Crucible Vows

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Chapter 31

I spent the next few days within the castle of Nythstaesi. Arlen didn’t really allow for an opportunity to leave the palace grounds. I spent much of my free time reading and learning anything I could to help benefit my Kingdom. And most of the time, Arlen stayed close by. He insisted that it was needed for us to prepare our wedding. I didn’t want it. So, when I was able to be free of him, I learned what I could to prevent the wedding from happening. Most things I found, he would have some sort of counter that would serve to benefit him and his plan. I had to find something that he couldn’t find a loophole around.

After hours of having my nose in a book, I finally found something that would benefit my situation. The Law of Agents. It was hardly ever talked about because of how infrequent the use was. And with my tutors, parents, and advisors gone, I had to find it for myself. The Law of Agents was a law set for times of turmoil in the country, whether it be a natural disaster or an attack that left us vulnerable. My ancestors had set this up to prevent unlawful rule over the land if the royal family was killed. It passed down rule of the Kingdom to the next successor in line. Because I was still living, I would be the next to rule. It also mean that I had the authorities and powers to choose what happened next in the Kingdom over all else. Anyone who fought against it during the time of disaster was deemed a traitor to the throne and imprisoned and tried for treason. The Royal Advisor to the throne was the only person who could advice or speak against the one with authorities.

I had no Royal Advisor. They had all been killed during the attack, which meant that the authorities were mine to enact. No one had powers to revoke them. If anyone fought against my will during this time, they were to be imprisoned until further notice. It was time to remove Arlen from his position and start rebuilding Nythstaesi to be the Kingdom of Peace it was meant to represent.

“There you are, Princess Meira.” Arlen greeted me as I walked into my chambers. “Shall we start discussing our wedding? It would be best to get it done as soon as possible.”

“No.” I responded with a glare.

He stopped in his track and remained motionless for a moment. “No... It’s not often I hear you use that word. You were always one who would do as she was asked.”

He wasn’t lying. I was known as a good girl who would follow her parent’s orders. Hardly ever did I actually say ‘no’ to a request from them, or my teachers, or those around me. I didn’t like to say ‘no.’ I always thought that it was important to help if I could. But I changed during my time in Obrenor. I was tired of being helpless. I was done with being used by others for a gain. It was time I stood my ground.

“You and I are not getting married, Arlen.” I was straight forward.

He turned towards me with an expressionless face. “Of course, we’re getting married. I thought I made it clear that I had a plan that would make our Kingdom great again.”

My hand gripped the book that held the Law in it tighter. “Do not call this our Kingdom. It is my Kingdom. I am the one who will help it rebuild. You will not be part of it.”

His eyes narrowed at me. “Is this another one of your laws that you think will help you? You should just give up and accept that this is what’s best.”

“This isn’t just any law.” I responded and pushed the book into his hands. “You’ll see that I have it marked for you to find easily. The Law of Agents give me the authority to enact what I deem important for Nythstaesi after a disaster. You have no authority to go against it. If you try to force me to do anything, I will see to it that you are imprisoned for the rest of your life.”

He glared at me. “This is still because of that human isn’t it?”

“He has nothing to do with this.”

“Of course, he does!” He snapped. “If you didn’t have this little infatuation with him, you’d agree with me and marry me for the good of our people. But your judgement is clouded by him.”

“I wouldn’t agree to marry you even if Luna and I never met.” I countered. “I am doing this because you want to turn Nythstaesi from a peaceful country to a place of war-based living. I will not allow that to happen when my parents did everything in their power to make sure that our people lived in peace.”

“And where did that lead us, Meira?” Arlen exploded. “Your parents didn’t allow for a big enough army to protect against an attack from an enemy country. Their way was flawed and cost us too much.”

I held back a rise of rage, and I felt my pulse in my temple. “My parents were good people, Arlen. They did what they thought was best for my people.”

“And their actions cost the lives of thousands, including their own. They were fools, Meira.” He continued to glare at me. “Have you forgotten that I can end the life of your precious Knight?”

I held back punching him in the nose. “He’s not here. You can’t hurt him. Nonetheless, I am removing you from your position as a Knight and striping your title. Leave my home and never return, otherwise you will face the consequences.”

He gritted his teeth. “You can’t do that.”

I pointed to the book in his hand. “Yes, I can.”

A knock came to the door, and another Knight entered shortly after. “Begging your pardon, Your Highness. But there is a man at the gates. He wishes to speak with you.”

I turned towards the door. “Who?”

“We aren’t certain, Your Highness.” He responded. “But he bares the crest of Obrenor on his shoulder and has a letter with the King of Alovia’s seal on it. He says that he’s acting as King Darien’s messenger.”

Luna. I thought hopefully.

He had followed me back to my Kingdom. Despite the danger, he had come. Maybe there was a chance that we could be together in the end. I didn’t know if he was going to follow or not. And I didn’t blame him if he decided to stay in Alovia. But my heart warmed knowing he was there. I ran to the balcony and looked down towards the gates. In the distance, I saw him waiting. Several Knights prevented him from entering the grounds, but he was there, waiting patiently on Zealot’s back.

I turned back to the messenger. “I will be down to speak with him in just a moment. In the meantime, please wait outside. I need to finish some business with Arlen.”

The Knight bowed and exited the room. I made my way towards the door. Suddenly, my progress was stopped and I heard a hard thud into the ground. I turned around a looked to see that Arlen had taken a dagger and stabbed it into the ground, with some of my skirts caught with it.

“Looks like your Knight is here to rescue you.” He chuckled. “Too bad he won’t get to see you before he dies.”

“You will not harm him, Arlen!” I commanded.

He walked towards the door and paused. “Maybe with him gone, your mind will clear and you’ll see this is what’s best.”

“You can’t hurt him!” I shouted. “I love him!”

He stopped and his eyes seemed to turn red with rage. “You better fall out of love with him quickly. Despite what you think, I do wish to wed a happy princess.”

He pushed the book back in my arms and hastily exited the room before I could stop him. I tried to pull the dagger free, and the door was harshly shut in front of me with a click of a lock. I was trapped. Arlen and I were the only ones who knew about his removal and the Law. Along with Luna being at the gates. I knew he could protect himself, but with Arlen lies, the other Knights could attack him too. I had to get down there as fast as I could.

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