Chapter 9: Chapter 0
Artemis took his time before he replied “Indeed I do, a particular girl in mind” and Princess Sansa praised Artemiss courage for turning down Taelin. Even Lord Balon congratulated him on his decisions, Lancet was listening but he didnt seem to actually understand how could everyone be so blind – like his friend.
“Not everyone could have done what you did. You have the courage of a good king” she praised him.
“I dont understand why do people fear him, this king Taelin... hes but a mortal. He can be hurt, he can be killed and anything that can be hurt and killed will never install a fear inside me”
Lord Balon held Artemiss shoulder “You are a young man with sustainable potential to be a great king. Unlike you, Taelin is a traitor and he sits on a throne which isnt his” he said meaning every word he said.
Then as if not wanting everyone to hear what she was about to say, slowly Princess Sansa leaned on to Artemis.
“If it comes a time where you will have to fight. Come to us in Nemphis and we will supply you with an army and weapons to fight Taelin. My husband and I are the supporters of King Mithandirs brother who is in exile recruiting an army to take his rightful place in the throne. We believe in him...” she paused, sighed and then looked around the gardens. “You should believe him too” she finished and returned back to the original position.
Lord Balon winked at Artemis with a smile, then both he and his wife curtised before Artemis and walked away slowly. A huge smile escaped Artemiss lips the moment he felt like he wasnt alone in that fight, and that he had a team of supporters ready to lay down their arms and fight alongside him – if it ever comes a time.
“Did you hear that Lancet” he teased his friend.
Lancet acted like he didnt “I didnt hear anything Your Grace” he said looking straight forward.
“Do not lie to me, I know you have been eavesdropping to almost everything thats been happening today” Artemis waved at a beautiful girl who was looking at him. The girl shied away and ran towards the trees.
“I apologise for eavesdropping Your Grace”
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“It turns out you and my sister are the coward ones in the whole of Maldonia. Scared of a man – hes but a man Lancet” Artemis finished and attempted to walk towards other guests. But then he stopped and turned to Lancet “You did invited Lady Kholin to the ball tonight, didnt you”
Lancet replied quickly “Yes, Your Grace”
“Good!” Artemis hit Lancets shoulder and laughed. Then they went on to speak to several guests, and Artemiss mood changed as he laughed more and seemed to have fun.
The one who wasnt laughing nor being happy was Aurora. After being scolded by Lancet she spent a significant amount of time inside her room crying, she thought why was she receiving all those negativities just because she was in love with Artemis. Perhaps there was another way, another choice she could choose – the one which would keep her at ease.
But when she remembered the promises, the love and all the moments she and Artemis spent together, she found herself adjusting and saying “I will be with him no matter what. Artemis needs me, I cant leave him. He wont survive without me” and then she shrugged the sadness away. Put on her dress and walked outside to join the festivities.
Aurora was aware of the ball, its the famous ball in Maldonia every one was ought to know it. It was the moment every girl dreamed of because they all believed in getting married to a prince one day. Yet, only few choosen ones were allowed inside. It was eleven past ten and a bit chilly for a casual Saturday evening, Artemis was set to speak to his people – his first speech since he was crowned King.
The arena was where Artemis was going to when Aurora spotted him just before getting inside the carriage. The kings carriage was made completely by gold, from the pillars which are usually made of wood or steel – the kings was just gold. The carriage has existed for three hundred years ever since the ruling of Artemiss great great grandfather. The old Maldonia is said to have ten mines outside of the city where slaves brought in were the ones who mined the gold for the king at that time, hence the carriage. Its the most sacred thing in the whole kingdom after Sweet Waters throne. Not even Aeryn was allowed to ride with the king inside the carriage.
Aeryn was inside the second carriage after her brothers, she was with Misenda her ladys maid going to listen to Artemiss first speech to his people inside an arena. She didnt know what her brother had in mind, or what he will actually speak of but she hoped it would be great and an advantage to all of the citizens of Maldonia. Aeryn gave up on advising her brother, she was upset after what he told her when they were arguing. However, she gave Artemis a chance, perhaps he was right and she was wrong. It wouldnt be the first time she doubted Artemis and later on he proved her wrong.
There was a whole caravan of twenty carriages to take Artemis to the arena, and they were waiting for him while he was having a moment with Aurora. It was no longer a secret that Artemis was smitten by a servant – all his advisers and close circle knew.
“Youll come to the ball tonight. Wouldnt you” asked Artemis grinning from ear to ear, its like he was waiting all day just to glance at Auroras beauty.
“The ball I... I am not eligible to attend the ball Your Grace” said Aurora.
“What do you mean not eligible I asked Lancet to come and tell you that... its an order Lady Kholin. From your king”
Aurora sighed, her eyes spoke even though she was silent. And they were so loud in such a way Lancet who was inside the front carriage with other knights knew what was going on. His secret was out and he was scared of what his future will be.
After a few minutes Artemis slowly bowed from Lady Kholin like a gentleman and walked inside his golden carriage. He was laughing and smiling when he stood before Aurora but he had a frown look on his face walking inside the carriage. Lancet knew something happened and he was in trouble. His fellow knights inside the carriage felt the awkwardness and nervousness but they didnt ask him anything.
The journey to the arena started. It was a short ride as the arena wasnt that far from the palace. The streets of Blackmount were filled with well folks and chants “Long live the king” as the caravan of carriages and horses passed through. The citizens of Maldonia adored Artemis from the first day he was born. The love they had was because of king Arteides who was selfless, and he adored his citizens more than anything else. Even the outsiders praised Arteides for his display of love and selflessness towards his people no matter if they were royals or common-borns.
Maldonia grew to become the powerful kingdom and the richest one because of Arteides. He had good knowlege of politics, economics, treasuries and society management which he learned from his father. Under his rule Maldonia thrived to be what it was now and thats why the citizens adored Arteides for all that hes done for his people.
But, what worried some Maldonians was the fact that Artemis wasnt his father and he could be worse and ruin the legacy his father spent decades creating. Artemis himself had no idea of what he was going to do to live up to his fathers name. From the very moment he wore the crown he knew he will mess up, but when he annointed before the Faith and sat on the Sweet Waters throne something different sparked him and he suddenly felt energized and hopeful. That perhaps, and maybe he may live up to his fathers legacy.
The chants on the street gave him hope and the assurance that he was loved. He just had to prove himself to the people, and at that moment a good speech will be a good start.
The speech was prepared by none other than Aurora, and it was crafted almost six months ago when King Arteides was so sick. Aurora and Artemis were on a small picnic in the woods close to the river. Artemis had his servants brought in fruits and breads, and a white scarf which they used it as a mat to sit on the grass.
The nature agreed with their intimacy. It was raining heavily early on when they left the palace, but it stopped when they arrived at their spot.
“Did you speak to the rain Aurora Asked it to give us an hour or so” Artemis teased Aurora while trying his horse on a tree.