The first rays of the sun had pierced the Sky. The silence in the Palace was still the same, but with a few more souls up now, it was going to be lively again in another hour.
A little girl with platinum blonde hair was awake. Her drowsy eyes and yawns indicated that she was not used to waking up so early, but she was dressed, ready for the plans she had to follow today.
Shazan had long sensed Marilyn waking up Kaiya. He was curious why she was being woken up so early, but he knew that it must have something to do with her training and familiarity with the Silverstein Estate.
He was waiting for her on the Ground Floor by the lift, and when the door of the lift opened, her black eyes stared at him, not sure if he was real or if she was dreaming.
“Has my little bride seen a ghost?”
He chuckled and stepped close to her. He drew his hand to her and waited for her to place her hand in his before guiding her out of the lift. Her attire told him what the day was about for her.
“Do you like horses, miss Kaiya?” He asked as he caressed her hand.
Kaiya was wearing a riding suit. Her black jacket was tight on her torso, and it looked like she was a cute little soldier dressed in black and white.
By now, she was certain that she was not dreaming, the little drowsiness that had been lingering inside of her had vanished. Her innocent heart was beating in rhythms that she was still not familiar with.
“I don’t know.” She whispered and then shook her head. “I have never ridden horses before. But they are beautiful animals…”
“I see,” He nodded and then chuckled. “Where is your head-gear?”
Kaiya’s eyes widened at the reminder. She had forgotten to bring along the head-gear and left it back in the dressing room.
“I’ll be right back!” She said and tried to get back in the lift, but he didn’t let go off her hand.
“No need. You won’t be needing it today.”
For a moment, she thought that she would not get to have her horse-riding lesson, and her face drew a helpless expression.
“But I want to see the horses.” She whispered a request.
“I didn’t say that you won’t be having your lessons today. You do not need your head-gear today. Don’t worry.”
Shazan guided her to the dining room and then led her to the main kitchen. The appetizing aroma in the place made his little bride salivate subconsciously. He chuckled as he heard her gulp it down and curiously look around the kitchen.
Lena, who was adeptly working on marinating a turkey, smiled gleefully when she saw them.
“Good Morning!” She left what she was doing and rushed up to him before enveloping her arms around his neck, careful that her hands won’t stain his clothes, she tip-toed and placed a kiss on his lips.
Shazan smiled under their kiss and grabbed onto her waist. He lifted her up in the air before slowly spinning around with her, engaging her in a deep kiss.
“Stop!” Lena complained, but it didn’t sound like she wanted him to stop, and he knew that she didn’t want him to stop displaying his affection.
“You smell delicious, Lulu…” He nibbled on her lower lip. “I think I want to have you for breakfast today!” He declared before spinning again with her.
“No!” Her complaint was genuine this time. “I still have to finish preparing the meal, and I have to make preparations for lunch as well.” He added. She knew what would unfold if she agreed. Her olive skin was burning in a blush.
“Huh…” He squinted his eyes and looked right in her chocolate eyes. “Girl, do you love your work more than your Master?” He asked with a serious expression.
Her heart thumped hard at his question, even though she was familiar with his playfulness, she didn’t play along with him.
“No means no…” She nibbled back on his lower lip. “I love you more than anything, Master. But I must really work on meals today. You know that Helen and Asaya will be coming in the afternoon, I have been instructed to prepare for a feast. It’s a special day.”
If they were alone right then, he would have just pushed her down and got on with the deed, but Kaiya was there and she was curiously looking at them. He kept his urge in his heart and affectionately smiled at his beautiful maid.
“Alright. You survive.” He chuckled and placed her back on her feet. He planted a kiss on her forehead before she hurried back to her work.
“I will be ready with your and Karen’s breakfast in a few minutes, Kaiya…” Lena smiled at the girl and busied herself to get on with it.
“I am going to eat you…” Shazan smiled at Kaiya and strode up to her. She yelped and tried to run around the counter, but he picked her up and swirled around with her.
“Caught you!” He nibbled on her ear.
She laughed at his antics, and then they were both laughing together, finding it hard to suppress it.
He sat her down on the counter by his side as they both watched Lena work on her duties as dedicated as ever.
“Have you come to enjoy Lena’s cooking?” He inquired.
“The best food I have ever had.” Kaiya honestly nodded, but then she cocked her head and asked. “She didn’t ask you what you will be having for breakfast. You are not eating?”
“We have a rule. If I come to the Kitchen, she will make me something of her choice.” He said and poured himself some water.
“Oh…” Kaiya nodded and seemed lost in her thoughts.
The two sat there silently as the little girl thought of something to converse with him about. And he was waiting for what she would come up with.
Kaiya looked at the clock for the fifth time in five minutes, and then she looked curiously at him.
“Karen is still sleeping. She asked me to be ready by 5:30 am. It’s time.” It was not a complaint. She was providing him some information in an effort to break the silence between them.
“She’ll be here any moment now,” Shazan answered unhesitantly and smiled as he found Karen coming downstairs when he searched for her. “Karen is lazy. But if she gives you time, she will be there, always.” He told her.
