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CHAPTER 15 (Part three)
Within a week, the capital changed yet again. This time it was to welcome the return of the royal family. The King breathed in and out slowly, now was just the beginning. He will teach the Crowned Prince, starting from today, taking him everywhere to learn how to become a ruler!
The Queen was another matter and due to her, the King was rendered utterly speechless!
It was some time before he knew why the Queen had not come together with the Crown Prince and Princess into the palace.
The Queen had indeed, visited Mahnu instead!
“The Queen requests an audience!”
Before the words could finish, the Queen walked into the house that Mahnu, Betty and Donald resided in.
Her aura was full of power, that she was on top…And everyone else was below her!
“Your…Your Majesty!?” Betty stammered and followed Donald to bow.
Mahnu slightly bowed her head.
“Insolence! You must show respect to the Queen of the nation!”
Mahnu knew, they wanted any reason to get rid of her. But, her respect for this Queen, this person, only was as much as lowering her head slightly. Power would not make her get onto her knees! To this, Mahnu stayed silent.
Shocked faces looked at her, yet, she was still unmoved. This, was what she had thought of ‘petty’ quite some time ago.
The Queen sat into the most comfortable chair to further look like she had the power.
“Make her kneel to me!” Her words were angry but under control.
People started to walk towards Mahnu but she stared at them coldly. “Do not touch me!”
They stopped at her cold words and stare.
“My orders will overtake yours always, now make her kneel!” The Queen yelled.
They continued, as they thought the Queen was right.
But none of them got near as William came between them. “You will not touch her!”
“Who are you to defy my orders!?” The Queen became stupefied, never anything not gone her way!
Mahnu went to stop William talking, by touching his shoulder, then spoke herself, “You have come into my house, uninvited. You have used power to try to force me to kneel, now you are yelling at my brother! If you do not want your secret to be know…I suggest you leave.”
The Queen stared in shock at Mahnu. Secret? How could she possibly know? It must be just luck of words! I cannot let her treat me, the Queen of this nation, like this!
“Forcibly take her for slandering the Queen!” She watched as William took out his sword with the look that he had the intention to kill. “If you don’t put back your sword, you will lose your life. Good man, come to my side where I can protect you!”
Mahnu scoffed, “You want another guard to get you pregnant in secret? My Queen?”
The Queen gasped, so did all of the others inside of the room!
How did…How did she know!? No one had known! Just her pregnancy had been known to very few. She had wanted to see His Majesty’s face when she would tell him the news.
“You were going to lie? You are completely unwilling to tell the truth? Is this something that you think the Queen of this nation can get away with?” Mahnu asked.
The Queen was speechlessly silent. This was not supposed to happen! No one had known and the guard had already been silenced! She looked around at her people and Mahnu saw that a inner conflict was going on inside her head.
If people know my secret…My reputation, even my…My life was in danger! All these people who were opened to the idea, they all had to die!
“Now, she wants to kill us all!”
“No! She is telling lies! How could I do something so terrible! Don’t listen to her!”
The Queen was not standing and pointing angrily at Mahnu. “You have offended me and now you have to pay with your life! Kill her!”
Mahnu looked at the Queen’s guards coming closer. There were ten of them, and there was only William and herself. “Did anyone notice the guard named ‘Thomas’ disappeared? The Queen killed him herself…With poison! They didn’t realise that because the Queen had told them lies, that Thomas had said often that he was becoming weak and that he may die soon. They took her words! Don’t you see?” Mahnu was looking at the guards, who have halted their attacks. “She used him! Are you going to believe the words of the one who killed Thomas?”
Everyone was quiet and unmoving.
The Queen was so surprised that her mouth was wide opened. It was as she said, all of it! But…But…
The guards watched the Queen, at first, they did not believe it, but now, seeing the Queen so shocked…They wondered if it could be true…Could it be? Really…That the Queen would do such a thing?
Waiting for orders, they became astonished that nothing was said. Her face and untold orders furthered their distrust of their very own Queen!
Then they saw William still standing tall, ready to defend this lady till the end. They knew of William, he was loyal, he was the next in line to be the Leader of the Loyal Royal Knights! Was he blind? Was he on the wrong side? What are they supposed to do? Their loyalty to the Loyal Royal Knights or to the Queen of the nation, it was an enormous difference in choice!
“If you want to solve this…One of you get the King and bring him here.” Mahnu said unhurriedly.
No! The Queen thought. She had come here without his consent, she had wanted this girl under her before she returned to the palace. She had wanted to scare her and have her answer her every command! If that wasn’t going to happen then she would find any excuse to get rid of her! But…This wasn’t working!...Proof…She would need proof! There’s nothing! Ha! What am I afraid of!? Bring the King! Let him see this girl make a fool of herself and have no choice but to kill her for slandering the Queen! Haha!
Finding her calm self again, the Queen smiled smugly at Mahnu. Girl, you have just killed yourself!
Mahnu just stared right back at her.
They waited near an hour for the King to arrive. He raced into the room and went straight to Mahnu. “Mahnu? Are you okay?” He asked checking her attentively.
The Queen was shocked! “Your Majesty!”
The King turned to the Queen, finally, and she could see that he was unhappy. “What are you doing here?”
“Is she not a consort? I came here to formally invite her to the palace. Instead, this girl slandered the Queen of this nation, I demand justice!”
