It's been 3 months since King Henry Giraut Regnier, my maternal grandfather last visited.
Mother had a peaceful look on her face every time she fed us and seemed to be much healthier than the past few months. It looked like the blessing the king gave us, which was the royal name Regnier, made my mother in such livelier spirits.
Gone was the worry and her smile appeared genuine. I had not heard any more about the blessing from my mother nor did she talk about it to anyone including the duke. It was a secret between the two of them.
Well, that makes it three of us, I suppose.
But what was making my mother worry, if not for the blessing? It seemed to me that the situation was much deeper than what I knew.
Anyway, during the last three months, I'd been practicing really hard. I could finally move! And sit! And crawl! And I could form coherent sounds now, unlike my blabbering before. It was a bit hard to control but nevertheless, it was still an improvement.
And now I was playing with my twin brother Ethan, who enjoyed imitating every move I made. And everywhere I crawled, he would follow me. And what was even creepier was his stare! He keeps glaring at me!
Ever since then, I'd been ignoring him but unfortunately today, he was closer than ever. I looked at my surroundings and I saw the two maids, Trisha and Ruby, were busy cleaning our room.
Emma was absent and my other maid, Beth, was stitching our clothes. The clothes she made were simple white cotton. It was not that fancy as the duke's and the duchess's' but I didn't complain. It was comfortable enough.
Ethan and I were playing on a soft rectangle mat laid on the floor enclosed by embedded pillows around the edges. The pillow fence was not that high but it was enough to keep us both in. With toys scattered here and there, it was like a large playground, enough for almost 10 babies.
I guess it's one of the perks of being born wealthy.
I stared at Ethan and scoffed at him, his drool visible. I crawled away and sensed that he was following me.
Hey! Stop following me! Go do your own thing.
I sat and he did the same thing in front of me, his clear blue eyes full of curiosity. And surprise, surprise, he touched my shoulder. He was stroking me a lot nowadays. I inspected the maids doing their tasks and finally when they were not looking, I pushed Ethan away. My twin brother lay flat on his back.
Hahaha! Take that!
But he did not cry. Ever since we were given the royal name, Ethan has become docile. It was a miracle. I often wondered if the name had its magic. My brother pulled himself up easily, stared at me for a few seconds, and did the same thing to me!
You..! I pulled myself albeit arduously since I was bigger and heavier than him and pushed him back. And then again, he effortlessly retaliated.
I properly sat and then glared at him while he returned it with an expectant gaze as if he wanted to be pushed back. I hardened my gaze and scolded him.
"Istapit," I said to him.
Ethan tilted his head and I knew he didn't understand. For the past few months, I'd been investigating him and it appeared that he had a baby's consciousness, unlike mine. I'd also been trying to recall my past but try as I might, I really had no memories. Maybe, I was just a genius child?
"Dir bwader, istapit," I spoke to him seriously. But what I got in return was my back on the mat and my sights on the ceiling.
And so, I didn't hesitate but to get revenge. I'm stronger than you!
Then we were put into a brawl-like competition. It was like that for a few seconds as I pushed him in his stomach so he wouldn't get up. He struggled and I could feel my win. My smile grew wider.
And then, one of the maids spotted us.
"Awwe, look they're playing together. How cute." I heard Trisha gushing.
You call this playing? No, this is war.
Ethan could now blabber too, so he complained and kicked his feet at my sides. I was surprised by this so I let my grasp on him slip. As if he could sense my hands on him lost their force, he grabbed the opportunity to push me, and now I was the one lying on my back. Good thing, the mat was soft or it would have hurt.
But was stunned me was that Ethan didn't even try to push me down so I could not get up. Instead, he laid his face on my stomach and comfortably settled himself there. He then looked at me and giggled tenderly, with his four teeth visibly seen.
I heard the maid's astonished gasps and gushy sighs. But I could only close my eyes, feeling my first defeat.
"At last, three more months and we'll have the twin's first birthday celebration!" Trisha excitedly started and my mother only smiled at the maid's enthusiasm. "We're going to be so busy preparing the palace's hall."
"It is an honor to be able to use the royal hall for the twin's birthday. We should prepare a thank-you gift for the royal family." Mother picked her teacup and drank slowly. We were on the terrace of the Redgrave mansion. Everything looked so dazzling under the sun. The furniture, especially the silver table and the delicate kettle and teacups, were reflecting the sun.
It wasn't really hot since there was a sunshade covering us. The Redgrave mansion was relatively new and had a modern taste since it was finished only just recently.