The little girl was not yet familiar with the personalities of the people in the Palace. She had learned a lot about them, but it was just the start.
He glanced at her and saw her lost in her thoughts. He knew what the little girl was going through. The more time she was spending with them, the more she was questioning herself. Her thoughts were poisoning her with fears, expectations, and desires.
All of her problems could be solved instantly, all he would need to do was to command her mind, but he feared the consequences. He cared for her, and so he couldn’t make her weak.
Kaiya’s thoughts were not baseless. She was indeed not as special as any of the girls in the Palace. And to stand her ground with them, to be as special as them, she had to fight her demons herself. That’s what would make her strong.
“She’s here.” He smiled and told her to break her thoughts for the moment.
Karen entered the Kitchen sheepishly, but after seeing him sitting there, she forgot to see anything else and rushed up to him.
“Good Morning!” She planted a kiss on his forehead, and then without any reservations, she sat down on his lap.
“Morning, Kitty!” He kissed her head and let it rest on his shoulder.
She buried her face in his neck and breathed in his scent.
“Lena..” She called out. “I am hungry.” She complained, but her voice was ever so gentle.
“I know!” Lena giggled at Karen’s words. “Almost done.” She said as she started working on the last plate.
“Her eyes are not weak, girl. She doesn’t always wear glasses, especially when she is going out.” He answered the curiosity of Kaiya that had made her stare at Karen in surprise. “The real reason why she wears them is that her eyesight is too strong. She still struggles a little to keep it under control, and so she wears those glasses.” He informed her.
Kaiya nodded to him in understanding and hesitated before asking what was on her mind.
“Karen-nee, what are your powers exactly?” She meekly asked. “Mother said that you are dexterous and very smart…”
Her words made Karen smile.
“Oh, she’s highly intelligent.” Shazan nodded. “Regretfully, she still can’t beat me at chess.” He chuckled as he took a jab at her.
Karen only pouted at his words but then directed her attention to Kaiya. She smiled at the little girl.
“My powers lie in my eyes, and yes, my brain functions very fast.” She said before explaining it further. “I can see things your eyes can’t. For example, right now,” She directed her gaze at Kaiya’s heart. “I can see your Heart clearly.” She giggled at Kaiya. “Yes, I can see people naked, no matter how covered they are. I can see beyond the walls. I can see the heat traces that a living creature leaves, and I can track it. I can also see the spectral lights that surround us and the sound waves too. Additionally, I can see very far very clearly. My mind functions fast and so my reflexes are fast. This means that my movements are super fast. Renesme has told me that my Powers lie under the Law of Spirit. And if I can become stronger and get a better understanding of my Powers, new ones will unlock.”
“That’s awesome!” Kaiya shockingly looked at Karen.
She had not expected that her Karen-nee, who looked like a lazy girl, was so exceptional.
“If you look closely in Karen’s eyes, you will see that her eyes change colors, but they always return back to their original state of Hazel.”
The words of Shazan rose the curiosity in Kaiya’s heart, and she came closer to take a better look at Karen’s eyes. She observed them for a while before her mouth dropped open. She seemed enchanted at the discovery.
“Alright…” Karen hid her face back in his neck after Kaiya had taken a good look. She was not comfortable with everyone staring deep in her eyes, and almost all of them would do it from time to time.
Kaiya was finally out of her trance.
“They are so beautiful!” She complimented with an honest heart even though she was a little jealous.
Shazan smiled at her behavior. He was observing Kaiya, and he was glad to see that she didn’t allow her jealousy to get in the way of her reasoning. Her heart was fragile, but it was generous enough to appreciate what was beautiful. And she was honest. He affectionately patted her platinum head.
His little bride looked at him curiously, but she couldn’t figure out what was on his mind.
“Breakfast time!” Lena reached the counter and started plating the meals for each of them. “That’s all you want? Right?” She asked Karen and Kaiya, but she didn’t look at Shazan.
“Yes. Thank you!” Kaiya thanked her.
Karen nodded with a smile and then left Shazan’s lap to sit by his side.
The four of them sat together and had their meal. The girls were the ones talking, and he was just enjoying the delicious but heavy breakfast that Lena had made for him.
“Alright… Let’s get going!” Shazan said after they had finished his breakfast.
“Where?” Kaiya asked curiously.
“I am going to accompany my beautiful brides…” He nudged her nose and replied.
The two girls smiled at his words. Karen was happy, and she showed it by planted a kiss on his cheek.
“You haven’t seen Sin in a while. He misses you a lot.” Karen informed him.
Shazan sighed and nodded.
It took them nearly a forty-minute walk to the east of the Palace tot reach the ranch. Kaiya had seen all the places in the monitoring room, but seeing the ranch in person excited her.
The large piece of land was surrounded on the three sides by dense trees. It was lustrous green, and basking in the morning light, it looked ever more peaceful and serene. The clouds were coming in on the south. I was going to be a cloudy day, and that was why Karen had chosen his day for Kaiya’s riding lessons.
Shazan caressed the back of Karen and she happily nodded to him. Her eyes felt better here, and she felt much more at ease.
