Today was the twenty-ninth day of the bridal rites ceremony, hopefully it will come to an end by the next day. I couldn't wait to be free from torture and torment.
The last two weeks was an intense punishment for me, carrying out the grand parade- a ceremony, where the prince has to parade all through the six provinces in Doxa kingdom with his bride, showcasing her to the people and the world.
This was one difficult task for me to do. I tried all I could to dismiss it but all to no avail. It was a compulsory stupid tradition. What was more agonizing was seeing the pains, hurt and bitterness in the eyes of the woman I love when we visited Islandes.
I couldn't stand to watch her go through this excruciating episode all over again, hence rather than spending two days as stipulated, one day was what I approved in staying at Rythfork.
Adrian was even at some point mad at me for acting stupid.....but then it was just formalities and meant nothing more.
Heavy preparations were ongoing in the palace, decorations and make overs in place. Everyone was either busy with one thing or the other for the royal wedding and grand coronation in two days time.
My grand parents had arrived for the event and I've been in heated discussions and arguement with them. They were very furious and scolded me furiously for acting irrational towards my mother.
Did I say, the queen's grown so quiet ever since her powers were confiscated and stripped off her...? Well, It seemed she was even in hiding, still very much mad at me though..
Aside from my grand parents, other royalties and dignitaries from other kingdoms from far and near had been flooding into Doxa.
Urvinum - the kingdom's capital was crowded with guests but I ensured all royalties were accommodated in the palace - kings and queens,dukes and duchesses, princes' and princesses from Doxa's allied kingdoms.
Apparently, those of them who had arrived would have to come pay obesiance, registering their presence to the crown who literally was me in an acting capacity.
The amount of time spent receiving and welcoming them was exhausting that I had to take a break and let Steflos do the remaining on my behalf.
I wanted a peaceful and calm atmosphere so I sneaked into the king's chambers and into his bedroom... He was fast asleep but got startled by my presence.
"Eridian, you're here" He called out in a definite manner, like he knew I was the one.
"Yes father" I answered and moved closer to his bedside to seat. He turned around on the bed and I lurched forward and helped him sit up.
"I'm sorry father for waking you up"
"Oh, son it's nothing..... I was even tired of sleeping" he waived it off. "So why are you here and how's preparations for the big day?"
"Hiding from the pressure father.. There are so many guests....and yes, they all send their wishes across to you but I'm tired of receiving visitors" I chuckled exhaustively. "I wanted somewhere calm and peaceful to clear my head"
"Oh come here.....come give your old man a hug" he stretched his arm and embraced me, patting my back slowly... "Steflos told me how your grandparents scolded you...... "I'm so sorry about that" He breathed, apologising on their behalf.
"Father, it's fine only that I dont regret it... Mother's been relatively quiet these days and it's a good thing" I answered and took my seat again.
"Thats true. Anyways tomorrow is the banquet night, When is Aris coming?"
"She's supposed to be here tomorrow....I just wish Adrian was able to convince her because she was so mad at me for bringing Gemma to Rythfork during the rites ceremony"
"Don't worry son, you've got the perfect plan and it will go through....Aris loves you alot" He commented with a smile.
Afterwards, he asked to be briefed on the progress of finding princess Kathy and I updated him on that, while we spent the rest of the hours talking about the wedding and the coronation.
"Where the hell have you been Cleo, been looking for you for more than twenty four hours now?"
"The most important thing is that I'm right here now" she smirked, fighting her urge not to roll her eyes at me as she threw herself on the couch.
"You know you're my maid of honour and you keep disappearing when I need you the most" I scolded her with a frown.
"Really?" She grinned. "You need me or you need the prince"
"Both of you" I blushed, sticking out my tongue at her.
"Whatever" she waived her hands at me casually, rolling her eyes.
"By the way, I've not seen Adrian around. Did he travel?"
