Red and White

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1

Malia was seated on the windowsill in her room. Her laptop was turned on and placed on her bed, tuned into the news channel--blabbing on and on about the peace treaty.

The treaty that would change her life forever. Malia shuddered as she pulled her knees to her chest. To say she was nervous was an understatement. She was terrified.

As the two Kings shake hands, the deal is done. Our beloved Princess Malia shall be wed in a few months to the ruler of the Red Kingdom, King Raiden.

Malia glanced over at the blue laptop. There was a round man on the screen talking away about her engagement. His thick mustache dancing as he continued to speak. Her father and the Red King were waving to the crowd, now done with their handshake. Malia saw her older brother standing to the side, observing the sealed fate of his little sister.

The princess shall soon be revealed to the world again in a few days, but her highness shall meet her fiance later today. Sources say he’s excited, but we can’t help but feel worried for our princess. We all know how the Red is, and they’re a stark contrast to our kind. How their relationship will work is definitely a mystery.

Malia sighed. She, too, wondered how she’d get along with King Raiden. She knew a bit about him, and he knew scarce information about her. Malia was only shown once to the public, but that was when she was a baby. Her mother had died at childbirth, and her father didn’t want Malia to be in any danger. He’d lost the love of his life; he didn’t want to lose his daughter too. That’s how he concluded that confining her to the castle was the right choice. It has been twenty-three years since she’d been allowed outside. The only outdoor place she was allowed to go to was the castle gardens.

It was a bit cliche like that book, Rapunzel, except Malia had been locked up for longer. Unlike her, Malia’s older brother, Javion, was allowed to roam free in the Kingdom.

Her father’s simple response to the unjust rule was, “He’s the heir. The Kingdom needs to be acquainted with him.”

In all honesty, Malia knew her father was looking out for her, but he was really pushing it. He had been for years.

Malia heard a knock on her door and asked, “Who’s there?”

“It’s me, M!” This language would be considered inappropriate when addressing royalty, but Malia could recognize that voice anywhere.

“Come in, Anna,” The princess responded, and the maid bustled into the room.

The petite lady rolled in the cart of food she was pushing next to Malia, “Here’s your lunch,” she absentmindedly told her.

Anna’s focus was fixated somewhere else, specifically on the laptop still on the news channel. The lady-in-waiting sat on the edge of the bed and placed the laptop right in front of her.

“Can you believe it! You’re engaged!” Anna celebrated, oblivious to Malia’s discomfort.

“Yeah, I just... I’m scared,” Malia resided in her closest friend, and Anna halted in her jubilee and studied Malia. The princess was an open book, her feelings out on display.

The young woman had tears welling in her eyes, and her arms were wrapped around herself as if she could hold off reality.

“Oh, M, I’m sorry. I thought you would be excited to finally leave.”

“I am, but not like this. I’m basically compensation for the happiness of others.”

Anna pried Malia’s hands that were gripping her body and took the princess’s hands in hers. “Look, if you’re going, then so am I. There’s nothing here for me anyway.”

Anna was an orphan, her father died in battle, and her mother, ridden with grief, committed suicide, leaving an eight-year-old girl to face the world alone.

“I can’t let you do that. Either way, you’re not authorized to head over to the Red Kingdom.” Anna rolled her eyes.

“Did you really think I’d let my best friend head over to enemy territory alone? Have a little faith. I got to speak with the King two days ago, and the paperwork is processing as we speak.” Malia’s eyes widened as the maid explained.

“But you have a life here. What about Jack?”

The brunette snorted, “I’ve been trying to break up with Jack all month; you of all people should know that.”

Malia nodded, wiping the remnants of her tears. “But you know that it’s going to be different, incredibly different. The Reds are literal opposites of our kind. You need to be sure this is really what you want.”

“I’m ready for a new adventure, and this is the perfect opportunity.” Anna grinned, her excitement for the future was contagious, and a little smile emerged on Malia’s face.

Maybe everything wouldn’t be so bad after all.

“Anyways, I have to go. Tie some loose ends with Jake and all since we’ll be leaving soon.” Anna started to leave but then peeked back in. “And good luck meeting King Raiden, my fingers are crossed.”

Anna left, closing the door softly behind her, leaving the princess to her thoughts on her engagement.

♛♚♛♚

Raiden felt surprisingly calm for a man who had just become engaged to a woman he’d never seen before. He was laying on his bed in the chambers given to him, courtesy of the White King.

It was two hours after the big debut in the White Kingdom, and right now, Raiden was contemplating his choices.

He twirled the red ruby on his right hand, deep in thought.

Was this the right move?

He knew the war had to end, and if he just signed a peace treaty, his subjects would revolt. They wanted justice for the princess long ago. The only idea he came up with was a wedding between him and the princess.

