The Fae World: Kalinia: Mirai: The Curse

This entry is part 4 of 11 in the Fae World: Kalinia collection
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It wasn’t unusual for Mirai’s father to disappear off with one of his advisers before breakfast, but this time something seemed different. She looked at her mother, who obviously hadn’t noticed anything as she was spreading jam on her toast, before thinking back to what had woken her up. There had been times before when Leif had woken her up, because something had happened that would affect them both, and normally she did answer, knowing that as a son he had more information than she ever would have. Unfortunately she hadn’t made it to the communication crystal before he’d rung off, so she didn’t know what was happening the way she would have done if she had answered, and she couldn’t leave the table in the middle of breakfast without explaining why to her mother, which wasn’t something she wanted to do.

Biting hard on her lip Mirai forced herself to focus on breakfast. She would eventually find out from either her father or from Leif, but that wasn’t making her any less worried. Even though she hated the small talk her mother usually forced on her she would have given anything at that moment for her to start rambling on about something exceedingly unimportant. Instead her mother focused her entire attention on a slice of toast without saying a word. Sighing, she picked up her fork and then put it back down again.

“Mother,” Mirai said, “I need to go to the bathroom.”

Without looking up at Mirai her mother waved her knife and replied, “Go on then, sweetie.”

Thankfully her mother kept her attention on the slice of toast as Mirai want in the opposite direction of the bathroom and headed to her bedroom, where she kept her communication crystal. As she thought of Leif all she could do was hope that he was available to talk. After what seemed like hours later he did answer, looking very much like he was trying not to grin.

“What’s going on?” Mirai asked.

“Apparently we’ve been cursed.”

Narrowing her eyes, Mirai stared at Leif. “Why is this amusing you?”

“The curse will only be broken if we marry each other. Someone seems to think that it will stop at least some of the fighting between our two groups, but I doubt that’s actually going to happen.”

“I take it you’re not against the idea.”

“Of us getting married?” Mirai nodded. “No, I’m not against the idea,” Leif said, looking thoughtful, “but it’s not as though either of our fathers is going to see it as an option. They’re going to try to break the curse instead.”

“It’s not their choice.”

“No, it’s not, but we both know that it’s unlikely they’re going to ask us for our opinion.” Leif smiled. “Does that mean you think we should go behind our parents’ backs and get married, in order to break the curse?”

Mirai shrugged. “Curses are strange things. Some can be broken, while others can only be worked with, and I have a feeling that whoever created this curse knew what they were doing. It might be our only option.”

“Father has been very secretive about what exactly the curse is, only telling me what he thinks I need to know, but I managed to overhear a little more before someone realised what I was doing,” Leif said. “I think, from what they were saying, that it will need to be a life-long marriage, rather than one that only lasts for a few years. If it was a short marriage I don’t think they’d be trying to work out how to break the curse, but instead focusing on how to make the marriage contract work to their advantage.”

“Interesting,” Mirai replied, brushing some hair off her face. “If we’re going to deal with this curse before our parents do something stupid trying to break it we need to find out all of the rules.” She sighed. “We both know exactly what they’re capable of.”

Leif nodded. “It’s unlikely either of us will be able to get anyone to answer any questions, but it would be really useful if one of us can steal the letter they received.”

“Father is unlikely to put it anywhere I may be able to find it, because I’m certain that he’ll be trying to keep everything from me in a bid to keep me safe.” Mirai found herself smiling. “Fortunately I happen to know a Prince who actually talks to me about things that concern me.”

“You’re a very lucky Princess.” Leif smiled back. “Is there anyone who might talk to you about what’s happening, other than me?”

Mirai thought for a few seconds, biting on her lip. “I doubt it.” The sound of raised voices caught her attention. “Give me a minute. I think something interesting might be happening.”

Tapping the crystal once, setting it to sound but no picture, Mirai made her way over to the door of her room. Quietly she opened the door, trying to make sure no one heard what she was doing. Leif stayed silent and she found herself wondering if he could hear the same things she could, because he did have amazing hearing thanks to an ancestor who was a shifter, before shaking her head at herself. She needed to focus.

“You can’t keep this a secret from her,” her mother growled, sounding more emotional than Mirai had ever heard her before. “She needs to know about the curse.”

