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After their carriage ride back to the Palais through the streets of the Kingdom, King Callan and Queen Ariella were escorted to the Royal Gardens. Tents and festivities were set up across the grass yard, where the nobles and royalty from other Kingdoms had gathered to celebrate the couple's marriage.

Ariella glanced up to the balcony looking over where she and Callan were walking, for the first time unafraid of their relationship.

Cal followed her gaze and smiled, "Where I realized I had fallen for you." He said softly into her ear as they walked, a silence falling over the gathering as a wave of bows and curtsies befell amongst them, acknowledging the King's entrance.

Ariella smiled shyly, obviously not used to the seemingly absurd royal recognition. Although, she knew that Callan was used to this, and so she tried her hardest to copy his stature and movements.

As if out of a fairytale, the couple was lead to their pedestal seats to watch the festivities, colorful banners and vines of flowers draping the tent. An array of deserts and wines was laid out before them, and in front of them, a croquet match was being played by the Duke d'Amour and the Count de Lange. A group of nobility had gathered around the course to watch, the chattering of voices and music being carried for miles by the light breeze on the sunlit day.

Cal looked to Ariella, happiness gleaming behind his silky caramel eyes. As he watched her, joyously smiling, he had the slightest thought run through his mind; perhaps he could truly be content, even after his father's death. Perhaps, alongside the love of his life, he could rule the Kingdom the way a great King would.

He took her hand softly and placed it against his lips, savoring the soft touch of her skin.

Ariella giggled under her breath, turning to Callan. "You seem to be in high spirits." She said, noticing him smiling.

"How could I not? This could very well be the best day of my life-"

"Excuse me," said a voice softly, "If I may have the audience of the King."

Jacques appeared from behind them, his hand gently resting on Cal's throne.

Cal chuckled, "My dearest friend, of course," he took Jacques' hand and led him to the page's stool beside the throne, where Jacques took a seat.

"I've come to give you my warmest félicitations on your marriage, may it be happy and fruitful," he said, adverting his gaze from Cal to Ariella for a split second, "I hope today has been everything you've wished it to be, Your Majesties."

"Thank you Your Grace, and I thank you again for your contribution to our cause." Said Ariella, referring to Jacque's mother's title that she was granted just days before the wedding.

He nodded, "It was no trouble in the slightest, My Queen."

"And I am so grateful for your appointment to Royal Chancellor, Jacques, I have no idea what I would do in this position without you," said Cal, placing a hand on Jacques shoulder, "We will be a force to be reckoned with, my friend."

Jacques smiled genuinely, nodding in agreement, "I'm sure you will rule magnificently, Callan, and coming from your longest companion, that must mean something."

They chuckled in friendly amusement, and began chattering about their time together as boys. Ariella turned her attention back to the croquet match, though her mind wandered to something completely of the opposite nature.

The wedding night.

She was overwhelmed with the upcoming time that she and Cal would soon spend together. Would it be the same as their first time? Would it be different? Her palms grew clammy as she imagined herself in his bed once again, longing for his touch as she watched him laughing contently with his friend.

She embarrassedly looked down to her clasped palms, remembering that it would only be a few hours more until she could have him to herself.

After the sun had begun to set and the festivities had been thoroughly enjoyed by the guests, Callan and Ariella were led back into the Palais along with their wedding entourage for the Royal Wedding painting. They were led to the ball room, where stools sat and candles had been lit to create the perfect setting. The Royal Couple we're seated in the center, hand in hand, the Queen Mother and Princess Katerina standing directly behind them. Jacques and the Duke du Bois, who had recently been appointed captain of the Royal Guard, stood at opposite sides of them. The rest of the entourage, including a select few members of the royal council and members of distant royal family along with their several royal children filed in around them.

Luckily, only a sketch was being drawn that evening, for the actual painting would be completed by the artist later on.

They sat in almost complete silence for the following half hour, until it was broken by a creak of the ballroom door.

A face appeared in the crack of he door, a face that Ariella recognized all too well.

Louis had finally returned from Alessia on business, as he said he would. He managed to make it earlier than he expected, for he knew he would miss the wedding, but he feared he would miss the festivities entirely.

He smiled, locking his gaze with Ariella's, jest in his eyes as he looked over her extravagant gown. Ariella couldn't help but let out a small giggle as he teased her from across the room.

Cal looked to her, curiosity in his eyes, then followed her gaze to Louis who continued to jest with Ariella.

Cal cleared his throat, perhaps more abruptly than he intended.

Louis looked to the King and immediately bowed, glancing to Ariella one last time before closing the crack in the door and leaving.

Ariella sighed, looking to her hand clasped within Cal's, and gave it a little squeeze.

He smiled, leaning in to whisper something in her ear, "Sorry to interrupt you, I know it's been a while since you've seen your friend. But the court painter seems to be a bit strict when it comes to his techniques."

And as if he had been called, the man at the easel muttered something beneath his breath. "Please, I beg you be still, Your Majesties."

Cal and Ariella reluctantly returned to their original poses, smiling to each other discretely.

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