“You what?!” I shoot up out of my chair, startling my Dad. He just stares at me, eyes wide.
Oh yeah, he’s a King.
I furrow my brow and bow my head. “I-I’m sorry, Dad..”
He scowls, “You should be sorry. He’s a responsible young man and you act as though he is straight from He-”
I give him, 'the look'. An expression that says 'I rest my case your honor'.
Dad stops short in his words. “Josie, I need to see you well off. You know how boys are these days and I don’t trust any of them. But his father is a respectable man, worthy of praise. And you’re going to be a queen someday. I need to make sure you are in good hands.”
Just only a few moments ago. I learned of my father engaging me to the Crown Prince of the Hell’s. “But Dad, you know. You know I have always wanted to marry for love, ever since Mom died when I was ten. Ten years ago she encouraged me in my dream, so why disrespect her wishes?”
Dad nods, “Yes, I know. But Josie,” He looks up at me and leans forward, taking my hand in his. “Your mother, wanted to see you safe. And I do too. The Crown Prince is a good son and respectable man.. And meanwhile we will be uniting two realms. We will finally have peace. Don't you want that?”
I swallow, and don’t respond.
Dad leans back, taking his hands from mine. His face is now stern and firm, like that of a King. “You are marrying him, and that is final. They are visiting the Heaven’s tomorrow, and I expect you to set a good example.”
I scowl, “I thought marriage between a Fallen and a Risen was forbidden, also all my life you told me how cruel and bloodthirsty the Fallen are. I thought the Fallen were forbidden from entering the Heaven’s, like a Risen is forbidden access to the Hell’s?”
Dad tilts his head, bobbing it to the side. “Well yes, but the Council has agreed that it is for the best. They will be the first Fallen to enter the Heaven’s. He points his finger at me, a golden ring glinting off of it. “And with hope and luck, you will be the first Risen to enter the Hell’s.”
I swallow thickly, my lips chapped. “Isn’t there another way to be in peace. A treaty or-”
Dad shakes his head and waves his hand. “Josie, I’m sorry. But you’re twenty years old and need a stable husband, meanwhile we need peace. Maybe you can learn to love each other.”
The look in my Dad’s eyes tells me this conversation is finished. I lower my head in respect to my king and nod solemnly, “Thank you for your time, your Majesty.”
I turn and exit his office, in the corner in a display case. Is a crown, as white as ivory but as strong a steel. My mother once brought me to the crown, she had said, “Josie.. My mother gave me this crown. To wear with a righteous hand and compassionate heart. And soon, I will give it to you.” She rubbed my back and held me close, I was only nine years old. “This kingdom is ours,” she said. “These are your people. You must protect them and love them as I have loved you.”
She showed me the view of the Heaven’s, and all the Risen within it. She had held my shoulder, and looked deep into my eyes. I still remember the pulsing amber of her own. “Remember as a queen, to follow your heart. But bring your mind with you along the way.”
The memory of her brings tears to-my eyes. I miss her so.
I sit on the edge of my bed, my hands folded as Darby twirls around. Enjoying the spacious area.
Meanwhile I’m stuck in the torture of my own demise. “I’m never going to fall in love.”
The second those words come out Darby stops twirling, and gives me a look. “Huh?”
I look at her, “You don’t know?”
Darby just responds with a puzzled look.
I sigh and zone out, “My father is betrothing me to the Crown Prince of the Hell’s.”
The second those words come out Darby’s eyes widen. She launches herself onto my bed, criss-crossing her legs. “Tell me more.”
I sigh again, I’ve been sighing a lot lately. “My father wants to see me settled at the same time form a truce with the Hell’s. So he thinks marriage to the Ruler’s son will be beneficial for both me, him and our kingdom.”
Darby groans and flips onto her back, staring at the ceiling. “You have the best luck.”
I furrow my brow and look over my shoulder at her. “Luck?”
Darby looks at me, her face upside down. “You’re marrying the Fallen Crown Prince,” she flips to her knees and starts counting, holding up fingers. “One, he’s a fucking prince. Two, he’s one of the most powerful Fallen in the Hell’s, even in the royal family. And three, the most important variable. He’s fucking dreamboat hot!”
I roll my eyes. “How would you know?”
She blushes as she flicks her wrist, causing blue and gold magic to swirl into a circle of colorful smoke. Suddenly forming into an augury screen. On the screen is a woman, in a dark suit with dark makeup, silver white hair and dark orange eyes. It’s a reporter, she holds her hands up to a picture beside her head as she speaks, but no noise follows. The picture is of a tan man with dark hair.
I swat at the air and scowl at her. “Darby, you’ve been watching the Demon Daily’s again?”
Darby lowers her head. Blushing.
The Demon Daily’s is a news show in the Hell’s. Key word, Hell’s. The Hell’s is known for its culture mimicking that of the human race. Like cities, cars, cellphones and more importantly TV shows like the news. While the Heaven’s reputation leans more towards a modern fantasy. But to the point, anything associating with the Hell’s is forbidden in the Heaven’s. Like the Demon Daily’s.
“It’s not my fault.” Darby says, spreading her hands out. “I-I just wanted to know more about the Hell’s, next thing you know his face popped up and I became-”
“Let me guess. Utterly infatuated?” I smirk.
Darby scowls at me. “No! Just.. greatly interested..”
I grin, no joy is in it though. “Well lucky for you, tomorrow. The King of the Hell’s and the Crown Prince are visiting the Council, along with his family and our own family.. For my.. engagement.”
Darby’s eyes brighten. “Really?”
I nod, a little solemnly.
She squeals and races out of my bedroom, “Bye, Josie.”
“Hey!” I cup my hands around my mouth, “Where do you think you’re going?”
Darby doesn’t respond, but I already know the answer. She’s going to spend the rest of the day trying to primp herself up to impress the Crown Prince tomorrow.
I almost roll my eyes, she can go ahead and do that. If she takes his attention, then maybe he will help call off the engagement.
Although, from what I hear about the Crown Prince of the Hell’s. I severely doubt it.