Chapter 18: New Home
Weeks had passed after the strange confrontation between the crown prince and my family. Ezra was stuck to me like glue, frequently visiting and bringing me to my room, and then chatting with me. Every time Ezra came to visit me, the guards would weirdly disappear and reappear again when she left. It seemed the guards where traumatized from their previous encounter.
Ezra also informed me that Alice was safe inside His Majesty’s palace. I was happy that she was safe away from my family. During my boredom, sometimes while I was inside my room, I began to think on the reasons why the crown prince chose me to be his bride. He didn’t do it just for pity, so I wondered. The thing that sprang into my mind was the involvement between my mother and the Queen. After Ezra had told me about the race for the next Emperor, it all started to make sense. Our family was the most prestigious among the nobles and most honoured for their strong knights. If I was to wed one of the crown prince’s surely the public would favour them more and they would have the backing of my family.
This would be the icing on the cake for someone like Cesar who was already adored by the nobles and the public. As for Edmond, it was a different case. Rumours had already spread that he was a cold-hearted barbarian from the north. If he were to wed me, that would positively impact him. I scratched my head trying to understand his motives. There was an even bigger dilemma on how he will convince my family to let the marriage go through.
On a cold morning, I woke up. I walked towards the window to see the happy birds chirping and moving from one branch to another. I waited for Ezra to come busting in as usual, but she was a bit late today. While I waited for her, I sat down and pulled up a book I was reading about military tactics since, it was the only book given to me by my brother. Soon enough there was a knock on the door, I wondered “this is strange”. I answered the door through an order.
[Lucia]: You may come in.
Then a maid came in bowed and announced.
[Maid]: Your father has called for you, the crown prince has arrived.
[Lucia]: I see, help me prepare.
[Maid]: Understood. At once with you, my lady.
The maid had left but then promptly returned with other maids. They soon bathed me and helped me prepare. I wore a white dress with a beautiful blue pearl. I stared at myself in the mirror. From this moment on, I will do what I wish and not about what my family wants. I had to grow up and stop playing victim. This was my chance. I stood up and made my way out of my room. The maids accompanied me to the waiting room. They opened the door and I made my way inside.
I saw Edmond sitting quietly sipping tea. On his right stood a silver-haired butler and on the left a knight. Meanwhile, my father and mother sat next to each other and my brother stood around them. I bowed and introduced myself.
[Lucia]: Greetings, Your Highness.
[Edmond]: Sorry I took more time than I intended. Come have a seat next to me.
I made my way to the table and sat next to him. He looked at me and then grabbed my hand.
[Edmond]: You look beautiful today. Indeed, you’re the flower of the empire.
[Lucia]: Thank you, Your Highness.
I could feel the cold stares from my family, like daggers that intended to kill me. I replied with a cold but beautiful smile. I looked around to find where Ezra might have gone, but it was soon answered. She entered with a tray of tea and its cups. She carefully placed it down poured tea for my father, my mother, and then Edmond. When she was done, she collected the tray and moved to my side. When my father took the cup and proceeded to drink, she muttered. [Ezra]: Hope you choke on your tea, Master.
Together with a fierce smile, my father spat a bit of the tea from his mouth then composed himself, trying to avoid embarrassment. He looked at Edmond and started to speak.
[Blaise]: So, shall we discuss the arrangement?
[Edmond]: As I said before, I wish to marry your daughter.
[Irene]: Sorry but we have arrangements with the young prince.
He stared at them while he reached out for his cup and then he sipped tea. He then continued:
[Edmond]: In return for her hand in marriage, I will spare you execution for treason.
My eyes widened and looked at him. He was still composed even after saying such a thing. Treason in Mauritius is one of the biggest crimes and its punishment was hanging or public execution. My father rose and roared in anger over the allegation.
[Blaise]: What proof do you have?! You dare to come to my house and accuse me of treason?!?!
[Edmond]: Don’t forget who I am. If you continue to scream, I will cut off your tongue.
My father’s face turned pale and quietly sat down. He then continued.
[Edmond]: I found one of your knights sending decrypted messages to the neighboring countries. I know what you’re plotting, that was very careless of you.
My father started to stutter as he spoke.
[Blaise]: You’re lying …… Impossible.
[Edmond]: Then shall we go to court? I doubt the Queen will help you. Just let me marry your daughter and I will turn a blind eye.
I needed to understand what my family has been doing without me knowing.
[Lucia]: Father is it true what the crown prince is saying?
[Conor]: Shut your mouth you brat.
I felt anger swell inside of me, I have had enough of them. This time I won’t be silent.
[Lucia]: Over the years, you have treated me as if I was not your older sister. I have had enough. Speak to me like that again and I will teach you proper manners.
The room fell into silence. I then continued to speak.
[Lucia]: Father is this true?