It was Evelyn’s first day as queen. With her mother and father’s untimely death only a month earlier, Evelyn was on her own for the first time in her life. She had little experience in way of running the kingdom, but Evelyn had studied hard and knew her kingdom better than her parents had.
“You will need to send a representative to the kingdom of Atlantis, and you have received a letter from the kingdom of Arndell.” The new queen’s adviser told Evelyn.
“I will send Sir Alexander to the kingdom of Atlantis.” Evelyn was handed the letter. “I will leave the castle tomorrow to visit my kingdom. I want to see what is needed in my kingdom.”
“It’s not safe to walk around the kingdom.”
“I will go in disguise and you may allow one or two of the best guards to join as long as they are also in disguise.”
“Your parents never walked around the kingdom.”
“I am not my parents. I love my parents, but they could have run the kingdom better.”
“Yes, your highness.” The kingdom’s adviser gave in.
“Wonderful, have the two guards ready after breakfast. We can go to the market if we are ready early enough.” Evelyn was about to walk out of the throne room.
“One more thing your highness, that letter in your hand is a marriage proposal.” The adviser stood behind queen Evelyn.
“I am not ready to get married.”
“Your parents promised you to the prince of Arndell. You will need to go to Arndell within the next few weeks.”
“Okay, next month I will see the prince of Arndell.”
Evelyn dressed in a plain dark grey dress that her maid had let her borrow. She used a dark cloak to cover her head and face from sight. She hid her purse under her cloak. She borrowed another maid’s shoes in order to finish her disguise.
“You can still back out your majesty.” Her adviser told her as she was walking out the castle with her two guards.
“I will be perfectly safe.” Evelyn told him. “Only a few people know that I am going into the village and I will have my guards.”
“At least take this dagger to keep you safe.” He pulled out Evelyn’s mother’s old dagger.
Evelyn took the dagger and hid it under her cloak with her purse. “Thank you.”
The guards walked 100 feet behind Evelyn as she walked through the market. Evelyn so often the guards would stop and pretend to be interested in one of the market stands. The guards also took the time at the market to pick up items the kitchen needed.
At one stand a golden pendent caught Evelyn’s eye causing her to stop. The pendent was in the shape of a heart and had a red ruby in the middle. The chain attached to the pendent looked old, but the pendent itself looked almost new.
“How much for the necklace?” Evelyn asked the man at the stand.
“Here.” Evelyn handed the money to the man.
“This necklace brings whoever wears it their biggest desire.” The man put the necklace in Evelyn’s hand.
“I don’t think I have a desire for anything.”
“Everyone desires something, your majesty.” The man winked at Evelyn.
A few weeks later Evelyn was on her way to Arndell. She was wearing her new necklace she had gotten at the market. The whole trip took a day and a half, and the sun was setting by the time she got out of her carriage.
“Thank you for having me.” Evelyn curtsied to the king and queen of Arndell.
“We are glad to have you.” The queen smiled. “We will have your bags dropped off in your room. Dinner will be ready soon. You can meet our son during dinner”
“Wonderful, I will wash up and get ready for dinner.” Evelyn followed the king and queen into the castle.
“I will have the servants start a bath for you.” The queen told Evelyn as the two walked up stairs.
Evelyn went to the room she would be staying in. She pulled out an emerald dinner dress while she waited for the bath. She pulled out a black hair ribbon from one of her bags, that she wanted Florence, her maid, to help her put in her hair. She pulled out dark colored heels that went perfectly with the dress.
Florence knocked on the door. “The bath is ready your majesty.”
“Thank you, Florence.” Evelyn walked over to that bath. “You can head to your room and get ready for dinner and then come back.”
“Are you sure your majesty?”
“Yes, just come back after you are ready for dinner. I need help with my hair and with my dress.”
“Thank you.” Florence left the room.
Once Florence left, Evelyn took off her dress and climbed into the bath. She enjoyed the hot water for a bit and once she was done, she got out of the bath and dried off. She needed help getting her dinner dress on, but Florence was still not back.
After a bit Florence returned. “I’m sorry I’m late your majesty. This is my first time in the castle, and I got lost.”
“It’s all right Florence.” Evelyn smiled. “The dress and hair ribbon are on the bed.”
“You must be excited.” Florence said as she laced up the dress. “You are meeting the man you will be marrying.”
“This will be my first time seeing him since I was a child.”
“At least you have met him before. You mother met your father one month before the wedding.”
“I forgot you were originally my mother maid.”
“You look like your mother.” Florence smiled and started doing Evelyn’s hair. “She had auburn hair just like you, and her eyes were just as brown as yours. She would be so proud of how you have been running the kingdom.”
“I miss her.”
“You need to be getting to dinner.”
“What if I don’t love him?” Evelyn got up and started walking towards the door. “I have no choice in marrying him.”
Florence followed Evelyn. “Try to think positively and remember you always have a choice.”
“I wish you could some with me.” Evelyn hugged Florence outside the dining room.
“I will be with the other maids, but I will be thinking about you. I promise.”
Evelyn took a deep breath and pushed open that door to the dinning room. Sitting at the table was the king and queen, but the prince was yet to come down. The servants were giving fulling up the glasses with wine.
“You look beautiful.” A voice came from behind Evelyn.
Standing behind her was a 6’2” man with corn yellow hair. His blue eyes sparkled like two sapphire. He had a scar on his neck that was halfway hidden under his shirt.
“Arthur.” Evelyn whispered.
“Come sit down.” The queen of Arndell called to her son and the girl he was set to married. “We have something to talk to you about.”
“When Evelyn’s parents got sick, they asked to speed up the engagement we set when you two were children. They want the wedding to happen within a year of their death.” The king of Arndell took a sip of wine and then continued. “We agree with your parents and would like to begin planning the wedding.”
“I am doing good running the kingdom on my own, the wedding plan can continue as planned. I will get married on my 21st birthday that is in three years.”
“Do I have a say in this?” Arthur asked his parents. “No one has talked to me about this.”
The dinner was served, and they ate in silence. Finally, Evelyn broke the silence. “What do you think about all this, Arthur?”
“I would like to see how you run your kingdom.” Arthur told Evelyn. “If I was to help you rule your kingdom, I would like to see what you are doing first.”
“When I go back in a few days, come with me.” Evelyn offered.
Arthur took Evelyn up on her suggestion. He spent a month watching Evelyn rule her kingdom on her own. She had started programs where once a week the people came to her for help and ideas to help the kingdom. She also went through the kingdom giving out food to those in need. She spent time with the children in the kingdom, often reading to them and giving them treats.
I don’t want to ruin what you are doing for your kingdom.” Arthur told Evelyn on his last day. “I do want to marry you, but I would want you to run this kingdom on your own, without my help. I also want you to help start these programs in my kingdom just like the ones you have started here.”
“I will marry you on my 21st birthday. Just like it was planned before.” Evelyn offered. “I will happily let you court me in that time.”
“I will take that offer.” Arthur kissed her.