"I am so sorry your highness, but King Freidhelm won't be able to visit the country as planned. Something happened a day before he's off to Lutrania."
"You don't need to say sorry, Lord Nicklaus. Tell me what happened."
"The father of the king is dead, princess. He committed suicide."
"That's... That's terrible." I acted that I was sorry, but I am celebrating inside. One enemy down. I am also happier that I won't see his face.
"Yes. I agree with you. But King Freidhelm ordered his right hand to come here. He'll be arriving after three days. Your father, the king, still wants you to accompany king Freidhelm's proxy. "
"Of course. I won't refuse father's order."
Lord Niklaus looked at me intently. It is as if he was examining me. I sighed.
"Your highness, have you been well? You look tired."
"Huh? Hmmm. I wasn't able to sleep well these days. Work always require me to be restless lately."
"Is that so? Even Lord Auguste looked tired when I greeted him a while ago."
Upon hearing his name, my face felt hot.
"Your highness!! Are you alright?! Do you have a fever? I will immediately call the physician."
He gets panic attack easily. I waved both of my hands to say no. "Lord Nicklaus, I am in good health. Please, don't panic. "
He sighed because of relief. "Thank goodness. You should take care of yourself more. You cannot be Queen if you have frail health. The nobles will say that you are not fit for the position.”
“Thank you for your advice. I will make sure I will be of good condition always.” I smiled after my statement.
“Oh...Before I forgot, my wife sent this to you."
He gave me an envelope. I opened and read the card inside. It is an invitation for his youngest son's birthday.
"I will surely come. It's been a very long time when I met Lady Graciella and your youngest son Gérard. I won't miss this chance."
Lord Nicklaus is not part of the nobility. He was once a knight of the lowest rank and was granted the title of a Baron when he saved me from abduction nine years ago.
He was appointed as my personal guard and I befriended him and his entire family. Lord Nicklaus treated me as his daughter because all of his children were boys. He always wanted a daughter because he complained that his children were headaches to him due to their naughtiness. He was thankful that I always invited his sons to the castle to play with me and Erin. In that way, they will be conscious and conduct themselves properly.
"I am sure Graciella will be delighted. Thank you,your highness."
"No problem. But before you go, I need to give you orders."
"What will it be?"
"Heighten the security around the royal castle. Someone gave me a tip that there are outsiders roaming around. Especially at the royal cemetery. Double the guards if needed."
"We will carry out the order as soon as I return."
"Yes. You better get going. I won't detain you any longer. Traveling at night is dangerous."
He smiled. "To let her highness worry, I will be safe."
"You must. You're getting old, I won't let an old man pain his back."
He laughed heartily. "Haha. Getting old is quite tough. Physical strength decreases when a person gets old. I think I need to retire after you become Queen."
I smiled. "Is that so? Then you should start preparing your successor then."
"Heh... I know someone suitable for my position. You shouldn't worry. Well then, I'll be off now. Take care, your highness. "
Another day passed and Edmund left Antoweif to stay at the Murivian House. Adelheid remained because it is the tradition of Sierra to switch the groom and bride to each house before the engagement.
I was reading some of the business reports when someone knocked.
The door opened and Auguste entered my study. Seriously though, I got awkward by seeing his face. But I chased these feelings away and acted like nothing happened.
"What is it?"
"I contacted the commerce guild and they sent me profiles of employees under their care. I carefully selected these. " He put papers on my desk and I stopped what I am doing to read what he submitted.
I read all of it at vigorous speed. I leaned on to my chair and sighed.
" Auguste, they are all overqualified."
"With what you selected, they all have stable lives. It will be harder for us to easily push them to what I want them to do."
"What do you want then?"
"I need those who are desperately in need of financial assistance. I hate to say this, but they were the ones we can easily maneuver in this kind of situation. Can you do that for me?"
"As you wish."
He was about to leave when I talked...
My tongue suddenly held back. He stared at me with his confuse expression.
"I... Ahem... I need you to be my companion when Lord Maverick comes here."
"I thought Freidhelm will be the one coming."
"He needs to attend an important funeral. So, he's most important adviser will replace him. Will you accompany me? "
"I... I can't promise you, your highness. Father started giving out some duties for my future position. I am sorry. "
I got upset with what I heard and frowned a little bit. "Okay. I do understand. Sorry to bother you."
He was alarmed by my expression.
