With some directions, Alicia was able to locate the place she was searching for.
She stood outside Sir Richard's chamber but hesitated to knock.
Of course, she could have dropped by any other day. But she didn't want to waste any more time. If there was someone who knew about Anne, she needed the information as soon as possible. She needed whatever clue would make her understand why she was brought here and how to properly follow that path. Therefore, she didn't want to waste any time. In the movies and books she had read, it always happened that the person would suddenly go missing or mysteriously die. She didn't want that.
After taking a deep breath, she knocked on the door, and almost at the same time, the door opened from inside. However, the first person she saw was Benedicta.
Benedicta was surprised to see her there. The surprise quickly faded, and it turned to disgust as she looked her up and down.
Benedicta had heard rumours. But this was far more than she had expected.
Alicia even looked weirder to them because the pants she was wearing now were short, up to her knees. She had cut them herself. She wore higher boots this time.
Benedicta looked at her boots. It was the type warriors wore, especially when it was raining, but obviously, Alicia didn't think so because of how fashionable they looked. Her shirt, however, was still big in the usual men's size, but it looked like she had cut some parts in the bottom and tied it around her stomach, making the dress look a bit fitted, which brought confusion to Benedicta's face. Her hair was also short, and she had weird makeup on her face. Something black like charcoal around her eyes and lips that was strangely fitting and--
"Are you done?" Alicia asked her, bringing Benedicta back to her senses.
She looked up at her, and the scowl returned to her face.
"What are you doing here?" She asked Alicia rudely.
"Did you come to gloat about how you've ruined this kingdom by your mere presence?" She taunted. "Or how your leaving the palace made me a victim of Prince Ivan's madness, and he almost killed me?"
"Or how you put my brother in harm's way?" She eyed Alicia as she asked, "Go on, tell me what you are here for. But I hope it's not an apology. Because you should keep it to yourself. I will never forgive you."
Alicia just stared at her in amusement before she let out a laugh.
Alicia wasn't sure whether being in the body of a teenager was the cause of her trying to be petty because she felt like saying some mean things but she had to swallow it.
This girl wasn't worth it.
"I would like to have a word with Lord Richard," Alicia told her.
Benedicta frowned. Of everything she had expected, that was the least.
"Who do you think you are to have a word with my father?" She asked in annoyance. "You think he is someone you can just meet because you are married to Prince Harold? Why?" Benedicta suddenly laughed. "Oh... you must need his help now that you are being accused of being a witch."
Alicia looked her up and down and sighed in frustration.
"I know the three people you dislike the most right now are Prince Ivan, Prince Harold, and me."
"And so? You want to apologize on their behalf and yours too? You think that would make me treat you--"
"I heard you lost consciousness after Prince Harold flung you like a rag doll and have been sick after Prince Ivan assaulted you." She said, cutting Benedicta off.
"Would you... like to see what this third person can do to you if you keep this disgusting attitude up?" Alicia asked, pointing at herself while smiling.
Benedicta looked shaken by her words and stepped back, swallowing.
"Y-You... t-think I... am scared... of y-you?" Benedicta stuttered.
Alicia took a step closer to her as she said, "I don't care. But you should be."
An approaching footstep caught their attention, and they both looked to the side. Both were relieved when they saw Harvey approaching.
"Brother! She came here and bullied me!" Benedicta cried as she went to hold his hand while looking at him with misty eyes.
Harvey looked down at his sister and then at Alicia.
"What... are you here for?" He asked her curiously.
"I would like to meet Lord Richard."
Harvey looked confused, wondering why she wanted to meet him, but he nodded and removed his hand from his sister's hold.
"Stop making trouble and remain in the chamber." He said to her sternly before turning to Alicia.
"Forgive her, My lady. I will lead you to my father."
Harvey said to her and glared at his sister before he gestured for Alicia to move ahead.
Benedicta looked at her brother in disbelief, but he didn't spare her any other glance as he followed, taking the same direction he had just taken here.
"May I ask why you are looking for my father?" He asked when they moved further away from the chamber.
"I would like to ask him something," Alicia answered.
Harvey didn't say anything for a while, and then he stopped walking and asked, "Is it about your mother?"
She stopped too and looked at him. "How did you know that?"
"I got hints that he probably knew her. But I'm not sure."
She looked at him suspiciously, trying to guess if he was being honest or not. Had he been keeping things from her?
She just nodded and continued walking while he followed her.
Alicia looked around, hoping to bump into Harold so he would go with her since she also wanted him to be there. She had no idea where he was, so it would be difficult to look for him.
"Have you seen Prince Harold?" She asked him, but to her surprise, as soon as they took a bend, they saw him coming in the same direction as them, and her eyes lit up.
She beamed and waved at him while he awkwardly waved back, even though they were already approaching each other. But his face turned serious when he saw Harvey beside her.
Rold's voice began to echo in his head. "...And you have been having too many women around you that smell awful, and it makes me sick. Oh! Especially that girl whose name starts with a B. The next time she shows up around us, I will rip her heart out and feed it to her brother. I've noticed how he stares at Princess, I don't like it."
He looked intensely at Harvey when he stood in front of them but withdrew his gaze when Alicia tapped him.
"We are about to meet Lord Richard."
"What? Why?" He asked in confusion as he looked between the two again.
Alicia gave him the shortest summary, telling him he had the answers to some questions and she wanted to ask him.
She didn't say more than that until they found him inside his office, where he usually talked about war matters.
He was alone and going through some books when they found him, but when he saw the three, he looked surprised and confused.
As soon as Alicia and Harold sat down, Alicia went straight to the point, asking if he knew Queen Anne, and from the look on his face, it was obvious that he did.
"I would like to learn all you know about her."
"I apologize, My Lady. But there are some things that I cannot tell--"
Harold was about to speak, but Alicia didn't care what he wanted to tell the man. She held his arm to keep him from talking. 𝚒𝚗𝒏𝐫e𝒶𝙙. 𝒸o𝑚
"I know," she said to Sir Richard.
"But... I want to learn everything. Most especially, how she is connected to Prince Wilder." She said before taking out the pin the king had given her and pushing it on the table towards him.
All the men in the room looked very surprised. One, she had this pin. Two, Queen Anne and Prince Wilder?
Harvey and Harold had never heard this part before.
Sir Richard was also confused about how she knew about it, guessing her mother must have said something to her when she was younger.
"Everything..." Alicia repeated to the man, who took the pin and looked closely at it to be sure it was not a fake.
"H-How?" He asked in disbelief before looking at her. "Is the King awake?" He asked with hope.
"He gave this to me a long time ago and told me to trust you to give me the answers I needed." She lied, and Harold could tell it was a lie. He guessed she met the king today.
Sir Richard sighed heavily before looking at her and then at the other two men in the room with them.
"I... will excuse you then," Harvey said and was about to leave when Alicia called out to him.
Even Harvey's father was surprised, wondering just what their relationship was and why she was even letting him stay.
"LOVE HARVEY" continued to replay in her head. And she knew that if there was anyone Amber trusted, it had to be Harvey. And he had to be here. In case she disappeared one day and Amber returned.
He would have to tell all of this to her if Harold didn't.
Harvey hesitated before he opened a seat on the other side of Alicia and sat down.
Sir Richard, however, still looked hesitant to say a word. He looked at the pin, then at Alicia, and sighed heavily.
"It is a long story."
"All stories have an end." She answered.
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