"How would you see him when you've got your eyes only on Troy"
"You don't say babe" I giggled.. "I've been fighting and waiting for this my whole life" I said excitedly as she grinned from ear to ear.
"I know right..... well we've settled our scores" she stated and I looked at her confused.
"Gem, the truth is I can't be so persistent like you to fight for what she wants, I like Adrian alot, but it seems he's not that into me and I don't want to keep deceiving myself or forcing something that will never happen" Her face fell, sadness creased it with a slumped shoulder as she spoke.
Scooting over her, I wrapped my arms around her..
"Awwww, babe..... don't feel bad, we fight to get result, remember. I understand Adrian doesn't feel the same way about you.....just as Troy but see, Troy eventually came around"
"Adrian is different"
"So what would you do?"
"I've moved on... we're just friends now, as we've always been " I hugged her more tightly as she shrugged her shoulders, I felt her pain.
It wasn't an easy thing letting go of your childhood crush just because he rejected you. Besides Cleo was not a fighter like me, she always gave up easily.
This also meant that Adrian was seriously into Echo, for him to turn down Cleo's advances.. I hope he wasn't considering a serious relationship with her because their social status don't just equate each other.
Secondly, I wasn't ready to give up my hand maiden, since there's the tendency of her promotion once Troy becomes king and finds out his best friend is in love with her.
In all, I felt slightly disappointed in Cleo. Hasn't she learned anything from me in all our years of friendship? Yes, I'm desperate, I hate giving up and I definitely hate loosing.
As I consoled her further, she told me about the developing interest of lord Ocean in her. She kinda liked him too and was thinking of giving him a shot.
Lord Ocean was not bad looking, he was also a very handsome young man. Honestly, thinking about it now, there seems to be no ugly guy in this kingdom even up to the guards.
They were stunning, hot, sexy young men whom at one glance could sweep ladies off their feet.
I guess that's what you get when being led by a greek god himself - Troy Vernadoz.
Speaking of Lord Ocean, I was somewhat glad he was a direct member of the royal family so if Cleo eventually marries him, she would still be very close by and much around not whisked away to some province or entirely different nation.
I comforted her further, gently patting her back before we were interrupted by the guard's voice - the one who stood by the entrance to my chambers.
"My lady, Lord Paris, is here to see you"
Shit, I and Cleo looked at ourself in unbelief and confusion. What the hell was Paris doing here, in court? He hardly comes here, not to think of paying me a surprise visit.
A surprise visit, well more like an impromptu one that smelled suspicious.
Cleo's eyes were still in shock as she watched me and my every move giving me a nod to let him in.
After combing my head for possible reasons why Paris would be here and finding none, I decided to let him in.
"What is it pumpkin, ain't you going to welcome your brother properly - atleast with a hug" He smirked stretching out his arms for me to walk in. Reluctantly I embraced him briefly and pulled away.
"Hello Cleopatra, thought I'd find you here" He sneered at her roaming his eyes all over the room. "Hmmm, nice apartment." He frowned and took a seat.
"Paris, why are you here?" I shot him a fiery stare while Cleo clenched her body at the name he called her.
She hated when people called out her full name and that was one thing, Paris enjoyed doing, it amused him.
"Well, princess or should I say, queen to be" He started, and I couldn't help but let out a relaxed smile across my lips.
Finally, people were starting to see me as queen and wife of the king. "Two things brought me here" he paused with an amused look on his face.
"I can see that whatever brought you to the palace must be funny-" And he raised his finger to stop me midway.
"Actually not funny but very important. One is to witness your wedding and coronation"
"That means your staying in court?... but last I heard all the suites were pretty occupied by guests" I eyed him because I really didn't want him around not now.
"Ofcourse I am but not in court, within Urvinum..... As I was saying, the second reason, where you very much come in is to help me get Aris" I choked once he spoke the name, coughing continously as Cleo handed me a glass of water.
