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Saturday, July 11, 2015

Mirror of Dreams - Chapter 13

13

The next day when I woke up, I was astonished that not only had I slept all night long, but I'd actually slept in late! Nathan watched me from a chair, sighing in relief when I opened my eyes. I gazed at him curiously.
Are you feeling alright?” He asked. A look around showed that my bevy of maids were standing around looking anxious.
I feel great, why?” I wondered.
Just that we were afraid that you were going to set fire to the palace,” Nathan remarked with a wry smile. He pointed to my bed. I was amazed to find scorch marks all over!
What happened?!” I asked incredulously.
Just that your magic powers seemed to flare up every time you sneezed or hiccuped or had an interesting dream, as far as I can tell,” Nathan remarked, grinning at me. “I had to abandon the bed when you started glowing blue and nearly rolled over me!”
I'm sorry!” I blurted out with a blush.
Don't be, I thought it was cute,” Nathan admitted with a soft smile.
We bathed, fooling around playfully, and then got dressed for breakfast. He pulled on his military uniform since he planned to go train his unit later, which he did almost every day. As for me, I knew that I was going to be doing reports, and so simply pulled on my yoga pants. I was too hot and itchy to bother with a shirt.
After breakfast, I was super happy to find that there were only two or three reports waiting for me. Lord Gregory looked almost happy today, although he hid this until after Lady Leeza finished her breakfast and left the room. Lord Antony also looked quite relaxed, and sipped on some tea as he started the first report.
Ian had already excused himself and asked Sir Barrett to bring him to the Temple. I was actually surprised that Sir Barrett agreed so easily. Of course, he then turned to me and made me vow on everything I held sacred that I wouldn't dare to leave the palace while he was gone. The spoilsport!
We got through the reports so quickly that I barely had time to get through half my routine! It was definitely a pleasant surprise! I set my wheel aside and wondered what to do. Nathan had already gone to do his thing, so I was presented with almost the first alone time I'd ever had here.
Lord Gregory cleared his throat as I was slowly wandering towards the door. “Uh... Your Majesty... I think you might be interested to know that the rest of the Royal Lords will be gathering at the palace soon.”
Why, are we having a party?” I asked, curious.
We can, if you want,” Lord Antony assured me.
However, the reason they are coming is that it is their right to review how you are doing as Queen,” Lord Gregory explained. “For the most part, this simply means that they will meet with me and Lord Antony, but if they have any questions to ask you directly, a special meeting will be set up so that you can answer them.”
I see,” I murmured. “Should I be wary?”
Not at all,” Lord Antony assured me with a smile. “The Royal Lords would not dare to make Your Majesty feel uncomfortable!”
Much,” Lord Gregory added before taking a sip of tea.
And besides,” Lord Antony said. “You've done such a good job so far that I don't see them having any complaints.”
I harrumphed. “You mean that you've done such a good job! We all know that I depend on you two to run the Kingdom.”
Perhaps,” Lord Antony replied with a smile. “But it's also true that you have guided us in a direction neither of us would have gone without you.”
I decided to be pacified by this and gave him a small smile.
Lord Gregory got to his feet and bowed to me respectfully. “I have something I'd like to show you.”
I was mildly surprised by this, but played it cool by shrugging. “Lead the way.” I waved goodbye to Lord Antony as I followed, and he returned my wave with a cheerful smile.
Lord Gregory led me all the way to his room, and by room, I really mean small apartment. Just as my Royal bedroom was the size of an apartment, so were all the various bedrooms in the palace, because the residents who lived here needed space for things like private offices and whatnot too.
I was intrigued to see his room during the day since I had only ever snuck into it at night. He had decorated it rather sparsely. There were a few books, a rack of weapons, and some wooden carvings. I picked up a book curiously and was mildly disappointed that it was an early history of the war. I had rather hoped that it was some sort of fiction!
Lord Gregory let me snoop around his room in silence for a while. I admired a carving of a bear on a table that was about 18 inches tall and polished so smooth that it almost felt like satin. When I looked up at Lord Gregory, he was smiling fondly, which shocked the hell out of me!
I carved that myself,” he informed me. “It was one of the first things I ever carved.”
You did an excellent job,” I praised him sincerely. He looked away quickly to hide the very slightest tinge of pink on his cheeks. Was he blushing?!?!
Clearing his throat gruffly, he walked over to a corner and tapped on something on the wall. “This is what I wanted to show you. I need your permission to hang it in the dining hall.”
