“Hazel hurry up, the majesty is already here!” the dress in my hands slipped on the floor as I jumped on my place. How could he reach here so early
“It is okay, you will be fine. Lets just wash your face and get you ready in a bit.” Hazel felt bad for Anne, her only friend and mate as she was also shuffling in making the preparations for today.
Her expressions softened and she nodded when she said so. With a smile she came in and helped Hazel in washing her face and made a small bun of her unruly hair. She even adjusted Hazels dress and took out the only necklace she had.
It was left by Hazels dead mother as her remembrance. She looked at it with longing eyes when she felt Annes hand on her shoulder,
“You are looking beautiful, my lady. Your mother would have been proud while seeing you.” Hazel smiled but her eyes widened when she looked around.
“What happened” Hazel asked as she looked at her worried face with concern..
“Nothing.. I think that I have left cookies in the oven. I need to go and look before they get charred. Will you go out and greet his majesty till then” Hazel chuckled looking at her worried face and nodded.
“Alright, then I should go and give my father company till you bring the tea and snacks for him.” Hazel did not know why but she felt that the fear that was crawling in her heart lessened and she felt light hearted after talking to Anne.
With slow and poised steps, Hazel walked towards the small hall of her annex palace.
There was a man standing in the mid of the hall looking at the painting she was making a few minutes ago. It was the painting of a fair she had read about in the books. She wanted to go there but she could not, she had made it with her imagination.
“Your majesty, it is an honor to have you in my humble abode.” She held the corner of her dress a bit too tightly as she bowed her head in front of the man who had given her birth. Yet it was only the second time she saw him.
Hearing her voice suddenly the man turned to look at her, his golden hair was set in his back and his blue eyes were intimidating. His golden moustache and beard had taken a large part of his face.
Even when he was meeting his daughter after such a long time, there was no warmth in his cold eyes, he was just looking at her from top to bottom as if he was assessing the value of an asset.
Her nervousness started to return when the man did not reply to her greetings. Thank goodness she was holding the dress with her hands so that her sweaty hands were hidden and so was her fear.
“You have grown into a beautiful lady, Hazel.” Finally a breath of relief left her mouth when she heard him complimenting her.
“Raise your head and take a seat, you are my daughter not a subject!” she wanted to ask if he remembered it only now. But she pursued her lips and nodded.
She did not want to create a scene and disappoint Anne. She took slow steps towards the sofa and sat on it like Anne had taught her. Still a frown formed on the face of her father, which he hid it hurriedly with an amiable smile but his eyes were still cold.
“Hazel, i wanted to congratulate you for your coming of age day that is next week.” her eyes flickered and enlarged and her lips parted in surprise.
She was not expecting him to remember her, since he had never come to wish her, her birthday all this while in the past eighteen years.
“I know that you have a few grievances that I have neglected you, but you have to understand that the life of a king is never simple. I have many responsibilities to take care of.” she nodded as she did not want to drag the matter.
Though she knew she was mistreated because she was the result of one night stand he did not even remember when he had, but she was still grateful that he had given her a place to live when her mother died, or she would have died long ago or would have been taken as slave by a rich old man.
“I know, father. I apologize for my insolence and thank you for congratulating me. I am honored that you come personally to wish me!” the smile on her face was genuine that reached to her eyes and his eyes flickered.
His face turned to look at the other side abruptly and she frowned. She turned where he looked only to find Anne coming with the trolley and she sighed. The girl who was asking her to be brave was looking more anxious than her.
“Hail to the sun of the empire, your majesty.” Anne bowed her head and wished the emperor who took a deep sigh and nodded.
Anne stood and took the dishes from the trolley and placed them on the table in front of the emperor.
“I am not only here to wish you for your coming of age ceremony. I am here to announce that I have fixed your marriage too.”
“Thump” the spoon Hazel had picked up to serve him a meal fell on the floor as she looked at the man with horror filled eyes.
She had read in many books that the nobles only help in upbringing his illegitimate kids so that he would marry them off to increase his contacts one day.
It was no less than selling them for their benefits. Her eyes turned cold as she looked at the man who was there to tell her that he had finally decided to get the amount he had spent in taking care of her by selling her off.
“You need to calm down, Hazel. Maybe it is a chance for you to get out of these four walls and find your happiness with a man who will cherish you!”