“Alright, so where are these fair maidens that you told me about?”
“They are right this way, your majesty.”
“Perfect. Lead me on, then.” I couldn’t think of anything better than being a king back then. The power, the esteem, and the overall presence I had over several people was enough to send me into a constant state of euphoria.
I walked alongside one of my servants through a menagerie of golden walls and furnishings in this particular hallway, and that was one of the more destitute areas of my palace.
I could never remember this servant’s name who guided me to what I thought could be my personal harem, all I knew was that he was a few inches shorter than me and that he wore a white suit with a ruby pendant on his chest. He was content with the wardrobe I gave him at the time since it’s not like he was going to out-dress me at that point of my life.
What did I know back then? I was a fifteen year old kid with his whole life ahead of him, with no one to tell me what to do, and I reveled in it.
We approached this emerald and silver-studded door. Opening it, lo and behold, there were a dozen ladies before me. Every one of them curtsied the second I graced their presence, and greeted me anon.
“Good afternoon, King Sylvain.” they said in choral unison. It was a heavenly sound of soprano voices that acknowledged my very existence. Who wouldn’t want that?
Apparently, I was told in advance that these women represented twelve different kingdoms from near and far away. Most other royals would ransack other villages to acquire this kind of opportunity. I wasn’t even bothered to respond to their greeting.
I walked up close to see each girl, and circled slowly around, while remaining taciturn. These blondes, brunettes, redheads, and ravens all smiled at me and stood still. Each grin hid some wavering courage in their resolves. I swore I saw two or three of them lightly tremble at my presence as I casually scrutinized all these potential candidates for courtship.
I went back by my servant and pondered every princess that I saw. Well, I never thought any of them were ugly by any stretch. They certainly were serviceable for any king or prince in my position, but let’s just say that my teenage brain refused to accept any of those facts at that point of my life.
“I choose…none of you!” I callously spoke. That princess choir gasped quite loudly. If someone heard that collective noise out of context, they would have thought that multiple people were under cardiac arrest. My servant just groaned and shook his head, while covering his face.
“Seriously, is this the best group of princesses that were given to me?” I complained. Then, I ran off a laundry list of their shortcomings (in my mind back then) that I couldn’t resist spouting out to all dozen of those young women. I took the time to point out each one to their individual faces.
“Get a better tailor for that dress. You’re impressing anyone with that makeup? You’re too tall, you crazy amazon. Try dropping ten pounds, girl. Your eyebrows are too prominent. You’re too athletic-looking. Fire your hairdresser. No one wants a bell pepper nose. You look like a twig with a dress. It looks like nobody’s upstairs in that head of yours. That mole is unbecoming of you. Have you looked at yourself in the mirror lately?” I ranted to each and every candidate.
“Wow, why can’t I find a princess that can actually meet MY standards of beauty?! Go away, every one of you. I need to do some other things right now. Good day!” I stormed off out of the room as I heard some crying and insults thrown at my character.
That servant followed me down eventually and decided to talk to me as we were walking down this twenty-four-karat hallway. “What do you want?”
“Sire, I looked far and wide to find these lovely ladies for you, and this is how you treat them?” He confronted me.
“Yeah, so what? They weren’t good-looking, so I didn’t feel like they were worthy of dating the great Sylvain. How many times do you have to bring a gaggle of girls with you, only to fail in your job at finding me at least one stunning princess?” I vented at him.
“That’s not my fault, your majesty.” He defended himself. “I was only following your orders in contacting these women of high class and beauty.” His cheeks were becoming red as he argued with me.
“I guess the high class part is true, so I’ll give you that much credit.” I halfheartedly agreed with my subordinate. “It’s the beauty department that seems to be lacking. Why can’t you do anything right, Theodore?”
“My name is Theophile.” My servant thoroughly corrected me.
“Whatever, Theo. Just leave me alone while I go to my living chambers.” I snapped. I bolted to my room without Theophile in tow.
It was a large space that matched my princely gown and my kingdom’s flag colors. It was blue and white with all the luxuries one can imagine. Jewels, gold, silver, swords, you name it, I had it.
My kingdom, Raimondia, was wealthier and more secure than several other places in the entire continent of Europe, quietly nestled right here in the French Countryside.
Overlooking my room was a giant portrait of a man and woman clothed in expensive robes and wearing blue gold crowns. They’d watched me for the past two years since it was painted and hung in my room. It was hard not to look at it for anyone, and I just looked back and talked to it. “Is this all I have to look forward to in ruling Raimondia? Sure, its great taking your place, but I want so much more.” I said to that painting. I knew they wouldn’t respond to me. “Hope you’re doing alright up there while I’m still here.” I continued.
