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Monday, November 23, 2015

Yalera the Brave - Chapter 6

Chapter 6

For an entire week, the entourage was harassed by Prince Hugh as it steadily traveled towards the Nandian Royal Palace. Only the fact that Yuna and Rune alerted them each time the mercenary army got close prevented serious casualties. Yemry was ready to call it quits, but Yalera stubbornly refused.
At the moment, she had all her advisers, her parents, her twin, and Yemry in her tent. Baethan stood guard at the door, half to prevent any of the advisers from leaving without permission, and half to ensure that no one disturbed them. He watched her pace the tent in frustration.
We're not giving up!” Yalera roared. “If we run away now, then we are nothing more than cowards!
But surely it would be prudent to retreat until our safety can be guaranteed,” Lady Yalena protested.
But it's two weeks in either direction,” Yalera reminded her mother. “If we retreat, we have to travel two weeks just to get back to Rubidium. If we keep going, it's two weeks to the Nandian Royal Palace. Going back will just tell Prince Hugh that he can push us around and we won't fight back, but if we make it to the palace, the two Princes can fight it out while Rubidium is safe.”
My first priority is your safety,” Yemry stated firmly. “Continuing on while we are a clear target is sheer idiocy.”
Most of the advisers chimed in with: here here!
Yalera growled and forced herself to stop tearing out her hair. “Am I in charge here or not?”
Well yes, but,” Yemry replied, hesitating. “Only if you listen to your advisers and take into account their advice.”
I've listened,” Yalera stated with a steely softness, glaring at her older brother. “I've listened to every single one of you advise me to run and hide and retreat...” She paused as she paced to the opposite side of the tent and then back. As she did so, she gave each of her advisers a serious look. “You all seem to be under the impression that you're talking to my older sister. I'm sure Rolanna would have given up by now. I'm sure she would have quietly done as she was told. But I'm not her. I was asked by our King to go to the Nandian Royal Palace and marry Prince Crispin to ensure peace between our Kingdoms, and that is what I am going to do!” She ended by staring at Yemry again.
He took a deep breath in, held it for a few moments, and then exhaled in defeat. “Fine. We'll continue on.”
Ronin chuckled softly, putting an arm around Yalera's shoulders and kissing her temple. “I knew you'd be able to stand your ground. You're just like your mother in that.”
Don't remind me!” Lady Yalena grumbled, making a few others chuckle. She looked Yalera in the eye, a bit of pride shining through despite not getting her way. “And you're wrong about Rolanna. She'd probably insist on completing her mission too, she'd just do it with a softer voice and a bigger smile.”
Hmm!” Yalera harrumphed. “Well she's listened to, so she doesn't have to yell.” Her mother hugged her.
Well,” Yemry said, sounding lost in thought. “There's a Lord near hear that's rumored to be loyal to the Nandian King and his chosen Heir, so he might be willing to give us shelter for a few nights. That way we can be fully rested when we continue on.”
Good!” Yalera stated in relief. She closed her eyes and raised her head as if looking at the sun. Please Gods! Please let him help us!

*****

To everyone's relief, the Lord not only helped them, he rode out to meet them on the way. Word had reached him of Prince Hugh's shenanigans, and he felt that it was his duty to come to their aid. He arrived just in time help defend against the mercenaries' harassment.
Prince Hugh seemed to think that if he just kept coming after them – like a dog gnawing on a bone – he'd eventually wear them down. When he saw a group of Nandian soldiers come to their aid, he growled in frustration and called a retreat. “Don't think you've seen the last of me! I'll get you when you least expect it!”
The Lord sighed heavily. “And that's why our beloved and wise King chose against him... He doesn't know how to put the good of his people first.” He dismounted and knelt before the group comprised of Yalera's family. “I am Lord Carver. Please allow me to escort you to my home so that you may rest.”
Thank you,” Yalera stated with relief. “You have no idea how happy I am to have a respite from that deranged Prince!”
Lord Carver laughed, seeming startled to do so. “I can only imagine!”
Yemry shook his hand. “I'm Yemry, older brother of the bride to be. This is –”
Lord Carver cut him short. “I hate to be rude, but perhaps the introductions can wait until we are safely on my lands.”
Of course,” Yemry agreed with a nod, and then gestured for his men to make sure their party got moving.
