Zalair opened his forest green eyes, blinking a few times to adjust them to the sight of the scholar leaning over him. “Eh… Huh?”
“Oh good you’re awake,” the scholar sighed. “How are you feeling?”
“Better… How long have I been out?”
“Half the day. It’s almost time for the welcoming banquet,” the scholar answered, watching as Zalair just closed his eyes. “Don’t want to move from that warm bed?”
“Not really… Where am I?”
“The west guest room.” He said with a smile, “Please rest up. Don’t feel you have to go to the banquet, all right?”
“But if it’s for me, shouldn’t I attend?”
The scholar nodded with a sigh, “But you can arrive late. I have to see to the children. Please, rest some more then come.”
With that, the scholar rose to his feet and left the room quietly.
After the scholar was gone, Zalair sat up. He held his forehead to test his temperature and sighed. “Finally, it’s passed…” He groaned looking around the very nicely decked out guest room. With a sigh he stood up and stretched, recalling all the moves he’d done earlier, and the annoyed look on Keigo’s face.
“I barely had to egg him on.” Zalair mused as he played with the layers of his black hair behind his head. “Oh, well… Better get going.”
He took a few minutes to make sure his face looked appropriate, then headed out the door.
Down the halls he walked, following the loud music and laughter. Apparently, the drinks supplied must’ve been heavily filled with alcohol prior to the noble guests arriving.
Inside the banquet hall, there were many random garlands of fresh greens, and people talking and laughing everywhere. In the center of the room there was a clearing where couples were dancing graceful waltzes. Zalair could easily spot King Chevis, laughing his burly laugh next to his wife, and talking with nobles. Also running around were six children dressed as princes and princess, playing with noble’s children, making almost thirty in all.
Zalair took a step in, bumping someone that came barely up to his stomach. “Oh! I’m sorry!” He looked down, seeing a shy princess with white blond hair looking down at her broken cup on the floor. She started to sniff and cry. Zalair knelt down, smiling at her, “Are you hurt, princess?”
“N-no,” she sniffled, “But that’s my favorite cuuuuuup!!!”
Zalair smiled, “I can fix it. Watch, watch~” He said enthusiastically to her, waving his hand over the cup. It reformed its shards back into the form of a white tea cup decorated with junipers painted on it. Zalair picked up the cup and handed it to the girl. “There you go.”
“Thank you!” she squealed so happily.
Zalair chuckled to her, watching her run off to tell her parents immediately. In the direction she headed, Zalair spotted Prince Keigo leaning against the wall with his arms crossed. He looked more like an alert guard in that pose, than a royal prince, even though he was dressed like one.
Zalair walked over, standing next to him but so they weren’t facing, crossing his arms behind his back. “So, I never thought you’d be the heir.” Keigo didn’t say anything. “What happened to Juniper?”
“I told you, her fiancée killed her.”
“Things were going good.” Keigo shrugged, “Then they got in some stupid fight about the wedding. It got violent and he shoved her, pushing her over a railing on accident. Snapped her neck, died instantly.”
“You say that like you’re the one who examined her body afterwards, you know that?” Zalair said with a smile. “You know, my mom says brooding faces aren’t very attractive.”
Keigo turned a glare on the other, shifting his weight to a stiff position.
“Look,” Zalair said, closing his eyes, turning his head forward, “It’s not like I want to marry you.”
“Fine, then let’s not.”
“What I’m getting at…” Zalair paused, opening his eyes, “All these smiles… Don’t you want to keep seeing them on your people?”
Keigo looked at all the people smiling and laughing enjoying the party, and nodded.
“So, what’ll happen after your sister’s death- do you think?”
“They’ll attack us, duh,” Keigo answered, feeling almost insulted Zalair asked him that.
Zalair looked at Keigo with a smirk, “Then let’s marry for the sake of our people.”
“You’ll gain no benefit out of this.” Keigo answered, not fully knowing Zalair’s sly personality.
He shrugged, “Like I care. Alone, both our countries can’t stand against the North.”
“But together…” Keigo thought aloud, then chuckled. “This sounds like a war’s summons…”
“Are you declining my offer?” Zalair asked, smiling smoothly.
Keigo snickered, “Why would I do that? If I marry you – it means I can kill you all the more easily.”
Zalair smirked that same face right back, “Be my guest.”
The two stared at each other with that look of adoring the chance to kill each other, then Keigo broke it by walking off without another word.
Zalair sighed after Keigo left. “Thirteen years passed and he still hates me?” He mentally hit himself. “Why should I care?! He never even told me the reason! Jerk!”