I do apologize for being a little late with this chapter. I know it's been a couple of days, but I have been a bit busy with it being the fourth of July weekend and all. I hope you all enjoy this nonetheless. If you did, please let me know in the comments below. If you all have Deviant Art and are enjoying the story thus far, please add me to your watch list under MultiAsh. Thanks!
Every chance Lucas had gotten throughout the next week, he found an excuse to leave the castle to pay a visit to Mei in the city of Redwood. Though he felt terrible about leaving his duties to sneak off to see a lady that he hardly knew, Lucas felt he would never get the chance to see her again once Mei returned to the Kingdom of Grynn. Of course, every time he found his way into the city, he noticed the increase in city guards due to Martin’s death. The rumors and theories continued to float around the city. The people wanted justice for Martin’s death, but the guards couldn’t find any leads to Martin’s death. Lucas knew full well how lucky he was to have gotten away with the task Rose had put him up to.
Lucas approached Rose in the throne room, still filled with a high from seeing Mei from the previous day. He had grown close to her, as a wonderful friend over the past few days. He took a deep breath as he smiled cheerfully at her.
“Good afternoon, my lady,” he greeted, bowing to her as he approached her.
Rose looked down at him, smiling a bit, “Good afternoon, Lucas. You sure are in a chipper mood. Are you going to be staying here at the castle today?” she asked, in a hopeful tone.
The question caused the young boy to freeze slightly. He took a deep breath, standing up straight, “I’m sorry, my lady… But the fruit has gone bad, and I must go retrieve some from the market,” he lied.
“Fruit? I thought that was what you went to go get a few days ago,” Rose frowned.
“No. I’m afraid what I had gotten were fresh vegetables for you. I would call for someone else, but they do not know what you enjoy. So, I will be going into the city to get you fresh fruit from the market,” Lucas answered, hopeful for her approval.
Rose was silent for a moment. It caused Lucas to worry, knowing she was deep in thought about his offer. However, as much as he hated lying to his sister, he wanted to see Mei once again before she left to Grynn. Lucas knew full well Mei was leaving for the neighboring kingdom the following day, and he had wanted to spend time with her.
“Fine… Go get me some fresh fruit. Some strawberries would be nice. I think the cooks ran out of strawberries. I never get those for snacks anymore. However, I want you to hurry. Karter is coming over today, and I need you here to help keep me calm,” Rose giggled at the thought of the older man.
Lucas sighed with relief. He nodded, smiling at her, “Yes, my lady. I’ll get you some fresh strawberries from the market. Even some blackberries.”
Rose nodded towards Lucas, “Alright, and remember, be quick in the city. I want you to return before Karter arrives,” she demanded.
“Understood, my lady. Anything else?” he asked.
“That will be all.”
Without another word, Lucas bowed towards Rose. He stood up straight and quickly walked out of the room, as though he would carry out his sister’s demands. However, he was more concerned about carrying out his own plans on meeting Mei in the city. If he could spend just a little bit of time with her, Lucas felt he would be the happiest boy in the world.
Lucas had spent very little time getting to the city of Redwood. Over the course of the past week, he had managed to find out from Mei that she was staying at a mediocre hotel near the bookstore where Lucas and Mei had first met. She had planned to be at the market today, and wanted Lucas to arrive to introduce him to a friend of hers. Lucas could feel his heart pounding just at the thought of Mei’s thoughtful smile and gentle voice. It was enough to drive him insane.
As he arrived at the market, he paid one of the street-side clerks for a wooden basket, hoping to look as though he came prepared. Lucas glanced around, with his basket in hand, trying to find Mei. The thick crowd made it difficult for him to determine if he could find her or not. He adjusted his hat slightly, soon feeling a light tapping on his shoulder.
Lucas whirled around, only to see Mei, smiling politely at him. Lucas smiled at her, though inside, he could feel his heart breaking. On Mei’s arm was Karter, with a bright smile on his face. He hadn’t bothered to change out of his dark green tunic. Karter stuck out like a sore thumb amongst the commoners.
“Lucas, this is Sir Karter Sybil. He decided to escort me this afternoon, and I promised to have you two meet,” Mei introduced.
The young boy took a deep breath, forcing out a small smile at Mei, “Er… Well, actually, Mei… Sir Karter and I have already met. On coronation day… The same way you and I met, actually…” he answered, tensing up more with each second.
Mei blinked, a bit surprised, “Oh. Is that true?” she asked, glancing up at Karter.
Karter rubbed the back of his head with his free hand, “I’m afraid it’s true, my dear. When you told me about how you two had met, I was wondering if it was little Lucas Karver. He really is a gentleman, isn’t he?” he teased, as though the two were friends.
Lucas choked out a false laugh, trying to calm himself as he stared up at the two. He hadn’t realized that Karter, the nobleman Rose seemed to fancy, and Mei, the commoner that Lucas knew he was falling in love with, were together in a taboo relationship, “So… Um, Mei? How did you meet Sir Karter?” he asked.
