Morning greets me and what a perfect way to wake up than to feel the warmth of your own bed and to hear the birds singing outside. I sat up, did a little stretch and head to the window. As I opened the curtains, I felt the powerful radiance of the sun pierce through the window glass and gently touched my skin.
Today is a new day, Ameira. You can manage today.
After my morning rituals, I’ve decided to take a little stroll inside the castle. A lot has changed since the last time I explored these halls. The halls are decorated by portraits of the history of our family. Every portrait of a family member is their phases of growing. As I saw mine, the last portrait is when I was ten years of age.
My, how time does fly.
As I ventured more into the castle, I caught a very delectable scent form downstairs. Must be the kitchen.
As I arrived in the kitchen, every cook, baker and all of the servants are already preparing for breakfast. As one of them noticed me, they all started greeting me.
“Good morning, Your Highness.”
“Good morning, Your Grace.”
I bowed back to them. “Please resume your task. Don’t let me disturb you.” I smiled.
They all bowed and went back to their tasks, which smell absolutely irresistible.
A cook then walk towards me. “Would you care for a hot tea and a slice of cake, Your Grace?”
“It’s alright, I’m still full.” I responded. “Actually,” I continued as I started to walk around. “I was thinking of how you make such delicious delicacies.”
“Thank you, Your Grace.” the cook replied.
“In Ireland, I make my own food.” I shared. I saw an empty station and quickly approached it. “Is this station taken?” I enquired.
“Um, no, madam. No one prefers this station because its legs wobbly.” The cook explained.
“Well,” I started as I grabbed an apron. “Starting today, I’d like to have this station and I should like to bake.” I continued, rolling my sleeves up in preparation.
“But Your Grace, you’re not allowed to get your hands dirty.” She stopped.
“Let me, please. This is my therapy.” I plead. The cook sighed and let me be. I prepared every tool that I will use.
Suddenly, the bakers gave me all the ingredients I will be needing.
Finally! Something to quiet my mind.
⚜⚜⚜ Charles ⚜⚜⚜
“Must we bother their morning?” I questioned Mama as we head to Ameira’s residence. It’s hard when your mother suddenly decides to have breakfast in someone’s house.
“You mentioned the princess wants to marry you.” she replied. “It is a custom to know your future wife’s family.”
“Mama, I haven’t made a decision if I want to marry Ameira.” I protested.
“So, you’d rather marry Marieline?” she snapped at me.
“Mama, you know, I don’t like to talk about her.” I reminded. “Even the very thought of her ruins my day.”
“Then, Ameira it is.” she said, thinking she won.
I then just sighed out of frustration.
“Son, I’m not forcing you to marry Ameira.” she explained. “If you’ll ever consider marrying her, it’s better to meet them now.”
“It’s your father who’s forcing you.” she added.
I sighed. “I know, Mama.”
She then holds on to my hand. “It’s just breakfast, son, don’t you worry.” she reassured with a big smile.
In a few minutes, we finally arrived in Ameira’s castle. As we stepped out the carriage, Mama commented, “They have such a calm and wonderful environment.”
“They sure do, Mama.” I agreed.
“She has a good family.” Mama smiled.
We then started walking to the entrance where the butler greeted us.
“Good morning and welcome, Queen Benilde and Prince Charles.” he greeted, accompanied with a bow.
“Please, call me Charles.” I smiled.
“As you wish, sire.” He bowed.
“I hope we did not disturb the peace the family here is having.” Mama started.
“They’ve woken up a while ago. Your arrival has been announced and they will meet you in the hall.” the butler explained. “I shall accompany you till the family has arrived.”
“Splendid!” Mama expressed.
The butler then gave way to Mama and I. “See, son? This is the type of household that succeeds.”
We finally arrived in the hall. The servants offered us early refreshments, which Mama highly appreciated.
In a few moments, Ameira’s family arrived… but Ameira’s nowhere in sight.
“Good morning and welcome, Queen Benilde and Charles.” King George greeted, accompanied with a bow along with the Queen and their two other children.
“Thank you and good morning to you, great King George and Queen Amaia.” Mama bowed and so did I.
“I see you have beautiful children.” Mama continued, praising Ameira’s sister.
“Thank you.” Queen Ameira smiled.
“But… it seems that your heir is missing. Is she a late sleeper and late to wake up?” Mama enquired.
“No, she’s not.” Queen Amaia replied. “We checked her room and she’s not there. She must’ve taken a little morning stroll.” She continued.
