Lady Matlock made her way to Chatham House, after she learned of Elizabeth’s being taken there. She was surprised when she had arrived at the Boutique, finding the shop closed. When she had heard of Elizabeth’s being injured, she was certain the wound would have been mild, and most likely nothing much to speak of. Hearing from the guards that Elizabeth had been carried out of the building by her father, Lady Matlock was greatly concerned for her young friend.
Knocking on the door of Chatham House, Lady Matlock was anxious to have the door open. Finally, it did, with Mr Hill standing just inside it.
“I am here to see Miss Elizabeth Bennet. Might I come in?”
“May I have your name please?” Mr Hill asked.
“I am Lady Matlock. I am a friend of the Bennet and Gardiner family.”
“If you would step in the foyer, I will inform Mr Bennet of your presence.”
Lady Matlock was surprised when the butler stated Mr Bennet, when she had requested to speak with Miss Elizabeth.
Mr Bennet quickly approached the door. “Lady Matlock, how might we assist you? My daughters are not opening their shop today, but if you require something urgently, I am certain I can accompany there to obtain what you need.”
“I heard of Miss Elizabeth’s being injured and wished to check on her. When I heard that you had to carry her from her home, and brought her here, I was deeply concerned. I was certain, with her abilities, that she would be fine.”
“Her…abilities? Might I inquire as to what you think are her abilities?” Mr Bennet asked, a frown drawing his brows together.
“Mr Bennet, might I have a private moment with you, in your study? What I have to tell you is vital.”
“Very well, come with me.” Mr Bennet led the lady towards his study. Once they were inside, and the door closed, Mr Bennet asked again what Lady Matlock meant.
“Mr Bennet, what I am about to tell you is very little known. Members of my family are not aware of what I am to tell you. But I am sure that you can relate to the information I have to tell you. I am a distant cousin of Mr Alexander Whitaker of Derbyshire.”
Mr Bennet was surprised. “I just sent a message to Mr Whitaker this morning. So, you are aware of our connection?”
“That you are magical? Yes, I am aware. I am not magical myself, but I have a special gift. I can sense magical beings and their talents. That is why I was concerned for your daughter, as I know her abilities to heal. I could not understand why she would be so bad.”
“She would not have been, had another situation not happened. Your nephew entered the room while Elizabeth was healing her second wound. His words to her has caused her to rebel against her magical abilities. She now refuses to use her magic. Her body is now rebelling against its nature, and her wound has taken a severe infection. And it has begun to spread up her arm. We are afraid for her life.”
“I have never met another healer with magic, such as Miss Elizabeth. I wish I had, for I do not wish to see her be lost to us. She is a dear girl.” Lady Matlock was battling the tears which threatened to run freely down her cheeks. “Can you tell me exactly what my nephew said to your daughter?”
“I was not present, so I cannot tell you exactly, but from what Jane has told us, Mr Darcy was angry, asked what Elizabeth was, and accused her of bewitching him to force him to fall in love with her against his nature. She was devastated.”
“That sounds like William. But I know he loves her dearly. And it explains why he left Town so abruptly this morning. He did not take the time to farewell us, only sent us a note declaring an emergency at Pemberley called him away and that he was taking Georgiana with him.”
“I have never seen Lizzy be so frail. It is as if she has given up on her life. If she had not already healed her head injury, I am afraid she might already have died. Fortunately, the wound which is causing us so much grief is on her arm. We have tried all we can to slow the spread of the…infection, but have found nothing. Can you contact your cousin, ask if he is aware of anything we can use to save her?”
“Alex has never been strong with healing, though he does have many herbs and stones in his father’s collection.” Lady Matlock stated.
“I have had to remove all stones and crystals from the rooms surrounding Lizzy. As she was using crystals to heal her wounds, they are now being part of her rebellion against healing. When a piece of amethyst was too close to her, her wound began swelling and pus streamed out. Removing the crystals and stones from the room and rooms close by has slowed the progression, but not stopped it.”
“Mr Bennet, might I ask of your daughter’s feelings for my nephew? Does she care for him?”
Mr Bennet sat back in his chair for a few moments, collecting his thoughts. “My daughter cares for Mr Darcy, in a way she has never cared for any other man in her life. They have not known each other for very long, so I encouraged her to take her time in their courtship, know him well before deciding whether or not he was right for her. She asked me, just last week, how to know if the person would be able to accept their magic abilities. Unfortunately, I am could not answer her, for my wife is from a magical family.”
“Yes, Mr Gardiner is quite strong with his magic, but I could detect him through his shield. But I have never sensed anyone as strong as your daughter. She is incredible.”
