Felicia

October 16, 2011
By headoverheels44 SILVER, Dickerson, Maryland
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headoverheels44 SILVER, Dickerson, Maryland
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The darkness surrounded us as we ran and it seemed to be endless. I still heard one of the two horses crying and trying to reach its feet, even though it only had three legs left. I kept my eyes on my brother’s back like he had told me to. The air was drenched with blood and death. His hand squeezed mine tighter as he led me around a tree. He stopped for the first time and I could tell he was breathing as hard as I. He pulled me closer to the tree and pushed me into a small hole in the lower part of it that I had not even seen. I could not tell if the moonless night or the snow falling was a key factor in affected my vision, but I had a feeling that tears was the main cause. My brother kept his head out of the small hole as I watched, but I grabbed onto his fur coat when an arrow split a tree. He set his hand on my head and caressed my hair like he usually did to clam me but never moved his gaze from outside. We were rabbits hiding from hunters, except these hunters would not go for any other rabbit; they had to have us. “Hold your breath.” My brother whispered so quietly that I almost missed it, but when I finally realized what he had said I quickly pulled my hands over my nose and mouth as he pulled his head inside the hole. He pulled me to one side of the hole and held his breath. For the first time the woods were silent, but that made me even more terrified. A branch on the ground somewhere close snapped under the weight of someone and I had to keep myself from gasping. They were onto us. I sat there and waited as I hid my teary face behind my brother’s coat. If they shot him first I did not want to see it. Thankfully the person who had come for us walked away. I let out my breath and was relieved for just a moment before I realized we were still not far from death’s grasp. My brother finally turned to me and his dirty blond hair moved closer to his eyes of the ocean, “We cannot stay here. We will have to split up.” His blonde hair showed around his face from under his wool knit hat, as his blue eyes seemed to be as distant from me as the sea.
I squeezed his arm closer to my chest and stared back to him, “Don’t leave me.” I pleaded, but he shook his head and I knew I could not stop him.
“I will go towards the carriage, Felicia. You must go further into the woods. Don’t stop until you reach Alethia. If you hear someone, hide in a bush or tree. Once you reach the capitol you must hide somewhere, find a job, and go by a fake name. I will come for you in a week or so since it will take a long time to go around the other side of the mountains,” He did not give me a chance to protest before he had pulled me out of the hole behind him. He slipped something on me and I felt coldness on a small area of my neck. I looked down to see my brother’s necklace he had been given by my father just a few hours ago. I looked back to him and wanted to hold onto him and never let go, “I will find you by this necklace so don’t leave the city until I come for you,” He kissed my head and then took a few steps away, “Go back into the hole of this tree and wait until you can’t hear anyone near you.” He then sprinted a few feet away and after many trees separated us he seemed to disappear in the darkness. I heard my brother yell something as another arrow fired.
“Brother.” I whispered in a cry as I squeezed his necklace in my hands. A thud rang in my ears.
I woke up and realized that someone was knocking on my room’s door so I quickly sat up and ran. I opened the dark oak door to see a girl of my age with glasses that stared at me as her deadly brown eyes of a stranger glared at me, “If you stay in bed any longer you will be fired, Miss Faith.” The girl informed me.
“Thank you, Miss Lily. I will hurry.” I quickly shut my door and looked down to my chest. Between my breasts lay the beautiful necklace I was hoping to see and I sighed with relief. I quickly went over to my bed covered with only a sheet and blanket to keep me from freezing at night. I picked up the clothes I had set out the night before, a corset and simple dress made for a maid. I had slight difficulty with my corset, but once it was on it was simple to slip on my dress. Today I was wearing a light brown dress that had white lace up the front, white sleeves of ruffles, a white ruffle collar, and white lace where the end of my dress touched the ground. I slipped on my workers shoes and went out the door. I picked up my dress and ran down the hall made of cobblestone until I reached a familiar door. I walked into the young prince’s room to see him yelling at an older maid that just looked at the ground, but the prince stopped yelling and both looked to me. The young boy with black hair and brown eyes face seemed to brighten as he ran over to me and hugged my waist. I hugged him lightly as the older maid walked out of the room with relief that I had given her a chance to escape. When the prince let go of me I went over to his dresser and took out a nice white shirt, a pair of deep black pants, and a nice dress shirt to go over his long sleeve white shirt. I went back to him and slipped off his night clothes before putting the new clothes on him. He slipped into a pair of black shoes by us after he was dressed and turned to me.
“Does this suit me?”
