Chapter Eight, Season One - Visited (c)
“Have the servants prepare five more seats on the dining table. The lords will be joining us tonight,” he instructed.
“As you wish, Your Majesty,” Gonzalo bowed.
“Also, kindly bring them to the accepting room as they wait. I would like to have a moment alone with Robert,” he added.
“Certainly,” Gonzalo bowed for the last one. He walked towards the lords, “Gentlemen?” he gestured to the door.
They all nodded and bowed to James before leaving, “Your Majesty.”
As the door shut tight, I started, “What is it that you wanted to tell me?”
“Have a seat, Robert,” James said as he sat down.
I let out a sigh and sat on the chair by the left side of his table.
“I already went through all the reports that you handled for me,” he began the conversation, looking at different reports scattered on his table. “I’m quite impressed with what you’re currently doing. I’ve sent more reports to your study and I trust that you’ll cater to them as soon as possible.”
“You can count on it, James,” I replied, crossing my legs and putting my hands on them. “Most of my time is focused on handling those reports.”
“Although, there is one report that you’ve sent back,” his tone suddenly changed as he grabbed another report. “That I think you might have missed something. I need you to take a second look at it,” he handed over the report that he was talking about.
As the report landed on my hand, I let out an expression of confusion? How could I ever miss something? I always do five reviews on a report before deciding to send it back to his table.
I opened the report and started to read it. It was the report about an orphanage that we’re closely monitoring. They were asking for additional monetary support because more and more children are arriving at their doorstep.
I approved their request because the last thing I want to happen is to see children struggle. After all, no one can support them financially.
“I don’t understand why you said I missed something,” I looked back at him, closing the report. “Everything about this report is reasonable and I approved it. There’s no need for another look.”
“Robert,” he let out a sigh. “We can’t just approve all requests for monetary support. So far, you’ve approved about twenty monetary support requests from our people. We still need to think of ourselves.”
“Think of ourselves when there are people who require help?” I replied, confused.
“Robert, maintaining the castle and everyone living inside of it doesn’t come cheap,” he replied. “Money doesn’t grow on trees, we work hard for it.”
“We’re working hard for money?” I raised my eyebrows. “Let me remind you, James, that the money you use to support this family and what keeps the economy of our kingdom afloat comes from our people who are the ones who work hard for money,” I continued. “The money that we used in feeding the people here and having random construction around the kingdom are the people’s taxes, which technically, they’re the ones who are feeding us,” I’m not allowing him to reason out. He wants the children in the orphanage to starve to death?
“They’re able to feed themselves because I allow trade in this kingdom,” he snarled.
“And without the people in the trading business, you wouldn’t even have money to collect from trade,” I snapped.
His nose started to flare, his lips in a firm line. He began tapping his desk and I could tell he’s starting to get frustrated with my reasoning.
“I may not be king yet, James,” I moved closer to him. “But without those financial requests that I approved, you wouldn’t be king right now and you would’ve already lost a lot of money in the past months. You should be thanking me for keeping you in your chair.”
He laid his back on his chair, showing a sign of defeat. He has no right to be angry about this. We’re talking about our people, the people who put him on the throne. He was the one who said that to stay in power, we must give them our favors. That’s what I’m doing for him and he doesn’t want it?
I put the report back on his desk, standing up. “This report is good to go. If you don’t want to listen to my advice then I suggest you prepare yourself from the outrage you’ll receive from the orphanage,” I remarked. “And if that news gets out, I pray that the people of this kingdom would still love and understand you.”
I walked away from the conversation and his study, leaving the conversation on that note and in that tone. As a royal, you must never forget what’s important: the ones you must protect which are your people. If he decides to put his pride first, I have no fault in it.
Currently in my study, going through the reports that are on my desk. This day did not end well but what do I expect? Aside from my impossible relationship with James, my current situation with Laura suddenly crossed my mind, which made me stop reading the current report in front of me.
Laura… what I did to her this afternoon was just… disgusting. I do hope she will forgive me. What can I do to tell her that I’m sorry? I turned to the table by the window, seeing that there’s a pen with a paper beside it.
Could a letter help resolve some of the pain I’ve caused between us?
Why am I even too troubled by this? We just met and yet, she has this sort of impact on me. What I did to her shouldn’t even matter to me at all. But why do I feel this way?
I continued to contemplate what I should do. Finish my reports or spend more time to think of an acceptable letter to apologize for my actions back there? My focus switched my stacked reports and back to the table by the window.
My mind told me to keep reading, to finish the reports first. As the prince of the Western Wind, my duties as heir must come first. But my heart says otherwise. I was raised to be a good person, to admit when I’m at fault, and to apologize for any wrong-doing I’ve done.
Duty? Or being a compassionate being?
A sudden knock interrupted my deep thoughts. “Who is it?”
The door opened and Gonzalo entered, carrying a tray with my food. “Here is your dinner as requested, Your Highness.”