“Not to worry, guards have been requested to look for her.” King George added.
“Oh, an explorer of an heir.” Mama answered. I can sense the sarcasm in her tone.
“How about we have breakfast in the garden?” Queen Amaia offered.
“I would like to see your kitchen first.” Mama suddenly requested.
“Mama…” I stopped her.
“According to my mother, we must check if the castle is completely clean and the best way to justify it is the kitchen.” Mama explained.
I sighed. Mama can be such a pain in the neck.
“Of course, then.” Queen Amaia smiled. “This way, please.” She then led the way.
We finally arrived in the kitchen. Everyone is working and the place looks clean.
“The kitchen looks clean.” Mama expressed. “Except for the people.”
“We make sure that if our people in the kitchdn are dirty, it’s because they’re doing a job well done.” Queen Amaia explained.
“But is everybody hygenic here?” Mama asked.
“Absolutely.” King George replied.
Suddenly, a few trays fell from the very end of the room. I quickly ran to help. “Are you alright?” I checked.
“Yes, thank you.” She said as she looked to me. It’s Ameira!
⚜⚜⚜ Ameira ⚜⚜⚜
Almost done with the cookies I am baking when a handmaiden came running in the kitchen.
“We have a guest! We must triple the food! We do not know how many they will be!”
“No worries.” The other chef replied.
A chef then walked towards me. “You should go and change into your clothes, love. You have a guest.”
“I’m sure this guest is for my parents.” I answered, smiling while continuing my task. “They won’t be needing me, I assure you.”
I then put the last tray of cookies in the oven. “I’ll start cleaning the station then whilst the cookies are still baking.”
The chef then went on her way to her station.
A few minutes later, the cookies are baked and my station is a hundred percent clean. I grabbed the tray and carefully arranged the cookies in a beautiful arrangement. I heard some murmuring at the entrance of the kitchen but I did not bother to look.
Alas! I arranged the cookies! It’s perfection! I put the tray on top of the other trays. Suddenly, three trays slipped.
I quickly knelt down to grab them.
Someone then came to my aid, asking, “Are you alright?”
“Yes, thank you.” I looked up… it’s Charles?!
“Ameira?” His eyes widened.
“Charles?” I replied.
We stood up and I saw my family and what it seems to be Charles’ mother, Queen Benilde.
“Ameira?” Mother suddenly called out.
“Mother.” I replied.
Mother quickly walked to me. “What have you been doing?” She started wiping some flour off me. I started removing the flour on my dress.
“I was baking.” I replied.
“Why are you baking?” She asked frantically.
“I needed something to do this morning.” I explained.
“So, the heir of Scotland fancies baking?” Queen Benilde suddenly spoke behind Mother.
“Queen Benilde.” I bowed. “I apologize for my appearance. I did not know.”
“Don’t apologize, dear.” Queen Benilde walked towards me. “An early bird is always successful, especially for a future queen.” She continued.
“How’s about you change now? She smiled. “We’ll see you in the garden.” She continued.
“Um, the cookies are yours.” I showed the cookies.
“Highly appreciated, dear. Now, go ahead.” She smiled.
“I’ll accompany her.” Charles intervened.
“Very well.” Queen Benilde nodded.
Charles offered his arm to me and we left as I hold on to him.
“I do apologize for our abrupt visit, Ameira.” Charles said as we walked to my room. “Mama can be quite persuasive and… stubborn.” He continued.
“That is nothing to be sorry for. Your family is always welcome in our home.” I smiled. “And besides, I do love having you here with us.” I added.
We both giggled. “Do you, now?” He asked with a smirk.
“Don’t get dirty thoughts that quick, Mr. Charles.” I blocked his smirk. “I love having you here because… you give me peace.” I explained.
“Peace?” he asked, baffled. “You’re here in your home but you don’t have peace?”
I sighed. “Will you have peace when you come home to a big problem where the only solution is you?” I asked back.
“I understand your frustration.” Charles comforted me. “Now, don’t you worry, I’ll assure you that I’m always here as much as possible.” He continued.
“Have you thought of what to do when you’re already king?” I asked as I continued preparing whilst Charles is waiting on the couch.
“No, I haven’t thought of anything yet.” He replied. “Well, except for putting our country first.” He quickly added.
“That’s very… kingly of you.” I giggled.
“So as my mother said.” He answered. “Isn’t that how a ruler should be?” he asked.
