Chapter ThreeMature

    When the sun came through this morning, I was hit with a feeling of doubt. Had I made the right choice sending Lucas after him? Two days had passed faster than I had expected, and still I had no news of what was happening.  Was everything okay? I blinked hard, and sat up. Today I would be announced to my Kingdom as a traitor. They will hear the news of my willingness to marry Syon's son, Cal, and they will never forgive me for that.
    Down at breakfast, Mary, one of the helpers here, had accidentally poured hot tea down my soon to be husbands lap, and was punished. I sat, eyes closed, and had to listen to her cries of pain. I knew from experience if I tried to stop him what that would mean for me. The first time he corrected me, the second time, I wore his bruises for weeks. I can relate to her pain, and only pray Lucas can hurry. Cal was a lot older than myself, and a lot stronger. When he finished with Mary, I motioned for one of my Ladies to take her to her chambers for some rest. There they could bandage her wounds, and at least for a while, she would be safe from Cal.

    "Isnt today beautiful?" He asked, as we walked into the Library once breakfast had finished. He brushed a strand of my hair back behind my ear, and I cringed remembering what power it can hold. "When my father told me the news that you accepted my proposal," He paused, and took in a deep breath. "I have to say I was confused."
    "Dont be," I said quickly.
    He stared briefly in my eyes, as if he could see through my lie. Holding his gaze, I tried to remember how Lucas had looked at Giselle last night at Pan's. His eyes were soft, yet firm. You could tell by just looking at the two of them, they loved each other. Taking Cal's hand in mine, I pulled it to my chest. His hand was warm and rough as usual. His hair, pulled back and braided down his back like warriors you would see in books, and he reeked of sweat and blood. Mary's blood.
    "If I find out this is a lie," he began, yet stopped himself.
    "You wont." I smiled. My hand finding the nape of his shirt. I cant deny the strange feeling I feel around Cal, like a ticking time bomb seconds away from going off. Yet, somehow there is another side to him. A soft side. He releases my hand, and leaves me, alone, in the Library. Its carved out arches, echoing the soft vibration's my last words had made. There is no way to put in words what it would mean if Syon were to take over Embress but, for Cal it seems like all he cared about was me. Something I'm not sure would come to fall in my favor, or be the death of me.

    "Excuse me, M'Lord." Lucas interrupted politely, after knocking. A couple hours had passed since the Library, and by now I had washed, and was wearing a green gown, the sides cut, and laced with gold sequences. Lucas gave me an approving nod, and continued. His presence was calming as I sat waiting for Cal with Syon, and his fifteen other guards he likes to have with him at all times. I was like a bird trapped in a cage. "The new Guards have arrived, M'Lord. One in particular I believe you will enjoy meeting."
    I took in a breath and sat back.  "Marvelous," Syon said. " Bring them right in."
    Syon himself was a petite man, only a few inches taller than I was, which was a measly five two. His hair was blonde, and his eyes were cocolate brown, the same color as dirt. As he sat, almost swallowed up within his chair, I rolled my eyes with distaste. Syon has alway tried to overcompensate for his size by surrounding himself with a large army. That being the only reason he was sitting there rather than lying dead somewhere. Crows picking his flesh from his child-like bones.
    Lucas smiled and opened the door, "Move it men." he called out.
    Fingers gripping the seat, I braced myself for what was about to happen, even though, I wasnt exactly to sure what that was. Would this be Lucas's plan, to play him off as a new guard?
    Just then Cal came around the corner." Whats going on?" he yelled. Lucas stopped, and looked to Syon. Who was sitting wide eyed at the doorway, like a kid about to receive presents on Christmas. A rather large muscular arm, the only thing I could see, floating just beyond the doorframe. "No, no, no." Cal said.
    By now I had noticed I was holding my breath. Syon wasnt the only one ready to meet the new soldiers. If only they knew the true reason why, they would kill us all now. My entire life I have dreamed about what it would be like to finally meet the guy I'm supposed to fall in love with. I've played out almost everything bad that could happen, including him being disappointed when he saw me for the first time. Even everything good. That being the part I was most scared of.
    "What is the matter son?" Syon frowned once Cal had pushed Lucas, and the door, shut. I let out a deep breath, and looked over to the two of them staring at me. 
    Quickly they dismissed me as always, and carried on. "My announcement first, your collection later."
    "Oh alright." Syon agreed. "I swear you are just like your mother. All you care about is how you feel."
    I bit back a laugh, which got me more blank stares, and then stood up. "Are you ready, my love?" I teased, my hand slightly pulling the drapes aside to see half the kingdom gathered around for what they thought would be good news. Though I fear the worse after they hear it. Syon joined me at the window, his thick arm, nearly bumping into me.
    "Open the drapes Marcus," He called out. Marcus, his royal handyman, did so without delay. Soon we were engulfed with the voices of the people, my people. Some just stood there staring up at me, and some were cheering out of fear. Syons men had created a barrier around them, herding them like cattle towards the window. Cal was quick by my side, as he took my hand, and pulled me close. Suddenly it was quiet.
    "Attention good people of Embress. For those who dont already know, my name is Syon. Two weeks ago I took the place of your beloved King and Queen as they fell prey to such an unusual death. One we have yet to solve, I will add."He paused, and when no one moved or breathed, he continued. "But today you are not here to talk about me, or to dwell on things past. No today, is a day of celebration. For today my son Cal, has asked your Princess to marry him, and she has accepted graciously."
    I swallowed hard for a second, and took a step forward with Cal. I could see the hate, and disappointment in their faces. I was the last hope they had, and it seemed as though I had spit in their faces with it. This was the moment I was hoping to never have happen. "People of Embress," Cal began. "Or should say our people. We are happy to have you join in our celebration of love, so tonight we are holding a ball, and everyone is invited. Please, come and drink with us. For tomorrow begins the new dawning of Embress as we know it."

