When I left for Parna with Ash, Connie, and my brother, I knew that I would not be able to spend all three days with them. But to be called back to the palace the next morning killed me inside.
I wanted more time with her. I wanted to spend every waking moment with her. But I knew that if I didn’t go back and finalize this charter, it would lead to another war.
I stood on the top of the house with Ash as I waited for the shuttle to arrive.
“Come see me when you return to the palace. It will be the only thing I have to look forward to.”
“I will. We should be back by tomorrow night.”
“Very well,” I said and looked up at the sound of my shuttle approaching.
I let out a breath and shut my eyes, “Enjoy the rest of your time here.”
“I will,” She said and rose up on her toes to give me a kiss.
When the shuttle landed and the doors opened, I stepped in and turned to look at Ash.
She raised her hand in a wave and I smiled to her as the doors closed.
Once I was back at the palace, I made my way to my bedroom. I was back now, so I had to be the king again. I needed to change into my formal clothes, and the gold band had to return to my head.
I am the king, once again.
Once I looked the part, I made my way to my office. As I entered, I found Lord Savnor standing by the window, waiting for me.
“Lord Savnor,” I said as I stepped around my desk to my chair, “What are you doing here?”
“I came to speak to you in private, my king. I know that the last meeting did not go well, but I need you to hear my reasons for changing the charter-”
“Lord Savnor,” I cut him off, “Anything you want to say about this charter can be said in front of the others. It is only fair they are given the chance to argue against the changes you submit. We will meet in the diplomacy hall in one hour and we can discuss it there.”
“I said an hour, Lord Savnor. That means an hour.”
He glared at me for a moment and spun in a huff and stormed out of the office. I rolled my eyes and let out a sigh, this will all be over in a week. Just one more week and I don’t have to think of it again for ten years.
When my guard came to me to tell me the other fathers were ready in the diplomacy hall, I stood and left my office. As I approached the door I saw Rein standing not too far away. I went over to him, “Did anything I should know about happen while I was away?”
“No my king. It was quiet.”
I stared at him for a moment. His eyes remained to the ground as he stood stiff.
“Rein, how is my daughter?”
He looked at me, “I didn’t... She’s fine. . . I think she’s fine, I don’t-”
I chuckled. “So she is fine then?”
He let out a sigh and looked away again, “Yes my king, she is fine.”
“Good,” I said and turned to walk away. I stopped, thinking of Ash, and how I felt when I thought I wasn’t good enough for her. I turned back to Rein, “You are relieved of your duties for the rest of the day. I will be stuck in a meeting with the other fathers at least until sundown. Stuck in a room, in the corner of the palace with only one window looking out at the side garden. I believe Laylar returns from the scholars at noon,” I said and walked away without looking back.
“Thank you, my king,” I heard Rein whisper before his heavy boots ran out of the hall.
I smiled to myself as I entered the diplomacy hall. The other fathers all stood as I stepped in and lowered their heads.
“Good morning,” I said and went to my place at the head of the table, “shall we begin?”
As soon as my words were finished, they started shouting over each other at me. I let out a long sigh and sat down.
When my stomach felt like it would eat me from the inside, I decided to call an end to this screaming contest and go in search of food, silence, and sanity.
I entered the kitchen and smiled at the cooks, all busy with making dinner. The large wooden doors stood open, looking out at a secluded part of the garden.
“How long until dinner is ready?” I asked the room.
“Only a few minutes, my king.”
I nodded and went to the doors. I leaned against the frame and looked up at the sky, what I wouldn’t do to see her again right now.
Laylar’s voice carried to me and I pushed off and made my way towards the sound. I turned the corner and spotted Laylar and Rein standing behind a short stone wall. I stopped and backed up to hide behind the wall of the kitchen.
They stood facing each other as they spoke quietly. I couldn’t see Rein’s face, but I could see the way my daughter looked at him.
That is love she has in her eyes for him.
Rein said something and Laylar laughed, tucking a strand of hair behind her ear. When she looked up at him again, I saw a look in her eyes I recognized.
Rein stepped closer to her and as he was about to kiss her, I stepped out from behind the wall, “Laylar. There you are,” I said in a light tone. Rein jumped away from her, almost tripping over his own feet as Laylar tried to hide her blush.
“Hello father,” she said with a smile.
“Dinner will be ready soon, will you join me?”
She glanced over at Rein for a second then nodded, “Of course.”
She came to walk next to me, her head hung low as she twisted her fingers nervously in front of her.
She is worried about what I will say. What I will do to Rein.
She didn’t say anything as we walked through the kitchen and out into a long hall.
My mind was still not made about the boy. He had a good heart, he was loyal, and I could see that he cared about my daughter, but hundreds of years of tradition is hard to go against.