The Emperor’s Daughter Chapter 353
323 My Childhood Friend
After my talk with lady Destia, Raphael walked me back to my room. Along the way we chatted with each other while William was following from behind.
"I am truly sorry for what my sister has done." Raphael said apologetically.
"You need not to apologize to me Sir Raphael." I said. "Your sister was the one to have done something offending and she had apologized and paying for it as well."
"You know, you can call me by my name if it is just us your majesty." Raphael said. "No need to be formal."
"Then you can also drop the 'your majesty' and call me by my name, brother Rap." I gave him a friendly smile.
"Thank you... Alicia." Raphael hesitated a bit but was able to call me by my name.
"This mansion did not change that much since the time we were kids." I reminisced the one time in my childhood when we visited here in the past. "I was never allowed to go out of the estate, and so I have a vague memory of the interior of this mansion."
"Yes, I remember." Raphael added. "We used to play inside and also out in the gardens. Pity, I did not have the chance to show you the beach. You can only look from afar."
I was not able to go outside of the estate because of my position as an illegitimate daughter. I was seen as a disgrace by the former queen and so I was not able to be with the royal family outside.
"But you always kept me company back then." I said. "I am grateful to that. You had become a memorable childhood friend to me."
If William was my first best friend when I debuted in high society, Raphael was a childhood friend I made when I was still young.
"Yes, I clearly remeber that." Raphael replied. "That memory is something I treasure the most."
We were silent for a some minuted while walking along the corridors. It felt a little awkward between us but after a while, Raphael was the one to speak once again.
"My sister and I... we never got the chance to debut in high society because of our mother's illness." Raphael said.
"Yes. I have heard about how your mother was terribly ill for a long time before she passed away." I replied. "I remember the late duchess as a kind woman. She often gave me cookies when she sees me along playing in the garden."
Duke Destia's family was a harmonious one. They were a loving couple that were kind to the people they govern. They were also exemplary parents to their children. It was just unfortunate that the duchess fell terminaly ill. I can see that this mansion is not the same as in the past when the duchess was still alive.
"My sister and I, we missed a lot because of it. But I never complained about it. As the eldest, I understood why my father had decided that my sister and I stay here while mother was ill. She can leave this world without prior notice, and my father would want us to be there when that happened." Raphael said. "But Deborah... she did not understand. I do not know if it is because she was so young back then to understand or she was just spoiled to much by us. Her grivances that were etched deep in her heart... was our fault."
I did not have any words to say to Raphael's words and so I just nodded in reply. Whatever had happened for Deborah to be like that, I am in no position to judge her. I just wish that from this day, she can turn over a new leaf and show that she is a lady of this house that they can be proud of.
"I also have my own regrets." Raphael said with a sad smile. "I decided not to speak of what is in my heart, but I think I will regret even further if I was not able to say this."
"What is it?" I asked in utter curiosity.
"If I was just given a chance to attend high society in the capital, I would have attended your debutant party in the past. I would have asked to be your partner back then." Raphael said with a solemn gaze.
I stopped in my tracks trying to digest what Raphael just said. Back then, I was a forgotten princess. And so, I was never given a chance to have a partner in my debutant ball. But if ever a princess had a partner when she debuted, that means her partner is someone that has proposed marriage to her, an engagement between families. It was normal to have royals to be engaged at an early age and be wedded when they come of age, but us siblings was never given an arranged marriage. Maybe because my father the king did not want us, his children, to be in a marriage we never wanted just like him.
"Are you telling me that..." I looked at Raphael with wide eyes.
"Yes, I intended to ask for your hand in marriage once I debuted in high society. I have that in mind since the first time I met you." Raphael said.
"But brother Rap... we were still young back then, barley even teenagers." I said with disbelief.
"It was love at first sight for me." Raphael said with a gentle smile. "But my plans did not come into frution. My mother fell ill before I debuted. I decided to wait until my mother got better because I do not want to be an added burden to my father. But she never really got well, and just got even worse as the years gone by. And I just heard that... you might be engaged to the heir of duke Cunningham."
"There was such rumors?" I was shocked. I never heard this news. I looked back to William but he averted his gaze.
"The news circulated when I heard you were sent to the country side to recuperate." Raphael said. "But I was even shocked to here that you were engaged to the crown prince of Grandcrest. At first I thought that you were pushed into a political marriage and was thinking that you could be against it. I was thingking of a way to help you if ever that were true. But looking at you now, I guess my hunch was wrong. The way you look to your husband and the way he looks back at you, is full of love." He said with a sad smile.
"Yes, I love him so much and he loves me back just the same." I said. "I am sorry." I can only give an apology back to his confession.
Raphael's confession was something I did not anticipate. It was so out of the blue that I was caught of guard.
"It is okay Alicia." Raphael waved his hand and smiled. "You do not need to apologize. I have come into terms with my feelings after seeing you and his majesty happy with each other. I am just happy to be able to convey this feelings I have harbored in such a long time deep in my heart. Thank you for hearing me out."
"Thank you as well, brother Rap." I replied.
It was silent for a short while once again and we laughed the awkwardness out.
"Well, your quarters is not that far away." Raphael said. "If I can take my leave now, your majesty." He was using formal speech once more.
"Thank your for your time Sir Raphael." I replied. "I had a great time chatting with you."
Raphael bowed down and headed the opposite direction. I looked at his back until it vanished at a corner.
"Well that was a sudden confession." William said. "And I thought I was your first friend." He said jokingly.
"Why, are you jealous?" I teased him and giggled.
"Well... a little." William said. "It looks like you have broken yet another heart."
"I never intended to." I said feeling sad. "We were still young back then, and I feel a little guilty that I forgot about him. But after remembering our time together, I was happy to have a childhood friend like him."
"I am sure that he was also happy to meet you." William said. "I know I am greatful to have met you, even though I was not able to win your heart."
I looked at William and gauged his expression. He was not wearing his usual pained smile whenever he talks about his feelings about me. Right now, he was wearing a calm and gentle expression. I felt less guilt seeing that William is starting to move on.
"Do not tell me your sorry again, I know that face." William teasingly scolded me. "I am happy to be by your side to serve and protect you. I will be always here as your best friend and personal knight." He gently pulled a lose strand of my hair and gently tucked it behind my ear.
"Thank you Will, for always being there for me." I said solemnly.
William and I smiled at each other in a friendly manner.
"Well then, before I forget. I was set out to find a certain someone." I remembered. "Now where could my husband be?" I again felt the anger that was forgotten a while ago.
"Oh dear..." William chuckled.
Edited by: nalyn
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