The Queen gave a few orders to the attendants in the court before taking him and Maira to the lounge behind the throne room.
It was not the first time he had seen the Golden Palace from inside, but the lavish architecture was enchanting as ever. There was a Golden Crest on the Throne that was of a Peacock. The sigil of House Aryan was a multi-colored Peacock, and these beautiful birds were all over the place.
Akash was shocked to see that it was him. He then recalled the message he had just received in reply. He had asked Shazan to do come for the ceremony on Saturday.
“So that’s what you meant when you said that ‘I am coming’?” He let out a small, pleased laugh, and moved forward to hug him.
“How have you been?” Shazan asked as he hugged the fellow with sincerity.
“Things have been complicated here, and I have heard that things are complicated on your side as well.” Akash sighed and shook his head.
He was a handsome man, standing as tall as Shazan. His slightly tanned skin and Persian features made him appear as an irresistible allure to the innocent girls.
Unfortunately, this price was madly in love with his wife, and he did not even take any concubines yet. There was a long list of girls waiting in line.
“Still scared of Aradhana?” He mischievously asked.
“What do you mean by that, Your Highness?” A displeased voice interjected their conversation.
Speak of the Devil, and she was here.
“How are you, Princess Aradhana?”
He didn’t bother explaining anything to her.
She slightly bowed in respect to him before flashing a bright smile and coming forward to lock her arm with her husband.
“I have been happy. Akash cherishes me a lot.” She narrowed her eyes and answered. “Thanks for asking.”
Akash gave him a helpless smile. It was not that he could not fulfill the wishes of his family and take in those concubines from the branch families, it was just that Aradhana was a little too jealous. She would get upset every time anyone would bring up that subject.
Shazan smiled and patted her head.
“You should grow up soon. You are to be the next Queen of Aryans. And you don’t have a lot of time left to play around.” He shook his head and gently said to her.
Even if Aradhana was displeased at his words, she did not refute him and only stubbornly pouted.
Maira was not pleased that her Cousin and Brother had not even greeted her.
“Come here!” Akash hurriedly let go of Aradhana and hugged Maira. “How have you been?” He inquired in concern.
She did not hold any grudge and smiled pleasantly.
“Thanks for asking, brother.” She did not answer him and glared at Shazan.
It was her answer. She was not happy with Shazan.
The Elders who were present in the room had all remained quiet. Only after Shazan had nodded to them did they come forward to greet him and inquire about the things concerning the Wise-Blood Order and the Silverstein Empire.
After a few minutes, the King arrived in the lounge with his second Queen. She was the biological grandmother of Maira. And it was clear before their eyes whose best genes Maira had inherited. The woman was over a hundred years old, but she still looked like a woman in her prime thirties.
Maira rushed forward and embraced them both.
No one else in the Palace would dare to so unrestrainedly hug the King. Even the Crown Prince, Akash, did not have such a luxury.
“You are growing more beautiful than your Grandmother, child. It is no wonder that this guy is so obsessed with you.”
The King, with a black beard and dark-brown eyes, laughed heartily as he hugged his favorite grandchild.
“I greet the King of Aryans!” Shazan placed his right hand on his heart and slightly bowed in respect to an elder.
“You have been well, Young Emperor.” The king smiled at him benevolently and nodded. “That little girl, Isha, is here with two guests, shall we go see them?” He asked.
“Of course,” He nodded happily. “We are all a little hungry, let us not delay the dinner.”
The Elders took their leave after paying their respects, and only the family remained in the lounge.
Akash seemed to have something to tell him, but Shazan shook his head with a smile. He just wanted to have a peaceful dinner before anything. Whatever was going on, it didn’t seem to have any immediate consequences. It would be a waste to worry about things as they tasted their dinner.
“I see that you have not mistreated my Maira much,” Suddenly the second Queen of Aryans spoke. “Do I need to thank you for that?”
Her question made him feel a little uncomfortable.
The second Queen of Aryans was a special existence. She was the powerhouse of the Aryans, and her authority could even rival the King himself in the assembly of Clan Elders.
“No, Rani Izna does not need to thank me for anything.” He answered with a pale smile. “It is I who should thank you for my Maira. She owes her beauty to her Grandmother.” He flashed a brilliant smile.
“By now, you should have realized that my granddaughter isn’t like the girls who would die at your charm.” She smiled back. “And it surely wouldn’t earn you a better impression from me.”
Rani Izna never had a great impression of him. The only reason she had not resisted him was because of the power he had in his hands. Otherwise, she would have never let her granddaughter fall in the hands of such a licentious and dangerous person.
“Come…” She patted his head and smiled. “We don’t have the traditions of keeping the guests hungry, and since you are more than just a guest, we better take care of you well.”
Even if she had not been gentle with her words, when she had patted his head, he felt that she was a little thankful to him for taking care of Maira these days.
