"I'm damn worried about Aris... I wished I never forced her to join me to the dukes banquet. All this shit would never have happened?" I lamented resting my chin on my palm on the table.
"Me too...I'm scared for her but don't beat yourself up. There was no way you could have known this shit would happen" Adrian commented comforting me with his words as we sat together in the office.
It's been three days already and Aris was still down. She's been unconscious and it was getting me worried sick.
The royal doctors have neither been able to diagnose what's wrong with her nor try to make her conscious.
At a point on that day, I got really pissed off especially at Echo, her aide who confessed that all she had at the party was just water but how could taking water result in this. The funny part of it all was that all her vitals signs were stable, she was breathing only that she wasnt waking up. It was like she was sleeping forever.
This and more are the reasons we are restricted from taking any contents randomly.
Just as the king cannot eat a food if not first tasted by the royal taster for fear of being poisoned or stuffs like that.
Speaking of posisons, that was the only thing I could think of in Aris' case.
"You speak of she being poisoned so seriously like you're sure about that.... and who would even do that?" Charles asked me.
"You sound as an ignorant person. You should know that not many persons fancies Aris. Even though she did nothing wrong.......Nah!" I shook my head. "Her only offence was accepting to marry me" I stated sadly going through the letter infront of me.
"I feel your hurt Troy but dont worry she will be alright as long as she's breathing, there is hope" He gave me a reassuring nod as we switched topics to the Bashuri attack.
After my last conversation with Aris the other night, I pondered on the whole thing and analysed her points carefully. She feels dialogue should be the approach first before war as the king was planning.
Apparently I wasnt ready to go to war and since the Otholians are not even coming forth like maybe to seek audience with us, it's only normal that they are planning their defence.
Now this was my plan; paying an impromptu and unofficial visit to them to get audience with one or two persons who I trust as allies there. But then this is going to be with out the kings knowledge because if he finds out, the outcome will be treason.
Yet as I think of all the possible negative results, its better than leading my people to a war that could have been avoided.
Again how do I embark on this secret mission in a time like this - when my bride is down and unconscious? Postponment would have been the perfect option but any delay now will be utterly dangerous as the crown has began mobilization and rigorous combat training for the knights and warriors. This is where I strike a balance of which was more important to me - my woman or my people.
And these were the very things, I wished I never encountered because I never knew what my preferences would be.
As of now, I'm so loyal to my people and want to protect them with everything I have but on the other hand, I'm beginning to fall in love with lady Aris, my bride and the one who will be my queen someday and the mother of my unborn children.
This was not a matter of loyalty anymore and I swore if anything went wrong with Aris, I would never forgive myself.
So far we've been able to keep the situation a secret from the public and her parents warding off any impending panic and avoiding the stress and pressure the news will cause on the crown.
"Troy,you know you cant do this. I cant let you commit treason" Charles reminded me again.
"But it's the best bet. Would you rather go to war that could be disastrous for us or find a way to make peace and avoid the war" I questioned darting my eyes between he and Adrian.
"Whats the punishment for treason again?" Adrian asked in a sarcastic manner letting out a small chuckle that also aroused laughter in Charles.
"Punishment for treason is beheading" a voice echoed from the background as Gemma appeared, a grin on her face with Cleo following behind her.
We all turned and looked at her a bit surprised at where she popped out from. I think they needed to stop allowing Gemma into my office without my consent.
"Hii guys" Cleo greeted us waiving her hands as she took a seat while Gemma sayshayed her way to where I sat.
Lowering her face towards my ear, she whispered "Hello darling" and was almost kissing me when I shoved her away hard while the others just gaped at us shocked at what just went wrong.
"What the hell is wrong with you Gemma?" I scolded at her angrily standing up to my feet with a clenched jaw and through gritted teeth.
"Awww" she moaned out in pains as she hit herself against a shelf that stood by the corner and Cleo rushed to her aid.
"Hey it's alright man" Adrian held onto me calming me down. "What really happened?"
"This should be the last time you try this rubbish in your life" I pointed warning her sternly ignoring Adrian's question.
