I'd locked myself up in the library daily for three days now digging out articles and searching for any relevant information concerning the slaughtering incident of that innocent town, the queen accused the king of.
I just wanted anything even if it was just the name of the village. Carefully, I had searched from shelves to shelves, history books to history books, newspapers to newspapers, yet nothing, no records whatsoever.
I even called in some favours from the librarian at the capital, still nothing. That means if there is no record in all of Doxa, There might be only one place, such information can be hidden - The royal library.
With the recent developments, dont know if I would be able to visit court and probably sneak into the library? Or I could send Adrian to help but I hadnt seen him for a while.
Since the royal war began, he has not come around and I dont even know if he was currently in the kingdom.
Analysing possible ways I could get through to the royal library, Echo's name popped up in my head. She could help me out. Hmmmmm, I smiled to myself, that means, I needed to reply her letter.
Speaking of the letter, I was utterly glad that she took out time to write me hinting me on some of the occurrences at court, of which I felt bad but concerning the part that has to do with me forgiving the prince and moving back to court got me angry.
The anger was as a result of the fact that I miss Troy and I've always done but he disappointed me, made me feel lesser than myself and now he's sorry.
It's so painful that he obviously never trusted me, the reason why he was quick to believe their lies, unless he was manipulated. But even at that I don't think I would ever go back to court.
Pushing Troy's thoughts out of my head, I settled to scribble down the letter reply to Echo. After checking on her and appreciating her for writing me, I dived into the business, stating the obvious and encouraging full closure while she's on it.
Immediately after writing the letter, I started feeling a whole lot of anxiety crippling me, droplets of sweat began forming on my forehead, palms and feet. The room all of a sudden became so hot and stuffy that I couldn't breathe. I was struggling and gasping for air, my lungs feeling choked, I tried standing up from the chair and that was when I collapsed with my back to the ground.
With my eyes faced upwards to the ceiling and with no knowledge of what was happening to me, the whole library started spinning around me together with my eyes. I felt I was gradually fading away, praying someone will find me and all of a sudden, everywhere blanked out to total darkness. It was scary, I tried screaming but could barely hear my voice only to be distracted with another.
"Why are you searching for an incidence from twelve years ago?" an awkward voice from nowhere asked me.
"I dont know.... why I'm particularly drawn to it"
"Stop looking......stop searching" the voice spoke again in a warning manner and abruptly everywhere became lighted up again. All the weird feelings I had disappeared. It was scary as hell. Before I begin to access what just happened, I needed some fresh natural air, so I rushed out of the office, trembling.
"The news is everywhere mother, if it wasnt true, how did it seep out into the ears of the public"
"Aris, it could be just a rumour, a week ago, the king was very strong and healthy, how can he be bedridden in an eyes twinkle?"
Apparently, the whole kingdom was thrown into turmoil on hearing the sudden ill health of the king. The rumours had it that, it was a case of dark magic because it was quite mysterious.
However, This was one more scary occurrence I had heard about after mine at the library last week.
About that, I'd refused to tell anybody because following that episode, were series of strange dreams that kept occurring.
The ones where I usually heard a pretty lady screaming my name and asking me to run like I was in danger, and seeing myself in the middle of a burning village with human heads scattered all over and blood flowing like streams. Whenever I had that dream, I woke up screaming and shakened.
"Aris, are you okay?" My mother's voice called me out of the frightening thought as I lifted up my eyes to her with a smile.
"Yes mother" she returned the smile and continued styling my hair. One of the things she has enjoyed doing for me right from when I could remember.
"You seem to be absent minded. Anything on your mind, I should know about?"
"Well, I'm just worried about -"
"The prince" she cut through my words causing a frown on my face.
"Must all my thoughts be about Troy?"
"Yes darling because you're treating him unfairly, and though I've said I wont say a thing about the situation any longer to you, but seeing him continously putting efforts in getting you back and you refusing even up to the point of burning his letters and discarding his gifts, is disheartening my dear...." she spoke and sadness and guilt engulfed me.
"Give him another chance" I shook my head dissenting at her idea because its difficult for me.
"Hey" she came and stood infront of me, with her hands, she lifted my face upwards to her as I struggled to lower it back. "Look at me, I know how deeply hurt you are but to err is human and to forgive is divine. This is one of the principles that makes a good leader" she spoke softly, her eyes filled with compassion, like she was pleading with me.
