Chapter 2

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"How was the run?" Paul asked by the way of greeting at the palace door. He was practicing moves with a bamboo stick on the palace grounds every morning for the last month. He claimed it was to avoid getting rusty, I believed that he was just trying to show off to the ladies of the capital. After all, the summer was already at full blast, giving him a perfect excuse to practice in only shorts.

"Torture," I wheezed out while trying to regain my breath. I kept walking so as to let my muscles cool down slowly to avoid pain while Paul prepared to begin. As soon as I could, I spoke, "We might as well change your door into a revolving one. It will definitely serve the purpose since the different ladies keep coming out of your room every morning."

"Ha ha. Try that sort of horrible joke again and I will double the length of your run." Paul answered without even looking at me. He didn't need to either. The fear of more running was enough to shut me up. I simply went on finishing the rest of the morning exercises.

The palace door, thankfully unlike the palace gates, didn't open automatically and as I pushed it open, I felt that feeling of walking into a dream world yet again. The inside of the palace was just magical. Designed with inspirations from every known, and many unknown, cultures I had ever encountered, I always felt like a little kid who was visiting an amusement park with no restrictions at all. And there was only one thing that could best it.

"… the sun smiles in the peaceful sky, as the winds gently caress your sides…" Not exactly the best of lyrics but none could doubt that hearing Clara's voice in the morning was a great way to start the day. Her songs were almost always cheery, but I suspected that it was extra cheerful today because Paul was outside.

"So, what things do I need to have the two siblings repair after yesterday evening's fight?" I call out by the way of greeting and the singing slowly stops. And then I hear her sigh before she reprimands me.

"The way to start a day is to greet with a 'good morning', Elisan and not by reminding the other person of something bad that happened a while ago. As for the repairs, don't ask me. It's Paul's turn to repair the mess. I had my turn yesterday." She adds with a bit of smugness and I just know that I am better off not knowing what exactly they did. "John's in the gym and Henry's in the library, if you were wondering." She adds.

"There isn't that much to wonder about, is there? Those two are always there every morning." I call out while heading to my own room. It must be said that there really is something special in the rays of sunlight. The scene of my nocturnal nightmares appears absolutely innocuous in the day. One might call it impersonal but none would ever suspect that I have troubles of my own.

After a quick shower, I dress in casual T-shirt and jeans and slippers before heading down for grabbing something to eat. I can't help but smile, like every other day, while dressing as I remember the horrified look on everyone's faces when I came out dressed like this on my first day as a king. It seemed pretty obvious that they thought I was treating the position as a child's play. But when the formalities begin to wear down on me from the continuous inflow of issues, the occasional shocked looks on the next applicant sure is relieving.

My eyes stray to the calendar and all other thoughts vanish as my gaze fixes itself on the red circle around the date of May 1st. It was supposed to be the day I began dealing with the most important issue of my seemingly short reign but other important things kept popping up that required my attendance. God, I have never hated paperwork more than now ever before.

A strange stir in the air around me snapped me out of the whining mode and I made myself relax, despite knowing that this teleportation will almost definitely make me nauseous, as the spell finished. In a blink, I was now in the library with the one who brought me here. "Thank goodness I didn't get you while you were showering this time. Thank god for soap foams being my protection from your exhibitionistic tendencies." Henry says before I even control my stomach from emptying whatever it had.

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