Mr Bennet smiled with pride. “I have never seen anyone like my Lizzy. It has been difficult to keep her strength hidden, and now, everything we taught her about concealment and the dangers of being discovered are likely the reason her life is in peril.”
“I believe the best thing we can do to speak with William. He will not speak of the situation with anyone. With Lady Catherine’s threats of having him declared insane, the last thing he wishes to do is make people believe he is insane. But, perhaps it is time that he learns the truth of my family history. If he were to see the truth, that Miss Elizabeth’s abilities have nothing to do with him falling in love with her, and that she needs to know he does not fear her. The only thing I can think of is him pleading with her to live. Perhaps he can reach her and convince her to use her ability to heal, she will find the strength. It might be wise to have all her magical family and friends close at hand, to lend her strength she will need. If she becomes too weak to heal on her own, she will require all the assistance she can get.”
“Perhaps Alex will come from Derbyshire. But it will take days to reach him and for him to arrive here. The same with your nephew, if he has left for Derbyshire.” Mr Bennet stated. “I do not know if Lizzy will be able to hold on that long.”
“Would you allow me to see her? I would like to speak to her.”
“She does not respond to anyone. We have all tried to reach her, but she stares off at nothing. We cannot even get broth or tea into her, as she has clinched her jaw shut.”
Lady Matlock nodded. “I understand, but I am also not family. And I am connected with William. Perhaps, if I speak with her, she will fight long enough for us to bring him here.”
“Will you be able to convince him to come? If not, I doubt there is chance of her recovering.”
“I will do all in my power to give her the hope of his acceptance and to bring him here quickly.”
~~ ** ~~
Lady Matlock entered the bedchambers, finding Jane sitting on the side of her sister’s bed, trying to break through her sister’s silence.
“Miss Bennet, your father has given me permission to speak with your sister. I know what happened, and wish to be of assistance to her.”
Jane stared at the countess. “You know what happened?”
“Yes, dear, I know all that happened. My nephew’s words and everything else. I am a distant cousin to Alexander Whitaker. I have known who you and your family are all along.” Lady Matlock smiled, patting Jane’s shoulder. “Now, allow me to have a moment alone with your sister.”
Once Jane had left the room, Lady Matlock sat on the side of the bed, taking hold of Elizabeth’s hand. “Oh, my dear girl. Please listen to me. Your magic is not something to condemn you. It is something wonderful and makes you special. My nephew was never aware of the magical abilities of people. Now that he is aware that there are magical beings in the world, he needs to accept their special talents and appreciate them for what they are. Now, I am confessing to you that I am a part of the magical world. My second cousin is Alex Whitaker. The only strength I have is being able to detect abilities in others. I have known about you all along. That is why I wished to help you establish yourself in society. I know you are an amazing young lady, and using your strengths to make life better for others is a commendable project.”
Lifting one of Elizabeth’s hands, Lady Matlock held it between her own. “I am planning to speak with my nephew. I know he loves you, and I know that your magic had nothing to do with his love for you. It is time that he learns the truth about magical beings, including my family. Please, Miss Elizabeth, you cannot give up on life. You must regain your health. Your family loves you, and they wish to have you in their lives. And I would be upset to lose you. You have made an impact on my life. And it is my dream to have you as my niece one day. Knowing William as I do, I am certain that I will be able to make him see the truth. He was taken off guard, with no time to prepare him for what he was to learn.”
Lady Matlock pulled back the sleeve of Elizabeth’s nightgown, peeking under the bandaging. It was a horrible sight, with the wound festered and oozing greenish pus. The entire arm was swollen, red and hot to touch. She then looked at Elizabeth’s face. The eyes which normally sparkled were dull and flat, lifeless. “Please, Elizabeth, fight to remain with all of us. We care for you and want you to remain with us. There is no need to fear my nephew. He will not tell anyone of your abilities, for it would make him appear to be insane. You have nothing to fear from William. Please, allow me the time to bring him here, allow him to tell you the truth from his own lips. He loves you. I am certain of it. Do not leave us. Please, my dear girl.”
After placing a kiss on Elizabeth’s hand, Lady Matlock stood. Before leaving Elizabeth’s bedside, she leaned over and place a kiss on Elizabeth’s forehead. She could feel the heat radiating from Elizabeth’s body. The countess gave a silent prayer that Elizabeth would survive and that her nephew would be brought to see reason quickly.
~~ ** ~~
Darcy and Georgiana were quiet as the carriage continued towards Pemberley. It would be a long two days of travel, especially since there was something which had caused Darcy difficulty. He was not speaking of any problems, but it was clear to Georgiana that something had brought her brother grief.
