“Lord Stefano, you’ve disturbed the natural order,” Amara said as soon as he arrived in the Council meeting.
There were ten of them in the Great Hall. Everyone but him wore a white cloak and adorned the crest of a half moon and a phoenix. Stefano wasn’t going to hear any of their babbling but as the High Lord of the Council, his presence was as important as the others. Way too important. This meeting wouldn’t have happened if his stepmother kept her mouth shut. He saw her stood at the audience grandstand with her bodyguards. Even those bodyguards wouldn’t able to shield her from his wrath if he decided to.
“The repercussion is mine and mine alone,” Stefano replied, taking a seat on the chair. “Leave my wife out of this. She is my wife and is under my protection.” He eyed the members one by one. “Any of you attempt to come near or causing harm to her would be subjected to punishment under the order of de Lucca family.”
Eleanor flinched at his words. Stefano knew very well that the order of de Lucca family wasn’t something she could trifle with. Her own status as the Mistress of the previous High Lord wouldn’t be able to protect her.
“Are you really going to let her walk on this realm?!” Vito protested, earning nods from his fellow Councilors. “A result of a resurrection is an insult to the Goddess! We do not tamper with the natural order or—”
Stefano motioned with his hand and instantly Vito was lifted into the air while his throat was gripped tightly by an unseen force. The poor man writhed silently in the air.
“Lord Stefano!” Everyone was bewildered by his action.
“Anyone called my wife as an insult would be subjected to death.” He tightened his fist and in return, Vito choked harder. “I know you’ve worked hard for the Council, Vito. Therefore, I do not wish to kill you. But if you question me again, I would not hesitate to take your life. Do you understand?”
“Y-Y-Yes, My Lord.” Vito stammered.
“My wife would not like it if I spill blood because of her. I would forgive you this time. Do not take it for granted.” He let go of the Councilor. “Because there would be no second chance.”
Vito dropped to the floor with a thud while he was trying to drive the air back into his lungs. Going against the words of the High Lord was like sending a request to get themselves killed by his hands. Everyone knew how strong Lord Stefano was. His family had taken over the Council for thousands of years. Stefano was the only member of de Lucca family to have to sit in that position for that long.
“With due respect, My Lord, there would be—” Amara trailed off, feeling nervous when Stefano’s strong gaze fell upon her. “Forgive me, My Lord.”
“Very well. I do not wish to speak of this matter anymore.”
Everyone was reluctant but his words were their commands whether they liked it or not. After exchanged a few glances, they nodded in agreement. It was better than having their lives taken. Stefano was a man of his words. When he said there would be no second chance, it would be really no second chance. He never hesitated to take life.
“Do you hear my words, mother?” Stefano said sternly but without looking at her.
“Y-Yes, My Lord.” His mother replied.
Stefano didn’t believe her words. She was a snake and always had been. Although it was wrong to say his stepmother as such thing, Stefano had seen her doing things that she wasn’t supposed to do. After his father died, the seat was supposed to be hers as the Mistress but his father appointed him in his last will and all the wealth of de Lucca family was Stefano’s. Cruel, wasn’t it? Eleanor only received one house from the last will. Stefano could understand why his father chose to do so to punish her. Not only she was left with nothing, but her privileges as Mistress of the previous High Lord and de Lucca family was also stripped off from her. The only reason she survived this long was that of her new husband’s wealth.
The double doors were pushed opened and someone entered. He knelt on the ground as a sign of respect.
“My Lord, I received words from your house. You are to return immediately.” The guard said, keeping his head down. “The request came from Sir Clavier Hubert.”
Stefano stood up. “If I hear any more of you insulting my wife, there would be new Councilors take over these very current ones. Does everyone understand?”
They all bowed and answered, “Yes, my Lord.”
Stefano walked to the door and gradually vanished in the air before he reappeared in front of his home. On the front door, Josef was already waiting for the arrival of the Lord of the house. He greeted the High Lord with a bow.
“It’s the Mistress, My Lord,” Josef said. “She has awakened. Sir Clavier is attending her.”
Stefano raced to his bedroom and heard Clavier’s voice, questioning her. The High Lord resisted barging into the bedroom. Instead, he stood outside and listened as Clavier’s voice went through the door.
“Could you speak?” This was the tenth question Clavier had asked since he came to attend the wife of the High Lord. “Do you understand my words?”
“You speak English.” She replied, quickly pulling her hand away from his cold ones. She looked around. A sense of unfamiliarity began to hit her. “Where am I?”
“Home,” Another man replied as he entered. His smile was broad. “You are at home, my love.”
A tall man with black hair entered. He was wearing a black turtleneck sweater with a long black coat and jeans that made his appearance sharper than he already had. He looked like someone who walked out of the fashion magazine. There were three scars just above his right ear.
Clavier excused himself so that Stefano could sit next to her. He took her hands into his, trying to listen to her thoughts through the contact. Her mind was a blank as a white paper. There was nothing. Not even a memory.
And he intended to keep her old memories from emerging back into her mind. He knew what he did was wrong but he couldn’t bear of losing her after centuries of looking for her. She would be Adeline Domenico.
His wife and his equal.
He would kill those who would even think about taking her away from him. For the love he had for Adeline, he would do anything to ensure she would always be his.
“Welcome home, my love,” he whispered.