“You did the right thing,” Renesme said and smiled.
Shazan turned to look at her and pulled her in his embrace. He looked in her eyes, and the uneasiness in his heart drifted away.
“You have plans for Kaiya?” He smiled and asked.
The expressions Kaiya had been wearing were solemn and fearful. He knew Arianna was upset as he had promised on making Kaiya his official wife. A title that he had no power over. The title of the official wife could only be decided by his Empresses and approved by his women.
“We do.” She nodded and sipped his lips.
“What is it?” He smiled and asked her.
He had been curious since the morning why he was feeling uneasiness in their bond. It was as if something was bothering Renesme. He could sense her unease, but he was not sure what could make her feel like that.
“I have to go see the Guardian Beasts of this planet.” She smiled and answered him. “I may be gone for a few weeks.”
“What’s wrong?” He frowned.
Ever since they had been together, she had never gone off for more than a few days, but this time, it was a matter of weeks.
Any matter concerning the Guardian-Beasts of a Planet had to be grave.
“A few more dimensional walls have appeared. They must be destroyed or sealed as soon as possible. And I feel like someone has stepped on this planet.”
“Do I need to make preparations?” He asked with solemnness.
“Sure.” She giggled and kissed on his nose. “If it is something not beyond your capabilities, I will allow it to survive for you to deal with it. But if it is something more than that, I will eradicate it.”
“I will be fine.” She smiled at him. “And… I want to take Serafina and Roselyn with me.”
He surprisedly looked at her.
Little Rose who had been secretly listening joined in with excitement.
“Where are you taking me, Esme mommy?” She hopefully asked.
“You said you wanted to see Kurzok, right?” Renesme smiled and waited for Rose to respond.
And sure enough, her pearl-like eyes shined in excitement.
“We are going to see Kurzok?” She asked excitedly and jumped off the chair she had been sitting on. “When are we leaving?” She grabbed onto Renesme’s dress and asked again.
“Tomorrow?” She smiled and said,” Also, we are going to see other creatures like Kurzok too. And one of them is even bigger than Kurzok.”
“Really?! Yay!!” She jumped excitedly and tried to run out of the room. “I will go pack my stuff!”
“Wait!” Shazan stopped her from leaving the room.
Roselyn nervously looked at her father. She thought that he would not allow her to leave, and so she gave him a miserable expression.
“It is lunchtime. You can pack your stuff later.” He shook his head and said with a smile.
His little girl has learned to act too. And she was quite accomplished at that.
Roselyn readily nodded her head and bloomed in a bright smile.
“I love you!” She lept in his arms and kissed on his cheek.
He sighed at her excitement. And a part of him felt a little envious.
He had never seen the Guardian Beasts of the Planet. Earth had three of them. He wanted to see them as well, but he had never got the chance to visit them.
“Why Sera?” He asked his Empresses.
“She is shedding her current realm to embrace a new one. If she comes with me, she will benefit a lot from the spiritual energies of the Guardian Beasts.” Renesme vaguely answered him, but she did not go in detail.
“Alright. You may take them.” He sighed and nodded.
Shazan was not concerned about Roselyn or Serafina’s safety. The safest place for them would be with Renesme.
“Times have changed again,” Renesme whispered near his ear and then led him to the dining room.
Everyone was at their seats, but now, Kaiya was no longer sitting where she used to sit. She was sitting after Marilyn, and Asaya was sitting after Helen.
“I have talked with Lucile and Lyla,” Arianna told the girls on the table. “They are both his fiancées, and Lyla is my cousin, a year younger than him.” She smiled at Kaiya. “Silverstein family had a custom of marrying first-cousins, and Lyla was betrothed to him the day she was born.”
The words ached his heart. That was all where the troubles had begun. Lyla was his, and Lyanna was supposed to be Damien’s wife.
Shazan had never regretted his choices, and he didn’t feel like he betrayed his brother.
Lyanna was born with him and was his. No one had the right to take her away from him.
“Lucile is someone from the Blood and Moon clan. Her marriage to him would ensure another Millenia of a Blood Contract between the three families. They are set to be married next year, on March 13th, her 18th birthday. And yes, she will be his official wife.” She said and looked at both Kaiya and Asaya.
Renesme smiled at the two girls and continued with Arianna’s words.
“The order of his official wives does not matter. All of them have equal power in the empire.” She nodded to the three official wives. “He promised your father to make you his official wife,” she looked at Kaiya and narrowed her eyes. “But, you cannot become one just because of that. You need to pass certain tests, and you also need the approval of the family.” She then looked at Asaya. “Same goes for you.”
“You have until the new year to pass the tests that you will be put through, and if you succeed in them, you will have your marriage ceremony next year on his birthday.” Arianna smiled at Asaya. “And as for you, Kaiya, I will give you two years. But the premise is that you must awaken and become a Zeros. No one who isn’t a Zeros is allowed to become his official wife. I don’t care whatever promise he has made to anyone.”
