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Later that night, Ariella awoke to darkness. She could make out the figure of Mae standing at the foot of her bed, a glossy stream of tears reflecting the moonlight shining through the large windows of her room.

Ariella sat up, suddenly quite aware of her surroundings and called to the maid, who replied with a whimper.

"The King.." she murmured, her voice slightly broken.

Ariella already knew what she meant, but she only felt regret for not visiting the King before he passed. She wanted to formally meet the man who raised Callan, and she'd never get that chance again.

Without much of a hesitation, she began to cry as well. But it wasn't necessarily because she knew the King personally, but because she wanted to take away Cal's pain.

She crawled to the foot of her bed and wrapped her arms around Mae as they comforted each other.

After a few moments, Mae cleared her throat and leaned back from to face Ariella, "This is something I'll never say again, but I have a feeling that someone close to the King may be in more need of comfort than I am right now," she said, her voice clearer than before.

Ariella nodded sadly, "I'm sure you're right, as per usual. But I'd regret everything if I left you here in your sorrow."

"Do not worry, Mademoiselle," she smiled through her tears, "I've taken care of myself for many years."

Ariella hugged her tightly for a moment, and only after they both had composed themselves, she let go.

It was nearly dawn, the sun barely touching the surface of the sky as Ariella left her chambers.

She closed the doors quietly behind her and clutched her silk robe tightly around her body. She glanced around herself to gain an idea as to where she was headed, then spotted the set of french doors directly in front of her.

She walked across the royal parlor, making sure to watch her step as she navigated her way around the furniture.

Upon arriving at the doors, she hesitated a moment before knocking, not sure as what to expect. She gained no response from her knock, and after a few moments, she cracked the door open and peered inside.

Three large rooms lay straight in a row in front of the doors. The walls were a somber blue color with gold lining along the trim and ceiling. In the very back of the chambers, there lay a large bed, draped with a beautifully designed gold and blue canopy.

She took a hesitant step into the room, knowing the room belonged to Callan by the mere aroma. There was one, lonely candle lit next to the bed in the back of the room along with the shadowed silhouette of a person.

She walked towards Callan slowly, watching her steps in the darkness.

Cal didn't move when he noticed her enter his chambers. Instead, he sat in utter silence until she reached his bedside.

She reached out and comfortingly placed her hand on his cheek, her warm touch mingling with the salt dried tears on his skin. He watched her silently, wondering what she was thinking with that sad smile resting on her lips. It had been a few moments of silence before  she began to cry.

He reached out and placed his arms around her waist to pick her up and cradle her in his lap. He rested his chin in her dark hair as she rested her head against his chest.

"I should be the one comforting you-" she sobbed.

Cal remained silent, finding that it was much easier to say nothing at all than it was to actually form words. Instead, he held her tighter.

Ariella lifted her head to look into his eyes, "You could've come to me-" she stopped herself mid-sentence, noticing his utterly blank expression.

He looked away from her, focusing his gaze on the canopy above them. He hadn't ever lived in a world where his Father wasn't the King. It wasn't only the death that shook him, but the fear of inferiority and disappointment that would befall him once he took the throne. It seemed that he had been preparing for his Father's death his entire life, for when he would become the King, and yet, sitting in the silent, dark, forbidding room, he couldn't shake the feeling that he was utterly and completely unprepared.

"Callan," Ariella said softly, placing her hand on his cheek, "Please speak to me, say anything."

He closed his eyes as to reassure himself then focused his gaze back on Ariella, "Be my Queen." He mumbled, "I can't—I can't do this without you."

She was at a loss for words, stumbling through her racing thoughts, "I will try my best to rule fairly by your side, my love, for you, body and soul," she smiled, "I am yours."

He sealed the space between them, closing her lips within a passionate kiss. He held her as close to him as he could, leaving no space between them, for they were one. Two halves to a whole, two people in one; inseparable.

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