"Wait.... hold up!" Charles raised his both hands sideways like he was a traffic controller, with a frown on his face "Gemma what the fuck was that? Trying to kiss the prince...... Babe, No now! " he shook his head disapprovingly. "You know he's got a finance"
"Its okay please. Can we all just stop..... It's not that deep!" Cleo pleaded trying to calm the atmosphere.
"No its not!" Gemma shouted from where she stood. "This is only the beginning Troy. I swear it's either me or no one else....... I won't back down or give up on you.... Never! And as for you," she faced Adrian still with a scowl on her face. "Its too bad that you're blinded to see what's right infront of you rather you prefer to perch where the prince has its nest-"
"Gemma!" Cleo cried out putting her hands against Gemma's mouth to shut her from spewing futher rubbish but she pushed Cleo's hand away and kept barking.
Honestly seeing Gemma in this mood was embarrassing, she was acting like an insane person.
"Your highness" Theon rushed in after hearing the whole outburst noise. "Is everything alright?"
"Oh......Thank God you're here Theon" I breathed relieved. "Kindly escort lady Gemma and Cleo out" I instructed him instantly.
"Troy please...... please dont do this...." she immediately broke down in tears begging. The same tears I almost fell for the last time maybe she feels she could always manipulate me with it.
Looking away from her, feeling overwhelmed by the whole situation, I turned my back on them facing the wall with my both palms against my forehaed splaying my fingers, yet she kept crying being consoled by Cleo who was pleading with her to leave but Gemma remained adamant.
"Theon, please escort Lady Gemma and Cleo out and none should be allowed into my space again without my consent?" I repeated myself again almost in a whisper.
"Yes your highness" he replied and obeyed immediately.
Reaching the door, Gemma turned back "She will need a miracle to get better" she muttered, a wicked smile on her lips and she walked out.
We all let out a heavy sigh almost at the same time like we've been holding in our breaths.
"I... dont under...stand. Was that Gemma or someone else?" Adrian stammered. "And what did she mean by she needs a miracle? Who is she?" He asked confused.
"Aris" I muttered softly slumping on the couch a bit angry and sad.
"I think Gemma has gone overboard with this whole obsession with Troy and what the hell did she mean by you prefer to perch where the prince nest was or something like ... that........" Charles struggled with the words, gazes fixed on Adrian as he took a seat.
"No clue" Adrian shrugged his shoulders and looked at me. "Are you thinking Gemma knows about Aris' condition?"
Stroking the nape of my neck gently, I pondered carefully on Gemma's word trying to understand its meaning.
"Nah..., dont read meanings into it. Baby girl was just angry and pained. That's all" Charles commented crossing his legs in a comfortable manner.
After much thoughts, I waived it off. Yes, Gemma has been off lately in her attitude but she's still that sweet, lovely, beautiful peaceful girl I know. She wouldn't hurt anybody and I know she cares alot about me. I suppose it's just that same anger feeling of not choosing her.
I had spent the next couple of days strategizing on how to make the unofficial trip and without the crown's knowledge. Here I was in the hospital sitting beside Aris' bed. She was on life support yet still radiating her beauty.
I held onto her hands in mine stroking it softly. Coming here and spending hours has basically been my routine. I must confess, at this point I was getting so scared. Why is she not waking up. I want to see those charming eyes of hers and listen to the sound of that sweet soothing voice once again atleast before I embark on this risky journey which may eventually be my last and the end of me.
I rested my head on her body, unaware that I was shedding tears silently. Please my lady, I cried pleading in my head. My heart filled with pains and heaviness that it was beginning to affect my duties.
Twice, the king had sent for me and twice I refused the summons. I knew it would get him very mad but I had good reasons which he was very much aware of.
That was why I'd decided to go see him today, moreso because I was going away on a secret assignment. One more thing I needed to do today was to relocate Aris drom the hospital to my chambers. I felt she will be more safer then sinceI'll be away.
I instructed Echo, Victor and Dorothy on what to do then planted a kiss on her forehead before leaving to the Diamondsite.
Early the next morning, I was preparing for my trip. It was obvious I would go alone maybe just with Theon because i couldnt pull any other without their absence raising questions especially my friends.
