“Very well, my little cherry. If I tell you a story will you allow me to rest?” Empress Indira wearily asked her barely one year old plump and sassy princess.
The only response she got was more bouncy squeals of delight.
Indira laughed inspite herself. She was tired. Being the ruler queen of one kingdom and the queen wife of an emperor, was tasking — if one took one’s responsibilities seriously, that is.
Presently, her little one was gnawing at the emerald on her veil.
She sighed. She should have known that when BrunFreid was quiet, she was up to something.
Just as she was about to scold the little princess, her princess cousin wandered in.
Her beautiful cousin — who has spent most of her life touring the world on business — prefered the sea to land, hence her interest in any family affair that involves travelling on water. Which is why she was surprised by her cousin’s visit to her new home.
‘Greetings Brunnie, enjoying a late evening repast? Emerald? Only the best for her little highness’, Indira’s cousin teased.
‘Her name is BrunFreid, MayRose.’, Indira corrected.
‘But what sort of name is that?’
“It’s the name given her by her parents — coined from her parents’ names — when they gifted her to me to raise and to comfort me after Carlos’ death…. You already know the story.”
“Aye. But I find it hard to understand why a mother will give up her child. Especially when she’s a warrior queen with a warrior king as husband.”, MayRose wondered as she tried to pull the emerald from Brunnie’s stubborn gums.
“I suspect it’s gratitude for helping them secure their relationship and to secure the heiress-apparent to the thrones, if her parents can’t manage to give her siblings to share the burden of kingdom leadership”, Indira mused as her daughter protested the lose of her gums’ gem, while MayRose cheered in victory.
“You are hopeless, May“, Indira chuckled.
“Since when did it become hopeless to cheer in victory?” May asked with a straight face.
“Since when the conquered is a child” Indira replied.
The cousins burst into giggles. As the conquered tried to take a stand, while her nursemaid hovered near by.
“Tell me, about your travels, May.”
“It’s being an adventure. Too much of it, I fear. For I’m sea weary at the moment. The storms — praying your ship does not fall apart.” May paused as she took a healthy drink of fruit juice.
“The good side of it is the feeling you get at sea, like you have a different world all to yourself. A sense of freedom. Then when you dock, the feeling of mingling with different kinds of people with languages and cultures different from yours”, May thought aloud.
“How is the emperor with Brun, I’ra?”
“Those two? They like each other. He likes children and she thinks he’s the best thing after her favourite fruit. She’s grins at him everytime.”
“You jest.” May said in amazement.
“Intriguing. What about you?” May queried seriously.
“What about me?” Indira wondered.
“Aye You. Madame Queen. Do you like your husband?” May persisted.
“Yes.” Indira replied a bit shyly.
“Hmmm. And what do you intend to do about it?” May queried.
“Nothing really. Except take my time and let our relationship grow naturally”, Indira mused.
“So, what do you think of my brother-in-law?”, The Empress asked as she recalled how smitten the king — ruling with his emperor brother — was of her cousin when she arrived.
“Nothing”, drawled May hesitantly as she wondered were Indira was headed with her line of questioning.
“Well, I was wondering since you are sea sick, you might consider him as someone you could start a family with”, Indira suggested.
“You don’t say, Malika”, May drawled as her eyes lightened with amused understanding.
“And what happens to him when I get land sick?”, May asked in rhetoric.
Indira didn’t know how to respond to that. She simply worried if her cousin will ever settle in love.
She looked into her cousin’s jade eyes, conveying her thoughts and her cousin looked back at her with an answering thought,
“Soon my friend. I will consider him. But like you, If it is to be, it has to be natural and I will not be hastened.”
“Well, I found this cobbled walk-way beside the sea, I think we should all take a walk.” Princess MayRose suggest as she got up and adjusted her hooded bejewelled dress.
“Excellent. It would seem you have been spying on my husband’s lands”, Indira teased as she pulled her veil over her face in preparation to leave her palace. She had to. This was not her father’s kingdom where it was forbidden to look at the women of the royal family. Here the high ranking officers could look, and she did not like the way some of them gawked at her. Hence, the veil.
“I was touring, not spying. There is a distinct difference, I believe”, May replied as she walked with her cousin while the Empress entourage preceded and followed in orderly procession.
A clash of steel sounded ahead as spears were crossed to stop an orderly from moving any further towards the procession.
Her head maid approached, bowed and said, “A message from His Highness, my Queen.”
“Tell the orderly to approach and tell me the message”, Empress Indira ordered.
“My Queen, His Highness requests your presence at the cobbled walkway beside the sea, if you desire to see the shipment you requested as they are unloaded”, the orderly said with head bowed.
“Is my lord Emperor there?” Indira asked.
“Yes indeed, your Highness”, replied the orderly.
“Very well. Tell my lord, I’m on my way there, and I would very much like to see the cargo.” replied the Empress.
“Yes, your Highness” the orderly said as he ran towards his horse and rode off.
“Perfect timing, I must say, cousin.” May said.
“Indeed, May” Indira replied with a bit of excitement.
Because she was adamant to walk on her own feet, it took a bit of time to get there.
It looked quite foggy over the endless looking sea. Walking on the cobblestone felt like she was walking on a ship. Another thinking spot, Indira thought.
Or meeting spot, as she sighted her husband around the descending curve leading to the shore.
“Greetings, my fair queen” Her husband said as he smiled and greeted with a slight bow.
“Greetings, my king. Your day faired well I hope? ” Indira said with a smile.
“My day fairs much better after seeing you”, The Emperor replied as he gazed into his wife’s eyes.
MayRose gave a delicate snort of amusement, as she witnessed the interaction between her cousin and her husband.
The Emperor glanced her way, gave a slight bow and said,
“Greetings, Princess. I hope you are already enjoying your stay here?”
“I am. Thank you, your Highness. I’m honoured by your hospitality”, May replied with a slight bow of her own.
The Emperor smiled with a, “Shall we? ”
“Aye”, the cousins replied in unison and smiled at each other as they walked excitedly the surprisingly beautiful shore towards the boxed treasures of far off lands being delivered on the shore.