I walked over next to him to examine the carved wooden shield that had a raging tigress wearing a Royal Tiara. Under her raised paws – which showed her claws – was the Rolandian flag. On the top of the shield was the word Queen, and on the bottom of the shield was my name. The shield had been painted so that everything was the color it should be, but there was a blue haze around the tigress, and the words were painted blue edged in gold.
It's beautiful,” I murmured, impressed. “You have my permission to hang it anywhere you like.”
Thanks,” he murmured. “I figured that it was about time that you had your own Royal Crest.”
I guess,” I replied with a shrug.
It'll be good to have a painting of the crest made to hang in the meeting room. That way the Royal Lords will see it and know that you hold our esteem,” Lord Gregory said.
Would it matter if I didn't?” I wondered.
Yes,” Lord Gregory stated grimly. “If you were doing a bad job, the Royal Lords could band together and have you imprisoned.”
Would your God allow that?” I asked with a frown.
He shrugged. “I guess that depends on how bad of a job you were doing. In the past, truly bad Kings have been removed by the Lords with our God's blessing. Yet at other times, our God refused to remove a King and the Lords had no choice but to accept his decision and deal with a bad ruler.”
I snorted a short laugh. “Well I guess I'm glad I'm doing such a decent job, because I'm pretty sure that guy wouldn't agree to get rid of me no matter how much anyone insisted.”
That guy?” Lord Gregory asked with a frown.
Your God guy. The invisible blonde who lives in the Temple,” I clarified.
Hmm,” Lord Gregory harrumphed softly.
So tell me, when are these Lords going to arrive?” I both asked and ordered at the same time.
Day after tomorrow. They'll arrive sometime after lunch and we'll go into seclusion in the meeting room until dinner time at the earliest. If they have any questions specifically for you, you'll be expected to meet with them the next afternoon.”
I see,” I murmured, biting my lip in thought. Worried that the Royal Lords might have a problem with me, I put a hand on Lord Gregory's arm. “You won't leave me alone with them, will you?”
Lord Gregory put a hand on my face and gave me a rare look of sympathy. “Of course not, but I assure you that you have nothing to be afraid of.”
I hope not...”
He rolled his eyes and shook his head, amused that I was so nervous about this. I grabbed his uniform jacket and pulled him down and forward until I could look him in the eyes. “If they somehow provoke my anger and I look like I am about to harm anyone, will you promise to do whatever you can to stop me? Only if I look like I'm about to hurt someone, that is.”
Seeing that I was serious, Lord Gregory nodded and raised his hand to make a solemn vow. “I promise that I will not allow you to hurt anyone if you get angry.”
Relieved, I rewarded him with a kiss. This seemed to be all the encouragement he needed to grab onto me and carry me to his bed. Just like the times we had been together in the past, Lord Gregory was a rough and demanding lover. He flipped me onto my hands and knees and pulled my hair while he pounded into me. I utterly loved it at the moment!
Knowing that Lady Leeza really liked to tie her lovers up and do whatever she wanted to them, I seriously had to wonder who roughed up who when they were together. Or did they maybe rough each other up? Perhaps they tried to kill each other as foreplay? The possibilities boggled my mind!
After a glorious climax, we collapsed onto his bed and snuggled until our breathing returned to normal. Gregory stroked one of my arms absently, apparently lost in his own thoughts. I nuzzled my nose into his neck, smelling his unique and manly scent. As I did so, I tangled my nails in the hairs on his chest, noticing that he had a copious amount of welts and scratches. I guess that somewhat answers that question. Clearly, Lady Leeza had marked him quite a bit during their play last night.
Pouting, I wished I had the power to heal him. I purred playfully as I stroked his hair and kissed his neck and cheek. As I did so, he inhaled slowly in surprise.
What are you doing?” He asked, putting a hand over mine.
Nothing, or at least I don't think I am,” I replied, wondering what he was talking about.
He moved my hand just slightly so that he could see the welt under my fingers. Slowly, it lightened in color and shrank. We both watched as the rest of the scratches and welts disappeared.
You didn't need to do that,” he said, kissing me on the temple in thanks. “I have a fairly high healing factor and would have been fine by tomorrow or the next day. Plus, if I really wanted to, I could visit a healer. We have quite a few talented medics stationed here at the palace.”
I didn't realize what I was doing,” I murmured softly. “But I did wish I could help you.”