“Are you in denial? Will you continue your lies…Queen of the nation?” Mahnu’s voice rang out in righteousness, making others see that power over a title was being used.
“Lies?” King Richard asked, wondering what was going on.
“I have no need to speak. This girl wants my position! She does not deserve to be by your side, Your Majesty!” The Queen pointed to Mahnu.
“You, who deceives the King of Kralaide deserves the position of Queen of the nation?”
“Deceives? Tell me what you are talking about!” The King yelled impatiently.
Mahnu looked at the King sadly. “A guard, named Thomas, had died about three months ago.” Mahnu looked at the Queen, hearing her thoughts of letting her speak to dig her own grave. “The Queen killed him with poison that resides in a secret compartment under the floor, under her bed. Once she found that she had conceived his child, she killed him to keep the truth being told. She was going to make this child yours, knowing months ago you drank often and would just make up the time and say it easily that you had forgotten. She wanted to get revenge for you hitting her…She wanted a child…And then there was Thomas. It happened since that day, for two months, she waited. Then, finally, she got the news of her pregnancy and wanted to keep her adultery secret, so she silenced Thomas. She was going to keep it secret till the end but…Not only did she keep her poison…Thomas had written letters to her…They are also hidden in another secret compartment in her wardrobe.”
“Preposterous! Do…Do not listen, Your Majesty! Close your ears to this girl’s dirty lies and schemes!” The Queen was scared stiff. How had she gained so much information? How did she know of the letters and hidden compartments? The Queen looked at the King, then seeing his disgust, the Queen staggered, falling down onto the chair.
“Check the Queen’s chambers…Go!” The King yelled impatiently.
The Queen started to cry, how had it come to this? She got up in a hurry and kneeled at his feet, "Your...Your Majesty! Please...You mustn't..."
He interrupted her, "Mustn't what!?"
The Queen's tears ran down her face. What could she say? What could she do? The Queen was not sure how to continue to fight...They had proof to adultery...Wouldn't that...Wouldn't that be her death?
"Make sure she doesn't kill herself." Mahnu said to the guards.
They were still in shock but watched the Queen, as she started to cry.
The Queen sobbed and sobbed, until the proof was in front of all of them.
Mahnu had heard all of her thoughts and bent down slightly to the Queen. "The Queen's position was not what I was after. Your hastiness in thinking you had to secure it, lead to you making a bad choice...Bad choice or not we can't allow anything to happen to you until the innocent child inside of you is born."
King Richard had been raging inside his heart all this time but Mahnu's words mad him calmer. "Mahnu is right. Thomas's family will be informed and given the chance to raise their grandchild."
The Queen remained silent, regretting her life. Her father always made her worry. She had become this person because of him! Seeing him recently, on his bed, he was still implementing her power inside her mind. Now, everything was finished...
"Her father brought her up to use her power..." Mahnu said.
Hearing those words, the Queen looked up in surprise. "How?"
Mahnu didn't answer her, just asked another question, "Do you want to live?"
The Queen nodded in haste.
"Mahnu? How could we save her?" King Richard wondered why Mahnu asked that question when what the Queen did could only court death!
"You love your children?" Mahnu asked the Queen, ignoring the King.
Images of the Queen doting her children came into Mahnu's mind. "Yes! Of course!" The Queen answered.
Silence filled the room as Mahnu stared at her.
"Mahnu?" The King asked again.
Finally, Mahnu looked at him. "She's not wholly bad, just led astray. If she doesn't meet her father and demoted to maid, to serve her children...I'm sure she would do so wholeheartedly."
The King stared at Mahnu, she wanted to save the Queen?
And the Queen gasped. A maid? Not see her father? A Queen to be demoted?
Everything seemed so terrible and overwhelming to the Queen, that she fainted.
"Look after her till her child is born." Mahnu said sadly.
"Agreed." The King said, "Take her to a cell and keep an eye on her. An imperial physician will be allocated to her for the well being of the child. For now, this will stay secret and we will conclude it when the child is born."
After some time, the place was cleared of everybody except Betty, Donald, Mahnu and the King.
"Why do you want to save her? If the people find out what happened, they will want her killed." King Richard was curious, Mahnu's mind was something he had always wished he could read. "Didn't she try to harm you?"
Mahnu looked up at him sadly, "She only committed wrong because of me...She might have been Materialistic and listening to her father's words...But she went this far because of me." Mahnu stopped for a moment, "Marcus was worried that I'd be the ruin of Kralaide. I don't want...To be the ruin of Kralaide."
King Richard sighed, his Mahnu was so sensitive. Pulling her into his arms he said softly, "I can't see that being possible Mahnu. I said it before and I'll say it now. You are the heart of Kralaide...To be honest, I didn't even think of sparing the innocent child's life. It was probably my fault, as I am the one that hit her, yet, I wanted to kill the Queen just now...You are nicer then I am."
He kissed her forehead and said, "If they find out..."
Mahnu interrupted him, "I know, it would be hard to keep her alive. At least, they might wait until the child is born, that would be enough."
They embraced each other lovingly.
King Richard could only see a brighter future for Kralaide with Mahnu by his side and Mahnu was no longer stressed. She may have been a reason for the Queen to act that way but...She had chosen that journey herself.
Mahnu definitely didn't want to make choices that would hinder what she had strived so hard to get.
She wanted people to be free to make their own choices. She wanted to give them the choice to live...And finally, now, it's all up to them.