely undone now that Ada’s lies had been revealed. The trust was gone and with that, the paranoia that her whispered words filled with poison and the darkness she had instilled in him would now turn him against her.
Dark Magick was nothing if not volatile and required careful handling, something her pathetic daughter still failed to grasp.
Narcissa shifted her eyes to look at Ada’s sullen countenance as soon as Leopold released her from his disdainful glare.
Ada must have felt the intensity of her gaze as she glanced up uncertainly and visibly paled as she met the cold calculating gaze of her mother.
The murderous fury radiated from her and Ada knew she was in big trouble, but there was nothing that she could do until they were in the relative safety of the palace.
For once, she was immensely grateful for the protection that these extra guards would provide for her. Although they wouldn’t be able to move against the guards and their plans would have to be put on hold… at least her mother couldn’t murder her in cold blood where she slept.
Ada might be impulsive and acted rashly, but she wasn’t entirely stupid. She knew that her mother’s love was entirely conditional on her usefulness, and with the verdict of the trial, her usefulness had just about run out.
She wrapped her arms around her stomach subconsciously and patted her tiny bump soothingly as her eyes pricked with the hot feeling of unshed tears, threatening to burst free.
She had to find a way out of this, for her unborn child’s sake. Ada’s stomach twisted uncomfortably.
No matter what her mother said or felt, this baby was the most important thing in her life and she would fight until her dying breath in order for her baby to see the light of day.
The car pulled to a stop abruptly, shaking Ada out of her thoughts as the guards moved them fluidly out of the car and into the palace, ignoring inquiries from the palace guards and shoving them roughly away.
There was nothing that they could do to go against the Elders Guards, they were above even the king. If anyone dared to move against them in the line of their duties, then there would be swift, and brutal consequences for the parties involved.
Leopold, Narcissa, and Ada traipsed glumly in through the ornate front doors and through the dimly lit corridors.
Their staff would be whittled down to a skeleton crew now thanks to sanctions imposed during the investigation. Not that Ada minded, it was fewer people to have to keep an eye on. She wouldn’t be accepting food or drink from anyone anytime soon anyway. She had seen how easily her mother employed her poisons and she refused to be on the receiving end purely because she was an inconvenience.
Ada’s father said nothing as he strode forward wordlessly and continued toward the staircase.
“Dad? Are you going straight to bed?” Ada asked in a quiet voice edged with a hint of panic.
She really didn’t want to be left alone with her mother, especially with the way she was eyeing her right now.
Leopold paused on the stairs and turned his head slightly over his shoulder. He seemed to have aged tremendously in the past few hours.
“I’m tired, Ada. I’m tired of it all.” He said wearily, his voice hoarse as he resumed his laborious climb up the staircase.
“Don’t disturb me tonight… either of you…” He added as four guards fell in behind him, “The last thing I want to see right now is the faces of the people that betrayed me in the worst possible way…”
Narcissa hurried forward to the bottom of the stairs, clutching at the banister desperately as she shouted after him.
“My love, please, you don’t mean that! We’ve only ever loved you and supported you. This will all disappear quickly and everything will go back to normal soon. Just give it a little time and you’ll see..”
Ada’s stomach turned at the desperation in her mother’s voice. She never begged. Not for anything, nor anyone…
Leopold paused at the top of the stairs and stared down at them both coldly.
There was no warmth in his eyes, no trace of humanity or life anymore as he stared impassively at them.
Just a cold, grey emptiness, that sent a shiver down Narcissa’s spine.
“I think we have reached the end of whatever…’this’ was, Narcissa. I don’t know you, nor our daughter anymore. You should prepare to remove yourself to another wing once the investigation is over.”
“Leopold!” Narcissa wailed, her voice cracking slightly.
“Enough.” He said quietly, yet firmly. “That’s enough, Narcissa, you both have done enough.”