Joined: 01 December 2013
"The prince fought and fought, swinging his sword this way and that as he defeated all of the evil dragons of the wicked king one by one. The Rajkumari stood in the window of the tall tower, watching him as he fought for her. Finally, he beat all the dragons, and looked up at her."
"And then?" A small, sleepy voice asked from the plush, royal purple sheets of the bed.
"And then, the handsome prince will ride up on his big, white horse, sweep you off your feet and take you away. And you will get married, and live happily ever after." Rani Gupta softly whispered to her daughter. The beautiful Rajkumari had already nodded off, her dark, long lashes resting delicately on her supple cheeks. With every breath, a single piece of hair moved up and down, gently fanning her face. The Rani smiled fondly down at her daughter, before pressing a kiss to her forehead and sweeping out of the room.
Giggles and laughter rang throughout the majestic halls as five kids sprinted as fast as they could. They exhausted every single passage of the large castle, their tiny feet and imaginations taking them far beyond the looming, protective walls.
"Didi, dekho na! He's purposely making me lose!" Rajkumari Khushi Gupta angrily glared down at the prince in front of her. Even at the young age of ten, she had mastered the art of the disapproving glower. The prince standing in front of her, a mischievous glint in his syrupy caramel eyes, was often the recipient of her well-developed temper.
Rajkumari Anjali, the prince's older sister, and Rajkumari Payal, Khushi's older sister, looked up from their books to see a familiar sight. Anjali's younger brother, Rajkumar Arnav, was once again pulling the pigtails of the youngest member of their circle. It was his favorite job, and despite him being five years older, he retained the maturity of the ten year old in front of him.
"Arnav, uss bechari ko chodo na. Why are you always troubling her? You're fifteen, for God's sake. Even Aakaash is more mature than you, and he's just thirteen years old. Be more like your younger brother." Anjali did not even look up from her studies as she reprimanded her younger brother. She had been through this speech so many times that she knew it by heart.
Arnav rolled his eyes. He always got in trouble for the little imp's pranks. How could anyone resist those huge, hazel eyes that dripped of innocence and that adorable pout? Sadly, Arnav was the only one who was able to. Little Rajkumari Gupta had the entire world wrapped around her tiny finger, and he was the only one who could see through the facade of innocence. The girl was a firecracker behind backs, and thus, he had nicknamed her as such.
"Di, tumhe pata hai ki Phatake aise hi hamesha karti hai. She's always doing things like this, and Phatake gets away with it because she's the baby of the lot!"
"Don't call me Phatake! My name is Khushi. Khushi Kumari Gupta. Suna aapne?"
"Haan, haan, sun liya Phatake. But you're so much like a firecracker that Phatatke suits you so much better. Who knows why they named you happiness instead?"
Back in the sitting room of the castle, much more serious matters were being discussed. Raja and Rani Gupta engaged in an intense discussion with Raja and Rani Malik of the neighboring kingdom, with whom they had generations of peaceful, friendly relations with.
"Woh kya hai Devi, we need to start planning for their futures as soon as possible. Times are not going to remain so peaceful for long. I have a bad feeling that times will get very tough on both of our families soon."
"I understand perfectly, Garima. Payal and Khushi are growing up, and they cannot remain innocent and naive forever, as much as I wish they would. To ensure that peace always remains between our families, why don't we form the permanent alliance of marriage?"
"Yes, yes, I completely agree. Anjali ke liye toh hamare paas ladke nahi hai, but we can marry Aakash, Payal, Khushi and Arnav within each other."
"Although Arnav is the oldest of the lot and would traditionally be married to Payal, I think Aakash is a better match for her, na? She's so quiet and reserved, that I think Arnav's temperament would be overwhelming for her."
"Haan, that makes sense. Oh god, so Khushi and Arnav? Those two never stop irritating each other. Constantly pulling each other's leg. Well, perhaps that will change into attraction over time. God knows I've seen enough of that."
The Ranis laughed together as they observed their children, growing up day by day. Needless to say, the alliance formed between the two families would face an incredibly difficult test in the coming years.
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