“No, she doesn’t,” her father replied, his voice full of amusement. “It’s something that can be sorted easily.”

“Don’t lie to me. Curses are never easily sorted.”

“Darling…”

“Don’t. If you don’t tell Mirai everything I will, because she needs to know what might happen.”

“There is no way I am letting my daughter marry anyone I don’t think is suitable and Leif…” He laughed. “He’s nowhere near the list.”

Leif’s snickers were just audible. Mirai knew it was likely that he had overheard his father saying exactly the same thing about her, because the only thing they agreed on was how much they hated each other. She did her best to tune him out and return her attention to the loud conversation her parents were having, hoping she would be able to find out more about the curse, so then she and Leif could decide what they were going to do.

“Stop snickering,” Mirai muttered. “It’s not helping.”

“That doesn’t matter,” her mother said, sounding irritated. “You may think that this is all going to be simple, the curse is something you can break, but I’m telling you now that it isn’t. What exactly will the curse do if it’s initiated?”

“Love, this isn’t something you or Mirai need to be worrying about. I promise you that I will sort it all out without our daughter having to marry that…” The sound of disgust her father made told her exactly what he was thinking. “I’m in the process of talking with someone who does have a suitable son, so I need to get things sorted quickly.”

“Who?”

“The Duke of West’s son.”

Leif laughed. If Mirai hadn’t felt vaguely nauseous at the mere thought of having to marry that man she might have found it amusing too. She’d never got on with either the Duke of West or his son and she knew why her father was planning a marriage between the two of them. Any children they had would have a chance of inheriting the powers of West, which would make any children she had an even better monarch.

“That’s not happening,” Mirai whispered, shaking her head.

“West? Are you being serious?” Her mother sounded just as disgusted as she felt. “You’ve never liked the man.”

“It’s not a case of liking him, sweetheart, but what his bloodline can offer our grandchildren.”

“Mirai hates them.”

“She’s just going to have to get over it.”

“That’s really fair.”

“If you’d been able to give me more than one child we wouldn’t be having this problem.”

A long silence followed. “I didn’t ask for this any more than you did.” Mirai’s mother swallowed. “Our parents made the choice and now we’re the ones being forced to live with it, which is something I will not inflict on our daughter. Not now, not ever.” She ran a hand through her hair. “It’s not as though you haven’t had other children.”

“They can’t legally inherit the throne. My focus is on Mirai’s marriage and it has to be the right one, which is what the marriage to the Duke of West’s son will be.”

“Have you told the Duke about the curse or are you planning on keeping him in the dark too?”

“We both know he’ll walk away if he finds out about the curse, so, no, I wasn’t planning on telling him. The problem will be solved long before the contract is signed and I don’t feel that it’s necessary to make a big deal of something that can be easily solved.”

“How many times? A curse can’t be easily solved and if Mirai is under a curse that is forcing our family into an alliance with another monarchy then there’s a reason for it. It’s possible, if you find out who cast the curse, we might be able to work around it in some way, but I think Mirai will have to marry Leif.”

“This is never going to be solved if we leave them to do it,” Leif said, echoing Mirai’s thoughts on the matter. “Honestly, I don’t think we’re going to have long if we have been cursed, so we have limited options. We can wait for our respective fathers to stop being idiots and start working with each other, which is about as likely as your ever getting along with the Duke of West’s son, or we can make our own decisions, because otherwise…”

Mirai nodded. “Not knowing what the curse will do is a problem.” She bit her lip. “One option we do have, as we are of age, is to just get married. It’s not going to be that difficult. We both have people who will witness it and once it’s done there won’t be anything they can do about it.”

“Would you want to marry me if it wasn’t for the curse?”

“I have no idea, Leif, because I’m not entirely certain that I ever wanted to marry anyone. Father was always going to be the person to choose my husband for me and you can see how well that would have gone. The Duke of West’s son?” She sighed. “You are definitely a much better option. We may not always agree on things, but we are friends and I think we’ll be able to make a marriage work, so I am willing to give it a try if you are.”

“Should we go ahead with this our marriage would unite two kingdoms. Is that something we really want to be doing?”

“Do you want me to be honest?”

“Yes, I really do.”