Is this a terrible idea?

A headache was slowly building, and Raiden massaged his temple. If only he had a distraction. He smiled at the thought, imagining Lady Amaha’s body.

Amaha was the daughter of a Marquess in his Kingdom. The both of them had indulged in countless sleepless nights together. But lately, she’s been wanting more than just a romp in the sheets.

She wanted a relationship.

The word was foreign to the King. He’d never been in one before, but he might as well learn about it as he was to start one with his fiancee.

Before Raiden could delve back into his thoughts, his phone started to ring.

He’d never actually had a phone before now as he’d never needed one, but Raiden just wanted to keep in touch with his family from afar. His younger, eighteen-year-old twin sisters always like to check up on him occasionally.

Raiden brought the phone up so he could see the ID. When it was an unknown number, he was a bit unsure but swiped accept.

“Hello? Who is this?” Whoever who was on the phone must’ve known they were speaking to the King, so he felt no need to introduce himself with his title and whatnot.

“Your highness, I doubt you could’ve forgotten me.” The caller purred, and Raiden smiled.

“Amaha, what a surprise. How did you get my number?”

“Cosima granted it to me.” Raiden wasn’t surprised as Amaha was his younger sister’s best friend. But her twin, Gwyneth, never took a liking to the Lady. Something about her being too willing, and power-thirsty, that rubbed her the wrong way.

“So you called for what reason? You know I’m a very busy man.” Now, that would usually be the truth when he’s in the confines of his own castle, attending to his royal duties, but here, he was idle. And he resented that feeling.

“I just wanted to check in on you. I mean, you just got engaged, your highness.” Even over the phone, Raiden could identify the venom in her tone.

“Well, I’m doing fine, but I don’t think that is any of your concern.” He responded, being quite upfront with the Amaha.

A sigh was heard on the other side of the receiver, and then the Lady spoke once more, “I just wanted to ask about when you come back. Will our—”

She got cut off with the sound of a knock on the King’s door. Raiden knew that whoever knocked was there for an actual reason, and he had to bring this meaningless phone call to an end.

“I’ve got to go. We can chat more when I’ve returned to the Kingdom. Good day, Lady Amaha.” With that, he cut the call.

“Come in,” he answered.

The ornate door clicked open as a manservant walked through the door and stood before Raiden.

“His highness, the King, would like to remind you of your meeting with the princess in an hour.”

Finally, something for Raiden to look forward to. “Thank you. You may leave.” The manservant bowed and left, closing the door behind him.

“One hour,” he murmured under his breath—one hour before he saw his bride.

Raiden arose from his bed and walked to the ensuite bathroom. Starting the shower, he started to get ready for his encounter with the princess.

♛♚♛♚

Malia was a bundle of nerves. She felt like a ticking time bomb waiting to explode. Her lady-in-waiting accompanied by two maids had come in earlier to get her dressed. They worked around the princess to get her fitted into a beautiful silver dress. And yet, she had felt so far away.

Marriage was a giant leap for her alone, but a proper unification between two different colors would be the first in the planet’s history.

The maids and lady-in-waiting were quick to finish prepping Malia. They'd filed out quietly once they’d finished.

Now alone in her room, Malia glanced at herself in the mirror. Her white-silver hair had been put up into a decorative bun, and a bit of make-up had been applied. She was wearing a long-sleeved silver A-line dress that reached her feet. Lastly, she had on a pair of grey heels.

She had opted not to wear her tiara, but the maids refused, saying that her father wanted her to have it on. Being the obedient daughter she is, she let the silver object be placed atop her head.

The reflection that stared back at Malia was a drastic change from her usual attire. Glancing at the door, she tried to settle her nerves, and she inhaled and exhaled before leaving her room.

She bypassed maids and a few people of high standings as she made her way to the dining room. They all gawked at her. Few of them had seen her before because they were regular attendees to the castle for their jobs. All of them had signed to keep the princess’s appearance a secret.

But the vast majority littering the halls had never laid eyes on her. It was their first time entering the palace for matters regarding her engagement or the visiting King.

Either way, it was shocking for everyone as Malia was known to spend most of the time in her bedroom alone. It was out of the question for her to have company that wasn’t Anna or her family.

And with her loner status, her father thought it was a good idea for her to meet King Raiden alone, as they would have time to ‘bond’.

She wasn’t happy that he'd made that decision. The thought of meeting someone new always made her anxious, and meeting her soon-to-be husband without his support made her sick to the stomach.

The princess began to pick up the pace a bit, annoyed that she was the center of attention. Entering the dining hall, she looked around, and to her satisfaction, the King hadn’t made it yet.

That was until the door opened once again behind her.

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