It was mid afternoon on a summer day, where the wind softly rustle the trees at the courtyard. The soft murmur of people passing by the King of Iuswea's private study could be heard in the room.
"How about the Prince of Talverton Republic, Your Majesty?"
A tall, willowy figure of a woman tapped one of the many paintings laid out on the long mahogany table. Her stormy blue eyes were calculating, as if she already knew how the conversation will end. Her pixie cut hair burn like a fire under the sunlight spilling through the window.
King Dmitri Maxwell shifted position from his chair. His gaze landed on the portrait of Prince Alucard Holloway. The Prince has an angular face, striking pair of hazel orbs surrounded with long lashes, thick eyebrows and full pink lips. He had a smirk on his lips, however, it managed to blend together with his elegant aura. He wasn't sure if the credit should go to the painter or the Prince himself, because the portray was beautiful. It captured the subject perfectly, too perfect that he couldn't deny the suffocating aura of the young Prince.
"I would like to hear from the two of you before I make my decision. Sylvia?"
Sylvia Ystonia or also known as the Reaper, is the top advisor, loyal to the King. She is very proud and straightforward person. Originally, she was an orphan adopted by an old couple in a small town outside the city. After the age of six, she entered as a servant to the Lord of that town when her adopted mother became ill and his adopted father's income as a farmer wasn't enough to buy medicine. After she turned eight, with the Lord's permission, she worked as a tavern server twice a month during her rest day as a servant in the manor. At age eighteen, she signed up for the annual competition in their kingdom and no one aside from her adopted parents believed she would succeed. The event is being held for all the citizens of Iuswea to compete at any position or job vacancy in the castle, as everyone has equal standing during the event. She is red and had no title, and if their Kingdom has caste system, her parents who were peasants would have become Serf due to financial problem. Now, she secured the highest position a King could offer to his subject. She is still a red, but with a prestige and wealth her family couldn't even fathom to spend.
"The Prince is better than the others."
King Dmitri chuckled. "Do you agree, Commander in Chief?" He address the other person in the room.
"I would like to ask for your forgiveness Your Majesty since the next thing I will be saying is anything but kind."
Fabian Armstrong commands the entire military of the kingdom. It was his birthright. The Armstrong bloodline swore an oath to always serve and protect the Maxwell since the first King ruled the empire. Out of respect to the throne, he offered his position as Commander in Chief during his coming of age and before he was knighted by the previous King. There were ten participants in total who competed for the position, and it was rather a quick match to end. The Armstrong male descendants are muscled men. They train vigorously at a very young age to prepare to join the army. Their silver locks are their distinct feature as they're the only family in the five Kingdoms who has it. They hold the title of Marquees.
King Dmitri nodded, "Go ahead Commander, I won't hold this against you."
Commander Fabian glimpsed the portrait before speaking with full conviction. "Prince Alucard isn't fit for Princess Olivia. I've seen him in many gatherings, both Talverton and in foreign lands. Even during my expedition, I heard stories about the young Prince. His reputation precedes him. I apologize to King Marcus and Queen Maryam on saying such unkind things but the Prince is nothing like his parents. Prince Alucard looks up to the late King Anthony." He scowled. "The Princess will have a hard life."
Sylvia cut in. "Aren't those bias opinion over the Prince, Commander?"
Commander Fabian inhaled sharply, "Bias? I'm stating what most of the people in Iuswea knows."
"I suggest you have to back up your claims about the Prince with some evidence Commander. If not, they will only be considered as malicious opinion." Sylvia strolled around the room. Eyes focused on the portrays of the Princes.
The Commander's face turned red. It was no secret the Prince of Talverton has a rather eerie similarities to his grandfather, but only people who have interacted with the Prince could justify his claims. He knew that King Dmitri is aware, however the King remained silent as he listened to them.
Sylvia stopped beside the Commander and directly stared at him. "Let's pretend you are right-"
"You know I'm right." The Commander emphasized.
The Reaper shrugged but continued, "Let's pretend you're right that this Prince isn't suitable for the Princess. Will your infantry be able to fight a war for three years and win? Will our kingdom be able to feed all its people during the war? Can you guarantee that the piles of body left after the war will get a proper burial? Will your oath be enough to guarantee that the King and his family will remain unscathed after it? And let's say your answer will be yes, will Iuswea be able to rise again?"
The Commander knuckle turned white as he gripped his sword. Sylvia Ystonia is indeed a heartless woman. He dislikes her principle but respected her as an advisor. He couldn't answer because he, himself is uncertain. The image of his wife resurface, his two sons, and two daughters. Then lastly the innocent smile of the red hair Princess. "Princess Olivia-" He mumbled.
"Princess Olivia will turn eighteen soon. She will be fine regardless where she will be, even if it's beside a twenty year old foul behaved Prince Alucard. Although, what's the point of throwing a fit eight years ago for wanting to attend a sword fight class if she will not use it." Sylvia nonchalantly answered. She picked the letter from the King Marcus himself which came with the portrait. A news about Edrachabia Kingdom and Wriondrone Empire private meeting. It was reported by a spy in Edrachabia from the Kingdom of Talverton, which was being used as a token from King Marcus together with a marriage proposal.
King Dmitri glanced at the letter his advisor is holding. Each words clear in his head. King Marcus Holloway is his best friend and he understands his intention. He also send countless of spies in Edrachabia, but the longest one from Iuswea was six months before assuming they were dead when report stopped from coming. Edrachabia is smaller compared to Iuswea but it's formidable. They dabbled on poison and became well versed with it. Assassination is one of their many abilities. Since they were across the sea, attack from other stand alone kingdom was futile.
"I made my decision." King Dmitri announced. "Sylvia, bring to me the portrait of Princess Olivia. The most recent you could find."
As if expecting the order, Sylvia produced the said portray. "Here it is Your Grace. This was painted when the Princess was eleven years of age. After this one, the Princess never let the official painter of the royal family to make a portray for her."
King Dmitri sighed, he was aware how her daughter dismissed painting her portray as a trivial matter. She was keen to do sword practice or horse ridding, things he allowed after the death of his wife to appease his grieving daughter. The things were Princesses should do, she strongly refused to participate in. "That will do, calling a royal painter without assurance that the Princess will agree is for naught. Besides, my dear old friend Marcus doesn't think I will easily hand over my only daughter." He started writing a letter to his best friend. "Commander, take the scroll and this letter. You know what to do with this."
Commander Fabian bowed his head as he reached for the items, "Rest assured Your Grace, it will reach Talverton Republic to King Marcus himself after three days."
King Dmitri nodded and watched the retreating figure of his Commander. When the door closed, his gazed moved to Sylvia who was waiting for his order. "Move all the portrays in the archive of the castle's library under each kingdoms history."
Sylvia started to gather the scrolls, "How about this portray of the seventh Prince of Edrachabia, Your Grace?" She raised the portray of handsome young man. The Prince has green eyes, defined jaw line, and a noticeable cleft chin. His eyes were calm and has an easy smile, something surprising from a spiteful Kingdom. It came as a surprise when he received the offer from them.
"Keep it in restriction area of the library. Tell the scholar that only with my permission can someone access it."