I nodded, “You look much like the older prince,” I said as I walked over to him. I brushed a piece of black hair back to place and smiled to him, “Speaking of which, I am sure the older prince is here now. He was supposed to arrive early this morning.” The prince ran out of his room and led me with him by grabbing my hand. He ran and I tried to keep up while pulling up my dress with only one hand until he finally stopped when we reached a fountain near the front gate of the castle. The young prince then pulled me towards the young man that was 2 years my senior riding a black stallion. The older prince smiled as he saw his brother and quickly got off of his horse. The young prince finally let me go as he ran over to his brother. The young prince embraced his brother and I could tell they truly had a bond more than just blood and name, but my observation was stopped when a galloping steed almost ran me over. I quickly took a step back as the white steed finally stopped just a few inches from me. Once I calmed down I looked around the horses head to see General Aaron looking down to me. I quickly bowed and tried to hide my flushed cheeks. When I looked up to the man again he smiled and I knew he had seen me blushing, but I held myself from running or blushing again as he descended from his steed and walking over to me. He bowed to the two princes and smiled to the older prince.
“Welcome back, Prince Luther,” General Aaron said formally and then looked to me again, “Miss Faith, you speak Parethish, correct?”
I nodded, “Indeed.”
“There is a captive of war I just encountered, and it seems there are not very many people left that speak Parethian, which is all this man speaks. We are trying to find out why he tried to assassinate our middle prince who was out of the country but no one knows what he is saying at all. Could you talk to him?”
I stared to the general and slowly nodded, “Well I do not speak very much Parethish, but I will try to talk to the man.”
“But Miss Faith!” The young prince yelled and I turned to him with curiosity, “You said you would teach me a new song today!”
I smiled to the young prince, “Indeed I will, young prince. But first I must assist General Aaron with this matter. I will come teach you after I am done, all right? You can ask your brother all the questions you have while I am gone.” The young prince pouted, but his brother smiled to me.
“You may go Miss Faith. This will give us some time to catch up.” The older prince assured me and I smiled a thank you before turning to General Aaron who held his hand out to me. When I took his hand he lifted my petit body onto his horse and then got on in front of me.
“Hold on tight Miss Faith.” He said quietly and I lightly held onto his waist, but when he put the horse to a run I had to squeeze myself closer to him in fear of falling. I closed my eyes and tried to not think of my fright, but it was over soon enough. The general stopped in front of a building where captives were held and then helped me off of the horse. I followed him into the building and down a white hall until we reached a metal door that had a guard in front of it. The guard bowed to the general and then let us past. When the general opened the metal door I saw there was a wooden table with a wooden chair on either side. On the farther side sat a man in tattered clothes that used to be a pair of riding pants, a white shirt of a workingman and mud covered riding boots. But I could not think that this man was dirty, even though his whole body was covered in dirt and grime, because of his familiar dirty blond hair and blue eyes. I slowly walked over to the table and bowed to the man who just frowned to me. I sat in the chair across from him and looked back to the general.
“I shall handle it from here.”
“Just call if he does anything odd.” General Aaron said with an angry looked to the man before shutting the door after him.

I turned to the man and realized he did not know I spoke Parethish.
“Stupid man bringing a girl to deal with someone who is suspected of trying to murder a prince.” The man muttered in Parethish and I smiled to him.
“Should I tell him you think he is stupid?” I asked with my smile staying on my face as the man froze.
“You can understand me?”
I nodded and smiled to the man, “I have been sent to speak with you.”
“And what makes you think I will speak to a traitor like you! Anyone who has given into the other countries is a traitor and should not call themselves Parethian.”
I froze at the rudeness of the man, but then pulled out the necklace that was now behind my dress and turned to the man. He froze with shock as he looked to me and I frowned at him. “Even if I am Princess Felicia, I am a traitor for leaving to try to live when my family was murdered?” I asked with coldness to my tone, but was pleased when the man bowed his head to me and set his arm across his chest so that his hand was over his heart. It was the strongest way to show respect for our people even though it did not mean much to any other country.
“Princess Felicia you do not know how much of an honor it is to know you are alive! A friend told me that you and Prince Henry were still alive, but I did not believe it was so!” The man said as he looked to me and I could feel my heart speed up.
“You have heard news of my brother?”
He nodded, “Prince Henry was captured by the king of the next country over, but he escaped and is said to be hiding in the mountains on the border of our country…or what is left of our country.”
I wanted to stand up and run out of the room. My brother was still alive and I now knew where he was. I wanted to find him and just stay in his arms until this whole war was over, but I could not. If I went to him we would surely die out there in the mountains and the king would become suspicious of me so I must do what I am told for now. “Why did you try to kill the middle price?” I asked with no feeling.
