"The lady's meal is ready, Your Highness." A knock sounded from the door followed by a voice, breaking the heavy silence that followed Gavriel's intimately intense words.
He eased back and looked at her hair before giving a satisfied nod and finally letting the strands glide smoothly over his fingers – missing their texture immediately the second they left his grasp. When he lifted his gaze to the mirror, he saw his wife's face burning red and was as pleased as punch. He found her reaction absolutely adorable, and her lips were finally pink again.
Since he had awakened her before daybreak, Gavriel knew that she must be starving. He had suspected her weakness from earlier until now was mostly caused by starvation. Reason being, last night, as soon as he arrived home, he had dug out from her maids and Elias that she had not been eating well since he left, and she even skipped her dinner before going to bed last night. He had planned on feeding her but with all the chaos that were occurring, he hadn't had the chance.
"You must have your breakfast now, wife." He stretched his hand and once Evie took it, he led her out of the room.
"Your Highness, the officials are waiting for you in the main hall." Samuel reported respectfully, after greeting the couple with a formal bow.
"They've been waiting for an hour now, Your Highness." Elias butted, his face a little grave. "I will take Her Highness to the dining hall."
Gavriel sighed but when he looked at her, "It's okay, please go," were written all over her face, with a small smile to ensure him she was fine with it.
"Alright," he finally relented but before leaving, he bent close to her without warning, he whispered in her ear. "Make sure to eat a LOT, Evie. If you don't… I'll come and feed you personally."
His stern gaze then fell to Elias. 'I'm leaving her to you. Make sure she eats a lot and don't let anyone near her.' He warned firmly through their silent communication and when the butler nodded, the prince finally left.
Elias immediately led Evie to the dining hall. He had noticed Levy watching and following them at a distance. Elias was not even surprised anymore at all the excessive precaution. He could only mentally roll his eyes and smirk in his mind at His Highness' obvious and overwhelming care for Her Highness' well-being. The lady didn't know but the day she nearly got killed by a beast in the little forest, Gavriel had almost turned his castle upside down and went into a frenzied terror from thoughts he almost lost her while his wife was sleeping. Since that day, they had all realized how serious their prince was about his wife. She was someone they had to protect at all cost or else… Elias didn't even want to think what the prince would do. He still shivered thinking back at the violent waves of anger and barely leashed ferocity of emotions His Highness had exuded that night.
Snapping back to attention and to his relief, Elias relaxed seeing that the lady was finally eating well. He had been worried the past few days and he was starting to get slightly annoyed with her attitude. But it seemed she was alright now, and she was even eating so enthusiastically like a starved little kitten.
"Elias…" Evie called the butler attention as she was finishing her meal. "Did something happen last night?" she asked, hesitantly. "Why did we leave the capital in haste?"
The butler was silent for a moment and she knew he was weighing in his mind if he should answer or not. Gavriel told her that he would explain but he seemed to be pretty occupied as always. And she couldn't wait anymore to know what was going on. Moreover, she felt like it was better for her to hear it from Elias than her husband because she just somehow knew that Gavriel will end up seducing her again instead of answering her questions.
"It's because it's no longer safe for you to stay in the capital my lady. So, His Highness' only choice is to take you away immediately."
Evie's eyes widened a little. "Why? Who would harm me?" her brows knotting hard, confused?
"The vampire emperor wanted a war to break out."
"I… I don't understand. Didn't they agreed to the truce because they don't want a war?" Evie's voice became a little alarmed.
"It seemed the emperor changed his mind. His Highness learned about his plan of breaking the truce and once the humans come, the emperor had intended to use His Highness to lead the vampire army to go against them."
Shock etched on Evie's face.
"But you don't have to worry now, My Lady. They can no longer harm you, so a war between vampires and humans will not happen."
"H-how can you be so sure? If the emperor sends his men to…"
Seeing the fear in her eyes, Elias panicked a little. "Uhm… please don't worry about that, My lady. The emperor will not send his men here. And even if he did, they would never have a chance unless he sent in his entire army to invade Dacria. But even if he does that, please do not worry, His Highness will protect you."
"Wh… what do you mean? Why would the emperor invade his own land just to get me?"
"No, uhm… the truth is the emperor had just declared His Highness Gavriel a traitor the moment he took you away and brought you here. The emperor declared that the prince tried to lead a coup, so he'd probably send an army here not to kill you but to take the prince down and kill him."
"Why?" Evie couldn't believe what she was hearing. "Was this all… because of me? Gavriel is –"
"My Lady." Elias cut her off. He was worried with the look on her face. Damn. Did he make a huge mistake revealing all these? He had answered her because he thought it was better if she knew and he was certain that the prince wasn't planning to hide this from her either. "Please listen… the truth is this isn't your fault at all. The emperor just found another reason to bring His Highness' down. If something happened to you that night, he had planned to put the blame on His Highness and force him to atone for his irresponsibility by leading the empire's army to fight against the humans once the war breaks out. And then while the prince is being distracted with the war, he'd definitely find a way to kill him. The emperor is hellbent on killing the prince for the reason that His Highness Gavriel is a threat to the current fake royal family. So please, don't think that it's all your fault milady."
Silence reigned between them as Evie took a few moments to process everything that she had just heard. She remembered the blond-haired royals she had met at the royal ball and their kind treatments to her that night. "This place…" she finally spoke. "This isn't just a safe place for me, right? It's also safe for Gavriel, right?"
The butler looked surprised at the worry in her voice and the fact that she seemed genuinely worried about the prince. Elias smiled at her warmly. "Yes, milady. Do not worry. This is his safe haven ever since he was young. This place had been his hide out for a long time and the vampires here are all very protective of him. They would fight for him to the death even if they know it means they are going against their own emperor and their fellow vampires. And please do not worry about His Highness and just believe in him. He is stronger than you could ever imagine."