Chapter 5: Chapter 0
The one thing that King Taelin hated was to be reminded of what he did thirty years ago when he was a greedy young man craving to be king more than anything in the whole world. No matter how much he needed his people to respect him and believe in him – no one did. But he was rich, powerful and had a strong army hence he diverted himself from forcing people to like him to being a tyrant who only like himself and what he can get.
Outside the cancel chamber the party that started last night continued and Maldonians knew how to party and get drunk. The streets were filled with drums, music, whores who decided to lower the price for that day just because they had a new King on the throne. But no one knew the heat that was forming inside king Taelin’s body after he was accused of such thing with Artemis. It wasn’t really an accusation but truth which he wasn’t ready to hear it yet especially from a man he planned to wed his daughter to.
When king Taelin was taking a long time, Artemis decided to speak again. “I’m not sure if I want a man who murdered a rightful king so he can get the throne to be my father in law. I can’t trust you and nor will I be able to trust your judgement” he added.
Angun thought Taelin was too embarrassed and angry, hence he decided to intervene. “If I may add a word of wisdom Your Grace?” and Artemis allowed him to speak. Angun turned his attention to king Taelin “I think what we are worried about... is Mithandir’s brother Your Grace. Witnesses say he has recruited himself an army and he is heading towards Prophis, could this be the reason you want our King to wed your daughter? Because you are looking for military support?” he asked politely.
Taelin blurted out “I have the most powerful army in the world. I do not seek for military support against an already decided fate. Mithandir’s brother will fail, and I will continue to be king of Prophis” he abruptly stood up. “I came here to seek an ally, a strong ally so we can both rule the world. Instead you’ve made an enemy, Your Grace” this time he looked straight at Artemis.
What Sir Lancet feared earlier finally came true even though he spent a significant amount of time trying to lead his friend into what he thought was the rightful path. But Artemis had a mind of his own and decisions to make, and what really helped him was the support of his Lords who were against the unification of Prophis and Maldonia kingdom.
Artemis also stood up and he faced king Taelin. “I’ll have my guards escort you out of my kingdom, Your Grace”
“I do not need escorts. I will leave this goddamn kingdom, but – you will regret this decision king Artemis. All of you...” He pointed at the Lords and even Lancet who was leaning against the wall. “Remember this day young king, the day you almost had it all before you let your ego ruin everything including you”
King Taelin left the council chamber with his daughter following him. It didn’t take long for him to gather his men and left Maldonia. The celebrations he was so eager to attend turned sore, and all the way back to his kingdom he kept cursing and murmuring the things he will do to Artemis. “I will make him pay! For embarrassing my daughter and my claim to the throne. I am the true king of Prophis. I will rule for many years and my sons will rule after I’m gone” and indeed Taelin had seven boys and only one daughter who was Thelma.
His first son, the crowned Prince of Prophis – Prince Castellan of House Prophis was a thirty years old man with his own two sons from his beautiful wife Katarina. Castellan was as brutal and as ruthless like his father. Perhaps the way he was raised by Taelin to be tough led to him be that kind of a man. The other six boys didn’t matter as per the rules, only Castellan was the one who will inherit the throne hence rendering others irrelevant and they were free to do what they want with their lives.
Taelin wasn’t even a good father. His sons were scattered, his fourth, fifth and sixth weren’t even living in his palace. They were all scattered throughout places looking out for their own, especially since their father seemed so interested in Castellan more than anyone else.
“What will we do now father?” Princess Thelma asked her father when they were inside the carriage which was pulled by five horses. They were in the middle of the forest, two carriages back and five more on the front. King Taelin liked to travel in numbers because he always believed there is strength in numbers hence there was a long caravan of men and horses escorting him back to Prophis.
“I will not let this go my daughter. I shall speak to your brother about this”
Thelma didn’t approve of this “Castellan thinks low of me” she said and looked away.
“Low? What do you mean by that?”
“He thinks he is the only child that matters father, him being the crowned prince”
“But he is the crowned Prince”
“Exactly father... we all don’t matter except for him. He was against it, me marrying Prince Artemis of Maldonia. He thought it was low of me, and he...” Princess Thelma paused.
The look on Thelma’s face after being rejected by Artemis was like an arrow inside her father’s heart. And now Taelin was seeing a version of his daughter he’s never seen before. It was wide and clear that Castellan was a bully, right from the start he’s been bullying his brothers and his sister. But then again, that was a problem even Taelin himself couldn’t fix. Hence he only promised Thelma “I will talk to your brother about this. Don’t be saddened my beautiful sunshine” and kissed her hairs.
After that encounter Artemis dismissed the Lords. Lancet was the only one who remained inside the council chamber, and he knew why he had to remain behind while everyone left. It was what he did to Aurora earlier which he had to answer for.
“Are you aware of what you did Sir Lancet?” asked Artemis fixing his crown.
Lancet had his face looking forward as he avoided Artemis’s eyes “No, Your Grace” he replied like a knight standing firmly.
“You humiliated Lady Kholin in front of everyone. She meant no harm to you or anyone at that moment. However, you still had to use your powers to make her look small. I don’t want a king’s guard of mine to be like that, to think he’s better than everyone else just because he is the king’s guard and a knight. Tell me Sir Lancet...” Artemis paused and moved to Lancet. He faced him in such a way they were so close to each other Artemis could feel his best friend trembling at his sight, he smiled because that showed no matter how close they are, Lancet understood the consequences of what he did.
“Aren’t we all children of gods?” asked Artemis.
“We are Your Grace” 𝙞𝒏𝒏𝑟e𝗮𝘥. c𝒐m
“I want you to go to the kitchen chambers and find Lady Kholin, apologize to her and tell her that the king of Maldonia expects to see her at the ball tonight. Have I made myself clear knight?”
Lancet was shocked, he was fine with apologizing to Aurora but he sure didn’t expect that Aurora will be invited to a ball which is supposed to host only the royal guests who have travelled hundreds of miles to witness Artemis’s coronation. The palace still had royal princesses and princes from different kingdoms, governors of major cities, lords and ladies from respectable houses. He would attend because he was a knight and the king’s guard but not even generals of highest rank in the Maldonian army were invited, yet Aurora was to be invited. “Did you hear what I just said Sir Lancet?” Artemis shrugged him off because he seemed to be far in thoughts.
“Yes Your Grace, I will apologize to... Lady Kholin. But – ” He hesitated. “Inviting her to a ball Your Grace?” and then he asked just to be sure that’s exactly what he heard.
“She is a lady isn’t she? And ladies can attend my coronation ball so I want her there”
Suddenly Lancet couldn’t take it anymore, he went after Artemis as his friend and he was done acting like they weren’t close friends who have been together since they were young “Artemis this is absurd! Aurora is nothing but a servant...”
“A servant who is about to be your queen. I suggest you keep your mouth shut before you get yourself in trouble, Sir Lancet” Artemis completely changed on him. He wasn’t about to he disrespected by his own knight, not when he was just sworn in as King of Maldonia.
Lancet wanted to continued the conversation but he was cut short by Artemis “You are dismissed” said Artemis and went on to look outside through the window. Lancet bowed respectfully and left the council chamber.
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