02| Kingdom Lichelle

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BLAIR

"Get changed into some up-to-scratch clothes, and help Mason too. We will be leaving in an hour" he orders and walks away.

Up-to-scratch clothes. Like you've ever bought us some, father.

I feel like I'm hit by a ton of bricks. The information he just declared doesn't really surprise me because just a few days ago he said the same--'I've fixed your marriage' thing, too.

I make Mason sit on the chair and take off his stained shirt.

"You should apply something to your wound, Baby" he insists.

I roll my eyes, thanks to my parents for giving me such nickname. "You shouldn't call me by that."

"But everybody calls you by that."

"But that sounds wrong when you call me by that. You are the baby, here, not me"

Nevermind. What makes me stunned is that we are having to move from this place to Kingdom Lichelle.

I put his small head inside a new, pristine shirt.

"I'll be gone to Mrs. Wright for some time. Take care of yourself and stay inside, will you?" I ask.

His chin goes deep in the neck and raise up again.

Lichelle. The Kingdom of King Ronan Barclay. Where my father once used to work as an earl.

There are so many things we left behind. That I left behind.

That's not just a place where we used to reside once.

There's more to it.

Considering my current situation, I wonder how many men he fixed my feather bed with.

~~~

"I sincerely beg for a backhanded apology but... you're really giggling like a madwoman" I fix the cloth on my head and speak, making sure not to sound disrespectful.

Ever since I informed her about the distress about to happen in my life, she has been laughing lowly, shaking the blue damask sofa on which we both are seating.

"That seems like a fortunate stroke of serendipity, my child" she says while picking up her favorite cup of tea from the small table in front of us.

"The thing killing off my freedom could never be stated as a fortune to my life" I sigh.

Marriage; whoever female this word gets connected with, it shatters down the terms liberty of their life into absolutely nothing but ash.

Mrs. Wright nods, understandingly, "Consider it like this: the biggest barrier I'm witnessing in your life right now is your father--Robert. Flitting away from him would be the best fortune for your life" she says, not forgetting to point the wound on my head.

I sigh sadly.

But what about Mason?

I don't even know who the person is.

What if I find myself falling into a person who is way worse than my father?

She suddenly begins to untangle the drape of her dress and untie a knot on the margin of it, taking out a good load of bright yellow pieces.

She raises them to me before smiling at a staring fussock sitting in front of her who can't stop gaping at the gold coins. Yes, that staring fussock is nobody but me.

I was in perplexity and the reaction was reasonable but seems like I'm dratted.

"Take this, Baby, you'll need them" she hands them all to me, giving a soft pat on the back of my hand which is now holding the coins.

"I can't take them. You've done enough for me" I pass them back to her.

"Don't be silly. Just accept it" she hands it to me again, certainly not in mood to hear a 'no'.

~~~

Our journey to Lichelle has been a challenging one, marked by storms, rain, coldness, and even a sprinkle of snowfall. As we finally reach the town, the bustling market greets us with a cacophony of voices, each vendor vying for attention.

It's just a matter of time now before we will be arriving at the main castle, too.

Wait.

Would we? I don't remember my father talking anything about it ever since he informed us about this sudden plan.

Several voices from outside cross my ears and I can't help but listen to them.

"The pair of furcoats you ordered is ready! Come here"

"Hey! Watch your horse!"

"I didn't order anything?"

Then, an abrupt silence descends as our carriage halts. I exchange confused glances with my father and Mason, both equally perplexed. What's happening? Why this sudden hush?

The stillness is broken only by the neigh of a horse. It's not ours. A shiny brown-colored horse clip-clops slowly along the street, stopping right in front of my side of the window. His owl-like eyes blink at me, and I can't help but let out an 'aw' at his adorable gaze.

I cautiously extend my hand to caress his head. His gaze remains fixed on mine, and just as my fingers are about to touch his smooth skin and frizzy hair, horror strikes. Two javelins, pointed needles menacingly, are aimed at my arm.

My fingers freezes and my hand slowly begins to get back, to where it belongs.

Did I do something wrong? The air thickens with tension.

"Pea-brained," my father shoots me a glare, "Take your hand back now, don't you know you shouldn't go near anything related to Lichelle's royalty without permission?!"

Lichelle's royalty?

How is this horse---

The javelins lower with a command, and the horse steps forward, revealing a well-decorated body and... a human leg?

Who is sitting on it?

I inch forward and catch sight of a blonde-haired, lean yet impressively strong man. A sword is tied to his back, and he's adorned in regal attire befitting royalty.

He stares back at me, frustration evident on his face, before passing by the carriage along the street, followed by other guards on horses.

With them flanking us, we start moving through the market, drawing the attention of everyone who now gazes at us.

"Father, who are they?" I ask softly.

"They're sent by King Ronan Barclay to ensure our journey concludes with delight."

I sigh, of course, he would get this special treatment. He was not just a worker under Lichelle's authority, but a companion of the king since his childhood years. King is very humble for keeping people like my father close to him and treating him as his friend.

As evening arrives, bringing mild weather, the humidity in the air gives way to gentle breezes carrying a touch of coldness. Mason rubs his eyes with his small fists, letting out a sleepy yawn. The changing weather seems to have cast a soothing spell over the surroundings as we continue our journey toward Lichelle.

The carriage halts again. We haven't reached the castle yet. What's with this break? Will it take us the whole night to get there?

I peek outside and notice the blonde-haired man, followed by other horses like a tail. He's stopped by two ladies who appear to be... I don't know. Their attire suggests they might be workers at a tavern or inn.

He has stopped all of this just to greet them?

He takes the hand of one of those ladies and kisses the knuckles, a smile plastered on his lips.

How annoying can he be?

Bootlicker.

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