The Sceptre

 Jotham, Silveran capital



     For a moment, Hazel was frozen to the spot, too shocked to move. She hadn't expected the queen to notice her presence.  But again, the queen was no ordinary person.

     Hazel's wide eyed gaze met Yuka's and he sighed, wiping off the blood from his lips.

"There's no one there. I'll take my leave now" he said and the queen narrowed her eyes. "I was so sure I sensed-"

"You must've sensed the maids and the guards" Yuka interrupted her, his eyes discreetly telling Hazel to leave. She snapped out of her daze and walked away, feeling troubled.

Why was Yuka being treated like an animal? Why did they despise him so much?

Hazel did not have the answers to these questions and this worried her to no end. So, when the royal family joined her at the table, she felt utterly ill at ease. "Hazel, are you alright?" Caden asked her as he sat down beside her.

"I'm fine"

"You look troubled" he said to her and she forced out a smile. "It's nothing really. I was just thinking about the fact that I didn't get to say goodbye to my brothers" she responded and he nodded in understanding.

"You met Yuka, I presume" the king said to Hazel.

"Yes" she responded.

"We asked you to stay away from the East wing for a reason, Hazel. Yuka is dangerous, you shouldn't be anywhere around him"

So, what? Because he's a black blood you decide to isolate him from everyone else? That's brutal, Hazel thought.

    "Hazel, are you listening?" Caden asked and she nodded.

"You have no idea what he's capable of and I need you to be safe. Promise me you won't go to him again" he said and she blinked.

"I promise"

         While they had dinner, none of them knew that Hazel was planning to go to the East wing later on, to make sure that Yuka was alright. She couldn't shake off the guilt she was feeling.

      Hazel had always been the rebellious type. She always broke the rules no matter the consequence. She felt sorry for Caden and his parents, they truly had no idea what kind of person she really was. The more they tried to tame her, the wilder she became and this was what made her different from everyone else.

    "Your wedding with my son is in seven days. You know that, right?" the queen said and Hazel's grip on her cutleries tightened.

Seven days?

How did that even happen?

Caden gave her a warm smile and she forced out a smile in return.

"Yes, your highness" she said to the queen.

"Have you two started to know more about each other?" the queen asked, her expression stoic as always.

"We're taking it slow. Hazel needs time to adjust to her new life at the palace" Caden said and the queen rolled her eyes.

"We don't have time-" she began but was interrupted by the king.

"Enough, Clarice. Do not put pressure on the red blood"

Hazel lowered her gaze, feeling out of place. She really wished there was a way out of her new problems. The queen seemed to dislike her and it had officially become part of her long list of problems since she'd arrived in Jotham.


    After dinner, Caden decided to take a walk in the south wing garden with Hazel and as they walked hand in hand, Hazel didn't feel totally comfortable like how she'd felt when she was around Yuka.

     Caden was gorgeous, kind and considerate. She had literally no idea why she was unable to relax completely around him.

"How many brothers do you have?" Caden asked her.

"Three brothers. They're all triplets"

"Really? They must've toughened you up"

"They sure did"

"So, does that mean I'm about to get married to a superwoman?"

Hazel snorted.

"I'm just a mere red blood just like your mother said" she stated and Caden's gaze softened.

"Does my mother intimidate you?" He asked and Hazel shrugged.

"A little. She clearly doesn't like me" she muttered and he embraced her. She closed her eyes, inhaling his lemon scent. There was still a part of her that was wary about him. "Why do you hate your brother so much?" Hazel dared to ask. Caden stiffened and she looked up to gaze into his silver eyes.

"Someone who was dear to me died because of him. He killed her. He is too dangerous, Hazel. He almost burnt my mother to death a few years ago"

Hazel suspected that there was more to the story but he just wasn't telling her everything.

"I'm tired, Caden. I'll like to retire to my room now" she said and he nodded.

     When they got to the entrance of Hazel's room, he gazed into her eyes for a moment and pressed a kiss to her forehead before walking away. Hazel's heart began to beat faster as she stepped into her room and shut the door. Why am I feeling like this? She thought.

Why does Caden keep doing things that makes my heart flutter? Is he trying to make me fall in love with him?

That night, Hazel kept tossing and turning on her bed, unable to sleep. Two people were on her mind: Yuka and Caden. The urge to see Yuka was almost overwhelming and she tried not to give into it, but it was useless anyway. She was rebellious by nature. She got dressed in a fitting pair of brown trousers, a pair of brown boots, a black long sleeved shirt and a black cape. Then, she took her small dagger with her, just in case the need to defend herself arose. Nevertheless, she didn't believe Yuka would hurt her.

