That night I had a dream. I was running, terrified. I was running for my life, and something was chasing me. Something dark. Something with intent to kill. I couldn’t see it but I could feel its presence. It wanted me. It was hungry and angry and it wouldn’t stop hunting me until it caught me. I ran so fast that I stumbled on my own feet and fell. It was close now; it would catch me.
A dark figure slowly appeared from the shadows. It had red eyes and horns. Black horns, curling like the devils. It stretched its hands toward me. I could see its nails that looked more like claws. They were coming closer. I shrieked a high, panicked sound. It had caught me, and now it was shaking me.
“My Lady! My Lady!” a gentle voice urged. I shot my eyes open with a gasp and found Lucian looming over me.
“You’re ok,” He assured, brushing something away from my face. “It was just a dream.”
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I was panting and sweat dripped down my face. I was scared and confused. Lucian pulled me to his chest. He held me in his arms and stroke my hair. 4
“It’s alright.” He whispered softly. “Relax and sleep.”
Eventually, as I lay in his arms, my heartbeat returned to a steady rhythm and I fell asleep once again.
When I woke up a few maids were already in the room but there was no sign of Lucian. I remembered last night while the maids helped me get prepared. I was surprised at the fact that I was still untouched. He hadn’t even tried. He must have been tired from the long journey, but tonight there was no escape. Maybe I should talk to him and tell him that I wasn’t ready yet, I thought. The question was how.
I got out of the bed and the maids helped me bathe and get dressed.
“His Highness wants you to join him for breakfast, My Lady,” One of the maids informed when she was done with my hair.
“Lead the way,” I said.
The maid led me to the garden just outside the room. There Lucian was standing with his back toward me and his arms crossed behind his back.
He turned around and I couldn’t understand why my heart skipped a beat. “My Lady, did you have a good night’s sleep?”
“I did, Your Highness. How about you?” He probably didn’t, but it felt courteous to ask. I must have disturbed him with my dream.
“I have slept well. Do you mind having breakfast with me?” I didn’t expect him to be so polite.
“I would love to,” I answered with a smile.
The breakfast smelled and looked delicious. There were several dishes and their food wasn’t much different from ours back home. But because of the knots in my stomach that still refused to go away, I couldn’t eat much. Instead, I would glance at the garden now and then. It was beautiful. There was a gorgeous range of flowers; roses, daisies, daffodils. Carved hedged depicted strange shapes all around the space.
We had a beautiful garden back home too, but it was nothing compared to this. 1
Suddenly Lucian stood up from his seat and walked over to me, holding his hand out for me to grasp.
“Walk with me,” he said and I blushed. He must have noticed me ogling the garden, but how could I not. Back home I rarely went outside because of my fathers’ strict rules and now I was walking through the most beautiful garden I have ever seen.
“You never go out?” he asked, with a curious expression.
“No, my father would not allow it.”
“So you have always been at home?”
“Yes,” was my short reply.
“Well, you can walk around here anytime. It’s our personal garden” He said with a charming smile.
“Really?” My voice was colored with excitement and surprise. He nodded. 1
After walking for a while in silence, I decided now was the best time to bring up the consummation.
“About the wedding consummation, I…I’m not ready yet.” I looked down quickly, afraid to meet his gaze. My heart pounded in my ears as I waited for an answer. A laugh, an angry exclamation, anything.
“I know, it’s alright,” he said gently. I looked up in surprise and breathed out in relief.
“I could just go to one of my mistresses to satisfy my needs.” He added.
The smile on my face died and I clenched my fists. Why was I getting angry? He could go wherever he wanted and fool around with whoever he wanted. He could go to hell. Suddenly he laughed. What was so funny?
“If you don’t want me to go, then tell me.” He said leaning closer.
“I don’t want you to go” I repeated.
Shocked at my own outburst, I put a hand over my mouth. He laughed again.
Eventually, he stopped laughing. “Hazel,” he said stepping closer and gazing into my eyes.
He knew my name.
Of course. Men got always more informed about their spouses than women. Unfair.
“I promise you one thing and I will stand by my word. I will treat you well.” He then took my hand in his and kissed my knuckles, his flaming eyes never leaving mine. My heart fluttered inside my chest.
Dropping my hand, “I have to go, make yourself at home.” He said before walking away.