A few hours later, everyone was safely ensconced in Lord Carver's castle. Introductions had been made, and a late dinner was currently being served. Yalera's advisers were also busy trying to squeeze every last drop of information regarding Prince Hugh from their host. Lord Carver answered the best he could, but honestly, he didn't know much more than they had already figured out.
Yalera listened, of course, but her attention also wandered. Situated around the dining hall was a balcony that lined all the walls about 10 or 12 feet off the floor. It was intended to provide a place to stand around and chat during balls and parties, thus didn't really have a purpose most of the time. Even so, small movement made Yalera wonder if the Lord had a dog roaming around.
She tracked the movement until it stopped in a shadowy area that was sort of off to the side and behind Lord Carver – who was at the head of the long table. This was suspicious enough that Yalera narrowed her eyes in concern. She then pretended to pay attention to something else.
But don't you worry!” Lord Carver exclaimed as he took Yalera's hand in his and kissed it. “I'm sure that the added presence of my men will be enough to keep Prince Hugh at bay until you reach the palace.”
Since she was sitting on his left and he had her hand in his grasp, Yalera felt that she had no choice but to smile at him. “Thank you... I only pray that no one else gets injured.”
Her eyes drifted back up over his right shoulder to the balcony. To her surprise, she could now clearly see a little girl of maybe six sitting between the columns. She seemed confident enough that no one would see her sitting in the shadows that she swung her legs lightly.
Yalera waited until the little girl was looking at her and smiled. The little girl blinked and rubbed her eyes as if she wasn't quite sure that Yalera was actually smiling at her, so Yalera winked conspiratorially. The girl immediately scrambled to get up and run away, but slipped and fell.
Without taking even a second to think about it, Yalera jumped up from her chair, which made it tip backwards onto the floor with a loud bang. Rushing to move around Lord Carver's chair, she managed to arrive just in time to catch the little girl. Falling from that height probably wouldn't have killed her, but she definitely would have gotten seriously hurt.
I've got you!” Yalera announced when the little girl burst into wails of terror, still certain that she was about to get hurt from the fall. “Shh... you're safe...”
Mila!” Lord Carver exclaimed in astonishment, pulling the girl from Yalera's arms to cradle her tightly. “What are you doing?”
Daddy!” Mila sobbed, burying her face in his chest. “I just wanted to see the pretty Lady that's supposed to marry the Prince!”
Oh Mila...” he muttered with a tone like he was thinking: I should have known!
A woman burst into the room and rushed to Lord Carver. She was dressed in a simple maid's outfit, but was very beautiful nonetheless. She wrung her hands fretfully.
I'm so sorry, my Lord! I really thought she was in bed asleep!” The maid apologized.
I understand,” Lord Carver murmured, still stroking his daughter's hair to calm her down. “Mila, look.” He pointed to Yalera. “It's the Lady you wanted to see. Can you stop crying and give her a smile? She saved your life after all.”
Mila sniffed a few times to stop her tears, and then looked at Yalera. “Are you really going to be the Princess?”
That's right,” Yalera murmured with a kind smile.
Mila smiled at her before shyly burying her face in her father's chest again. “Wow! I got to meet the Princess!”
Lord Carver pressed a kiss to her cheek. “There, mission accomplished. Now go to bed and stop giving your poor mother reason to worry about you!”
Yes daddy,” Mila murmured unhappily. Lord Carver handed her to the maid, who bobbed a curtsey to the Lord.
I'll make sure she doesn't leave her bed again tonight,” the maid vowed solemnly.
But mama!” Mila protested in dismay. “What if I have to pee?”
The maid harrumphed as she carried Mila away. “You'll just have to do that before I put you to bed!”
As the two left the room, Lord Carver himself picked up Yalera's hastily vacated chair and set it upright once more. He helped her sit back down. Even though he tried to hide it, Yalera could sense a feeling of profound relief emanating from him.
Thank you for catching her,” he stated with a respectful bow. “I have no idea what I would have done if she'd been hurt.”
No need for thanks!” Yalera insisted as she waved her hands in front of her. “I am fairly certain that I am the reason she fell in the first place. I startled her.”
Lord Carver nodded in understanding. “Even so, I am in your debt. If you should ever need anything from me, don't hesitate to ask.”
Yalera felt an urge to smack him and insist that he just drop it already, but she took a deep breath and sighed. Pasting a smile on her face, she responded to his offer. “Thank you.” She didn't intend to ever act on his words, but graciously accepting seemed more diplomatic than arguing pointlessly.
