Chapter 2 The Proposal
The sun rose the next morning and he awoke alone. His mood was sour due to having He had missed his encounter with the girl from town because of Miss Lea. He rose from his bed and threw his bathrobe over his shoulders tying it at the front. Alfredo, his faithful servant, was waiting to give him orange juice and toast. He went out onto his balcony and basked in the warm rays and the soft breeze. He held the toast in his mouth and shook his head. His raven hair flew about him in waves.
"Is there anything else I can do for you Sir," Alfredo asked, standing at the door with a gentle smile upon his face, his glasses sitting upon his large nose. Sieghart was pensive before he responded. He needed to decide what to do with his new pupil. She needed more than training to be a knight. She needed to learn to be a lady.
"Prepare the guest rooms beside mine. We have a new pupil coming today. She will need proper accommodations," His decision made he ordered Alfredo to begin.
"She? A female pupil Sir?" Alfredo questioned perplexed at the thought of a female being brought into the home, "Are you planning on allowing her to stay permanently?"
"Of course," Sieghart was beginning to feel irritated, "She is my student, not a one night stand." he added quickly between clenched teeth.
"Very well…" he left the room and Sieghart went to bathe and dress. He wore his infamous black uniform with his sword at his side, with no hat like the other knights. He had to remember that even though she was a lady, she was to be his pupil.
"Beside's … She's quite annoying anyway. Not like any lady I would associate with." he said outloud trying to convince himself that this was true.
Once everything was ready, the knight took his carriage to the castle and headed up to the infirmary. Making his way through the halls he could see the bustle of females looking at him and giggling at his looks. Sieghart's reputation as one of the most eligible bachelors was known and every lady wanted a chance to be his wife. The status it could bring was very appealing to any female. With a creek the door was pushed open where he saw her bed empty and heaved a sigh. The sigh was disapointment in himself that he had not truly been able to convince the girl that he had been genuine In his offering. He punched the bed in aggravation. He had made a promise and she was gone. "Now what am I going to do?"
"Awful Sir Sieghart," Before he could become lost in his thoughts he felt something sharp at his throat. The warm wet breath and softness in the ton made him realize who it was. He let out a heave of a sigh, "It seems you've lost your senses today."
"What in the hell?" he tried to reach up and grab the weapon but he found himself unable to move his arms. She had already tethered his hands together leaving him helpless.
"You seemed to have failed the stealth test master," she pulled away and he turned around to see her wagging her finger, bandage still on her head, blood seeping through. His demeanor changed and softened looking at this young girl.
"Okay first rule of being my pupil. Don't do that!" He yelled at her, "You scared me to death!"
"It was just dinnerware," she tossed a fork up in the air and it caught the light reflecting off the silver blinding him slightly, "It's not going to do you any harm."
Angrily, he broke the simple ribbon that was holding his hands and his hands rose to grab her shoulders. She turned around and he saw her sword between her pale fingers, tiny hands grasping the hilt with such care. She was swift, he couldn't doubt that about her and cunning. He forced his himself to defer his mind from thinking what she could do with such speed.
"Do you wish to have a rematch, master?' she asked with a grin appearing on her pink lips, "Except you're one sword short of a fall." she laughed.
She turned the sword with the hilt facing him and he snatched it from her hands, "You have a lot to learn Catalea of Lioncourt. First lesson is to respect your teacher." He took her by the arms and led her out of the infirmary. He held her hand like a child as they headed down the stairs, angry at her for her actions. He looked at her a moment, she looked dejected, defeated until she looked up and the morning rays caught the slight yellow glow of her undertone. There was a silver glint in her blue eyes as they glazed over with tears.
"What's wrong with you," he pulled her down the stairs forcing her to face him. "Why are you crying?"
"I still have a headache," she said, scowling again, trying to hide her pain, "It will pass…"
She tugged her hand away and headed toward the waiting carriage. The door was opened for her and she entered, sitting comfortably on the purple leather bench. A baffled Sieghart sat across from her and looked out the window. She did the same, refusing to look into his eyes deep wine coloured eyes. The sound of the hooves on the stones rattled in their ears as the carriage shook from side to side. They were off towards the hills, where Sieghart trained and taught the few pupils he did. He was selective of those he taught his secrets and his skills. The castle towered in the distance amongst the green hills. Catalea's eyes widened at the sight.
"Miss Catalea," Sieghart looked at her from the corner of his eyes, "I want to ask you how you ended up here. You seem to have no home and no funds to support yourself. " he paused leaning back, trying to not look at her and see her all at once.
"Do I detect a tone of pity in your voice Sir Sieghart…" she asked, "I don't think it matters much where I've come from. I know where I've been and I have worked hard to get this far."
"So aren't of noble blood?" he looked directly at her, now interested in what she was to reply.
"No," she spat, "Does that change anything? Do you want to throw me back to the streets now?"
"Not at all," he replied, "All the more reason to give you the opportunity. I think you've earned it. Especially with that display from yesterday."
"I fell on my ass," Catalea's pride was wounded and she shrunk in pouting, "But I still could have bested you if it hadn't have been for my slip up."
"I doubt that. I saw your failure coming."
"My failure!" her face reddened in anger, "I did not fail! I merely missed my attempt to best you."
"I just went easy on you because you're a little girl," he teased, "You would have failed yourself anyway."
"Hrmph," she huffed and looked away, refusing to speak to him further.
"Oh don't be so childish. Miss Lea. You have an incredible opportunity in my home. You're going to be the lady of my household. You will learn what it is to be a lady as well as a knight. It works quite well since there isn't a single female in my home besides my servants."
"I wonder why," she cut him off with an evil smirk.
Her lack of appreciation began to irritate him, "Because women and girls are annoying and pester me, just like you're doing now. I've kept my home a lady free zone for years for that reason alone. You're lucky you're so good or you would still be a street urchin."
She kept quiet as they passed through the archway. The carriage slowed down as they arrived at the stone steps that lead to the front door. The footman opened the doors and Sieghart took her hand and lead her out. She was unsure how to behave so she simply followed his lead. They walked hand in hand into the castle and he saw the slight blush of her cheek. She was timid because of her arrival which caused her lovely pale skin to flush. Alfredo arrived to take her things at the base of the large staircase.
"This is where I leave you." Sieghart released her hand and stepped back, "Settle in and join us for lunch." And he began to walk away. "Alfredo will take care of anything you need until we meet up again. Behave yourself Peachtree girl."
"I will lead you to your rooms," he bowed and she followed him up the marble stair case, down the right halls to a large black door covered in gold. They opened with a slight creak and the sunlight shone on them both. The room was fit for a queen in black and purple with gold trim. The walls were covered in murals depicting gardens and skylines, sea and earth. Everything was so beautiful, she couldn't believe this was her room. The sitting room was by the large windows overlooking a lake crystal blue. Black velvet curtains were pulled back, allowing the sun to penetrate and catch all the gold in the room. A four post bed was at the far right made of mahogany, columns reaching up to the high ceilings, Purple drapes hung over the wood and matching sheets with gold embroidery were on the mattress.
"My lady?" Alfredo awaited her to dismiss him. She had never had servants so she was clueless. She looked at him wide eyed and he smiled at her, "The bath is adjoining to the right. There have been gowns purchased for you. Please dress and come for lunch." He turned around and left through the large doors.