BANISHED

LIVING DISTRACTION

”I suggest that we center our focus on trade ”.

A look of confusion swept across the faces of the courtiers until one spoke up, ”May you broach further, My lady ”.

Raelle sat up as a satisfied look etched on her face. As if now beginning the real deal, she began, ” I resuggest that we open more trade routes to our borders to any Kingdom we deem suitable ”. As this point, the whole courtroom stared baffled at the princess words.

”Do you mean to say that trade is possible with the Northern Kingdom irrespective of their distance? Thats ridiculous! ” ,one courtier argued.

”Well, no ”, Raelle countered.

Another spoke, ”But My lady, we are all well versed with the bad blood that exists between us and the Western Kingdom. Trading with them has never been an option for the past decade ”.

Iris felt her blood boil at that. The people of the Western Kingdom were responsible for the murder of her mother and the capture of her brother, Reynolds. The tragedy that occurred that fateful day hadn been erased from the memories of the people of the Southern Kingdom.

”Well if we can trade with the Northerners due to distance or the Westerners because of enmity, we could still open our borders to the Eastern Kingdom ”, Raelle opined.

The whole courtroom stared at the princess, befuddled at her words almost as if she had lost her head. Raelle who looked confused for a brief moment arched her brow while scanning the faces of everyone.

Iris gaped at her half-sister before trying to conceal her laughter. She masked it all behind an amused look. The crowd broke into series of chatter while others muffled their laughter.

A bald courtier who was known for his sarcastic remarks stood up and quipped, ”My lady, have you not paid attention to any session held here? Even the beggar on the street would know this. The Easterners have refused to trade with us ”.

”But why, Raelle questioned and this merely confirmed their fears that the sardonic princess was also absentminded. In earlier court rulings it was stated that the refusal was due to political reasons, which Raelle apparently hadn listened to.

The second advisor to the King opened his mouth to speak for the first time in that session, ”The King of the Eastern Kingdom demands that Lady Iris marries his son, Lord Xavier before their borders would be opened to us ”.

Iris gulped subconsciously as she turned to look at her father. Since when did that development ensue? Her father on the other hand wore an indifferent expression as he met her gaze. Now the whole courtroom turned to look at Iris as if waiting to hear her consent on the matter.

Iris however kept her cool and reassembled her thoughts. From the corner of her eye, she could see Raelles eyes gleaming with hope. She thought that Iris getting married would lead to her departure from the Kingdom and make her journey to the throne easier.

With newfound vigour, Iris refuted, ” For a while now, the health of the frail King

of the Northern Kingdom has seen fluctuations. In view of this suitors swarm their Palace all in the attempt to wed his two daughters. I must commend their swiftness in this move. I believe that everyone gathered here is well aware that they have no crown princes. Thus, the lucky suitor could possibly be the next ruler. I propose that Keith weds their eldest daughter ”.

The dumbfounded ones in the room couldn help but stare at the princess because they were unable to comprehend as to how her suggestion related to their situation. The smart ones however gaped at her and waited for her to broach further.

”Keiths wedding to their eldest daughter would possibly make him the next ruler lest of course they intend to be female rulers. What better way is there to kill two birds with one stone than this? When Keith occupies that position, our resources would never run dry ”, Iris beezed out incessantly.

At this point most of the courtiers gave her a standing ovation and a few others were compelled to do so as they couldn openly display their dislike for her. On the other hand, the King, her fathers eyes twinkled with pride and Iris smiled, satisfied at how skillfully she dodged marriage. But for how long she wondered.

The team of consultants, sat head to head as they tossed Iris proposal about.

Finally, it was accepted.

”The last and infamous session is a mind-boggling case that has not been solved for a while now. It is meant to test the wits of the competitors ”. After signalling a guard to open the door to the courtroom he instructed, ” You may begin this session ”.

In walked two men, one casually dressed and the other richly clothed. On a second glance, one would guess that he was a very wealthy trader. After assembling themselves, the wealthy man began, ”One fateful day, I set out from Truxor to Sedan when I decided to rest at an inn. Tying my horse in the stable, I spent a night in the inn. I woke up the next morning unable to find my horse. Upon a long search, I met this traveler ”,he said gesturing towards the ordinary man before continuing, ”who claimed not to have seen my horse but attempted to direct me to it. Only a thief would know the whereabouts of my horse! ”, he accused.

The ordinary traveler denied, ”I told you that I didn see your horse. I just guessed it was one-eyed! ”

”Aha! ”, exclaimed the other man. ”You know that my horse is one-eyed. It means you have seen it ”.

” I repeat, I haven seen your horse! ”

”Yes you have! ”

”I have not! ”

”You have! ”

The two men bickered until order was restored in the courtroom. A chance was given to the princesses and just when they seemed muted, Raelle addressed the ordinary traveler, ”What else do you happen to know about his horse? ”

The man replied, ”I think it was loaded with sugar on one side and grains on the other ”.

The wealthy trader stood astounded for a while before composing himself. Slowly, a satisfied smirk crawled onto his face and he seemed amused. Likewise, Raelle grinned as if a thought clicked in her head.

With a deep breath, she questioned, ”How did you know that the horse was carrying grains and sugar on its sides? ”

Without giving the traveler a chance to defend himself she judged, ”I am certain this traveler is a thief and I must admit, it was foolhardy of him to continue with this pretense ”.

Silence reigned the room as a few courtiers exchanged glances at each other.

Majority though, sided with Raelles judgement but a few ones appeared unconvinced.

As the case was being discussed by the team of consultants, there was a mixture of emotions in the courtroom and the one that Iris picked on was the genuineness in the eyes of the ordinary traveler.

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