Asaya was a little reluctant to hear that. She had no desire to have power, but she could feel that Arianna had already decided on things. There was nothing she could do now.
Kaiya couldn’t say a word after she heard Arianna. Her face paled and she sulked at her helplessness.
“I don’t want to become his official wife…” She whispered.
“It doesn’t matter.” Arianna shook her head. “You have two years to decide on your decision and pass those tests, and also to become a Zeros. If you fail, you will still be part of the family. Everyone here approves of you as such, and so you don’t have to worry about that.”
She ended her words and looked at Renesme and nodding.
“The Freston family was once a Modern Family of Azeros. They had the power of clairvoyance. They could see the events happening even in different countries, and they were once used by enemies against the Silverstein Empire as the scouts during the War.” She introduced Kaiya to Freston’s family history. “After the Empire won the war, the Frestons were enslaved and brought back here.”
Kaiya surprisedly looked at her. It was something even she did not know of. Her mother had never told her anything about her family.
“You are surprised?” Arianna giggled. “Have you seen anyone else with that hair of yours?”
Kaiya shook her head subconsciously.
“That is because Humans can not have that color naturally. Their genes can not evolve in that direction. Unless they walk on the path of Amazeros.”
“There are others from my family?” She asked hopefully.
Kaiya had never considered Kazuki as her father. To her, the blood in her veins only belonged to that of her mother. And she was correct to think that.
“No,” Arianna shook her head. “You are the last of the Frestons. In the last 100 years, only one Zeros from the Freston family had appeared in the world. The Empire tried its best to ensure that Frestons could be nurtured and turned into an Immemorial family, but some things were just not meant to be. Frestons failed the tests of the times. And their ability was more or less lost.”
Kaiya was sad to hear those words. Everything Arianna told her had only given her a hope just to take it all away from her.
“So that means that I can’t awaken…”
“Yes,” Arianna nodded to her. “If you keep that mentality, you would never awaken.”
She no longer paid any attention to Kaiya and turned to look at Maira.
“Renemse and I have decided to end your services at the Palace.”
The sudden words shocked the family.
Shazan frowned and looked at Arianna. His heart palpitated, and just a mere thought of Maira leaving the family ached it.
Maira was no different. She still had time on her contract. It never occurred to her that she would be discharged off her duties just like that. It should have been a happy matter for her, but for some reason, she did not feel any happiness.
The memories she had spent with the family flashed through her mind. Her heart was uncomfortable. She had only ever wanted to end her contract and return to the House of Aryans, but she couldn’t understand what was happening to her.
“Are you mad at me?” She confusedly looked at Arianna. “Did I do anything wrong?”
“Why do you say that?” Arianna chuckled at her. “Wasn’t it you that always wanted to go back and get away from him?”
The words drained the color from Maira’s face, but there was someone who was in a worse state than her.
Arianna looked at Isha and then back at Maira.
“Isha won’t be leaving with you, Maira,” Arianna interjected what Isha was about to say. “She was a gift to my brother, and she belongs to our family now.” She ended her words by looking at the pony-tailed girl whose eyes were brimming with tears.
Isha felt as if a weight had been lifted off her heart. Her heart was thumping in her excitement, but gradually, a pain descended over her at the same time.
She had grown up with Maira. And now she could have to separate from her. She hopefully looked at Maira, hoping that’s he would choose to stay as well.
Maira was shrouded in complicated emotions and thoughts. There was a part of her that was relieved for some reason, but then there was a part of her that was in agony.
“I wish to complete my contract…” She whispered.
“It is not up to you to decide. The contract is over now.” Arianna shook her head and refused her.
The words dropped the Aryan Princess in an abyss of despair. She had no idea how she had arrived to have such feelings and pain, and now she was lost. Her pride kicked in, and she was about to nod to Arianna when a voice thundered on her mind.
“I did not bring her here to let her go back,” Shazan said with grimness. “She is mine. And she will forever be mine. I refuse to allow her to leave. She has no right to decide that.”
He ended his words without looking at anyone. But the words were grave, and the deathly silence in the room frightened the girls.
“Even if she does not want to be here?” Arianna giggled and asked.
“Yes.” He nodded and looked at Maira. “I don’t care if you desire to leave me. I won’t allow it.”
Maira was a prideful princess. How could she have borne his haughty words?
“Lord Shazan… You can not go back on your promise!” She furiously shouted at him and stood up. “I won that duel against Ilsa and turned my slavery into a contract for three years. If you want me to complete that contract, I will gladly do so. But do not think for a second that you get to decide on my life and choices!”
“I never intended to let you leave after your contract ended.” He smiled at her with a gentleness that sent chills in her heart. “And if you desire to leave me so much… go ahead. Go back to your family, and I will bring you back here. But yes… do remember that the blood I will shed to get you back will be on your hands, not mine.”
