Azseldo Kingdom, a kingdom built from greatness. The harvests within the kingdom were always plenty that it seemed that drought would never touch the grounds. Sickness was low and even if there were sick, the medicines created in the kingdom were ahead of their time making it seem that the spirits of healing resided in that kingdom. The people were joyous and the kingdom had no corruption and the army strength was incomparable. To most in this world, Azseldo Kingdom was a place that would be called heaven on earth…a paradise.
This kingdom only made alliances with kingdoms that were considered strong, so when news that the current King, Shuyu, made an alliance with Balwar Kingdom, a kingdom that was once suffering from war and low supplies, all were beyond shocked. Some began to question their king, but when news of his victory in the war and the expansion of territory reached their ears, all complaints blew away in an instant. The news that excited all of the residences in the kingdom was that their King had finally found a queen, the princess of Balwar Kingdom. All were excited to see their future queen, but when the king returned, the carriage that held their future queen was closed and none could see her and Shuyu wanted it to stay that way until he married his blushing bride, Yanira.
Shuyu was glad to conceal Yanira from the cheering crowd, but Yanira felt uneasiness build up in her heart. She was in an unfamiliar kingdom and she wasn’t allowed to look out until they reached Shuyu’s castle. Just the thought of the unknown made her uneasiness grow.
Shuyu noticed Yanira’s uneasiness and showed a warm smile as he reached out and placed a tender hand on her small ones making Yanira meet eyes with him.
“I know you are feeling uneasy since this is your first time in my kingdom, but you will feel quite at home as time passes,” stated Shuyu in a calming tone. Yanira nodded with a small smile, but she still felt a bit uneasy, but she did find Shuyu’s words soothing to her situation.
Yanira began to hear the cheers fade and the sound of metal gates opening making it clear to her that they were finally entering the castle. Yanira was ready to open the curtain of the carriage to see at least the inside of the courtyard of the castle, but Shuyu held her hand back and whispered, “Not yet my dear.” Yanira nodded pulling her hand away from Shuyu’s grasp.
As Yanira adjusted herself on her seat, Shuyu peeked out of the carriage and directing his gaze to the driver instructed him to pull the carriage to the back. Yanira could hear the driver make an affirmation and then felt the carriage turn making her give out a slight gasp.
“Your majesty, where are you going?” exclaimed Raul exclaimed as he walked in a quick haste toward the carriage. Shuyu peeked at Raul and stated, “I am going enter through the back since please don’t find me.”
Shuyu chuckled closing the carriage curtain and sitting back down on his seat.
“I’m guessing you had a change of plans?”
“This was always my plan. I just chose not to tell Raul and Kaysan.”
Yanira couldn’t help, but giggle at Shuyu’s mischievousness. Shuyu smiled at Yanira saying, “You finally laughed again.” Yanira seized her laughter and glanced at Shuyu.
“Have I not been laughing?”
“Don’t get me wrong. I have heard you laugh, but it’s been a while since I have heard you laugh from the heart. It is like you were closing your heart off…from me.”
Yanira sighed and stated, “You may be right, but think about my position. I was practicing to be a priestess and suddenly I am announced as your future queen. It was all quite sudden, so can you blame me for my uneasiness around you.”
“That is true, but I always had plans to marry you.”
Shuyu smiled as a blush appeared on his cheeks.
“Do I really need to give a reason for my love?” asked Shuyu. Yanira grew silent and then smiled saying, “You’ll tell me the reason eventually.” Shuyu shrugged making Yanira giggle.
The carriage suddenly slid to a stop. Shuyu peeked out the window and then gave a nod before looking at Yanira and offering his hand to her.
“It is time, Yanira.”
Yanira took Shuyu’s hand and he in turn opened the carriage door. Yanira in truth expected to see a stable, but instead was met with greenery that resembled that of a garden. The bushes were filled with blossoms of different colors and the trees looked so alive with the rays of the sun seeping through the branches and the wind blowing gently. There was also a pond on the side with a small waterfall that sparkled in the light of the sun making it give off a heavenly look. Yanira smiled with her eyes practically sparkling.
Shuyu smiled and stated, “I knew you would like this.”
Shuyu held Yanira’s hand as he spoke.
“Before I made the alliance I heard many things about you. How you were training to be a priestess and how you loved to be surrounded by nature, so I made this garden in the back of the castle in hope of letting you see this.”
Shuyu plucked a red blossom from one of the bushes and held it to Yanira asking, “Tell me. Is this garden to your liking?” Yanira smiled and took the blossom from Shuyu’s hand.
“I have to admit that you made the right choice in showing me this.”
Shuyu felt like he was on cloud nine at the sound of Yanira’s answer. He had to fight the urge to pull Yanira in a hug, but he instead ran his hand through her short hair.
“I want you to be more beautiful than this garden, my future queen.”
Yanira felt heat built up in her cheeks as she hid her face behind the red blossom making Shuyu chuckle. Shuyu glanced at the driver ordering him to go to the stables and to deliver Yanira’s belongings to the servants waiting there. The driver obeyed and then Shuyu began to lead Yanira through the garden toward the castle.
They soon reached a wooden door with fresh ivy around the frame and entered through it. Shuyu then pulled a silver key from his pocket and locked the door behind them. He then looked at Yanira and knelt to her level and held the key to her.
