Chapter Fifteen

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Time was relentless.

Alex continued on with the studies required of the Empress. In addition to royal pleasantries, she learned the current hospitality customs for when nobles visited the palace, and as she expected, there were in fact, dance lessons; Treyan assisted as her partner, and as much as he protested, he was an excellent lead. She learned the inner dealings of each province within the empire, and discovered that she would need to visit them each soon after the coronation ceremony. The people expected it of the Empress, the Councillor explained, and it was her place as the newest royal figurehead to make them feel a closer connection to the palace.

The coronation itself would be a ceremonious event where the high lords and ladies of the Empire's surrounding provinces and villages would venture to the palace for a week's worth of celebration and festivities. The knowledge of Reylor's minions being closer than expected was disconcerting but kept quiet- if anyone knew anything beyond the palace walls, it wouldn't be discussed. The Councillor insisted that the coronation ceremony would prove that no one would get in the way of the empire or its Prophecy, therefore, the ceremony was to go on without delay.

In regards to the Betrayer, neither Reylor nor his minions were anywhere to be seen since Treyan's discovery of them within the Empire. The Empire's lords were asked to increase their border control, and Treyan reduced his personal rangings as the Empress requested. Alex often used the coronation preparations as an excuse to keep Treyan close, when in reality she was selfishly worried more about his well- being than anything else. She knew he was aware of this, but he did her the kindness of going along with her requests.

As for their relationship, it blossomed as each day passed, just as they expected. Alex soon discovered that Treyan complemented her as the ideal mate should; even his quirks were tolerable, just as she assumed hers were to him.

Their nights were spent in each other's beds, but Treyan was stubborn in his ways and refused to give in to the satisfaction of intercourse. He constantly reminded her that their time would come, that it would be special, and that it would be important. She knew good things came to those who waited, so she was patient, but that didn't mean she couldn't find other ways around Treyan's restrictions.

 She knew good things came to those who waited, so she was patient, but that didn't mean she couldn't find other ways around Treyan's restrictions

Treyan lay disheveled on the bed, and it always made her feel content, knowing she could render him as such. His dark hair was loose and it surrounded his head like a pool during the night. His eyes were closed and his chest was heaving- she didn't give him much time to relax, however, for she slid her naked body on top of his, kissing him deeply, hoping he had more in him as she straddled him.

He returned the kiss, but the moment she landed on top of him, he stopped. "You know tomorrow is going to be a very long and busy day..."

She looked down at him, brushing her hair back behind her ear. "Oh, that whole coronation thing? Nah, I got this one covered..." she began kissing him again.

He let her kiss him, but again stopped her a moment later. "The Empress needs her beauty sleep," he insisted.

"I will sleep when I'm dead, Treyan, so let's just have this moment now."

"We will have plenty of moments, Alex, I can promise you that. But right now..." he wrapped his legs up around her waist, and using his body strength, flipped her over onto the bed, so it was he who was now straddling her. "Right now you need to go to bed."

He held her wrist down upon the bed, and she bit her lip playfully as she looked up at him. "You're so mean."

"You have no idea." He leaned down to kiss her, and though she could feel him hardening between her legs, she knew he would not submit to his desire.

She decided it was best for her own sanity to stop the madness before it got worse, and she playfully pushed him off of her. He rolled aside, but not far, for he would remain with her throughout the night. Feigning anger, she rolled over away from him, covering herself as she went. He came up behind her, spooning her from behind, and the warmth of him allowed her to relax.

"Treyan?"

"Hmm?" he murmured into her hair.

"What happens after tomorrow?"

"After tomorrow you will be Queen Empress Alexstrayna, the first of her line. You will be the daughter of Saviors, the mother of Princes, and the Light of the Empire."

"You've been hanging around the Council too much."

"It's a thing..."

"And what will happen to you?"

"Me? I get to play the part of the Crown Prince, welcoming the liege lords to our palace. But the attention isn't going to be on me, Empress, and I am quite alright with that."

"Lucky you..."

He hugged her tight, letting his arms remain draped on her hips. "Everything will be fine. Just remember, you were born for this day. Everything will go just as it should, and once the ceremonies are over, you'll finally be able to enjoy yourself."

She nestled into him. "You better be right."

"I'm always right." He kissed her neck. "Good night, my Empress."

"Good night, my Prince."

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