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Gladiolus

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The deadly silent slowly killing everyone in the dinner table. The ever sound can be heard is only silver knife which have a battle with well done steak and the fork which held the steak down, make sure the opponent not even move from it place when it gets butchered. The breathing sound faintly heard mixed with slow munching sound like when your mouth chewing your food in big family dinner, trying to maintain calmness when you just want to eat peacefully without another people staring. Everything must set in manner but you just trying so hard to do it, make every delicious meal tasteless.

"Aren't you gonna said something, Tae?", His father, the King of the Southern dynasty, which sit gracefully in the end table finally crack down the suffocating atmosphere on their dinner.

His mother, the Queen and his brother, Prince Namjoon stole a glance to Taehyung, who still focus on his steak like its the most important thing right now. The silent of Taehyung is really scary then the loud Taehyung.

Conscious of everyone stole a glance at him, know that everyone don't dare to confront him openly, Taehyung said with leisure tone, not even look at his father when he answered, "Isnt it obvious? I can't reject it nor do anything about it, I also must take it as a part of me".

His brother let out a small gasp, maybe don't expect his younger brother who also the Crown Prince gonna said something like that.

"Well, that's surprising me", his father said, his tone is not too tensed again. Taehyung can heard perfectly his mother loose a tense and sigh in relief as long as with his brother.

"Just let me know which one it will be. Which princess or prince who will be my spouse? The all 3 other kingdom has potential mate for me", Taehyung said it calmly, still vision focus on his steak.

"But it's not princess or prince from another kingdom", his father drop the actual news.

Taehyung surprised. He look immediately towards the position where his father sit.

"Excuse me?".

"Your spouse will be from the nobles family", the father said, fast and then gulping. Ready to watch the bomb explode, in…1..2…3.

"What the hell??!!! Why it's from the nobles family??? From our own kingdom??? They are disgusting! NO!!!", Taehyung finally explode.

 

His father sighed heavily, knew it will turn out like this. His mother look at Taehyung with worry. "Tae, your words. Please".

His brother looking at him with concern face and he can't even drop a single words at the revelation.

"But why, Dad?! Why?", Taehyung already put down all of his dining utensils and looking straight at his father with his deep stare.

"It's the decision. We can't let other kingdom enter our land…".

"What's the meaning of that?! Isn't it a tradition between us? Why you change it, Dad, and what the fuck with the nobles here????", Taehyung angry, doesn't care he cut his father words.

"Tae, your words!", His mother, the Queen, cannot hide her dislike when Taehyung throwing bad words like that.

"Mom, don't stop me!", Taehyung scream back at his mother. His brother, Namjoon, only can see this chaos while biting his lips and don't dare to interrupt.

"Dad, I am fucking don't want it. I prefer to marry other princess or prince, better than some fucking disgusting nobles here!", Taehyung spurt out, he get up from his chair, ready to leave the dinning table.

"But why Dad? You should told us the reason of it?", Namjoon, Taehyung brother finally speak up.

Taehyung which still stand from his chair but still not leaving dining room looking expectantly at his father next words.

"The other 3 kingdom is huge, we are the smallest here. If you get spouse from another kingdom, they will have rights to our nation since you will have heir…", his father said the reason.

Taehyung look at him, considering the reason is a bit make sense. Sense the other not protesting, the King continue his speak.

"If you get married with a noble heir here, we can strengthen our kingdom because our people will think we don't depend on another kingdom too much".

Taehyung knitted his eyebrows, "But..isn't we will be on loss side if we don't get some support from another kingdom?", Taehyung ask, good point.

His father sighed, "Don't you heard our insider news about the North kingdom and West Kingdom? Their princes get married to strengthen the agreement, but North kingdom step by step eating their land and trying to suffocate the West Kingdom royal family. I don't want that to happen here", His father said.

"But it's because those northern people is greedy. Well, I can marry with East Kingdom prince, why I would like to marry with dirty nobles here? No, father. I refuse", Taehyung said, firmly.

