"Are you sure about that?!" When I heard the news from Lord Nicklaus, I can't believe at it at first.
"I already confirmed it, your highness. Many of our ambassadors returned and reported this to us."
"Did you inform my mother, the Queen, about this?"
I want to make sure. My mother is the regent right now, we cannot bypass the information just because I'm the crown heir.
"Yes. She's the first one to know. She sent me here to bring this news to you."
After confirming, I got interested about what happened. Hmmm. Why so sudden?
"Your highness, the Queen also ordered me to asked you what will be your orders to the Black Knights."
"Oh... About that... Just continue in polishing them. We don't know the plans of the other kingdoms, it is still in our best interest if we are prepared."
Mother secretly gave me the authority among the the Knight Order. The Knight Order is divided into three groups - Black, White and Red, with the black knights superior above the two.
Black Knights were the soldiers harnessed to fight at war, the White Knights were assigned to be the guards of the royal family and lastly, the Red Knights which keep the peace and order in all the parts of the kingdom.
Lord Nicklaus is the current High General of the Knight Order - which means he had supreme authority over the three groups. He was one of my personal guards before and I asked father give him the position of Black general when I was appointed the title of the crown heir.
Due to his contributions in strengthening the Black Knights (which I ordered him to when I returned from Lutrania), mother awarded him the High General position. This will be a great advantage of mine to carry out my goals.
"As the princess ordered, we will commence right away."
"Very well. Thank you for the information."
He bowed and left me from the receiving room. The news that he just told me is that civil war is happening on Lutrania. That's why I'm so interested, I am not aware of his plans before I killed myself.
Hmmm... I thought that they are in good terms. Because the last thing I knew, they were plotting to assassinate me. I know that the prince didn't like his father for personal reasons, but I didn't think he would go to this extent.
I smiled. Actually, this is good news.They can no longer threaten my country because their army will get weak. My worries will now only lie on how I will annul the engagement as soon as possible.
I must tell Auguste about this. I stood up, left the room and headed to the stables. He and Edmund were having horseback riding and I need to interrupt them for a moment.
My maids accompanied me and uponarriving, I was surprised to see someone else in my territory. She's currently shouting my younger brother and I can hear what she's saying.
"Edmund! Unbelievable! Trying to hide from your responsibilities!! You.." She was about to slap my brother's face when I butted in.
"My... My... What is the commotion here?" I asked.
"You!Who are you?!" I was taken aback by her high tone.
"Lady Adelheid. Watch your tongue. She's princess Elliethyia. " Auguste introduced me.
When she heard my name, her face became pale and immediately gave respects. "My greatest apologies, your highness. I didn't know, please punish me!"
"It's fine. It's my fault that I didn't wear my veil. I'm sorry for not introducing."
She exhaled because of relief. I looked at Auguste to tell me what happened. But he shrugged off his shoulders. Maybe I need to ask.
"Why is the precious lady of the Murivian House visit the Antoweif household?I'm curious."
My little brother answered instead of her. "She was just asking me about something. She'll be leaving soon." He grabbed her arm and tried to let her out but I motioned my hand to stop them.
"Lady Adelheid. Would you like to have some tea? It's rude for us to let a guest leave immediately without any courtesy." I displayed a soft expression.
"I won't refuse, your highness." After saying that, she glared at my brother.
I held Adelheid's hand and told my maids to make preparations for the afternoon tea. I let her be guarded in a room for a while so my brother won't do anything to her.
I am sitting at my room when my brother entered.
"Older sister... Why did you let her stay?!" He looked at me angrily.
"Edmund. Where are your manners? You are a prince and going to be priest soon. It's not proper to act rude." I sharply said. "I suppose our mother and Merylla taught you that."
"But - "
I cut him off. "Enough with your excuses. Merylla sent a letter to mother that you'd been away for a week. I already know you're hiding something from me. And I need to know what troubles you."
He was surprised that I investigated. "Sister..."
The door opened and Auguste informed me that tea is ready. I ordered him to guard Edmund so he won't escape.
