The King had been in a meeting with some Russian investors who were interested in purchasing a large quantity of vermillion. He hadn’t expected the negotiation to take so many hours. He lost interest in the meeting, as his mind was far away.

Yemi had been thinking about Cassie while the men went on and on about the prices. He hadn’t set eyes on her that day, and he felt incomplete.

Pelumi had reported back to him; she had gotten Cassie lovely dresses and she had even sent some pictures of his phone. He felt his blood rise, as he imagined her in one of the dresses, especially the thigh revealing red gown.

‘You don’t look fine brother,’ Tayo whispered. 

Most meetings were held in the throne room, and his sister’s mini thrown was next to his’ until he officially named his Queen. She had been the one striking the negotiations all these while, he only watched and listened. When the Russians tried to be smarter, he would step in occasionally and remind them about the scarcity of vermillion.

‘This meeting is taking too long. Aren’t you hungry?’ Yemi asked in Yoruba.

‘We need the money for business and power. We have to expand.’ Tayo replied.

Both siblings watched as the foreigners conversed in Russian. They wanted to reach a conclusion and bring an end to the meeting.

‘Well, I am hungry.’ Yemi’s eyes feasted on the large clock that hung on the wall. It was 8:30. He wondered if Cassie would still be at the dining hall. He was going crazy for staying this long without her.

Tayo relaxed against her throne and stole a glance at her brother. She had heard the maids whispering in hushed voices about the King and his love for Cassie. But at the sight of her, they all fled away like flies.

‘Why do I have a feeling that you are hungry for other things, huh?’ Tayo teased, she wanted to see his reaction and draw a conclusion. But Yemi was smarter; he knew his sister was drawing him out. She was setting a trap for his feet and he would escape.

Yemi forced a smile as the Russians finished their own meeting.

‘I don’t know what you are talking about little sister. Now let us focus on sealing this deal before it gets out of our hands.’ He muttered.

The leader of the Russian team was Mr. Gubin Ivanov   and he had this to say to the king: ‘We have accepted your terms. We hope you are a good man and what you have to sell is genuine.’

The King laughed heartily knowing they had a deal.

‘You’ll love the element Mr. Ivanov. You’ll come begging for more.’ Yemi replied.

‘Good then, we must take our leave. We leave for Moscow first thing in the morning.’ The man announced, while the others came nearer for a final handshake with the King.

Princess Tayo rolled her eyes as she noticed one of the men ogling her.

‘Ugly goat!’ She muttered in Yoruba.

‘You have a very lovely sister. She should pay Russia a visit sometime.’ The man winked at her, while shaking hands with her brother.

Yemi almost laughed on hearing Tayo’s words, but like the King he was, he controlled himself.

‘My sister is an archeologist. If your country can arrange an excavating contract, I am sure she would love to visit.’ Yemi replied.

It didn’t take long before the pleasantries ended, and the royals were left with a feeling of fulfillment and exhaustion.

‘Damn! I am going straight to bed.’ Tayo yawned and walked towards the door.

‘Aren’t you going to have dinner?’ Yemi wondered.

‘Not now, my bones hurt from too much sitting. Goodnight brother.’ She blew him a kiss and rushed out of the room.

Now that he was alone, he had to take his decision. He could either check on Cassie in the dining hall or go to her room. But one thing was for sure, he had to see her before sleeping.

Yemi was about rising from the throne when his cousin, Pelumi, walked in with an excited look on her face.

‘Good evening My King.’ She bowed.

‘Pelumi, you look happy. May I know why?’ Yemi asked.

He had a feeling that she had valuable information that would help in winning Cassie’s love.

‘Can we talk now or tomorrow morning in the garden?’ Pelumi asked. She couldn’t wait to tell the King what she had discovered. She knew he would be deeply please. It was the desire of a subject to please the King.

Whatever she had to tell him was important, but he still needed to see Cassie before it was too late to walk around the palace.

