4 days before the wedding
To say Ruhm was surprised when Hitomi and Damian returned would be an understatement. But when he saw the Fanelian monarch riding in the village the wolf-man was on a brink on a heart attack. But Kuda, the tribe elder placed a hand on his shoulder and grinned.
"We believed there is another on out there. But what if there isn't?" he asked Ruhm calmly.
It took the younger wolf-man a moment to realize what the elder meant but once it was all clear in his mind he too smiled "But Hitomi said he's name was Damian? That's why she named the boy that."
"We'll know soon enough." Kuda said just as Van got off his horse "Arrived to see your son your majesty?"
Van looked shocked "You knew?"
His voice revealed he was hurt that they kept if from him. But Ruhm revealed "We knew of his heritage. But we were told he is named after his father so at the time only logical conclusion was that there is another one of your kind out there somewhere."
Van shook his head "No one supposed to know I was in Asturia so I lied about who I am. And so did she. She looked different and claimed her name was… Yukari."
"You don't know who she is." Kuda said. It wasn't a question but a statement.
"I'll take you to her home." Ruhm offered and Van nodded agreeing.
He was so caught in the elder's words he didn't noticed where they were going or that many wolf-people stopped what ever they were doing and observed the young king with interest. He didn't even realize they were in front of the cottage door until Ruhm's voice interrupted his thoughts.
"She lives here for little over five years together with another woman, a friend of the tribe who is her aunt. They escaped from the village where there were living before because the boys life was in danger." Ruhm revealed.
"Because he is a draconian." Van concluded but Ruhm shook his head.
"Because my father held him for a disgrace to my family." Hitomi's voice surprised both of them. They haven't noticed her standing at the corner with a bucket of water in her hand.
"I'm sorry." Van apologized instantly but Hitomi didn't want that.
"There is no reason for you to feel sorry. I knew what I was doing in Asturia and I knew there was a possibility of a conception. If anyone should apologize it's me." She said as she walked closer, opened the door, and walked inside.
Van followed her in but as he turned towards Ruhm the wolf-man shook his head and walked away. He knew they needed to talk things through privately.
"I'm guessing you are apologizing for getting me drunk." Van said after he closed the door and turned towards Hitomi "But you are forgetting that just like you I knew what I was doing and-"
"No." Hitomi interrupted him "I'm apologizing for leaving. It's what started this whole mess."
Van observed her suspiciously "I have a feeling you aren't talking about the next morning in Asturia when I woke up with no sign of you ever being in my room apart from the note."
Hitomi nodded "I'm talking about what happened prior to our meeting in Asturia. I'm talking about what happened in Nazakkija."
"But we never met in Nazakkija"
"Because I ran away. Van, I am pri… former princess Hitomi Kanzaki. I am the one you were betrothed to."
It took Van several seconds to find his voice again "I don't understand. I thought you knew of my heritage and ran to avoid marriage cause of it."
"I had no idea though. I… my father is only interested in politic, in making profit. When he told me about the betrothing he told me about Fanelian mines and dragon graveyards. He didn't even mentioned you cause in his mind it wasn't important. He would have married me off just about anyone if it meant he would get something from the union."
Van looked at the floor "I thought you inherited the gift of foresight like the one your aunt has, or so it is told, and that you knew I was a Draconian. And that you were disgusted."
"By the wings? Never, they are beautiful." Her words shocked Van. He looked at her and opened his mouth to speak when a childish voice interrupted him.
Damian walked out of his room and stopped seeing Van standing in their kitchen. Hitomi laughed at her son's confusion before spreading her arms. Instantly he ran to her and they hugged.
Van watched the scene slightly jealous. He wanted to hold his son that way as well and have the boy hug him back. He looked at Hitomi and saw he smiling at him before she kneeled in front of Damian.
"Sweetie, I want you to meet someone…"
3 days before the wedding
Merle's ears twitched and moved in the direction of the sound that brought her out of her thoughts. They were coming to her again demanding answers. But she wouldn't give them any. She promised to stay quiet about the whole matter till the time is right.
And for the hundredth time she wondered how it was possible that the blonde princess didn't already connected the dots and realized where lord Van left. But that just confirmed her suspicion-the princess wasn't the lightest bulb in the box. But maybe that was for the best. Lord Van didn't needed interruptions right now as he went to fix things.
The cat girl grinned. She knew the boy was special from the moment she saw him. But she had a hard time believing that the girl was the same as the one lord Van talked about five years ago. She looked nothing like he said. Apart from her eyes. He too said he recognized her eyes. Eventually.
Merle sighed. Males had little to no ability to notice things without having them shoved in their faces and the Fanelian king was no better.
"Merle, it is important that the king is present when the guests arrive. It's a common courtesy and not to mention he is a groom and the wedding is in three days." The adviser stood by the open door and glared at the cat girl's back. She didn't even bothered to turn towards him as he was talking.
So he never saw when she rolled her eyes after being told the exact same time for the sixth time "Lord Van had to leave because of an important matter."
"Yes, you already said that." the adviser pointed out "But-"
"No 'buts'!" Merle practically growled at the man "Lord Van obviously believed his presence was extremely important somewhere else otherwise he wouldn't have left. Are you doubting your king's decisions?"
"When he leaves at such time with no protection and without telling anyone where he is going then yes! I am doubting his decision! King Aston is already here and he isn't pleased."
Merle grinned "What if I tell you that where lord Van left… it was so he could fix things. You know just as basically everyone in Fanelia it wasn't lord Van's decision to get betrothed to princess witch. What if he had a way to get out of it and the way is such that king Aston has no legal right to do anything about it?"
The adviser observed the wide grin on the neko's face before saying "If you tell me that creature would not become our queen I would ask what took lord Van so long?"