“That’s not how I plan to rule Scotland.” I responded.
“Really? Mind sharing a thought or two?” he asked.
“I plan to rule with my heart.” I started as I walk to the mirror to see how I look. “There’s nothing wrong in using your mind. But wisdom without heart is nothing.” I then turned to him. “How do I look?”
He didn’t speak. He just stood there, staring at me. He then walked to me, our foreheads almost close, our lips so near and yet so far.
He then cleared his throat as we went back to reality.
“You look…” he started, looking on his feet. “You look absolutely breathtaking.” He finally looked to me.
I looked down, flushed.
“Come. They’re waiting for you.” He then offered his arm once more.
“You mean waiting for us.” I corrected as I held on to him.
“Correct.” He smiled and we shared a brief laugh. We then headed downstairs to join our families.
“So, how’s life for you here in Scotland. Queen Amaia?” Queen Benilde asked.
Now, in our garden. Iris and Anny are playing in our open area. Charles and I join our parents for breakfast.
“It’s more than we could ever ask for.” Mother said with a smile. “What’s really important for me is to be able to experience life with my family.” She continued as she hold Father’s hand.
“You and your family seem so… contented of the life you have here.” Queen Benilde replied.
“Of course, we are.” Father answered with full confidence.
“And I’m sure you’re aware of your daughter’s decision of choosing my son.” She continued.
I heard Charles let out a sigh.
“Um, with all due respect, Queen Benilde.” I intervened. “I don’t think now is the perfect time to talk about it.” I continued.
“Well, we’re talking about marriage so might as well plan ahead.” Queen Benilde replied.
“We are still going to escalate this matter to the parliament and the Vatican.” Mother entered the conversation.
“Is your choice being stopped by your destroyed treaty with France?” Queen Benilde suddenly asked.
“How on earth did she know?”
“Your current standing with France is not a secret with the royal families anymore.” She continued. “Might as well make a decision now.”
“I already made a decision and I chose your son.” I said.
“Then, plan for the wedding.” Queen Benilde replied.
“It’s not that simple. It has to be deliberated by the parliament and the Vatican for the approval.” I answered.
“Is the parliament and the Vatican really the problem?”
“And what do you mean by that?” I asked, holding back my temper.
“Maybe the problem is you.” Queen Benilde started. “Maybe you’re still bitter about your history.”
“That is not true.”
“Maybe you still have feelings for him.”
“Please, stop.” If she did not stop what she’s doing, I will lose my patience.
“If that’s the case, then marry him instead.”
“Enough!” I shouted, standing up as I banged on the table. All the cups, teacup and utensils shake. I then quickly ran to the stables. I need some air.
I quickly grabbed Sunshine’s saddle and started to prepare her for a ride.
“Ameira?” I heard Charles’ voice.
I quickly and everything faster.
“Ameira.” Charles finally arrived.
I did not pay any attention on him. I just need to get out of this place now.
“I apologize for my mother’s behavior. I know it’s absolutely unacceptable.” Charles started talking.
I continued saddling Sunshine up, almost done.
“What are you doing? Where are you going?” he asked.
I sighed as I finished. ” I have the biggest feeling that your mother does not want me as your bride, let alone your wife.” I started as I turned to him. “If that’s the case then I will push marrying you.”
“Then you’ll end up marrying Alexander!” Charles replied.
“As a future ruler, I must make decisions that I do not like but it is the best for my people.” I answered. I hopped onto Sunshine.
“This is madness, Ameira.” Charles responded. “You’re making rash decisions.”
“In my world… madness is nothing but ordinary.” I then kick Sunshine’s side and began to ride to the hills, going through the forest. I did not look back if someone’s following my tracks. I just need to get away from this place.
“Ameira!” a faint voice echoed through the woods.
I look back to check and it was Charles on one of the horses.
I pushed Sunshine to run faster.
“Ameira, stop!” Charles’ voice started to become closer and clearer.
All of a sudden, I felt myself on the ground, hitting a branch.
“Ameira!” I struggled to stand as I felt Charles rushing to my side to help me.
“Ameira, are you okay?” he frantically asked. “I know things are not going right as of now but running away won’t make it easier.” He continued. “That’s not what a future queen should do!”
“Do I have a choice?!” I shouted as I looked to him.
⚜⚜⚜ Charles ⚜⚜⚜
“Do I have a choice?!” she looked up to me, tears running down her cheeks.
