"S-she, t-the girl said she didn't want to go and to take her back," Lady Blois answered while shivering under the lord's towering frame.
"That's a very simple letter. See, it wasn't that difficult to tell the truth now was it?" Nicholas asked her kindly and continued, "Though you have told the truth I can't behave like you didn't do anything. You seem to have a talent in copying people's work," he added looking around the painting that looked like the replica in the theaters he had visited, "Guards," he called his guardsmen who stood outside the house, "Cut three of her fingers from each hand."
"NO! Please don't!! I won't do something like this! Lord Nicholas!" Lady Blois pleaded but Nicholas didn't move a muscle.
"You won't and that is the whole point of this. Be reminded that I am being generous here. If I hear you or any servant in here speak a whisper about this...I will make it far more worse than just chop your fingers off."
"NO NO! LORD NICHOLAS!" the woman screamed but Nicholas didn't stay too long and instead hopped into the carriage, heading towards Woville to retrieve back Heidi but something didn't feel right. After reading the letter, he had sent one of his ghouls immediately to Woville where the Curtis resided but according to the information which was passed, she wasn't there. She was nowhere in the town and it worried him. According to what he had heard from his Aunt Venetia, Heidi was supposed to return after two days but four days had passed since she had left and the Curtis hadn't bothered to send a letter about her staying longer than they had planned for.
When he finally reached Woville, Nicholas was in a foul mood. Not only was Heidi not there in the Rune's mansion when he had returned from the South empire but the ghoul couldn't find her either unless there was magic spilled across the land that lowered the sense of the ghouls. As his carriage was pulled in front of the Curtis family, he stepped down on the ground, the sun rays falling over the sky which shone brightly.
He raised his hand before the guard would walk with him and headed alone inside as he brought his hand up to knock on the main door. He hoped it to be Heidi but instead the door opened to reveal Nora Curtis.
"Milord," she bowed immediately, "Good afternoon milord. Please come in," she invited him with her best behaviour.
"Good afternoon, Miss Nora. Thank you," he thanked her when she offered to take his coat.
"Who is it, Nora?" Nora's father asked from the room before he came out to see himself who it was, "Milord," Simeon Curtis bowed his head, "Please take a seat. Nora prepare for tea."
"That won't be necessary," Nicholas spoke with a smile, "My visit is a short one."
"Oh, is that so. How can we help you?" Mr. Curtis asked, already knowing what the lord had come here for.
"I am here for Heidi. My aunt is a little anxious as she's taken quite a liking towards your daughter. We wish to take her back to Bonelake as we had wedding to arrange for," Nicholas spoke in an even tone, his dark eyes staring at the man curious for his answer, "I don't see her here, has she gone out maybe?"
The Curtis' had already planned to spin a tale for themselves to avoid any blame falling on them and decided to lie about the events instead so that the council would not hold them responsible. Raymond didn't want the council to know that the girl had run away from them before they even reached Woville. It seemed that the girl didn't return to Bonelake, thought Simeon and gave the lord a surprised look,
"Milord, Heidi left for Bonelake a day ago. She didn't reach Bonelake?"
"What?" Lord Nicholas raised his brow in question. Nora instead took turn to speak,
"Heidi received a letter a day after we arrived back. She said it was sent by Mr. Lawson that he wanted to see her. She said she wanted to go back and left in the carriage," she pointed out at the shed that could be seen from the window where there was no carriage, "We...we aren't in good terms but I hoped we could patch things up. We are family," Nora frowned looking at the lord.
"You see, Mr. Curtis. Your daughter hasn't returned back to our empire," the lord's voice sounded calm and collected as he stated.
"Are you implying that something happened to her, milord? That couldn't be possible. My sister very rarely takes breaks in between the rides," said Nora with a worried look and she then whispered, "Oh no...father," she looked at her father.
"You can tell it, Ms Nora. What is it?" inquired Nicholas.
"I-I saw Heidi leaving in the middle of the night to meet someone but she returned back. She is going to get married and therefore I didn't think it was important to speak," with years Nora had grown up she had turned into a fine actress when it came to lying and manipulating things around her.
"Heidi wouldn't run away with a man, Nora," her father scolded her as speaking about this wasn't what they had discussed on. If the lord wanted to meet the man everything would spill out and their lie would be caught.
Nicholas looked at the father daughter duo carefully. With what he knew soul bonds were absolute and there was no turning it back, but there were rare cases when the bond broke into nothingness. If what the girl now said was true, he clutched his hands tightly as anger began to bubble up but he simmered it down. For a family to have a sudden change of heart, thought Nicholas before smiling at them, something wasn't quite right here.
"Fath-Milord!" Danielle, the elder child of the Curtis exclaimed from behind seeing the Lord, "Good aftern-argh!" his head was suddenly smashed against the wall and the door shut close.
"Well, that was quite an interesting story you had in there. Why don't we get to the actual facts now," Nicholas gave them his charming smile, that brought out the dimple on his cheek as one of his hand pressed Daniell's head while the other locked his hand from behind, "Speak. Where's Heidi?"
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