“He came into a store I was working at in Harlem and started yelling at the owner because something in his order was wrong. The prince punched the owner and when I went after the prince to defend the owner a guard grabbed me. I was then brought here and guessed it was because the prince had changed the story to make it seem like I tried to attack him.”
“So you did not want to kill the prince?”
He shook his head, “No, but princess, why are you in maids clothes? And why are you at the castle of the king of Alethia?”
“I am a maid for the royal family.”
He stood so quickly from his chair that it fell backwards and hit the ground behind him, “But you are a princess! You should not be…” He started to yell but stopped when the door to the room swung open. I quickly stood and turned to see General Aaron holding an arrow strung in his bow towards the man on the other side of the table.
“Sit down!” Aaron demanded and I knew if I did not act fast the only person I had found with information about my brother would die. I quickly turned to the man.
“Sit back down.” I ordered and the man quickly put his chair back in place and sat down. I felt a strong grip on my arm and before I could turn to see what it was I was pulled to General Aaron’s side and the man from the table was coming at us.
“Let go of the princess!” The man demanded as he came at us and I could feel Aaron aiming his arrow.
“It’s alright, sir! Now do as I command and sit down! This man will do me no harm!” I yelled to the man and he froze for just a moment before going to his seat again. Aaron’s grip loosened on my arm as I looked to him.
“Why did he try to attack you?” General Aaron asked and I sighed as I shook my head.
“He was not trying to attack me General Aaron. He was just angered by something I said.” I replied and Aaron let go of my arm.
“He is a captive and he is arguing with someone who is trying to help him? What an idiot.” Aaron said and I sighed once more. I walked over to the man, but this time I went to his side instead of the other side of the table.
“I still do not know your name.”
“Lucas. My name is Lucas.” The man responded and I looked back to the General.
“I have spoken to Sir Lucas and he has informed me that this is a mistake.” I replied and General Aaron frowned towards the man and then towards me.
“And you trust him?”
I nodded, “He said that the middle prince of our country punched a close friend of his and when Sir Lucas went to defend his friend the prince’s guards took him into captivity.”
“How do you not know he is lying?” The general asked and I paused slightly. I could not tell him that this man would not lie to his princess for my fate would be sealed, but how could I convince the general that I trusted this man and this man trusted me.
“Lucas used to know my family and is like a cousin to me. Even though we have not seen each other since we were children I know he would not lie to me.” I said with firmness and the general sighed.
“Then he is free to go for now, but he cannot leave the castle grounds until I confirm his innocence to the king and court.”
“He says you are free to go, but cannot leave the castle grounds until you are proven of innocence to the king and the court.” I told Lucas and he smiled back to me. He stood, bowed his head, took my right hand in his, and kissed it.
“Thank you, Princess Felicia.” He said kindly and I took his hand in mine before looking to Aaron.
“I will bring Sir Lucas to the spare worker’s room next to my room. I will keep an eye on him and help him with everything he needs.” I informed Aaron and I knew he could not tell me no before I had left with Lucas following close behind me. When we reached the fountain by the front gate of the castle I stopped because of the sight of the two princes sitting there. The young prince saw me and quickly hopped off the siding of the fountain and ran towards me to hug my waist. I was as surprised as the prince when Lucas stepped in front of me so that the prince could not touch me. The older prince quickly came over and pulled his brother away from Lucas.
“Lucas, it is alright. The young prince means me no harm. He thinks I am his friend.” I said and Lucas turned to make sure there was no doubt in my eyes before he moved back to my side. I bowed to the two princes and smiled, “Good afternoon Prince Luther and Prince Peter.” I said formally and when the older prince let go of his brother’s shoulder Prince Peter ran to me. He hugged my waist and I could feel Lucas tense beside me so I turned to him, “It is alright.” I informed him and then let go of the young prince.
“Miss Faith are you going to teach me now?” The young prince asked and I nodded.
“Go on to your room, young prince. I must show this man to his room and then I will meet you in your room.” I replied and he nodded. I took Lucas’s hand back in mine and led him to his room down a door from mine in the maids’ wing of the castle. I opened the door and moved out of the way. He walked into the room and then turned back to me. “This will be your room until you are proven innocent. I will be back in an hour or so and I will come check on you. If you need anything just ask any of the maids walking through the halls for Miss Faith and they will get me.” I said and he nodded. I then walked off and heard the door to his room shut. I quickly picked up my dress and ran down the halls until I got to the young prince’s room. By that time I was getting tired, but quickly checked my hair and then knocked on the door. The young prince opened the door and took my hand in his. He sat down on his bed and I sat on a chair pulled to the side of the bed. I then noticed another person in the room and turned to the right. The older prince was watching me from the corner of the room, but I quickly paid no attention to it and focused on the young prince who was also watching me.