Maira was happy that he could not keep his pride in front of her grandmother. And she was glad that he did not even try to.
They were on their way when the first Queen asked him something interesting.
“Has our little Isha awakened yet?”
“No.” It was Maira who answered and curiously looked at her Rani-Ma.
“So you have not touched her yet.” She looked at him mischievously.
“I didn’t want to upset your granddaughter.” He smiled and let out a small, helpless laugh.
“It is not good for her if she has not awakened. You shouldn’t hold back.” The King frowned and said.
“Alright…” That was all he could say.
Renesme had informed him why Isha had not awakened yet. She was a descendant of a Modern Family that was under the control of the Aryans. Their powers resided in their Shadow Binding ability and their charm. And their charm was a mysterious ability. They could heal any wound through seeking carnal pleasure, but the problem was that they could only ever have a single man in their life, and give birth only once. That was why even after centuries, they were still only a Modern Family with modest numbers.
All the members of that Modern Family were females, and they did not have any surname. The other families addressed them as the Charm Witches. And to ensure that their line would continue, they tried their best to seek males from other Modern-Families. If their baby was a boy, he would inherit his father’s powers, and if it was a girl, and the Witch’s blood was stronger, she would be a Charm Witch.
And since Isha had developed feelings for him, he was the last hindrance she had in her awakening. Only after being one with him and being marked by him, would she be able to awaken and utilize her powers.
“Huh…” Aradhana was not pleased with anything that concerned polygamy. “Even little Isha would be soiled by him. I just pray that my Akash would never turn out to be like him.” She cupped her hands in front of her and stopped to beg God as she prayed.
Everyone started laughing when they heard her words. The princess was nearly twenty years old, but her mind was no different than that of an adolescent girl.
Shazan laughed too after he heard her words. He knew that she was stubborn and had a bitter mouth, but her heart was pure.
“You better grow up fast,” He chuckled and commented as he looked at her abdomen. “You have less than nine months.”
The words caused everyone to halt their steps.
Everyone looked at him with weird but expectant expressions, and then they turned to look at Aradhana for an answer.
The princess was baffled to hear her words. In her shock, she was standing still as a statue, not even breathing. And then she broke in anxiety.
“W-what did you say?!” She rushed to him and grabbed the lapels of his suit.
She glared at him for a moment before saying anything. And then, “Answer me, answer me, answer me!” She threatened him like a madwoman.
“You are going to be a mother to a boy,” He wasn’t offended by her actions. “So you better grow up fast, or that child will grow up a little too spoiled.”
He could guess that even she had not realized that she was pregnant. Well, it was not weird, since she had only been pregnant for over two weeks. The symptoms would show sooner or later.
Aradhana looked at him with tearful eyes.
“Are you bullying me?” She asked in a low voice.
“I am not bullying you. It’s true.” He nodded at her.
That was all she could say before letting go of his suit and standing there, not knowing how to react. Only the tears that were welling up in her eyes started to flow out.
Akash sobered up first as he went forward and picked her up in his arms. He happily spun her around and laughed heartily.
“Thank you!” He shouted at her.
Rani-Ma grabbed Shazan’s hand and asked him one last time for the confirmation.
“Are you sure about this?”
“Yes,” He smiled and answered. “And it is a boy. I am sure of that as well.”
She smiled and nodded at him. Her excited gaze fell of her grandchildren, and she couldn’t suppress her giggles.
Rani Izna had a pleasant smile on her face. And the King was about to burst out in the wildest of laughs.
It was only Maira, who despite her happiness, only had her attention on Shazan.
She did not doubt what he had said, but she wanted to know how he knew it.
The others too had the same question, but they were people who knew that something like this could not just be asked. It was not a common ability. and it could very well be a secret of his.
“You are not mad at me?” Aradhana suddenly asked Akash as he was showering his love on her.
“What?” He was confused. “Why would I be mad at you?” He could not make sense of anything.
“I will be getting fat…” She depressedly lowered her head.
Everyone was dumbstruck. No one knew how to react to her words.
“You are worried about that?!” Rani-Ma reprimanded her.
The group then continued to walk to the Dining Hall. This time, they were not so silent, as the King and his Queens talked about how to reveal the news to the kingdom, Akash was busy convincing Aradhana that it was a happy event of their life.
“How did you know?” Maira curiously asked. But she made sure that her voice was isolated and no one else could hear it.
Shazan was pleased to see her interest.
“It was Renesme. She was the first person I saw who could use this ability, and she was the one who… taught me this. I can sense the life in a human body, and when a child is conceived, a new strand of life emerges and takes root in the womb of the mother. And the difference between a boy and a girl depends on whether that strand of life is gentle or a little berserk.” He told her.
