#Chapter 4 He didn’t do it

Hannah POV

Alpha King Sebastian pulled himself off me; he was breathing rapidly, and he was looking around the room confused. He refused to meet my eyes. I lifted my head, panting hard and trying to maintain my breath. I was shivering and tried to cover my body with his blankets.

He stumbled toward his dresser and paused; his head turned, and his eyes found me. They were scarlet; matching the color of the blood that stained his sheets. He curled his lip up and stared at me like he was going to lunge in my direction again. I braced myself for the impact, shielding my face and the fear that was clear in my tear-filled eyes.

But the impact never came; instead, I heard the piercing scream of agony coming from his mouth across the room.

I looked over and I saw blood pouring from his hand; he stabbed himself with a fork that was left on his dresser. He grabbed onto his wrist and cried out in pain as he released the fork from his hand. He panted heavily and beads of sweat formed on his forehead. But his eyes were back to being their normal blues.

I sat up slowly as he made his way across the room and toward his bed; he grabbed his shirt off the bed beside me. He met my eyes for a moment; he didn’t look angry. It was a gaze I didn’t quite recognize, and it lingered. His eyes kept shifting from scarlet back to blue; like his wolf was trying to take over and he was fighting the shift. He pulled his eyes from me and stormed out his bedroom door, leaving me alone in his room.

The night wind poured in through the open window and I shivered as the cold air hit my bare skin. Then I felt an unfamiliar warmth on the palms of my hands; I realized some of his blood had dripped onto me when he grabbed his shirt. I held my hand up and allowed the rays of the moon to eliminate my blood-stained fingertips.

I couldn’t help but ask myself, did he hurt himself to keep from killing me?

It was a sleepless night. Sebastian didn’t bother coming back to his room. I’m not sure where he went but there was a part of me that worried for him. I knew the kind of man he was, but there was still something about him that Nora seemed fascinated with. It was his scent that she was drawn to the most. She wanted to be close to him, even as he hurt me and tried to force himself upon me.

I still feared him deeply, but there was still a part of me that was left curious about him.

I pulled myself out of bed and went over to the small suitcase that was left for me from the night before. It was filled with some of my clothing. I had to remember to return home to gather the rest of my stuff. I pulled out an old pair of jeans and an overly big sweatshirt. I knew wearing something so casual was frowned upon in the palace, but I haven’t been given any other clothes yet.

I was relieved to see that my phone was also in my suitcase. I saw that I had a new message from Thomas. I had to stifle a groan as I opened his message.

Hey, I’m sorry you had to find out about your sister and me that way. It wasn’t personal.

I rolled my eyes and threw my phone onto the bed. I wasn’t going to bother responding to him.

I went to pull the door open and was startled to be greeted by a young woman, a little older than me, standing at the doorway. She wore a dark blouse with a matching dark skirt, that almost looked like a uniform. 

“Oh, I’m sorry, your highness,” she said with a shy smile. “I’m Caroline, your assigned handmaiden.”

I had a handmaiden? I’ve never thought I’d be the kind of person to have a handmaiden. The thought was almost laughable.

She cleared her throat awkwardly after I didn’t say anything in response.

“I prepared your breakfast in the dining hall, your highness,” she said softly.

I smiled politely at her as I followed her out of the bedroom.

“Thank you,” I said to her. “But please, just call me Hannah.”

She chuckled nervously as we made our way down the hall.

“That’s against the rules of the palace,” Caroline explained as if I should have known that already.

I frowned and rose my eyebrows.

I didn’t ask about the rules, but I was curious about Sebastian considering he didn’t return to the room all night.

“Have you seen the Alpha King?” I asked as we walked away from the room and toward the stairs.

Caroline looked at me briefly before answering.

“Last I saw, Beta Arnold was dragging him to the dungeon to chain him for the night. It’s for his safety and for ours. The Beta is the only one the Alpha King allows to chain him,” Caroline explained.

Before I could ask her anymore questions, I heard murmuring coming from one of the rooms as we made our way through the downstairs foyer. The room has opened a crack and I could see Queen Magnolia. She was with a couple of other maids, with a similar uniform as Caroline, and taller gentlemen that I didn’t recognize.

“He needs to be stopped before he kills every last one of them,” Magnolia hissed. Before she said anymore, her eyes found mine and she paused. She straightened her stance, made her way to the doorway, and shut the door, shielding my view from them.

I stood startled for a moment before Caroline’s soft tone cut through my train of thought.

