Chapter 20 - Rumour

Evie didn't realize that she had been keeping that position for quite long while until a knock pulled her attention back to the present.

Fray and Gina emerged from the door with wide smiles as they greeted her.

"Good evening, Milady. We came to help you get changed," said Fray and Evie tried her best to maintain as normal a smile at them both.

The maids then hovered around her while Evie silently let them do their job. Her mind was still wandering, but her brows occasionally pulled together, as though a certain thought kept popping in her head to disturb the flow of her mind.

"Milady, would you want to go somewhere after your rest?" Gina asked politely and Evie almost frowned because she knew it was already past midnight. Thankfully, she managed to stop herself in time as she quickly realized that she was in a different world now. The opposite to the world she came from – a world where people moved around during the bright daylight and enjoy their rest when it was dark. Was she going to live like the vampires now? Was she going to stay awake during the night and sleep during the day?

As Evie looked to the pitch-black darkness outside her window, her thoughts flew back to the bright and sunny Southern Empire, her home. She was in a place that was far, far away from that familiar and comforting scene now and that realization that slammed into her heart made her feel an overpowering sense of homesickness within her.

"If it would please you, milady, it is be our pleasure to bring you to the garden." Gina's voice was careful and gentle. Evie could tell that the maids must have felt the roller-coaster of her emotions because she was too caught up in her reminiscing that she forgot to hide it.

Clearing her throat, Evie centred and composed herself. She knew she couldn't sleep even if she forced herself because she had slept for so long. But she also could not bring herself to agree with them. Why would she go out at night? She was not a vampire.

Suddenly, words from her advisors back home echoed in her head and as though something enlightened her, Evie shook her head at her maids. "It's okay, I'm fine. I am not used to moving about in the darkness so I doubt I can enjoy the view of the garden much when it's dark. I will try to sleep tonight so I can visit the garden in the morning."

One of her advisors told her that she must continue living the way she usually does. If she sleeps when the vampires were active, she could avoid them. Evie thought this was the best way she could avoid her husband. And since he wanted them to sleep in the same bed, this would solve her dilemma on how she could avoid him.

Evie took a deep breath into her lungs, strengthening herself while Fray and Gina glanced at each other with worried looks in their eyes.

"We understand, milady. We will also go to bed soon, so we'll be awake in the morning."

"Yes." Evie nodded as they again changed her clothes into a sleeping gown.

"How's the ball, Milady? I hope you enjoyed it." Gina asked innocently and Evie was then again reminded of all the emotional roller coaster that overshadowed the luxurious event. She gave her head a little shake to force the emotions that bubbled inside her again.

"The palace is really very grand, and the emperor seemed kind. The crown prince is also surprisingly quite friendly." Evie commented and she was surprised at the momentary shock on Fray and Gina's face.

"We are happy to know that they treated you well, milady."

Evie was suspicious at their reaction. For some reason, Evie thought that her maids reacted the same way how the vampires inside the grand hall reacted when she and Gavriel arrived in the palace. Now that she thought about it, the question she'd been wandering about when she was dancing with the crown prince came to her mind.

"I noticed…" she started hesitantly. "Gav… my husband seemed to be on bad terms with the emperor and his brother and sister. It might just be my imagination though…" she let her statement trail off.

Carefully watching her maids' expressions, Evie saw them glanced at each other. Her curiosity then got the better of her and she sat up straight and faced them, giving them the most piercing and probing look she could summon.

"Uhm…" Fray nudged Gina when they realized Evie pinning them with her very obviously questioning gaze. After a long stretch of awkward silence, Fray was the one who relented and spoke up. "Your observation is not misplaced, milady. Everyone knows that His Highness Gavriel is not on good terms with his royal family."

"Why? Is it because Gavriel has a different mother?" Evie asked. She recalled her observations on how Gavriel's appearance and colouring was so very different from the rest of the royal family. No matter how one changed angles or views, Gavriel does not resemble the emperor or his siblings at all.

There was another round of silence. Evie could tell that the maids were having a bloody battle against themselves whether they should speak or not.

When Evie realized their struggle, she waved her hand, signalling them to stop but she didn't hide her disappointment. "It's okay, I understand. I shall go to bed now." She said in a sullen voice and guilt flashed in the maids' eyes.

As Evie sat at the edge of the bed, Gina suddenly approached Evie and she dropped to her knees as she looked up at Evie. "We will tell you what we know but this needs to be kept a secret between us, okay? Milady?" The maid whispered as she glanced at the door.

Fray was already standing by the door as if guarding it. Evie blinked. She realized that the information they're going to tell her must be something confidential. She knew the risk. These two maids might be punished severely if it was found out that they gave the secret away, but her curiosity was so strong she couldn't refuse to hear it.

"Of course, Gina. This will only between the three of us." Evie replied sincerely and Gina nodded. Her gaze became incredibly serious as she continued whispering to Evie.

"It is said that all vampire royal family in the past since the beginning of time has that distinct feature of having raven black hair and their eyes are the colour of the cold grey moon." Said Gina and Evie immediately frown. The emperor, the crown prince and the princess all had a sapphire blue eyes and blond hair. Now that Evie thought about it, she had yet to see a vampire with raven black hair and moon-like grey eyes except Gavriel. Even within the crowd of vampires who were at the imperial palace, she never saw anyone with black hair except her husband.

With a shocked expression, Evie looked at Gina in confusion. The maid continued after seeing her reaction. "There's a rumour that the current emperor is not the real vampire royalty and that includes the crown prince and the princess as well. Rumour has it too, that the real and only royal bloodline still alive right now is our very own prince Gavriel, milady. Your husband."

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