A knock sounded on the door and was followed by a voice that came from one of my guards that stood post outside. “Your highness? The King requests for your presence in the throne room.”
I stood up and smoothed out my blue dress that was now unruly. “Okay! I’ll be there in a few.”
What does my father need me to do? The only time I was to be summoned to the throne room was when he needed me to speak for him in the court, or when he had to give me a mission like going to other kingdoms to make an allegiance. I suppose it was one of those, but I can’t help but feel something bad about this. It was as if my sixth sense was telling me something that I couldn’t put a finger on.
My footsteps echoed throughout the rather empty hallway. It reeked of wood fragrance, which came from the vines that came upon the walls. On every column hung a portrait of the royals that resided in this kingdom, and on the far north, was a gigantic painting of the ruling family, which was us.
Our palace was magical, and I am proud to say that I grew up inside these walls. We had been seen as a powerful kingdom who maintained peace over the others, that’s why we rarely had any wars.
I stopped infront of the huge oak doors that separated me from the throne room. I gave the guards a nod, signaling them to open the doors for me. They did, and I muttered a small ‘thank you’ before going inside.
I was greeted by the same lavish designs that I was used to. Two enormous thrones were placed on the northern side of the room, and behind it hung the green flag of our kingdom, which was Kraekha.
Father sat on the throne, his crown snugly fit on his head. Brother stood beside him, his hands placed on his back as he watched me with his icy gray eyes.
We had been always apart from each other because he was always out, either for war or settling more serious things between other kingdoms. And even if he was here, he rarely acknowledged me, except if father orders him to pass a word.
A lot of people could not say that we are siblings, due to the huge contrasts in our appearances. Whereas he got Mother’s icy gray eyes and curly pale hair, I got my father’s dark and brown hair.
My eyes traveled over to Adam, our general. I tried to fight off the smile that crept on my face when he winked at me. I felt my face heat up, but I quickly brushed it off by a cough.
“Adela, you are late,” Father said.
I bowed to him before going back up and sending him an apologetic smile. “I am sorry, Father. You summoned me here, what for?” I asked.
He sighed before shifting in his throne. His crystal eyes swept over mine with uncertainty and sadness. “Adela, you have come of age where you are required to marry. Your brother learned that the King of Drugailes needs a Queen who can give him an heir to secure the throne.”
“What?” I sucked in a deep breath. I looked over to Adam to see him looking at me with the same bewilderment in his eyes. My heart raced. At some point I expected to be married, but not like this. Not to that cruel thing.
I caught my brother rolling his eyes at me.“You heard Father, Adela. You have no choice than to marry the Tyrant.”
“Shut it Dhayl,” I glared at my brother before diverting my gaze over to Father, “Of all the people you could marry me off, why does it need to be the King of Drugailes? You know his reputation and what he is capable of.”
“I know the consequences, Adela. We already gave the word to the King, and he will arrive the next day to take your hand for marriage.” He spoke with finality in his voice.
No one really knew the name of the King of Drugailes. From his reputation, he was a closed-off, private, and a cruel person. He was the reason why Mother was killed in the first place. A bitter feeling went up to my brain just by thinking about getting married to that monster.
He had one of the worst reputations out there, and everybody steered clear off of him- even we did. I do not know what came over my brother to convince my father to marry me off to some tyrant.
“But father... He is the reason why Mother was killed in the first place. If it was not for him, she would still be alive,” I tried reasoning with him, “He is cruel- a monster even. How could you marry me off to someone like him?”
“We had moved on from your Mother’s death, and you should too. What you are doing is for the sake of this Kingdom. Others are now under his rule and I am afraid that if we don’t do something, then it would be us who would be wiped out from the map,”
I was angry, although it all made sense to me. I can’t help but feel a foreign feeling creep up in my bones just by thinking about him. He was known to be a cold-blooded killer; he was never defeated in war.
“Your majesty, surely we could not marry off our princess to him. You know the rumors and his reputation. Are you not afraid of her highness’ safety?” Adam decided to speak up this time. I gave him a grateful smile.
Dhayl narrowed his eyes over the two of us. It was obvious that he is sensing that something is going on between us, but just couldn’t put his finger on it. “Why?” he asked.
Adam gave him a confused look. “Pardon, your highness?”
“Why did you decide to speak up over this matter? You always agreed on the things that we discussed in the past,” he studied his reaction, “Unless... Something had been going on between the two of you.”
I hid my surprise with a frown. “What? Are you accusing me to be in a relationship with the general? How da-”
“This discussion is over. Dhayl, what you are implying is impossible. You will marry the King of Drugailes, Adela. That is final.”
I exhaled a breath. “Yes, Father.”
I stormed out of the room, not even waiting for him to dismiss me. I was upset. My heart broke just by the thought of ending things with Adam. He had been the best, and I found my self slowly falling for him.
He was the one who entertained me while my Father and Brother were off to do some business. His shoulders were the ones I leaned on when I cried. He was the one who had been with me through thick and thin, and it hurts to think that our relationship was going to end because of the arrangement between me and the King of Drugailes.
“Adela! Wait!” Adam’s voice was heard not far from me. I stopped walking and waited for him.
When he was now infront of me, I just stared at his handsome crestfallen face. I eventually broke into tears, not able to stop it as I cried on his shoulder.
“We could have tried something... Anything,” I sobbed. Adam embraced me in his arms, not caring whether anyone saw us.
“I will find a way. Trust me on this, Adela,” he whispered in my ear, ” I love you. ”
He stared into my eyes, waiting for my response, but when I did not have any, he just kissed me with the same passion we would have over each other, just like the few other nights that we shared together.
I should have said it back, but I just couldn’t. I knew that if I had said it, it would be much harder to let go of him; to forget him. And that thought alone made my heart stop. I was not ready, and I did not know If I ever will be. I was afraid to think of the future... Especially with a tyrant.
“I knew it,” A voice made us break the kiss. Dhayl was standing there, frozen in his place as he looked at us with surprise and shock. Adam held my hand and gripped it tightly. His body was rigid as if he knew what was going to happen.
“Dhayl... Please don’t tell Father,” I pleaded, but little did I know this was far from over.
He nodded, still eyeing the both of us weirdly. I sighed in relief and I came forward to embrace him, but was stopped when a looming figure emerged from the shadows.
" What is the meaning of this?!” Father’s voice boomed throughout the hallway.