One of Yalera's advisers stroked his chin as he thought. Clearing his throat, he interrupted before anyone could say anything else. “Please forgive me for prying, but did that girl that you freely acknowledge as your daughter call that maid her mother?”
Yes,” Lord Carver confirmed without the slightest hint of shame.
In Rubidium, it would be nearly unheard of for a Lord to create a child with one of his servants, and if one should happen to be created, he would be obligated to hide this fact by gifting the servant with a nice house somewhere and enough income for the mother to take care of the child in simple comfort. Yalera hadn't really thought about such things before – although she was aware of them. Even so, she was fairly certain that the circumstance was rare. She wasn't the only one who found it strange that Lord Carver kept his illegitimate child in the castle he lived in.
The adviser chose his words carefully. “Is such a situation common in Nandia?”
Actually, yes,” Lord Carver confirmed. He looked reluctant for a moment, and then let out a heavy sigh. “I feel I should warn you, my Lady.”
Yalera realized that he was about to impart something serious, so she sat up a bit straighter and gave him her full attention. “About what?”
I am not really sure how things are done in Rubidium, but here in Nandia, men very often have mistresses and lovers on the side. It really is common for a man to have a child with a woman he only visited one or twice. Men of honor – which I feel to be most of us here in Nandia – will happily care for their illegitimate children. They will make sure that the mothers are well treated as well. Thus, men who can afford it may well have a lot of women they are responsible for, as well as a lot of children.” The Lord shrugged and took a sip of ale from his tankard.
Yalera didn't really know what to say. She really tried to think of a diplomatic response, but nothing came to mind. Her mouth opened and closed a couple of times before she finally gave up.
Lord Carver looked her in the eyes quite seriously. “Especially the Prince. All the men of the Royal Family, actually. They feel it is their duty to have as many sons as possible. You will be his wife and Queen, and so your sons will be the most important. However, Prince Crispin has other women and children already. I tell you this so that you may prepare yourself for the day that you meet them.”
Yalera scrunched up her face in confusion. “What happens if I don't have a son?”
Lord Carver shrugged. “If you are capable of having children but haven't produced a son, the Prince will likely just keep trying. In the instance that you are unable to have any children at all in a period of – say – five years, he will likely draw up a contract of divorce in which you will be cared for generously, but otherwise demoted from wife and future Queen to Princess and...” he faltered and looked away.
What?” Lady Yalena demanded in concern for her daughter.
Royal Concubine...” Lord Carver murmured, trying to be sensitive to their beliefs even as he explained things. “I am not ashamed that this is the way things are in our Kingdom, but I have heard stories of Rubidium. I am fairly certain that you will disapprove of such a situation, which is why I decided to warn you.”
Yalera felt like she wanted to be sick, but she pushed the feeling aside with a shrug. “It doesn't matter. My mother had two sons, so I should be able to have sons too. And even if I don't, the peace treaty between our two Kingdoms will remain in effect. That is the most important part of all.”
Yes,” the adviser that had started this particular conversation agreed grimly. However, even he looked like he was now having second thoughts about this marriage.
Yemry growled in frustration. “Lord Carver! How would you feel if you heard that your younger sister was potentially going to be demoted to the position of Royal Concubine?!”
Lord Carver smiled, giving one soft chuckle. “Actually, I would be proud of her. Especially if Prince Crispin was already King at the time. The woman he is married to can hold a considerable amount of power in the Kingdom, and if he decides to divorce his Queen, she will still have quite a bit of power... If she knows how to use it.”
He chuckled again, refilling his tankard of ale and getting more comfortable in his chair. “Take our Current King – for example. King Bruno was a very passionate young man who had an eye for beauty. He married the woman chosen for him at age 20, but when she did not give him a son after three daughters and five years of marriage, he divorced her and took a new bride. That bride gave him Prince Hugh. Unfortunately, she died in childbirth...”
Yalera bit her lip as Lord Carver took a drink. “So then the King married again and had Prince Crispin?”
Yes,” Lord Carver confirmed with a nod. “Not to mention a couple of other sons. It is true that the sons born of a legitimate marriage are more important to the Kingdom, but when it comes time for the King to name his official heir, he can choose whichever son he feels is the most worthy. This is why King Bruno chose Prince Crispin over Prince Hugh. Prince Crispin is far better suited to ruling the Kingdom.”
I see,” Yalera murmured politely.