“Thank you, Gonzalo. Put it on that table, please,” I pointed to the table by the window.
He nodded and carefully put the tray down. He then walked back to me, “Also, Your Highness, His Royal Majesty would like for me to tell you something.”
Hearing that James has another thing for me to hear makes me want to burn every report right now on this table. Just because I told him what he needed to hear, he can’t face me personally to tell me something?
Is this the effort that my mother, my sister, and Nana Olsa was telling me to think about?
“What is it this time?” I asked, letting out a tone of frustration as I looked up to Gonzalo.
“His Royal Majesty would like to retrieve all the reports on your desk right now,” he began. “He said he will not be assigning any financial reports on you starting tomorrow. I’ll have some of his servants to fetch the reports.”
I sighed, shaking my head, my lips in a tight line. I glanced over the pile of reports to my left. “If he says so,” I closed the report that I was currently reading, putting it onto the pile of unfinished reports. “Here are the ones that are finished. You can tell him that he can make revisions to it if he wants to,” I instructed, preparing the finished pile on my right.
“Understood, young prince,” he nodded. “Is there anything else that you would like to have me bring for you?”
I glanced once more at the paper and pen by the table across me. “I’ll be writing a letter while I have my supper,” I started. “I will call for you once I’m finished. I would like for you to have the messenger send it to a bakery in the Mortal Realm. The bakery is named Winston’s Bakery.”
“Bakery in the Mortal Realm?” Gonzalo asked, tilting his head to the side. “Did they do something to upset you, Your Highness?”
“No, everyone in that bakery was lovely people,” I defended. “I just need to write a letter to a friend that I made there. The letter must be delivered tonight.”
“As you wish, Your Highness,” he nodded quickly. “I’ll have the messenger prepare himself after dinner.”
“And also,” I walked towards him, my hands behind me. “I would like to have this to be just between the two of us, Gonzalo. The king doesn’t have to know about this. Tell the messenger the exact thing as well.”
“Is that a good idea, Your Highness?” Gonzalo asked. “Because if the king finds out that we’re doing something behind his back, punishment is unimaginable.”
I began to stare at him, trying to show him that’s beginning to annoy me once more. I thought I made my point clear: I need to have some things kept from James’ knowledge.
“Gonzalo, what did I tell you before I had my lunch?”
He started to think carefully. After a few seconds, he finally realized what I was talking about and simply nodded.
“The king will not find out anything if you keep your mouths shut,” I remarked. “Also, he won’t suspect a thing if you act just the way you act when you’re told to do a certain task.”
“Yes, Your Highness. I understand,” he kept his head low.
“Good,” I replied. “You may leave for the moment. I would like to have a quiet dinner on my own and I need to write a letter.
He bowed and left the room without saying a word.
I headed to the table, sitting down as I began to prepare dinner for myself. Fish, a few muscles, and vegetables, accompanied with a bowl of soup and a glass of wine. What a beautiful meal. I stared at it for a while and began to eat.
An hour has passed, I’ve finished my meal and I also have written my letter to Laura. I decided to read it again, just to make sure I don’t cause any kind of confusion.
I would like to apologize for the way I treated you this afternoon.
I admit that I was hostile to you and I ended our day and our time together in the worst possible tone ever.
I don’t want you to think that I don’t care about your feelings. You don’t know how much I’ve been regretting what I’ve done to you.
I would love to see you again. But if you don’t feel the same way, I will respect that.
I will wait for your response. I will be leaving a special item with this letter. If you plan to reply, wrap your letter with the item I’ll be including inside and burn it together.
You may think that it’s an unusual way to send a letter… but you have to trust me.
I folded the letter into three parts and put it inside a small, elongated wooden box. Before closing it, I closed my hand into a fist and enchanted a simple spell into it. As I opened my hand, a blue, sparkling leaf appeared and I quickly put it in the box.
I rang the service bell for Gonzalo as I tied the box with a simple box. I planted a small kiss on the box, which left me shocked. It’s as if my body’s moving without my permission again.
The door opened and Gonzalo entered. “Your Highness,” he bowed in front of me.
“Gonzalo, thank you for being here in an instant,” I then handed over the box. “In this box is my letter. You know what to do.”
“Yes, Your Highness. I’ve already informed the messenger and instructed him what you told me,” he nodded.
“Very well, you may go.”
He caught sight of the soiled plates and utensils from my supper. “Should I bring those down as well, Your Highness?”
I turned to the table and back to him again. “There’s no need, Gonzalo. I’ll send it down by myself through the dumb-waiter. This letter is your priority for me tonight.”
“I’ll be on my way immediately.” And with a quick bow, he left my room in haste. I began to pray to all the gods and high immortals, hoping that Laura would reply to my letter. Even if her reply is to push me away, I don’t care.
I need to know her thoughts.