The words terrified everyone on that table.
He paid no attention to anyone and poured some Audoris in his glass. He looked back at the Princess who was glaring at him with hateful eyes as he sipped on his drink.
“Do you have something to say, Princess Maira?” He chuckled at her.
“Why are you doing this?” She asked in a hateful yet pleading voice.
“It is because I know that I am in love with you.” He smiled at her. “If you are gone… I will be hurt, and some part of me will be lost.” He sighed. “You don’t understand it. And I hope that you never will.” He sipped on his drink before continuing. “When a person loses someone he loves, that person can never be the same again. Yes, I am scared of getting hurt, Princess of the Golden Blood.”
His words told her a few things, but they all meant one thing. He was telling her that he loved her. And she was not dull enough to not understand the meaning,
“And you would hurt me because of your selfishness?” She clenched her fists. “How can you call this Love?! It is an obsession!”
“Silly girl… Love without obsession is not Love.” He gently smiled at her.
“Love is supposed to be selfless!” She cried out as tears streamed out of her eyes.
He sighed when he heard those words.
“Such gray Love… How could you confuse another virtue with Love.” He shook his head. “Enough of that! Sit down now. I promise you that I will not touch you if you won’t allow it. But I assure you that if you leave me, there will be consequences.”
Maira didn’t know what to say to him. Her tears streamed down, but she was now scared to say anything to him.
She recalled the day when she had been sitting in her courtyard and when he dropped down from the sky. The Golden Palace was in an uproar at the sudden appearance of the Supreme Lord of the Wise Blood Order.
The Aryans, a Memorial Clan that everyone feared. The Orders did not take them lightly, but it was as if they had been looked down upon when he said that he wanted to take their Princess away. Her father fought with him and lost. Then her brother fought with him over a bet. If he won against her brother, she would belong to him forever. And he won.
Maira wiped off her tears and glared back at him. She did not know what she would do, but she would never allow him to have his way with her.
“Master…” Isha suddenly called out to him with tearful eyes.
“Yes?” He smiled at her and asked.
“Rani-Ma called me earlier. She inquired me if you would be free on Saturday.” She hesitated after she said that. “She wants us to be there on her birthday.”
Shazan frowned and looked at Arianna.
“Yes,” She nodded. “I received an invitation today.”
“Alright.” He nodded at her and turned back to Isha. “You will come with me and Maira to the House of Aryans.”
“We are not going with you?” Serafina asked confusedly.
“No,” He shook his head. “You will go with Renesme and Roselyn for a few weeks. Keira and Ilsa are to head to the Wise Blood Palace and prepare for third-level precautionary measures. Inform the Myriad Eye about it as well.”
“Third-Level?” Keira asked in surprise. “What has happened?”
“It concerns the Guardian Beasts.” He didn’t give out any more detail.
“Oh…” Ilsa nodded readily without asking for any explanation.
“Keira,” He looked at her and smiled gravely. “I will leave the management of the matter with the Fourth Lord to you. I will return to the Order directly with Maira and Akash.”
“Ezio and Rysar will stay back, but Caius is going with you. Karen and I will take care of the things here.” Arianna nodded to him and turned to look at Marilyn.
Before she could say anything, Marilyn had already understood and nodded.
“I miss her too. I will go check on Lyla.” She smiled and answered.
“Yes,” Arianna sighed and smiled. “And there is another girl there too. A Maid for the Palace, Olivia Angelo. Check her out as well. Mary and Helen will go with you.”
“Thank you!” Mary smiled enthusiastically.
Helen felt grateful for that and nodded as well. She needed some time to clean off her head. And there would be no better way than to go and see the House of Scarlet Letters that Shazan had once told her about.
A weak whisper called out to him.
“Yes, Ella?” He asked her with a bright smile.
The blush on her face intensified at his smile, and she lowered her head before saying anything.
“Can I come with you?” She asked expectantly.
It was the first time that she had made such a request, and he did not have the heart to deny her.
“Alright. You can go with him.” Arianna smiled at her and answered.
“Thank you!” She nodded her head and couldn’t hide her smile.
“And yes,” Arianna turned to look at every one. “Do not disturb him tonight. He will be with Rose.”
Everyone nodded to her words and smiled at little Rose.
The lunch turned out to be livelier than expected.
“We will leave for House of Aryans tomorrow.” Shazan thought for a while and decided.
“Why?” Ella asked in surprise.
“Why not?” He chuckled at her question. “Maira hasn’t seen her family in months. We will stay there for a few days.”
He looked at Maira who was silently having her lunch now.
There were no expressions on her face. Her eyes were only fixed on her meal, and her heart was beating steadily. She had always been good at getting back control over her emotions.
The only worry he had right now was her pride. He had to do something soon or she might bear some scars on her heart for the rest of the life.
♛ Author’s Note:
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