"Katherine, let me introduce you to my mother, Ester," she heard Silas introduce them, not showing her frazzled nerves Katie put up a smile on her face as she greeted Lady Norman.
"I have heard so much about you. It's lovely to finally see you," the lady spoke gently with a kind voice. Katie wondered if Silas had spoken about her but her doubts were cleared when the lady continued to speak, "My husband told me that the Lord of Valeria took an interest with a human and I was curious about it with all the rumors circulating within the circle of the elites. On my way back here I have heard some really interesting things."
"And what might that be Lady Norman?" the lady who was holding her knife and fork in her hands smiled looking up at Katie.
"Patience. You will be glad that the nightly creatures have been moved away from us very soon," the woman placed the vegetable in her mouth.
"He was never to be trusted," Lord Norman laughed, "He was and is cynical from the very beginning of his time," he then turned to look at Katie, "You think he has emotions? The nightly creatures are people without a heart with no emotions. A dead, selfish being."
"Of course, dear not all of them are like us humans. We shouldn't associate ourselves with them," the lady said placing her hand on her husbands arm.
Katie felt her tongue itch, wanting to retaliate their words back but when she opened her mouth she felt Silas' hand grasp hers as they sat next to each other at the table. Forcefully she pulled away her hand from his.
Confronting things wouldn't help right now and the only thing she could do was borrow as much time as she could to find what truth and lies held in this place.
As she had her dinner she couldn't help but frown internally at their words. She had noticed of how the lady had referred to herself as a human and she wondered if she had got the person mixed up with the doll she saw in Mr. Weaver's house. True that when she smiled it scared her to death as it reminded her about the chilling experiance she had gone through in that house but apart from that, the way she behaved seemed quite normal. May be she did get her memory mixed up, she thought to herself. The doll looked much younger than her. Had a witch perhaps mimicked her features? After all she was a beautiful woman even though she was in her past forties.
Silas had accompanied until her room and once they had reached, he wished her a goodnight before turning his back and walking to wherever he was going to.
Katie felt her mind was running a mile per minute as she thought of the possibilities of what to do. Now that she was in the mansion she had to start looking for clues that would lead to answers but if Lady Norman was a witch and not a human like everyone thought, snooping right under her nose would be a difficult job.
One day, the entire family of the Norman's had gone out, leaving Katherine alone in the mansion under the watchful eye of Leroy. Not everyone knew about her background, of how and why she had come to the mansion except for that Lord Silas had taken an interest in her. Taking the opportunity of the Norman's absence, she complained to Judith, the maid she had befriended of how bored she was sitting cooped in the room and would rather like to have a tour of the mansion which the maid gladly accepted.
"What are these?" Katie asked seeing the long stalks with red flowers at the tips of them as they passed through the mansion's garden and the statues, the maid then explained to her,
"This is a very rare plant, Ms Katherine. It helps in healing wounds. Lady Ester looks after the garden of the mansion, and she has been nurturing this one for the town folks," the girl looked with a sorrowful expression, "You must have heard about the deaths occurring in the empire since a while now...diseases and illness spreading over the land since few years. She has been kind enough to the people of our empire by providing them these plants to have a faster recovery."
"But isn't that what any Lord or Lady would do for their people," Katie commented, stepping back inside the mansion.
"You are right Ms but Lady Ester has been very giving all these years. She goes to the town to check the condition people are in instead of sending others, giving them food and shelter," Katie hummed in response, looking around she saw that the guard named Leroy wasn't around them anymore, "Do you know music? Let me show the young master's composition room," she said taking her up the spiral stairs.
"This side of the mansion belongs to Lord Silas and he is very particular about visitors but knowing he likes you it shouldn't be a problem. Who knows he might thank me for getting you acquainted with his interest," the girl said thoughtfully and Katie gave her a tight smile. Her cheeks hurt with the constant smile she had to keep on her face.
With what she had to hear, the maid had only praises for the Norman's which included Lord Norman. When she probed about the elder son of the Norman's the maid had no idea about it, rather she said 'Lord Silas is the only son of the Norman's' which didn't quite add up especially when she said her family had been serving them since four generations.
When they reached the room, the maid got called by the butler due to some work and she left saying she would be back in few minutes. The room was clean and didn't have much except for a grand piano at the center of the room, with few sheets in place. Stepping out of the room she closed the door and began walking ahead to see another door. Seeing that there was no one, she turned the knob of the door and got inside to feel her eye sight momentarily diminish. Unlike the previous room, this one had a rustic decor made of woods and it looked like it hadn't been used for a very long time. She noticed a bed at the far end and next to it was a broken mirror.
The windows were covered in cobwebs and it didn't take her much time to know that the room belonged to none other than the eldest son of the Norman, Malphus. A picture frame sat at the desk and Katie picked it up before cleaning it with her dress to remove the dirt to see a woman with a smile, hugging a little boy in her arms.
His mother was beautiful and she wondered why Lord Norman would do something so horrific to his lovely wife. He had married Lady Ester after his first wife's death, did she have anything to do with it? She found it suspicious because the timing couldn't be a coincidence.
Perhaps Lady Ester was a witch who had swayed Lord Norman and later tricked him for her advantage. It felt like the maids were brainwashed into thinking nothing but good about the family. Not one speck of complaint or fault, wasn't that strange? And the woman was too good to be true, the way she saw with her eyes and the way she spoke didn't match. It was a plausible theory. Her cousin had spoken about answers being here but what if he meant Lady Ester was the answer for everything.
Sighing she looked around to find an upright piano in the other corner which almost went unnoticed by her. The keys had turned dull in color and when she pressed the white key which exhaled a tone out of it.
"Malphus Crook and his mysteries..."Katie said looking at the objects in the room. Her eyebrows furrowed seeing two chains of similar pattern that had circle with triangle lying inside it.
Hearing the sudden voices outside, Katie picked the chains to place it in her dress and quickly got out of the room. Hoping that it wouldn't be like the time she had entered the library, she went back to the piano room the maid had first shown her. When Silas got inside the room , his eyes went wide before anger took place.
"Um, Judith said I could come here be-"
"Get out of the room!" Silas interrupted her, anger and irritation surfacing his grey eyes.
"I am sorry," Katie bowed and sprinted out of there, back to her room.