A look around the room showed that all of the people from Rubidium were now more than just a little concerned for Yalera's future. She decided to smile brightly and raise her wineglass. “Here's to peace between Nandia and Rubidium.”
To peace,” everyone murmured as they raised their glasses.
Sensing a tension in the room, Lord Carver grinned. “Now! It's getting late, so perhaps my servants should show you all to the rooms you'll be staying in.”
Yalera nodded in agreement, relieved to be done with the troubling conversation.

***

Lord Carver!” King Bruno boomed proudly. “You have my sincere gratitude for safely escorting my son's bride to the Palace! Now... Which is the lucky Lady?”
Your Majesty!” Lady Yalena burst out in barely veiled indignation. “Forgive me but I must protest! My daughter needs time to freshen up from our journey before being presented!”
Yalera dared to look the King directly in the eyes as he studied their entourage. He struggled to hide his surprise at seeing a pair of smilodons for a moment, but then managed to plaster a smile on his face. A moment later, he noticed that the riders looked remarkably alike. Not to mention, out of the entire entourage, only Yalera dared to look him in the eye. The rest were respectfully bowing their heads.
He burst out laughing quite raucously. “Crispin, my boy! I think I've figured out which is your bride to be! And just look at her! She has the regal bearing of an Empress!”
King Bruno strode over to Yalera, taking great care to give the huge cat no reason to take umbrage. Prince Crispin stepped forward to follow his father. He was not as impressed by the girl riding the smilodon as his father, but he managed to look pleased to meet her. King Bruno held out his hand, doing his best not to glance at the cat – who was staring at him suspiciously.
Yalera took a deep breath, and then slipped her hand into his and let him help her off Yuna's back. She was wearing yet another of the dresses she'd made with very wide pants so that she looked like she was wearing a properly modest skirt. She used her free hand to curtsey fairly deeply.
Your Majesty...” she murmured respectfully. “I'm Yalera.”
I love her!” Bruno announced abruptly with a jolly smile. “I'm tempted to marry her myself!”
Prince Crispin scoffed and rolled his eyes. “Dad!” He shook his head and held out his hand to Yalera. “A pleasure to meet you.”
Yalera was relieve to see that her future husband was only about 20 or 21. She had been rather afraid that he'd be a good decade or more older than her. With a smile, she gave him a slight curtsey too.
I'm happy to meet you as well,” she replied, mostly truthfully, slipping her hand in his so that he could kiss it.
I was starting to worry that you wouldn't get here in time for the wedding,” Prince Crispin informed her. His expression actually confirmed this too. She thought that he might have been hoping that she'd be late.
I vowed to make it in time no matter what,” Yalera stated firmly. They would have made it here much sooner if they hadn't had to dodge and fight Prince Hugh at every turn, but she didn't feel like mentioning that.
There're only three days left,” King Bruno reminded her with a happy grin. “We've already received an advance message from your King that he and his entourage will be arriving tomorrow.”
Pardon our tardiness,” Yalera murmured politely. “We ran into some unavoidable delays.”
So I heard!” Bruno boomed with a short and derisive laugh. “But forgive me! Naturally you ladies would love an opportunity to get changed and freshen up a bit before dinner is served. My stablehands shall take charge of your mounts while your party is led to the quarters assigned to you.”
Yalera pasted her most angelic smile on her face as she gestured to Yuna. “My beloved pet – and that of my twin – will naturally be staying with us. I assure you that they are well trained and will not make any unpleasant messes in your palace.”
King Bruno literally took a step back for a moment to get a better look at the two large smilodons. “Uh...” Then he did a couple strange half circles with his head. “Of course.”
Yuna seemed to smile at him and nuzzled her beloved mistress for a second before licking her on the cheek.
Prince Crispin laughed softly. “I'm dying to know how you managed to turn such a dangerous wild animal into a pet!”
Yalera laughed and couldn't stop herself from blurting out a joke. “We share a father!”
Ronin laughed richly. He had dismounted and put a comforting arm around his wife when she had been affronted by the King's mildly rude behavior. Now, he walked over and put an arm around Yalera so he could poke her in the nose. “You're not the first one to suggest that!”
He gave a deeply respectful nod to King Bruno and Prince Crispin. “In truth, I raised their mother from a cub, and these two were raised with the twins as if they were siblings.”
That seems like a fascinating tale,” King Bruno stated with a grin. “Come, tell me about it.”