He sat still, an open book in his lap, yet could not concentrate on the words on the pages. So Darcy turned his attention towards the landscape passing by his window.
Confusion was holding on to his mind. Have I slipped into insanity? Did I have a hallucination, conjuring what happen? I cannot believe I witnessed such actions. Miss Elizabeth could not possibly have done what I thought I saw. It is not possible. Now she will know I am a lunatic, after my behavior. And I left her, without making certain that she was well. What about the man who assaulted her? What happened to him?
No, my mind is sound. I am certain I have not lost my mind. But how do I explain what I thought I saw Miss Elizabeth do? She was holding some rocks in her hand, I am sure of it. And there was a glow. I remember a glow emanating from her hand. She was passing the rocks over the cut on her arm. Was it truly mending itself? Was she able to heal herself? If so, she had to be some sort of evil being. Some sort of witch. I cannot allow Georgiana to be influenced by such a woman.
Witchcraft is evil. They have been hunted for years and witches are killed for their wicked ways. They are evil, vile beings. I am protecting my sister from the evil ways of Miss Elizabeth Bennet.
But I have never seen anything which would lead me to believe her to be evil. On the contrary, Miss Elizabeth has always been kind and caring. Was that her way of drawing me in? Make me believe in her goodness, so as to make it simple to turn me towards evil? How can someone, who is so beautiful and caring be evil? It does not seem possible.
And what of the rest of the Bennet family? Are they all evil? I should tell Bingley, as he is now living at their former home. Who knows what sort of sorcery they left on the estate.
But how can I tell Bingley? He will find me insane, and will have no other option than to inform my family. I will be locked in an asylum before I know what has happened. I cannot speak of this to anyone.
This is tearing me apart. I wish I had someone to speak with, but there is no one to which I would dare utter such notions. What am I to do?
Georgiana must be protected from all of this. Whether I have lost my mind or the Bennet family members are evil, I must protect my sister from whatever is happening. Darcy turned his eyes to take in the vision of his young sister, who had fallen asleep on her side of the carriage. The young lady was precious to Darcy, the most precious part of his life. He would do nothing to cause her harm.
Darcy was pulled from his thoughts when the carriage came to a halt. Looking around, he realized they had arrived at the inn where they would stop for the night.
“Georgiana, wake dearest. We are at the inn.”
“William? What did you say?” her sleepy voice announced her disorientation.
“We have arrived at the inn. Let us have something to eat, and perhaps we can take a walk before we retire for the evening.”
“Yes, Brother. I am quite sleepy. Is this Mr and Mrs Dalton’s inn? I adore Mrs Dalton’s roasted chicken and apple dumplings.” Georgiana stated as she stretched.
“Well, you are in luck, for it is the Dalton’s inn, and it is rare that Mrs Dalton does not have apple dumplings made. I cannot guarantee the roasted chicken though.”
“All of her food is delicious.” Georgiana smiled. “Are you better? Did you find any rest?”
“I will be fine, Sprite. Now, let us see what Mrs Dalton has prepared.”
The siblings made their way inside the inn and into the dining room. Mrs Dalton was pleased to see the Darcys, as they had long frequented the establishment and treated the Daltons respectfully.
“Miss Darcy, I swear you have grown a foot since the last time I saw you. What are they feeding you at Pemberley?” The innkeeper’s wife teased.
“We are heading to Pemberley, so it is the food in Town which has caused any growth you might have detected.” Georgiana laughed. “And my dressmaker has made similar comments as to my growth of late.”
“Yes, and I have the bills to prove her need for longer gowns.” Mr Darcy declared. “I swear that she will be taller than me by the time she stops growing.”
“Well, our mother was tall.” Georgiana said, defensively.
“Not much taller than you are now, my dear girl.” Darcy smiled. “You are also as beautiful as our mother was.”
This brought a smile to his sister’s lips. “Thank you, William. From the portraits of Mother, not to mention what everyone has said, she was a beautiful lady.”
Mrs Dalton nodded her head. “Ah, yes, Lady Anne was quite the lady. Beauty, grace, and one of the kindest ladies I have ever known. It was a sad day when the Good Lord took her home. But thank the heavens that he left behind such perfect reminders as you children both are. Mr Darcy, you have so much of your mother’s goodness in you. I know that you will always do right by those you know, you are so much like Lady Anne in that way.”
Her words surprised Darcy. Yes, his mother had always done what was right rather than what was preferred. He wondered how his beloved mother would behave towards the situation he now faced.
