He saw Selena sitting in the corner of the bed, curled up and wide awake. He had thought that she would be asleep. He frowned and walked over to the bed and asked, “Why have you not slept yet?”
“I was waiting for you, Your Highness,” said Selena.
Rydon’s eyes widened. He laid beside her on the bed and said, “Lie down and sleep.”
Selena nodded and laid down facing him. Rydon saw her placing her left hand on the bed in front of him while the other hand was under her head and closing her eyes. He slowly lifted his hand and placed it on top of her hand. He noticed her relaxing under his touch and sleeping without any guard. This made him feel both angry and guilty at the same time. He decided that he had to talk to Damian at the earliest.
The next day, when Selena went to the kitchen, she saw Violet making tea with wild carrot seeds. Selena watched her making tea and drinking it with Hazel.
Later that day, Selena went to the concubines’ room and knocked before entering. When she went in, Violet was cleaning the room. “Can we speak, Violet?” asked Selena.
Violet nodded and said, “Yes, Your Highness. Please take a seat.”
Selena nodded and sat on the couch. She asked, “I saw you both drinking tea in the morning. Do you drink it regularly?”
Violet nodded and said, “Yes, Your Highness. We drink it almost every day.”
“Why?” asked Selena in confusion.
Hazel who just came out from the bathroom said, “It is an order from our Master, Your Highness.”
Selena frowned and asked, “His Highness had asked you both to consume the tea made with wild carrot seeds?”
Violet hurriedly said, “No, Your Highness. It is an order from the Master to not bear a child.”
Selena asked, “Order to not bear a child? Why?”
“We do not know, Your Highness,” said Hazel.
Noticing both of them standing, Selena said, “Both of you; sit down.” When they were about to sit on the ground, Selena said, “On the bed.”
They hesitated but still obeyed her. Selena thought for a moment and asked, “Tell me about yourselves. I heard from Brother Damian that both of you were not maids by birth.”
Violet and Hazel looked at each other before Violet said, “Yes, Your Highness. We were not maids by birth; our parents were commoners.”
Hazel said, “We both are first cousins, Your Highness. Our fathers are brothers.”
Selena nodded and asked, “Then how did you become His Highness’ personal maids?”
Violet replied, “It was about 12 years ago, Your Highness. When we were 10 years old, we were playing in our hometown. That day, when we were playing in the farms, a few men kidnapped us and bound us with chains. We were being transported out of our hometown. The path they took to transport us was uneven, and the cart tumbled into the river. Since our hands and legs were bound by the chains, we both were drowning in the river.”
“Master and Her Majesty were passing by our hometown. When they saw us both drowning, Master rescued us from the river and broke the chains that were binding us. Her Majesty ordered the guards to imprison the child traffickers and took us both to our home,” said Hazel.
“When we told our parents about it, they were grateful for us to be alive and safe. Our parents felt indebted to Master and Her Majesty. We felt the same too. Then our parents pleaded Master and Her Majesty to accept us as their maids. Her Majesty allowed us to be Master’s private maids,” said Violet.
“Did you want to be a maid?” asked Selena serenely.
“We did not want to be a maid until we met Master. If it were not for Master, we would not be alive today. We were willing to serve our Master forever, even if it means to be a maid for the rest of our lives,” answered Hazel.
“We still are,” added Violet.
Selena nodded and smiled. She then asked, “Tell me about His Highness.”
“Your Highness?” asked Violet in confusion.
“We do not have the capability to speak about our Master, Your Highness,” said Hazel nervously.
“You both are his concubines; you do have the capability,” said Selena. “I do not know anything about His Highness other than what I have heard from others,” said Selena, which was a partial truth. “Will you tell me what kind of person His Highness is?” asked Selena serenely.
Violet and Hazel hesitated, and when they saw Selena smile, Violet said, “Master treats men and women equally. Master has never looked down on maids and treated maids and servants similarly. Master is over-protective of his family, as Your Highness may have already heard. Master never forces women. Master is kind.”
“Never forces women? Kind?” muttered Selena and then asked, “How did you both become His Highness’ concubine?”
“Master had asked us if we would want to be Master’s concubine,” said Hazel.
Selena frowned and Violet said, “Master gave us a choice and time to decide whether we want to be a concubine or not. Master had told us that our status will rise as a concubine, but our work in the Palace would be the same as usual. Master had also told us that he would not bear any emotional attachment to us, and Master ordered us to not bear any child for him. Master then gave us time to decide.”
“You were satisfied with having a concubine status and not allowed to bear a child?” asked Selena as she frowned.
“No, Your Highness. We never wanted to become a concubine or become a mother. All we wanted was to serve our Master forever, be it as a maid or as a concubine. So, when our Master asked us, we were willing to become his concubine.” Hazel continued, “We are certain that even if we did not want to be his concubine, Master would agree to our decisions magnanimously.”
Violet continued, “Even when we are sick and unhealthy, and when we are on our menses, Master does not force us on the bed and does not let us force ourselves.”
Selena nodded and smiled at them. She then asked curiously, “I noticed that you both were not wearing any jewellery from the day I came here. You both are wearing simple ornaments when the Royal Palace must have sent jewels for the concubines.”
“We do not like wearing heavy ornaments; it disrupts our work,” said Hazel.
“We are not used to wearing jewellery, and we do not desire them. We are satisfied with these ornaments,” said Violet as she gestured at her simple ornaments.
Selena nodded, stood up to leave and said, “It was pleasant talking to you both. We shall talk more regularly.”
Violet and Hazel nodded, and Selena left the room.
The next day, everything was as usual. The Head Maid trained Selena till evening and then decided that there is nothing more to teach or train her. So, she went to Rydon and said, “Your Highness, Her Highness is exceptional in learning. It only took Her Highness five days to learn everything I had to teach.” She bowed and said, “I am not needed here anymore, Your Highness.”
Rydon nodded and said, “Very well. You may take your leave now.”
The Head Maid nodded and left. Before leaving, she glared at the concubines. One of her teachings was that the concubines should prioritise giving birth to children for their Prince. Little did she know that they were forbidden from bearing a child.