You have a good heart,” he murmured softly, sounding like he was getting sleepy. “I sometimes wish I was in love with someone like you...”
So you do love her,” I murmured, feeling a bit lethargic, but not really enough to go to sleep.
More than I want to,” he murmured, and I think he was probably too much asleep to realize that he told me that so honestly.
We snuggled together for a long time, enjoying the rare free time. Eventually, there came a soft knock at the door. I looked toward the door, torn between answering it and letting Lord Gregory sleep. I decided that if I ignored it, the person would go away.
Instead, the knock repeated, ever so slightly more insistent. Lord Gregory sighed in disappointment and frustration. “I better answer that...” He covered us with his blanket, making sure I couldn't be seen in case it was just a gossipy maid.
Come in!” He called out.
Is Kaitlynn in here?” Nathan asked after poking his head through the door. “Lord Antony said she went with you.”
Lord Gregory looked under the blanket at me. “It's for you.”
I giggled softly and pulled the cover off my face. “Do you need something?”
Nathan was silent for one second before replying. “Uh, no... I just wanted to know where you were. I'll go...”
Don't worry,” I said as I slipped out from under the covers and kissed Lord Gregory on the cheek. “I was leaving soon anyway.” I grabbed my yoga pants and pulled them back on before joining Nathan at the door. When we had left the room and shut the door, I saw Nathan cast an incredulous look over his shoulder.
I can't quite picture Lord Gregory having sex...” Nathan murmured. “I mean I know that he and Lady Leeza have something secret going on, but knowing and seeing evidence are two different things....”
I giggled and nudged Nathan with my shoulder. “He's actually quite passionate.”
He doesn't seem the type,” Nathan murmured.
Right?!” I blurted out in agreement. With a smile, I slipped my hand into Nathan's and rested my head on his shoulder as we walked. “How was your training?”
My men are doing very well. You should come out to watch them sometime to boost their morale,” Nathan suggested.
I'll have to keep that in mind,” I said, liking the suggestion.
Would you like to dance with me?” Nathan asked. “I noticed that you seem to really like dancing last night, and I'll admit that we don't dance often enough in Rolandia.”
I'd love to,” I answered, stopping to kiss him. He pulled me into his arms and took possession of my lips. My toes curled and my heart raced. Gods! I love this man so much!
Let's do this the right way and get dressed up,” Nathan said after our kiss ended. “I'd love to see you in that pretty blue dress thatmatches your left eye.”
Mmm!” I moaned in agreement. “I love that dress, and it flares so beautifully when I spin.”
In full agreement, we raced to our bedroom and got dolled up as quickly as possible. I circled my long braid into a soft and pretty bun, and then stuck some fresh flowers in my hair. He changed from his uniform into a more formal outfit that complimented my dress handsomely. Ready, we rushed to the dining hall where a surprise was waiting for me.
I remember you once asked me if we had any musicians in this world, and I'd basically shrugged and changed the subject. Well, I asked around, and apparently we do have quite a few men who can play instruments around the palace,” Nathan explained. “I figured we'd set up in here since it's just the two of us and this room is plenty big.”
Oh Nathan,” I purred happily and kissed him. “This is a wonderful surprise!”
I figure that the only problem we'll have is that you don't know the dances of this world, so I'll have to teach you.”
I look forward to it,” I promised him with a smile. He gestured to the musicians, who began to play a slow song. It was easy enough to learn the steps because they were a basic swaying two step.
We danced for a long time. Eventually, maids came in to set up for dinner, but they tried their best not to disturb us. I think they all stopped to smile at us and purr happily.
I want to go home!” Ian interrupted us abruptly as he entered the room. I have a lot to think about and I need to do that in my own room.”
I understand,” I stated with a worried frown. “I'll take you home right away.” And before Nathan could protest, I kissed him on the lips. “And I'll come back right away. I shouldn't be gone very long even with the time difference.”
Nathan nodded slowly. “I'll see you in a bit then...”
Taking another look at Ian, I noticed that he was wearing his sweat pants and muscle shirt. He looked ready to go for a jog. Tilting my head curiously, something occurred to me. “Are you sure you're not just jittery from the magic? Maybe a run would help.”
No – or at least I don't think so. I'm...” He shrugged, looking upset. “I just want to go home.”
Okay,” I murmured, taking him by the hand and half running with him to my room. Before I brought us home, I stopped completely and forced him to look at me. “I'm sorry... I can only imagine what you must feel like right now...”
