CHAPTER 41

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"I really don't think it was necessary for me to come Xerxes," Saya groans, rubbing her protruding belly. Xerxes helps her out of carriage, both of them greeted by King Stephan of Sheath.

"Brother! So nice of you to make it," Stephan acknowledges. He turns to Saya, "Princess, it's good to have you here." She nods trying her best to smile, but the gods know she is so tired. To Stephan's side is a beautiful woman, smiling at them, her chestnut hair pulled up in a bun. Are they engaged or is she just one of his women?

Xerxes takes Saya by the hand, both of them walking into his castle. It seems like they have similar tastes because the castle is no different from theirs.

At the end of every year, people gather at the Kingdom of Sheath to celebrate another fruitful 12 months. Xerxes did not want to leave Saya at the castle, and it wouldn't look good if he misses this celebration, as a king, so despite Saya's reassurance that she'll be okay, Xerxes brought her with him, where he can keep a close eye on her.

"The celebrations officially begin tomorrow. Xerxes, brother, there are some important matters we need to discuss, my advisors are waiting," Stephan says when they get to the door of the chambers Saya and Xerxes will be staying in.

Xerxes frowns at Stephan. If he is really telling him to leave Saya alone then he is out of his mind! Saya, sensing Xerxes' hesitation squeezes his hand a bit, "I'll be okay my love," she says, giving him a warm smile.

"I'll be back soon," he replies, pecking her lips. She nods shyly entering the chambers and closing the door, after she bows in respect to his brother.

"Let's make this quick," Xerxes walks past Stephan heading to the meeting. Stephan catches up with him, his hand on his shoulder. "Relax brother, nothing will happen to her, there are guards stationed everywhere." Xerxes does not reply, walking on. Stephan chuckles, his brother has certainly changed. If there is one thing he knows for sure, it's that Xerxes has never cared for a woman except their mother. But Saya, that woman has moved him far beyond Stephan could imagine. A woman, he does not want to part from, a woman he follows everywhere. Stephan stops, smiling at his brother. Xerxes turns around frowning, "What?"

"Nothing brother let's go," he says walking forward. Xerxes looks at him for a second, trying to decipher his sudden pause but shakes it off. Stephan is such a complex person anyway.

Yes, his guess is certainly right, he has never been so sure about this concerning his twin.

Xerxes has fallen in love.

***

Saya is sitting on the bed, her back against the headrest, reading a book. She hears a knock on the door, and grants permission for the person to enter, after putting the book under her pillow.

It is the same woman that had welcomed her with Stephan earlier. She came in with a bowl of fruits. Saya moves to help her immediately, but she insists that Saya stay put. She is heavily pregnant anyway.

Saya taps the side of the bed so the lady can sit. "King Stephan told me to bring fruits up for you," she smiles, handing her the small bowl.

"Thank you, and I do apologize, that's all I crave for now," she says, giving an apologetic look, but the lady tells her there is no need to apologize. It is actually an honour for her to get to be with her, Saya, like this.

"An honour? I wouldn't call it that," Saya says nervously. "May I know your name?" the princess asks.

"Oh yes, it is Laila. I am one of the king's women." Ah yes, Nabir had told her before that the king has so many women.

"Laila, it's nice to meet you. I am Saya"

"I have heard so much about you Princess Saya. Within your first few months at the castle, you managed to get rid of the previous women that had been with the king," she says enthusiastically.

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