"Your highness! I... I apologize for my incompetence! I will find time to be there. "
I let out a sigh. "Now you're talking formally with me... You sure are wounding my feelings. After all what happened that - "
I stopped. I blushed and pinched myself hard. Elliethyia!! What are you saying?!
I awkwardly took a look at him. He stiffened. Is he also feeling the same way?
"Elle... I apologize."
"I took advantage of you that night. I-"
“Maybe I should be the one saying that.”
“But - “
"Sssshhh! Enough. We are now considered adults at this age. But apologizing to me, are you really that sorry in receiving a kiss from me?"
His face got deep red because of what I said. "I... I am not."
He looked away from me. I walked pass him and headed to the door. Before I left the room, I wanted to say a few words. I turned around.
"I will not apologize for what I did, Auguste. I wouldn't have kissed you just because I wanted to."
After saying those words, I quickly left the room.
“Welcome back to the royal palace, your highness.” The Lord Chamberlain approached me and gave his respects. “The King and Queen are currently in the throne room waiting for your appearance.“
“Thank you. I will be there immediately.”
I was summoned to the Royal Palace for the upcoming Founder's Party. Since I am the crown heir, it is my duty to check on the preparations of such important event. This is also a good opportunity to let the nobility know my power through my allies.
Before I entered the throne room, I told my ladies-in-waiting to wait outside. I won't allow them to see such embarrassment inside the throne room.
I entered the room and walked gracefully towards them. When I reached the platform, I curtsied.
“Good morning, your majesties.” I lifted my veil and sweetly smiled at them.
My father stood up and walked towards me. He stared at me for seconds and suddenly...
“Waaahhh!!! Elleithyia!!!” Father cried out. He lifted me and he started to swirl inside the room.
“Father!!! Can you put me down?!” I exclaimed. This is the embarrassment I am talking about. His image of a tough and wise leader shatters when I am around. Ugghhh... I am already getting dizzy by what he's doing. He won't listen to me unless mother stops him.
"Ahem..." When we heard mother cleared her throat, father put me down.
"Come on Ceres, it has been a very long time when I saw my little baby."
"Father... I am no longer a child."
"But you will still be, my beautiful and lovely daughter."
"Edgar, the princess is right. You should treat her like a lady. She's not a child anymore. And please... We are in the throne room, you should conduct yourself properly. You are the king." Mother scolded him.
"I agree with what mother said."
He childishly sobbed in front of me. "Elliethyia... How cruel you can be... You are just like your mother."
"Your majesty, I think you should sit on your throne now." I formally told my father.
"Ellie..." He looked at me with his puppy eyes... I rolled my eyes. This old man is such a pain.
"I will never call you father if you don't go back to your throne. I mean it!" I threatened him. My father straightened his back and hurriedly went back to where he was seated.
"My...My... Our baby princess is kind of scary." Father said with his puppy eyes.
I ignored him and stared my mother. "You called for me?"
"Yes. It is about the founder's party. Lord Maverick will arrive a day before and as the crown heir, it is your duty to welcome him."
"I also want you to gain his favor, my princess." Father added.
"Is that all?" At the back of my mind, I will do exactly the opposite. I had known Lord Maverick during my stay at Lutrania. He had the same wavelength as Freidhelm, so what he doesn't like is also the same as his master.
"Yes. But I also want to praise your improvements in Antoweif. You've done very well in progressing the fief." Father told me.
"I just did what I think is beneficial for the fief. There's no need to praise that."
"You are so modest." Mother commented.
"I know my dear Queen. Our princess has grown beautiful and very kind." Father... Just stop the praises already, I am getting embarrassed.
"She's quite intelligent just like her older brother, isn't she?" I widened my eyes. Mother!!! Adding fuel to the fire, you really are cruel just as father said.
"But I am getting worried for our daughter. She might be a dangerous woman in the future."
Don't just bluntly say it in front of me Father!! My inner self screamed.
I inhaled deeply and exhaled slowly. Calm down Elliethyia. Your parents win if you'll get affected if you scold them. They were teasing you so you'll lose your composure.
"Is there anything else?" I gave them a sweet smile. I interrupted their conversation and they were disappointed at my reaction.
"I wanted to rest your majesties. I didn't have enough sleep last night because of unsigned reforms that I need to review."
"Oh...You are excuse,my baby princess. Rest well."