He wrapped his arms around me and simply hugged me for a long time. He wasn't crying or trembling or anything, but somehow I knew that he was an emotional wreck at the moment. When he let me go, I took his hand and kissed my mirror.
What the hell?!” Kyle demanded.
Oh shit!” Ian and I both exclaimed.
I forgot you were in here,” I added.
What just happened?!” Kyle roared. “You were wearing elaborate costumes and carrying a bunch of stuff, and then you disappeared! Now – only a second later – and you're back wearing different clothes and not carrying anything!”
Kyle...” I murmured softly. “How to explain...?”
Ian threw his hands up in frustration. “I'm out. I can't deal with any more at the moment.”
I understand,” I responded, putting a hand on his shoulder. “You go home and call me if you need to talk.”
I will,” he promised halfheartedly, kissing my cheek.
What's wrong?” Kyle asked in concern. He held out a hand to stop Ian from leaving. “It's not me, is it?”
No,” Ian stated with a shake of his head. “She'll explain.” He gave my brother a kiss. “You were awesome, I'll call you later.”
After Ian left, Kyle frowned at me. “Did he just pull the 'call you' trick?”
I shook my head. “Ian's not like that. If he says he'll call you, he will. But I thought you weren't interested in a relationship anyway.”
I'm not.... yet. But maybe someday,” he explained with a shrug.
I smiled, took Kyle's hand, and had him sit on my bed with me. “What I'm going to tell you is unbelievable. It sounds crazy, I know, and I expect you to think I'm lying, but it is what it is.”
Kyle raised his eyebrows at me. “I've never known you to lie, unless you're planning out a surprise party or trying to play a prank. So... I'll try to keep an open mind.”
Thanks,” I murmured with a grateful smile. Then I took a deep breath. “Oh man, where do I start? At the beginning, I suppose... A while ago, I was pulled into an alternate world in which there's no modern science but there is magic. It's the type of world where everyone is supposed to have a twin in this world, but people might die there in the war without affecting the people in this world, and vice versa. If someone dies here, the person over there would never even know it.”
Uh...huh...” Kyle replied when I paused. I could tell that he already didn't believe me, but was trying to keep an open mind.
I decided to fudge the truth just a little here so that he didn't dwell on this part. “Over there, I looked remarkably like the daughter of their King. He officially passed his throne onto me when he died, and so I am now their Queen. That's why you've seen me wearing a tiara and dressed up all fancy in red. Red is the Royal color, and this style of dress – ” I waved to indicate what I was wearing. “That you can easily see through is fairly standard fashion in the Rolandian Royal Palace.”
Kyle bit his lip as he thought over how I had looked just minutes ago from his perspective, and then scrutinized my dress. I blushed a little because I knew my breasts were easily visible, but I could tell that he wasn't really looking at them. Instead, he seemed to be trying to figure out how the lace was made and pieced together.
Moving on, in the other world, time passes so much faster than it does here. For every day that I am here, five days pass over there. On the other hand, because I am from here, when I am there, time stops here. I could be gone for months and would still come back at the same moment I've left. Thus, even though I was pulled over there on my 18th birthday, I've been Queen over there for a little more than a year now.”
Huh!” Kyle muttered as if thinking this over. “But wouldn't that make you get old really fast?”
I smiled since it seemed like he was choosing to believe me, for the moment. “Not so much, because conversely, the people there age at a rate that is five times slower. Lady Sophia – who was Queen before King Henry, my so-called father – is over 400 years old.”
Whoa...” Kyle murmured in surprise.
I nodded in agreement.
But what does this have to do with Ian? Are you allowed to bring anyone you want with you?” Kyle asked.
No,” I stated. “There has to be a person in each world to exchange. So if I tried to bring you with me and there wasn't a you in the other world, you wouldn't be able to go, but if there is a you in the other world, he would be pulled into this world without warning. I can already tell you that there isn't a you...”
Why not?” He asked curiously.
Well, in that world, the man and woman who are our parents in this world never got married. Henry told me that she had died as a soldier in the war many years before he had a wish granted and came to visit our world shortly before our dad died. So – ” I stopped abruptly and thought this over. “Actually, I suppose that she could have had you before dying. I guess I'll have to look into that. Maybe you do exist after all.”
Okay, so putting all of that aside, what happened to Ian, and also, why didn't I see your doubles come here while you guys went there?” Kyle wondered.
