23 Chapter 22

Eva combed Angelica's hair while she thought about her dream. A red-haired woman? Why? There weren't many people who had the same hair color as her. The woman also predicted that Skender would be King which made her think that this was something that had happened in the past. Something that was more than a dream. It felt like a memory as strange as that sounded.

The way they were dressed was different from how people dressed today, which also indicated that this was in the past. 

Angelica shook her head, thinking of how crazy she was for actually believing that this could be a memory of the past. Skender would look different today if it was a memory and she would have been the woman, or at least someone she knew. But the woman was unfamiliar to her. 

Skender. 

He looked so beautiful in her dream with his clear blue eyes and vibrant smile. It was unlike the way he smiled today. In her dreams, he seemed genuinely happy until the woman rejected him. In reality, there was always a hint of sadness behind his eyes and his smile. 

It made her think of what he had told her. He was looking for someone to save him and even though he gave her a feeling of danger, she felt like he needed to be saved. But from what, she didn't know. 

That is when she remembered the monster chasing the woman in her dream. She had felt the woman's fear and even though she was scared, she wished she had seen the monster before waking up. Now she was left with questions about who or what could have been chasing her. 

It couldn't be a coincidence that she had a dream about a woman being chased by a monster, considering what had been happening in her town and her brother's nightmares. Or maybe that was what caused the dream. 

While lost in thoughts Eva finished making her hair and Angelica looked at herself in the mirror to see how she looked. 

"You look beautiful, my Lady." Eva said. She was always quick to compliment her. 

"Thank you, Eva." Angelica smiled. 

But Eva was frowning and her lips were slightly down-turned. 

"What is wrong?" Angelica asked. 

"I am worried about you, My Lady and for all the young ladies in this town. What is happening is tragic. I thought it ended, but they found a dead woman again." 

The killing started again? 

Her thoughts went directly to the raven. It was a sign. Death came back to her town. 

"It is tragic." Angelica said, feeling sad. 

"My Lady," Thomas stood outside her door. "You have guests." 

Guests? 

"Lady Harris, Lady Alden and Lady Foster are here to see you." 

So her friends finally decided to include her again? Angelica was skeptical about them coming here and suspected that they came with gossip or to find out something about her and the king. Hilde must be curious. 

"Welcome them and give them something to eat and drink while I come down." 

He nodded and left. 

What were her friends up to? Maybe she was suspicious for no reason and they were here to bond with her now that women in their town were being murdered. They needed to stick together. Angelica really hoped that was the case. 

Looking at her reflection in the mirror one last time, she went downstairs to meet her friends. 

Hilde, Natasha, and Vesna were already served tea and sweets when she entered the parlor. 

"Good morning," she greeted with a smile as she approached them. 

"Good morning," they replied and she went to sit on the sofa next to Vesna. 

"We haven't seen you for a long time," Vesna said. 

Angelica knew that Vesna was trying to put the blame on her. "It hasn't been safe to be outside these days and I have been busy. I am glad you could come to visit me instead." 

"Of course. We understand that it is hard to raise your brother alone. You have always been more busy than us," Hilde said. 

Angelica responded to her with a smile only. 

"I saw your brother at the castle. It seems like he started his training earlier. My brother has also started his training and I take him to the castle sometimes." Hilde continued. 

"He must be excited." Angelica said. 

"He is. Just a bit frightened by Lord Rayven. " 

"Is he training your brother?" Natasha asked, shocked. 

"Yes. He is training all the young boys who want to become Royal knights. The king gave him that duty," Hilde explained. 

"I don't know why the king keeps him, especially with all the rumors surrounding him." Natasha said. 

Natasha was the kind who believed in curses and magic. She also believed rumors too easily, saying that there was no smoke without a fire. Angelica could see that she was uncomfortable with the fact that Lord Rayven was training the young boys. 

"Why would the king not keep him? He is known to be a great warrior. They say the king searched for him and appointed him as a Lord just to have a powerful and feared Lord by his side. Now people will think twice before trying anything foolish with the king." Hilde said. 

"What if the people are not the threat and Lord Rayven decides to overthrow the King himself? Like you said, he is a powerful Lord and a great warrior after all." Natasha replied. 

Hilde scoffed. "He might be powerful but people would never accept him as their King." 

"He doesn't need people's acceptance if he takes the crown." Vesna added. 

Hilde shrugged. "The king is wise. He wouldn't trust anyone he shouldn't trust. I have spoken to him many times when I took my brother to the castle. He is kind and charming but he is also clever." 

It seemed like Hilde had been working toward her goal to seduce the King during the weeks that Angelica hadn't gone to the castle and now she came here to gloat about it. Angelica didn't let that bother her. There was no reason to be bothered. She wasn't in love with the King, so Hilde could do anything she wanted. 

"It is strange that he doesn't have a queen already. It is also strange that none of the other Lords have a wife. They are good looking, young and wealthy. Except for Lord Rayven." Vesna seemed very curious about the Lords. Unlike her sister, she was still looking for her future husband. 

"Only a desperate woman with nothing would marry Lord Rayven to find shelter and have food on the table, but being a Lord he probably holds himself in high regard and doesn't want to marry just any woman." Hilde explained. 

Natasha scoffed. "He will with time when no one accepts him."

"Imagine sharing a bed with him. I would not be able to get any sleep." Vesna shivered. 

"He is just a man with scars." Angelica said. 

They looked at her with eyes wide and brows lifted. 

"Long ago scars were something to be proud of. Warriors wore their scars proudly. It was a sign of braveness, showing that they had fought battles and survived." Angelica told them from what she had learned in the history books. "People today are vain." 

An awkward silence followed her comment, and Hilde decided to lighten the mood. "It can't be that bad to be with him. He is a powerful Lord after all." She smiled. 

Hilde was all about climbing the ladder of hierarchy. It didn't matter what kind of man as long as he was wealthy and powerful. 

They gossiped for a little more while before her friends decided to leave. Angelica couldn't believe that she was relieved that the friends she once loved to spend time with were leaving. 

Hilde invited her to come to her house next week, where they would all meet. Angelica would have been happy a few weeks ago to be included again, but now she felt nothing in particular. 

Once they left, Eva came to her, "It has been a long time since they visited you. Is everything alright?" 

"Yes," Angelica replied. 

Everything continued to be the same. Their friendship would never return to the way it was before. "Eva, get prepared. We are going to the market." 

Angelica was tired of staying locked inside her home. She wanted to leave the house for a while. 

The market wasn't far away from their home, so they walked there. Angelica stopped by a few shops and looked at some clothes and items. It had been a long time since she bought something for herself. She wondered what she wanted to buy. 

Books.

"Let's go to the bookshop," she told Eva. 

Eva shook her head at her with a smile, knowing how much she loved her books. 

They went to the nearest bookshop and Angelica walked around looking for a book to spark her interest. As she looked around, one finally caught her attention. It was the title that attracted her. 

'The monster is me'

Feeling strangely drawn to it, she strode toward the shelf without tearing her gaze away from the book. She reached her arm out to grab it but ended up grasping someone's cold hand. 

She turned her head to see who was interested in the same book as her and saw a face covered in scars. 

"Lord Rayven." 

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