She had obviously been listening, because she was sat quietly at a corner. After drinking the water, and the chokes seized, I turned to Paris, all paranoid staring at him with blank amazement, my blood boiling hot as my lips curled into a thin line.
"Are you out of your fucking mind, Paris. You want me to help you with my enemy" I snarled and he immediately bursted into an annoying laughter.
"You need to see your face right now" he pointed at me, mocking, still laughing infuriating me the more.
I swear, if he wasn't older, I would have turned his laughter to sorrow this very minute but I kept taking in deep breaths to keep calm.
The best day of my life was barely 48 hours away and I didn't want to commit any crime which will jeopardize the day or rob me off my long awaited dream.
Couple of minutes after, Paris and I had a decent conversation without intruding emotions wanting me to gouge out his eyes.
He told me that he was attracted to Aris in every way and was going crazy up to even confessing his feelings which was yet to be reciprocated.
I gazed at him dumbfounded and slightly angry but relieved as he spoke. What did everyone actually see in that girl? She wasn't even as beautiful as I was, yet she had my husband's eyes on her, Adrian's and now my brother.
Black magic! Maybe.
"This is where you come in Gemma, besides its going to be a win-win for both of us" he chuckled with a serious tone while I raised a brow urging him to carry on.
"So if you could help set me up with her, I know you ladies ain't friends, but I'm frustrated and desperate for help. If you get her to love him, obviously you'd be relieved as she will give up on your man"
I gaped at him shocked. "You know about her and Troy?"
He scoffed. "Of course I do... The last time Troy went to Rythfork for his project inauguration, they were all over each other. I mean, he literally forgot that he was king and flirted spontaneously with her. Tuth was, I was furious and mad at the both of them but what could I do? He's the crowned prince and soon to be king in two days time....."
Oh my poor handosme elder brother! I've never seen Paris this vulnerable before. He's always had this cold, stiff and over serious expression but here he was allowing his emotions drown him. He looked pathetic and something in me, kept pushing that I help him.
Atleast this time, his pride and ego didn't prevent him from asking for my help - something he rarely did.
I felt hurt and bruised too at his revelations of how Troy and that woman were so into each other but it didn't matter anymore because I was finally getting my dream.
At this point, after the wedding and coronation ceremonies, I would careless if Troy had a thousand women or concubine by his side.
"We would help you Paris" I voiced sounding so confident like I knew what to do and glanced at Cleo who was less interested in our conversation. She just shrugged her shoulders and rolled her eyes at me shaking her head.
I knew better than to accept a responsibility that might put her in an awkward situation.
"Thanks a million, your majesty" Paris sounded gleefully as he hugged me. "This means alot to me" he kissed my hair which was still scattered with strands popping out from different angles. "And Congratulations on securing the crown" he winked, acknowledged Cleo with a nod before leaving.
"I'm so sorry Cleo" I apologized walking over to her. Guilt was written all over me but she shoved me away and stood up moving further to the bedroom.
"Cleo!" I followed her still pleading and pouting. "I'm really sorry. I dont know-"
"Know when to stop. Right? How could you accept such responsibility at this crucial time" She yelled at me settling onto the bed with her legs folded in and a scowl on her face.
"I'm sorry, I just felt pity for Paris and really want to help him"
"Like you helped yourself. Huh!" She scoffed at me as my shoulder slumped by my side. I knew I had fucked up but it was too late to back down. I promised him I would help him.
"Cleo, I said I'm sorry" I snapped at her as she wasn't stopping. "I get it, I fucked up but are you going to sit there and throw tantrums at me or rise up and help me"
She chuckled annoyingly. "Seems you've forgotten what happened to Charles and of course, the queen. Gem, please just focus on you and your achievements. Soon you'll be queen and married to Troy, that's what matters most. Let Paris take care of his own problems. Besides, I don't know why it has to be she, again?"
Cleo's points made sense and I really wanted to give in to them but like I said, I wasn't backing down. I was going to help my brother get the woman of his dreams.