“Oh. I never told you? Well… It was back at the castle several weeks ago… I was out in the city, running errands for the queen, while Hannah was back at the castle cleaning. Of course, I hadn’t realized she had been cleaning at the time. When I returned, I slipped on a dangerous puddle of water right in front of him. He helped me up to my feet when he was waiting to have an audience with the queen, and… Well, we had been meeting up ever since,” Mei explained. A small blush could be seen on her cheeks.
“I see…” Lucas couldn’t stand seeing Mei with Karter. It angered him. He could feel a twinge of jealousy seething deeply within him, “Mei, if I may be blunt… Sir Karter is to be in a relationship with a woman of royalty. The relationship you have is unheard of… You both could easily get lynched if everyone found out in both of your kingdoms.”
Mei’s happy face quickly upturned into a saddened frown, “Lucas… Are you telling me to leave Sir Karter because I am not worthy of him? Because I’m a simple commoner?” she asked, her voice wavering a bit. Tears began to well up in her hazel eyes.
Lucas gasped and raised his hands, “N-No, that isn’t what I meant… I didn’t say you were unworthy… I-I just meant… I…” Lucas struggled to find the words to comfort her.
Mei buried her face into her hands, soon sobbing softly, “Why…? Why would you say something like that…?”
The young boy stared at her, with a concerned face. He mentally scolded himself for making the beautiful black-haired girl in front of him cry. He honestly hadn’t meant to. Karter wrapped an arm around Mei’s shoulder, rubbing her arm soothingly.
“There, there… Please don’t cry, Mei. It doesn’t suit you at all,” he attempted to calm her down. Karter shot a glare at Lucas, causing the boy to tense up, “You should be ashamed of yourself, Lucas… Making a woman cry.”
Before Lucas could say anything, Karter turned Mei away, and led her through the crowd of people in the market. Lucas stared off at them with his saddened blue eyes. He could feel his heart shattering as they left his sight. He took a deep breath, staring down at the ground for a moment. Lucas clenched his wooden-woven basket tightly.
Damn it… Why did I have to make her cry? I didn’t want to do that! I was just trying to protect her… I don’t care about Sir Karter, but… Mei is delicate. If she got hurt just from my words, she would get hurt much worse if people lynched them because of their relationship…
Lucas took a deep breath before raising his head up. He walked down through the market, glancing around for the fruits that his sister had ordered him to buy.
Is this… really how things are going to end between us? Lucas thought worriedly.
Later that afternoon, Lucas returned to the castle, with a basket full of various fruits for his sister to choose from as she pleased. As much as he wanted to stay in the city longer, he knew he had duties to fulfill at his sister’s side. Plus, he felt guilty for hurting Mei like he had. There would be no way he could face her again after they way he saw her cry.
Lucas walked into the large dining hall, setting the basket of fruit down. He let out a small sigh as he heard the door behind him close. He stood up straight, turning around to see Rose approaching him.
“You’re home earlier than I thought. You got all of the fruits?” she asked curiously.
“Yes, my lady. I did,” he answered, trying to keep his composure.
Rose walked right up to the dining table. She inspected the fruits in the basket, picking up a red apple, sniffing it.
“It does smell really sweet. I think you might have done another excellent job, Lucas. Well done!” she smiled proudly at him.
Lucas smiled softly at her, “Thank you, Lady Rose… I only did what you had asked of me. Nothing more.”
Rose gently placed the apple back in the basket, on top of the other fruits, smiling at Lucas, “Thank you. Now, please take this into the kitchen and then meet me in the study. I do hope that Sir Karter does come by…” Rose sighed hopefully as she turned away, walking out of the dining hall.
The young boy let out a small sigh as he watched Rose leave the dining hall. He picked up the basket, walking off towards the kitchen with the fresh fruit. Mentioning Karter’s name made Lucas remember the glare that he had shot at him for making Mei cry. It had made him terrified of the man. Lucas knew Karter was one that he would not want to anger. However, his mind was still on Mei. He desperately wanted to abandon all of his duties and find her in the city, only to apologize. Lucas knew that he couldn’t do such a thing. Not to Rose. Rose was expecting a guest, and there were duties that he needed to fulfill.
Carrying a small tray with a plate of snacks, and two cups filled with tea, Lucas walked out of the kitchen. He headed towards the study, in the other wing of the castle. He was unsure if Karter was already there or not, but he didn’t want to keep them waiting if he did arrive. As Lucas approached the study, he took a deep breath, knocking on the door. He could hear the soft murmurs of Rose and Karter on the other side.
So, he really did show up. I wonder if Mei is feeling any better, Lucas thought.
Karter opened up the door to the study, looking down at Lucas almost surprisingly. He quickly regained his composure as he stepped aside, “Well, what a wonderful surprise. Hello, Lucas. It’s so good to see you again,” he smiled politely at him.