“Your highness?” Caroline said as she realized I wasn’t walking with her anymore.

“What’s going on in there?” I asked, still staring at the door that Magnolia just shut.

“Another maid was found dead this morning,” Caroline explained, lowering her tone.

“Who was that man in there?” I asked, pulling my eyes from the door to look at Caroline.

She glanced at the door with a frown before looking back at me.

“Probably Prince Jack,” she answered. “The queen’s actual son.”

I wasn’t aware that Queen Magnolia had an actual son.

“Who do they think killed this maid?” I asked.

“Alpha King Sebastian, of course,” Caroline answered, narrowing her eyes at me. “This wasn’t the first time he’s killed a maid.” She shivered as those words left her mouth. She lowered her tone as she added the next part. “The full moon makes him crazy and ferocious. I think the queen is sick of having to clean up his mess.”

“But you said yourself that the Alpha King was chained in his dungeon last night,” I said as we continued walking.

She nodded once, but her face showed uncertainty.

“Yes, but he wasn’t there all night,” she explained. “Beta Arnold found him wandering the palace before he brought him to the dungeon.

He was with me for most the night; did Sebastian really have the time to kill a maid before Beta Arnold found him? I didn’t say anything more about it to Caroline though.

My mind was clouded with the information I was just received. I knew he was a ferocious beast, and he could kill with the flick of his wrist. I had no doubt that he was the fiercest and strongest creature to walk our lands. I knew he killed his past wife, and it was rumored that he killed for fun.

But I couldn’t get the fact that he had harmed himself to stop himself from killing me out of my mind. That didn’t sound like someone who killed for fun. I certainly found it difficult to believe that he would go through that pain just to leave and kill someone else.

“He didn’t do it,” Nora mimicked my thoughts.

“I’m not very hungry,” I told Caroline softly as I stopped walking

She frowned and tilted her head to the side.

“Oh,” she breathed. “I hope I didn’t say something to upset you.”

“No,” I said quickly. “Not at all. Thank you for the information, Caroline.”

She still didn’t seem sure though, so I gave her a small smile.

“Honestly,” I assured her. “I’ll eat later.”

“Okay,” she said with a small curtsy. “I’ll put your food away for later then.”

Once she was out of sight, I looked around the empty foyer and walked toward the door. I pressed my ears against the door to try and hear what they were saying. Their words were muffled together and hard to understand, but I got some parts of the conversation.

“He doesn’t deserve to be the Alpha King. My son would make a better king than that vicious animal. Sebastian can’t contain his temper and it gets innocent maids killed.”

There was a pause before she continued. 

“I just wish I could have been there to see the maid. I wasn’t anywhere near the room. Another maid found her the library. They are still trying to clean the blood mess out of the carpet.”

Caroline appeared in the foyer once again. She stared at me with wide and confused eyes. I pulled away from the door and shuffled towards her.

“Where’s the library?” I asked. She frowned and rose her eyebrows.

“The other side of the palace,” she answered. “Why?”

“Can you take me there?”

She looked hesitant for a moment, but then nodded slowly.

I followed Caroline through the palace; we walked quickly and silently until we reached a set of large doors at the end of a narrow hallway. She pushed the doors open and I made my way toward the giant red stain in the middle of the large library. Thankfully the library was completely empty; I scanned the area quickly, trying to gather everything I could. I wondered if Sebastian had come to the library last night after he hurt himself.

As I scanned the ground, around a nearby table, there were a couple of broken chairs that were scattered across the ground. There was definitely a struggle here; the maid was attacked and probably fought for her life. Obviously failing at saving herself.

I walked toward the table and stopped when a small silver earing caught my eye. It was caught under the leg of the chair. I frowned as I placed the earring in the palm of my hands, staring at it intently.

“Did this belong to the maid?” I asked Caroline who was staring at the blood stain in shock. She pulled her eyes away from the stain long enough to look at what I was holding.

She shook her head; I noticed her body was trembling.

She was frightened.

“It couldn’t have been,” Caroline said. “Servants aren’t allowed to have jewelry. Queen Magnolia said that jewelry is only for the rich and powerful.”

Then whose earring could this have been? I heard Queen Magnolia saying she wasn’t anywhere near the library and that another maid found the dead body.

“She must have been lying,” Nora hissed angrily. “She’s trying to frame Sebastian. Isn’t it obvious?”

Just as I was about to express my suspicions out loud, I heard the door opening and shutting of the library.

I turned in time to see Queen Magnolia standing before me. 

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