I then looked away and did my best to find something to do. There were some books lying on the pavement outside my bookshelf. I picked up one of those books off the floor and saw that it was my copy of Eros and Psyche. Angry, yet bored out of my mind, I know I’d read it way back when. Sure, I knew the story since I had read it several times as a child, and further, read it on my own time whenever I had nothing else to do.
I spent some time re-reading it until I got fed up and tossed that book on the floor. After all that time reading, I just sulked in my chair doing absolutely nothing for a few minutes. I then had the resolve to get up, and stood in front of my gigantic mirror on the other side of my room. It was a reflective wall where I saw myself from head to toe.
There I was, garbed in my blue and white robe with my flowing cape that matched my fancy regalia. I saw my blue eyes looking back at me, my short toned auburn hair perfectly styled, my smooth fair skin, and my golden-hilt sword at my side all welcomed me, as my smile proved that everything would still be secure despite those less-than desirable women that Theophile had chosen for me this time.
“Sure, I may not have the princess of my dreams, but I still have my dashing good looks.” I spoke to my reflection. “There’s no need to blame me for how attractive I am, my parents blessed me with pure handsomeness.” I then chuckled after talking to the man who stood before me as he mimed everything I did and said.
After that, there was a knock on my door. I exhaled in exasperation and turned to face the door’s direction. “Who is it?” I raised my voice.
“It’s Orianne, your majesty. I’m here with those new gems that you ordered for your collection.” Finally a voice from someone that never bothered me greatly.
“You have my permission to enter.” I replied. She opened the door and came in with a small bronze box. Orianne is a woman with mahogany-toned skin who had this peculiar midnight blue hair that went down past her shoulders, and which she kept in a ponytail. She had these eyes that were lighter than the sky on a clear day, and she wore this onyx-clad top with a dark green dress. Orianne was my age, and she worked as my top magician in the kingdom. “Thanks for bringing the box. Let’s see what’s inside it.”
She quietly gave said container to me, and I looked to see what assorted gemstones traveled thousands of miles to reach my homeland. The amount I paid was superior to most colonies’ gross domestic product values, so I couldn’t resist opening it.
The bronze box contained quite a luscious variety of goshenites, diamonds, rubies, malachites, and some minerals I couldn’t even name. I felt the various textures and became enraptured in the hues that piqued my eyes. “Well, this brightened up my day just a little.” I said, before walking over to my stash that was in its own closet. I opened it to reveal several stones that that would make rainbows jealous with all the hues represented in here.
It took me about a minute to find the right spots for each new one I’d just acquired and now placed in its own designated holder by its older neighbors. Orianne just stood there patiently as I placed all the stones in their spots, before closing the closet and walking back over to her. “I appreciate what you’ve done. It’s good that I have a subject who does everything right.”
“Um, thanks, your Majesty.” She timidly replied before bowing. “Is there anything else I can do for you?”
“Sure, why not?” I quickly answered her. “Tell me, am I ever going to get some princess that’s going to fall in love with me and meets my standards?”
Orianne took a deep breath and closed her eyes. “I figured you would ask me that, your Majesty.” She inhaled and opened her eyes. They looked like illuminated pearls once she opened them and I jumped back a little bit. That aspect of one of her powers always had this ominous feeling.
After roughly ten seconds, she finally answered me. “King Sylvain, you will marry a princess, but it’s not going to be one that you’ll expect. You’ll need each other, and you’ll do anything to protect this woman. You’ll appreciate her when no one else will.” She stopped talking and her eyes reverted to their sky blue tone.
I raised my eyebrow after hearing those words. “Really? That’s strange. Tell me more about how this will happen.”
She shook her head and answered. “With all due respect, I can’t tell you everything that’s going to occur in your future since these visions are too abstract for me to explain. I mean no insubordination, but there’s nothing that you or I can do to change these events that will happen.”
I bit my lip and shook my fist after hearing this. However, I could never get angry at Orianne. None of her prophecies were rendered false, but they would never make sense until each one actually happened. Every vision she had involved nothing but good things.
I remembered when she would correctly predict surpluses in the economy, solving diplomatic disputes, and preventing food shortages all to great success, so I didn’t see how different those words would be. She’s got one brilliant mind for this kind of magic, so I dared not confront her on it.
“Alright. I guess we’ll just see what happens then. You may go now, Orianne. I’ll be doing other things until supper is prepared for everyone.”
“Yes, Your Majesty.” She complied before exiting my living chambers.
This vast room was left all to myself for hours. I reflected on what she said about how I would actually court some maiden and wed her. Hmm…Maybe I’ll find my ideal type in some way beyond my control. Of course it should happen. Back then, I thought that everything would be handed to me on a platinum platter all because I was the king of Raimondia. I’m used to getting what I want when I want it, in whatever way that I wanted it. I was going to get what I want, but not in any way that I had planned.
This chain of events had to start on that one fateful day of all things.
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