Castle Of Lilies

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Chapter 22

Soraya's PoV

The dagger Lillia's holding is delicate and small with the handle encrusted with blood red rubies, that perfectly match her dress and currently her eyes. Worried for the man's life I quickly step in between the two of them so the dagger is pointed at me. Lillia lowers it slightly at the sight of me, before taking a breath and putting it back in her belt. Her eyes still red I beckon for her to go outside with me and she does but not before a glare at the poor man. Once outside I whisper shout "What on earth? A dagger? Where did you even get that? And why are you threatening that poor defenceless man with it?"

She whisper shouts back "That man isn't poor or defenceless. He's raped countless maids and butlers, he hits them all and he works them too hard. I'd hardly call that poor. Or defenceless. Or undeserving. And I got my dagger from my mother. If you must know."

Sighing I realise she wasn't without reason so I say gently "Ok. I understand now why you're angry with him, I am too. However I still don't think threatening him with a dagger will help."

She shakes her head before saying calmer that before "Fine. Maybe he can just lose his job and be banned from the like kingdom then."

I nod my head in approval as she goes to the door and calls him out.

As we escort him upstairs to see Lola and Leon I notice Lillia's eyes are still blood red, and make a note to ask why they were red in the first place.

Lillia's PoV

I can feel Soraya's eyes on me, probably wondering why my own eyes are blood red. But right now I don't want to tell her so I ignore her, focusing on the man in front of me and telling Lola and Leon what he's done.

We emerge from the kitchens and see Genevieve, Penelope and Alex stood in front of Lola and Leon. Needing a hug I run to Alex and straight into his arms. He frowns upon seeing my eyes and I quickly turn to Leon so he doesn't think too much of it.

"Lillia. Why have you brought the slave master up to us?" Leon asks.

Taking a breath I say as calmly as possible "He works them all too hard. He hits them if they don't do something right and he rapes them. I saw it with my own eyes. And I have victims who are willing to testify."

Lola's eyes widen at my declaration before she says "Well what do you think his punishment should be?"

"I believe this man for his crimes should be banned from the castle, banned from the kingdom and should leave immediately."

Lola looks perplexed before saying "Not death?"

"I don't believe in violence unless necessary. And I think this man won't do any of those things ever again so he should have his life to amend those mistakes."

Alex smiles at me, as Leon says "Very well. Guards escort this man out of the kingdom."

The guards take him away and I breathe deeply glad he's out of my sight. Then I remember Annabelle and am immediately heading back towards the stairs when I see Annabelle herself running up them. She runs into my arms, shaking and sobbing, whispering "Thank you." Over and over again.

I turn us around to face Alex and say apologetically "Sorry, I realise I interrupted something."

Alex replies with a smile on his face "No no. We were just discussing whether me and Gen should stay for a while."

"I believe that would be alright." Leon says.

Genevieve's PoV

I watch as a maid comes running into Lillia's arms. Like they were family. Me and Dad are staying a while to get time without mother, some father daughter time. Plus I think Dad is sick of her. I know I am. This whole time she's been saying how we need to get ready for the wedding, we need to decide what cake we want, what type of dress. But I don't want to. Not yet, I mean it's been not barely week since I agreed to the engagement for me to get over Lillia.

So me and dad decided to stay. Mother will go back to Loutocia to rule and deal with stuff while we get a vacation of sorts from her.

Zachary's been being nicer recently. He gave me flowers the other day, and he bought my favourite chocolates. He's less pushy, he gives me options now. So I guess he isn't all bad. His touch is less clammy and more soft and gentle now. I'm not sure what's changed, him or me. Maybe I've changed because I've got used to him, so I don't fight him at every touch anymore. Or maybe he's decided to take it slow with me, earn my trust. Who knows. All I know is that maybe we've both changed. Or just one of us. But something has.

We see mother off and then, arms linked, we head to the gardens to do something we haven't done in a very very long time, play a game of checkers.

Dad wins. As always. And I laugh at his childish ways, sticking his tongue out at me to say that I'm the loser. We spend the day playing stupid games and chatting about nothing, and for the first time in a long time, I enjoy my day.

At the end of the day I go back to my rooms to find a note on my door that says:

Meet me in the gardens. Please.

Z x

P.s come in whatever you're wearing, you'll look beautiful as you are. X

I smile at his comment before turning around and heading to the gardens. As I reach them I gasp at what he's done.

The archway entrance is covered in fairy lights, and the path is lit by tea lights that flicker in the moonlight. In the archway there's a single daisy laid next to a folded note with the letter G on it. I pick up the daisy, tucking it behind my ear. Reading the note I find that along the path there are things for me to find. But it doesn't say what they are.