“Faith, why did that man guard you when I tried to come near you? And why did he not show his respect towards my brother and me?” The young prince asked curiously and I smiled to him.
“That man is not from this country, Prince Peter. He was the man General Aaron asked me to talk to. The man is actually someone I knew and he was just protecting me since he did not know who you were.”
The older prince stood and walked over to the end of the bed, “That is a lie, Miss Faith. That man did know who we were because he is from Parethia. He is just like the other Parethians’ I have met in the past and I know he hates my brothers, my father, my mother, and me.” The prince said rudely and I looked away from his eyes as I spoke.
“I am sure your father has not told you this, Prince Luther, but I am from Parethia. From the capital actually.” I whispered quietly and both princes stopped with shock. There was a moment of silence.
“I didn’t mean that, Miss Faith.” The older prince apologized but I shook my head.
“No. You did mean it, Prince Luther. I know you did but I understand. I do not blame you for disliking my people as I do not blame the captive I am helping for hating the royal family.”
“You do not blame the captive? But he hates the child you are solely helping!” The older prince argued and I nodded.
“In this war the captive lost his royal family, his family, his friends, and his home. How can you blame him for hating the children of the man that led this country into this war? I cannot blame you for hating my people either. We tried to kill you and your family numerous times and most of us still hate you.”
I could tell the prince frowned, “Then why are you working for this castle? Are you trying to kill us too?” He asked and I finally looked to him.
“Just because I am a Parethian does not mean I want to kill anyone, Prince Luther. I do not want to hold a grudge against anyone because I do not believe either your father or my past king were the ones at wrong,” I said and then turned to the younger prince, “What do you want me to teach you today?” Peter set a paper in front of me and I picked it up. This was a song written in old Parethian, but was only made a few years before my parents and sister’s deaths. I looked up to Peter, “Did you pick this one out?” I asked and he nodded.
“I played the melody out on my piano and it sounded so beautiful and happy that I wanted you to teach me what it meant.” He said and I looked to his eyes.
“Could we try another song?”
“Why? Do you not like this one?” He asked with a childish look of confusion towards me.
“No, I used to love this song but it was written on the day the youngest princess of Parethia was born. It was made to celebrate her and her family so I don’t think your father would enjoy me teaching you such a song.” I said, but was surprised when the young prince shook his head.
“My father said he wanted me to learn about the last royal family of Parethia because it was tied into our history.” The prince argued and I sighed.
“Alright. Could you hand me a quill and ink?” I asked and the prince did so. I used the table next to my chair as I interpreted the whole song. I then picked up the paper and looked to the prince, “Lullabies of sweet love-tell the story of from where you come-Hearts filled with love and joy-given to you by our King Troy-Mother’s care and siblings hope-are given to you on our mountain slopes-People cheer and pray for you-in love we give a name to you-Felicia-our greatest child-shall rule the world with just a smile-As we pray for years to come-we will love you through whatever may come-We saved our dream for such a girl-that will someday rule our world-Love is all we have and all we know-now that you have shown us so.” I sang quietly and felt tears rimming my eyes. My uncle had written this for me on the day of my birth and now I hated such a kind song made for me. I wanted to shred this paper and run to the mountain I knew my brother was starving on. I wanted to stay in his arms and die there. I did not want to live in fear of death every second of my life. Even if this war ended I could not go back to my country and rule with my brother. Everyone hated the two of us and would kill us within moments of finding out our identity. We would end up running through the wooded mountains and trying to hide from our pursuers once more. But our lives would end just like the rest of our family members’ did. We would be murdered and our people would be hurt more than they already were. I felt a tear run down my cheek and I quickly looked away from Prince Peter as I brushed it away, “I must go check on the captive. He does not know where to find me if he needs something.” I said and quickly stood from my chair. I bowed to Peter and then Luther, but quickly ran out after that. I pulled my dress off the ground with one hand as I used the other to wipe away my tears that now freely fell down my face. I turned the corner that led to the hall my room was in, but stopped when I hit something and had to take a few steps back to regain my balance. I looked up to see the shocked face of General Aaron, “Sorry. Please excuse me.” I whispered with a sniffle and then quickly ran past him. Before he could say a word I shut my door behind me and locked it. I ran to my bed and grabbed my pillow. I squeezed it in my arms as I lay on my side and held onto my brother’s necklace. I cried until I could not cry anymore, but I stayed on my bed and held my pillow and necklace. Someone knocked on my door and I quickly buried my face onto the pillow. I did not want to see any of these black haired, brown-eyed strangers. I did not want to see this city or its buildings because they all said I could not win this battle.