"But Tae..this is for our kingdom, we must strengthen our kingdom from the inside…"

"With marry a kid from noble?", Taehyung cut his father words while smirking mockingly at him. "Those nobles is dirty criminals who keep licking my shoes but talk bad about /us/ and they are so difficult to ties with our rules yet keep milking our people. How they will /help/ us?!", he said with deep voice and so much anger on his voice.

"So take that as a way to ties them", his father said.

Taehyung look in disbelief towards his father, then laugh. Laughs his heart out, loud, in mocking voice that full with malice and anger. The Queen can't even stop him, his brother is hopeless in this situation. Bad move, he will get lashed out by his younger brother.

"It's because you don't have power to ties them down, father. Don't using me for your weakness agenda", Taehyung said in serious voice, deep and low with his stare fixed to his father. Taehyung then leave from the grand dinning room exclusive for royal family close member, leaving his father in deep sigh, his mother who only can comforting her husband and Namjoon who fidgeting restless on his seat, thinking hard a way to talk with Taehyung.

----

Taehyung sit alone on his single chair, in his reading room. He look outside from the open window, eyes landed on a beautiful big fish pond and a big cherry blossoms tree who standing tall beside it, protecting the fish pond from hot scorching heat in this summer. The blowing wind enter the room occasionally, caressing Taehyung handsome and strong face. He stare at the small park behind his private castle, but his mind flying everywhere, thinking about last night dinner talk.

Taehyung doesn't even object to the arranged marriage idea, it's his duty from his Crown Prince position. He somehow expected it. Taehyung observing deeply at some of Prince or Princess from other kingdom in the 4 kingdom yearly meeting this year and he come up with conclusion that he will marry with either East Princess kingdom, his mother coming from there too. Or North Prince kingdom who seems one year older than him. North kingdom already coronated newly king. The Crown Prince become the new King after the father abdicated the duty because of illness. The North Kingdom only have Princess which Taehyung knew she already married and the youngest Prince.

Taehyung sighed. The idea to marry nobles from his own kingdom is never crossed his mind. His mind already occupied on another kingdom possible match for him. On top of that, the nobles here is really act like criminals, no, they are criminals themselves.

When his father reign to the throne, many nobles refused to plead their loyalty to Royal Family. Simply, because his father is not the Crown Prince. The actual Crown Prince, his older uncle, is fall into illness years before. His grandfather, the King at that time, left his father to the title, but he make agreement with some nobles that they must plead their royalty to the Prince. One year after the King passed away, the Crown Prince passed away. It's really bleak moment back then, Taehyung heard from the story. Once he get to be King, the first thing Taehyung want to do is strip down the agreement and make the nobles surrender in front of him. Kneeling and crying.

South Kingdom is the smallest kingdom out of the 4 kingdom. The kingdom have seashores and mountain, but also it's easy to get attacks from pirate and its make them weak. His father, the current king don't have any other option than strengthen the seashore safety by building fortress using too much money. They fall into some sort of crisis, maybe until today. The economic is not good, the Royal Family almost lost their integrity over this. Thanks God the pirate doesn't dare to attack the kingdom, so the Royal Family still maintain little dignity they have. The nobles who occupied almost all important sections of the government make it harder to the King to tie them down because they will acting up when the King didn't approve their suggestions and whose gonna feel the effect? The citizens.

They will suffer in bad economy, not even sure about what rules the nobles gonna setting them up. Taehyung is so disgusting by it. The royal family doesn't have straight access to taxes money, thanks to his father. When his father reign to the throne, he already married with a noble lady here and have a son, his brother, Kim Namjoon. Almost every nobles against it because …they might be jealous? Because they afraid the power will not be shared to the other nobles and only Kim Namjoon mom family who will get it? Taehyung rolled his eyes. Power can't be shared. The king must hold all the authority in the kingdom.

The nobles planned to strip down the Queen but the Queen make first move. She willingly to get out from the palace but the King must marry to the other kingdom Prince or Princess, and not making Kim Namjoon as Crown Prince. Taehyung heard his father really broke down mentally and physically, but he doesn't have another choice. Taehyung think, how weak his father.

