Treason and Temptation/C3 A Royal Clash
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Treason and Temptation/C3 A Royal Clash
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C3 A Royal Clash


"I present to you, Princess Ephene of Niarciss." says the royal servant in a booming voice.

The sound of a trumpet adds to the effect, and I brush my skirts as I did when nervous.

Straightening all the more, I lift my chin impossibly higher -not a hint of fear must be seen in my composure.

Instead of their usual pink, my lips shine red, woven tresses lay past my back, and the tiara I on my head catches light from an adjacent window.

Today would be my grand entrance to the Phylin court; the Kingdom of my soon to be husband -one I had imagined myself marrying.

The change had come suddenly after word of Prince Gevin's betrothal was announced.

Thus leaving me uncertain of the future that had been planned to a dot.

I urge myself once more wear my best fake smile, as the imposing curtain is pulled back to reveal a ballroom and red carpet rolled out.

The latter of which, also happened to stop right where the Prince sat.

The other empty seat by his side draws attention to the absence of his late father, and pity stirs within me.

But that is quickly forgotten as my eyes zone in on him, and a soft brow rises.

The young freckled boy I met few times in the past had grown to be handsome?

Not nearly as articulate with Gevins sharp jawline and whitish gold hair, towering an expanse of slanted icy eyes and thin curved lips.

Yet his shoulders were thicker and arms more brunt. Much like the rest of him, a bush formed his eyebrows, wide berth of honey lay in his iris, and tousled curls of brown incited a strange desire to grasp them for myself.

Then as quickly as my brow rose, my legs stoop as I curtesy.

A thunder of applause ensues and for a moment I'm rendered deaf.

Prince Hugo shows no emotion as he walks to meet me where I stand.

When he finally reaches the end of the red carpet, he smiles in a way that do not reach his eyes and kisses my hand.

I suck in a breath, surprise flowing at the intimate contact.

Never has a man dared to kiss me -other than my father.

But he is my betrothed and I accept it for the sake of the eyes watching us.

Hugo offers me an arm and I oblige, looping mine with his.

Then he steers me in the direction of his guests and speaks. "Let the festivities begin!"

Cheers rise from all corners of the room and servants troop in masses, each bearing platters of dishes alongside the most expensive wines.

Jelly, biscuits, meat, puddings -they had it all in artful and rich assortments.

As we get closer to the table I see Mother and Father seated by his uncle and aunt, no doubt standing in for his deceased parents.

They converse eagerly, conversation tinkling over fine fabrics and game finds -each careful to avoid the hostile political affairs brewing beyond our Kingdoms.

While he helped me into my seat, I couldn't help but be bothered over his required chivalry.

A political marriage of this sort, requires I remain unattached in a bid to exploit any affection I hope to conjure within him.

Finally he sits down on the second seat of honor, and his attendants hurry to make fuss of his plate while mine tend to me.

Given we were both monarchs in our own right the table had been made to seat two people at the head of the table.

Immediately, he engages me in friendly conversation while the entertainers descend down another sonnet.

I indulge him to pass time, for later I know we will speak, and prior unspoken ultimatums will come to light.

A spouse may be decided, but each member of the party comes with unique demands for the longevity of the marriage.

Though not exclusively stipulations of my own, I have a mission to achieve.

One that requires me to put on the greatest show of my life.

I glance at my mother, and her small wink as she sipped wine from a goblet reminded me my Kingdom was counting on me.

Truth is, Berdonia is dominating while Niarciss struggles to survive.

With our successive poor harvests and natural disasters, there isn't much our strong troops can do in battle when dying of hunger.

However, with Phylins flourishing agriculture and weak military base our two Kindgoms have become each other's only hope.

I must do what was best for my nation and marry Hugo.

And do what is best for my Kingdom's continuity by dethroning him, so the merged nations will be mine to rule alone.

By evening I struggle to keep my eyes open, and am relieved when Prince Hugo whispers in my ear. "May I have a word with you?"

We stand on the balcony overlooking the palace gardens, our chaperones being out of earshot by the exit.

Bright colors fade against the growing darkness of the day, and wind brushes the hairs used to frame my face from the elegant braid.

"You look beautiful Princess Ephene." Hugo says, out of the blue.

I glance at our chaperones, sure they can't hear us but looking anyways.

Then I turn back to him and reply.

"I thought you wanted to have a word with me, not romance me before night falls," a teasing grin playing on my lips.

That should be coy enough.

"I apologize for making you wait till our guests are drunk, but it would be a disservice to ignore such a stunning sight." he says with an added sheepish grin.

I nod and motion for him to speak. "It is fine, do go on."

"I know we will become husband and wife a week from now." he clears his throat, "Given the sudden nature of this marriage, I would like to cover some fundamental areas." he says with a serious expression.

I cannot help the silent eye roll and unplanned words come tumbling out.

"If this is about sex, you can be rest assured your bed will always be warm. And for the sake of heirs, my mother ensured I took fertility concoctions since age ten," a sigh narrowly missing my throat.

Yet he frowns at me, and irritation flicks in his eyes.

"Do you really think I would have waited this long to ask you about sex?" he says.

"Do you really want me to answer that?"

He shakes his head and looks to the sky.

"Never mind, talking to you at this point is useless. Let us return, you'll be shown to your room."

Offended, and now concerned I had already alienated him from me, I follow after him.

I shall have to devise another plan quickly.

Libre Baskerville
Gentium Book Basic
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