“Princess Felicia, may I speak with you?” The warm sound of my native tongue warmed my body and I realized it was not a true stranger at the door. It was Sir Lucas, one of my people. I quickly got up and went to the door. I opened the door and quickly pulled Lucas into the room. I locked the door behind me and then walked over to my bed.
“You may sit anywhere you like.” I announced and he sat down in a chair near my bed.
“The man that brought you to talk to me earlier you called him General Aaron, correct?” He asked and I nodded slowly with confusion, “He came to my room a while ago and was threatening me about something, but I could not tell what it was about.”
“He did?” I asked and he nodded I looked away from Lucas. I felt that I should go talk to Aaron and find out what was wrong, but I could not see the halls outside of my room or him. His eyes and hair were my brother’s death and my death. I did not want to see him or his people ever again, “Do you want me to talk to him?”
“No. I just thought you might know what it was about,” He said and I nodded with a quiet sigh, “Is something wrong, Princess Felicia?”
“Why do you ask?”
He shrugged and then looked to the wall across from him that was to my right, “I don’t know. Something just seems different about you than before. You seem tense and upset,” His eyes went to my face, “And your puffy eyes hold a dead giveaway that you have been crying.”
“Oh.”
He stood and went in front of me. He knelt down so that we were looking eye-to-eye, “Do you want to talk about it? That may help relieve some of your sadness.” He said and I looked away from him.
“I was asked to teach the young prince a song in old Parethian, but when I realized what song it was I could not hold back my feelings.”
“What song was it?”
I looked to my necklace, “‘To our new princess’.”
I felt Lucas watching me, but I could not return his gaze. If I did I was afraid I would cry again, “I wish there was something pleasant I could tell you to look to right now, but I cannot think of anything.” He said with a sigh but I finally looked to him and slightly smiled before looking away again.
“You have given me more than enough, Sir Lucas. I truly thought my brother was dead but you gave me hope that he is still out there. If you had not told me that today I probably would not have made it much longer in this city. Your information of my brother gave me a small amount of strength when I have almost none left,” I said and he smiled back to me, “Do you have any other news of my brother? Anything from when our parents were killed? I have been living the past ten years without hearing a word.”
“The prince was given a horrible wound by the king of Algoria the day you disappeared from all charts. His left leg was severed, but a doctor from our country found him moments after the attack. The prince was saved by the doctor and then received a mechanical leg that works as well as his old one.”
I closed my eyes and felt a sharp pain of selfishness as I realized when my brother had left me at that tree he had hollered to get those men off of my trail but when he had yelled something I did not hear, it had been a yell of pain. The king of Algoria that had been tracking us shot my brother in the leg with the arrow I heard, “Dear heavens!” I cried in a whisper as I felt tears running down my cheeks, “Brother.” I felt sick to my stomach that I had left him there and he almost bled to death. Suddenly I felt warmth against me and I lifted me head to see Lucas’s shoulder and back. Lucas embraced me sympathetically.
“Please do not cry Princess. I can’t stand seeing a woman cry.” He whispered and I felt slightly better. I hugged him back with the thought that I had someone I could trust at my side. Finally after ten years I could trust someone again, but how long could I hold onto this person and keep him at my side?

I stopped in the hall when Lucas pulled on my hand. I looked to him with curiosity to see the playful smile I had come to cherish, “So where is the little prince? He has not been bugging you for almost a whole day.” He commented and I nodded.
“Prince Peter is somewhere with his middle brother. Now the only prince is Prince Luther who is dealing with business. This is the first quiet day I have had in a long time.” I squeezed his hand in mine with assurance but was surprised when he leaned me against the wall of the hall. No one was there, but this hall was still a public place. Lucas kissed me dearly and slid his fingers through my hair. I felt like I would melt in his hands as he kissed me and I wondered if this was the thing called ‘love’ my brother had told me about as a child. It felt sickening sweet how much I enjoyed his touch, but I could not stop myself. I wanted to be in Lucas’s hands every second of my days. I wanted him to crave our time together like I did and I wanted Lucas to take my fears away like he had done so far. Lucas quickly pulled off of me when we both heard someone walking down the hall closest to us. I came away from the wall as General Aaron stopped at the sight of us.
“Oh, Miss Faith. I was just going to your room to talk to you.” The general said and Lucas looked at me curiously but my smile weakened his odd feelings.
“Is there something you need to tell me, General Aaron?” I asked kindly and he nodded.
“The young prince requests that you retrieve him from the front gate when he arrives in a few minutes. He said that his companion needed your help.”
“Companion?”
He nodded to me, “He was requested to escort someone to our castle, but I do not know who.”
