TWO • An Eastern Sunset
Amberline and Jadeline wandered through the open corridor of Lethea’s greatest pride, The hall of Emeralds.
“Someday, I want to be loved the way father loved our mother,” Said Jade looking at the green gems infused into the golden walls of the hall creating surreal illusions. The walls resembled greenish dragon scales at eastern sunset and remained neutral gold and green the other days. It was a gift from the late king to his beloved wife and queen the day she gave him an heir.
“I barely recognized you, sister.” Amber had to look twice to make sure it was the same girl who broke a suitor’s nose and foot in a dance. “Wasn’t you who said the idea of love is far fetched and just an illusion we created to tolerate this miserable lonely life?”
“Oh I still stand by that, love sucks Frolem ass. You of all people should know what love does to an Aurumeart.” She sighed running a hand through the red tendrils that kept dancing through the blazing breeze and getting into her line of vision. “But that doesn’t mean I don’t long for it like any mortal fool. My only condition is that it should be unconditional.”
“Hmm,” Hummed the princess with a soft smile. “You should switch careers and become a poet.”
“Great idea, really. I’d spend days and evenings coming up with poetic insults for your beloved husband.” She joked.
“You’re not funny.” She gritted.
“So I’ve heard,” Jade stepped on her toes for a moment anticipating the instant the sun touches the horizon for an evening rest. She missed this view during her stay at Kerenile base. “I just don’t get it, why would a girl like you, of all the men she could choose from, fight the mores for that Genoresian buffoon. You don’t even love him.”
“You said it yourself, love brings nothing but misery and pain to Aurumearts.” The princess stood beside her sister viewing the eastern sunset herself. “Lord Larson might be a handful, but he’s not intimidated by my flames. That’s all I ask for.”
“What makes you think he isn’t? You barely light up at his presence, and by the way,” She turned to give her a stern glare. “That was a weak performance at the dawn ceremony. You don’t think I noticed?”
“I’m not burning my husband to be if that’s what you were anticipating.” Amber returned the glare. “Just made it a bit hot and tolerable.”
“You don’t think he can handle it?” The redhead lady smirked.
“No, I know he cannot.” She said begrudgingly. “But he tries, by the end of the day that’s what counts.”
“Poor lad, I kinda feel sorry for him now.” Said Jade with a face splitting grin. “He has no idea what he signed up for. He’ll run for the hills on your first heat week.”
“Do shut up, Jade.” Amber shook her head and walked towards the end of her mother’s favorite corridor. “Let’s go.”
“Aye aye, sis!” Jade laughed and followed her sister towards the awaited mystone bath.
“Now that I can think clearly for once,” Aiden wiped the beads of sweat forming on his forehead while they walked through the high halls of Lethea’s Heart. “What kind of a wanker agrees to marry a girl he’s never seen?”
“A king who’s thinking about the welfare of his people?” Kyle retorted. “You know, the kind that doesn’t eradicate a whole covenant for making fun of his canines.”
“Cheap shot dickhead,” He muttered under his breath, but he knew the shifter could hear him by the look of contempt he had. “And it wasn’t the whole covenant, just a few significant members__”
“And a whole lot of innocent folks,” He interjected. “And here you are giving me a lecture about recklessness when your impetuous decisions still slap you in face every once in a while.”
That silenced both men. The guard entrusted to guide them never breathed a word, but he took interest into their conversation not knowing what to take from it. To avoid public contention, the king decided to keep the meeting between Aurami and Veserians a secret.
“Something’s not right,” Aiden spoke after a while. The man couldn’t keep his mouth shut more than a minute, Kyle thought with an eye roll. “What if the king agreed to this because something’s wrong with the girl?”
“Would it matter?” He answered after giving it a brief thought.
“I know you don’t give a flying fuck about your happiness, but you want your people to accept a retarded Aurami as their queen?”
This made Kyle ponder, “I’m sure she’s__”
He was caught mid sentence, caught off guard when his senses were attacked by a scent that caused a deep growl to escape his throat. The fragrance of sandalwood mixed with burning coal.
The scent took him to a specific memory. His days of adolescence, shortly after his mother left the picture. The late Regal Alpha has just returned, along with his brother, from what was supposed to be a diplomatic happening that went in a drastic way all thanks to the savage Imperials. His father had this very scent clinging to his bloodied clothes.
He blinked repeatedly trying to control his predatory vision that kept zooming in and out while his sense of scent tried to pinpoint the source of the scent.
“Your eyes are radiating,” Remarked Aiden with a frown. “Do tell me if this is about to turn to a butchering fest.”
“No,” He breathed putting his sunglasses back on. “No such thing. It’s just___ can you smell that?”
“Be more specific. I’m having all sorts of unpleasant scents up my nostrils … mostly my burnt skin.”
“No, not that … fuck You!”
“I’ll take on your promiscuous offer later,” He said pointing with his chin forward. “Let’s have a chat with this king for now.”
They ceased the conversation at the approaching man who seemed to be just their age. Ash white hair with a golden crown atop his head.
“Dive deep into the mystone veins, show them your secret desires, tell them your deepest pains, let it wash away that raging fire, keeping the danger at bay__”
“Shut it!” Amber shouted at her sister. “I’m trying to concentrate.”
Two jadeite orbs twinkled in mischief. The redhead knew how much her sister hated the lullaby, and she made sure to sing it every time her sister had a mystone bath.
“Hundred arms, keeping the Narrows aflame, soft touches of sapphires, rooting the burnings of vain.” She sang louder making her voice echo throughout the bathhouse. “I’m not gonna stop, until you sing along with me.”
“Not happening.” She grumbled and submerged into the bluish water. She felt the warm energy fading each time she touched the large mystone roots. The procedure left her with a strong sense of lethargy, but it was necessary. Unlike her brother, the king, she had no sense of control over her powers.
The princess emerged out of the water taking a deep breath. “I think that’s enough, I’m tired.”
“You haven’t been there more than ten minutes,” Said Jade dipping her feet into the cold water. “You need at least half an hour.”
“I’m good as long as my hair stays neutral.” She reasoned pointing at her drenched grizzly hair.
“Twenty more minutes and you’re better than good,” Said Jade finally going down into the frozen water with a loud shriek. “Cosmen! I feel sorry for the northerners!”
“You always say that,” Amber laughed. “Every time you get into the water!” She said splashing her face with cold water and blue tentacles.
“You’ve brought this on yourself!” Jade shrieked one more time and proceeded with the water splashing battle that echoed throughout the palace with loud screams followed with shrieks and laughter.
“Ehm, your highness…”
Both girls stopped and turned at the faint sound of a servant.
“What is it?” Prompted Jade.
“His majesty requests an audience with__” She paused and looked away with a deep blush. “With both her highness and malady, At the Hall of Marbles.”
“That’s halfway across the palace,” said the princess to herself rather than the servant. “It must be important, otherwise it wouldn’t be at ancestral hall.”
“How strange,” Jade frowned. “Liam is being theatrical all of a sudden.”