I headed to the pavilion to have a chat with Lady Adelheid. She is the only daughter of one of the respected and powerful families in Sierra,particularly, a Duke's house. To have caused them this kind of trouble, I should not tolerate the actions of my brother.
When lady Adelheid saw me, she curtsied. I smiled at her sweetly and sat down.
"Please, Lady Adelheid. Have a seat."
"Thank you, your highness."
My maids started pouring our tea. I can see that she was tensed. I need to let her calm down. We both sipped our drinks and silence prevailed for a moment.
"Lady Adelheid. It's been a while when we saw each other. I am glad that you look very well."
"Thank you for your praise. And I am so sorry that I didn't recognize her majesty's face a while ago. It's my first time to see your bare face."
"It's okay. Forget about it."
She calmed down a bit. I silently examined her features. The changes in appearance is excessive. She had this chubby figure before and only wore plain dresses even at the official functions. Before I had known that she's a daughter of a noble with a high standing, I thought that she's just one of the court ladies.
Right now, I can see that she got in shape and she wore a dress that is in the height of fashion. With a light make up complimenting her pale complexion, she looks like a lovely doll. She's now fully evolved into a very beautiful swan. That's why I didn't recognize her awhile ago.
And the interesting part is... Lady Adelheid is one of my brother's suitors. Yeah. You read it right. She was head over heels to my brother ever since she met him at the castle five years ago. She visited the palace regularly and never missed the places wherever my brother was around. I remember that my brother was so annoyed by her because she stalked him a lot.
I giggled because of the memories. "I still remember the times you chased my younger brother. "
She blushed. "That's... "
"Don't be shy. I know it all... A woman will do anything for the one she loves."
When I looked at her reaction, I suddenly saw myself in her - A young and naive girl towards love.
I continued to have a light conversation with her so she'll be comfortable. When I saw her loosened, I grabbed the chance to ask directly what I want to know.
"When my brother entered the church, you stopped chasing him. Why?"
"It's because I respect what he wanted. I shouldn't be the one to hinder his happiness. Besides, I cannot compete with the highest being in the universe."
"But why are you returning right now if you respected his decision?"
She got nervous. I saw her hands trembling while holding the cup.
She bit her lip. I waited for her to continue.
"Because? Come on... Don't be afraid. If my brother had done something bad to you, I'll make sure that he will be punished accordingly." I assured her. In that way, she'll tell me.
"It's... It's because I'm... I'm pregnant."
My eyes widened. Another unexpected news had blown my mind. And this time, it's about her carrying my brother's child.
"Pregnant? Wait... Don't tell me..."
"Ye... Yes. It is true, your majesty."
I can't digest in my mind what she told me. My pious young brother giving in to temptation? I still can't believe this happened.
"I... Your highness, I... I didn't want to hinder his happiness." She desperately explained her side. "It was... It's an accident... And I swear to God, I don't intend to destroy his dreams."
Tears rolled down her eyes. My soft side was affected. Adelheid is one of my closest friends in the nobility. I stood up and comforted her.
"Don't cry... Tell me, how did the two of you..."
Exactly how on earth did my brother see her?
She told me everything. She said that her father held a party and invited the Fierron priests and trainees to their house. My brother didn't recognize her and flirted with her during the party. They were tempted and woke up regretting what happened. My brother, not knowing she's lady Adelheid, even threatened her not to bother him. When I heard that, I got upset.
"Princess Elliethyia, you knew me well enough. If I wanted him myself, I just grabbed the chance five years ago and do this kind of trick. " She sobbed.
She's right. I sighed. I knew her too well because she always vented her frustrations to me whenever my younger brother brushed her off.
Oh dear. Edmund needs some lecturing later.
"Sssshhh... Don't cry now. Try to calm down. It's not good for a pregnant woman to exhaust herself."
She stopped crying. I got curious if her family knows. "Your family? Do they know?"
"Yes. And they want to meet the father. I don't want to be a disgrace so I went to the church to explain to him about our child." She hesitated to talk.
I held her hand. "Go on... I'm listening."
"I confronted him about it and he denied what happened between us. I always go there to beg him. And one day, he just disappeared. I contacted all his friends, they refused to give information about his whereabouts. One of his friends pitied me and told me that he went to Antoweif. So I hurriedly came here."