    I wasnt sure, what kind of respond Cal was looking for after he said that but, whatever it was, he didnt get it. After the drapes were closed Syon sent me to my room with a few of his guards to get ready for the ball, while Cal stormed off in anger.  Then, only to reapear at my door, seconds after my dress was on.  Different from the one this morning, this one was slimmer and was purple with crystal jewels running in a whimsical pattern along the front. The front itself was cut lower than all my other dresses, all thanks to my fiancé who wanted me to look the part of someone good enough to be his wife. Apparently showing off my chest, did that.
    "How could they just stand there like that!" he screamed, bolting through the door. Suzan, another one of my ladies, an older one, had just begun trying to tame my long, wavy blonde hair. "Leave us!" he demanded once she settled down. She wasnt used to men coming into my room, especially like that; it had scared her.
    "Calm down." I said, shutting the door. "Your going to scare my ladies."
    "Good, they should be scared." he said, now pacing the far side of the room. "I'm tired of people not respecting me around here. You dont respect me!"
    Pretending to be hurt by what he had said, I stood up, and threw my arms down. "If you think that, than you can just leave." And I walked to the door. "I'm tired of being doubted."
    "How dare you tell me to leave." his voice crackled under his anger as he stomped over to where I was standing. Taking both of my arms in his hands, he shook me. "Dont you ever talk to me like that again."
    The pressure from his fingers was only getting worse. I could feel myself bruising, and I could see it now, my plan had backfired on me. "All I meant was that, it hurts me to hear you say that. So if that is how you feel I would rather not hear it at all."
    Suddenly there was a knock at the door. The feeling when he released my arms like a dam being broke, I crumpled to the ground in pain. On my arms you could see faint finger prints where he had grabbed me already beginning to show. Taking in a deep breath, he pushed back his hair, and pulled at his collar. "Come in," he called out, and then flashed me a look of pure hate.
    It was Lucas who opened the door. As he did, he made eye contact with me for a moment, before quickly shifting his gaze to Cal. "What is it?" Cal snapped.
    "Pardon the intrusion, M'Lord but, I have brought over the new guard picked by your father for the Princess." he said. Cal looked at him through half curious eyes.
    "Let me see him."he said. "I will be the judge of that."
    I watched Cal's face from the floor. At first, he looked unimpressed but, as time passed he seemed pleased. "And where was this one found again?" Cal asked for the second time.
    "He was traveling with Night Walkers." I could see Lucas smiling through the crease of the door. I took in a deep breath, this was it. I was about to meet him. "He was hard to break but, a strong one for sure. He will protect her until he dies." Lucas said. Only Cal had no idea what that really meant.
    "Is he dangerous though?" Cal asked. "I dont need him getting too comfy with my future wife, or being careless on the job. How do you know that you have broken him?"
    It was quiet for a minute, and even I had to wonder. For all I know, this guy is just going along with Lucas until he can overthrow him, and claim the throne for the Night Walkers. The though of men like that ruling my parents Kingdom made me nauseous, even more so than I already was.
    "Trust me," Lucas smiled at me through the crease of the door. "He wouldnt hurt a fly unless he had too. He has more to gain, than what he has lost giving up his life as a Night Walker."
    Cal shifted, his arms coming to rest across his chest. "He only wishes to serve the Kingdom now?" he asked, his eyes locked on the person standing in front of him. The one person my life, and this Kingdom depends on. Gathering my strength, I stood up. My arms were sore, and throbbing with the pulse of my heart, which was beating like crazy.
    "Yes, M'Lord." Lucas smiled, and as I walked to the other side of the door. There, standing in front of Cal, was a hulking figure of a man. His face was hard, and he wore a scar on his left cheek. Its edges rough as it seemed to be stretched from time. His hair was the same milk chocolate as his eyes, though it was wrapped in thicker braids, which spiraled down from his pony tail. Along his chest he had the singed marking of the Royal family's crest, my families crest. He was much older than Cal, who himself was twenty six.
    "Are you alright, M'Lady?" Lucas asked. He flashed me a knowing look, as Cal came over to stand by me. It was then that I saw Lucas notice the bruises. I watched him struggle within himself. Suddenly, I felt the world around me beginning to spin. I could feel myself sweating though I was so cold inside. Would this be the man I was meant to love, I asked myself. How was this even possible?
    "She's fine." Cal was quick to answer. "Suzan, come." he called out.
    Quickly Suzan came running in, and took my hands. As I sat down on the chair, Cal kissed the top of my head. "I will see you tonight, my love." he smiled. "Walk with me Lucas."
    I kept my eyes low to the ground, until the door clicked shut. Only then did everything come into focus, as I sat there crying my hair an even bigger mess than before.

The End

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