"Your bride seems to love to make an entrance," Prince Ivan murmured to Prince Harold, and the others who heard him laughed in amusement.
Harold completely ignored them as he focused his attention on Alicia, who was coming to sit beside him. Hadn't he specifically instructed her not to speak to anyone unless she was spoken to? Why was she so stubborn? Didn't she realize that the more she opened her mouth, the more danger she exposed herself to? 𝒊n𝙣𝓻𝚎𝒶𝚍. 𝑐𝗼𝓶
"Good morning, dear groom!" Alicia greeted him with a sweet smile as she sat down beside him, causing Harold to narrow his eyes at her. Why was she smiling at him? Had she forgotten already that the last time they had seen each other they had both been angry at each other?
Perhaps she was in a good mood? Why? He had expected her to try to escape over the night, but he had been surprised when Alvin reported to him earlier that morning that there was no movement from her chamber all through the night.
Perhaps she was biding her time and trying to get accustomed to the environment? That seemed more like it. She was smart, after all. But it's quite unfortunate for her that he was smarter.
"Did you sleep well?" Alicia asked in a loud voice, making sure that Beth, who was keeping an eye on her, would hear her. Aside from that, she was hoping that having a good relationship with Harold would make people, especially Beth, respect her. Because it seems they were all looking down on her because of the way he treated her.
"Keep. Your voice. Down." He muttered under his breath, emphasizing each word that left his lips. Alicia raised a brow, "Why?" She asked in a loud voice once again, and Prince Ivan, who was watching the both of them, smiled from the corner of his lips.
He liked to see that his half-brother wasn't getting along with his bride. This was literally the best thing that had happened to him.
Prince Harold's eyes hardened when he heard her question, and he looked at her with displeasure. She seemed to be questioning his authority once again, and he didn't like it one bit. Especially the fact that his half-brother was closely observing them, "BECAUSE. I. SAID. SO."
"Oh... you are so feisty... I like it." She playfully slapped his arm and giggled. Harold withdrew from her reach immediately and glared at her with hard eyes. What in the world was wrong with this girl? And... did she just touch him!?
Alicia looked in the direction where Beth was standing. Beth looked like she was seething with anger, and the look in her eyes said it was more than just the fact that she was talking. By chance...
Alicia looked at Harold, who was still glaring at her and back at Beth.
All the conversation around the table, all of which was obviously about her, ceased as both the King and Queen walked in. As Alicia also stood up to welcome them, she couldn't help wondering why people always looked like this whenever the king and queen or Harold were present. There was always this tension in the atmosphere. Even though the people had been chatting and laughing earlier, they didn't quite look comfortable, and it grew worse as soon as the royal couple stepped in. Well, she wouldn't blame them. She felt there was something weird about them too. Especially the King. He was too handsome for this world.
Once the King and the Queen had taken their seats, the others around the table sat down.
"How was your first night in our kingdom? I hope you like your chamber?" The Queen asked Alicia, looking at her with interest. Hearing the question, Alicia cleared her throat and ignored Princess Tyra's subtle signal for her not to say anything.
"Speaking of my chamber, it wasn't what I expected. I wouldn't have imagined that such a sparsely furnished room would exist in a palace such as this," Alicia said, making the king raise a brow.
"Sparsely?" The queen asked, echoing the question on everyone's mind.
"I mean, it's lacking in furniture. It's almost empty, save for the bed and dressing table. Perhaps it's the fault of the interior decorator," Alicia replied.
Beth, who was standing at one end of the room, looked like she wanted to rip Alicia apart when the Queen turned to look at her with a slightly raised brow. "Interior decorator?" The Queen asked as she returned her gaze to Alicia.
"Yes. I mean the person who was in charge of setting up the chamber," Alicia corrected with a stiff smile.
It seemed like she was going to have to learn to speak in basic terms, like she was talking to kids, unless she wanted to interpret every single word she uttered.
Harold kept a straight face on and looked like whatever was happening was not his business.
"For someone from a rather poor kingdom, you seem to have a lot to say," Prince Ivan observed.
"And for a rich kingdom, my chamber, in the said 'poor kingdom' is a lot better than what you do here." She responded with a stiff smile.
Princess Tyra locked her shaky hands together as the air around the room grew stiff. Prince Alvin was beyond pissed. But most of all, the King obviously didn't like how Alicia had compared his kingdom to the other one, and the aura was everywhere. Everyone could feel it, maybe except for Alicia, who was busy looking at the dishes on the table.
Alicia seemed to realize something was wrong and raised her head to look at everyone. They all had a submissive look on their faces with their heads down. Except for the royal couple and Harold, of course, who still had a straight face.
She looked at everyone again and then back at Harold. "Why do they all look that way? Are we... praying before the meal?" She whispered curiously.
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