CHAPTER 6

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Once I'm out of the door, I release my breath, one I didn't know I held in. I look up and see Nabir standing there smiling. I walk up to her and she takes the tray from me. "He ate it today!" she says with excitement. I return her smile and nod. As we get into the kitchen, we both stop in our tracks when we see Oma standing there with 5 of her maids, all of them glaring at us. I really don't have time for this, I need to change the flowers in the king's chambers. I try to walk past them but one of Oma's maids blocks me. "Excuse me," I say looking at her. "Or what?" Oma says pushing the maid back and taking her position.

"I really don't have the strength and energy for you," I tell her

"Why? Because you managed to get the king in between your legs last night?" she asks laughing out loud, her maids chuckling.

"Darling please, this is what the king does to every single woman he claims. He spent the night in Cordelia's bed, mine, and now yours. There is nothing special about it"
"I don't recall saying there is." I raise an eyebrow to her.

She frowns and takes quick breaths looking at me. "Listen here you bitch! I know what you think you're doing, but it won't work! The king doesn't have an heir, the king is not married, so if you think you can claw your way up to that position, you have already failed."

"What is with you and this heir, and marriage thing?"

"Princess, if any of his women gives him a child, be it boy or girl, he will marry her and release his other women. Marriage is very sacred in this Kingdom so there can only be one man, and one woman, concubines can be there, but they are rare," Nabir says to me.

"I can see you're just learning the history of our kingdom," she chuckles. Indeed, I have never read about this anywhere.

"Anyway, don't push yourself too hard. The king doesn't want children, so he can have as many women as he wants. As I heard, you drank the same contents Cordelia and I consume after we spend a night with the king. You aren't his first woman, and you definitely won't be the last." she hisses and walks past me hitting my shoulder with hers and then Nabir's, causing her to drop the tray, the jug and chalice falling on my leg, and water spilling everywhere. "Ah!" I exclaim only loud enough for Oma, her maids and Nabir to hear.

"Oh My!" she says turning around. "It's not like the king would notice, and even if he does, he hates scars," she smiles and walks away, her maids following her like a swarm of flies. I bend down and look at my leg, there is a cut, but not too deep. Blood starts to come out and Nabir panics.
"It's okay, just help me pick these up. We need to get the flowers from the garden"

"My Lady just allow me to-"

"No" I say and start picking up the leftover fruits and putting them back into the bowl, but Nabir is still looking at me worried.

"The faster we clean up, the faster I can tend to my injury." She quickly gets a rag and starts soaking up the water. She takes the bowl from me and throws away the fruits. I pour the water away and head straight to the garden.

Nabir runs after me. "Princess let us treat your injury first."
"It's fine, after I finish the flowers." I hate pushing stuff back especially when it is a habit. The cut isn't that deep and can wait. I head to the garden and pick out the flowers. "By the heavens! Princess! You're bleeding!" a maid says pointing to my leg causing the maids around me to gather. "Please don't call me princess, I am your equal now, and it's okay, I'm really fine. I just need to get flowers then I will tend to it" I tell them. The maids help me pick out the flowers and I accept them with a smile. "Thank you".

I'm back in my room with water and a clean cloth. I dip the cloth inside the water and gently dap my injury. I inhale sharply due to the pain. "Princess do you want me to inform the king?" Nabir asks watching me closely

"No, what good will that do?"

"I mean, at least he can punish her for-"

"No, then she'll just keep coming back"

"On the contrary princess, if you tell the king, and he punishes her, she will be scared to try something else."

"...No, the king doesn't need to be bothered with such trivial issues."

After I clean it up, I apply a herbal balm on it and wrap it up. I wash my hands and eat my meal while Nabir leaves to do other things. When I am done, I head over to my chest and bring out a blue top. The king is fond of wearing these tops that hang open and show his bare chest. So Nabir bought one similar, in secret so that I can try an embroidery pattern that looks masculine. After I work with my needle for hours, I feel bored so I decide to explore the castle.

When I exit my room, I go up two flights of stairs, which must be the fifth floor. I go up another which seems like it's the last floor because I don't see any more stairs. This floor looks deserted. No one or guard is even here. I walk down the hall and see large doors and paintings against the walls. When I reach the end of the hall, I open the door there and look inside. It's so dusty.

I walk in, closing the door behind me and I see large bookshelves. Why would the king abandon such knowledge up here? I walk through the room and find that there are about 20 large bookshelves, which means this place is a library. I find two large tables behind all the shelves and the book on one table is opened but it is so dusty. I look up and walk towards one bookshelf, then run my hand over the books, and randomly stop at one. I pull out the book and dust comes along with it. I sneeze like 5 times and cough due to irritation.

The king has so many books!! Back in my land, we have a book shelf but it's mostly filled with scrolls because books are expensive, but here, it's like a dream! I open the book and find out it's handwritten. It seems like someone is recording dates of what happened in...the castle? I look out the window and see that it's getting dark. That doesn't make sense, I just got here. I put the book back on the shelf and quickly walk out of the room with the need to get to my chambers before anyone realizes I am gone. When I exit the room, I see stairs, I probably didn't notice it when I got here earlier. I take those stairs counting them to make sure I stop at the third floor. I open the door there and find myself on the familiar third floor and then walk straight into my room coming face to face with a worried Nabir.

"Princess where have you been?" she says running to me.

"And why are you covered in dust?" I look at myself and see that my blue dress has brown stains all over. "Did you tell anyone you were looking for me?"

She shook her head, still frowning. "Where did you go?"

"Nowhere" I say as I take off my gown and my hair pins. I head behind the divider close to my dresser and enter the tub of warm water. "Princess, please tell me where you went," she says, handing me a bottle of liquid. I take it from her and pour it in the tub and look at her, "I told you not to call me princess. Do that again, and I will never answer you."

"Yes, My Lady," she says looking at me worriedly. The king did say I'm everyone's equal now, so why don't people get it? He did call me princess last night, no, that was the sex talking, not him.

After I wash my body, I rinse myself, and get out. I change into a green light satin gown and climb my bed. I look at my cut and I see it bleeding through the cloth I tied it with. This is just a nuisance. I get up from the bed and remove the cloth, then throw it into the little bin in my room. I get another cloth from the medicine tray kept on the table and wrap the injury again after applying herbal balm.

Getting into the bed, I lay down, it isn't too cold so I don't cover myself and lay that way backing the door. I close my eyes to sleep only to flutter them open about 10 minutes later when I feel a hand around my waist. I look down and see the king's hand around me. He's here again, and I am happy he chooses to sleep beside me today. My satin gown has a wide V neck at the back so when I snuggle against him, I can feel his chest against my back. I wish I never had to share him with anyone. I keep my eyes closed so that he doesn't know I am awake.

"I can see you're awake"

So much for pretending.

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