"Greetings to Queen Mother" Kaia curtseyed.
Her eyelashes were lowered, her posture elegant and there was a subtle feeling of purity. Even as she rose, there weren't major ripples in her skirt, making gracefulness seem a quality she was born with. Every action of hers was simply beautiful and charming that Antoinette could not carp any faults in her even if she wanted to.
"How dare you raise your head without the Queen Mother's permission!" The maid next to Antoinette yelled at Kaia.
Kaia narrowed her eyes at the woman, which involuntarily brought a shiver down the maid's spine.
Alexandra sneered at that. "You are just a mere maid. How dare you raise your voice at Her Highness – The Princess!"
When the maid was about to retort, Antoinette raised her hand to stop her. She immediately stopped the words that she was about to spew out, her intense glare focused on Alexandra who returned it with a frosty look.
"Although Sasha's words were said harshly, she was right; I did not give you permission to raise your head! Is this the respect you show to your grandmother–in–law? Even if you are skilled in etiquette, if you lack in mannerisms, how can I let you stand next to my grandson? Is this how they teach manners in your country? I heard rumours that you were coddled too much by your parents, that you haven't stepped out of your own chambers in your castle and that you know nothing better because of it. It seems they aren't just rumours."
Antoinette finished with a harrumph, her eyes gleeful and vicious. Kaia's eyes narrowed as a small sweet smile bloomed upon her lips.
"I wasn't aware I was rude, that was my mistake Queen Mother. It's just that I was told I needn't bow before anyone in Zestria, other than my parents. I thought giving you a curtsey was going out of my way even. I apologise that I wasn't satisfying enough for Queen Mother's expectations."
Antoinette's temper flared up at Kaia's sarcastic remark that she stood up from the throne.
"How dare you!"
Antoinette's face contorted in rage as she never suffered such disrespect in all her years she had been in the palace by anyone! She was a woman who had her husband wrapped around her fingers when he was a reigning king and now has her son follow her every command. No one disrespected her! Not even her own son! No one! Only that rogue grandson of hers had the audacity for it and now seeing his future wife behave this way...
'Ha! A devil deserves a devil after all!' she thought with a sneer.
"I don't care how you behaved in your country girl! However now you are my grandson's wife and you have to respect the values of the family now!" Antoinette heaved as she finished yelling at Kaia.
"Soon to be wife, not yet."
Kaia calmly retorted while looking at the fuming old woman lazily.
"Until the marriage is sealed, I have no need to bow before anyone, not even my soon to be husband. And even after the marriage, I shall bow before my husband and his parents."
Kaia's gaze turned sharp and Antoinette felt that she was frozen in place.
"And those who I see fit to gain my respect."
Antoinette's face turned red from anger.
"Impudent!" she screeched in a un-lady like way, losing all her dignity.
Just then the door to the main hall slammed open.
Three men strode in, their aura impeccable. The women's eyes were spontaneously drawn to the one at the lead, as he seemed to oppress every living being present in the hall.
The dark haired man's face was taciturn as usual but the frost that covered his eyes was clearly discernable. Anger was visibly emitting from him but it was a burning coldness. He stopped right next to Kaia, his focus placed on Antoinette, unmoving.
His tone was sharp. He didn't bow and neither did Calvin and Stefan who stood behind him.
"It seems you have a lot to say to my fiancée."
He narrowed his eyes at her.
"However you seem to forget that, your opinions on my bride doesn't matter."
Antoinette was enraged even more. This unruly boy!
She harrumphed at Hanson and Kaia and sneered. "Now that I see, the both of you are a perfect match, unruly and a sure disgrace in the history of the royal family of Clarines. Looking at you both I can only hope you don't raze the country to the ground."
Kaia wanted to give the old woman a piece of her mind. But she held back now that Hanson is here. Besides it won't do her any good to exert her power here. A woman like this will find a way to find flaw in every action she takes. However, she soon found out that she didn't have to do anything.
The man beside her smirked at Antoinette's words. He reached out and held Kaia's hand in his surprising her.
"The history of Royal family of Clarines you say..." Hanson drawled out.
"Grandmother must be jesting, surely you must know, who was the one who razed our country to ground for her own selfish reasons? "
He sighed as if he was disappointed. "I can't blame grandmother. After all, grandmother is naive when it concerns politics. Surely you must not know that if my fiancée so wants, she can, not just have Clarines but the whole of Zestria in her hands."
He then looked at Antoinette as if berating a child that knew nothing better. "Grandmother must not know that the one who must be bowing before her is grandmother yourself. Lest you offend her family and raze the country to the ground for real this time."
Kaia was surprised and felt the situation so hilarious that she couldn't stop her lips from rising upwards in a smile. Catherine and Alexandra had more control and there wasn't a shift in their expression even though they felt incredibly pleased. Cynthia and Athena on the other hand were biting their lips to keep themselves from letting out a laugh.
Calvin had a pleased smile on his face as he unhesitatingly looked at Antoinette while Stefan had a playful grin that he didn't bother hiding as he looked at the queen mother as if he was taking glee at her suffering.
Antoinette felt that her boiling blood will burst out of her head.
"You...! You...! You insolent boy! How dare you insult your grandmother like that! And before that woman too!"
Hanson raised his eyebrows at Antoinette. "That woman? Grandmother, the woman you mention is my soon to be wife and the only princess of Wales who is the heir to the throne of the Walerian kingdom"
His gaze turned cold as he looked at Antoinette and her unbridled behaviour.
"Even father has to bow before her. She is the future Queen of Wales. Under normal circumstances grandmother doesn't even have the right to stand before her. It would thus do you good to know your place."
He didn't sweeten his words, nor did he beat around the bush.
Kaia's respect to this man increased even more. The hand which held hers was warm and reassuring. She had a thought that, hadn't she met Leortes, she would've been content to be with this man. She would have surely fallen for him. But fate has a way to play with people. All of a sudden she felt suffocated, she felt as if she was ruining this man's life.
Antoinette's voice brought her out of her self-depreciating thoughts.
"If she is that great, why are you marrying her?! Why don't you marry her instead?!" Antoinette yelled in her rage.
Hanson widened his eyes as if he was enlightened.
"Grandmother is right! How could I have not thought of it before! As grandmother wishes I shall marry my fiancée and take on her last name instead."
He then looked at Antoinette with a small but pleased smile that almost took away the hearts of Kaia and the girls standing behind her. His eyes crinkled and his entire countenance radiated as bright as the morning sun. However his words made them want to laugh out in amusement.
"Grandmother isn't completely a lost cause after all."
Antoinette almost had a heart attack with her rising blood pressure. She couldn't even bring out her words to berate the unruly prince.
"If grandmother has nothing to say but to only find fault at others, I shall take my leave now."
Hanson simply nodded his head and turned around pulling Kaia with him, not even letting her pay her respects to Antoinette before leaving.
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