I looked to the ceiling because I had lied about an important part, so this wouldn't make sense. Time to confess... “Okay, so, as I just said, King Henry had a wish granted by someone who had the power to let him cross between the worlds. He did so just as our father was exposed to something deadly, so there was an exchange. It was possible then. If you think back on what mom said about our father's death, she mentioned that he changed quite a bit – ”
Looking older and having his eye change color,” Kyle murmured as he looked at the ceiling while he thought this over.
Yes... that was him, from the other world... The reason that I am able to cross between the worlds without anyone to exchange with is because I have a parent from both worlds...”
Kyle looked like he had been punched. It took him a moment to remember to breathe, but then he exhaled slowly. “Oh...”
I nodded grimly. “Yeah, oh...”
So... So you didn't just look like his daughter...” Kyle stated.
Right,” I confirmed.
Oh...” Kyle murmured again, probably feeling as shocked by this information as I had at first.
I decided to press on. “As for Ian, he apparently was born in that world, but his parents both died in battle. Their God took him in and saw that Ian's parents here in this world were about to lose their baby to pneumonia. So he switched the babies. That baby did die after that, and Ian was raised by his parents here. I am able to bring him back because he is originally from that world. He just found this out – as did I – and that's why he's so upset.”
Kyle leapt to his feet. “What kind of world is that place?! Everyone you've mentioned so far has died in battle! Did you go over there and get placed on their front lines?!”
No!” I assured him, getting to my feet and putting my hands on his shoulders. “I have vowed to do whatever it takes to prevent war from happening ever again. They'd already gained temporary peace by the time I got there, but the effects of the war are hard to cope with. They don't even really dance there! I've had to slowly teach them all how to have a little fun from time to time.”
Hmm...” Kyle murmured, thinking this over. We both sat back down, holding hands now. “Anything else I should know?”
I think I've covered almost everything, except for Nathan,” I replied, a dreamy expression coming over my face. “He's the son of the previous Queen – so I guess that makes him somewhat of a Prince even though he was born long after she had served her required 100 years and stepped down. He has blond hair and green eyes that drive me crazy! I just love him so much!”
I looked down sadly. “But I hurt him, maybe so much that our relationship will never be the same. We were engaged to be married, but I cheated on him with... everyone and he broke off our engagement when he found out.”
Wait,” Kyle said with a frown. “But you just got married!”
I know, and Andrew is a wonderful husband. I do love him, but he and I have an understanding that we're not meant to be exclusive,” I explained.
I see...” Kyle murmured. He was quiet for several long moments, and then sighed. “How am I supposed to believe any of this? I don't think you'd lie to me, but this is all just too...”
Crazy, I know.”
Yeah,” he agreed.
I shrugged and then kissed him on the cheek. “Believe what you want. I have to go, but no matter how long I'm gone, I'll be back in a second. Then we'll do something together, have breakfast maybe. Go check up on Ian. Hang out,” I suggested with another shrug.
Kyle nodded slowly. I got to my feet and went to the mirror. A kiss later and I was back in my room with Nathan. He was sitting in a chair staring at the mirror – obviously waiting for me.
So... how's Lord Ian?” Nathan asked.
As well as can be expected, I guess,” I replied sadly. “I wish I knew how to comfort him. We already did ice cream and alcohol, so I don't think that would work again so soon.”
According to your journal, you two have done everything together,” Nathan remarked. “But you've also written that you don't think of him as anything other than a best friend who you occasionally have sex with, so I know I shouldn't be jealous of him, but I am.”
I'm telling you, there's nothing to be jealous of!” I insisted.
But there is!” Nathan exclaimed fervently. “He's been by your side through everything your whole life! I've never had a friend like that...”
Why not?” I wondered and then flinched when I realized how heartless I sounded. “The war right?”
Nathan nodded. “That's part of it. But mostly it's because I've lived my whole life in the palace. The only people I come into contact with are those that live here and my men. I've led my unit into battle more than once, which makes it hard get too close to them. If I let myself think of any of them as friends – let alone best friends – then I'll feel even worse if they die...”
And there's not really a lot of children in the Kingdom, that I've seen...” I murmured, puckering my brows in though.
In the beginning, there was,” Nathan informed me. “Every time the war stopped for a while, people would procreate because they didn't know if they'd have a chance to later on, but as time passed, people stopped having children as much because they wanted to wait until their babies could grow up in a time of peace.”
Hmm...” This gave me a lot to think about.

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