COPYRIGHT © 2019 Miu
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No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, mechanical, electronical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without the prior written permission of the Author.
This novel is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and events are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
All pictures and multimedia used are not the author’s work and doesn’t claim any legal rights.
MATURE CONTENT and VULGAR words not suited for young readers below eighteen (18) years old.
The dragging, boring getting acquainted part of the meeting finally ended with the plan that Daniel and Lilybella would spend the entire day getting to know each other. Not much surprised on Daniel’s part. He didn’t disagree with it, though he excused himself to talked with his parents alone while the Waltz family didn’t give it much thought.
In actuality, they too couldn’t believe that the Princess would choose their naive and clum––their kind and gentle daughter to be the fiancée of Prince Daniel. But if Prince Daniel would talk to his parents about canceling the engagement, they would wholeheartedly understand. Whether they like it or not, they too think Lilybella wasn’t suited for him. It was sad, but they knew their daughter. She was definitely not suited for the role of a Queen.
Inside his office, Daniel paced back and forth. His father was quietly sitting on a chair, sipping wine while his mother was standing nonchalantly beside the window, painting a face of innocence.
“Father, you can’t. You can’t possibly have me marry her,” Daniel said, tone strained, walking back and forth. His usual calm and smiling visage were nowhere to be seen, changed by a contorting face full of irritation.
His father took a sip of his wine, savoring the taste before gulping it all down. “Your fiancée matters are handled by your mother. If you want to complain, go complaint to her.” He washed his hands and pushed all responsibility to his wife, who made her turned his way. His spine flinched, and his toes curled as she stared at him with dead eyes. He avoided any eye contact and pretended to enjoy his wine.
Daniel wanted to sigh the frustration that was building inside him. He controlled himself, sauntered to his mother, and said straight to the point, finality in his tone.
“Mom, she’s not fit to be a Queen.”
His mother didn’t react. She just stared at him, looking him in the eyes. A look he got when he did something wrong, and she found out. This time though, he didn’t avert his gaze, determined not to marry that walking disaster.
Eventually, the corner of his lips curved up when his mother was the one who conceded first. She sighed, eyes drifting to the window, and asked, “Tell me, Daniel. What do you see?”
Daniel didn’t quite get what his mother was talking about. Still, his gaze spun to the window, inspecting the scenery outside. Though he already knew what sight his eyes would take in.
What was there to look at? All his life, inside the palace, he never walked on anything but imported marble floors and carpets. If not imported, then antique floors carefully preserved each month. When he descended the stairs, his hands never glided on any railings that were not polished mahogany, carved by famous artisans. He never saw a portrait that was not painted in oil framed in gold. Food was always correctly measured packed with nutrients served precisely on time. Each room was like a house, each equipped with intercom if he ever needed anything. Everything was clean, even the air he breathed was scented with calming fresh flowers. He never saw flowers made of plastics. Everything was natural and freshly picked, never wilting.
Lifting his head, his eyes swept the garden. True enough, he saw the usual, nothing out of the ordinary.
“I see a Zen-type garden. Perfect manicured rose bushes and shrubs, lining the pathways. A fountain at the center and flower beds blanketed with snow.” Honestly, whenever he inspected the garden, he never saw weeds. Everything was perfectly maintained and trimmed. Even in the month of winter, he never saw the pathways covered in snow. Never saw the fountain without water, nor mold, nor a single spec of dirt.
His gaze spread far beyond the horizon. It was a bright winter morning, and the air was crisp and fresh, carrying with it mild dew from frozen trees while birds chirp their usual humming rhythms. His eyes stopped at the pile of rocks that touches the sky, covered in blankets of soft white. Even from afar, the mountain was a perfect cone whichever angle he was standing. It was a landmark in which Everland got its name –– Evermountain.
His sightseeing was interrupted by his mother’s sigh, and his uplifted mood deflated. She asked him what he saw, and when he answered the question, she gave a disappointed sigh? What’s up with that? Unless he was supposed to see that she had done something with the garden like adding new roses of rare breeds? Maybe a new bonsai? Or did she plant an invincible apple tree?
He did a twice over and still couldn’t find what was new with the garden.
His mother sighed once more. “Tell me, what qualities do you want for your Queen to be?”
He raised an eyebrow. How on earth did their conversation turned this way? Weren’t they talking about the garden just now? Nevertheless, he answered in confidence, no room for an argument nor second guesses, straight and true. “Elegant, composed, confident, intelligent, a strong leader with a sense of duty.”
His mother covered her mouth, but the edges of her lips curved up. One she does whenever she was enjoying herself, at his expense, if he might add.
“Are you talking about yourself? Isn’t it already enough you have those qualities?”
He restrained in wiping his eyeballs clean against his sockets when his mother giggled. She then arranged her posture, face serious while her eyes captured the garden. Like the giggling old––middle-aged woman a moment ago wasn’t real.
“Daniel, the world is already serious enough, don’t you think?”
He remained tight lip, unsure why his mother was getting more and more off-topic while his father at the side screamed, ‘don’t mind me, I’m a figurine here with a bottle of wine on my hand.’
Peering at him, she smiled, skin wrinkled around her blue eyes. “Everything is covered in fog of expectations. Children no longer playing on the street like the old days. Instead, they are coop in their homes, forced to learn this and that. Growing up, they are more frustrated on exams than adults and more troubled on what to take for college.”
Letting out a breath, she continued, “I see anxieties in the young. Everyone kept reminding them that failure means starvation. And when it’s time for them to work, they suffer stress under the new environment and new expectations, which only piled up with bills, mortgages, and credit loans. They are anxious about tomorrow, where it should be the time they enjoy what life has to offer.”
She looked at him. “In today’s world, everyone measures a person’s worth, not the content of their character. And when they establish themselves and have the means to enjoy life, they’re already too old and sickly. Don’t you think with this happening around, those qualities you mentioned are what they needed?”
He didn’t answer. His lips were tight as he could see where his mother was coming from.
She smiled and tapped his shoulder, squeezing it softly. “There’s nothing wrong with those qualities you mentioned. While your elegant, composed, confident, intelligent, strong leadership gives you respect and adoration as well as comfort knowing that you’re a capable leader, it also repelled the common people away. And that’s where your Queen came in. She must be the polar opposite of you. A Queen with a child’s heart who makes people at ease. Who can live in a modest home, sleep under an Apple tree, eat ordinary food, and still have the respect of the entire nation. I think what you need now, the world needs right now is kindness and . . . laughter. Don’t you think she’s exactly like that?”
He dryly laughed. Him? Needed a girl like that? She was not even kind nor funny. She’s just naïve and clumsy!
Yet, the image of her soft dewy eyes and her always smiling face, showing her crook canines, kept appearing in his mind, which made him unable to retort what his mother said.
Probably she saw the deep creased between his brows and the tight line of his lips, she tapped his shoulder again in a comforting manner.
“Give her a chance. One year. After one year and you still think that she isn’t qualified to be by your side. Then . . . I will no longer force you to marry her. You can choose any lady. As long as she’s a Princess or born from a ducal household.”
He didn’t feel anything about the condition since he still had to choose a woman of noble birth . . . Well, at least this time, he was given the freedom of choice and was no longer forced to marry.
He peered at his father, who just raised his wine at him before he stared at his mother and nodded.
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