"Mother you don't understand. Another woman is taking my place already and I cant stand it"
"It doesn't matter, you're the chosen one and the one he loves. Get in touch with your reality and fight for your right. Please"
"Mother......." I groaned really hard squeezing my face at her insensitive comments.
"Get dressed, we will talk about this after the royal banquet tonight" she said with a smile as she walked out of the room.
"Ugh.......Ida!" I called to my servant.
"Yes my lady" she ran in.
"I need your assistance"
So apparently, there's usually this big event that comes up every year and is been attended by dukes, duchesses, Earls, ministers and royal advisers and the entire royal family including the queen and king.
Today, happened to the be the event and is being hosted by Adrian's parents, Duke Adonis and Duchess Hera Xylon of Paramythia in Souli who happens to be my aunt.
Souli was the closest province to Islandes, approximately a forty five minutes journey. That's why Adrian easily breezes in and out of Rythfork whenever he liked.
Duchess Hera was the younger sister to Duchess Isadora and she had Adrian and his elder sister Sofia whose been married away to an Italian prince.
As we were nearing the venue, my heart beats began racing in an unusual manner, an ounce of anxiety flooding my whole body system.
What was happening to me? "Not again! Not again!" I muttered inaudibly to myself.
Was it because, I will get to see Troy and probably face him and Gemma together, a sight I would do everything to avoid or was it the thought of finding out about the slaughtering incident from Echo.
Why do I feel like there's some connection between that incident and the weird scary dream I keep having? I needed to really find out.
Moments later, we were all walking into the very large banquet hall as servants and guards kept bowing acknowledging our presence. The whole place was filled up with royalties and distinguished men and ladied dressed fashionably and stylishly.
I was wearing a strapless navy blue dress, the top half a bit darker than the bottom with a deep plunging neck line. It was clinched at my waist, before flowing down beautifully. There was a side slit on the left side of the gown showing my left legs perfectly.
As we stepped in, it wasnt long before my parents got caught up in exchange of pleasantries amongst their peers. So silently, I slipped away from them into the crowd, scanning my eyes through the crowd, looking for no one in particular.
"You look so alluring and sexy" I heard a deep masculine voice say to me, swirling around, my eyes were caught in the dark brown eyes of a handsome stranger.
"Oh,..... Hi" I stammered with a blush plastered across my face. Stretching his hands toward me, he took my right hand and placed some warm kisses on the back of it. Immediately his lips and the hot air from his nostrils grazed my hands, I quivered and chuckled nervously.
"I'm Lord Paris Arygos" he said winking at me, causing me to blush again.
"Lady Aris -"
"I know who you are" he cut me off. "I mean everyone knows who you are my lady"
"Yea, yea, ofcourse. Tell me about it" I mumbled slightly offended. Guess he noticed it because he apologized almost immediately.
"Forgive me, my lady but I dont see you as such a person. Even before your name was cleared. I believed you"
My eyes widened instantly at his words and it felt like i was developing a soft spot for this stranger. I wanted to sustain the conversation, besides he was a young, hot gentleman, tall and handsome with a high taste of style.
"There you are and I've been searching everywhere for you, the moment I saw your parents" Adrian's voice distracted us as he walked over to where we stood and pulled me into a tight hug. "I missed you babe and what the hell are you doing" he whispered into my ears.
"I dont understand" I retorted still in a whisper as I caught in on Paris' confused look.
"Really? Paris! while Troy is watching you" Adrian stated, scolding me.
"What are you talking about. Troy is here?"
"Ofcourse he is" and he pulled away giving me signals and leading my eyes to where Troy sat, his eyes staring intensely at me, burning with desire, pain, anger and jealousy.
"Paris. Welcome to Souli" Adrian half smiled at Paris, his hands on my shoulders. Just as Paris was about to speak-.
"Let me borrow Lady Aris, hope you dont mind" he said and whisked me away before Paris even uttered a word.
Half way, I stopped in my tracks. "That was rude of you Adrian, why did you do that?" I yelled at him angrily.
He exhaled deeply biting onto his lower lip. "You dont know Paris"
"Well, I was just getting to know him" I replied rolling my eyes at him.
"You cant get to know him Aris"
"And why is that? Wait.. Because of Troy...." I scoffed. "Adrian, I dont give a fuck about him, I'm serious. I -"
"Its not because of Troy" he shook his head abysmal while I waited for him to tell me his reason.