“Indeed. Thank you, General.” I said kindly and then turned to Lucas, “The young prince will be arriving home soon and requests that I help him with something. Shall you go back to your room?”
“I’ll go with you.” He replied and I nodded with a smile. I took his hand in mine and look back to Aaron.
“Please excuse us, General Aaron.” I said quietly and then led Lucas past him. We walked to the front gates and waited by the fountain.
“That general makes me feel very odd. He looks at you like he owns you.”
“I think he is just considerate and is watching out for me, nothing more.”
He shook his head; “He has feelings of love towards you and feelings of hate towards me.”
“The general does not love me. He is so rude to me sometimes that it could not be true.”
“He likes you, trust me.” Lucas said, but before I could argue with him again I heard the gate open.
“Faith!” The young prince yelled with a wave towards me. To his right was the middle prince who looked at me curiously since I stood beside the man that he claimed had attacked him, but when I looked to his left my heart stopped. The king of Algoria smiled down to me and my mind went directly to the night he killed my parents and sister and shot my brother. I realized Lucas knew who this man was when he tried to lung towards the king, but I quickly put my arm in his way. He looked to me with shock.
“Please don’t. Go back to your room. I will meet you there when I am done here.” I said and with a frown he left. He still could not deny my requests since I was the princess of his old country. Once he was out of sight I bowed towards the three men and then went to the side of the young prince’s horse. I helped the prince get down and when he reached the ground he hugged my waist with delight. The other prince and the evil king descended from their horses and then looked to the young boy hugging a maid.
“My, my. I have never seen the young prince have so much affection towards someone other than his family. This is very surprising.” The evil king said with a smile towards me that stung.
“King Darius, this is Miss Faith. She is my teacher for almost everything.” Prince Peter explained and the king nodded towards the boy as he turned.
“Good day, King Darius,” I said as I bowed, “It is an honor to have you at the castle.” I said formally but was shocked when the king grabbed my chin and made me look directly to him again. He turned my head side to side before letting go of my chin.
“You are a Parethian, are you not?” He asked with a smug smiled and I felt a sharp pain of fear.
I nodded quickly, “Indeed I am, King Darius.”
“Then why do you look me directly in the eye, girl? You should be cowering in fear just by sight of my face.”
I felt myself frown, “Because I am not scared of you, King Darius. You may have destroyed my whole life, my people, my country, and my royal family but you do not strike fear into my heart like you wish you did.” I retorted and was as shocked as the young prince when the king slapped my cheek. Before I could regain balance I fell to the gravel walkway without having time to protect my face. I slowly pulled my face from the ground and felt pain throughout my body. I stood and wiped my hand across my face. When I saw my hand once again it had streaks of blood in every direction. Was this the fate of a princess that lost her power? To be hit down by the man that killed her family and took her brother? And now if she fought back she would be beaten because she had no status here. She had angered a king that had the power to take her life and no one would defend her other than her followers that would also be injured.
“How dare you do such a thing to a woman!” A familiar voice yelled and I quickly turned back to see General Aaron staring down the king as Prince Luther yelled angrily to the man, “Even if you are a king, sir, you have no right to treat my people so harshly even if they are from Parethia! You do not have the authority!” I froze when the young prince turned to see my bloodied face and tears rimmed his eyes. But General Aaron put his arm around my shoulders before the young prince could come towards me, “You should be ashamed of yourself, Sir!” The prince said before he came to my side with Prince Peter, “Brother Vladimir, take the king to his quarters. I do not want to see him any longer.” Prince Luther added and then looked to the general at my side.
“Follow me, Miss Faith.” The general told me and I nodded slowly. He walked me down two halls and stopped at a door I knew led to the room the doctor of the castle worked in. Aaron knocked and an older-looking man let us in quickly. He insisted that I sit on a wooden table that was perfectly smooth on the top, so I did. He left for a moment and I looked down to my body. I saw my brother’s necklace was still there and felt a slight sigh of relief escape my lips as I lifted it to my face. I kissed the gem and then laid it back in place. The doctor came back with a box of bandages and set it to the right of me. He took a sterol piece of cloth and held it in my view.
“This may sting when it touches your cuts.” He informed me and I nodded. I looked to my lap as he patted four different spots on my face where I felt a sharp pain, but did not flinch. The doctor then put a piece of rolled gauze above my right eyebrow, on the far right part of my cheek where the king’s hand had impacted my skin, on the far left corner of my chin, and on the top left corner of my forehead where my blonde hair had fallen out of the way during my impact of the ground, “Well the four cuts will heal up in a day or two, but you will have a slight bruise on your cheekbone. It is already turning blue so I am sure it will hurt. Try to not touch that spot until the swelling goes away.”