After eating their fill, Darcy and Georgiana took a stroll in the meadow near the inn. “Mrs Dalton was wonderful, having my favorite foods ready for us to enjoy. Did you ask the rider who came in advance to ask Mrs Dalton to fix my favorites?”
“Well, I must admit, when I sent Jack to make arrangements for our rooms, I asked for your favorite dishes fixed.” Darcy confessed.
“Thank you William. I appreciate your kindness.”
“I did not give you time to make your farewells before we left Town, and I know you were unhappy with my decision to leave, so I thought I would try to make amends to you.”
Georgiana hugged her brother’s arm to her. “William, forgive me for acting like a small child when you announced we were leaving. Though I was unhappy with leaving without taking our leave of our aunt and uncle, not to mention the Misses Bennet, I am pleased to be with you. I missed you while you were away.”
“I missed you as well, Sprite. It will be pleasant to have you with me at Pemberley. And Mrs Reynolds will be pleased to see you. In her last letter she stated it has been far too long since you were at Pemberley, and that she would have to view your portrait in the gallery to remember what you look like.”
A chuckle escaped her. “You are teasing me, William. It has been a long time, though.”
“Well, let us make our way back to the inn and retire. A good night’s sleep, and then we can be on the road early in the morning. And perhaps, Mrs Dalton will send some of her apple dumplings with us.” Darcy placed his arm around his sister’s shoulder.
~~ ** ~~
Nearly three in the morning, there was knocking on the door of the bedchamber which was occupied by Fitzwilliam Darcy. At first, Darcy thought he had dreamt the sound, but when the knocking was repeated, he rose from his bed. Picking up his robe, he donned it before opening the door.
“Mr Darcy, Sir?”
“Yes, I am Mr Darcy.”
The young man was grateful to have found the man he was sent to find.
“I have an express for you, from Lady Matlock. She insisted I find you as quick as possible.”
Darcy’s eyes were wide open after hearing those words. He took the letter from the man, and asked him to wait in the dining room for a response.
Breaking the seal, Darcy opened the paper and read his aunt’s words.
It is vital for you and your sister to return to Town immediately. I cannot go into details, but it is a matter of life and death. Please, William, I beg of you to make haste and return as soon as you can.
Your loving aunt, Rebecca Fitzwilliam
So many questions raced through Darcy’s mind. What could have happened to cause his aunt to send such a message? Could his uncle have taken ill or been in an accident? Or had they received word on Richard’s arrival? Not that it truly mattered, his aunt begged for him to return immediately, and he would grant her request.
Calling for his valet to pack his belongings, and for Georgiana to be awaken and asked to prepare to leave, Darcy then pulled out his portable desk which he had brought with him. He wrote a quick note to his aunt, announcing his intentions to return to London with Georgiana. Darcy then had the note taken to the express rider, who had just finished drinking some coffee in the dining room.
“William, what has happened?” Georgiana entered his bedchamber, wearing her nightgown and robe.
“We received an express from Aunt Rebecca, begging us to return immediately. She did not say what the problem was, just that it was important we return quickly.”
Georgiana gasped. “Could Richard have taken a turn for the worst?”
“I do not know, dearest. We will leave as soon as we are dressed and the carriage is ready.” Darcy said, pulling his sister into his embrace. “We must pray that all will be well, Georgiana.”
“I will be strong, William. I will be strong for our family.”
“Just remember, my sweet sister, it is not a sin to cry.”
~~~~~~~ ** ~~~~~~~
Lady Matlock was nervously awaiting the arrival of her nephew and niece. She knew that she had been deceptive in her message, most likely leading Darcy to believe someone in their family was ill. But it was vital that he be made to see reason. And Lady Matlock was certain that she was the only one who could.
Though she had only spoken with a few people of her ability to detect magic in people, Lady Matlock was not ashamed of her family’s magic. As a matter of fact, as a child, she enjoyed the fact that she could detect when her cousin was boasting of strengths which he did not have. The magic ran in her mother’s family, of which Lady Matlock’s mother and Alex Whitaker’s father were cousins. She was not surprised when none of her children had inherited magic, as the only member her family who had magic was Lady Matlock’s uncle, brother of her mother. But he had died ten years previously.
“Excuse me, Lady Matlock, your nephew and niece have arrived.” The butler announced. Lady Matlock realized she had been staring at a vase of flowers for some time, and must have appeared odd to butler.
“Please, have them come here to the drawing room. And inform my husband that the Darcys have arrived.”
“Very good, Madam.”
Darcy all but ran into the drawing room. “Aunt, I can see that you are well. What has happened? Who is ill or injured?”
