I hope you like this chapter, in my opinion it’s a really good one!
First draft disclaimer: This narrative is a first draft, and is therefor subject to grammar errors, repetitiveness, lack of clarity, and other issues. Later drafts will smooth such things over, but for now they remain. Please be tolerant.
Riley sat at the conference, completely uninterested. This was really more of his father’s kind of scene. Technically, Riley wasn’t even an Heir, he was adopted. But the Lussa Queen refused to come, and so she sent him in her place.
“And so, as a result we’ve concluded that the Royal family is to be ousted.”
” Yep.” Riley had no idea what he had just agreed to.
The room he was desperately trying to ignore stared at him.
Reagant said, “really?”
“You agree, then, that the Royal family should step aside and let the law take over.”
“What? No! Even if I did, I would fix the laws first! Everyone, every single citizen knows that the Lussa’s laws are ridiculous and convoluted! That’s why court takes so long, a lawyer can find a contradicting law with ease and counter any argument, and then counter the counter… No, we need someone at the top or this place would grind to a halt.”
The room was large, half the size of a royal dining hall and with a similar long wooden table running down the centre. The walls were made of stone, a rarity in these lands. The seats were cushioned, but made of iron.
“There will be someone at the top.” Reagant stared, unblinking and monotone.
Riley waited, but Reagant didn’t continue.
A mechanical smile curled across Reagant’s face. Riley had interacted with this mild Police captain before in the past, but he was never one to smile in the presence of a superior.
Reagant said, “Venus Rhye.”
Riley had never heard this name, but he stood up and began to act as if he had, “leave this room.”
Reagant continued smiling.
“You are not to leave this city block.”
That’s what Reagant had said.
Chloe strode back and forth down the sandy street. She approached the edge of the block, and was stopped by a hand. A policewoman stared at her.
“You must wait for Reagant, royal.”
The officer gave her a stern, almost threatening look.
“Is there a economist here?”
“No. Reagant may take you to one if he chooses, upon his return.”
“Where is Dooll? Or Elliott?” Chloe figured she might as well try get some information.
“Dooll has been detained.”
“We are not to discuss this topic with you.”
Chloe crossed her arms, “okay, fine!”
After strolling around for a few hours, Chloe concluded that there was nothing to do. All the stores were in the neighbouring district, and all the restaurants weren’t accepting her money.
Like most royalty, Chloe had no financial troubles. In fact, thanks to her mother’s exploits as a warlord and conqueror, the Solune family could stop taxation and maintain their current lifestyle for over a century.
Chloe had a lot of different bronze coins which were worth quite a bit in the Kingdom, but here, where Gwenhime and Isaac Rhye’s face were unknown, they hold only at face value. Her pockets, once lined with wealth, now held only metal pieces, who’s value amounted to little more than enough for a glove or kerchief.
Around her neck she held her only hope. A small pouch filled with Solune coin made of gold. No one would accept it here, but they all assured her that a money-changer or economist would convert it to a large sum.
That would have been her first priority, if she had been allowed to see one, but she had not. Instead, she was now strolling about the district in straight lines until a policeman or policewoman stopped her. Then, she would turn around and continue this habit.
She wondered at the iron buildings that collected rust around her. Even more unusual was the pavement. Unlike the cobble or tile she was used to, the roads here were usually unpaved. They were just caked sand. She would have hated to go out barefoot, in fear that the ground would suck out all of her moisture through her feet.
And then the areas that were paved, such as in front of churches in the northern blocks, or the large halls in her current location, were paved with iron again. The sky was grey, the sun unusually silver, and her entire world was bathed in monochrome. Chloe couldn’t believe how otherworldly the Lussa city appeared. The only thing that wasn’t grey or brown was the red and orange oxidation that flaked from most of the walls and fancier pavements. The expensive buildings seemed to have been sprayed, and some had workers brushing away rust every hour.
Besides the workers, there were very few people in this district, and those who did come seemed to be very important and well dressed. Chloe felt out of place in her travelling clothes, but she could neither find a place to change, nor a store to purchase new garments. She would gaze longingly at the crowded and forbidden adjacent streets.
Eventually Chloe came upon a man sitting on the iron steps of a grand hall. His face was concealed in his hands, and he appeared to be pretending that he was not crying, when in fact she could hear he was.
The man exhaled sharply, and inhaled in broken breaths. His long black hair covered most of his face and arms, but on the back of his neck was a silver band. Chloe touched the bronze band about her own neck and wondered if the man’s necklace was also a signifier, or if it was just an accessory.
He mumbled something that sounded to Chloe like, “We have fallen.”
“Excuse me, are you alright?”
Riley had been physically escorted out. Him, a member of the royal family! The injustice was simply too great, and Riley became wrought with emotion. He simply sat on the steps and wept. The muddy water of his political position had been purified, the sediment settling at the bottom and revealing his true lack of power.
“We have fallen.” He whispered.
And then, “Excuse me, are you alright?”
Riley blinked away his tears, and then looked up. He saw a glowing figure from behind his hair.
“What radiance!” Riley spouted, and then frantically worked his hands into motion, brushing his hair from his face.
“Pardon?” Chloe gave him a small but resolute smile.
The man’s legs moved of their own accord, and Riley decided it was right for him to play along. He reached out with his two hands and grasped Chloe’s surprisingly large right in his.
“I am the Princess, Riley Lussa,” he said.
“Excuse me? Princess?”
“Ah…” Chloe had not heard of this title, but she figured that it was right of her to introduce herself before asking for elaboration.
She said, “I am Chloe Rhye, Seventh Prince of the Solune.”
There was immediate change in Riley’s face. He stepped back, almost tripped on the stairs, caught himself, and then caught on fire.
Still holding Chloe’s hand, he kissed it. Chloe, having never experienced this formality, and much to his astonishment, she copied his action. The royalty stared at each other for a moment, letting the calm world take these few seconds of their time. They both became flushed.
Catching himself, Riley let go of Chloe’s hand, and put his other foot on the higher step. He was suddenly filled with energy and hope.
“There is an angel in our presence!” He spoke. He had the kind of voice and tone that would no doubt draw a crowd, if the occupants of the streets weren’t currently on paid time.
Riley continued, “I have asked the Solune for deliverance, and they have done no less than send me this beautiful apparition of the sun, a true exalted Celestial, her flowing silver hairs and fertile loins, Chloe Rhye!”
Chloe was unused to such stark and public praise, and even less used to being referred to as something akin to a goddess. As a result, the redness her face had previously acquired did not fade, and instead became deeper. Then she finally realized who she was talking to, and her hands came to her face in shock.
“Oh, was it you the? You who sent the letter? You’re Riley?”
Riley smile grew even wider, “I have come up with quite an arrangement, would you not agree?”
Chloe gasped, smiled, and then clapped her hands in praise, abandoning any attempts to hide her compromised features.
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Sorry I’m a little late today! It was my last day at work, and it took me a bit of time to wind down. I hope you understand!