I smiled sadly up to the doctor with a nod, “Thank you doctor.” I said kindly and then stepped off of the table. I went to the door, opened it, and waited outside of the door for the three men that followed. The doctor shut the door behind General Aaron and the three of them looked to me, “Since the king is gone on business I need to request something of you, Prince Luther.”
“What is it, Miss Faith?” He asked as I realized black haired, brown-eyed strangers surrounded me.
“I would like to request a few days off of work.”
Prince Luther looked at me curiously, “Why?”
I looked away from his gaze and to the ground under my feet, “Do you remember when I told you I did not blame you or Sir Lucas for hating the other and for the war?” I asked and he nodded, “Well I cannot look past what King Darius has done. He made this war and I blame him for everything that has happened to my people and me. I watched him and his soldiers murder my father just because we respected the royal family! He took my father, mother, and sister from my life and now he slaps me for standing up for myself! How dare he hit me when…!” I started to yell, but stopped when I felt someone else’s presence. I turned to see Lucas staring at my bruised face. Suddenly he ran at General Aaron and pinned his against the wall in front of me.
“What have you done to the princess?” Lucas demanded but I quickly ran over to Lucas. I grabbed his hand in mine and he turned to me.
“No! He did not do this, Lucas! He stood up to the person who hurt me!” I yelled back and he quickly let go of Aaron who looked to me with confusion, “Lucas thought you were the one that injured me, General Aaron. He was just defending me, but I know he is sorry for doing so.” I said as I looked to Aaron, but my attention was directed to Lucas when he gently set his fingers on the bruise forming on my face.
“Who did this to you?” He asked me sadly and I looked from his gaze of concern.
“King Darius.” I whispered and he became angry.
“Why is that evil man here? I will kill him for slapping you after killing your family and mine!” He yelled but I quickly grabbed his arm. He looked to me with surprise and confusion.
“No, Lucas.”
Lucas turned to Prince Peter, “How could you two let a man slap Felicia?”
“He said, ‘how could you two let a man slap Faith?’” I interpreted and Luther turned to me.
“We did not know he would do so.”
“He says, ‘we did not know he would do so’.” I interpreted to Lucas and then looked to Prince Luther, “Prince Luther, I am truly sorry, but I must leave this castle. I cannot stay here any longer.”
“What! Just because King Darius is here does not mean you have to leave forever, Miss Faith!” Luther argued but I shook my head.
“King Darius’s actions today reminded me of why I had come here in the first place, Prince Luther. My brother that escaped the killings just like me said he would come get me here in Alethia, but he has not come for 10 years. I need to leave to find my brother.”
“We could help you find him, Faith! You do not have to leave us!” Peter said in almost a whine.
I looked down to him, “I may accept your family, Prince Peter, but my brother does not. He would not accept your help for anything.”
“But you cannot venture off on your own, Miss Faith.” General Aaron protested and I nodded.
“I will not go alone. Sir Lucas will go with me. My brother is very fond of Lucas so we will go together.”
“But…” He started to argue again but I shook my head. I looked away from the three men.
“I will take all of my stuff out of my room since I am resigning.” I replied and then turned to Lucas, “I am going to find my brother. Will you help me?” I asked and he smiled with a nod, “Until next time.” I added and then turned away. I walked down the hall behind Lucas and did not stop till we reached my room.

My horse slowly walked over the stone walkway of the city as I moved him through the crowds of sellers, buyers, watchers, and observers. Once my horse and I had reached a less populated block of the city I made him move a little faster, but not fast enough to hurt someone that could accidentally get in the way such as a child. I reached a small building and saw the face I was looking for. I quickly made my way over to the young man leaning against the building and hopped off my horse without letting go of the reigns, “Where is your horse?” I asked curiously and he frowned towards me without a word of response or defense. I got back on my horse and he got on behind me. He took the reins from me and started the horse again. When we reached the outskirts of the city he stopped at a familiar small inn and we got off the horse. He tied the horse to a sign and put out water and food for it. I followed him inside after that and we went up to our room. Without a word he went to the bed and lay down so I decided he did not want to talk about anything and that he needed some time alone. I walked over to the bathroom of the room and turned back to him, “I will be taking a bath.” I announced and then shut the door to the bathroom behind me. I took a long time so that he could think by himself, but after an hour I decided I should get out of the bath. I put on my white robe and rung my hair out with my towel before leaving the bathroom. When I went to the main part of the room I noticed the man was gone and sighed. I slipped on my corset, my underskirt, and then put on my black dress that made me look like a regular girl my age that would be going out on the town to get a drink or meet people. I left the room with only myself, a pair of shoes, my clothes, and a small purse for a hidden weapon and money. I left the inn and walked down towards the most populated part of the city while taking in the fresh night air. I stopped after a while and went into a pub I had never been to before. When I went in all eyes went to me, but left after a while. A group of six men with familiar blonde hair and blue eyes drew my attention and I gracefully went to them, “Good evening gentleman.” I spoke in their native tongue and one man’s eyebrows rose.