“William, I am pleased you returned as quickly as you have. I can tell you that your uncle and cousins are well. What I have to speak of is something of a delicate manner. Perhaps it is best if Georgiana were to go to the library with her companion.”
Georgiana looked horrified. “Please, Aunt Rebecca, do not keep me from this conversation. All the way here, I have had the most fearful thoughts. I insist I learn what has happened.”
Lady Matlock turned her attention to her nephew. “William, it is with regards to what you witnessed the other night. There are things you need to know, and it could make a difference in the life of a certain young lady.”
“No, I will not discuss the matter with anyone.” Darcy became furious. “I am shocked that you know anything about the matter. You cannot possibly know everything that happened.”
“You would be wrong on that fact, William. As a matter of fact, I know far more about the situation than you do.”
Darcy shook his head. “It is not possible. I will not stay here and discuss the matter. And I will not allow my sister to learn of the situation. Georgiana, we are leaving. We will be returning to Pemberley.”
“Then you will be condemning a wonderful young lady to death.” Lady Matlock stated.
Darcy turned his head. “I cannot believe you would manipulate this matter. And I cannot believe you know all there is about the situation.”
“Oh, you would be mistaken, William.” The voice of Lord Matlock came from the drawing room door. “There is a lot you do not understand about your aunt.”
Darcy’s eyes grew wide with fear. “No, it is not possible.”
“What is happening, William?” Georgiana was beginning to cry. “Why are you so angry?”
“William, you must know that I would never do anything or allow anything to cause you or your sister harm. Please, allow me to speak with you, to explain to you the truth.”
Darcy took hold of his sister’s arm and began to move towards the door of the drawing room. But his sister had other thoughts on the matter. “I am not leaving, William. If you wish for me to leave before I learn what has happened, you will have to drag me from here. And I warn you, I will be kicking and screaming all the way.”
Finally, Darcy gave up. “Very well, Aunt. But do not expect me to accept what you have to tell me.”
“Georgiana, what I am about to tell both of you may seem difficult to accept. Please, allow me to finish what I have to say before you comment.” Seeing the girl nod her head, Lady Matlock continued. “In this world, there are people who have extraordinary talents. Those talents have to be hidden from the rest of the world, for most people could not understand these talents. What I am speaking of is magic. There are people who can perform magic.”
“Evilness is more like it.” Darcy stated. “Witchcraft.”
“No, William, not evil, and not witchcraft.” Lord Matlock said.
“If you had seen what I did, you would not speak so, Uncle.”
Lady Matlock lost control of her anger. “Excuse me, Fitzwilliam Darcy, but do you think of me as evil? Are you to stand there and declare that I am an evil witch? You known not what you are speaking of. My family stems from one of the magic lines in England. My uncle, Tiberius, was a magical being. You met him, William, when you were much younger. And, if memory serves me correctly, you found him to be delightful. And what is your opinion of my cousin, Alex Whitaker? You know him, and have known him all of your life. He is magical. His powers are nothing in comparison to what you witnessed the other night, but he is magical.”
Georgiana was confused. “William, what did you witness the other night?”
“He witnessed one of the strongest magical people I have ever encountered, using her power to heal. And yes, William, I have known all along about magical beings. You see, though I have no true magical powers, I am able to sense them in others. I can tell exactly what their gifts are. And I have known all along that Miss Elizabeth Bennet is incredibly talented when it comes to magic. I have never met anyone her like. Her father and uncle are magical as well. Do you believe Mr Gardiner and Mr Bennet to be evil? Alex, the Gardiners and the Bennets do not use their magic for evil, nor do they enchant people. That is not how their magic works. Miss Elizabeth could no more force you to fall in love with you than I could make you fly through the air.”
“But the feelings I have, I have never felt so for anyone else. And she is not from our society, someone I should never have even considered.” Darcy argued. “She had to have used some sort of magic on me to make me forget all that I have known.”
“No, William, it is your heart which opened you to her value. She is worth far more than most of the ladies of the ton. I know you are shocked by my statement, but it is the truth. Elizabeth is one of the finest ladies I have ever met. Her kindness and caring, her loyalty and devotion to her family, her intelligence, and her magic, all combine to make one phenominal young lady. Of course your heart would be opened to her. She is everything you have ever desired in a lady, and she would be your equal in most ways. You would have a partnership in marriage to her, much like your uncle and I have.”
“I cannot even think of marriage to her, I have so much to think about.” Darcy said as he stood and walked to the window, staring out at the darkening sky.
