Chapter 6: Audience With The King

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Four Days Since Kashi's Capture,

Royal Palace Throne Room,



"A minute please," the Chamberlain apologized to his charge. With a sharp bow, he entered the Throne Room, making sure to keep his head hung low. Even with that, he could clearly picture the ornate stone pillars on either side and the terrifying knights that stood by each one, eyes following his every movement. Sentinels traversed the balconies above, eyes equally peeled to the arrival. Any funny movement on his part and he knew they would not hesitate to destroy him.

The red carpet beneath his feet changed to blue, signaling the end of his walk. He dropped to a knee, head bowed. "My Lord."

"Raise your head."

The Chamberlain did as ordered. He was met with the smiling face of his king: Parissius Veritus Vermillion, atop the equal parts aweful and terrifying Thorn Throne. As if to symbolize the policy he championed, King Vermillion was flanked on either side by a human and a drakul. "There is a woman who requests an audience with you, my Lord. Ms. Leila Lightwood of the Hopeful Maggots."

The King lit up with a bright smile. "What are you waiting for then? Show her in."

"As you command." The Chamberlain nodded and got to his feet. He kept his head bowed as he took five measured steps backward. Only then did he turn his back to the king then proceeded to summon his charge.

Just outside the palace doors to the right, stood one of the most beautiful women he'd had the pleasure of presenting to the king. Adorned in a white noble gown that would make even princesses jealous, the dark haired elf was as beautiful as her steely gaze was intimidating. "This way, Lightwood-dono, The king will see you now."

"Thank you," Leila appreciated with a graceful nod. The Chamberlain led her into the throne room where they promptly stopped at the blue line.

"Ms. Lightwood, your grace," the Chamberlain announced, then took his leave.

"Your Majesty," Leila greeted with a polite courtesy, then dropped to a knee, head bowed.

A shadow crossed King Vermillion's face. "Leave us." In less than ten seconds, the entire throne room emptied, leaving only Leila, the King, and his personal guards. King Vermillion stood up, hands clasped at his back as he stepped down from the slightly raised podium. "Ms. Lightwood," his tone was dark.

"Yes, my lord."

"At times like this," his voice neared, but she did not raise her head. "I miss that delightfully bald man, Iason."

Leila's brow furrowed in confusion. "I'm sorry?"

"Raise your head, Ms. Lightwood."

Leila did exactly that. She had to stifle the urge to jump back with King Vermillion crouched only inches away from her.

The king's eyes twinkled. "Ian would most likely grab you in one of those deathly bear hugs." He mock-shivered. "That is not my style though," he said as he sat on the floor to Leila's surprise. "I suppose a handshake would suffice?" He gamely laughed as he raised his right hand.

Leila shook her head as laughter bubbled up her throat. "Oh, and they say power corrupts." She took his hand in a firm handshake, then helped him to his feet. "You are a king. You should not be doing such unsightly things."

King Vermillion pouted. "Not you too. Please, call me Paris." At Leila's disapproving frown, he amended. "At the very least when we're alone. I don't think anyone has called my name in months." When she still hesitated, "I could use my power as King to order you to not call me king."

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