Kaiya was enchanted. She loved nature, and she had never before seen so much green in her life. The pathways of red mud were like snake-ways, waving and coiling, and they added to the beauty of the place. She couldn’t help but skip along like a child when she felt so peaceful here, and Karen joined her.
He loved watching them get along so well with each other. He was glad about it. The more bonds Kaiya would form, the more she would feel at home with them.
They had not arrived at the first stable when the neighing of horses started resounding in the field. There was a red horse with a shiny coat that was galloping towards them from afar, and behind it were a few more horses that seemed just as excited.
Kaiya was scared. The rushing horses made her heart pound crazily. She grabbed onto Shazan’s hand and tried to hide behind him.
“Don’t worry.” He caressed her hand and made her stand by his side. “That’s Sino. You can call him Sin if you want.”
Karen laughed happily as the horses approached them, and Kaiya soon understood why.
The horses ran circles around them as if it was their way of having fun. The Red one was more energetic than the rest as after two rounds he dashed at Shazan and lifted his front legs high in the air in prance. With it, the rest of the horses neighed as well.
There was something about Horses that made them one of his favorite animals. It was not just their loyalty that he admired and respected, it was the rush of blood and excitement they gave him when he was close to them.
Shazan let go of Kaira’s hand and drew his hand up to the prancing horse.
Sino stopped being a naughty boy, and let his hand caress its head. He didn’t have to do anything as the Horse rubbed its face on his hand by itself. But Sino was naughty after all. It shrugged off his hand and buried its head in his chest. And soon, Shazan had his arms wrapped arm its neck, and he hugged his friend.
“I missed you, boy…” He whispered near its near and placed a kiss on the white spot in the middle of his eyes.
The horse rubbed its face on him as if answering him that it missed him too.
Kaiya who was scared a while ago stepped forward as something inside of her called her out to touch the horse. It was a beautiful creature coated in the perfect bronze coat. A horse that looked supreme and needed no proof to testify its regal bloodline.
“Sino… I brought you a new friend.” Shazan chuckled as he separated from his friend and pointed at Kaiya.
He grabbed her hand and made her stand by his side. He was conveying to his friend that she was someone important to him, and Sino was smart, it understood that and reached closer to Kaiya.
She yelped when she felt the horse sniff her and then blow air that made her platinum hair flutter. But Karen was soon by her side as she guided her free hand and placed it on Sino’s head.
“Stay like that. Let Sino remember your scent. It is the first step you have to follow if you want to form a bond with a Horse.” She informed Kaiya.
Shazan let the girls be as they spent their time with Sin. He made sure that he had greeted every horse that came up to him. He hugged them, praised them and played some tricks with them. The field was all of a sudden quite lively as he was surrounded by horses of all colors. They were after him, circling him, calling him as he played with then by running, and some times, by sneaking up behind them and surprising them.
All of them wanted him to inspect their manes when he inspected one of them. And he calmly brushed his hands through those rough hairs to please the creatures that he loved so much. He was lost with them and hadn’t realized how much time had passed.
When his attention finally returned to the girls, he found them coming from afar with a few horses that were now saddled.
He helped Kaiya get up on Sino.
Perhaps she was expecting him or Karen to ride the horse with her, but Karen stayed on her Horse, and Shazan stood there on the ground whispering in Sin’s ear.
“You know how you have to play…” He said to Sin as he gently brushed his mane with his fingers. “Stay obedient, and be good to her.”
Sino nodded its head as if he understood everything that he was told.
Kaiya seemed scared when Sin started walking. She held tight on the reins, and she made sure that her feet were in the stirrups. But soon she calmed down when she found that Sin was not going to go much fast. It walked, trotted, and cantered, but it never galloped.
Karen was right by her side on her Horse as he instructed her on how to adjust to the different movements of the Horse. She told her how to ride the canter, and how to ride the trot.
It took Kaiya a while before she finally got the gist of things. By now, she was no longer scared and was finally enjoying the ride, She laughed when she felt Sin switch to canter and giggled as he trotted.
Karen was a good instructor. She was easy on her and made things simple for her to understand. Surprisingly, Kaiya didn’t take much time at learning how to anticipate and direct the movements of her horse.
When Kaiya thought that it was the end of her lessons, Shazan mounted the Horse with her. He sat behind her as he wrapped his arm in her waist.
“Karen, we are going to the Green Woods.” He said to his bride and instructed Sin to take them there.
Sin didn’t hold back now. He started walking, trotted, and then he was galloping. The sudden change in speed scared Kaiya, and it seemed like Sin was only getting faster with every gallop. Her body shuddered in fear, but soon she realized that as long as he was there by her side, she wouldn’t be harmed.
Speed was deadly. It was exciting and tempting. Once you grew comfortable with it, there was no going back for you. He smiled when he felt his little bride growing comfortable with the speed. And there was something about horses; when you were on a galloping horse, you felt like you were the king of the world. And he was fond of this feeling. The innocent girl who was experiencing it for the first time didn’t know how this simple experience would evolve her personality.
♛ Author’s Note:
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