“You had best think quickly, William, or it will be too late.” Lady Matlock said. “Elizabeth is dying.”
Darcy turned about quickly. “What do you mean, dying? She can heal her own wounds, how can she be dying?”
“When you witnessed her healing abilities, your words struck deep in Elizabeth’s mind. She has rejected her abilities, and the wound she did not finish healing, after you left, took an infection. It is taking hold of her, and she has not done anything to stop it. When I saw her yesterday, it was as if she had given up on the world and has no desire to live. She does not speak or eat, and the infection has caused a raging fever which will not abate.”
The look in Darcy’s eyes spoke of his confusion. He loved Elizabeth, Lady Matlock was certain of it. She would never believe otherwise But his confusion over the magic world was causing a war in his mind.
“What can be done to help her? Cannot her father or uncle use their magic to heal her?” He asked.
“Everyone has different capabilities, William. What Mr Gardiner can do is different from what Mr Bennet can do, and what Mr Bennet can do is different from what Elizabeth can do. She is the most powerful magical person I have ever known. And I have never met anyone else who can heal another as she can. Even if someone could heal the cut, and even draw out the infection, the mind would still be effected. She needs to know that she is not in any danger of you telling others That has been her greatest fear all of her life. It is one of the greatest fears of everyone in the magical world. And she needs to know that she is worthy of being loved for who she is. Your words cut her, as if you had wielded your sword to her. Now, she needs your words telling her that she is a good person. She needs to know you do not hold her magic against her. If Elizabeth did not care about you, deep down inside of her, she would not have reacted as she did. But you being the one to discover her secret and reacted so abominably towards her, she could not accept the pain.”
Georgiana walked over to her brother. “William, do you care for Miss Elizabeth? Do you hold fond feelings for her?”
“I did. I would not have asked for a courtship if I had not cared for her.”
“Then you must save her life. Even if you cannot find it in you to continue the courtship, you must tell her you do not hate her. You must tell her that she is a wonderful person. Please, William, you cannot allow Miss Elizabeth to die, feeling hated and scorned by you.”
Darcy turned towards the window again, attempting to control the raging emotions inside him. Lord Matlock stepped to his nephew’s side.
“I have known about the magical families since my courtship with Rebecca. She felt I needed to know before I asked for her hand. She trusted me with the knowledge, and she has never regretted it. You know all of Miss Elizabeth now. Can you live with that knowledge? I realize it is a difficult decision, but allow me to say, it does not change who Miss Elizabeth truly is. She is the same young lady you found your heart turning to.”
“How would you feel if your children had developed magical abilities?” Darcy asked.
Lord and Lady Matlock looked at each other carefully. “I love my son completely, just as I do his siblings.” Lord Matlock replied.
The words struck Darcy. He could not imagine one of his cousins being a magical being. “Anthony?”
Shaking his head, Lord Matlock continued. “Richard. He is able to move objects without touching them. It is one of the reasons we are concerned for his health, as he has usually been able to make bullets and weapons move in different directions than were intended by the enemy. For him to be wounded so severely as to need to be removed from the battlefield…well, we are praying he will be well.”
“All these years, and I have never known my cousin had magical abilities. Richard is like a brother to me.” Darcy was bewildered.
“There has been many times Richard wished to tell you, many times he nearly did. But, as all magical people teach their children, secrecy is vital. To be discovered and magic be well known is far too dangerous.” Lady Matlock stated.
Lord Matlock looked into his nephew’s eyes. “William, we know you love Richard and are close to him. Does that not open your eyes to there being good in the magical families, not evil? Can you now see that Miss Elizabeth is not evil, but the young lady you found yourself falling in love with?”
Searching his uncle’s eyes, and finally finding what he was looking for, took a calming breath. “What can be done for Elizabeth?” He asked, not realizing he had used her Christian name with such familiarity. It was not missed by his aunt though.
“She needs to hear your voice, telling her of your acceptance of her. She needs to hear you tell her she is worthy of being loved.”
~~ ** ~~
Mr Bennet was sitting in a chair beside his beloved daughter’s bed. Elizabeth had never been so ill, and he worried for her. Her fever was high, and the infection had continued to ravage her body. Her arm was swollen and red, and Mr Bennet feared for her life, knowing that Elizabeth did not have the strength to fight for her life. Tears flowed down the cheeks of the elder man.
There was a soft knock on the door, just before it opened to allow Jane to enter. “How is Lizzy?” she asked with a meek voice. She did not expect any change in her sister’s condition.
“Worsening, I am afraid. I do not know how much longer she will be able to hold on. It breaks my heart to see her thus, and know I will most likely not have my dear girl very soon.” Mr Bennet stated.
