The housekeeper stood straight in front of the castle with an umbrella in hand, ready to greet the family’s oldest friend, Clavier Hubert, a doctor and a friend to Stefano. A black SUV stopped and Josef greeted the doctor while he was shielding him from the rain. The weather had been terrible lately.
“What is the hassle for me to come this quick?” Clavier grunted in annoyance.
There was a time where Stefano would threaten him with empty threats but considering what Stefano was capable of, Clavier was rather not testing his theory.
“Lord Stefano is—” The housekeeper paused, unable to form the proper words.
Clavier waited patiently for the housekeeper to finish his sentence as they made their way to the stairs. Josef sighed in defeated. He couldn’t form a word to say and the doctor chuckled at his situation.
“Very well, since you are very secretive about whatever lurked with Stefano, I shall find out by myself,” he said.
“Brace yourself for what you would see, Doctor.”
They walked up past several maids and Clavier couldn’t help himself but listen to their words.
“Lord Stefano had brought home a woman.” A woman whispered to another.
“She looked like Mistress Adeline,” Another replied before they were nudged by the third woman as soon as Clavier passed them.
What had you done this time, Stefano? Clavier thought to himself.
He picked up his pace and with his long legs that shouldn’t be a problem. He knew his way around this castle like the back of his hands. He grew up here and moved out a long time ago, unable to keep himself surrounded by dozens of people each day. He had a beautiful home by the mountain with an overlooking view of the waterfall. That was his solace. As much as he loved to mingle around the ladies, Clavier loved the sound of silence and peace. It helped him to clear his mind.
He didn’t know how Stefano could stand and live here while there were so many eyes and ears around. This castle felt like there was no privacy at all. Granted, that the majority of the rooms were soundproofed but the visitors that came and left the place would always know to all the servants and guards. There were not much of privacy here.
“Stefano, what is —” Clavier stopped abruptly as soon as he stepped into his friend’s bedroom.
His eyes were wandering from his influential friend to the woman who was sleeping on his bed, totally uninterrupted by the loudness of his voice. Stefano wanted to voice out something but was silence effectively with Clavier’s gesture. He put his black briefcase on the table close to the bed and took out something.
“I do not wish to know where or how you found her,” Clavier muttered as he held Adeline’s hand into his, checking for a pulse on her wrist. “Her pulse is weak. Heartbeat is slow. Her temperature is too cold even for herself. Her mind….is chaotic.”
“Could you heal her?” Stefano questioned as he was carefully watching the man was attending to his wife.
“This is not a simple case, Stefano,” Clavier admitted. He reached for a syringe with a yellowish liquid in it. “This should decrease the fever. As for the mind, I do not have a cure.”
He tucked her hand under the blanket and got up to face the Lord of the house. Tampering with the law of life and death like that would always attract unwanted attention.
Stefano always had the power to tamper with life and death laws. He was the strongest of everyone that Clavier knew. Not even Stefano’s own father could compare the power he had.
“You know what you’ve done right?” Clavier asked for assurance.
“You’re the second person to remind me of what I had done,” Stefano expressed his annoyance through his rich baritone voice.
“This…” The doctor paused, gesturing to the woman on the bed. “This person—she is different from your Adeline. There is something about her that is very dark.”
“I am aware of that, Clavier.”
“Why this woman? You could have just resurrected Adeline instead of this one.”
Stefano walked to the window and looked outside. The dark cloud was beginning to gather and rain would surely follow shortly after, again. It had been raining badly for the past few days.
“You know Adeline’s body was never recovered.” He answered softly, rubbing the burnt mark on his wrist.
Clavier forgot about that. He sighed, looking at the tall figure of his friend. If he didn’t know better, he would think Stefano had lost his mind since Adeline’s death. Both of them affected by her death. But Stefano was her husband, it affected him more than anyone else. Clavier could understand the pain his friend was going through for three centuries.
Losing someone who was close to his heart could really send him to do reckless things. For example, resurrecting a woman that looked like her. Resurrecting a dead person didn’t just cost a life. It would cost a lot more when the time came. Right now, the cost was just a life. When the bill was due, that was when the real cost would be revealed. Clavier just hoped Stefano knew what he had done and totally understood what it would cost later on.
“How did you know where to find her?” Clavier asked.
“I saw this version of her about nine months ago,” Stefano answered. “I thought I saw my Adeline.”
Clavier looked at the woman on the bed. He would confuse her with the real Adeline too. They were really resembling each other.
“Where did you see her? In the same dream?”
For the past three centuries, Clavier listened to Stefano’s dream about his Adeline. The doctor even prepared some medicinal potions to help his friend to get through the nights but it seemed like the dream never stopped.
Stefano closed his eyes, remembering the dream he once had of her like every other night. It was always at the white roses’ garden at the back of the castle. The only place where she spent most of her time when he was out for work. But in that dream, it was different. He was surrounded by darkness and he saw her standing very far from him.
“No, it was a very dark place.”