CHAPTER 47

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On their way back Xerxes notices Saya has been smiling. He's glad she's happy with what he did. It's the least he could do for not arriving there in time to save them. He owes her mother, father, and siblings an apology, their child is too precious for this world, but he'll do everything in his power to protect her, and their child. The people of the kingdom wave to them, but Xerxes does not seem interested. Saya waves back smiling. They are now getting used to seeing the king out and about with his betrothed. Even though he does not spare them a glance, the people of Moore are seemingly losing the term 'monster' he was named. Seeing him with Saya as she goes around helping women is not something a monster would do thus, warming the hearts of the people.

"Why didn't you walk inside with me?" she asks as they approach the castle gates.

"It's a moment for you to have with your people, besides, they would've suppressed their screams and hugs if they saw me," he shrugs. Saya giggles holding his arm. "Let's go to the kitchen, baby and I are hungry." Xerxes nods at her request. They enter the castle heading straight to the kitchen. Once the maids see King Xerxes approaching, they immediately leave the kitchen, bowing as they pass them.

"Maybe if you smile they would stay when you come in," Saya giggles walking in to get a pot.

"Tell the maids to prepare the meal for you," he says, taking the pot from her.

"I feel like making it myself," she reaches for the pot but Xerxes moves it behind him. "But you're pregnant"

"Exactly, pregnant, not sick or dying," she says pouting.

The king stares at her for a minute, before sighing, dropping the pot. Saya smiles, getting out the ingredients she needs. When she starts cutting the vegetables, Xerxes takes the knife from her and carries her out of the kitchen, and up the stairs, taking her to his study.

He sends for Nabir before entering the room, and sitting Saya on the table. The princess stares at him, clearly upset but he doesn't budge. "It feels safer cooking it by myself."

"You have a taster Saya, just tell your maid what you want to eat"

"Her name is Nabir," she corrects.

"You'll refrain from making breakfast for me as well," he says looking at her.

"Why? What is with you?"

Xerxes ignores her, the knock on the door pulling them out of their conversation.

"Come in," the king orders. Nabir walks through the door and sees him standing in front of Saya, his hands on either side of her. She bows her head immediately, her face turning red. Saya pushes Xerxes a bit, making him frown, he doesn't budge. "I have to tell her what I want. You're in the way."

"Tell her from here," he replies, kissing her cheek, then her neck; Saya blushes. How does he expect her to focus especially when he's doing this in front of Nabir! She pushes him again, but with force this time, making Xerxes wrap his right arm around her waist; he didn't budge again!

"I'll come back-"

"Get her a bowl of noodles and a fruit tray," Xerxes cuts her off, not even turning to look at her. Nabir bows immediately rushing out of the room. Once the door closes, Xerxes stops his assault on her skin, moving to his chair. He did that on purpose to embarrass her! She underestimates this man, he knows how to get revenge. Saya looks and sees Xerxes focusing on a few papers in his hands.

She gets down from the table and walks up to him, snatching the papers from his hands. He looks up immediately, meeting her eyes. She sits down on the chair beside him looking at the papers he had. They look like reports from individual regions, and expected allocations.

"The numbers don't add up," she says furrowing her eyebrows. "This region does not need this much money. Their population is not even half as much as this other region right here," she says showing Xerxes. "It seems like the person you put in charge is corrupted with greed. Even if this region is a hotspot for trade, the numbers show that demand is always higher than supply, so profit is expected all the time. So long as this trading cycle for that region stays the same, they will always have money whether you allocate to them or not."

Saya looks up when Xerxes does not say anything; he's staring at her. "I guess you already knew that," she smiles shyly, pushing the papers to him. However, he pushes it back to her, "Tell me more," he says.

Saya watches him closely, is this a trap? She slowly takes the papers, her eyes still on Xerxes. When she sees he's waiting for her to say something. She looks back down, going through the numbers. She turns the paper to him explaining areas she feels need improvement and ones that are getting too much money. She also provides ideas for possible trading items and products that can help certain regions and boost their economy. By the time she's done, Nabir comes in with her noodles, and fruits making her a bit excited. Saya shares her meal and fruits with Xerxes.

"I wonder how she thought I would finish this alone," she comments, eating her tangerine.

"You're eating for two," Xerxes says watching her. She nods, her hand rubbing her belly, it has actually become a habit for her to do so, as if she's warming or cuddling her baby. When she's done with her fruits, Xerxes walks her to his chambers. "My love your chambers is -"

"Our chambers," he corrects. Saya turns to him arching her eyebrow. They never established that. "When did we ever have that conversation?"

His eyes go to her diamond necklace and back to her. "Come," he takes her hand walking past their chambers, down the hall. She cannot remember what she wanted to tell him now. He needs to stop cutting her off like this. Saya quietly follows him until they reach a door. She opens it and gasps. The princess walks in, her hand over her mouth. Fabric, materials, needles, thread scissors, thimbles, everywhere! Different designs painted on the wall, comfortable chairs and tables! It is such a colourful sight. Xerxes converted this room to her embroidery dream! She walks around touching the fabrics of different textures and colours, tears flowing down her eyes. She knows that he is aware of her love for designs, but she didn't know he would go this far for her. She walks back to Xerxes hugging him. "Thank you!" she says, sniffling. "I love it." The king hums in response kissing her forehead. This will certainly help her pass time. She can even start making clothes for her baby!

"Can I use it now?" she asks looking up at him. He nods, breaking the hug. Saya grabs a green woolen fabric sitting down on the chair and table set closest to the window. She honestly does not know where to start. Everything feels so fresh, unique and clean! Her excitement is beyond anything right now. She takes a few breaths before she looks at the wooden tool box on the table. Saya grabs a chalk marking parts of it before grabbing a scissors to cut out the pieces she had marked up. She gets to work immediately letting her imagination takeover.

Xerxes heads back to his study, his advisors sitting there waiting for him. "My Lord, you never summon us twice in one day," the Man of Coin says as Xerxes takes his seat.

"Surely it's not about the war, we have not heard from King Stephan yet," the general adds. The king pulls out the papers he had before, dropping them in the middle of the table. They take turns going over the work, each of them surprised when they look at them. The papers get back to Xerxes but he doesn't take them, he just watches his advisors closely.

His Man of War clears his throat, "My Lord the inconsistencies and suggestions are shocking but amazing, it will take a little while to put everything in place but it will certainly be done."

"The mistakes there are certainly atrocious! The region heads should be punished accordingly," adds his Man of Coin.

"Saya made all these corrections and suggestions," he says, making them widen their eyes in shock; they are dumbfounded.

"Now," Xerxes starts, "Tell me again why we should not change tradition," he glares at them.

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