The workouts were even more intense, nine months of pregnancy did little to retain muscle. But she pushed herself, it was the best thing to curb her anxiety. Mel hadn’t heard from her husband since he left for the mainland. That was many months ago, during that time Mel had given birth to a baby boy. Mel adored him, anytime not spent reading or training was with the baby, Agnus had particularly fallen in love with the boy. Mel was also surprised to learn that one of her German handmaid’s named Mika, also had a son, both boys had blonde hair only Mel’s, son had dirty blonde hair.
The longer time went on the longer Mel’s anxiety grew, Mel learned during her husband’s absence her half-brother Mutsuhito became emperor. Her father had died of small pox, word of Mel’s child must have spread throughout the mainland. It would only be a matter of time before they came for the next in line. Her brother was raised as the crown prince, once they killed him, line of succession passed to her son.
Mel’s attention is snapped back to the present as a dull training sword smacks her in the gut. “That’s enough.” Grisha stood above her. “You are pushing yourself too hard, it will take time for your body to get back to condition.” Mel rubbed her shoulder as she handed the practice sword to a servant.
“Stepping outside she follows the gravel path down to the lagoon, it had become part of her after workout routine. Passing the orangutan enclosure, she smiled as the little orange animals joyfully bound after her. The sun shined down from the clouds, the sunlight reflected off the blue water of the lagoon, the seal lifted his head up seeing Mel making her way down to the bungalow.
Agnus was inside the bungalow, in her arms Mel’s son peacefully sleeps inside of her arms. “How is my little boy?” Remarks Mel as she takes her child from Agnus. “Has he eaten today.”
Agnus nodded her head. “Yes Princess, the little one is sucking the wet nurses dry.” Mel chuckled and remarks.
“Little princes have big appetites.” As Mel takes a seat outside in the nice weather two swordsman make their way to the lagoon. Nathan challenges them as they comes closer.
“What is it?”
“Princess your brother has arrived, he is coming to shore and will be here at the castle in a few hours.” Says the guard.
Mel waited for hours every minute seemed twice as long. She waited inside the Dojo, Grisha and Nathan were at her side. At last the heavy wooden doors were opened by two guards. Escorted by a dozen swordsman four men entered the room. Mel recognized one of the Stans soldiers, he led the group and held two swords in his hands, next to him her brother Luca walked in stride.
Mel runs to her brother and he to her, she cried as she embraced him. “Luca you came, I was worried I would never see you again, have you? You have gotten taller!” Mel felt the palm of his hands, they felt like a certain hated husbands hands, he wasn’t the happy little boy she had grown up with.
“Little sis looks like you have changed a little too.” She looked older and more tired. He looked her up and down, then it dawned on him, he looked around and in the corner of the room he spotted his sisters handmaiden Agnus. “Is that my nephew?” Mel gestured Agnus over but Mathew stepped forward.
“His Lordship did not want the prince to have contact with the baby until he arrives” Nathan addresses the servant holding the baby.
“Have to child removed to the nursery under guard.” Mel spoke up.
“That’s my child, Stan has no right-“Mathew spoke up.
“This is not up for discussion; you and your handmaiden are also barred from the child until his return.” Nathan took the child from Agnus. Now we have your swords, you three may practice in the Dojo with blunted or sharpened swords. But no blades are to be in your possession outside of this room, that goes for any weapon, including daggers. If you are caught in possession of a weapon it will be viewed as an escape attempt and you will be whipped bloody.”
Matthew cockily added before taking his leave. “Princess, I believe you know what happens to those who step out of line. Other than that, the castle is yours to enjoy. Feel free to eat and drink until your heart’s content.”
Mel enjoyed her time with her brother the two of them spoke about his travels and what he had seen, Mel learned that he had become a skilled swordsman and his two companions were skilled as well. It was on his third day that things got hairy. Her husband had arrived during the night, Mel only knew because she saw the riders coming through the front gate.
Later in the morning when Mel descended from her tower, she encountered a livelily castle. As if it had been brought back to life every fire place seemed to be lit, the curtains drawn and the smell from the kitchens filled the corridors of the castle.
Mel is led through the halls. “Nathan I am supposed to meet my brother for breakfast in the gardens.”
“His lordship requested to see you as soon as your were decent.” Replied Nathan. Mel entered his apartments. Inside she finds him seat. A large plate of bacon sits unattended, getting cold. Mel stands arms reach from the plate.
Mel hears the gurgling of the baby. Next to her husband the baby makes noises. Mel creeps closer to her child. “Can I hold him?” Looking up from his papers Stan nods to her. Mel picks up her son for the first time in three day.
“You did well, he looks very healthy and strong.” Mel smiles at Stan.
“He is perfect, has he eaten yet.” Stan nodded his head.
“Yes he nearly drained your one of your German handmaid’s, looks like he inherited your appetite.” He noticed even while Mel held her baby, one eye was on the stack of bacon. Signing Stan pushed the plate towards Mel. “Eat.” He ordered.
As Mel tucked in he spoke. “I will be in the Dojo training today, what are your plans?” Mel swallowed her sixth strip of bacon.
“I am going to show my brother the east end of the island.” Stan nodded his head.
“Stay away from” Mel interjected herself into the conversation.
“The caves, I know... Stan?” Stan paid attention to his wife as she asked him.
“Could the baby sleep in my room tonight?” Stan shrugged his shoulders.
“That is all dependent on your behavior. If you do all your exercises and keep your brother under control than yes. If not then you will lose a week of child privileges.” Mel couldn’t believe this smug bastard but watched her words.
“Okay” she mumbled. Stan waited for her to finish breakfast. As Mel walked out of the room he called after her.
