Chapter Fourteen, Season One - Trouble (a)
The day has arrived.
It’s the morning of our departure. Within those six months that I spent in this kingdom, I could say I’ve learned a lot. From how their economy thrived for centuries to how the crown manages a kingdom that consisted of partly immortal and partly human inhabitants, everything about this kingdom is interesting to learn about. I was also allowed to watch a few sessions of parliament that were held during our stay and Queen Marta has shown her efficiency when it comes to ruling a kingdom on her own. The crown on her head is worth it.
From what I’ve seen, Queen Marta has been doing everything to make sure that the whole kingdom stays afloat. To rule without her husband is a feat not easily done by previous women monarchs but this kingdom has been ruled by women since the oldest times. Princesses should learn from her.
“Your Majesty, I had a wonderful time in your kingdom,” Mother started as our luggage was being loaded into the carriages.
“Same sentiments as mine, my queen,” Queen Marta bowed her head with a smile. “Ever since my daughter decided to take her time away from court, it’s been a bit lonely here in the castle. To have someone to talk to for a few months has been a blessing.”
“You still have your sons, Your Majesty,” Mother said, walking one step forward. “Surely, they have been keeping you company ever since the princess took her retreat.”
“I wish that were the case, Your Majesty. However, the boys are preoccupied with finding suitable brides for themselves,” Queen Marta explained, closing her fan as she expressed her frustration with her sons. “Their father specifically left in his last will that whoever finds a bride first will be the next ruler of our kingdom. Naturally, as men would do, they would do anything to be beyond the other.”
“Why don’t you come back with us to our kingdom?” Mother offered, holding her right hand. “You will have lots of company, especially with my daughter.”
“Your Majesty, as much as I would want to, I can’t leave the throne unattended,” Queen Marta sighed. “For me to do things for my pleasure, one of my sons must be wearing the crown.”
“I understand, Your Majesty,” Mother nodded. “And when that day happens, let me know so we could have some time together,” she smiled.
They both shared a laugh at the thought of two queens, two former rulers, probably spending time having tea somewhere in one of their castles.
Seeing that my mother and Queen Marta are getting along, I don’t see any reason why Princess Lorain despises her mother. She said her mother is one of the most heartless people she has ever known but right now, she’s nothing but welcoming and a great companion to my mother. An efficient and impressive monarch as well.
One of the servants ran up to us. “Your Majesty,” he bowed in front of them, facing my mother. “Everything is in the carriage, my Lady. You’re all set for the harbor.”
“Thank you, good sir,” Mother slowly nodded. She turned back to Queen Marta, sharing a warm hug.
“I do hope that the next time you return, it would be for the marriage of our children,” Queen Marta smirked.
Mother giggled, “I hope the same as well.” She turned her attention to me, letting go of Queen Marta. “Robert, kindly say your goodbyes to Her Majesty.”
I nodded as I walked forward, my hands behind my back. When I reached Mother, I gave her curtsey and headed to the carriage, two guards assisting her down the stairs.
”Your Majesty,” I bowed before kissing her hand. “Thank you for your hospitality and warm welcome,” I slowly stood up, letting go of her hand.
“It’s all my pleasure, young man. You’ll be part of the family, after all. We shouldn’t be cold to one another,” she smiled, opening her fan again.
“You’ve been very gracious throughout our stay here, Your Majesty. I pray that your kingdom attains more prosperity in the future.”
“That’s very kind and generous of you, young prince,” she giggled.
“Your Highness,” another guard walked over to me, bowing after he called. “Queen Amelia says it’s time to go.”
I nodded. “Kindly have one of the guards lend me a horse. I shall ride on my own,” I instructed.
He rushed down the stairs to do what I asked. I turned back to Queen Marta, bowing once more, “Your Majesty, we’ll be taking our leave.”
She nodded slowly. “May the gods grant you with a safe trip back to your kingdom.”
I gave her one final smile and ran down the stairs. As soon as everyone was ready to go, we started our journey to the harbor. I waved at Queen Marta and Mother did the same, waving a white handkerchief out the window of the carriage.
We’re currently sailing through the Sea of Gliss as I walked around the deck. I didn’t want to stay inside my room and focus on the remaining reports. And it looks like I made the right decision to stay out here.
The sun was high up in the sky but because it’s a bit cloudy today, it’s not that hot. I’ve been enjoying the wind ever since we first crossed the sea but I’m yet to see the water creatures Mother was telling me. Everyone on deck was either doing something or just sitting down and having a chat.
I walked to the front of the ship, watching the water crashing onto the wooden ship as we sailed at an amazing speed. As I was mesmerized by what I’m seeing, I heard Mother’s voice from behind me, causing me to turn.
“Am I interrupting anything, son?” she asked, walking towards me.
“No, Mother,” I smiled, offering my hand out.
She held onto my hand and stood beside me, looking out to the horizon. “Why are you here?”
“Oh, I was watching how the water clashes with the ship. Somehow, it’s… satisfying to see,” I rubbed the back of my neck shyly.
“Have you seen any of the water creatures yet?” she inquired, looking down at the water.
“Unfortunately, no,” I pouted like a child. “I’ve been waiting for them throughout this journey and I haven’t seen one yet.”
“Did you use their calling sounds to attract them?”
“Calling sounds?” I looked at her, confused.
“Didn’t you know that the gods put a calling sound for the creatures in the Sea of Gliss?” Mother asked, baffled.
Stunned, my eyes widened with this sudden information. “You never mentioned that there’s a calling sound for me to do to summon those creatures.”
“Oh, my apologies, dear one. I thought you already knew,” she stated, rubbing my arms. “How about I call them for you?” she offered, smiling at me.
“Can you show me how you call them?”
She stepped forward, moving me to the side as she fixed her dress. She cleared her throat and started singing out her vocals into the sea. It wasn’t ordinary singing, yodeling or humming, she was singing like the nymphs of this realm. The nymphs have their language and only a few immortals were knowledgeable of it. Mother spent some time with the elder nymphs and studied their culture which served her well. I could see some kind of magic affected the waves as she continued to call out to the creatures.
After a few melodies, I noticed that something was coming out from the water. A creature finally owed itself: a blue, humongous fish with a spiral horn in front, majestic in color. It wasn’t alone. It appeared with a few friends, same in color but they differ in horns. Some have crooked horns, some spiral and some have straight ones.
“What are those, Mother?” I pointed. Before she could answer, more and more animals began to appear from the water. There are mem-sized fished with no fins but powerful tails, taking turns as they jump out of the water as if they were playing with us. Two giant fishes showed only the top of their heads and their eyes above water, swimming beside the ship.
“These animals weren’t specifically named because of their history,” Mother finally replied after she let me enjoy the show for a few minutes. “These animals were once ancient guardians but were punished for betraying the ancient gods of this realm. Now, they’re to inhabit the waters for all eternity.”
“Your Majesty,” a voice interrupted our conversation, making us turn around. It was the captain of the ship. He bowed before proceeding, “We’ve received reports that pirates are blocking the way back to the Western Wind. They’ve been there ever since they missed our ship.”
Mother looked at me, worried.
I held her hand and looked at the captain, determined to find a solution. “Is there another way for us to take to avoid the pirates?”