Valerian Empire

Chapter 17

Chapter 17: Black & White- Part 1

Katherine stood next to Alexander with one circle of a crowd that had formed in the main hall. Apart from them, there were two men and three women of the high-class society.

“The last two years the council was busy but this year there has been less paper work,” the man named John who wore a grey suit from the group of people spoke.

“There were rumors that Reuben has been planning to retire from the head council’s position. Is that true?” Travis, one of the aged vampire asked, tapping his walking stick softly on the ground.

“The man loves his job. I doubt he’ll be leaving the position open for anyone anytime soon,” Alexander chuckled as he said and few of them nodded their head in agreement.

“That’s true. We haven’t heard anything about it, it must obviously be a rumour,” John replied with a smile.

“John dear,” John’s pregnant wife tugged at his hand and whispered something quickly making him nod.

“Excuse us, ladies and gentlemen,” and they went on their way to the exit.

The intrusion that was caused half an hour back had no effect on anyone as no one was aware of what happened outside the walls of the mansion. The matter was shushed like it never occurred.

Katherine was speaking to one of the ladies when a woman came from behind, pushing Katherine slightly so that she was in between her and Alexander.

“Lord Alexander, I had been searching for you. Where had you been?” She asked him.

Katie couldn’t see the woman’s face as she was facing her back to her. The woman wore a rich fabric of dress which was surely brought from a foreign merchant.

“I was talking to Mr Tanner and the ladies here, would you like to join us?” the Lord of Valeria asked to which the woman smiled brightly, turning to look at the others and greet them.

Caroline was the woman’s name. She was gorgeous from head to toe, Katie noticed. The woman was one of the nobles only daughter, therefore, she was polite to the high-class people but not holding the same attitude for the peasants.

When Caroline turned to greet Katie, her smile fattered looking at the common girl before she greeted and continued to converse with everyone but her. For some reason Katie felt her heart clench when the woman took Alexander for a dance.

She looked at them from far as they danced together. They looked good together. She was a plain woman with a nest head of hair while the woman in his arms could be considered one of the most beautiful woman in the main hall and he deserved it, she thought.

She must be one his lovers, Katie thought to herself. She had heard rumors about the Lord of Valeria bedding women and his player attitude. Was it wrong that she didn’t judge him on it unlike her friend Annabelle did? Her aunt always worried about her naivety and the inability of her to judge people right.

Out of one corner she caught sight of a man looking at her unblinkingly, making her uncomfortable as she stood there as minutes passed. He had cold black eyes and for some odd reason it scared her.

“I didn’t expect to run into you here, little one,” a man spoke next to her, startling her from her thoughts.

When she turned to look who it was she found a tall man standing next to her. She opened her mouth like a fish in the water. His brown hair slightly out of place due to the wind.

“Lord Nicolas!” Katie squeaked and when she bowed her head, she internally scolded herself for squeaking like a little mouse.

“You remember me?” He asked standing next to her.

“I saw you in the papers. I-I mean the newspapers,” Katie replied fretting as he gave a questionable look, “Do we know each other?” She asked him worried that her memory was turning quite bad that she couldn’t remember him.

“We did,” only for an hour, Lord Nicholas thought to himself, “When you were a cute little girl but it was a long time back so don’t fret over it,” he replied looking at her creased eyebrows.

When a servant stopped by to offer the wine of glasses he was holding on a tray, Lord Nicholas turned to ask if Katie wanted one and she nodded her head, thinking it might be impolite to say no. More over the temperature of the atmosphere was dropping down due to the snow. A drink wouldn’t harm her, would it. She was glad her dress was made of layers to protect her from the cold.

Bringing the crystal glass to her lips, she took a sip to feel the smooth water like texture slide down her throat. It tasted delicious, nothing like she had tasted before. She took another sip eagerly and a drop or two of the liquid escaped by the side of her mouth.

She looked at her hands and realized she lost her handkerchief again while she was out. When she went to move her hand, Lord Nicholas offered his handkerchief.

“Here,” he raised his hand and dabbed the white cotton cloth on her skin, making her blush.

“Ah thank you, let me clean and give it back to you, Lord Nicholas,” she said making him chuckle.

“Don’t worry about it. It’s just wine and not a bad stain,” he said looking at her but there were few people whose gaze had turned towards them, Katie observed.

Lord Alexander and Lord Nicholas were the good-looking men when compared to the other two lords of the Empire. Nicholas was tall with good amount of muscle on his body but not bulky. He had a squared face and a dimple to go on his left cheek when he smiled. He carried that sophisticated, elegant air around him, making him look more elite than necessary.

As stated in the newspaper once, Nicholas was the white prince of the Empire, who was gentle and kind in his behaviour while Alexander was the dark prince who was far away from being called an angel. Yet they were still the same kind, dealing things a little differently from the other.

“Whom did you come along with?” Nicholas asked her and Katie explained that she had come with her friend Annabelle to attend the Winter’s Celebration.

Katie found it easier to talk to Nicholas as he was friendlier than the other high class vampires. They were speaking about her town she lived in when someone interrupted them,

“Glad you could make it to the celebration, Nicholas,” Alexander said walking towards them with a lost Caroline behind him.

“I’m glad I did,” Lord Nicholas replied, “Ms Caroline, you look beautiful with every passing day,” he complimented her.

“Thank you, Nicholas,” it was easy to be seen that Caroline got flattered very easily as her face turned red.

But then who could blame Ms Caroline, when one gets a compliment from a man like him, it was a high praise. If Katie was in her place she would have reacted the same way, not that she had ever received any compliments as such from others apart from her family. Her family found her beautiful while she was sure that others especially men found her as unattractive as a potato.

“I heard you travelled to the farthest east a few months back,” Caroline said to Lord Nicholas and he began giving details of what he had seen to her. It seemed quite interesting to know the different life styles people had far away from the Empire. The conversation then moved on to Caroline’s summer plans.

Once in a while, Katie would steal a glance at Alexander as he stood right next to her, making sure she kept it casual and not to be caught by anyone.

Third time being the charm, the Lord of Valeria caught her gaze and asked her,

“Would you care for a dance, Ms Katherine?” not waiting for a reply he caught hold of her hand, taking her to the dance floor.

“Lord Alexander! Please wait,” she panicked.

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