Chapter 9

Alistair and Beth continued to tryst for the next few months. They would cast each other heated glances whenever they saw each other in the halls or parties. Everyone, except Higgens and the mysterious lord, never noticed them.

At one of the elaborate parties, Alistair met Lord Savage, a dark brooding man that wore a white mask that concealed half his face, who had expressed he was interested in supplying his weaponry for him.  From that meeting, a friendship was born.  They went hunting on the days that Beth wasn’t available and drank brandy in the library while discussing science and literature.  

Actually, Beth was quite happy that he had found someone to talk to besides her because she had developed some horrible sickness that only plagued her in the morning.  She noticed that her bosom had enlarged a little and were quite tender sometimes.  She went to her mother, asking her what troubled her.  

“Oh my dear daughter.  You are with a child.  Is the King Alistair’s?”

“Yes, mother.  You are not mad at me?”

“No.  I think I saw this coming when the king sent Higgens to check on you everyday.  Do you love him?”

“Yes, I do.  I do not know if he feels the same.”

With a little smile, her mother replied, “I’m sure he does.  I’ve seen the expression in his eyes when he looks at you when he thinks no one is looking.  You must tell him about the babe, soon.”

“I will, mother.  How would father react to this?”

“Do not worry about him, I will take care of him.  Now go find him.”

Beth had not walked a hundred feet before some grabbed her from behind, and put a cloth on her nose.  With no choice but to breathe in the cloying scent, she fell to the ground limp.  Her kidnapper threw her upon his broad shoulders and simply walked into the nearby woods.

“Higgens,” Alistair said, “go get Beth.”

“She appears to be missing, your highness,” he said when he returned.  “It seems that she may have run off.”

“Send for her mother.  She will know where she is,” Alistair boomed.  “Mrs. James, when did you last see your daughter?”

“Why, this afternoon, your highness.  She wanted to ask me question about her health.  Is something wrong?”

“What about her health?  Was she unwell?” he asked, concerned.

“She is just fine, your highness.”

“Then why did she come to you?”

“Your highness, couldn’t ones daughter see her mother?”

“Yes, but you said that she was asking something about her health.”

“Your highness, that is what she asked me about.  I can not tell you until you’ve told me what has happened,” she stubbornly said.

“I see where Beth gets her stubbornness,” he mumbled.  “Would you know where Beth went after she left your cottage?”

“No, I thought she went immediately to you.  Why what is wrong?”

“Apparently, she is missing.”

“Oh dear lord!  Where can she be?” she said, alarmed and worried.

“Now what is wrong with her health?  I’m about to send for my guards to search for her.  I need to know if there’s a chance that she is ill.”

“She’s not ill, your highness.  She is with a child.  Let me go with your guards.  I have to find her.”

“She is with a child.  She is with a child,” echoed in Alistair’s mind.  

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