Luzena the Mercenary

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Chapter 4 - Wedding

We reached the parlor for the ceremony. Jazer’s uncle and cousins and their families were there too. It felt strange wearing a fancy gown, but it would only be for a short time. Then I’d revert back to my mercenary clothes- dark pants and tunic.

A priest dressed in a long robe and carrying a scepter came in and headed to the front of the parlor. The guests took their seats in the rows of chairs that faced the front.

My head began to spin. I started to wonder if I was really going to go through with this. My palms were sweaty and I felt a little out of breath. Jazer held out a hand so we could walk to the front of the room, but I didn’t take it.

“You seem nervous. Are you okay?” Jazer whispered.

“Yes,” I said hoarsely. “I just need to admire the wedding cake.” I sat down on one of the settees in the corner of the room and stared vacantly at the cake resting on a table.

“Are we ready to begin?” the priest asked.

“Yes, just give us a moment,” Jazer said. He walked over and sat next to me.

“Are you all right?” he whispered.

“If we get married, I might become too attached to this and may miss an opportunity to find my sister,” I said.

“Don’t worry,” Jazer said. “I’ll help you find your sister. I promise.”

I took a deep breath. I looked over and saw that the priest had sat down. The guests were sneaking glances our way, undoubtedly wondering if the marriage was going to take place.

“Okay,” I gave a smile. “Let’s give it another shot before everyone dies from shock.”

Jazer smiled. We took our positions in front of the priest. He took out a book and placed it open on the stand.

“Do you, Prince Jazer, take this woman to be your lawfully wedded wife, to cherish and to hold?”

“I do,” Jazer said, looking at me.

“Do you, Zena-”

“My name is Luzena,” I said gently, using my full name.

The priest cleared his throat and began again. “Do you, Luzena the Mercenary, take this man to be your lawfully wedded husband, to cherish and to hold?”

I glanced at Jazer and paused. What was I doing? I was marrying a guy I didn’t love, just so I could have the means to finally find my sister. Jazer had worried about ruining my life, but now I worried I was ruining his life. I looked at the guests, who seemed uncomfortable by the pause, so I composed myself.

“Yes, I do,” I said clearly.

“Then by the power vested in me, I now pronounce you husband and wife,” the priest said. “You may now-”

Oh no! I had forgotten about this part! There was no way I was going to kiss a man I barely knew! But surely the guests were expecting this. My heart began to beat faster and faster, as I stared at the priest in shock for what he was about to say.

I noticed Jazer giving an alarmed look at the priest and motioning for him to stop talking.

“Um...” the priest said, confused. Then he understood. “You may now celebrate,” he finished his sentence.

The guests then surrounded us and gave their congratulations. There was a lot of hugging and shaking hands. I breathed a sigh of relief when it was over.

*

The servants brought over the tiered wedding cake and we each had a piece. Glancing at the window, I saw that it was getting dark. I stifled a yawn.

“Are you tired? Let’s go to bed,” Jazer said. His face turned a slight shade of red.

“Um...yes, of course,” I said, feeling shy all of a sudden. It had seemed so easy to talk about marriage when we weren’t married, but now, after the wedding, the burden of what I’d done hovered over me.

“I’ll show you the way,” Jazer said. He took my hand and led me along. I still needed to learn my way around the castle. My entire life had changed and it felt like my head was spinning, trying to catch up with all the changes. We stopped in front of two large doors, a guard stationed to each side.

“This is my suite,” Jazer opened the door and we went in. “Well, I mean, it’s our suite now.”

My head spun with all the expensive decorations and paintings that adorned the office. The ceiling was high with wooden beams going across it. We had entered a large room with desks and chairs, bookcases, tapestries, settees, and expensive carpeting with intricate designs. There was a large window to the left.

“This is the office area. I had another desk brought in,” Jazer pointed. “This one is all yours.” The desk was supplied with parchment, quills, and an inkwell.

“Thank you,” I looked around in awe. “This room is amazing.”

“The bathroom is that way and the bedroom is through there,” Jazer pointed.

Everything cost a fortune, I could tell, and I immediately felt a bit guilty. Who knew what conditions my sister was living in? I pushed the thought from my mind. I had a lot to get used to now that I had married a prince.

“Feel free to look around,” Jazer smiled and left the room. I walked around the office, looking around in amazement at the rugs, the paintings, the expensive furniture, everything. I lingered by the bookcases and scanned the books, seeing books on war strategy and the royal family history. Definitely something to check out later.

When I went to the bedroom, I walked in just as Jazer was removing his shirt.

“Oh, I’m sorry!” I said, quickly averting my gaze.

“It’s okay,” he said, pulling on a nightshirt. “We’re married now. You don’t have to turn away.”

The bedroom was glamorous, with a fireplace, window, settee, and a canopy bed with a fur cover.

“Um...I thought you said there’d be two beds in here,” I stared at the large bed in the center of the room.

“Oh, well, it turns out they won’t be able to fit two beds in here after all,” Jazer said apologetically. “But this is a king-sized bed, so it’s almost like two separate beds.”

I didn’t agree with his logic, but I didn’t say so. I took a deep breath.

“I hope that’s okay,” he said. “I’m so sorry about this.”

“Uh...it’s all right,” I said. “It just feels awkward.”

“Yeah, I feel the same way,” Jazer said. “But I’m so tired. Let’s just forget the awkwardness for now and just sleep.” He yawned.

I yawned as well. “Your yawns are contagious,” I joked. Jazer laughed and got in bed. My joke did some good in distilling a bit of the awkwardness in the room. I could breathe easier now.

After changing into into nightclothes in the bathroom, I walked over to the bed and stood by the empty side.

“Did you kill this poor animal?” I asked, pointing to the fur cover.

“No, it died on its own,” Jazer replied. “From old age.”

Relieved, I extinguished the lamp and slowly got in bed. The bed was incredibly soft and comfortable, definitely an upgrade from the one at the inn I had stayed at.

“Are you awake?” I asked after a few minutes.

“Yes,” Jazer sounded sleepy.

“Thanks for what you did, stopping the priest mid-sentence, when he was about to tell us to kiss. I had completely forgotten about that part, until seconds before, and I was on the verge of having some kind of fight-or-flight response.”

“Yeah, that was happening to me too,” he said. I soon drifted off to sleep.

#

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