After I curtsied and walked out of the room, I immediately called my ladies-in-waiting to prepare an afternoon tea. I also ordered them to summon my cousin, princess Beatrix this afternoon.
When everyone understood my instructions, I quickly left them and went to my room to have my sleep.
I am King Edgar II of Sierra. The current king and father to Elliethyia and Edmund.
For the past year, I had been sick due to my failing health. I am already 45 years old and at this age, my physician said that many illnesses will appear. Because of this, my wife momentarily holds my position and acted on my behalf.
I don't want say this, but I never wanted my precious and only daughter to be the crown heir. I would prefer my youngest son Edmund rather than Elliethyia because he is the 2nd in line to the throne. I also don't approve her sending away because of a marriage alliance. As a father, I want her to live the life that she wanted. A life with no deceit and violence, and a life that only peace prevailed.
But as a king, I need to set aside my reasons. I need to act for the benefit of the kingdom. This personal desires of mine won't be able to make my daughter change her destiny. She's the only one left with the crown, apparently, there's no need to question her being the next ruler.
I was worried at first because of her innocence and inexperienced background in politics. My world is a cruel one. Being the head of the royal family and the ruler of this kingdom, it also had drawbacks. I don't want my daughter experience this kind of life.
My wife assured me that our daughter is not just a typical princess. She said that Elliethyia is capable of ruling, just like my oldest child, Edward.
I wasn't able to assess her ability due to my sickness. When I recovered, I was amazed by the reports about my daughter's achievements. My sweet and innocent child was gone. She's already a fierce, dignified and respected lady in the kingdom. My wife was right. I shouldn't have underestimated her. In a year, she already strengthened the army and governed Antoweif impeccably well.
She was able to surpass my achievements when I was still a prince. How about if she was crowned Queen?
It is a shame that she needed to share the kingdom with her future husband. They say two heads are better than one, but I would like to oppose in their situation.
I had foreseen that this union would bring great chaos. The nobility agreed only to engage them because we were afraid to their threats of going into war. Now that our army got stronger, I am sure that there's no need to continue the engagement anymore.
I asked her to gain their favor to smoothly annul the engagement. I hope she will succeed. My orders will follow later.
"I am delighted to see you again, princess Beatrix."
"Oh no... Drop the formalities now, Ellie. There are no maids around."
I chuckled. She really hated etiquette to the extremes. I lifted up my veil and I saw her smile.
"You are still stunning, Ellie. Haaa... How I wish I was a man so I can marry you."
"Don't be ridiculous. You are a well-respected princess in this kingdom. Those words shouldn't come out of your mouth."
"I am just kidding. Of course,I knew that. But I can be myself when I'm around you. So I am not worried of what I need to say... "
"You really have a heart of a man. Are you really sure you're a woman?"
Princess Beatrix Elizabeth is my first cousin. Her mother and my father are siblings. She was the first grandchild of the royal family and grandmother bestowed her the title 'Princess Royal' because she was the first female child.
She also possessed some of our physical attributes such as our platinum blonde hair. The only difference is our eyes. While mine is green, her eyes were in the light color of brown.
She was older than my brother by four months. They grew up together that's why she was a bit of a tomboy for a princess.
"Yes, I am. I am getting married."
My jaw dropped. I can't believe it. "Wait... I didn't even know you're seeing someone."
"I am really getting married. Didn't Auguste tell you?"
"We haven't met for a week. And I'm also quite busy at Antoweif so the news didn't reach me."
"That's odd. Auguste never leaves your side. Did anything happen?"
My face got red. "No-nothing..."
"Hmmm... Really? Is the rumor true?"
"Well... It's been circulating in the court. They say that both of you were lovers."
"You're believing that?"
"Of course not. I had known the both of you long enough..." she stared at me suspiciously. "Unless you made a move on him."
"Hmpf... As if..." I coldly said to her.
"So you really made a move."
"I... Am I that easy to read?" I got anxious.
"Yes. It is because we grew up together. I know when you are not telling the truth."
I let out a sigh. I sipped my tea slowly. When I look at her, she had those sparkling eyes staring at me.
"Why are you looking at me like that?"
"Ohohoho...”She spread her fan and laughed. “I am just so curious about the two of you. I'm getting excited for this."
"Don't be. So stop the illusion already."
"You'll never know what will happen, Elliethyia."
"I know. And what we will be in the future depends on my decision... It's still my choice, after all. " After saying that, I lifted the cup and sipped my tea.