Ronin and the King started walking toward the Palace. Prince Crispin held out his hand to Yalera once more. She took a deep breath to prepare herself, and then smiled at him and placed her hand in his.
The Prince put enough space between them and everyone else that they could have a semi private conversation. “You're not what I expected.”
Yalera gave him another polite smile. “I'm not?”
No! I expected a delicate little thing... a girl raised as a Princess...” he murmured softly.
Oh...” Yalera replied, not sure what to say. “I'm sorry...?”
He laughed. “Don't be! If nothing else, we'll have plenty to talk about!”
I suppose that's true,” Yalera replied with a genuine smile. A surreptitious glance over her shoulder showed her that her twin was not happy in the slightest. “A moment please?”
Prince Crispin noticed that the rest of her party – aside from Yemry and Baethan – seemed to be trying to give them a modicum of privacy by heading into the palace while they lagged behind, so he felt no pressure to maintain proper etiquette. He was supposed to escort her into the palace as quickly as possible, but with minimal eyes on them, he simply nodded to grant her request.
Yalera slipped her hand out of Prince Crispin's and walked over to her brother – who was currently walking between their smilodons. She put her hands on her twin's shoulders and rested her head against his.
What's wrong?
He shrugged and shook his head slightly. Until this very moment, I didn't really believe that this would happen. I guess I just feel like this is all happening too soon.
Me too, but... Yalera shrugged her shoulders a bit helplessly. What can I do? I have an important duty.
I know! Rohan sighed, putting his hands on her face and closing his eyes. I know... I just wish we had more time.
I love you more than anything in the whole world, Yalera reminded him.
I love you too. He let go of her face, stepped back, and nudged her to return to her betrothed. She slipped her hand into his and tugged him after her.
This is my twin brother,” she informed Prince Crispin at his curious look. “We've done everything together our whole lives, and neither of us is quite prepared for me to get married and start a whole new life without him.”
Prince Crispin looked like he was lost for words for a moment. Finally, he tilted his head slightly. “I, uh... I have sisters, but I can't quite imagine being so close to any of them. I barely know what they look like! But I'm sure you'll get to meet them... If you want.”
How can you not know what they look like?!” Yalera asked in astonishment.
Prince Crispin took a long breath in and then slowly exhaled it as he wondered how to answer her. “Well... They are mostly kept with my father's women. I haven't been allowed in there since I was about 13 or 14.”
Why not?” Yalera asked, tilting her head curiously.
Prince Crispin shrugged. “It's just the way things are done. I was given a room in another part of my father's apartment for a couple of years, and then I was given my own apartment. After we're married, you'll live in my apartment with me... Would you like to meet my other women before or after we're married? I am sure I could invite you into my apartment – with your mother as a chaperone, of course – so that you could meet them if you want. I must apologize though, no other men are allowed to see any of my women.”
They had slowly walked toward the palace, but Yalera stopped again. “So wait! Are you saying that after we're married, I'll be stuck in your apartment never to be seen again?!”
Prince Crispin smiled and shook his head. “Not at all! You'll be my wife with the privileges of a future Queen. So long as you conform to our customs, you'll be free to do almost anything you want.”
Yalera bit her lip and started walking again. “What customs in particular do I need to conform to?”
You'll have a bodyguard with you at all times – more if you plan to go out shopping. You'll be in charge of the rest of my women so that you can take them shopping with you if you want. Outside of the palace, you'll need to wear a veil to let others know that you are part of the royal family and should not be looked at. Your guards will punish anyone who dares to look at you... Uh... Also – although I'm sure you probably knew this part already – you'll be expected to be faithful. No other man may ever touch you. He'll have his hand removed...”
Yalera interrupted Prince Crispin with a softly inhaled gasp as she stopped walking once more. “That's barbaric!”
Prince Crispin shrugged. “It's an effective incentive to stop men from trying to harm women.”
But...” Yalera instinctively reached out and slipped her hand into Rohan's. She couldn't imagine life if she could literally never touch her brother again. Her other hand pressed to her heart as she looked to the ground.
Prince Crispin frowned slightly as he looked at their clasped hands. “Do you do that often?”
All the time!” Yalera cried out.
Prince Crispin looked up as he thought about this.
You don't understand what it means to be a twin,” Yalera insisted passionately. “We were one person who the Gods decided to split in two!”
Hmm...” Prince Crispin murmured. “I suppose that I can sign a Royal Decree that your brother –”
Brothers,” Yalera cut him short, gesturing to Yemry – who was still actively guarding her.
