"Are you quite sure, Eldred?" Demona asked, tapping her nails against her arm.
"It took quite a bit of investigation, but...." Eldred sighed, wishing he hadn't chosen that moment to instruct his people to dig into the family tree in search of a suitable distant cousin for Damien to marry. Since the young Grace had explained why she wasn't suitable to marry Damien, Eldred had found himself tasked with finding someone who was worthy of being the mother to the next generation of Al Maajik sultans.
"But?" The nails were tapping faster now.
"The evidence is clear. Damien's great-great-great grandfather was carrying on a love affair... the result of which found themselves... relocated to Castele. I've traced the blood line to young Katida."
Katida had saved their world, but that hadn't been enough for Demona. She was an adventurer, not a princess. But she knew how to cook and how to cast spells, a talent that apparently went back several generations to her great-great-great grandfather.
"Impossible." Demona shook her head.
"Not impossible, it seems, my lady." Eldred bowed to her. "I doubt that she knows herself. It took quite an amount of tracing in order to find the connection. She is not royalty, my lady, but she carries royal blood."
Damien hadn't shown any romantic interest in Katida, but that was no matter. The bloodline was more important than romance.
Demona shook her head, as if to clear it. "Show me the evidence."
And so Eldred did, pulling out the information his researchers had given him. How they'd found out where the child had ended up, how they'd traced the line from parent to child to parent to child for several generations.
He let Demona study the information. He knew she would; for all that she had a temper, she also had always been a great scholar.
"Is she interested at all in Damien?" Demona asked.
Eldred had been anticipating this. He tapped his beard. "They see each other as... furriends, my lady, but nothing more than that. I doubt that she would believe it any more than either of us wants to."
Demona sighed. "She's a resident of Castele."
"She also saved the world, my lady. She is more a citizen of our world then of that country. Who would remember that she was born there when she could be a magnificent wife to Damien here?" Al Maajik deserved her far more than her native Castele did. "She does not love him that way."
It had been the only reason that Eldred had brought the idea up at all. There were others of that blood, Katida's cousins, both close and remote. But she had been the hero. She had been the one who had brought them all together, her and Yuelia. She deserved this.
"Eldred...." She shook her head again, but he could tell it was a losing battle. She wanted this too, enough to put up with a daughter-in-law whose last royal ancestor was generations ago, and had preferred fishing to courtly manners. At least she'd had the sense to be a wizard in her first Life. It was something that had given Eldred his first clue and had caused him to send his people to Esmerelda's Academy to seek out information on her family.
"It would be the best for Al Maajik, my lady. And I'm sure she would be happy to enhance our young soverign's education."
There was another sigh, another shake of her head. But she was convinced, he could tell. "Very well," she said, "If we must."
"I believe, my lady, that this time we must." Eldred turned away. "If my lady wishes...."
"I will summon her." Demona's determination was back. "I will test her, and if she passes, I will consider her."
It was a small victory, Eldred realized. He was confident that Katida would pass her tests, exceed them, and become Damien's bride. It wasn't what he'd ever thought would happen, but it would happen, and he was happier for it.