The Red Sapphire

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Chapter 29

She was so mad! Hopping mad! And afraid. If the king didn’t listen, Milos would be alone with twenty guards to face an army of over thirty thousand men. Then she was angry at herself for walking out and not waiting for an answer. Going back was out of the question for if the response was not favourable, she was going to walk out of the room again. Walking out on the King of Garion once was bad enough, twice was pushing her luck.

She tore into her room and headed straight for the bathroom. There were no soaps or shampoos anywhere and then she remembered that Milos had ordered for her things to be moved to his quarters. She the retraced her steps unlit she was at the stairs which would bring her to the fourth floor.

She entered his room. The curtains around the bed were gone. Their burned state and the blood on their clothes must have been cause of gossip among the staff. It was times like these that she missed Lania. The things that they knew especially about the nobles were a source of great amusement for her.

She closed the door and then stripped in the bathroom. The water in the tub was warm and she swam from one end to the other, until she settled for staring out at the city below and over to the lake.

She was worried. She was worried about him and about her men. Those were Arnayan soldiers out there. She had delivered a message that would kill them. She had supported the deaths of her own countrymen.

She couldn’t help but think that this was her fault. If she’d stayed and had gone to Chrisoncor like her father had said, at least she would be home now. Maybe she could have stopped him from making these men come to a foreign country to fight, only to be destroyed. Their bodies never to see the land of their birth for the rest of eternity.

Knowing all this, she wanted Milos safe. The two ideas weren’t congruous. No matter how much she wanted, she couldn’t get both. This more than anything else was driving her insane.

Her skin had begun to wrinkle and she decided to come out of the bath. She got dressed in a robe and went into the study. She heard a rapping on the door and she went to open the latch.

“Queen Minerva.” she said confused.

“After a day of fighting guards, shaming a baron and stunning a king, I heard that you didn’t eat.” she had a tray with her. “May I come in?”

“Yes of course.” she moved out of the way and the queen rested her load on a nearby table.

“Come and join me for tea.” she said settling in a chair and Aliana came to sit in front of her. She took a biscuit and nibbled on the corner before putting it back on the saucer.

“Though I haven’t eaten, I must confess that I haven’t much of an appetite.”

“You’re worried. I understand.” of course she did. She didn’t know the whereabouts of one of her children for two years. Worse now that another was recently killed.

“Has the king decided to send reinforcements?” she said trying the biscuit again.

“He has sent three hundred men.”

“Just three hundred. There could be thousands of Arnayans out there.”

“It was all he could spare. The rest have been spread out between Nilian and the Catalands. The men from the north are yet to arrive and he can’t leave Turion without protection.”

She could see the king’s dilemma and empathised. “Send him my gratitude.” she said softly.

She nodded and took a sip of her tea. “He told me about you storming in and then out of the meeting. That is pretty impressive.” she said with a slight smile.

“My father would disagree. That is just me on a good day in the Arnayan court.” she said wryly and then added. “I had to do all necessary to help Milos.”

“He also told me about you telling off Kilikos and Matthias. He found that bit very funny.”

“It wasn’t funny, Milos deserves better than to be mocked especially when he is right. I would do it again if given the chance.”

“Yes, but be careful not to offend as those two as they could make deadly enemies.”

“And even more bothersome friends. It will be interesting to see what the future holds for them. Yet I take you advice seriously Your Majesty.” she said not hiding her contempt.

“You look tired, probably you should rest.” she suggested.

“I am not sure if that is even possible. Not until he comes home.” she said getting up from around the table and out to the balcony. The queen joined her.

“Then we will wait together.” Aliana nodded and the two women stared out into the night.

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