‘Princess Daniella!’ one of our ladies-in-waiting, Marie, called out, ‘your parents are asking for you to attend to the throne room.’ I gave her an impatient look as I stopped mid-stroke on my painting,’ your father…’ She faltered under my gaze,’ your father said that this a non-negotiable order.’
‘Very well,’ I sighed dejectedly as I look across the river, ‘tell them that I will be coming shortly,’ she looks like she was going to say something more so I cut her off, ‘ I promise I will be there. I won’t get you into trouble.’
She gave me a weak smile then headed back to the palace. It is ironic that we have ladies-in-waiting. Actually, they are my sister’s ,the heir apparent, and I am also one of hers. Well, a female guardian actually but I have been allowed until recently to be remiss in my duties.
It has been 3 months since I arrived home and four months since I last saw him. Don’t get me wrong. I was truly happy when I got home but there is now a void where my heart used to be.
The pain ebbs in intensity but is constantly present. Everything reminded me of him…thunder storms, the lake, the library, Cow, hunting, even weeds! Especially weeds. I opened up my paint box and picked the dried up blue flower. I still cannot get myself to throw it away. Perhaps, I will never throw it away.
My parents and siblings know that something is wrong. Perhaps they think that I am just adjusting to life here again. Perhaps they think I had to deal with the ordeal of rescuing Princess Beatrice and doing what needed to be done… Whatever, reason they think it is, I am thankful that they gave me the time and space to deal with it.
I was allowed not to attend to official functions. I was only merely invited to the royal functions which I declined. I was allowed to just stay in my room for the first few weeks. I was allowed to sleep in the library most nights. It is only recently that I ventured out of the palace and it is often to this spot. People have to go through the maze before they can find me.
I cannot bring myself to tell anybody of what I am feeling. I was afraid that if I speak it out that my loss will be all too real. They wouldn’t understand anyway. They wouldn’t understand how I allowed myself to care deeply for someone who can never be mine anyway. I guess, we can’t really control who we fall in love with.
I placed the dried up flower carefully back into the box. Perhaps, I could get it framed.
I was about to enter the maze when I saw him step out of the maze. Okay , I must have been out in the sun too long as I am now seeing things. He smiled when he saw me.
‘Still the look of disapproval?’ He asked jokingly. If I am indeed losing my mind then so be it. At least my vision of him has put on some weight and has stubble.
‘Ella,’ he called out as he walks slowly towards me, ‘Daniella…’
‘So… it took four months of separation for you to call me by my proper name?’ It was a silly question, I know but I am suddenly at a loss on what to say. I have run this scene in my mind so many times yet the lines are not coming, ‘ what are you doing here anyway? Where’s Princess Beatrice? I wouldn’t have thought that our kingdom would be on your honeymoon destinations.’
‘I cannot wait for you at the throne room,’ he explained, ‘they said that this is where you normally spend your afternoons so I came to find you.’ He looked intently Into my eyes that I had to look away, ‘Princess Beatrice is back in the palace of Lucrecia.’ He stepped nearer towards me, ‘I did not marry her. I cannot marry her. ‘
‘Oh’ was all I can say as I process what he just said,’why are you here then?’
‘Well,’ he moved his hands from his back to reveal a seedling in a small pot, ‘ I was hoping that we could plant this in your garden.’
‘You brought a weed for my garden?’ I raised an eyebrow at him but I was starting to feel light.
‘Well,’ he reached for my hand then placed the pot in it,’this is no ordinary weed. It has blue flowers… Rare beautiful blue flowers and I heard your kingdom does not have this kind of weed so I brought one for you. Now this fellow has been travelling for 3 months and 3 weeks non stop.’ He smiled at me.
‘What took him so long?’ I asked softly as we continue to hold hands
‘Well, he had to listen to me explain my intentions to Princess Beatrice and her parents, make sure that all the treaties signed will be honoured then he had to travel all the way back to my kingdom so I can explain to my parents my plans…’
‘Well,’ he smiled broadly, ‘after all the successful treaties and alliance I have made they cannot afford to disown their only son. I did offer to give the throne to my cousin but my parents would rather see me on it. Besides they are curious about the warrior princess i was telling them about. Then this poor fellow had to spend a month travelling by sea so he can be planted in his home. His home with you.’
‘Shouldn’t it be a her as its a flowering weed?’ I whispered jokingly
‘Are we seriously going to argue about my figure of speech?’
‘No,’ I smiled, ‘ I am glad you brought her as my blue weed is already dried up.’ I tiptoed to kiss him.
‘Ahem’ somebody cleared his throat and it was Thomas, ‘we have been sent as a search party just in case you get lost in the maze.’ He explained, ‘we have brought in the chests of coins as well but have not shown them to the king and queen yet. I thought that it would be best for you to explain your intentions.’
‘Chest of coins?’ I asked as we started walking into the maze
‘Well,’ he started sheepishly, ‘they were just in case that I need to buy your freedom.’
‘I am not for sale!’ I exclaimed indignantly
‘Or if you were already married, I would offer to buy you off from your husband’ I gave him a very stern look ‘Okay, perhaps to buy my freedom after I kill your husband. You are not married, right?’
‘No,’ I was getting annoyed with him,
‘We can always give the coins as gift to your kingdom or buy a roomful of flowers for you,’ he teases
‘I need to teach you the value of money’
‘We have a lifetime for you to do that,’ he gave me a quick kiss, ‘speaking of which… I brought my own priest.,,’
‘So we can get married right away’ he chuckles, ‘we can marry in the throne room tonight if you want. And I bought that roll of silk you were looking at..,’
‘A whole roll?’ I stopped walking in the middle of the maze as I stare at him, ‘ do you not know me at all?’
‘Not everything,’ he pulled me into an embrace, ‘but I intend to know everything about you in our lifetime. I have no intention of letting you out of my sight.’
‘ I love you,’ i smiled
‘I know,’ his eyes were twinkling when he said it. I raised an eye brow questioningly at him. He sighs, ‘surely, Ella, you already know by now that I am in love with you.’ He kissed me again.
‘Took you long enough to realize it,’ I commented as we started walking again towards the rest of our lives.