Ethan and I were seated on a special kind of chair made especially for babies. In this way, we could enjoy the fresh air along with the energetic rays of the sun. And with so many different varieties of flowers, the atmosphere up here was peaceful.
The aroma of the tea leaves was also relaxing and the sweet smell of the biscuits was making me drool.
"We have already made the invitations to be sent out, Your Grace. Based on the list you gave us, the royal hall will be packed. We are also considering those invited by the royal family. We should also look at the meals to be prepared," the assistant butler, Gordon, explained while checking his list.
Mother only nodded as he listened to the butler. "Arrange an array of cuisine for me to choose from. Please also include those from the other kingdoms. I wager my husband's companions from the Spheres are also coming," mother replied quite calmly. It appeared that she was used to this kind of event.
Emma who was looking after us then spoke up. "Your Grace, we should also arrange a feast for the masses. They too are excited to see and hear about the hero's children."
I heard that Emma was a baron's daughter before becoming a lady-in-waiting for my mother. She was the third daughter so the prospect of marrying was low in numbers so she accepted the honor of serving the first princess. Now, she was the head maid of the hero's household.
Mother considered it for a moment and then agreed to Emma's suggestion. "We should use the Capital Square for the feast. Maybe, we can also produce a program of activities for their interests."
Gordon wrote it down on his checklist. He also declared other points of concern such as the decorations, the seating arrangements, and some performances to showcase culture. All of it was handled by my mother quite skillfully with the help of Emma and the other ladies-in-waiting.
After it was finished, Gordon took his leave, together with some older maids to get things done. Mother, Emma with the usual three maids - Trisha, Beth, and Ruby; Ethan and I were left to revel for the rest of the afternoon.
"Are you alright, Your Grace?" Emma asked while refilling mother's tea. I looked at my mother and it seemed that she was exhausted.
"I am fine. Don't worry too much." Mother ate a cookie and sipped her tea. Her blonde hair and blue eyes were twinkling and I sensed she was enjoying herself despite being tired.
All the while, Ethan and I were only eating a soft edible dough. The dough was peach in color. It was a bit sweet but it was not too much for a baby. Ethan was happily prattling away, amazed as he grabbed hold of the soft dough, playing with it before putting it in his mouth.
Mother's tearful eyes and warm smile didn't go unnoticed. It was not her usual sad smile when she was staring at Ethan. And I could confirm that that sad smile only came whenever mother looked at Ethan.
I observed and listened to many things. She's relieved.
It was like that since the king blessed us. What secrets do you have, dear mother? I stared a little bit too long at Ethan, pondering if there was something wrong with him. He looks normal, though. Hmm, although his cries before were unusual.
I looked at Ethan's carefree smile and he seemed happier. Maybe, he was sick before? My mind flashed back to that night. Mother said she had no choice but to do it. What did she do? It appeared that the king knew what really happened. Rather, the king sensed it before mother told him.
I was in deep thoughts and was slowly eating my dough when something poked my cheek. Again. There was only one person who would do that. My father sat at the table, next to mother, and gestured to fill his cup.
"Emilia looks like she's thinking about something," my father declared. The duke sipped tea and ate the snacks before him while mother only smiled. "And Ethan here can't get enough of what he's eating. They're twins but they are very different."
His wife chuckled at his observation as if agreeing. "They only look alike, Your Grace. But they have their distinct characteristics."
My father nodded as he replied, "Yes, Emilia's more mature and quieter, I noticed. And Ethan's quite chatty and curious."
"And they look just like you, Your Grace. Their black hair is already thickening," Mother continued but then realized something. "Except for the eyes. Although Emilia's inherited your amber ones mixed with my blue eyes."
The relaxing atmosphere I felt was gone. Every time the duke was there, he made me feel so anxious. Why is that though? Am I scared of him?
I gazed at my father and when he caught me staring at him, he smiled. I only blinked at him. Was it because he has an intimidating aura? He was a knight after all and one that led hundreds of thousands of soldiers to fight a demon army. And he fought against Lucifer, too.
It's natural to admire and fear a hero, after what he's been through.
And just like that, it got me thinking.
Does that mean my father is the strongest knight of all? Ha! No one will definitely make an enemy of his daughter! I just have to use his name to get everything I want! Hahaha!
I let out a giggle at the thought and felt my smile grow wider, unbeknownst to me, that there were audiences looking at my every move.
"You finally laughed, little Emilia. It's wonderful to hear from you like that." I heard my mother's voice and I only realized that they were looking at me with soft and warm eyes. What was wrong with them? They were smiling broadly, it was creeping me out.
"Ahh, she's back again," father spoke as my smile went out.