The Emperor’s Daughter Chapter 30
30 Afternoon Tea
We arrive in the small garden in my court yard. After the incident concerning Elizabeth and James, I haven't gone to the big gardens in the palace. It is to avoid bumping into my stepsisters and also stepmother.
The table was located at the small gazebo in the garden. When I was about to enter the gazebo I tripped on a rock.
"Ahhh." I yelped.
I thought I was about to fall when I felt someone held me by the waist.
"Are you all right princess?" Leon was the first one to ask.
When I was pulled up, I see that Leon was the one that caught me.
"Thank you Leon." I smiled. "I'm a bit clumsy."
I looked down on my feet a bit embarrassed.
"It's okay princess. It is my job to protect you." Leon said.
"You have fast reflexes sir Leon." William interjected. "I was about to catch her when you caught her first."
"Thank you for the compliment young lord. I have been trained since I was young to be a capable knight." Leon explained.
"That is good to hear. I feel at ease that Alicia has a very capable knight by her side." William smiled.
The two men were smiling at each other weirdly for a while.
"The tea will get cold princess." Tricia finally said.
"Let's go inside." I said.
I take my sit and William sat right beside me. Leon stood a few meters away from us.
I was feeling a bit awkward. There was a tension between Leon and William that I can't seem to tell why.
William poured tea on my cup.
"Here have some of this." William gave me a biscuit. "My mother baked them especially for you. I hope you like them."
"Really?" I asked a little surprised. I haven't met William's mother yet but she made snacks especially for me. I took a bite of the sweet smelling biscuit.
"Hmm, it's delicious." I smiled brightly. "Please give my thanks to your mother."
"I will relay it to her later when I get home. I'm sure she will be thrilled." William said. "I am planning to take you to my home to visit in the future."
My smile faded slowly from my face. William looked at me confused.
"What is it Alicia?" William asked worriedly.
"Well, I would love to go and visit your home. But..." I am a bit sad just by thinking of the reason. "I am not able to go outside the palace walls without my stepmother's approval." I made a sad smile.
"Then I will make sure to get approval from the queen." William said.
"I am not sure if she will give her approval." I said sadly.
"And why is that?" William asked curiously. "Of course you have to go out once in a while. Your are not a prisoner her."
"When was the last time the princess had gone out the palace?" Leon whispered softly to Tricia.
"I think the last time she went out was on her thirteenth birthday." Tricia whispered back. "Her majesty the queen doesn't want Alicia going out of the palace. Like I said she was like a prisoner here in this huge palace. A beautiful bird in a bird cage is what I can think of."
Leon looked at me with concerned eyes.
"She is indeed a beautiful bird. But she also needs to sore the skies." Leon said knowingly. "We might not know, maybe she has something hidden beneath that beautiful face."
Tricia looked at Leon. She saw how he looks at her princess with those gentle eyes. By that time she was sure that this man has feelings for her princess.
"Do not worry. I will make sure that her majesty, the queen will give her approval for you to come to my estate. I am sure my mother and sister would love to meet you as well." William said.
"You have a sister?" I asked.
"Yes, a little sister." William said with a smile. "She is twelve years old. She has been asking many things about you and excited to meet you."
"Really? She is as old as Richard. Then I'm looking forward to meet her as well." I smiled.
I always wanted to have a little sister. Richard, my little brother is a boy and a little too energetic. I also want to have someone like a little sister to talk to about girly things. I can also talk to Tricia but there is still the wall between servant and lady.
William took my hand that was resting in the table.
"When you come of age I will personally ask for your hand in marriage." William kissed my hand he was holding.
I blushed shyly.
"It's getting late princess Alicia, young lord William." Leon was suddenly beside us.
"Oh it's okay. I don't mind going home a little late." William said.
"We can't let the young lord go home when it gets dark. The roads are perilous with wild animals and thieves." Leon said respectfully but with a hint if sarcasm. "And our princess also needs to rest. She just recovered from her fever."
The two men was staring at each other again with chilling smiles on their faces. I felt the cold wind blow.
"Leon is right Will, it's getting late." I said just to relieve the tension between them.
"If it is the princess' wish then I will take my leave." William gave a respectful bow. "I will come again when I have the time."
"We don't want to impose your precious time young lord. I am sure you are busy with your work in the dukedom." Leon said sarcastically.
"Do not worry. Visiting Alicia is also important. She is goig to be my future dutchess after all." William's smile to Leon was a little wicked.
I can't stand the tension and sighed loudly.
"Tricia let us go back to my estate." I said and walked away.
"Yes princess." Tricia ran to chase me. She walked behind me all the way back.