One month later, his father married with her mother, the Princess from East Kingdom and they get another son, the Crown Prince, Kim Taehyung.

Taehyung take another deep sigh. If only his father not a weaker, he wouldn't end up being in this shitty position. Since young, Taehyung life is full of expectations, expectations, perfect in every side, he must study this study that, he can't doing it he can't doing that, unlike his brother who can live calmly in the palace.

Taehyung feel so jealous, annoyed, resentful about his life. His father always said to him to mastering everything, his mother only talk about him about manner, about how a prince must be nice and understanding but also strong and all. Pfft, Taehyung really fed up with this.

And now he must marry a noble? Isn't it too weird? Maybe this family threatened his weak father again? And using that shitty agreement his grandfather made back then? Taehyung can feel his anger risen up just thinking about it. Wait, just wait, until I become the King, those criminals will get beheaded and gone from this kingdom.

Knock-knock.

Taehyung snapped at the sound. One second later, he see his brother peak from the door and smile at him. Taehyung rolled his eyes, annoyed, he doesn't want to meet him, but it will be bad manners to turn down your brother visit.

"Come in", Taehyung said in cold tone.

Namjoon smile and come to Taehyung side, sit down on the little sofa beside Taehyung comfy chair.

"You don't come for breakfast, and father really worried about you. Are you still thinking about the marriage?", Namjoon ask.

Taehyung look at his brother with annoyed stare, something Namjoon already known as Taehyung habit. He always frowning and judging with his scary stare. Namjoon heard that some nobles actually afraid of Taehyung, don't even count when Taehyung talk, he doesn't hesitant to attack everyone who make him annoyed.

Namjoon actually chicken out when his father ask him to meet Taehyung. But after seeing his father and the Queen sad face, he can't refuse it. Namjoon ask why his father come with unusual decision like that, listen the full story and Namjoon finally knew why his father trying hard with his decision. Namjoon understand it, he put so much bravery then come to Taehyung private castle, castle only for the Crown Prince.

"You know the answer. Why still asking?", Taehyung speak coldly.

Namjoon shifts on his seat, trying to find comfortable sitting in very uncomfortable situation, under his younger brother preaching eyes.

"Father has reason. Actually, father don't trust the other kingdom again", Namjoon said.

Taehyung look at him, still with judging eyes, "And he believe in those nobles?", Taehyung smirk mockingly.

"No, neither of them".

Taehyung surprised a bit. "Then what? Marry a noble son or daughter to strengthen our kingdom? It's very laughable. It must be father get caught doing something and those dirty nobles using the grandfather agreement to tie him down again. Weak", Taehyung voice filled with anger.

Namjoon straighten his back, "Actually, father trying to protect our land. The East Kingdom trying to infiltrate our policy and..".

"What? I never heard of it. It's not father bubbling under his sleep?", Taehyung rolled his eyes.

Namjoon really hold great patience everytime he talk with Taehyung, but he is human with limited patience too. "Tae! Stop hate our father..".

"Oh damn, here we are. You always protect your father and I always the one who is leaving in bad side because I only talk about facts here. Our father is weak King. When I become the King, I will tear down those nobles and rulling the kingdom only with my policy", Taehyung can't hide his anger again.

Namjoon sighed. "I think I can't speak with you in mannerism. I'm gonna blurt out the facts now to you".

Taehyung sense his brother anger, not like Taehyung gonna flinch by it. His habit is challenging people who get mad at him.

"East Kingdom trying to infiltrate our policy, they trying to get into the border land and village there. Our Queen, is their princess, but they never show interest to help us during hard time but now they show up and trying to told us about this and that? Father is suspicious about it. He learn that the dispute between North Kingdom and West Kingdom, and we heard East Kingdom wanna conquer our land slowly because they afraid the North Kingdom gonna attack them so..they gonna attack us first", Namjoon said.

Taehyung frowned, "Where do you hear this from? So now you get to hear something important like this but I am, the Crown Prince is not aware of this?", Taehyung still angry, but there's a tint layer of hurt in his words.