“At the moment I don’t care what our marriage would do, other than stop this curse from initiating. I know we’ve been cursed because someone wants us to unite the kingdoms, for reasons we don’t yet know, but I don’t believe that someone would have gone to this much trouble if they didn’t believe it was something that needed to happen.”

“Fortunately that is something I agree with. We are both our fathers only children and if anything were to happen to either of us it would cause great difficulties in both kingdoms, so I think that whatever the curse is it won’t kill us.”

Inexplicably, Mirai found herself smiling. “No, it will put us both to sleep for a hundred years instead and when we wake our world would have changed around us… maybe our fathers would then think of marrying us, but I doubt it would happen for any other reason.”

Silence followed. “Mirai, you might actually be right about that, as it would be the most logical thing to do, and our fathers would know what it would be like to fear for their reign, because they would have no idea if we were going to wake or not. Once we’re married I think I’m going to look more into the curse that was put on us, but right now I think our best option is to do what needs to be done.”

“The only problem with that is being able to leave without either of our fathers finding out what we’re up to.” Mirai stepped back, closed the door to her bedroom, and tapped the crystal again. Their eyes met. “Neither of them are going to want us to go anywhere.”

“Of course they aren’t, but there is someone we might be able to work with. It’s obvious your mother is already very much against what your father’s doing, so there is a chance, although limited, she might be willing to help us.”

“Possible.” She glanced at the door. “Getting her alone should be easy enough. I just don’t know if I…” Someone knocked on her door, and Mirai tapped the crystal again. “Come in.”

When her mother stepped into the room all Mirai could do was stare at her. “Darling, please don’t think I’m an idiot.” Smiling, her mother closed the door, and stepped a little further into the room. “I know you’ve been in contact with a certain prince for a very long time now, and if I know the two of you as well as I think I do you’ll already be doing everything you can to fix this, which is something I can help you with… if the two of you would be willing to let me.”

“I would.” Leif’s voice was much louder than Mirai liked, but there was nothing she could do to stop him from talking. “The conversation we’ve had has made it obvious we need to deal with this as quickly as we can.”

“You aren’t wrong. What little I know of this curse tells me we need to get this ceremony done within the next couple of days. Your father seems to forget I studied this type of magic when I was younger, so I know how stupid he’s being. Unfortunately there’s nothing I can do about him. He was chosen for me, the same way he wishes to choose your husband, and the fool seems to think he’s going to be able to play the Duke of West.”

“Even if Father could I don’t think he has long enough to be able to do it. The Duke of West isn’t going to let his son marry anyone without there being a nice dowry involved, so the likelihood is that their negotiations would go on too long anyway, and if that does happen there is a chance Father might pick someone else.”

“No one your father picks will be right for you. He doesn’t know who you are and he’s never really cared. To him you’re nothing more than a stepping stone, because I couldn’t give him a son.” Her mother sighed. “Being fae means I failed in my one main duty and he can’t end our relationship due to certain choices both our fathers made, so very long ago.” She shook her head. “Now, though, I have a chance of making certain you’re happier than I am, and I’m going to take it.”

“Mother, are you sure about this?”

“For the first time I’m absolutely certain I’ve made the right choice. You deserve happiness, daughter, and I believe marrying your friend would be enough to give you that.” Her mother glanced at the communication crystal. “Thank you for being there for Mirai when I couldn’t.”

“You’re welcome.” Leif sounded like he was smiling. “I’d better go. Will you get in contact with me when the plans are a little more detailed?”

“We will, Leif.” Mirai couldn’t stop herself from breathing a sigh of relief. “Hopefully it will be later today.”

“I’ll do everything I can to find out about this curse and who might have cast it.”

“Good.” When Mirai looked at her mother their eyes met. “Be ready to leave at a moment’s notice.”

The sound of Leif disconnecting the crystal was the next thing Mirai heard. “Mother, it’s not that I don’t appreciate the help, but I never thought you’d do something like this.”

“Until I realised how stubborn your father was I didn’t either. Now, though, I have a choice: I put him first or I put you first. My choice is to put you first, so I think we need to focus on what comes next, don’t you?”

<<< The Fae World: Kalinia: Leif: Unexpected News***The Fae World: Kalinia: Adriana: The Duke’s Ball >>>
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