“I don’t know what to do anymore!” She cried. “I’m a prisoner in my own country! What am I supposed to do?!”
I did not answer. I just pulled her into my arms and held her tight.
“It’s too much… it’s too much…” She cried to me.
“Sshh… it’s alright, Ameira…” I comforted her. “We’ll find a way.”
And time didn’t matter. All I know is that Ameira is in my arms, safe.
“What?!” Mama suddenly asked.
“I think it’s the best thing I could do for her.” I said.
“Bringing the princess of Scotland to England?!” she started. “Do you know what kind of danger you’re implying on yourself? On England?”
“If the parliament is one of the troubles of Ameira, I must consult both their parliament and ours.” I protested.
“You’re willing to marry the princess of Scotland for advantage? You said you didn’t want to!”
I sighed. “Ameira… I’ve known her for a long time and I know we can marry as friends.” I answered. “But please, Mama, I need your blessing on this.”
Mama sighed. She’s beaten.
“Thank you, Mama. I must tell Ameira at once.” I excused myself to find Ameira.
Mama already left, leaving me here to stay the night. We swore to keep my stay here a complete secret.
It’s nighttime and it’s almost time to go to bed. But I know where Ameira is: in the abandoned room in the oldest tower in the castle, waiting for a meteor.
As I entered the room slowly, I saw her by the window.
“I thought I might find you here.” I suddenly spoke whilst walking towards her, making her jump and look to me.
“I thought you already left.” She replied, baffled.
“I kept this a secret. I’m staying the night.” I smiled.
She nodded and looked out back to the sky.
“I remember when we were children,” I started, making her turn to me. “We used to sneak up here every night to see the stars and wait for a shooting star.” I continued.
“It was the only way for you to comfort me whenever I feel bad or lonely.” She added, looking back to the stars.
“I have something to tell you.” I said, making her turn back to me. “I’ve decided to… go on with our marriage.” I continued.
⚜⚜⚜ Ameira ⚜⚜⚜
“I’ve decided to… go on with our marriage.” He continued.
Wait… he’s agreeing to marry me?
“You… you are?” I asked in disbelief.
“Only for business purposes and advantages for out kingdoms.” He explained.
“Oh.” Only to help. How disappointing. “Only for those reasons?” I enquired.
“Please don’t tell me you’re wanting more.”
“I understand your… reasons at saying ‘yes’.” I started. “We must do the right thing for out countries.” I continued, giving out a fake smile.
“But I still can’t afford to marry you straight away. I must consult with your parliament, our parliament and the Vatican.” He answered. “And you must come with me, as well.”
“We can’t just have a meeting with her whenever we want to.” I said.
“Yes, we can.” He disagreed. “I’ve arranged a hearing tomorrow for this matter. And you must agree to whatever I say to get their approval.” He reasoned.
“What if this fails?” I asked. “What if they don’t approve of it?”
He then holds my hands. “They will agree to this. You just have to trust me.”
“Now, why don’t you look back to the stars?” he smiled.
I turned around to see a meteor shower. And I never was I happier and more amazed.
“We can do this, Ameira.” Charles spoke. I turned to him. “Let’s not lose hope.” He smiled.
We then shared a hug.
But worry and disappointment fills my body.
I do hope our marriage does not end just for advantage.
She did not went home like she promised. Instead, she went to an old tavern in the woods near their kingdom.
As she entered, the tavern was empty. The only people there was the janitor cleaning the stage and a young man sitting on the bar, drinking beer.
She then sat down beside him.
“You took longer than expected.” He spoke under his hood.
“I apologize for my attendance… but we have business to attend to.” She replied.
“What is it that you want me to do?” he asked, taking another sip.
“I’m sure you’re familiar with Princess Ameira, the heir of Scotland.” She started.
“What about her?”
“I want her removed from my son’s life, even if it means… killing her.” She continued.
“Killing a princess? Shouldn’t you be happy for the advantages your kingdom will receive from their marriage?” he asked.
“She’s not of royal blood neither is her family.” She answered. “It would be an absolute disgrace for our family.”
He sighed. “You do know the consequences if they find out about what you want me to do.”
“I’ll protect you. Just do what I ask you to do.” She persuaded. She then reveals three bags of gold. “Do we have a deal?”
He then turns to her.
“Do we have a deal… Prince Alexander?”
His hood was then removed. It IS Prince Alexander of France himself.
He then grabs the gold. “Understood.