I set off along the path, quickly finding out what Zachary meant by there were things to find. I pick up the neatly wrapped box, and deliberate whether to open it now or carry it. I decide to carry it for now unless I end up with too many to carry, then I'll open some. As I walk I find various sized boxes that I carry. Eventually when I'm nearly overrun with boxes I see Zachary stood in a black jeans, a fitted blue top and a grey hoodie.

He comes up to me, taking the boxes about to topple from my hands and leading the way to the massive oak tree in the middle of a little patch of grass. The tree itself is covered in fairy lights. Thousands of warm white fairy lights. All twinkling. Then I see the picnic that Zachary has laid out underneath it. Multiple baskets of food and drink sat to one side. He places the boxes on the blanket and I put mine down too.

"Can I open them?" I ask.

He laughs saying "You were meant to open them on the way."


Awkwardly I sit down, crossing my legs. Then I take one of the boxes, a small blue one with a deep blue ribbon. Lifting the lid I find an adorable jewelled bracelet, the emerald stones sparkling in the lights. The next present is a delicate emerald necklace that matches the bracelet. And the next one a pair of earrings that unsurprisingly match. The last present is bigger than the rest, wrapped in a red box with a white ribbon. Before I open it Zachary says "No! Don't open that one yet. I'll tell you when you can. If you don't mind."

I place it down and then he says, sounding nervous "Do you want food?"

I nod my head and he says with a flourish "We have Loutocian, Bamberallian, Sasveropian or Jackotian. What takes your fancy?"

"Loutocian please." I reply, and he starts to unpack the larger of the picnic baskets.

He pulls out pies stuffed with mince beef and mashed potatoes, cherry pie, cream and a bottle of champagne. I look at the champagne curiously but Zachary says "Don't worry I got permission from your dad for you to have three glasses at the maximum."

"Wait. My dad agreed to this? So that's why he distracted me for the day?"

"Well. Not quite, he wanted to have an excuse to do all those things with you and I gave him the excuse." He explains, waving his hands around to emphasise his point, which makes me giggle.

"Your giggle is really cute." He says softly out of the blue. I look down smiling slightly.

We eat in silence, neither of us really knowing what to say.

"Why were you such an ass to Lillia when we first met?" I ask.

He freezes, a fork full of food inches away from his face. He puts the fork down onto his plate before clearing his throat.

"I was an ass to her when we first met because my intention was to marry you. You were the one I wanted. And when I saw you were in a relationship I immediately disliked her because you were with her."

I nod slowly, accepting his explanation.

We eat pie before sitting staring at the stars. After laying there for some time Zachary suddenly goes,

"You're other presents."

Then he gets up and so I sit up, excited to see what they are. He pulls a small green velvet box out of his hoodie pocket and getting down on one knee says, his brown eyes staring into mine, "I know my proposal was unexpected and that when I first proposed you barely knew me. And I'm hoping now after tonight and these last few weeks that you've got to know me better and can make a better judgement of me. Before you decide I want you to know that I Zachary have fallen head over heels for you. For your sceptical views of me and your hair and your eyes and your laugh. I promise to always care and love you and to always protect you. I promise to be as your King, loyal, kind, patient and honest. So Princess Genevieve Of Loutocia, will you marry me?"

He opens the little box to reveal a beautifully delicate gold band with a diamond in the middle and two small emeralds set to the side.

"Yes." I find myself saying, "Yes I will."

He smiles before sliding the ring into my finger and as I admire it I don't notice as he unwraps the last present and opens the box.

I look down to see a stunning golden crown with the base band completely encrusted with emeralds.

I laugh "I have a full set."

He laughs too "I guess you do."

We pack up all the stuff, making sure I'm wearing everything I've been given including my engagement ring. Zac escorts me inside and to my rooms, and as I open my door he says "I have a spare bedroom if you want it."

"Good night Zac." I reply, giving him a kiss on the cheek.

He turns and walks away, a slight spring in his step. I change into my bed clothes and curl up on my bed with a smile on my face, admiring my ring.

Just as I'm about to fall asleep, I hear a gentle knock on my door. I get up and answer it to see Zac stood there. Rubbing my eyes I say sleepily "What?"

"I forgot to give you this." He says a small smile on his face. Then he presses his warm lips gently to mine, his hands cupping my face. Then he presses another kiss to my forehead saying "Goodnight Genevieve."

Before walking back down the corridor and rounding the corner. I smile, pressing my fingers to my lips, where his were before climbing back into bed and falling asleep smiling.

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