‘Now, but you have to be brief.’ His eyes strayed to the clock, and she understood that he was hurrying somewhere.

Pelumi smiled and clasped her hands together, ‘She likes you.’

‘What?’ Yemi relaxed against the throne.

‘She saw us speaking together in the garden and from the way her eyes ransacked me, she feels we are lovers. I can swear it. Jealousy was written all over her; she tried to cover it up, but failed.’

This information intrigued Yemi, ‘Are you sure it was jealousy that you saw in her eyes not hatred?’ His heart banged in an uneven motion. He couldn’t believe Cassie would feel jealous, it only meant one thing.

‘Find out more about her. I need to know if she is in a relationship.’ Yemi appreciated Pelumi’s efforts. He was ready to fight any man to the death for Cassie. He had let Eno slip through his fingers, but he wasn’t going to let the same thing happen to the woman that he loved.

Pelumi felt satisfied because the King was happy with the results.

‘I will do as you have spoken.’ She bowed and rushed towards the door, but quickly halted when the King called her.

‘Pelumi?’ Yemi moved closer to her.

‘My Lord?’ She bowed.

‘Don’t tell Cassandra about us yet. She must not know that you are my cousin.’ Yemi wanted to be very sure that Cassie liked him enough to feel jealous.

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The sourness of the wine had bitten her insides and driven her to sleep. At first glass, Cassie had not felt anything, so she continued to drink from the bottle. It didn’t take long before a feeling of heaviness clipped her eyelids.

She had known that sleep was coming, but rising from the table became a problem. With a rueful glitter in her eyes and a sad smile, she rested her head on the table and began to sleep.

Cassie wasn’t happy that the King hadn’t showed up to dinner. Why had he bought her clothes in the first place when he wasn’t going to see them? She had wanted to spite him by wearing her flannel dress, but he had played out of her hands.

Yemi had wanted to march straight to Cassie’s room, but one of the guards who kept watch by the dining hall told him that she was still indoors.

‘How long has she been in there?’ Yemi asked.

‘From 7,’ he replied.

Hurriedly, he pushed the doors open and strolled into the hall majestically. Yemi didn’t have any action plan. He wasn’t ready to act on the information that Pelumi had given to him. He just wanted to see her lovely face tonight.

From where he stood, there wasn’t anyone in the hall and he wondered if the guard was playing tricks on him.

‘He wouldn’t dare.’ Yemi sighed.

He guessed Cassie had slipped out of the dining hall without the knowledge of the guard. Yemi was ready to leave the hall for her room when he noticed a large figure next to the chair meant for his sister.

‘Cassie?’ He was unsure if she was the one. Maybe his eyes were deceiving him, but the woman in the hall seemed fat. Last he remembered, Cassie was sexy and trim.

Yemi grabbed his staff tightly and moved closer to the table. A frown furrowed his brows as he realized the servants were yet to take the bowls and plates out of the hall.

On second thought, he didn’t blame them. They only cleaned out the hall when he had tasted the food. He would have to call the head servant, to check things out once morning came.

He scoffed as he reached where Cassie lay. He noticed the dress she wore wasn’t one of those that Pelumi had purchased from the boutique. The flannel fabric was used in making royal curtains.

‘I can’t believe she would wear this.’ Yemi laughed for the first time, since his entry to the dining hall.

‘Oh you poor thing, you deliberately refused the dresses I sent to you. You wanted to get me angry, but you failed.’ Yemi reached out for her silky hair while running his eyes over the contents of the massive table.

He was now thankful that the meeting had been delayed. If he had seen Cassie dressed in such a tacky manner, he would have been greatly upset. She wanted to get him angry tonight, but her plans had failed.

His eyes rested on the bottle of rose that was almost half empty. Gently, he grabbed the bottle and examined it.‘Oh no,’ fear jumped into his eyes, as he realized the alcoholic content was high. Yemi had a feeling that Cassie hadn’t known about that.

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