Namjoon shake his head fast. "I just know this today, right before I came here. Father just trying to figure it out yet, so you don't have to deal with it. But now….".

Taehyung let out small laugh, in mock tone, "Now his weak self cannot solve the problem, then he throw it away to me. Great".

Taehyung get up from his chair, Namjoon follow immediately. It's against the manners if the Crown Prince or someone in higher position than you standing, but you still sit down on your ass.

"I'm gonna meet my father now. I wanna hear his useless policy about this". Taehyung walk out, followed by Namjoon behind him. At least, he already talk with Taehyung.

----

Taehyung is not stupid. He knows his father is weak, but he knows something happen between the 4 kingdom and his father lately become so busy. So, he sense it and he gonna dodge the swords and fight? Something his father not gonna do, Taehyung sure about it. So that's why after he heard his half-brother story, he is intrigued to know what's the real intentions of his father.

Taehyung and Namjoon arrive at King reading room. There's the Queen and the King already waiting them. After all the servant is out, the Queen told everything about the kingdom situation to Taehyung.

Taehyung titling his head, "What, mom?".

"You know….you know, Tae….", His mother fidgeting under Taehyung deep stare.

The Queen gulped, trying hard to regain her bravery under his own temperament son eyes. "You know... I never get support from East Kingdom when I married here. They actually doesn't care because I'm just the youngest princess and they are big kingdom. They only let go of me because of manner courtesy between the kingdom", his mom said.

"But I.…I think, all of this based on agreement", Taehyung shock at this fact.

His mom shake his head. The King who sit beside her hold his wife palm, squeezing it, trying to comfort her.

"No. It's never based on agreement. It's about who is strong enough to maintain their land and protect it. Back then when you still baby, the drought happen. I sent countless delegation to the East Kingdom, seeking for help, because our people is suffering, but they never sent the help. Wether its logistic, wheat, money or doctors who can help the sick people, they never sent it here…", Taehyung can feel his mom nearly broke into tears.

Taehyung feel his anger risen again, how the fuck this people think about their princess? Married her off then left her alone??? Eventho they just small kingdom…it's something really hurtful. Taehyung can feel his heart hurt and slightly betrayed at the reality he never heard before.

"Because we are small kingdom?", Taehyung asked, his voice really resonates anger and hurt.

His mother nodded, "Maybe. It's not beneficial to help us. Our people suffering. We don't have much resources after building the fortress in seashore. Your father rely much on the nobles, they want to funding the nation and help the people but they have more access into the policy". The sadness is real in her voice.

Taehyung groans, "So that's why I said they are criminals. They only help when they get something in return. Leeches".

"But they helped us, Tae", his father said.

"Not, because they aren't help in the name of royalty, they help because they want something they cannot even want!", Taehyung said in anger. He still doesn't know why his father doing all of this. Okay, he agree with the reason about other kingdom who look down on them because they only small kingdom, but the reason to tie him down with a noble ??? It's absurd.

"I refuse to this marriage", Taehyung declare his decision. The King look at him with shock, the Queen bite his lips, her eyes looks so sad and Namjoon just silent, watching everything but it's obvious he is shaking with Taehyung decision.

"Taehyung, please don't. We..". Namjoon trying to talk with his younger brother, but his father cut his words.

"He is not just ordinary noble. He is my friend, since we are children, since we just born I think. He is one of the families who plead their royalty to us, without sign the agreement paper", the King finally speak up.

Taehyung eyes go wide, he is intrigued with this fact. Tonight he heard too many shocking facts. Not only Taehyung who shock, Namjoon also shock.

"Is that….my mom family?", Namjoon ask.

Taehyung watch his father closely.

"No. There's one noble family who don't want to sign the agreement paper, and they don't want to mentioned everywhere but they keep help us", the King said.

"Why?", Taehyung ask, curious about this. This sound so perfect, too angelic for this cruel life.

The King look at Taehyung, stare deeply into his son eyes, "Because they plead their royalty to us, and they only want to protect the kingdom where they are born".