I am seething of anger. Edmund... Get yourself ready...
"I am so sorry for the treatment that my brother gave you."
"No, her highness don't need to apologize ."
"He's my brother, what he did reflects the actions of the royal family. Don't worry, I'll make sure that we will make it up to you and your house."
"Princess Elliethyia... Thank you."
"You traveled a long way to come here. Maybe you need to rest for awhile." I called out my maid to assist her in her room.
"Your highness, both of you finished early." Auguste said.
I was walking very fast towards Edmund and slap him hard on his face.
"That one is for lying to me. And this one is for lady Adelheid and your child." I slapped his other cheek.
My brother kneeled before me. "Sister... I...I am so sorry. I want to have my dreams come true. I just can't throw it away."
"I thought you knew better, Edmund. How irresponsible... To act selfish and deprive your child of his right and lineage,are you that selfish enough to get what you want?
He's silent. He didn't make a move.
"I know you really wanted to be a priest. But... You gave in to temptation, brother. Do you think mother will let you get away with what you get yourself into? She will never allow you disgrace the royal family. Even I will never tolerate such thing. Merylla on the other hand, will never let you continue in the sanctuary."
There is one strict rule in entering the Fierron congregation, they are never allowed to marry or have a child of their own. The reason is that they must devote themselves wholeheartedly without any reservations. My brother violated the rule, and it only mean one thing - he will not be allowed to be a priest anymore.
He's already crying in front of me. But as much as I wanted to console him, I need to hardened my heart this time. He needs to face the consequences of his actions.
"I am so disappointed with you, Edmund." I walked out of the room.
I immediately sent a letter to mother to inform her what happened. After a few days, she replied and asked me a favor. I need to convince my brother to marry lady Adelheid and in order for her be part of our family.
I contacted her house and let her stay in the castle. I need to fix my brother's mess and comply with my mother's favor.
Three weeks already passed and I still haven't started to persuade my little brother.
"The second prince seemed devastated because of her highness' actions, lately."Auguste said.
We're currently in the middle of arranging my plans when he sneaked in the topic.
"He needs to grow up. I won't talk to him until he accepts that he's the father of the child and marry Adelheid." I casually told him.
I avoided him and never showed myself. I purposely did it because I need to make him feel remorse for disappointing his treasured sister. In this way, he'll be desperate for asking my forgiveness.
As for Adelheid, I never failed to visit her in her Chambers. As a future mother of a royal, I need to give her all the things that she needed. She was grateful and promised to take good care of the child inside her womb.
"Maybe he needs some time to think."
"What does he need to think about? If you're here to consent on what he had done. Leave." I got irritated. I really don't want disappointments to be brought up.
"I apologize. But he's still your brother, to treat him like this..."
I know that I'd been harsh in my treatment. "I'm doing this for his sake. You knew that."
If the nobles found out about this, they will use this information to destroy my brother and our family. The act of one means the act of all. What my brother did will actually reflect the royal family's behavior. It will be interpreted that we are irresponsible.
Rumors are powerful tool to disdain one's reputation. I won't allow this to happen. He had no other choice, this is the only alternative left to him.
"Even if my actions may severe my relationship with Edmund, I will not waiver. This is the only way I knew to protect him and our family." I will do all means just to make sure we won't suffer from prejudice.
Our conversation was interrupted when my lady in waiting, Lady Louella, entered my study.
She curtsied. "The second prince wants to meet and talk to her highness."
"Let him in..."
I looked at Auguste and triumphantly smiled.
Let the negotiation begin.
1. As for special chapters, it's not really part of the plot, but I want to give a detail about the heroine's relationship with other characters. This chapter just popped out in my mind.
2. The whole story plot is raw and subject for editing. I'll update and edit this story after my mastery classes. (If I pass... *cross fingers*)
3. I am not that perfect. =3 But I'm trying my best to correct my grammars. English is my second language and I don't use it often, so please, bear with me. =)
4. Hope you enjoy reading this one, guys. Thank you!!!! =D