Lucas walked into the room, glancing around. Rose was sitting in a large, red velvet chair, near a fireplace. In front of her was a small wooden table, and another red velvet chair. Lining along the walls were various books on the bookshelves.
“It is a pleasure seeing you again, Sir,” Lucas greeted as he gently placed the tray on the table. He then stood by Rose, his numb expression unwavering.
“Thank you, Lucas. It looks like it’s tea time,” Rose smiled as she reached over, grabbing a teacup. She took a sip of the tea.
Karter walked over, taking a seat in the opposite chair. He grabbed his teacup, glancing over towards the young queen, “Lady Rose… I understand that you called me out here today for a reason. Might I ask what for?” he asked before taking a sip.
Rose smiled, setting the teacup and saucer down onto the tray that sat in front of her and the nobleman, “Well… It’s a little embarrassing, to be honest. However, it’s something I can discuss with you about it. Only you.”
Lucas glanced down at Rose, a bit curious as to what she might have to say to Karter. Rose took a deep breath, folding her hands as she rested them in her lap, “I… I have a proposal for you. A… A marriage proposal, to be exact. Since, I am officially the queen of Yalelia, and you are a nobleman of an allying kingdom, Blanc, to be exact. It makes you a perfect candidate to marry me. Besides, I would rather marry you, someone that I love, over someone else. So… will you accept my proposal?” she asked in a hopeful tone.
Lucas gasped slightly. He was a bit surprised to hear such words come from Rose’s mouth. After the short amount of time she had gotten to know Karter, she wanted to marry him quickly. Lucas didn’t want to object. He knew full well Karter was eligible to marry Rose once she had been recognized as the new queen. She would be the youngest queen to ever get married if he accepted, but if he did, then he would have to turn his back on Mei.
Karter let out a small sigh as he set his teacup and saucer down onto the table before him, “I see what this is… You believe that if you marry me, you will have a happy ending? Is that it?” he asked.
Rose shook her head, “I don’t believe, nor think it, Karter. I know that I am in love with you… Please, just give me this chance!” she begged.
Karter shook his head as he stood up from the chair, “I thought it was odd that you would ask me to come over here,” he sighed, running his fingers through his golden locks, “Lady Rose… I must decline. As much as you may be in love with me, I have a confession to make. I have met a young lady from the kingdom of Grynn… She has the most beautiful black hair. Hazel eyes… She is everything I could ask for. I cannot accept your proposal because of this very reason…”
The silence thickened in the room. Lucas’ eyes widened at Karter’s confession. He had managed to confess his love about Mei without revealing their social standings.
Karter turned away from the twins, walking towards the door, “Please forgive me, Lady Rose. I do wish you luck in finding someone that will love you in return.”
Without another word, Karter left the room. As the door clicked shut, Rose buried her face into her hands. She sobbed softly in her hands. Lucas knelt down beside her, rubbing her knee gently.
“Lady Rose… Please don’t cry. He’ll come around,” he tried to reassure her.
Rose shook her head, “No… He won’t… He’s gone. Gone for good… Lucas, Karter left…” she sobbed.
Lucas sighed heavily. He glanced over towards the door, where Karter took his leave. Lucas stood up, and broke into a run. He thought that if he could catch up to the blonde nobleman, he could try to convince to him to at least comfort his sister. Lucas heard Rose call out for him, but he simply ignored it. He knew he had to do this for her. As he ran out of the castle, he panted slightly, noticing Karter walking towards the gates.
“Sir Karter!” Lucas called out.
The man stopped, turning around towards Lucas, “Lucas… I’m sorry. If you want me to accept her proposal, I simply can’t, and you know full well why,” he exclaimed bitterly.
Lucas approached him, panting, “That… That isn’t it…” he panted, “I just have to ask… Did you turn her down because of m, because of what I said earlier? If so… I’m so sorry! I only said what I said because I didn’t want Mei to get hurt…” he blurted out.
There was a moment of silence before Karter let out a sigh, “So… You were just trying to be helpful?” he asked.
“Yes… I never would want anything to happen, especially to Mei… She’s such a sweet girl… And I don’t want you to hurt my sister just because of what I did to you both earlier… Please…” he begged.
Karter thought for a moment, but soon sighed, “I’m sorry, Lucas… But if your sister cannot handle my rejection to her proposal, how will she handle the rejection of others if she comes off just as strong? I do hope she does find someone that truly loves her. I did, in the most unexpected way… Maybe you will, too. Lucas, just try to focus on comforting your sister for a while, alright? I hope to see you both again. I really do.”
Karter turned and walked down the path towards the castle gates, waving back towards Lucas. The young boy stared after the nobleman, until he could no longer see him.
Sir Karter… Thank you. I now know what I must do until I find my own happy ending.
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