"He's Gemma's brother and he's dangerous and besides you're still the prince's bride"
I huffed shaking my head unbelievably at Adrian's words. Why was it difficult for him to accept that I was done with Troy. I wasn't going back to him. Before I realized, Adrain had pulled me by my hands away from the hall, outside to the garden.
I pulled my hands away from his, harshly. "Adrian what is wrong with you tonight. You blank me for weeks wuthout a word, and now you see me, not even commenting on how I look this night, you're pulling me away from the party?" I shouted.
"Its boring in there and I'm sorry, You look gorgeous and regal as always" he whispered leaning toward my ears. "And there is someone I want you to meet"
Immediately he said that, I knew I was dammed. It was all a set up. I shoved him away from me and turned to walk away when I bumped into Troy.
"Ouch" I squealed loudly in pains as he held onto me so I don't fall to the ground. Once those hands touched me, I knew I had missed him. Those hands ignited a spark in me increasing my body's temperature and making me loose concentration.
After a while,the whole of my tensed body relaxed and for a moment, I felt at peace with my eyes closed when he spoke
"Are you alright princess?" Hearing those soft words with such deep sexy voice, worked wonders on my body and I just wanted his hands to keep touching my body but then he dropped them and I opened my eyes only to see myself staring into those sexy grey eyes of his and within a short while I was tearing up.
"Hey" he spoke and I quickly remembered who he was, the crowned prince.
"Your highness" I curtsied teasingly.
"You dont have to do that princess" He said cautiously.
"You are the crowned prince and I must respect that irrespective of our past"
"C'mon, we dont have a past. What we have is the present and the future"
I chuckled lightly. "You just want to throw away the past memories"
"Just the ugly ones"
"I'm deeply sorry Princess for hurting you so much"
"Your fiance will be looking for you. Please let me go"
"Fuck Gemma! you are my fiance, your the one my heart chose, your the one my hearts beats for, the one I love - Yes you're the only woman for me....... Please can we talk. I'm dying to talk to you" He pleaded, getting frustrated at my demeanor.
"Was that why you planned with Adrian to set me up and pull me away from my date?"
"Paris was your date?" He sneered, disgust creased his face.
"Ofcourse" I said and immediately an ounce of jealousy flashed through his eyes as he ran his hands roughly through his hair.
"How did that happen? You dont even know him"
"Dont be too sure" I teased him.
"Baby please, can we talk. I did this because this was the only way I could get to talk to you. You've been fucking ignoring me and not even responding to any of my letters...... I really need you Aris" He exhaled sharply, holding my hands but I wriggled it out of his hold.
"Aris, give him a chance, please" Adrian whisperd into my ears from behind and walked past giving us privacy.
For a while I felt I was all alone with Troy. I didnt even acknowledge his presence anymore.
He led me to the inner part of the garden after Adrian had left us,which was a maze where a little date has been prepared for us by him. A table with two chairs and enough food and drinks arranged on it.
It felt romantic.
He did all of the talking while I just listened staring intently at his face and his mouth, the way the words kept coming out was doing something to my body. I could see what Adrian and Echo kept saying. Troy was a wreck and a shadow of himself.
He apologized and kept apologising, telling me how truly sorry he was for first doubting me and then ignoring me all through and also for the letter he wrote to me. He never intended for me to see it because of how harsh the contents were and finally said he wants me to come back to court. He was ready to send Gemma out at once once I reaccept his proposal.
Deep within me, I would have jumped on the offer and given him a second chance but I still felt unconvinced to return back to court and didnt want to rush things again.
"Its okay princess. I understand you. Just take your time and when you're ready to be with me again, let me know. I will be waiting for you because you're worth it. And know that I will never...... ever......trade you for another again" he said, taking my both hands and kissing my knuckles softly.
"I missed you so fucking much........ and I love you.......I have always loved you" I blushed at his words of confession taking in how handsome he looked tonight.
The moonlight shining directly on him, revealing his features especially his chiseled face and sexy jaw with well trimmed beards, sexy grey eyes and plum kiss able lips.
I bit into my lower lips so hard though a bit invisibly.
Stop it Aris. Dont be carried away! Quickly, I comported myself.
After reconciling, we talked about his family's present predicament and how he planned on handling it. That was when he finally let the cat out of the back explaining in details to me the real situation.
"My father is incapacitated. Partial blindness and paralysis. Not just the regular sickness you know about"
"What?" I muttered shocked, as sadness engulfed him. Then immediately I understood what he meant.