Chapter 3:

It had to have been at least thirty minutes, though when I glanced up at the large wall clock, only 10 minutes had gone by. The twins had been babbling on about this and that the whole time. Even when one asked me a question, I was given a maximum of 2 seconds to answer before getting cut off by the other twin. My head was beginning to spin, so I tried an excuse so we could part ways.

"Excuse me, girls. I hate to interrupt this conversation, but I have grown quite parched." I said while trying to back away.

Mandy and Minnie traded looks. My glance continued to bounce back and forth between them.

"Now that you mention it, Anton, so are we!" Mandy piped up while her sister nodded in agreement.

Damn.

Before I knew it, The girls took the liberty of tightly linking their arms through either of mine. I let out a surrendering breath, as we began our way across the floor to the drink table. I received quite a few stares from other guests, which I returned with nervous glances.

"So, what's it like living in such a large castle with only one brother?" Mandy singsonged as she ran a gloved finger along the edge of my jacket collar.

"Well it's-" I managed to get out before Minnie chimed in when she had the chance.

"Probably cold. And quiet, right? We have 6 brothers and 3 sisters, so our castle is never quiet!"

I took another swing at answering.

"That sounds-"

"That's like... " Mandy looked down to her hands, where she lifted fingers one at a time and counted under her breath.

"9 kids, right? Yes. We have 9 kids altogether in our family!" Mandy grinned at her own accomplishment.

I stared at her with an encouraging grin and waited to see if she would notice her mistake. Minnie had seemed to, as she was thinking out loud.

"9... That makes sense... But I feel like I'm forgetting someone.."

I rolled my eyes. Honestly, I could not withstand this much longer. In the corner of my eye, I could see Mandy eyeing the stone on my necklace. Her delicate finger moved from my collar necklace to touch the blue topaz, while she muttered, "Is that real...?"

My fake smile was beginning to fade, right when Fredrich waltzed up to us.

"Hello, Anton." Fredrich greeted me as always. Then he caught sight of the identical twins on my arms. His natural smirk suddenly transformed into a sleazy grin.

"... Ladies." He said, before bowing and slicking back his hair.

Mandy and Minnie giggled lightly. I lifted an eyebrow at Fredrich to question what he was up to, but the wink he gave me told me that he was trying to help.

"I see that my elder brother here has neglected to give you fine ladies a proper dance. May I?"

Fredrich held out a small hand as an offering. Mandy and Minnie looked at each other before nodding and releasing their death-grips on my arms. They each took one of Fredrich's hands, and walked towards the dance floor. I took a deep breath and rubbed my face. Fredrich had really saved me that time. Though knowing my brother, he would eventually want something in return. I thought for a moment. This was likely another way he was trying to butter me up into handing down the mines to him.

I finally made my way over to the drink table, where I was handed a refreshment by a server. I suppose that the server had seen me coming, because he had poured me my favourite drink, red wine. I thanked him and then leaned up against the nearest wall, away from the radar of other guests. As I sipped, I contemplated my escape plan. It was either up the main stairs, or up the smaller stairs on the edges of the ballroom. Of course, the main stairs were far too risky: they were the centerpiece of the room. My only chance of getting out was the way I came in. Except, do it better this time. I laughed to myself while looking down into my small glass of wine, which I then sipped from again.

I now had my method. But what was my destination? My mind quickly ran through possible hide outs in the castle. Servants would be coming in and out of the kitchen. The den and my bedroom would be too obvious. That would be the first place father would look once he realized I wasn't present in the ballroom. I continued searching for possibilities, until it struck me. The stain-glass room, located in the back corner of the castle would be perfect. It was away from the noise and hype of the party, and it was also close to the kitchen. I might be able to steal a few pastries from the baker's table... I imagined a batch of strawberry turnovers, fresh from the oven.

I had my motivation. I swiftly set the half-full wine glass on the nearest table, scanned my surroundings for suspicious eyes, and then made a run for it.

AUTHOR'S NOTE: Hello everyone :) Sorry for 2 short chapters in a row! I'm leading up to something big! Please stay tuned! -MrsCliveDove