~ Chapter 41: The letter that sealed their fate (Part 1) ~
[Seryanna's point of view]
As soon as Alkelios mentioned the possibility of a plot, I rushed out of the inn and headed back to the Palace. There was no more time to waste, and I had to meet with her highness, the Third Princess, now rather than later.
Currently, grandfather's army, the Brekkar Army was the ace in the sleeve of her highness, but with their general in a presumed critical state for more than thirty years, there was a high chance that his majesty, the King, would make a move to restore it.
Back when we were in Tomeron, grandfather told Alkelios that he had been a General for 50 years. It wasn't wrong, but it wasn't right either. Having reached a Breakthrough Awakening when he was 234 years old, he quickly became one of the most prized fighters of the King. At the age of 300, he was already considered to be the Right Hand of his Majesty. For more than 100 years, my grandfather was our kingdom's most powerful General, until the Third Princess was born. At that time, the Prime Minister suggested that grandfather should become a part of her party and declare his achievements in her name.
From a military point of view, it changed nothing. This was all a political play to keep the Third Princess safe from the hands of possible corrupt nobles who would have done anything to enter the Royal Family or use their power for their own gain. Grandfather became the perfect tool for this, but then... that event took place... Grandfather crippled himself, and the power supporting the Third Princess grew weak with each passing year.
Thirty years ago, she had over twenty knights... now she had only me. If she were to lose both the Brekkar Army and myself, then the Third Princess will end up playing the role of a political coin. Her free will will be shackled and her freedom taken.
I can't let that happen... I can't allow her to end up like that. As her Royal Knight, it's my sworn duty to protect her... no matter the cost. I thought to myself as I entered the Palace and rushed to her chambers.
As soon as I reached the hallway, I noticed that there weren't even any guards protecting her anymore.
With a gulp, I knocked at the door.
“Princess Elleyzabelle? It is I, Sir Seryanna. I have returned as per your request.” I declared.
“Enter.” the calm voice I was familiar with replied from the other side of the wall.
Standing up straight, I opened the door and entered her chamber.
There, at the window, I saw the dragoness whom I decided to serve in this lifetime.
Standing at a height with a head smaller than me, she wore a beautiful white dress of a simple, yet elegant design. Cloth flowers were sewed at the bottom of the hem, while golden leafs were embroidered on the upper part. The bodice was simple and pushed out her chest, but hid it behind the frills of her neckline. She had long sleeves that stretched out past her arm length, but didn't touch the floor.
As far as her Awakened draconian features went, her tail was completely white and lacking of any spikes, but it was long and easy to control. Her wings were big, more so than Kataryna's, but although appearing as white, they held a line of golden scales on top of the bone, which I knew they continued underneath her clothes and flowed down on her back, ending at the point where her tail began. Her golden eyes were slit like those of a dragon in beast form, and a pair of straight white horns began right behind her pointy ears. On the left and right side of her bottom jaw, three scales could be seen lined up and pointing towards her chin. A single golden scale had formed on each of her cheek bones.
“I am glad to see you arrived safely. How was your journey?” she asked.
Her gentle smile was as always, soothing for the heart and soul.
“I traveled well and met interesting people.” I replied after I knelt in front of her like any knight would in front of their master.
“Rise.” she said and then turned around to look through the window.
“Yes, your Highness.” I replied respectfully and then stood up straight.
I waited patiently for the Princess to be the first to speak, so I would not be considered rude or disrespectful towards her. When speaking with a royal, it mattered not if you were on friendly terms or not, abiding by the code and rules declared since ancient times was common practice, otherwise, our gestures and words could have been easily misinterpreted as an act of treason towards the kingdom itself.
As such, I felt a bit wary in regard to letting Alkelios meet her Highness. Teaching him court manners and etiquette was important, unfortunately, I was unable to do so throughout our journey. I also was of the belief that I was not the most suited to do so in the first place.
“Have you made any new friends? Lady Gorrashy asked about you last time we met.” she asked in a calm tone of voice.
“Thank you, your Highness, for letting me know. I will see to it that I will meet her as soon as I have the time. And yes, I have made two new friends. A dragoness who has reached her Breakthrough, who goes by the name of Kataryna Greorg, and a human hero who goes by the name of Alkelios Yatagai.” I replied honestly in a respectful and calm tone of voice.
Lying or sneaking behind my master's back was something akin to betrayal. Her orders for me were absolute just as were those of his Majesty, the King. As a knight, I was obliged to answer and follow the commands of only these two. The Prime Minister could at most only act as a mere messenger in case of simple instructions.
“A human and an Breakthrough Awakened I have not heard of until now?” she turned around and looked at me with a serious expression in her eyes.
“Yes.” I replied while bowing my head.
I remained in this position because I understood that this matter was by far not a light one.
“This human... you said he was a human hero, correct? What does this imply?” she asked.
“Yes. Alkelios told me that several months ago, at the same time the two of us met, a God-like entity brought 10 million humans from his world to ours, him included, and gave them unique powers and abilities. From what I understood, they have been scattered throughout our world and mingled with all civilizations.” I replied.
“So they are allies of the human kingdoms?” she asked me, and I could feel a tinge of worry in her voice.
“No. I have confirmed through Alkelios' behavior and words that at the time of their arrival, none of those 10 million can be considered the allies of the human kingdom.”