     She skillfully avoided the maids and the guards. Soon, she'd arrived in the East wing of the palace. She headed straight for the chamber with the largest doors. Then she knocked on the door. The doors immediately swung open, revealing Yuka's large bedroom. Most of the things in his room were purple and black. She noticed the figure lying on the bed with blankets wrapped around him. He was shivering so hard, she noticed. Alarmed, she rushed to his side and bent over him, brushing the damp strands of his hair away from his face. Then she placed her palm over his forehead, flinching when she noticed how badly he was burning up.

     "Yuka!" She whispered, patting his cheek to awaken him. His eyelashes fluttered slightly and he let out a low groan. "Hazel, you shouldn't be here. You're going to get yourself in trouble" he croaked, opening his eyes a little. "You're burning up badly. Isn't there something that can help with your fever?"

      He stared at her through half closed eyelids.

"Hazel, didn't you hear what I just said?" He asked, his voice hoarse.

"I did. But, that's not the problem right now. You were punished because of me. So, I need to fix it" she said. He coughed and gave her a half smile.

"I'm fine. The poison will wear off soon"

"Poison? Wait, they gave you poison to drink just because I came to the East wing?"

     "This is not your fault, Hazel. They have been doing this to me, long before now. They're always looking for a chance to get me to die because they know that black bloods have nine lives" he responded.

Dread sank deep into her as she stared at him.

"Are you sure you're going to be fine?"

     "The effect was supposed to last for three days but my body has gotten used to it. It will most likely last all night. I'll be as good as new when morning comes" he rasped. "I'll be back" she said and left his bed chamber. When she returned, she was carrying a bowl of water and a couple of towels.

She sat by his bedside and soaked the towel in water before wringing it with her hands. Then, she placed it on his burning forehead.

      "They don't know that you have adapted to the poison, do they?" She said and he mumbled a 'no'.

"Why do they hate you so much?" She asked and he gave her a half smile.

"A story for another day, I guess. It seems I'll be seeing more of you soon" he said and she sighed.

She remained by his side and when it was midnight, she noticed that his fever had reduced a great deal and his shivering had lessened.

He opened his eyes, surprised to see her still in his room.

    "Hazel?" He whispered and she smiled wearily.

"Hey. Are you feeling better?"

"Yes" he responded and she nodded.

"That's good. I have questions for you"

He raised a brow and she smiled sleepily.

"Can you really change into a cat? I like cats, I've always wanted one as my pet" she said and he grinned.

"With how rebellious you are, I think a tiger for a pet will suit you better"

She laughed softly.

     "I don't have a death wish, Yuka"

"Yes, I can change into both big and small cats"

"Really? That's cool. Can you change into one now? I want to see you in all your cat-like glory" she said, yawning.

"Hazel, you can go back to your chambers now. You're exhausted" he said and she shook her head as she rubbed her right eye with her fist.

    "I don't wanna. I want you to tell me more"

Yuka sat up with a wince and wrapped his hair into a messy bun.

"Come on, Hazel. You should get some sleep" he said and she frowned.

"I'm scared"

His gaze softened.

"Why are you scared?"

"I'm scared that I'm never going to get used to living in the palace. I'm scared of falling in love because I don't want to get hurt. I know I sound stupid, Yuka. But, it's the truth. There's still a part of me that wants to say 'fuck it all' and be done with it. I'm still human and I'm just a red blood. What if all this is too much for me? I don't belong in the palace, Yuka. I don't want to be your brother's queen. I don't want to get married to Caden and I really wish there was something I could do to put the wedding on hold" she ranted, her eyes glazed over with unshed tears.

Yuka sighed and got out of bed. Then he rose to his feet and brought her to her feet.

"I'm going to help you" he said and her eyes widened.

"Really? How?"

"The royal sceptre. Without it the wedding cannot hold. I'm going to have to steal it and hide it" he said and her eyes widened further. "You would do that for me?" She asked and he nodded.

       Overly thankful, Hazel threw herself into his arms and embraced him, tears of relief filling her eyes. She'd totally forgotten about the fact that Yuka wasn't wearing a shirt and his muscled chest and torso was in full display.

Yuka froze when she embraced him, his eyes widening.

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