Prince Crispin sighed. “Brothers... That both your brothers can be exempt from the rule. They won't have their hands cut off for doing so, but I'd still not advise it more than necessary, and probably not at all when in public.”
Yalera took a deep breath as she wiped the tiny droplets of moisture away from her eyes. “Thank you!”
Seeing that she really was grateful to him, he smiled at her in sympathy. He shook his head. “I can't believe that I'm going to say this, but...” he muttered softly, and then cleared his throat. “But if you want, I can declare your twin brother one of my lovers, and then he can live in my apartment with us too.”
Yalera gaped at him in utter shock. “Wha...?”
Rohan turned a shade of deep red and looked to the ground. He had no idea what he felt about this sudden development!
That's an option?” Yemry asked with an amused snort.
Yes... but I don't think it happens all that often,” Prince Crispin stated with a shrug. “My uncle has had a male lover in with his women for many years, but I've only seen him once or twice.”
Yalera had to take a few deep breaths to calm herself, though her face was still red. “Uh... That's not really a practical suggestion. Rohan needs to go home and run our estate.”
Without me! Yalera added mentally.
It will never be the same, Rohan agreed, squeezing her hand in his.
Both Rune and Yuna perked up abruptly. They had been waiting more or less patiently for their humans to get on with it already, but now looked around with heightened awareness. Yalera felt the hair on the back of her neck stand up. She had no idea how or where, but she knew that danger was nearby. She gasped and looked around, actually turning in circles.
What is it?” Yemry asked, looking around too.
I don't know... Just...” Yalera shrugged. “Something's wrong.”
A moment later, she heard a soft sound that was unmistakable to her as an arrow in flight.
Down!” She cried out, actually tackling Prince Crispin to the ground. She wasn't sure if the target was him or herself, but she figured that if they both moved, the arrow was unlikely to hit either of them. The arrow thudded softly as it planted itself in the ground next to them.
Yemry, Baethan, and Rohan had all flung themselves to the ground too, and now pulled her under them for her protection. She shook them off. With a sense of horror, she held out her hand and cried: “Yuna!”
Yuna promptly jumped out of the way as another arrow nearly hit her. Rune also moved away from an arrow, and then the two of them roared as they crouched. Grabbing Yuna's hair, Yalera mounted her and quickly withdrew her bow. Closing her eyes, she tracked where the arrows had to come from in her mind, and then grabbed an arrow out of her quiver and sent it flying. Two more arrows later, she paused to see if she had any more enemies to shoot.
I think... I think I got them all...” she informed them hesitantly.
Baethan held a bow – as did Yemry – and pointed into the distance incredulously. “I can't believe you hit that one! That's definitely out of my range!”
Before anyone could say anything else, a group of men raced out of the palace with a sound like thunder. They ran toward the area where they would soon discover three dead men. Other men shouted to them from their posts, giving directions.
Prince Crispin dared to pull Yalera off her smilodon, thanking his lucky stars that the cat didn't object. Once on her feet, he tugged on her hand. “Come on! We need to get safely inside!”
She nodded and kept up with him as he ran. They flew through the doors of the palace, and then he pulled her off to the side so that they weren't in the way of the second group of guards who were rushing out the open doors. Yemry, Baethan, and Rohan were only a couple of steps behind them, with Rune and Yuna hot on their trail. Rohan was tempted to laugh as the guards very nervously gave the two cats a wide berth!
Prince Crispin put a hand on Yalera's cheek. “I think you just saved my life! I owe you a debt that I'll never forget!” He kissed her full on the lips before stepping back and turning his attention to the Captain of the palace guards.
I want the Royal Army sent out to meet the other entourage from Rubidium! At this rate, my brother may well target them too!”
The Captain nodded his head just once before swiftly rushing off to follow orders.
Yalera felt faint as she stood in the entry hall of the palace, a hand on her cheek. She was blushing profusely from her very first kiss. The shock of it was almost enough to make her sway woozily. She was suddenly very glad that her first kiss hadn't been during her wedding, because the way she felt now, she may well have fainted during the ceremony!
Are you hurt? Rohan asked her mentally in concern.
She shook her head. No... just not sure how to feel...
Rohan nodded in understanding.
It's a bit eerie how those two can have an entire conversation without saying anything at all,” Baethan whispered to Yemry, who nodded in agreement.
A moment later, servants rushed to escort them to their assigned quarters.

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