“Why is that so?”
“Alkelios is a human that cannot distinguish the difference between commoner and nobility. He behaves around all of them in a similar manner. I would even go so far as to say his behavior highly resembles that of someone who reached a Breakthrough. This is because in his world, they have changed their political system to one that has no such classes and everyone is seen as equal more or less.”
“That's preposterous! How could something like this be true? Without an authority like the king, a country would fall into chaos! Worse even, it would slowly succumb to the corruption and greed of those who thrive in the world of politics! Without a king, such pest would run the country as they pleased and the commoners under them would suffer greatly!” the Princess spoke in a harsh tone of voice, showing her displease and disapproval of such a system.
“Yet this is what he claims, and I can ascertain that so far, he has spoken no lies. Even my grandfather approves of him.” I said.
“What? Even Sir Brekkar... This is... unexpected.” the Princess appeared to be shocked by this information.
This much was a given, especially when one looked back at everything that has happened in the past 100 years, and more specifically during the war 38 years ago. Normally, I shouldn't be looking at Alkelios with a love-struck gaze... but one of hate.
Fortunately, my grandfather thought me better, and he was the one who declared that not all humans he met were bad. Some were forced by their society to act as they did, while others were threatened. In reality, there were many humans who disapproved of this war as much as the dragons did, but the difference between the opinions of the commoners and those of the royals was as different as the sun and moons. This was an absolute truth.
“Alkelios Yatagai is also the man I have chosen to love.” I declared then.
“What? But he's a human? Especially after what his kind did to your family, you... Why?” she asked, but I understood from the tone of her voice that she was not only confused but also worried about my well being.
“I firmly believe that he is not like those who brought harm upon both our families... Neither do I think his words speak lies and his feelings are untrue.” I replied in a calm tone of voice.
“If this is what you believe, then I will put my faith in you.” she let out a sigh.
“Thank you, your Highness.”
“Unfortunately, I don't believe my father or the other nobles in this palace will agree with this, especially Draejan Andrakaryus Doesya.” she let out another sigh.
“That may be so, but if you or the King order me to break all ties with him, then... with a heavy heart, I will do so.”
I felt like those words struggled to leave my throat, and my heart throbbed in pain. Unknown to me, even my relaxed palms clenched into tight fist, showing my utmost desire for such a thing not to happen.
After a moment of silence, the Princess spoke “I will never order you such a thing, but my father... already has.”
Those last words of hers struck me like the fist of the strongest monster in the Seculiar Forest. They stopped my train of thought and brought me in a state where I was looking with a confused expression at the Princess.
“Sigh... In what state do you believe our party currently is?” she asked.
“Erm... I apologize, but I have been away from the capital for a while now. If I remember right, there were at least a dozen guards left under your command, the Brekkar Army, myself, Dregarya Gorrashy, and about seven noble houses?” I replied.
“That was then. Now, only you and Dregarya Gorrashy were left on my side. I have no more guards to order and no backup from any noble family except yours.” she looked down.
“What? How can that be?” I asked bewildered.
There was no way that the Third Princess' party had succumbed to such a degree so quickly.
Turning her gaze to the desk next to the wall, she then told me “Please read the opened letter.”
I nodded and then walked over to it.
I picked it up and read the following lines:
To the The Third Princess of the Dragon Kingdom Albeyater, Elleyzabelle Sojourn Seyendraugher, I officially wish to inform you that his Majesty, the King of Albeyater, Feryumstark Seyendraugher, has declared my engagement with Seryanna Draketerus to be official and of high importance to the Albeyater Kingdom.
Their esteemed Highness, Prince Charmeill Seyendraugher and Prince Elovius Seyendraugher have both expressed their acceptance and positive remarks in regard to his Majesty's wise decision.
As the next General of the Brekkar Army, I believe this union will bring about a most flourishing future for both our parties.
From Draejan Andrakaryus Doesya, the esteemed son of Duke of Doesya and the Sixth Princess of Albeyater.
A single thought went through my mind as I read these words: What sort of mockery is this? Engagement? Since when?
The same matter I spoke with Alkelios not too long ago turned out to be an unavoidable truth just like a sheep awaiting the opportune moment to pounce on a wolf. The one authority who could move everyone as they pleased, the King, was the one who agreed and... ordered this engagement.
As a knight, no matter how much I was against this, denying this order was akin to betraying the entire country and more importantly, the Princess under whom I served. All that was left for me to do was to bow down and obey like the loyal subject I was... I could not even yelp and run away with the tail behind my legs.
With my hands frozen on the letter, my emotions all stirred within my chest. Rage, anger, sorrow, and despair... they all piled up together and ripped apart my heart. There was no way out, no escape. But it was clear there was more to this letter, more to this mockery of my feelings.
Then as if reading the mood that settled within my heart, the Princess let her voice be heard.
“Funny how things turned out like this... Like a castle of cards, everything fell apart from that moment 38 years ago.” the Princess let out a sigh.
“Your Highness...” I tried to speak up, but suddenly... my cheeks were wet.
I'm crying? Why? I thought in shock, but then I quickly wiped my tears, yet they kept flowing.
Note from the author: Thank you for reading this chapter, I hope you enjoyed it! Oh, and be sure to check out my other stories too!
Why do I suddenly feel like I'm being surrounded by an angry mob? Strange... o_O
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