Chapter 385 Side Story (Satiana and Jack) (5)
The day of Satiana's birthday finally arrived. It was a very busy day not only for Satiana but to all of the employees working in the palace. Satiana was cooped up in her room since early in the morning getting ready for the day ahead. As Satiana's personal knight, I should close by watching her, but the maids were adamant not to let me in and even see her. Leticia came out and gave me the task of receiving important guests this morning, the emperor and empress of the united empire.
"Hah…" I sighed sadly. "And I was planning on giving my gift to her first thing in the morning while greeting her a happy birthday."
I took out a small box from my pocket and opened it. The box contains a gold necklace with a heart pendant, with green leaves circling around it. The leaves consist of emeralds like Satiana's eyes, and flower was made of crimson rubies.
"I hope she likes the gift." I smiled closing the box once again and putting it back inside my pocket.
I walked towards the entrance of the palace where I will receive our special guest. I was not waiting long when I saw a convoy of knights on horses with carriages following behind. A logo of Grandcrest's royal family is etched on the carriages, letting us know who the passengers are. When the convoy got near, I saw a familiar face amongst the knights at front, it was William. A smile crept on my face seeing him after such a long time. The carriages stopped in front of the entrance, and I walked forward to greet them.
"Sir William." I greeted. "It has been a long time." William came down from his horse and walked towards me. I stretched out my hand and he shook it in an instant.
"Yes, it has been a long time." William greeted back with a smile. "I hope you are doing well. I heard you have obtained a title of marquis and have your own piece of land here in Jennovia. My greeting might be a little late but congratulations."
"Thanks." I replied sincerely. "It is nice to not be looked down upon being a commoner near her grace, but even if I still am, I will never be ashamed of my status and will never leave her graces side. Just like you, you are still by her side I see."
"Yeah well… deep feelings are not easy to uproot I suppose." William said with an awkward smile. "I guess we are the same in that regard."
"Pardon?" I asked in curiosity. I did not understand what he meant when he said, 'we were the same in that regard'.
"Jack!" I heard Alicia's voice calling out to me. I looked at the carriages and see that King Regaleon had come down and was now helping Alicia down as well. I quickly walked towards them and bowed.
"I greet his majesty the emperor and her majesty the empress." I said with utmost respect. "I am here on behalf of her grace Grand Duchess Satiana. She is quite busy getting ready."
"It is fine. Raise your head, Jack." Alicia said. I saw her shining platinum blonde hair being blown away beautifully by the wind, looking like silver waves. "I missed you so much." I was surprised that she gave me a hug out of nowhere.
"Umm… uh… I missed you to, Alicia." I said with an awkward voice. This should be an innocent greeting like between family, but I can see the emperor looking daggers at me. "I am glad to see you so healthy." I pushed her carefully fearing that my life will be in danger if the hug lasted even a second longer.
"How was your journey by the way?" I asked. "I bet you had a tiresome journey. Your lodgings are ready, I will show you the way. Let the maids bring your luggage." I made a hand gesture to the maids that were assigned to wait on the imperial family to start helping them with their luggage.
"Yes, it has been a tiresome journey by carriage." Regaleon replied. "Because we travelled with the twins and my wife does not want to part with them, we cannot travel on Tempest and opted to travel by carriage. We left Leon in Grandcrest because he is still so little to travel."
"Of course, we cannot leave the twins to travel by carriage alone and get here on Tempest." Alicia scolded Regaleon. I believe she is the only one who could do that, knowing that her husband is the emperor and the highest one of all in this continent. "Do not worry, I am fine. Just a little tired." I can see her massaging her back hinting that it was sore. Regaleon sighed seeing her acting okay.
"Let us go to our room to have some rest." Regaleon took his wife's hand and assisted her gently. "Marquis Jack, please lead the way."
"Yes, your majesty." I replied at once.
"Oh, but what about Alphonse and Aerith?" Alicia asked hesitantly.
I looked at the next carriage opening and saw Tricia and a maid coming down with a baby each in their arms.
"Do not worry your majesty, they are sleeping soundly." Tricia replied. "I will take care of the prince and princess. Please be rest assured and take a rest."
"Thank you, Tricia." Alicia replied.
I quickly led the imperial couple to their quarters while the other maids led the imperial children to theirs. While we were walking through the hallways, Alicia started a conversation.
"So, tell me Jack, how are thing with you and Sati?" Leticia asked with a bright tone.
"Me and her grace?" I asked in a confused tone, not sure why she is asking such things. "Well… good, I guess. I am still by her side guarding her and she is doing quite well while growing up."
"You mean, nothing changed between the two of you?" Alicia asked in disbelief.
"Yeah, why?" I asked rather confused.
"Hah…" Leticia sighed deeply.
'Well, that was a deep sigh.' I thought to myself.
"I never knew you were this dense." Alicia said.
"P-Pardon? Me, dense?" I asked in disbelief. "Why would you say that?"
"You know that Sati is not a child any longer, right?" Alicia asked.
"Of course, I know." I replied. "I saw her grow into a fine young lady myself."
"Then you know that she will need to find a husband not long now. Someone she can depend on in governing Jennovia." Alicia said.
"Of course, I know that." I replied. I just met a persistent b*stard yesterday wanting to offer marriage.
"What do you feel if Sati finds someone like that?" Alicia asked. "What if Sati finds someone she fell in love with and marry him?" She looked at me with prying eyes.
