Garnet spent several hours with her aunt that evening; it was comforting listening to the older woman talk. It was unnerving to think that her aunt had shared Kuja’s bed; would he compare her with her aunt? One by one the torches in their wall sconces flickered out until only one remained. Hilda looked around startled at the sudden darkness and gently helped Garnet to rise.
“Kuja told me much during our time together…I know you are young Garnet but he will wish this wedding to go ahead sooner rather than later. The best advice I can give you is to use your time together wisely, once he has taken his pleasure he cannot help himself from boasting. If ever you suspect him plotting, that is the time to enquire – but subtly.” Garnet swallowed a lump of fear and nodded to show she understood, would Kuja really press for a quick wedding? I am not ready to be a queen let alone a wife. She had agreed to marry him to protect her friends; but the harshness of her decision was just now hitting her. She would have to share his bed…how long would it be before he begot her with sons? She gripped her belly and felt her throat close as she choked back a sob. She could never have married Zidaine, it would never have been allowed. But as their time together grew she had found herself wondering more and more…what would it be like to give herself to Zidaine? There is no point in dwelling on it, she told herself firmly. Even if Kuja was wrong and Zidaine had not perished, she could not go back on her word. Two black mages were patiently waiting for the royal women to emerge from the room.
“Your highness, the master has asked for you to join him briefly in his chambers.”
“That is hardly appropriate,” Hilda laid a protective hand on Garnet’s shoulders, “now that Kuja and the princess are to be wed they should not be unchaperoned in such an intimate space.” Garnet looked at her aunt suddenly frightened.
“I have my orders my lady,” the black mage bowed and the second one addressed Hilda.
“I am to take you to the Regent Cid, please follow me.”
“I will not leave my niece unchaperoned.”
“Her highness will be perfectly safe; I have no intentions of bringing dishonour upon her.” Hilda looked down at Garnet uneasily; the young princess forced herself to nod to show that she would be fine. She had been alone with Kuja since she had woken up; he had even helped dress her. Surely if he had dishonest intentions he would have carried them out by now? Swiftly Hilda leant down and kissed Garnet’s cheek before stepping on the teleport pad. When she had disappeared Garnet took a tentative step forwards, she did not like teleporting; it left her feeling sick and dizzy.
“Sit down,” Kuja gestured to a comfortable looking armchair in front of a roaring fire. Garnet sat down, sweeping her skirts around her ankles and folding her hands elegantly in her lap. “I am still at a loss as to what to do with your friends…” As Kuja sat opposite he handed Garnet a goblet, “it probably will not work. It is a potion I concocted to try and bring your voice back, but if it is grief then I am afraid only time will tell if you will ever regain it.” Garnet gulped the potion back expecting it to take awful, she was surprised to find that it was quite pleasant. She could taste honey mixed in with mint, and a mixture of herbs she couldn’t quite decipher. “Well?” She could tell it hadn’t worked and shook her head. “ Try .”
“There is no point.” Garnet sighed but spoke the words to prove to him she wasn’t lying. She gave the goblet back to him and rested her head against the back of the chair.
“We will leave tomorrow for Alexandria.” Kuja sat in a chair opposite her and leant forwards, his elbows resting on his knees. “I am sure the city is missing her queen and we should ensure that rebuilding the city is underway.” Try as she might Garnet could not stop her eyes from blurring; she ducked her head to hide the tears sliding down her cheeks. Kuja was not fooled and she felt her face gently turned to the side. “The past several months have been traumatic for you, perhaps once you return home you will find peace. Alexnadria and Lindblum have had some difficult times; I will work with your uncle to draw up a peace treaty.” That is my duty; Garnet glared at him and shook her head.