I looked up to see a guard looking at me expectantly. My eyes widened and my cheeks reddened in humiliation.
“I’m sorry, could you repeat that?” I asked, fisting my gown.
“An ambassador from the Oryn Kingdom has arrived. The council has gathered in the throne room, waiting for you.” The guard repeated.
I nodded and stood up from my desk. “Alright, thank you.”
I moved into the throne room, forcing a smile as I greeted my council members and my Uncle, the temporary King. A fact that he tends to forget. My Uncle’s eyes narrowed at me briefly as he nodded. I suppressed a frown as I sat on my throne next to him. Uncle Lawson motioned for the guards to bring the ambassador in. The doors opened to reveal a young man and two guards. They came to a stop before us and bowed down.
“King Lawson and Princess Ember of Amaris, thank you for seeing me.” The ambassador said. “I am ambassador Kahn from the Oryn Kingdom.”
My Uncle grunted in response, not bothering to hide his disdain. I frowned at my Uncle before sending a smile to Kahn.
“Welcome Kahn,” I spoke up. “What brings you to Amaris?”
Uncle shot me a brief glare. I stopped myself from rolling my eyes at him.
“Well Princess,” Kahn said, turning his attention to me. “My King has sent me with hopes of fixing the strained relations between our kingdoms.”
I raised an eyebrow at his words. We’d never been friends of the Oryn Kingdom, but we’d never been enemies either. What brought this on so suddenly?
Uncle must have had the same thought, as he finally spoke up. “Why now?”
Kahn’s eyes moved to me momentarily, causing me to furrow my eyebrows. Uncle looked between me and the ambassador for a moment before a smile appeared on his face.
“I see. Kahn, I’d like to invite you to my study where we can discuss the details better with the council.” Uncle said, standing up.
My eyes widened and I stood up. “You’re dismissing me?”
Uncle nodded, waving his hand. “You wouldn’t want to be bothered with such trivial matters.”
I clenched my teeth angrily before turning to leave. Fucking Bastard. My guards moved to follow me as I moved outside the castle. I turned to look at them, smiling gently.
“I’ll be alright boys, just give me a few moments please?” I asked.
My guards hesitated for a moment before nodding. I slowly wandered through the gardens, moving to the edge of the woods.
“Uh Princess?” One of my guards called out.
I turned to look at them, noticing how worried they looked. I shook my head with a laugh. “Alright boys, but give me a little space, please?”
They nodded eagerly, and soon I was walking into the forest again with the two men behind me. Everything felt peaceful, and all my worries started drifting away. I continued to bask in the gentle sunlight until clouds started arriving, causing a cold breeze to appear. I shivered as it hit me, crossing my arms.
“Princess Ember?” Aaron called out.
I turned to look as my head guard and friend moved closer. I rolled my eyes at him. “Aaron you know you can call me Ember.”
Aaron shook his head with a chuckle, brushing his hair back. “You’re still my Princess, Ember. It’s my duty to respect that.”
“Let’s head back Princess, you look to be freezing,” Merrick said, coming to stand next to us.
I looked at the two men who acted like my older brothers with a smile. “You guys are idiots.”
Merrick covered his heart and gasped mockingly. Aaron punched Merrick’s arm as we wandered back to the castle.
“Why was the ambassador here?” Aaron asked.
“Apparently their King wants to build and solidify relations with us,” I answered, leading them down the hallway.
“That doesn’t sound too bad,” Merrick said.
“It could be promising, but I don’t know any of the details. I was pushed out.” I grumbled, pushing open the doors of my quarters.
Aaron frowned as they stepped inside. “Your Uncle and the council have no right to do that. He’s only appointed King until your 18th birthday.”
“I know.” I groaned, falling onto the sofa. “It’s not only ridiculous, but I’m more educated and prepared to deal with this life than any of them.”
“What are you going to do Ember?” Merrick asked.
I smiled as he dropped the formality. I enjoyed it when we could behave like this. We had been friends since I was a toddler. “I’m not sure Mer.”