Sure enough, Maira could not make sense of what he had said. She knew that it was possible to examine a body with Aura, and she thought that it was an upgrade of that ability. She nodded to him and didn’t ask for anything more.
Shazan didn’t explain to her that only he and Renesme had this ability in the World. He had attained it after becoming one with her, and even if it was not at the same level as Renesme’s, it was only because of the difference in their strengths. He knew that this ability would become more powerful with time, and he also knew that no one else could possess this ability. Renesme had told him that it was something only an Azrael could possess.
Things would have been simpler for him if Renesme had only explained what she meant by that, but she had not. And now he was not so much curious about it anymore. He knew that she would tell him about these things when the right time would come.
Caius, Ella, and Isha were already present in the Hall when they arrived.
To the surprise of everyone, Isha only bowed to the Royalty and did not kneel. Some members of the family were not pleased, but the King and his Queens did not mind it. Isha had made it clear to them that she did not belong to the Aryan kingdom as its subject. And part of the reason why she had not kneeled was that she knew it would not please Shazan. He was a Prideful man.
“Master!” Ella greeted him after greeting the Royalty of the Aryans. She came to him and helped him put on the Royal Cloak of the Silverstein that she had brought.
“Do you like this place?” He smiled and asked her.
“Yes!” She happily nodded. “There are so many peacocks here, and tigers too! The architecture is unique and it is gorgeous!”
Everyone who heard her words couldn’t help but smile. She was a gentle and pure girl who liked to say what was on her mind.
“And what about us?” Rani-Ma teasingly asked her.
“You are beautiful!” She was not shy about praising her. “And I envy how gorgeous that Sari looks on you.”
Rani-Ma was pleased to hear such words, and she came forward to take a better look at Ella’s features. To her surprise, she found that the girl before her was not an ordinary girl. Even if she was only a human, her features had a hint of nobility in them. It was unique for humans to have such a persona.
“He is lucky to have such a beautiful maid like you.”
Her words made Ella blush and she shyly lowered her head.
“Thank you, Your Highness.”
The rest of the family members kept arriving in the hall over a few minutes.
There were dozens of tables set to accommodate nearly two hundred members of the Royal House. And at the center was the High-Table where the King, his Queens, and their Children sat.
A group of little girls happily ran to them as soon as they entered the Hall. They hurriedly greeted the King and the Queens before surrounding their favorite older sister who had been missing for over two years now.
Maira had not come back to Arkaya after he took her away from here. It was not that she was not allowed to visit her family, it was that she only wanted to return after completing the duration of her contract.
She had missed her little cousins, and so she happily hugged each of them and answered their questions with smiles. But she was not pleased when those girls surrounded Shazan and fawned at him.
And to her displeasure, he was not holding back at flirting with these little girls. He lavishly praised them and flashed his bright smiles at their questions.
When everyone but her parents and little brother had arrived, Maira looked at her Rani-Ma for an answer.
“They are at the Intelligence Headquarters. Something came up, and they are busy with that.”
Maira nodded to her words but grudgingly looked at Shazan. He was the reason why her father felt embarrassed to see her. She knew that her father must have suffered a lot in these years because he had failed to protect her.
“Don’t worry.” Rani-Ma lovingly brushed her head. “He is not upset at you or himself. Akash and your Grandfather convinced him that you would not be mistreated. Over time, he had calmed down after hearing from your mother that you were doing fine.”
“I know,” Maira sighed. “Mother had told me that, but he still didn’t take my calls or talk to me.”
“It can’t be helped. He is prideful, and your Husband struck a heavy blow to his pride that day.”
“He is not my husband!” She lowered her head and said before turning around to walk and sit at the table.
Maira knew if she stayed there, Rani-Ma would try to convince her to be Shazan.
She was about to sit at her old place, but Shazan suddenly grabbed her hand and brought her to sit by his side at the other end of the High-Table.
“You now belong here.” He smiled at her as he let go of her hand.
Isha and Ella followed them and took their seats by their sides.
Caius sat down with them after Shazan nodded to him.
It was a simple gesture, but it meant a lot to Caius who then took off his hood, revealing his features to the people.
He had unique silver hair and similar-colored eyes. And his jaw was strong and sculpted. He was handsome, not too handsome, but his features held a unique charm.
Some of the people were shocked as they recognized those features, and the others who did not know what those features meant were curiously asking around.
Even Akash was shocked to see who was under that cloak.
“You are the seventh prince of the Moon-Clan!” He disbelievingly looked at Caius and then at Shazan.
His words shocked the crowd, and even the King and his two Queens were shocked. They had guessed that Caius was from the Moon Clan, but he turned out to be one of the princes.
“I was a prince once, but not anymore.” Caius stood up from his seat and greeted everyone in the room with a courteous bow. “Caius Aster pays his respect to the Royal House of Aryans!”
♛ Author’s Note:
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