“One more thing, you will keep my bed warm tonight...”
Later that day:
Mel had enjoyed her time with her brother, they spoke at length today. It wasn’t until the were walking back to the castle that things got hairy. When they entered castle gates her guards left her and Luca alone. As they walked down the pathway towards the house. “Your husband’s a prick, the way everyone here regards him is annoying.”
“You get used to it, just don’t cross him.” Luca scoffed.
“I have fought a lot worse than him.” Mel stopped walking and teared up, she held her brothers rough hands.
“Please Luca, don’t do anything stupid, he is really dangerous and cruel.” Luca raised his eyebrow.
“Has he been cruel to you?” Mel averts her eyes.
“Mel please look at me...” Mel looks up tear swell in her eyes.
“I hate him so much, he is the worst person, cold and unloving. Luca if I tell you this please don’t overreact...”
Today he moved well, being tested in real combat on the mainland the last several weeks proved to him how deadly his skills became. Stan looked around at the four men he knocked down with the practice sword, Master chi charged at him in the pair exchanged blows. Master chi fell back after the attack on his back, his nose broken.
“Well done my lord!” Master chi pushed himself to his feet. Stan walked over to the drinking station at the center of the dojo. Placing his dull blade on the rack he drinks down a cup of water. Stan’s expert hearing picks up commotion outside the east doors.
Stan picks up his dull practice sword. Both doors slam open, the unconscious body of Stans guard flies through the door. “You bastard!” Screams Luca from the top of his lungs. Stan picked up a long sword with a blued scabbard, he throws it at Luca, the weapon lands on the floor in a loud thump. It slides until it reaches Luca’s foot. “You piece of shit, you whip her like a dog. I am going to kill you.” In a flash Luca charges Stan, and draws as he is mid stride.
Luca fights in a controlled rage, his strikes are hard, accurate and with purpose. Stan ducks under as the swipe hits into a wooden post halfing it. “Luca stop it, he will kill you, Stan please don’t hurt him.” Stan looks over to the east doors and running into the room is his wife. Nathan grabs her and holds her in place from interrupting the battle.
Stan parries Luca’s attack, the boys sword being momentarily tossed aside allows Stan to send a hard jap to the bridge of Luca’s nose. The two men break apart, Luca slips into his attack position.
Stan looks at the boy as he holds his Gatotsu stance steady. With a loud battle cry the boy pushes off his back foot, Stan waits and lets the blade sail into open space. In Stans right hand, he gripped the scabbard of the longsword he brings the hard-green wood across his body.
Luca had forgotten about Stan’s right arm and scabbard. The wood hits him on the side of the head, his vision darkens as he pushes off unconsciousness. Setting himself into a Gatotsu Luca, again sprints forward, this attack is called zero style, as he drives the sword towards Stan, his eyes grow dark, he must kill...
Stan waits and lashes out, using the tip of his sword he drives the point onto the flat of Luca’s sword, the point of attack breaks, Luca’s sword in half, as he falls forward, as if in slow motion he sees his brother in laws fist coming towards him. As the uppercut connects with his face, Luca’s eyes roll into the back of his head.
Mel watches as her brothers attack his driven into the ground and with a sickening pop, Luca is launched backwards. To her horror, Luca doesn’t move, blood leaks out of his face staining the wooden floor. Mel runs towards him. His body is limp panicked Mel feels his neck and to her relief she feels a steady pulse. Several guards pull her away.
“Take him to the dungeons!” Stan shouts as he places the practice sword on the rack.
Mel Pov: That night...
Mel went to her husbands room. Inside she sees her husband seated with a glass of wine in front of him. “That was some show your brother put on.” Mel went to her husband’s side, falling to her knees she bagged.
“Please, he was just defending me. Don’t hurt him.” Stan looked amused.
“You really care for him don’t you” Stan stood up and walked towards her, as he neared Mel shuttered. Mel kept backing up as he got closer, eventually the back of her legs caught the edge of a table. He lifted her on the table and pushed her legs apart. “You don’t think he should be punished, someone has to be taught a lesson, would you rather it be you.”
Mel nodded her head, pulling her dress above her hips, Stan gripped her cotton undergarments and dropped them to the floor, Mel turned her head to the side. “You better get into it.” Ordered her husband, Mel held back tears as she hatefully kissed her husband, biting his lip hard.
“Guard” shouts her husband, breathless Mel laid on the bed, she felt raw and dirty. A guard came into the room.
“Release Prince Luca in the morning, keep him and his companions under lock and key for one week. If he so much as gives you or any of the guards a sideways glance you have my permission to beat him bloody. Girl!”
A young girl comes in, in her arms Mel recognizes her son. “Give my son to his mother, that’s it your dismissed.” With the servant gone Mel looked down at her sleeping baby.
“You better get your brother in line, there may be a day when you no longer fear my lash, that will be a dangerous day for you. In time that blob of skin in your arms will become a person, your love will continue to grow for him.” Mel didn’t care for one of his long-winded lectures.
Using the bed sheets to wipe Stan’s love stain from her loins, she adjusted the baby in her arms. “Stan get to the point, I am tired.”
“My point is this, if you mess up in the future it won’t be you I beat to show you the error of your ways, our son will be used as a scapegoat in your stead.” Mel opened her eyes in horror.
“You would beat your own son for something he had nothing to do with.” Stan nodded his head.
“It is the only threat that I believe will keep you loyal.” Remarks Stan.
“You don’t care that he won’t love you?” Retorts Mel in an angry whisper.
Stan gives her a smirk that makes her want to stab Stan in the eye. “I don’t need his love, I need heirs, his feelings couldn’t matter less to me...”