Chapter Nineteen – continued
“What nonsense is this?” King Alon demanded. “He is not yet wed. Merike will marry him.”
Lawrence quickly held up a placating hand. “Not so, Your Majesty. Here in the Glass Kingdom, declaration to court is just short of an agreement to marriage. In due time the Duke and my daughter will be wed. He is spoken for.” He held out his hands. “There is nothing more I can do. To do so would mean a change to our laws. Your daughter will return to you. I’m sorry.”
“No,” Queen Merin whispered, her voice soft but biting.
Quickly, King Alon glanced at his wife before quickly saying, “There must be a marriage to unite our kingdoms. If Duke Murant is now Crown Prince, he shall marry my daughter.”
“The Duke Murant is not yet Crown Prince,” Prince Grant cut in. “If Prince James is a runaway, we must find him in all due haste.”
Lawrence was quiet as he turned to study the mermaid king and queen. Beside them, the princess had gone still. Her fingers no longer played with her necklace. Instead, her fingertips rested at her collarbone, her eyes narrowed as she stared, not at Lawrence, but at her own father. Adrian held his breath as he studied Abigail’s father, watched his shoulders tense.
“Your Majesty, King Alon, I wonder,” Lawrence said slowly, quietly, “why did you agree to the new terms so quickly?” He looked over to Queen Merin. “Why does your wife not wish to have her daughter returned to her bosom?”
“Enough,” Merike said softly, her hands falling away to her sides, her spine straightening. A strange breeze seemed to swirl around her, playing with the short ends of her hair.
“Fae blessed,” someone, one of the courtiers, gasped.
King Alon grit his teeth. “No. A witch.”
“Your daughter is a sea witch,” Lawrence said, his voice low and cold. “You would have placed a sea witch on the throne of the Glass Kingdom?”
“I would have a menace taken from my society,” King Alon growled.
“Outrageous!” King Gray burst out. “You have tricked me and mine, Alon. You and your family are banished from the Glass Kingdom. Return to your sea. If war is what comes next, we will be ready.”
Lawrence, with nothing more to ask or say, bowed to his king and queen. Then, swiftly, he turned and left, his footsteps both measured and furious as they echoed all the way to the doors.
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