The Sorcerer's Bride Chapter 19: Hazel

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A week prior:

"Why are you sending me to Carendlus?" Hazel was panicking.

Her father though just looked at her and sighed, "What is wrong with Carendlus? They were our allies during the war."

"They're barbarous! I might get turning into a toad or end up speaking backwords! And that war was over a century ago, no one remembers it." She looked at her father with her brown eyes widened, "Why do I even need to leave home?"

"It's tradition, sweet daughter of mine."

"So?"

"You are going and that's final. Carendlus is one of our allies even if they do allow that despicable practice within their borders."

"But-"

"I said that it is FINAL!"

Hazel took a step back, realizing that she was not getting out of this. Frustration seeped through her, and she felt frightened. Of all the kingdoms her father could have sent her to why did it have to be Carendlus? Probably, he just didn't want to send her to a kingdom with a prince her age, he was pretty protective of her. She let out a sigh of defeat, "Alright, Father I'll go. But is it true that there is actually a practicioner in the court there?"

"Yes. It's one of their customs. Don't worry, daughter, they are our allies. King Jayesh won't let anything happen to you."

"Alright."

The king of Amriel looked at his distraught daughter, "You aren't going alone, of course."

She looked up, "Of course. Who are you sending with me?"

"A few maids of your choosing, and I think that Asrar will go as your guard."

She nodded with a smile. Asrar was one of the best knights in her father's court, she would feel a lot safer with his serious presence around. He was a good choice from her father's prospective. And as a bonus, at least to her and her sanity, he was also her best friend. "Then can I take Rose and Lily?"

"Of course, I am sure they would have been upset if you hadn't."

"It will be nice to have them with me, Father. Thank you." Rose and Lily, twins, were two of her personal maids, and she got along with them rather well. It would be a lot less lonely with them alongside her. Though she had heard that the queen was about her age, she was not sure that she would, or even could, get along with someone who was willing to be queen with a court that had a magician in it. Just the thought of magic sent Hazel's skin crawling.

"You will be setting out in a week's time. Will you let your maids and Asrar know?"

"Yes, Father." As she left the throne room of her father, she wondered briefly if Asrar would help her get away but almost immediately dismissed it. There was no way the young knight would be willing to risk her safety. Helping her sneak snacks from the kitchens was one thing, but sneaking out of the castle would definetely go against all his training. She sighed, it looked like she was really going to have to go to Carendlus, after all.

She headed for her quarters hoping to find the cute twin girls she had befriended. Before she opened the door she heard a giggling voice. "Lily come on, you have to tell me what he said."

"Nu-uh." Lily was blushing when Hazel opened the door. Rose had the look of an interrogator as she looked at her sister.

Hazel entered her room, "I agree with Rose. Who is 'he' and what did he say?"

"See? You aren't getting out of this, my dearest sister." Rose grinned now that she had backup. "And it's Gavin, the stable boy, Princess."

"Ummm... He asked if he could court me..." Lily voice was very small, and her expression was highly shy.

"And?" Both Hazel and Rose spoke together.

"I sort of ran off...you were watching though Rose, you know."

"I couldn't hear what he was saying though."

Hazel shook her head helplessly. Lilly was really to shy for her own good. There was, unfortunately, a high chance of her blowing all her chances at marriage by bolting on any guy who showed interest. "Alright you two, Lily you should probably work on that flight machinism to tone it down a bit. But anyway, I was actually looking for you two, I will be leaving in a week. Will you come with me?"

Both girls smiled and chimed together, "Of course!"

Hazel smiled as she left them, "I need to go tell our protector knight that he's coming with us as well."

She could hear their voices as she left. "Protector knight?" "I assume she means Asrar."

It was not hard to find the young knight, as he was practicing his sparring in the courtyard. She was thankful he did not have his usual crowd of admirers. He was really to popular for his own good. "Asrar!"

The knight's gold-flecked green eyes snapped to meet hers, his serious face breaking into a light smile. "Yes, my princess?"

"My father decided that you are to accompany me on my trip to Carendlus." Her voice trembled on the name of the city.

"Alright," Asrar went back to sparring. "When does the journey begin, exactly?"

"A week," She whispered. "I can't believe my father is making me go."

"It's tradition. And it's only for a year, it will be over before you know it."

"But Carendlus? Why does it have to be there."

Asrar halted and then lowered his sword and sat beside her with a sigh, "Do not worry princess, I will protect thee from any warlocks." She could not tell if he was trying to tease her, mock her, or if he was being totally serious.

She decided to treat it as if he was being serious, as he tended to be pretty serious these days. There had been a time, when they were younger, that he had been a total jokester. But when they were ten, he had suddenly become a lot more serious, she had no idea why. Though of course, she could still talk him into some mischief, "Thank you, I will hold you to that."

"It is my job, is it not?"

Hazel watched as her best friend went back to his practices. She stayed there watching him, and every now and then they would engage in simple conversation.
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