“Excuse me, Your Majesty?”
Rose looked up from the papers sprawled across her desk, seeing one of the guards standing in the doorway of the throne room.
“You have a guest.” The guard smiled, stepping aside to allow the guest entrance into the room.
Rose smiled. “Tech, what a pleasant surprise. Aurora didn’t tell me you were visiting.”
He smiled sheepishly before kneeling before her, his head bowed in respect. Rose had told him multiple times that it wasn’t necessary, but it felt wrong to him to not. He was standing just a few feet away from the queen of an entire planet, a woman who faked her own death and hid for decades to keep her people and her family safe, a woman who was hunted by another planet with a terrifying reputation and fought and won and lived. He was just a few feet away from her, wanting to ask her a question that could change his life. “I’m sorry for not calling ahead, Your Majesty. Cassidy doesn’t know I’m here. I needed to talk to you alone.”
Raising an eyebrow in question, Rose studied him for a moment. She saw his hands shaking. He was nervous. "Oh. This sounds rather serious. Please sit down, Tech.” She gestured to the chairs set in front of her desk.
“Thank you.” Tech replied, his smile still nervous as he stood and moved to the chairs, sitting down in one.
Rose set the pen in her hand down on her desk and folded her hands together. “How can I help you, Tech?”
Tech forced himself to look Rose straight in the eye. He needed to be brave. “I love Cassidy. I love her a lot.”
She smiled, blue eyes sparkling. “I know. It’s very clear to me that she loves you as well.”
A little bit of relief hit Tech’s chest, making him need to draw in a deep breath before he continued. “I want to marry her. I want to ask her to marry me, and I… I wanted to ask for your blessing before I do.”
Rose didn’t answer right away. She studied his face for a moment, making Tech’s heart thud loudly in his chest. Who was he, he thought, to be sitting in front of the queen, asking to marry her daughter; a girl who was just as stubborn and brave and reckless and loyal and incredible as she was?
“Why exactly did you come to me about this, Tech?”
Tech’s mind stalled at this question, not expecting it at all. He felt his face burning. “I… I know it was a very common tradition back on Acmetropolis, and that it’s also common here. I’ve been studying your planet’s history and laws with Cassidy, and I learned that the marriage of princesses must be approved of by her parents.” He paused, taking in a deep breath.
Rose’s face softened into a smile. “That is a very old law, but still valid.”
“Not only that, but I know how much you mean to Cassidy. I cannot begin to even imagine how she must feel, finally having a true family after all these years, but I know you are very important to her. I want to have you involved. And…” Tech hesitated, hands clamped together. “I may not have known you for very long, but I know you are honest. I want nothing but the best for Cassidy; and if you have any hesitation about me marrying her, I want to know.”
The silence in the room was almost unbearable for Tech. It was heavy and pressed down on him, threatening to choke the air out of his lungs. He was so focused on breathing steadily that he almost didn’t hear Rose answer.
“I give you my blessing.”
It took a moment for those words to sink in, and when they did, Tech felt like his entire body might just go limp and melt into a puddle on the floor. The relief made him feel a little dizzy, until he realized he was feeling dizzy because he wasn’t breathing.
Rose grinned, trying to hold back a laugh at Tech’s stunned facial expression. “Yes, Tech. So long as Aurora is ready and willing, I approve.”
“…Thank you, Your Majesty.”
She nodded. “I will admit, I did have a few worries when Aurora told me you were dating. But now, especially after today, you’ve proven me wrong on every last one of them.” She saw the corners of his lips curl in a smile. “You have an extreme amount of respect for not only Aurora, but her past, her culture, and her family. You take her position in this world very seriously, perhaps more seriously than she does.” Rose added with a laugh. “And most importantly, I know that if it wasn’t for you, I wouldn’t have had another chance to hold her in my arms again. You saved her life many times.”
Tech blinked at that. “I did?” He tried to think, but there was only twice he could think of where her life was in danger and he helped.
“That is what Aurora has told me.”
Tech nodded. “I didn’t realize that.” He smiled. “Thank you.”