“Come i-” I started as the door flew open.
Uncle walked in, a devilish look in his eye. He scowled at Aaron and Merrick. “Get back to your post.”
Aaron shot me a small frown before they moved to stand outside of my door. Uncle shut the door and began walking around my room.
“What do you need?” I asked him, crossing my arms.
“I suggest you watch your tone, girl.” He growled. “I was going to inform you of the progress made with Oryn’s ambassador, but if you don’t care…”
I bit my tongue to keep from shouting at him. Uncle looked pleased with my silence.
“Well, as you know the King apparently wants to start trading and forming an alliance with us.”
“The council and I agree that it’s important to have them on our side, seeing as they do have a powerful army and vast resources.” He continued.
“I don’t understand what they want from us if they have all that,” I muttered.
A sick grin started to form on Uncle’s face, and I felt my heart begin to race. What did he do? “Well, darlin’. Their King has been looking for a wife for quite some time now…”
I felt my body start to freeze up. No…
“And seeing as you couldn’t possibly rule a kingdom on your own…”
My stomach dropped as he continued. No.
“The King has asked for your hand in marriage… and we have agreed that it is the best course for you.”
He arranged for me to marry a King I have never met?! NO! I shook my head and stepped back.
“You have no right!” I yelled.
“Oh but I do, see I am your King, and with you being married to another Kingdom, I’ll be able to hold onto this position.”
“You fucking bastard!” I screamed, trying to lunge for him.
The door burst open and I felt arms wrap around me, holding me back. Uncle rolled his eyes with a smirk. “Since you can’t behave, you’ll be confined to your quarters until the King arrives to take you to his kingdom. Goodbye, Niece.”
I screamed as tears began to pour down my face. Aaron continued to hold me as I sank to the floor. The door shut, leaving me alone with my two friends.
“How dare he,” I whispered. “My father never would have stood for this.”
“I’m so sorry Ember,” Merrick said. “You deserve so much better.”
“He’s a bastard.” I sobbed.
Aaron continued to hush me as I cried myself into a fitful sleep, where I could only hope that my dreams could relieve me of this pain in my heart.
I chuckled as I walked away from her door. Her cries echoed through the halls, music to my ears. Some of the guards gave me disgusted looks as I passed, but I paid them no mind. I was the King, they couldn’t oppose me. And who cared what some stupid commoner thought? That was the difference between me and my brother. He paid too much attention to the commoners, and not enough attention to those who held the power.
He was a foolish man who never deserved to be King. He didn’t have what it takes. He ruled kindly, and the people loved him. Your people shouldn’t love you. They should be afraid of you. That way, they will never try to fight you.
“My King?” Lord Henry called out.
I scowled as I looked at the older man. I’d have him thrown off the council if I was able to. Unfortunately, the council member’s places were set in stone through their bloodlines, and even if I hated the old man it wouldn’t change the fact that he was the head of his family.
“What Henry." I spat.
He frowned at me momentarily before continuing. “Are you really sure it is wise to marry off the future Queen? I think we should look into the proposal in more detail...”
“Silence!” I growled, glaring at him. “I AM YOUR KING. She is the PRINCESS. Do not question my orders. Get out of my sight!”
A disgusted look flashed through the old man’s eyes as he bowed his head and rushed away. I ground my teeth together as I watched him retreat. Maybe he’ll have to have an unfortunate accident that removes him from his seat in the council. A cruel smile worked its way onto my face. Yes, an unfortunate accident indeed.
“My King, the ambassador is returning to Oryn.” A guard informed me.
I grinned. Soon, King Rowan would come to take her away from me. “Perfect.”
“My King, what would you have done with the trials scheduled for today?” He pressed on.
“I’m feeling generous, no beheadings today.” I started, watching the guard’s face morph into a surprised look. “Just remove their right hands.”
The guard looked at me in horror as I dismissed him. My cackling filled the hall. This was the life. I am the most powerful man in this country, and nobody will take that from me. Never.