----

Taehyung walk to his private castle slowly. His mind occupied with the last words from his father tonight. Is that possible? Is that real? Is that even exist? Or maybe the family have some shady things behind their back so they may appear loyal to the King and Royal Family so no one suspicious with it? Hmm..everything possible. But the idea about someone pleading their royalty to Royal Family without even signed any agreement and without even want something in return honestly intrigued Taehyung.

"Hyung, is that possible?", Taehyung ask. Namjoon who walk beside him, in some mannerism distance, because of their rank, look at him.

"What is it about?", Namjoon asked back.

"That noble family, whose the children that father want to married with me", Taehyung replies. "Is that possible in this situation? They showed their loyalty but don't want anything in return?".

Namjoon take a breath, deep, before answer Taehyung, "I think it's possible. If there's hate, there's also love". Taehyung stop his walk, and look at his half-brother in questioned look.

"If there's someone who want to get tiny piece of King power, I bet there's someone out there who really love this kingdom and want to protect it", Namjoon also stop his walk, and smile to Taehyung after he answered. Taehyung don't return the smile, it's his habit, Namjoon knows. But one thing Namjoon sure about Taehyung expression, Taehyung will think about it deeply tonight. Maybe..the temperamental Crown Prince will change his mind.

----

The King eyes spark in happiness when he sees his Crown Prince join their daily breakfast the morning after. The Queen and Namjoon also beaming in happy vibe while they seen Taehyung. The smile is wide enough to make Taehyung know they happy he is join on the table. But Taehyung doesn't smile, it's his habit. Namjoon thinks. But he is still very happy Taehyung join them.

The breakfast going in silent, but it's not suffocating silent, it's enjoyable silent. The King even hope that his precious Crown Prince have something positive on mind after last night revelation.

"Which family is this, father?", Taehyung ask, in nice manners, something the King rarely hear from his Crown Prince. The King knows his son hate him, even openly admitted it. Since Taehyung got coronated as Crown Prince and have access to some kingdom problems and policy, his straight and harsh temperament really showing. Taehyung don't afraid of lashing out some nobles who has different mind with him. The King actually proud with it, but a King can't rule their kingdom alone. Everytime the King talk about it with Taehyung, his son will angry and saying he is a weak King. Actually, he doesn't want Taehyung to be a tyrant.

Tyrant is not different with those nobles who want to control something they actually don't have rights on it. The King want to teach Taehyung that, but the bad situation in the kingdom not allowed him to teach it. Thats the part which makes him sad the most.

"It's Min family. The nobles who has huge farming and one of silk and cotton producer for fine fabric. They have land in seashore too, but they resident in the capital", the King said it.

"Seems so rich. Wonder why they want to married of their…", Taehyung look at his father.

"Son, Taehyung. The name is Min Yoongi", the King replies.

Taehyung nodded, "Wonder why this wealthy family doing the plead for us. Can I meet him before we got married?".

"You can't, Taehyung. It's against the manners in our royal family culture", The Queen said. It's true tho, and Taehyung knew it. He can't meet the spouse and his future Queen before she, ah, Taehyung means he enter the palace one week before the ceremony.

"I kinda want to know him, maybe not meeting directly. I really want to know their real reason for this marriage", Taehyung said, while sip his tea.

"Honestly, it's me who suggested it, Taehyung-ah. And they agree with it", his father said.

Taehyung smirk, "No one will object anyway. Is there any way I can meet him?", Taehyung still want to know his spouse beforehand. The Queen clap his lips, trying to speak the rules to his son, when Namjoon speak up.

"Let me escort you there, but promise me, you will only look from afar and not gonna confront him", Namjoon said.

"Namjoon!" The Queen ready to complaints Namjoon but Taehyung smile, he smile with satisfied feel, something so rare to see.

"Tomorrow we will going to him. Prepare everything, hyung. Ah, I promise something I can only do", Taehyung smirk then get up from his seat. Leaving the breakfast table with satisfied feeling. Taehyung can't wait to meet his supposed to be spouse, and confront him why his family sound so fake to his ears.