“Lizzy is strong, I am certain that she will survive.”
Mr Bennet shook his head. “Most times I would agree with you, but Elizabeth has given up on life. She has lost her will to live. Our beloved Lizzy is control of her welfare now, and only she can make the changes to make herself better. But Lizzy’s heart was shattered, and she is lost to know how to recover. We have never suffered such determined dislike and fear as she has.”
“I have often worried of how she would react to anyone outside the family learning of her magic. It makes me angry at Mr Darcy for how he treated my sister.”
Mr Bennet chuckled slightly. Jane was one who never declared angry feelings towards anyone. She always found the good in others, no matter what the circumstances. “We cannot be angry at Mr Darcy for what happened. We have always known about magic and been surrounded by those who have the ability to use their magic. Never having known life without magic, how can we stand in judgment of those who have never known of magic? It was a harsh blow to Elizabeth, and to all of us, if truth be told. I know Mr Darcy’s reaction has caused your uncle and myself to question our abilities and how we would have reacted if we were Lizzy.”
“Very well, Papa. But if Lizzy does not…if she does not.” Jane sobbed. “I will never like him again.”
Another knock was heard at the door. This time, when the door opened, Mrs Bennet was standing in the door frame. “Thomas, Lady Matlock has brought her nephew to see Lizzy. Is it agreeable with you?”
Mr Darcy turned his eyes back to the frail body on the bed. Slowly, he nodded his head. “Yes, you may bring Mr Darcy and his aunt up.”
Jane was surprised. “Mr Darcy is here?”
“Yes, dear. And he wishes to see Lizzy. He knows how ill she is, and knows how improper it is for him to enter her bedchambers, but he wishes to do what he can for her.” Her mother stated, and then left to fetch their guests.
When Mrs Bennet led Darcy and Lady Matlock to the bedchamber, Darcy was amazed how delicate and frail Elizabeth appeared. Her face showed the signs of fever and what appeared to be weeks of deterioration, when it had only been days since he last saw her.
“How has she declined so quickly?” He asked.
“No will to live. Her magic is attacking her body, causing the infection and fever. She declared she would never use her magic again, so her magic is rebelling against that decision.” Mr Bennet replied. He uncovered the wounded arm to show Darcy the angry and oozing wound.
“Because of my foolish words, this has happened?”
Mr Bennet affirmed Darcy’s question.
Darcy walked over to the bed, kneeling down beside it and took hold of the hand of her uninjured arm. “Miss Elizabeth, I have returned. Please, dearest, open your eyes and look at me. I wish to speak with you. There is much we need to discuss. Please, dearest, I need to tell you how I really feel. I need for you to know how much you mean to me.”
There was no response from Elizabeth. Tears welled in Darcy’s eyes, stinging in their desire to be released. Darcy held her hand to his cheek. The feel of her hand was cool, almost as if there was no life left in her.
For nearly ten hours, Darcy stayed at Elizabeth’s side, refusing to leave her. He spoke of his feelings for her, what his aunt had informed him of the magical world, and of hopes for the future. He described Pemberley, speaking of having her at his side as they took care of the estate and the people who made Pemberley what it was. And he prayed for forgiveness from Elizabeth, that she would allow him to tell her how ardently he loved and admired her.
Daybreak had come and the sun was rising higher in the sky, with Darcy turning to pleading with the still form on the bed. “Please, Miss Elizabeth, stay with me. Do not leave me. I am an utter fool, and the words I said to you were from fear, not what I really felt. My aunt and I have had a long discussion on the matter, and I realized the truth. No matter what, you are the same young lady who captured my heart. I wish to know more about you, to learn all there is to know. And I would like to learn more of your abilities. You are not evil, and I know you did not put a spell on me. You are the young lady who capture my heart, who is precious to me. Please, dearest, do not leave me.”
Elizabeth’s eyes fluttered lightly, yet did not open. Darcy placed a kiss on the back of her hand. “I wish to know more of you, Miss Elizabeth. I wish to know all there is about you. Will you allow me the opportunity? Will you grant me such a wish? You have captured my heart with your kindness, your caring and goodness, your intelligence is far superior to any other woman of my acquaintance. Your laughter is like music to me. I cannot imagine the world being empty of such a delightful sound. Please, do not leave us. Your family would be devastated by losing you. My own family would be devastated as well. My feelings for you were known to my sister, and our aunt and uncle, even before I knew myself. So many people l…love you. And I am one of those people. Do not give up, dearest. Do not allow my foolish words to take you from all of us. Allow me to make amends to you, to show you how deeply I care for you.”
