The Blood of Peace
First Movement, the Third Part: Andante, in the spirit of Adagio
At the moment Heero was questioning his father's state of mind, a carriage was rolling swiftly down the countryside towards the castle of Earthian. The occupants of the carriage were both looking out the windows onto the verdant fields and blue skies without really seeing them. They were deep in thought. One of the occupants, a girl of fifteen or so, twirled a bit of her dark blond hair with her fingers while her blue eyes roamed over the countryside she was not seeing. Her thoughts kept her busy.
"Relena. Hello, earth to Relena. Anyone home?"
Her brother's light tone covered his worry but she could hear it. Her poor brother Milliardo. All he ever wanted was for her to be happy.
"Yes, I am home. Just in deep thought. It's not everyday you meet your future husband, dear brother."
"Hmm. You're right. I'm not meeting any husbands of mine today. Unless Odin has another son hidden away for me."
Relena smiled slightly at her brother. He did know how to cheer her up in the strangest ways.
"Well, Milliardo, if you really want, YOU can marry prince Heero and I'll just sit on my throne and rule."
"Ah yes, I suppose I can do that. But do you think prince Heero would loosen up enough to bear my children? From what I hear, he's rather stiff."
Relena frowned to disguise her sudden smile. It would be so unqueenly if she laughed at such vulgar jokes. But it was funny and she had also heard Heero was not the most forthcoming or friendly individual.
"Maybe he will want you to have the children, dear brother. He does outrank you… He would be king and alas, you're just my Prince Consort and General of my paltry armies. Yes, you would be the one to give up your career and sit in the kitchen."
Milliardo looked properly shocked for her benefit before he burst out into laughter. He had to concede this round to his sister – she was getting better at repartee, and her edge was becoming sharper. Soon, Milliardo might have to concede the whole conversation before it began. Ruefully, Milliardo dropped the light banter and turned to more serious matters. His sister looked rather peaked and the lack of rest during the journey showed in her eyes.
"Relena, are you sure about this? Why did you agree to become Heero's queen? It would mean that Sanque and Earthian would merge."
"Yes. I know all that. But we're a nation built on pacifism. We cannot abandon our ideals, even at the cost of our lives. However, to keep this idealism, we do need the steel to back us up. Earthian will be the sword, and we the shield. The combination will be flawless. We can keep the peace going while the Earthians keep the order. I did think this through, Milli. I need the Earthian alliance."
Although Relena said her piece with a tranquil voice that screamed poise and grace, her eyes betrayed her misgivings and fears. Milliardo knew that his sister was a very capable queen and leader, but he still felt that she was too young to jump into marriage with some prince she had never met. But, she was too dedicated to Sanque. She would give up her happiness for the sake of her realm. As she was doing today, at this moment. Milliardo looked at his sister who had fallen silent. From this angle, she looked like an average teen girl who should be dreaming of knights on white chargers and flowers of different colors. She radiated innocence, his little sister. Milliardo could say nothing as a tear traced down her cheek unnoticed by its producer. Maybe, his sister knew the price too well for keeping the peace she so believed in, but it didn't mean that she did not resent it. And he could do nothing while she jumped headlong into a future which would make her cry.
"Your Majesty, your highness, we are close to the Earthian castle. Please arrange yourselves."
The gentle voice of their Minister of Foreign Affairs woke the both of them out of their miserable reveries. Relena quickly composed herself and was surprised to find that her cheek was wet. She ignored that little mystery and straightened the plaits in her hair and smoothed her blue dress. She would look regal and wonderful for her future husband even if it killed her.
While Relena went through the motions, Milliardo adjusted his red coat and cape to look less travel worn. He thought about brushing out his lengthy blond hair but that would take too long and be too painful on this bumpy ride. He decided looking slightly rumpled wouldn't be so bad since he had traveled nearly three days straight to get to Earthian for prince Heero's birthday celebrations. If that wasn't dedication, he didn't know what was.
In a short time, the carriage rumbled to a halt and the door opened to reveal their butler Paigan. He was looking a little worn himself, but he was too well mannered to show it. He held out his hand for Relena and she gracefully jumped from the carriage. Milliardo followed right behind her to look upon the castle with expectation, then disdain.
"You'd think the castle would be a little more impressive, don't you think Relena?"
"Brother, behave yourself. This is a kingdom built on warrior's pride. Of course our country of artisans and intellectuals would have more beautiful buildings."
Although Relena tried not to sound too pompous, it failed. She was feeling a bit distressed now that she had actually arrived and she wasn't feeling too charitable toward Earthians in general. It was a good thing that no one was out in the courtyard to hear them. As soon as the echoes of her voice died down, the large doors to the inner hall opened and several well dressed liverymen came out to fetch their baggage and lead them into their rooms. Milliardo was right about the castle though. It could have been a little more impressive. Everything seemed to be made from the same sized gray blocks. There were no embellishments, buttresses or even carvings. Relena thought that the castle looked like a gigantic mausoleum, but she wasn't about to say that out loud in this echoing hallway. Even the carpeting was boring. She looked around and only saw blue and gold wall hangings with various scenes of battle sewn into them. All in all, this castle was giving her a bad impression.
They were led into a room that looked a bit like a cell, with painted yellow walls and spartan furniture arrangements. Milliardo and Relena exchanged brief chagrined looks before they parted ways into their separate bedrooms. It was going to be a long birthday celebration, Relena decided. Even her brother couldn't come up with some silly pun or joke to make light of this dismal castle. Thinking along these morbid lines, she was startled when there was a knock at the door. At her command, the door opened to reveal a messenger boy in blue who asked her to follow him to meet the king. 'Well, about time. I've only been here five minutes,' thought Relena. Then she chided herself. This was no time to be a sarcastic child. So she walked off with the messenger in her pretty blue dress to meet Odin Lowe, King of Earthian.