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 --Kayden City, The Empire of Carona--

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Santa was in a fine mood.

He kept his smile and his pace restrained as he slowly caught up to his long time friend, Queen Penelope.

"Benjy..... I think we lost them, so let's stop here." Penelope said, as she pulled her horse' reigns.

Santa (Benjamin Hamilton) and Penelope,  had been good friends for years now.

When Santa was just 10 years old, the 7 year old Penelope had joined his class within the knighthood Academy.

She was always aloof and very protective of him.

One should know that because of his round ball-like physique, the children would always make fun of him.

They took him like the class clown.

At that age, his stamina wasn't too good, and he always ended up being the weakest swordsman in the class.

But of course, Penelope would kick anyone's arse, if they tried to bully him.

And just like that, he ended up being her property within the Academy.

For sure, this made things worse because when she wasn't there..... everyone would still pick on him.

They would mock him for hiding behind a woman, and even shoot tiny pebbles his way.

In their eyes, he wasn't a man.

But did he care?... Nope!!!

To him, they were just jealous.

He had just arrived Carona a few days ago, and was immediately greeted with a letter from Penelope.

Well, he couldn't really call it a letter.... it was more like a death threat.

It just had 10 words on it: [See me as soon as you arrive, or you're dead!!]

Although Penelope was usually aloof and unbothered... but when it concerned him, she would show a little bit of emotions here and there.

Maybe it was because she had been used to protecting him always, or maybe she felt like she had raised him..... who knows.

No matter how unattached someone seemed to be, there would always be another person around them, that could bring a little change in their character.

For Penelope, Santa was one of her weaknesses.

He was always happy, and never seemed to act like all the other men around her.

While everyone else pampered her and treated her like a princess, Santa had always been the only one who treated her like a regular human being.

When she was little, she introduced herself to him.... and unlike the other boys who seemed to treat her like a precious egg, Santa treated her like everyone else.

She instantly realised that his way of thinking, was different from the general masses.

And it was then and there that she decided to recruit him as her first friend.

Presently....If someone ever tried to kidnap or attack her Benjamin, she was sure that she would throw caution to the wind and hack the person into several pieces.

Presently, they had successfully sneaked away from the many bodyguards that were supposed to be around Queen Penelope.

"When did you arrive?" Penelope asked in an unemotional tone.

"3 days ago!!"

"So you saw my message and you only thought it wise to meet me now?" Penelope asked in a calm but intimidating tone.

Why did this baffoon seem like he didn't care about her at all?

Ever since her Coronation day, he hadn't even bothered to say Congratulations to her.

Is this what her mother always meant whenever she said that her little baby's all grown up?

Penelope felt like she couldn't read Santa anymore.

Well, she couldn't understand herself as well.

Why was she pissed?

"Calm down, you're thinking too much.

I just wanted to clear my head for a bit."

'Clear your head my foot!!!', she thought inwardly.

Looking at her, he felt truly helpless.

After so many years together, how could he not tell when she was angry?

One could say that she was his weakness as well.

2 years ago, he had begun to understand his feelings towards her..... and in a way, he had tried to kill them multiple times.

But after the coronation, he immediately traveled so as to clear his head.

With her being queen, how could he hope to successfully marry her?

He wasn't a well respected knight... he was a well-known merchant instead.

For her, he was willing to stop traveling and settle down..... after all, he had subordinates who could look after his shops.

Well.... he was willing to decrease the amount of times that he traveled.

It would be a lie, if he said that he would completely give up traveling.

He truly loved his profession.

Just like how a general had to go to war for several months, he too needed to travel around as a merchant.

But for her, he would do it once in every 4 months.... or 5, if need be.

He had thought about all these things over the past 2 years, since he thought that one of her brothers would be king.

But now that she was the ruler, it was a whole new ballgame.

A king needed to be accepted by the people, and her family.

Wouldn't it be downgrading for her to end up with a merchant?

Yes he was from a noble family, but that didn't change the fact that his occupation was still that of a merchant.

When he saw the her message 3 days ago, he was somewhat hesitant to see her again.

"What did you need to think about?" Penelope asked.

Although she seemed calm, her whole mind was in a mess.

She didnt like what she was currently feeling right now.

Why was she afraid?

Something inside her felt wrong.

"I was thinking that we should stop seeing each other."

Silence followed for 40 seconds, before Penelope snapped back to her senses.

She felt something wet kn her cheek, and when she wiped it off, she realised that theh were tears.

What was happening?

Why was she crying.

Even her crying mode was cold.

Her facial expression stayed the same, but the tears kept falling down like a waterfall.

Santa was shocked and frighten by her actions.

She was crying!!!!

This.... this .... this was bad.

I immediately regretted his actions.

The last thing he wanted to do was hurt her.

But he couldn't help asking himself, why was she crying exactly?

The Queen was crying.

If anyone came to see this scene, they would surely tie him up and burn him alive.

In fact, even if he was innocent... no one would believe him.

They would kill first, and then ask questions later in this case.

No one had ever seen the Queen cry... not even her own parents.

"Penelope please don't cry..... Calm down and let me finish.

What I mean is that I want to be more than a friend to you..."

Instantly, her tears stopped flowing and looked at Santa in a questionable manner.

She was confused.

Her brain couldn't process the information.

"What do you mean?"

"Sigh... I'll say this only once, so listen up okay?

For a long time now, I've been in love with you Penelope.

Keeping you as my friend, will only cause me grief and pain.... as well as make your life uncomfortable."

"So... you love me?"... Penelope asked, as her heartbeat quickened for some unknown reason.

"Isn't it obvious?... when you call me out, no matter what time it is.... I always come.

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Haven't you realised that you're the only woman that I treat like this?

Penelope.... do you understand now?"

She fell silent for a while, and when she was about to answer, she heard strange voices coming from afar.

She immediately placed her palms over Santa's mouth, and pushed him downwards.

These voices weren't from any of her men, so who could it be?

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