They've both been very supportive even though they were against my idea. All I needed was just five days and hopefully I will be back after that. Their duty was to try and delay the whole process.
Thankfully, Adrian worked directly with the defense minister so it was going to be alot easier.
"Your highness! Her majesty the queen is here" the voice called out from outside.
My eyes immediately widened with raised eyebrows. What was the queen doing here at Zirconsite so early in the morning?
"Okay, let her in" I echoed and stepped toward the door as she walked in majestically with a scowl on her face.
"Good morning Your majesty" I bowed lightly. "To what do I owe this visit?" I asked with a cold tone.
She moved her eyes round the living room taking in every corner like I was hiding something without saying a word yet and I just stood there staring at finding her action almost amusing.
I was wearing a grey sweat pants with a white tank revealing my toned biceps and chest. I'd just finished working out not quite long and was just packing my bag before her arrival.
"Where is she Eridian?" She questioned angrily.
"Who are you talking about? Mother"
"Stop playing dumb with me" she warned, her fingers pointed at me. Then moving away from her front, I took a seat on the sofa, hands behind my head rested on the chair with my legs crossed.
"Do you mean Aris?" I spoke letting out a small smile.
"You should know better. I went to the hospital and was told you moved her away. Now, why would you do that and to where exactly?" She narrowed her eyes with her lips pursed at me obviously waiting for my response.
Sitting forward with my elbows resting on my thighs and my fingers laced together "I had no choice Morher, so I moved her into my chambers"
"Choice of what?"
"I couldnt continue to keep her there. There's been no improvement whatsoever" I complained.
"What on earth are you doing? What is wrong with you Eridian?" She yelled at the top of her voice shaking her head sideways like I was acting aberrant.
"Mother please enough of all these. It's been seven days and yet she's still the same way - not getting any better." I sighed "I'm scared..... so scared. If anything happens to her, I'm afraid I might not be able to survive it" I broke down lowering my head in agony.
"Still Eridian it doesnt give you the right to move her to your chambers. What happened to hers?"
"I wanted where she would be safer"
"Safer? From what?" She crinkled her face.
"I dont know..... maybe danger, harm......... I dont just know" I repeated shaking my head.
"I warned you about this girl! Didn't I? I did everything to change your mind but still you chose her and now this" she spoke calmly blaming me. "Well, I need her back at the hospital or better still back to her parents"
"You cant do that mother" I disagreed with her with a raised tone. "I wont let you. Aris is not leaving this place to anywhere" I voiced out confidently.
"I can see that you have been bewitched by that woman. Need i remind you that I will not tolerate this unruly behaviour of yours any longer. Do you know how many royal rules you've broken because of this girl. You know you're not supposed to sleep with her - "
"And whoever said I have slept with her" I cut through her statement hushing her.
"Oh please, I'm not a child" she threw her hand up in the air. "I've got my Intels everywhere. Nothing that happens in this court is hidden from me. So many nights, Eridian, she stays here with you very late. Right?"
I huffed unbelievably "Yes and that's because I - "
"I dont what to know why" she rudely dismissed my explanations. "The fact that she spends so much time here with you when she's not supposed to is an offence already"
"But it's because of me......! me! .....Mother. I always persuade her to stay" I explained placing my hand on my chest.
"And where is her will power to say no? You see the more reason why she is in this condition. She is loosed and cheap" she cursed at Aris whilst smirking.
Getting exhausted from bantering words with the queen, I shut my eyes tightly to calm myself. I knew I was going to be blamed on the long run for Aris' situation. How could I even think I would ever be able to trust her around Aris when she's openly expressed her dislike for her countless times.
"Eridian, you better return her back to the hospital before the king gets to find out about this. You know how he would react" she blurted out eyeing me and strided toward the door, then swirling round "You've got only twenty four hours to do that or else" she half smiled and walked out.
I punched the cushion hard repeatedly exhaling continously, "Ian"
"Yes your highness" he answered.
"Get Gauis for me right away" I commanded and he went off quickly.
I needed an advice urgently and Gaius was just the right man.