Chapter Nine – It’s a boy!
“Flavia, Flavia…” soothed Brandos. He held her tightly until she quieted. Her sobs were painful to him; he didn’t know the extent of the damage caused by Akiles. Gently, Brandos tilted her face by the chin to analyze her. He saw the bloody lip and the bruise. Her hair was a mess and her clothes were in tattered ruins. Flavia was covered in blood but most of it belonged to Akiles. But before Brandos could ask her what happened, the door of Flavia’s room swung open and rushed in Creon, Sapho, Creon’s secretary, and several wedding guests, guards and servants.
“Zeus’s balls! Flavia! Oh the Gods!” Creon babbled and ran to his daughter’s side. He knelt by the couch and took her slim hand in his and brought it to his face. Tears threatened to fall down Creon’s weathered face. “My darling, what happened?” It took Flavia some time to speak. She was hurting terribly and was in shock. She knew now that wasn’t dead and that she was safe, but words were too strenuous a task at the moment.
“Akiles, he, he came into my room and attacked me.” Whispered Flavia after several minutes. She just sprawled across the expanse of Brandos’s muscular chest and felt supported by his warmth and strength. It revived her. “He would have raped and killed me if not for Brandos. Brandos saved me and killed Akiles.”
“Did Akiles rape you?” asked her father with alarm etched in his eyes.
“No. He didn’t get that far. Brandos came in at the right time.”
“Brandos, I don’t know how I can ever repay you! How is it that you managed to get to my daughter so quickly?” asked Creon.
“I was in the garden when I her screaming. Queen Sapho was with me and she went to you all for help. I climbed up the vines to Flavia’s bedroom and took care of Akiles.” It wasn’t too terribly far from the truth, and at this point, a small white lie didn’t matter.
“Ohhhh Flavia. I am so sorry that this has happened to you, plum. You should never have had someone like Akiles in your life, and even though he is gone, he has still ruined you. I am so sorry.” Creon’s voice was beginning to break.
“What do you mean ‘ruin’?” interjected Sapho.
“Even if he didn’t rape her, Flavia’s virginity is now compromised. No man of noble breeding will have her. She is tainted.” Creon was devastated. Flavia was too numb from shock to process it. Brandos was confused. The others in the room nodded solemnly. Creon was right. Rape or not, Flavia would never be able to find a decent husband in Paros. Sapho stood with hands on her hips with her lips pursed in annoyance. She even went as far as to roll her mossy brown eyes.
“Nonsense. Flavia will marry. Akiles is gone, so we no longer have to worry about the contract. And, if there are no decent husbands for Flavia in Paros, the most logical choice would be for Brandos to marry her.” Reasoned the queen rather imperiously.
“But your highness,” scoffed the secretary, “Brandos is a slave. I admit ignorance to Kriskon customs but Flavia cannot marry a slave.”
“Brandos is not a slave.” She announced firmly. The occupants of the room gasped.
“What?” said the secretary in shock.
“What?” asked Creon incredulously.
“What? squeaked Flavia quietly.
“Damn straight! Wait, what?” exclaimed Brandos. He shot Sapho a confused look. She winked at him.
“Twenty three years ago, my late mother had a son. There was a minor rebellion in my kingdom at the time. My mother’s son was abducted and presumed dead. My mother never had any children after me. When I came into the throne, I decided to do some investigation over my mother’s missing child. Turns out, the baby was sold into slavery. The baby was raised in the gladiator pits, rose to the top, bought his freedom, and then became a very wealthy man. So you see, Brandos Nikolos Rankos is not my slave. He is actually my brother.” Sapho loved the look of awe on everyone face. Brandos’s expression was priceless.
“If he is your brother, your majesty, then why has he been pretending to be a slave?” asked the secretary with a slight trace of disbelief in his tone.
“The real reason I left Kriskos was because of an assassination attempt. Brandos’s identity has been kept secret for the most part. He is the only one I trust to have by my side permanently. He won’t sell me out to the highest bidder. Brandos put on the guise of a slave to be closer to me.” The story was flawless. Sapho had outdone herself and she smiled.
“Is he really a prince?” asked Creon.
“Why don’t you ask him yourself, my lord?” Creon turned to Brandos.
“Your majesty?” babbled Creon to Brandos. “You saved my daughter’s life, your highness, and I am forever in your debt. If there is anything that you want, name it. You will have it.”
“Permission to wed your daughter. And, if you don’t mind, I’d also like to ask her myself.” Replied Brandos. Creon could not believe what he was hearing. Brandos was not a slave, but a prince, and now he wanted to marry his daughter? He had come to like Brandos and in deed felt comfortable around him. There was no cloud of stink around him like the one that clung to Akiles. Creon nodded his consent.
“Flavia,” said Brandos looking into her lovely eyes. “I ask you not as a slave and not as a prince, but as a man; will you marry me?” Brandos adored her and everyone in the room could see that. Flavia’s eyes brimmed with tears, although these tears were not ones of sorrow but of joy.
“Yes.” She said. It was simple as that. Brandos lowered his mouth to hers and place a delicate kiss upon her lips. The ladies in the room sighed, Sapho smiled, and Creon blushed. The secretary opened his mouth to protest, his memory suddenly returning to him.
“My lord Creon! I remember now! Bra---Unhhh!” Sapho didn’t even turn around. Mysteriously a vase came from out of nowhere and fell on top of the secretary’s head. No one even care enough to help the poor fool; all eyes were locked on the pair of young lovers lounging on the couch. It was obvious at this very moment that this was as it should be.