Mr Bennet stepped over to the opposite side of Elizabeth’s bed. He could see a change in Elizabeth’s health. Her breathing was not as labored, and her skin was not as flushed from fever. He prayed that Darcy was finally reaching Elizabeth and that she was attempting to return to them. Leaning over, Mr Bennet whispered into his daughter’s ear.
“Lizzy, if you can hear me, squeeze Mr Darcy’s hand.”
Though it was slight, Darcy could feel a movement of Elizabeth’s hand in his own. Mr Bennet smiled. “Should I bring your crystals to you? We have them downstairs.”
Darcy felt another slight squeeze. Mr Bennet turned to Jane and asked her to retrieve the box of crystals from the drawing room.
When Jane returned, she opened the box. Mr Bennet chose which stones he thought would be best for healing his daughter, placing several quartz crystals around her head and on her chest. He then placed, in her hand, some amazonite to help with soothing her mind and eliminate negativity, amethyst to rid the body of toxins and clean the blood of the infection, and bloodstone to assist in boosting the immune system and clean out any blockages in her energy.
“Lizzy, my dear girl, can I help you in any way?” Her father asked. Though he was not as capable with the stones as his daughter, he knew he could combine his energy to hers and give her the strength she would require in healing herself.
Darcy felt another squeeze, only he could feel the change in the strength. “Mr Bennet, I believe she is beginning to return to us. I could feel her attempt to squeeze, rather than just some movement before.”
Mr Bennet smiled. “That’s my girl. Mr Darcy, you are welcome to continue holding Lizzy’s hand or you can step back. You will most likely feel something if you hold Lizzy’s hand while I help her. It will not be painful, I guarantee you. I would only feel like a surge of energy to you.”
For a moment, Darcy was uncertain. But curiosity got the better of him and he decided to continue holding her hand. Mr Bennet gathered his energy, and placed one hand on her forehead and the other grasping her hand, which was still holding the stones. Slowly, over the following hour, the elder man infused his strength with his daughter’s, as the two combined to use the energy to force the infection to flee from her body. Darcy could feel the strength of her energy, and watched in wonder as the flush of her skin retreated. He could see her skin return to its creamy perfection as the infection was pushed towards her arm, then down the arm, and finally, it was gone. And so was the cut, which had been the beginning of the infection.
Elizabeth was healed, though she was exhausted. Her eyes opened, taking in the sight of Darcy, sitting beside her on the bed, still holding tightly to her hand.
Jane had handed Darcy a glass of water for Elizabeth to drink. He held it to her lips, while Mr Bennet held her in a seated position. Elizabeth drank her fill, and her father lowered her back onto her pillows. At first, she was mortified for Darcy to have seen her in such a state. After several moments of his explanation of why he was at her side, she finally accepted that he was more than happy to be at her side, no matter in what shape she was.
“Mr Darcy, I pray you were not alarmed by what you have witnessed here today.” She said, afraid of his possible answer. “I appreciate your kindness in coming here, to be of assistance to me and my family.”
“Do not be alarmed, Miss Elizabeth. I came here of my own free will, with full knowledge of what I might witness. I am not afraid of you or your family. There is no place I would rather be than here, at your side.”
Elizabeth was amazed at the change in Darcy. “How long have I been ill?”
Mr Bennet smiled at his beloved daughter. “You were injured five nights previously. I was not certain you would recover, Lizzy. You had us all quite worried.”
“It feels as if I have slept for a year, and my muscles are stiff. I do not think I could even stand at the moment.” She replied.
“Your magic was rebelling against your mind. You had determined never to use your magic, but your magic is part of you. It will take a few days until you are fully recovered, my dear girl.” Mr Bennet said, patting his daughter’s cheek. “But you will recover, and that is the important thing. Do not ever put me through such an event again, for my heart could not take it.”
“Yes, Papa.” Elizabeth said, her eyelids beginning to weigh heavy to her.
“Sleep, Lizzy. It is best for you to recover your strength.” Mr Bennet placed a kiss on her forehead.
Her eyes opened wide for a moment, worry written upon her brow. “Mr Darcy…”
“I will be here when you wake. Though, perhaps it would be best if I made my way to the drawing room, as the crisis is over. Everyone was willing to forego propriety when you were near death, but I doubt they will be as generous now that you are recovering.” Darcy smiled. “But I will not leave the house until I am forced to do so.”
Elizabeth chuckled lightly as she allowed her eyes to close. Everyone left the room, except for Hannah, who remained to tend to Elizabeth’s needs if needed.