“This garden is one of my gifts to you.”
Yanira took the silver key from Shuyu and then smiled saying her thanks. Shuyu then led Yanira through the castle halls until they reached a flight of stairs.
They began to ascend the stairs until Yanira could see the rays of the sun leaking through. Yanira was greeted by the sight of a great hall with two thrones and surrounding tables arranged in a way that seemed like a party was about to commence.
Shuyu smiled down at Yanira and stated, “This will be our throne room and where the marriage will take place in a week’s time.” Yanira nodded feeling uneasiness build up in her heart once again.
Shuyu and Yanira suddenly heard the throne room doors open and Shuyu was not at all shocked to see Kaysan and Raul practically dash in with annoyed expressions.
Kaysan was the first to reach Shuyu and scold him on his change of plans, but Shuyu showed an indifferent look saying, “This was always my plan. I just felt no need to tell you two.”
“Are you seriously saying this?”
“Well if I followed the original path through the castle halls then I was most likely going to meet someone quite annoying.”
Kaysan fell silent, but seemed to still be fuming in anger. Raul soon reached Shuyu and stated, “That is still not an excuse not to tell us and do you have any idea how hard it was to tell her that you took a different path?”
Shuyu shrugged making Raul groan.
Yanira looked at Shuyu with a raised eyebrow and asked, “Who is SHE?”
Shuyu chuckled and stated, “A daughter of one of the aristocrats in the kingdom. She is staying in the castle for educational purposes, but she is quite the annoying one.”
“That’s not very nice,” scolded Yanira with puffed cheeks. Shuyu chuckled and stated, “You would agree if you meet her.”
Suddenly, a high pitched voice yelled out Shuyu’s name making Shuyu sigh and make Yanira look toward the opened door. Approaching Shuyu and Yanira was a girl around fifteen or sixteen wearing a violet dress with white frills on the sleeves and at the end of the skirt. Her long curly hair was as black as a Raven and her eyes were as green as emeralds. With her petite figure she was as beautiful as a porcelain doll.
This very girl approached them fast and were obvious love in her eyes toward Shuyu, but Shuyu made her stop in her tracks when he held Yanira in front of him and stated in a fast, but smooth tone, “It is nice to see you Lady Chalina. This is my fiancé, Princess of Balwar Kingdom, Yanira Castleheart.”
The girl, Chalina, stared down at Yanira and showed an immediate dislike towards her with her eyes and muttered, “So the news of your engagement to a princess of Balwar Kingdom is true? Quite young isn’t she?”
“She is, but she is who I have chosen.”
Chalina scoffed making Yanira blink in confusion. Chalina looked at Shuyu and stated, “Are you going to be long with her? It has been days since we last had a lesson together.”
“And it will be even longer before I teach you the knowledge of our kingdom. I want to spend more time with my fiancé, so please return to your lesson or better yet return home. I’m sure your father misses you.”
Chalina clenched her fist and gave a quick glare toward Yanira before leaving the throne room saying, “I will wait for my teacher in my chambers.”
When Chalina was gone, Shuyu sighed and stated, “She is quite the annoying one.” Yanira glanced at Shuyu and stated, “She was just asking to be taught by you and a girl eager to learn isn’t quite bad. I find it charming.” Shuyu chuckled patting Yanira’s hand with a loving gaze.
Shuyu looked at Raul and stated, “Please teach Lady Chalina for today.”
“As you wish, your majesty,” stated Raul and immediately left the throne room.
“I believe our soldiers require some more training and if it is not too much trouble please inform Goolab to make a written statement about when the wedding will take place and about our victory spoil.”
Kaysan nodded and then left the throne room forgetting his previous anger.
Shuyu then looked at Yanira and stated, “As for you…”
Shuyu suddenly lifted Yanira off the ground and made her sit in his arms.
“You are to accompany me around the castle before we reach your guest chambers.”
Yanira nodded and then blushed saying, “It really isn’t necessary to carry me.”
“But I want too and you should get used to it since when we are married I will want to pamper you.”
Yanira sighed and nodded placing her small hands around his shoulders. Shuyu smiled and began to walk out of the throne room.
As they walked Yanira asked, “So when will you let all the people see me?”
“On the day of our wedding.”
“Then why make me change into this dress if no one except the people in the castle see me?”
Shuyu smiled, but Yanira felt a slight chill from his laugh.
“I couldn’t let you stay in a dress given by a thief.”
Yanira gulped and wondered why Shuyu’s character seem to change, especially when it involved her getting close to other people or when she wasn’t paying attention to him.
Shuyu suddenly collided into someone and Yanira felt the impact as well. She also heard a slight gasp and looked down only to see an unfamiliar boy. This boy had short black hair and seemed to be the same age as her if not older. He wore a dark shade of blue in royal attire and black boots on his face. This boy sat on his bottom, obviously falling when Shuyu collided into him.
Yanira wanted to ask Shuyu who the boy was, but then she noticed the dark look in Shuyu’s eyes as he looked at the boy on the ground. It was like Shuyu was looking at the most hated person in the world.
Shuyu smiled, but there was no happiness in his eyes.
“Long time no see, little brother.”