The mid-afternoon sun flooded through the open curtains, giving the little girl with bright red hair a golden halo. The maids could only squeal and gush at their mistress, who didn't have a care in the world. Lily scolded the maids for ignoring their duties but one at Naomi, but one look at Noami made the woman smile. As the women got things ready for their mistress to continue her day, a knock interrupted the process.
Lily rushed to the door, ready to scold whoever dared bother the princess during her nap. She swung the door open to be greeted by a messenger. 'Naomi hasn't made her debut yet. So who could be sending letters?' Lily wondered.
"Is her highness awake, yet?" the messenger questioned.
Lily shook her head, " She is not. Do you have a message I can rely on her highness?"m
The messenger nodded and handed the head maid an envelope with the Imperial seal crested in red wax, sealing the contents inside.
"It is from the Empress herself," Lily nodded and closed the door. Quickly the other maids swarmed Lily, all questioning who was at the door. Lily raised her hand for silence and walked towards Naomi's bed. The girl stayed asleep even through the noise of the maids and messenger arriving.
"Your highness, it is time to wake up. You have a letter from the Empress," Lily lightly shook the girl. Noami groaned and swatted away the head maid's hand; she was peacefully sleeping after a long day of chaos and learning, and now someone wants to wake her up? Lily shook her head in disappointment and quickly grabbed Naomi from the bed, making the girl stand up instead of going back to sleep.
"I know you are tired, your highness. If you do not wake up now, then you will not sleep tonight. Besides, you have a letter from the Empress, and you cannot refuse to go." The woman fussed as she helped get the princess ready. Naomi rubbed the sleep from the eyes and nodded. Naomi decided that she did not mind the Empress. She was kind and thought about the girl's feelings, unlike the many others in her life before meeting the Imperial family.
"Lily, can you read the letter, please?" Lily nodded at her mistress's command. Swiftly, the head maid had the letter opened and started reading out loud for everyone to hear:
I apologize for this morning. You did not need to hear cruel words at such a young age. I hope this won't interfere with your bonding with the rest of the Imperial family.
Speaking of family, your three brothers want to meet you. They were not able to introduce themselves this morning. Would you mind having tea with us this afternoon? If you do not feel comfortable, I will understand.
P.S you should not nap for too long. You will not be able to sleep tonight and become cranky.
Naomi started jumping for joy at the Empress's letter and the thought of meeting her brothers. She never had siblings when she lived with her mother, but now she had three?
"I want to go, Lily? Please?" Naomi asked with big puppy eyes. Lily smiled and made the preparations for their princess's first tea party. Most of which Naomi was not fond of, especially bath time. She could agree that the oils and flower petals smelled terrific, but her hair got tangly, and she always felt cold afterward. The last of the preparations made it worth it, in Naomi's book. The maids dressed her up in a pretty pink and lacy, knee-length dress and a pink bow for her hair. The maids cheered at the beauty of their princess, and Naomi could only look starstruck at her appearance.
"Your highness, it is time to go now." Naomi turned to Lily, gesturing towards the door. She gulped and followed Lily as the woman guided her to the tea party.
Before long, Lily was walking Naomi outside into a garden. This was the first time Naomi had been out since she arrived at the palace, and even then, she didn't see the garden. Naomi couldn't help but stare in wonder at the variety of flowers and statues that littered the sides of the sidewalk.
"Your highness, we're here." Lily smiled. Naomi turned to meet eyes with the Empress and three boys from breakfast. For reassurance, Naomi grabbed Lily's hand and tugged. Lily laughed at the princess's shyness and guided her to an empty seat at the table.
"Welcome Naomi, I hope that you had a good nap." The Empress chuckled. Naomi blushed and nodded, too focused on the three boys from earlier.
"Oh, I'm so sorry, boys. Naomi, these are your brothers." The Empress sighed.
Naomi couldn't get to say a word before a hand was shoved in her face. "Hello, I am Jan. The oldest of the princes and the crown prince." Naomi nodded. She noticed that he seemed tense about something and before Naomi could ask what was wrong, Jan had beat her to it.
"I apologize for hurting you," Jan mumbled. Naomi paled at the older boys' words. She had forgotten all about the incident until now, but the fear was still there. Naomi opened her mouth to ask for Lily to go back to her room, but the look on Jan's face stopped her. He looked sad and anxious. How could Naomi not forgive that face?"
"It's ok, big brother. I forgive you." Naomi smiled. Jan's body looked deflated at the relief that the little girl gave him.
"Hello, I am Charon. The second oldest prince. I hope we can become great friends." Naomi smiled.
"Hi! I'm Hugo. The third oldest prince. I can't believe I have a cute little sister like you, Naomi." Hugo babbled. Hugo was the polar opposite of his brothers, but Naomi did not mind.
After introductions, the maids served tea and pastries of all kinds to the table. Naomi started bouncing in her chair until she had a cup of milk and pastries. Throughout the tea party, Naomi began to learn about her newfound family.
Naomi discovered that Irene, the Empress, loved to plant flowers and make medicine. Because of Irene's love of both, she had made groundbreaking discoveries for the Empire. 'What a caring woman,' Naomi thought.
Naomi learned that Jan loved reading and swords. He's even a caption of the Imperial Knights for the palace. He's only 15 years old too! Amazing.
Charon loved history and politics. He has made several bills for the Empire that has improved it for the better. Naomi couldn't remember what kind of accounts and what for, but she was too embarrassed to ask Charon to repeat himself.
Hugo was a wild card. He loved hunting and swords but enjoyed flowers, just like his mother. Hugo loved to participate in hunting competitions and was the best shot in the entire Empire.
Naomi was amazed at how amazing her brother's abilities and how kind they were. The Empress made sure that Naomi felt welcomed and loved. What a fantastic family.
What do you guys think?