I was caught of guard with Alicia's questions. Yes, I know that Satiana will marry someone eventually. It is inevitable for her to find a partner that will help her in governing Jennovia. But hearing Alicia say about Satiana falling in love rubbed me in a different way. I was speechless.
'What if she does fall in love with some noble man?' I thought to myself. 'Should I not be happy if Sati get to marry someone she loves and have a good relationship with him. But why am I feeling conflicted?' I frowned.
"I see." Alicia said while looking at me intently. I looked at her, confused with her words. "Your face tells me everything. All I can say is, I hope you are not to late when you realize your own feelings."
"My feelings…?" I said with a confused look.
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We arrived in front of the room that was designated to the imperial couple. Alicia first entered and Regaleon paused at the door for a while and turned to me.
"My wife is rather fond of her cousin the grand duchess and want her to be happy." Regaleon said. "I believe you are not that blind of her feelings for you."
"Feelings… for me? The grand duchess?" I asked in disbelief.
"If you do not harbor the same feelings then I guess it is fine just to stay quiet." Regaleon said. "But if you harbor the same feelings, then I suggest that you make a decision and fast. I heard that the grand duchess is considering the marriage proposal from the son of Duke Matias. How will you feel if you see her being intimate with someone else? Think carefully." Then he entered the room and closed the door in front of me.
I was dumfounded with Regaleon's words. I was out of sorts and when I came back to my senses, I was already in front of Satiana's door.
"Sir Jack… sir…" The knight standing guard at the door was calling out to me.
"Huh…" I replied when I cam back to my senses.
"I was calling out to you a couple of times sir." The knight replied. "There was nothing to report. Her grace was inside her room the whole time you were away. Her aunt, her highness Leticia is in there as well."
"I-I see." I remembered telling the knight to report to me everything that happens while I was away receiving our important guests.
I opened the door slightly ajar and thought of knocking when I heard Satiana and Leticia's voice. From the crack of the opened door, I see both of them seating side by side on the couch.
"Are you sure about these, my dear?" Leticia asked.
"Yes aunt, I am quite sure." Satiana replied. "I will accept Alfred's proposal. He is the best candidate to be my husband. As the grand duchess, it is my duty not to only govern but also produce an heir for the next generation."
"I understand that he is the best candidate and I know the duty that is also a burden to your shoulders, but to marry just for obligation is a bit… too old fashioned." Leticia said. "I mean, I know you also want to marry for love, correct?"
"Of course, aunt. I also want to but…" Satiana trailed off. "Marrying for love is a luxury for us nobles. I am just happy that you and Alicia were able to marry for love. I think that faith is not for me."
"Oh, my dear." Leticia pulled Satiana into a hug. I can hear low sobs.
"But I believe feelings can be developed in time. I mean Alfred is a great guy and he loves me." Satiana said. "Maybe in time, I can learn to love him as well."
"I understand." Leticia patted Satiana gently in the back. "When are you planning on accepting the marriage proposal?"
"I will accept it later at the ball." Satiana replied while sitting back up. "It will serve as a public announcement as well."
"I see." Leticia replied. "If it is your decision then I cannot stop you. Have you told your brother?"
"Not yet." Satiana replied. "I still do not know how to tell him. I am afraid that he will accept it after I saw how he treated Alfred back at the greenhouse yesterday, hehe." She giggled.
"Well, she is your big brother, of course he will see suitors to be enemies." Leticia giggled as well. "Tell your brother before you make the public announcement, okay?"
"Yes, I am planning to." Satiana replied with a smile.
I was standing by the doorway speechless from what I just heard.
"Sir Jack, are you not going in?" The knight replied.
"I-I will get some fresh air for a while." I said and turned around. "If her grace asks for me, tell her I will be out for a while because of an emergency."
"Yes, sir." The knight replied.
I walked away in a hurry. My mind was now full of Satiana. Alicia and Regaleon's words now resonated inside my head. My heart was beating so fast, and it felt painful hearing the Satiana will accept that b*stard's marriage proposal.
"Why… why do I feel pain and anger?" I asked walking towards a secluded place in the palace. I saw a big tree and punched it nonstop with my fists. "She is marrying him of all people, that b*stard. If it were someone else…"
What if it were someone else, will I be okay with someone else marrying Satiana?
"No… no I am not okay with anyone standing by Satiana's side." I answered my own question. "What is wrong with me? Why am I feeling this way?"
'I hope you are not to late when you realize your own feelings.' I remember Alicia's word from earlier.
"My feelings… I have feelings for her." I realized just now. "Hah… hahahaha! No wonder Alicia called me dense. What a fool you are, Jack." I hit my head on the tree trunk. I can feel blood trickle from my forehead.
"I had been by Satiana's side for so long since she was young and thought that my feelings for her is what I would have for a little sister." I told myself. "I only just realized that what I am feeling right now is love towards the opposite sex. Hah, maybe I was deluding myself the entire time because I met her when she was still young, and my conscious was preventing me to realize my true feelings. But Alicia is right, Satiana has now grown into a fine young lady. I do not need to be conscious of the fact that she is a minor."
I took out the box that was inside my pocket. I have ordered this necklace from the best jeweler in the continent. I specifically chosen the best gems there was. Now I know why I have chosen the heart design with leaves circling it as the pendant, in my subconsciousness I know that my heart has already been ensnared by her and her alone.
"I love her… I love Satiana." I told myself.
Now I am sure of my feelings, and I just need to make sure that I am not too late.
"I will not let anyone else marry Satiana." I said with determination.
Edited by: nalyn