A maid showed me around. The castle had several quarters. Every prince and his family had their own quarters and their own household staff, including servants, cooks, and guards. I had already looked around our personal garden and I especially liked the white swing with a ceiling, surrounded by white and pink roses in a half-circle.
We then went through the halls that led to several smaller halls. The smaller halls had several doors that led to different rooms. One hall led to the kitchen, the pantry, and the storeroom. Another hall led to the guest room and the dining room, and another one led to the library and study. There were several other halls, but we went through the hall that led to our private chamber and the bathrooms.
Inside our chamber, there were doors that led to other rooms. The maid opened one of them and I went inside. It was the dressing room from yesterday.
“This is the boudoir. It’s your personal room when you want to be alone, My Lady.” She explained.
“His Highness has one too.” She continued gesturing to the door at the other end of the room. I decided to take a look once the maid left but the door was locked. Why did he lock his room?
As I walked out of the chamber, a little boy bumped into my leg and fell backward. He stood up quickly. “I am sorry, My Lady,” he said, wide-eyed.
“It’s Alright” I smiled. He had short blonde hair and his big brown eyes stared innocently at her. “Who are you?”
“I am Prince Pierre’s son. My name is Levi, My lady.” I couldn’t help but smile at his cuteness. “I am looking for uncle Lucian.” He called him by his first name. They must be very close I thought.
“His Highness is not here,” I said with a gentle smile. “Do you want to leave a message for him? I am his wife.”
“Can I wait for him here?” He asked with a hopeful look in his eyes.
“Yes, of course. Come,” I said and led him to the garden. “I am having lunch soon; are you hungry?”
“Sit down,” I urged. The maids served us lunch – including baked potatoes and grilled chicken with vegetables.
“Please don’t tell my father I have been here, My Lady.” He pleaded. “Father doesn’t like me being here.”
“Why not?” I asked curiously.
“He says Uncle Lucian is a bad man.”
Bad man? Why would his brother say something like that about him?
“Then why don’t you listen to your father? Why don’t you stay away?” I asked, treading carefully.
“Because I like being with uncle Lucian. He is nice to me even though he’s not nice anymore.” He said timidly.
“I don’t know, he just tells me I shouldn’t be here, he tells me to go away.” He looked hurt.
“What about the rest of your uncles? Why don’t you accompany them?”
“I just like uncle Lucian.”
“Levi!” someone shouted and shortly after a woman barged in. The maids behind her wore an apologetic look on their face.
I stood up from my seat, and the woman looked me up and down.
“Mother,” Levi said stiffly, standing up.
“Come here!” She ordered, and he walked up to her. She put a hand on his shoulder. “I told you not to come here,” She scolded him. “Go now.”
Levi left running away quickly. Poor child, I thought.
The woman then turned to me. “I am Princess Elsa, the Crown Prince’s first wife,” She said straightening her shoulders and neck as if challenging me with her superiority.
“It’s nice to meet you, Princess Elsa. I am Princess Hazel,” I replied courteously, trying my best to not offend her. I didn’t want conflict this early on.
“My son won’t disturb you anymore,” she said, with finality. “Feel free to visit if you ever feel alone, my quarter is next to yours.”
“Maybe I will,” I said, and then she turned around elegantly with a high chin and left.
After having my lunch I went to the white swing in the garden and lay down while looking up the sky. I had many questions and thoughts that bothered me. Why would Lucian’s brother say something like that about him? Yesterday, they looked as though they were willing to attack each other. I remembered the menacing look in Lucian’s eyes, so different from the soft look he gave me today when he kissed my hand. My heart fluttered at the memory.
“What makes you smile so?” A familiar voice came from nearby.
“Your Highness.” I inclined my head. He had surprised me. I moved over to create a space for him on the seat. He took a seat beside me and put one arm over the seatback.
“How was your day?”
“It was fine Your Highness…I mean Lucian.” I corrected myself.
He just smiled.
“Your nephew was here,” I added.
His only reply was a short ‘hmm’.
“He said his father wouldn’t be happy to know he was here.”
“Yes, my brothers don’t like me,” Lucian replied, devoid of emotion.
“Haven’t you heard the rumors? that I’m the ‘devil’s son.'”
“But you’re not…?” I trailed off, confused.
He just looked at me for a while before finally replying; “I don’t know.”
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