The King's virgin bride
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Selene, born in the Highlands of the North, has grown up her whole life, unaware of the commitment her parents made for her since her birth and how they have always overprotected her. Now, at eighteen years old, she is brought before King Frederick of Astor, a young, handsome man, but very serious and firm in his royal decisions; and who, from that moment on, will be her betrothed. As the king's virgin bride, she will be presented to the entire kingdom, before marrying the man she has been sold to, but does not love, as her heart belongs to her friend Henry, a handsome and very kind boy, with whom she had a secret friendship, but who never confessed to her that he is the king's cousin. What begins as a loveless marriage slowly transforms into a pure and strong love, but one that Henry's ambition will act against, as he has always wanted to be the king of what he firmly believes is rightfully his and was taken from him in the past.
The crying of a child echoed throughout the room, as his mother held him tightly against her chest and clenched her jaw, never taking her eyes off the king.
"You can't do this! You can't do this to your grandson!" the woman finally shouted, earning a cold and piercing stare from the king.
"Anabel, your husband…my son! He has attempted to take my life and I will not allow it!" he responded firmly. "Hector has been sentenced to public beheading for treason, his title of "prince" has been revoked, and you…" he turned to the woman and her grandson, "after the beheading, you will no longer live or belong in the palace. But Henry will stay here, as I will not allow my grandson to have a corrupted heart like his parents, because don't think I don't know that you encouraged my son to betray me."
"Then kill me too!" the woman challenged, but the king refused.
"Your punishment will be to lose everything…all the luxury you've always dreamed of will remain just that, dreams…"
Knocks on the door of the royal office attracted the attention of those present. The king made a slight affirmative sound and the door soon opened, revealing the king's chief servant.
"Your Highness…Lady Leonor and the child are here," the young servant announced.
"Bring them in immediately and call for Oliver," demanded King Ruppert, as he was scrutinized by Anabel.
"Why have you summoned your illegitimate son and why is his wife and child here?" she judged, and if looks could kill, she would already be six feet under.
"Do not speak to your future queen in that manner," responded the king, relishing in Anabel's reaction.
"You cannot make your bastard son king!" she shouted, and the king slapped her.
"Do not forget who you are speaking to…I am your king!" the king reminded her.
At that moment, a woman with a child the same age as Henry appeared at the door. Anabel seethed with anger as the woman entered, dressed in fine clothes and perfectly groomed. She was damned beautiful and her son looked like the noblest of them all.
"Welcome to your new home," the king told them, pulling Leonor by the hand and kissing the back of it. "From this day forward, you will be the mistress and lady of this castle," he calmly informed the woman, who had captured his son's heart and now was the kingdom's only hope for heirs.
"You're a damn whore!" Anabel shouted, and Leonor was frightened, but the king intervened and held the furious woman's hand, leading her to the exit.
"Leave immediately!" the king expressed angrily, and the doors opened, allowing two soldiers from the royal guard to enter. They grabbed Anabel and began forcibly removing her from the office.
Henry continued to cry, not fully understanding what was happening. But he wasn't the only one confused, as Frederick, the other child present, looked at everyone without understanding, tightly holding his mother's hand.
"Henry will stay here," the king determined, snatching the boy from his mother's side. "You will not take my grandson out of this castle, for the sins of his parents will not reach him."
The child screamed and cried. He wasn't that young, but everything that had happened was too much for a nine-year-old who lost his parents in the worst ways possible; his father sentenced to death and his mother exiled from the kingdom.
Oliver arrived at the office and swallowed hard at the sight before him. Despite being the king's son, he was not accustomed to royalty, as it was no secret that his mother had been one of the king's concubines. Although the king acknowledged him as his son, being a bastard kept him away from the castle all his life—until now, when the prince could no longer be the future king.
"Why did you summon us?" Oliver asked his father, walking towards his family and embracing Leonor around her waist, pulling her and his son closer.
"You will be the future king, and your wife will be the queen. From this moment on, your royal training begins," the king informed them, and the couple looked into each other's eyes, unable to comprehend what was going through the king's mind.
"But…Henry is right there, your legitimate grandson," Oliver refuted, his heart racing in his chest. "I don't know how to be a king."
In the blink of an eye, everyone's lives changed. King Ruppert raised his son Hector to be the future king, but it never crossed his mind that Hector would be capable of trying to take his life, attempting to do so with his own hands. He would have succeeded if one of the guards hadn't seen him entering the king's room suspiciously and intervened. Oliver, the product of his affairs with one of his concubines, had a distant relationship due to his lack of noble or common status, but now he had the opportunity for a father-son relationship and to enjoy his grandson.
"Henry will be the prince of the kingdom, but with a traitor for a father, his chances of becoming king have been reduced to zero. I cannot have the son of a traitor as the heir to the throne," clarified King Ruppert, and no one dared to refute. "I suppose we cannot refuse," Oliver said with frustration, as his peaceful life had come to an end. "So be it, Your Majesty," he replied with a hint of irony, bowing before his father.
Hector was beheaded in the main square, in full view of everyone, including his wife Anabel and his son Henry, who would never forget that moment and the unchanging expression on his grandfather's face, nor the appearance of his son. Henry couldn't approach his mother, but he could see her in a corner before they took her away, without giving them a chance to say goodbye.
In the king's mind, this was the best way to keep the child away from the wicked mother that Hector had chosen as his wife. Before marrying Anabel, Hector had been a good son and the best prospect for a future king. But once he married her, his attitude changed and his hunger for power became more noticeable. The ending his son met deeply pained the king, but as a monarch, he couldn't afford to show weakness, as weakness does not rule or lead an entire kingdom, especially one constantly at war with neighboring realms. Land without a master, but prosperous, was worth more than a chest full of gold for a kingdom.
The wind blew strongly against the beautiful face of the young woman riding through the open field, which belonged to her parents. If her parents saw her wearing the dress they had given her in the morning, she would be in great trouble, as she shouldn't be wearing it yet, but temptation got the best of her, and she wanted to look beautiful in that moment. Selene spurred her horse and rode across the terrain until she reached one of the rocky areas she visited every week. Every time he came to see her.
"Henry?!" she half-shouted, half-asked, anxiously searching for the man.
Selene got off her horse and walked until she reached the shade of a leafy tree, where she tied her mount to one of the branches and sat on a round rock, making sure not to ruin her dress.
"Henry!" she called again after a few minutes without receiving any response from the man.
Selene sighed and waited a few more minutes, growing more impatient and worried at the
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