Queen Ismana shook her head as her daughter ran around the garden with the young goblin that had befriended her just days earlier. The two were inseparable as if they had known each other for ages. Every so often the young girl would come over to touch her belly and cock her head to the side. “You say a little one is growing in there. Why won’t she come out to play?”
She shook her head at her daughter’s innocence and placed a hand on her cheek. “One day soon, Kumud, it will come out and you will be able to play whenever you will like.”
The little girl screwed up her nose and shook her head. “You say it like she will be a creature of some sort.”
“We say it because we have no way of knowing if you will have a sister or brother.” Queen Ismana looked up to find her husband behind her as he placed a warm hand on her shoulder and crouched down on the steps beside her. When he sat with them like this, she forgot about all the trials and tribulations he faced as King of Treoles and all the burdens he carried upon his shoulders knowing what she truly was.
“Well, I know it will be a girl.” Just as soon as she said that, the girl ran off again and tackled the goblin to the ground.
Laughter erupted throughout the garden from everyone and Queen Ismana wished they could be happy like this for a long time. “Ser Parzival says it is not safe for her to be around the baby.” King Soulai sighed and rubbed his eyes. “Sometimes I think the man has gone insane.”
Queen Ismana placed her hand over his. “You know as well as I that Kumud will not hurt the baby. He is set in his ways and thinks as everyone else. If we could make him understand…” She allowed her words to trail off and took a deep breath.
“I am trying but he is hard-headed.”
“I will never understand, my love, how you let him stay here in the first place. Don’t you feel it is odd that he left his daughter and his grandchild and came all this way just to side with you?” She had been thinking this for years but only now gave voice to it. Every time she spoke to the man, it was always about the danger Kumud would be to the baby growing inside her and she couldn’t help but feel he had ulterior motives.
King Soulai nodded in agreement. “I have been keeping a close eye on him and it does seem he is up to something but I have yet to figure out what it is. This is the very thing I came to speak to you about.” Queen Ismana nodded, letting her husband know she was listening. “He is going to demand that Kumud be locked up. We must heed his request.”
Queen Ismana’s heart pounded in her chest as her brow creased and anger flashed in her eyes. “How could you say something like this? Lock up our daughter?! What has come over you!”
“Hush, my lady, or she shall hear!”
Queen Ismana stood, holding her bulging stomach. “I will not hush, my lord! How dare he suggest such a thing and how dare you tell me that I should agree! Lock up one and he’ll want to kill the other and take this Kingdom for himself!”
“That is what I am afraid of, my queen. You must listen to me, please.”
The queen shook her head. She would listen to him if it were anything but this. This was their youthful daughter they were talking about. She had yet to see seven birthdays and he was talking about locking her away as if she was some kind of evil being. Something that would destroy them all. No, she would not listen to this despicable nonsense.
“If we do not, Ismana, he will murder her.”
Fire ran through Queen Ismana’s being until flames danced on her fingertips and lapped in her eyes. No one was going to take her children if she had anything to do with it.