SEVEN CROWNS | The Black Stone

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Chapter XVI

The ring around the queen’s finger has many more stories than she imagined. Her best friend could not remember anything but the memory of his heart kept a lot of secrets. The arrow is a very important symbol for the Diamond Kingdom as it is their well known weapon as she learned from the Royal Counselor. He told her about how greatly her parents used to master the bow and arrow. The late King and Queen were the best archers of the Six Kingdoms. Ashryn promised that she will start archery lessons once she comes back from Sapphire. Evindal is still not happy with her decision to pay King Eldwin a visit, but she is his Queen and it would not be honorable to disregard her request. She is leaving the next day with her guards and that’s the reason that’s stopping her from sleeping. Meeting the faculty’s head of studies or presenting herself at a job interviews are far dissimilar from facing a great monarch, brave enough to keep defending his Kingdom despite his dangerous enemy. Evindal wasn’t much of a help when he kept reminding her that King Eldwin dislikes the Diamond blood. The young woman has scenes replaying in her mind, of her being chased out of the Sapphire Kingdom, having all her requests refused and her ideas rejected.

It takes her long before she can finally close her eyes and sleep for the little remaining hours. But once she gets submerged in the ocean of dreams, two sparkling blue eyes appear again. The emotion in them is deep, mysterious but she can feel warmth and affection. They have infinite hues of blue, each one dazzling more than the other. The owner of the sapphire orbs still remains unknown to her. She can see no body and no face. The only thing that appears every night in her dreams are the two blue oceans in which she gets lost until the next day.

Lady Lyrei wakes her up by shaking her lightly. She slowly opens her eyes and groans when she realizes it’s already morning. The white haired maid opens the windows to let the chilly air embrace the room and opens the closet to pack the queen’s clothes she’ll need during her trip.

“Did you sleep well, your Majesty?” asks Lyrei.

“I can’t say I did.” Ashryn leaves her bed and washes her face with the water her maid brought in a glass bowl. “I keep dreaming about the same thing. I don’t understand.”

“The same blue eyes?” the woman looks at her with a concerned face. “Can you still not recognize their owner?”

The Queen shakes her head, she wipes her face and starts making her bed. The maid stopped her from doing it a few days ago but Ashryn insisted on keep making it because she feels like her day starts better when she organises her surrounding. The young woman is still used to her life at Moon City, she cleaned her studio and cooked her own food since she started college. The idea of having servants do all the things still doesn’t convince her.

“I don’t know, I can’t see anything but the eyes.” she sighs. “But deep down, I feel like I know the person. Did I have friends when I was little? You maybe remember seeing me play with someone.”

Lady Lyrei nods with a smile, “You indeed had friends, your Majesty. Most were children of the royal court members and the others were the Prince of Silver and the Princess of Ruby.”

“Nate and Ruby.” a grin appears on Ashryn’s face but it soon gets replaced by a frown as she remembers how much she’s missing them. The things were easier back in Moon City when she had her friends by her side. Nothing scared them before because they knew that they could achieve anything together. Now she’s alone and an entire kingdom was waiting for her to heal the wounds left after the war. Her people depended on her alone.

“I have to get dressed and leave.” she says, changing the subject. “I’ll take care of the rest, Lyrei. You can go prepare yourself.”

“Alright, your Majesty.” the maid stands up and bows to her before leaving the room. The young Queen finishes the packing and looks for something to wear. She has always been someone who loves looking presentable and elegant outside, especially when meeting an important person. The King of Sapphire may dislike her king but she truly wants to make a good impression, so she thinks that dressing remarkably may be a good start, knowing that he loves simplicity and charm. Her maid left her a beautiful tulle tunic finished with diamond stones and silver embroideries. Her mother used to wear similar dresses when going on official missions, she was known for her artistry allure and grace but her daughter doesn’t find it enough. The young woman doesn’t want to be known only for her appearance and her graceful speaking, she wants to be recognizes as a strong Queen, a fearless soldier, a woman who knows what she’s doing and doesn’t need anyone by her side.

After getting dressed, she stands in front of the mirror and looks at herself proudly. She chose a nocturne blue double-breasted coat with six diamond buttons with a defined waist, diamond shoulder boards and laced blue tight trousers, showing her power and seriousness. The belt around her waist is made of clear blue gemstones highlighting the bright color of her long hair reaching her lower back. She finished her uniform with long black leather boots and the Double Arrow badge on her jacket.

She stands confidently and a smile appears on her face, “I’m ready.” she says.

After days of travel, the queen, her guards along with her maid are met by a fascinating world. They’re welcomed by the sound of water, waterfalls tumble down on sapphire rivers, towering of black mountains like charcoal. A city of blue lights and sapphire greets their eyes. Blue gardens reign are occupying the large spaces, creating a pleasant scenery.

Unlike the cold weather in the Diamond Kingdom and the snow covering the lands, here are flowers blooming around the rivers and the houses. The sunlight spreads its soft warmth while the breeze offers its gentleness around its guests.

The landscape is full of colors, each place looking like painting, a masterpiece colored by the most brilliant artists. Shades of blue and indigo are on the villagers’ silky dresses and pants. It must be normal in the Sapphire Kingdom to wear elegant clothes, even bakers and blacksmiths have access to this luxury. But despite their beautiful outfits, Ashryn notices the sad look on their faces. They may be walking freely in the kingdom’s streets, minding their own business and continuing with their life, but it is clear that they still fear that their routine will be interrupted again by an attack from Mávros. Some of his soldiers are walking between the crowds, making the children run away from them and people look down, avoiding any contact with them. King Eldwin may have resisted the enemy, but his dark power is still dominating the Sapphire villages and their poor hearts.

“It is from here, your Majesty.” her guard, Reptar, wakes her up from her reverie and guides her through a sort of tunnel surrounded by tree branches where strange blue flowers are blooming and fading every second.

The palace stands majestically upon a hill overlooking the village, the many towers form a large circle, each of their walls decorated by a huge sapphire stone shining under the sunlight, making the shape of a crown. Around it are gardens of the same blooming blue flowers, labyrinths to get lost in before getting welcomed inside.

The architecture alone shows the young Diamond Queen that the King likes extravagance and challenges. He wants his power to be known and approved by his people and his guests. The richness of the decorations is incomparable, not even in front of the castle made of diamonglass.

Reptar and Viessa guided their queen, they seemed to know exactly where to walk in order to reach the gates soon. She doesn’t ask them if they were here before as she is busy admiring the breathtaking beauty surrounding the Palace.

Two guards, covered in light armor, stop them when they finally reach the main entrance. “Halt!” a silver haired advances toward them, eyeing the strangers from head to toe. “You come from Diamond.”

“Indeed.” nods Reptar. “We bring our Queen, she wishes to see King Eldwin.”

“Your Queen?” the guards seem confused as they haven’t heard of her arrival news. The Diamond Kingdom has been known to be abandoned without a ruler for years. The two men take a look at the white haired Queen and bow to her. “I’ll deliver the message to the King, please wait here for a moment.” the silver haired leaves them and gets inside. He comes back after a short moment and opens the gate for them, “Please come in, your Majesty.”

The interior of the Palace is even more surprising. The floors are of marble and the ceilings are all different paintings of the landscapes they just saw outside in the village, in addition to others which must be somewhere in the rest of the Kingdom. The stair rails are shining, as well as the frames surrounding the several paintings hung on the light blue walls. The furniture is all made in indigo blue and decorated with sapphire stones. Everything looks so clean and perfect. Even the air is scented with a flowery fragrance.

The Palace guard stops in front of a large white door, he turns around and bows to the Queen, “The King is waiting for you inside.”

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