Merle shrugged "He just figured out he had a s-" she literally bit her own tongue before she blurted out the truth that was to remain hidden till Van said so.
"A what?" the adviser asked smiling smugly; pleased he got some information out of her although the most important was still incomplete.
"You'll find out soon enough." She just said before turning back towards the window and looked in the distance in the general direction of Arzas.
2 days before the wedding
The royal councils were on the brink of their nerves.
Last expected levi-ship carrying guests from Deadalus just landed and they were the ones to welcome the delegation which was a mayor breach of protocol. Another one in the past two days. The king was still absent and the only one who knew where he was wasn't talking. And they couldn't possibly answer each guest who asked about king's location with 'ask the cat girl'.
The rumor spread among the guests that the king left to obtain a special gift for his bride; something rare and precious. And who were they to correct them?
Currently the guests were gathered in main palace garden and that is where Adris, the main councilman, took the latest delegation to refresh and greet the others who arrived before them. The ruling monarchs rarely gathered in his number at one place, it seemed they were all gathered only on weddings and funerals, and they liked to spend the time before the festivities to introduce new family members, make new connections or simply gossip.
It wasn't any different this time. but it became slightly more interesting after the king of Nazakkija drank a bit too much and started badmouthing his own daughter.
"The little whore my wife gave birth to supposed to be the queen of this kingdom. Did you know that?" he asked no one in particular so no one bothered to answer but they did exchange looks and paid attention to his drunk rambling "But she ran away… just before king Van arrived to meet her she ran away and whored herself to the first lowlife that she came across of."
Merle was in the hallway that led to the garden when she heard the king narrating and the words attracted her like a mote is attracted to the light. There was something about what he was talking that intrigued her.
"And that isn't even the worst of it. No. She went one step further and got herself pregnant with that… that… So I did what every father had to do. I sent her away never to return in the palace. She is no longer my daughter."
Merle observed the older monarch curiously. Ever since she walked outside she smelled something… familiar… but she had a problem identifying the scent or where she smelled it before. That s until a young boy stepped next to her.
"Is my father complaining about Hitomi again?" he whispered to her so that no one hears him "He does that every time he has someone to listen."
But Merle didn't answer. She just gawked at the boy. Dirty blond hair and emerald green eyes; she already saw that combination. And the name, Hitomi, fit right in. But it wasn't the easiest thing to accept. The volunteer from Arzas, the girl she saved from being whipped, the same girl who turned out to be the one lord Van met in Asturia is in fact a princess of Nazakkija. The same princess he supposed to marry five years ago before she ran away and…
"What?" Mamoru asked confused by the cat girl's reaction. But then again he didn't know what she did. He had no idea how ironic the world can be.
"You'll find out soon enough." She answered grinning.
From her position she saw them standing in the shadows of the hallway. The girl and the boy. The former princess and the future prince. Van was nowhere in sight though but that didn't concerned Merle, she had a feeling he'll join the pair soon enough and set things straight. He was probably reporting to the councilmen what happened and calming their worries.
King Muliz Kanzaki got really into his speech at the amusement of all gathered guests. He was waiving his hands like a maniac to prove his point that sending someone to kill the bastard was what every father should do.
"She'll never make a fool out of me again." He said to finish his narrating and then the last thing he expected happened. He heard his daughter's voice.
"I don't have to. You are succeeding in doing so yourself." She said as she stepped in the garden with Damian in tow.
"You!" both the king and Millerna snapped as the same time but while the king had a problem finding words now that his daughter was standing in front of him the princess knew exactly what to say.
"A commoner like you has nothing to do among royalty so I would appreciate if you removed yourself and your filth from the garden and took the winged demon with you."
Hitomi didn't had the time to response before Mamoru wrapped his hands around her waste and told her he missed her. The others observed the exchange with interest. It was obvious the prince was familiar with the girl and it took only moments before one of the guests looked closer at Hitomi and recognized the green eyes that seemed to be reserved only for members of the royal family of Nazakkija.
And instantly the whispering started as the guests linked the girl from the story and the one that stood in front of them.
But Hitomi ignored all that. She looked straight at her mother's eyes making the older woman actually flinch before she spoke "Aunt Yuri sends her regards and wants you to know she would be returning in Nazakkija and taking back what was rightfully hers since birth."
"The throne is mine!" the king yelled outraged.
"It's yours because you manipulated mom into betraying her own sister and proclaiming her crazy because she refused to marry you. Because she had seen what you would do. But a lot of things changed since then, only the final outcome remained the same. You were nothing more then an usurper father; the rightful queen will return on the throne of Nazakkija before then end of this moon."
"I will not allow that."
"You don't have a choice. The council may still be on your side to protect their position but you lost the respect of our people a long time ago. If you even had it to begin with." Hitomi's eyes moved from the enraged form of her father to ashamed one of her mother. The queen and a duchess that she was talking to just minutes ago were now looking at her with distrust and aversion.
Millerna huffed "I'm surprised you had enough courage to show your face here you tramp. We heard what you did. Abandoned king Van for some bum you picked up on the street. Did you perhaps expect he would take you back? You and that winged demon?"
"It would be appreciated if you refrained yourself from calling the boy that." Van said walking in the garden and stopping next to Damian who instantly smiled to him.
Seeing that the blond princess got even more upset "You can not be serious?! The boy is a Draconian! He is one of the cursed people! Why should I show any consideration?"
"Because that bum she picked up on the street happened to be me!" Van answered causing many gasps from the gathered guests "Because Damian is my son!"
Bet you couldn't wait to read those words? Hope the chapter pleased everyone; I did proofread it, but chances of misspelled words and grammar mistakes still exist. Now the bad news: I only have 1 more chapter planed. No sequel is in plan so far but one can never know what will happen in future (unless you are a seer). I just might come up with an interesting twist ;)