“You are from Parethia, are you not?” The man closest to my age asked as he moved down on the bench he and half the table sat at in the booth. I gracefully sat down as I nodded.
“And by the looks of you I assume all of you are the same,” I said and there was a unanimous agreement to my statement, “Then tell me,” I moved closer to the young man so that only this group could hear my whispering, “Have you heard of the alliance?”
A man across from me sat up straighter and stared at me with curiosity, “Of course, but what does that matter to you?”
I smiled towards the old man; “Well I know none of you are part of it since I am a recruiter.”
“Recruiter? Then you are in direct contact with…” He moved closer to me and whispered, “The princess?”
I sat straight up and so did he, “Of course. But I want to know if you would like to help our efforts. Have you heard all the details?”
He nodded, “Ay, we have heard all there is to hear and I knew you were the girl everyone has spoke of. You are the right hand man of the gem. When you walked into the door I could tell.”
I smiled towards the whole group this time; “If you are a true follower of the gem then I advise all of you to come to the edge of town tonight. I will coronate you all into the alliance if you wish. And if you know anyone else who would like to join bring him or her. I will be leaving in the morning so they must come tonight or they will lose out.”
“At what time, my lady?” An even older man at the very end of the booth asked me formally.
“One hour.” I said and then slowly stood. I bowed formally to the men, “I hope to see you soon, gentleman.” I added and then walked back out of the pub. I started down the stone road and stopped in front of a group of woman talking in the front of a store with familiar looks. I walked over to the group and the oldest woman in the group smiled to me automatically with full trust.
“I heard the ‘holder’ was in a near town, but I never imagined seeing you here!” The woman gushed.
“The rumors I have heard do not give your justice, my lady! You are more radiant than they say!” Another woman said and I smiled back to them.
“Well ladies, I am going to have a coronation tonight in an hour at the edge of town. I was hoping such beautiful looking Parethian woman would come.” I said as I flattered them.
“Of course, my lady! We shall see you tonight!” The first woman said and I nodded.
“I’m pleased to hear so,” I replied, “But if any of you know another Parethian that would like to join the alliance please pass my message onto them. All Parethian followers are welcome.”
“Indeed, my lady. We will spread the word.” The second woman said and I smiled again.
“Well I hope to see you soon,” I answered, “Good evening, ladies.” I added and then walked off. I went down the road even more, but stopped at a restaurant that looked pleasing. I went in to see a man around my age at a small pedestal that looked up to me. I smiled and walked over to him.
“Good evening, Miss. Table for two?” He asked politely and I shook my head.
“Just for one, please.” I replied and he seemed surprised, but then led me to a table for two near the bar. I sat in the soft chair and picked up the menu in front of me. I started reading, but was surprised when I heard the chair across from me slide out from under the table. I looked up to see a man with brown hair and blue eyes. He was not from around here, but I still did not want anything to do with him.
“When the waiter at the bar told me you were alone tonight I decided to join you, is that alright miss?” The man asked and I noticed him fully as I set down my menu. His brown hair was the length of a regular mans’ instead of short like a soldier, his blue eyes showed he did not fit in here even though they were captivating, he had on a white shirt, the flawless skin of men in Alethia and held a drink in his hand. He was not drunk, but was obviously not listening to his conscience since he was sitting down at a table with a stranger and no doubt a Parethian woman.
“I do not mind,” I said and then opened the menu, but left it on the table this time so that I could watch the man’s every move, “Have you ever been here before?” I asked curiously as I pretended to look only at the menu in front of me.
“I have only been here twice before and I must say their bar tender is incredible. He does not mess up anything,” The man replied and I knew that this was not his first time with a drink, “So tell me, are you a traveler? It is not usual that such a beautiful woman stops in such a small town.”
I nodded, “Indeed, I am just passing through.”
“You are a Parethian, no?”
I looked up to him finally, “And you are a half-breed, correct?” I asked and he was surprised, “Are you a noble child? Otherwise it is very odd that a man would be partially Parethian, Alethian, and Algorian. That is a very unusual mixture with no doubt.”
“Are you trying to ask where I stand on the war?” He asked with sharpness to his words.
“Yes.”
“Well I am actually on your side if you can believe it,” He said and I was shocked, “So are you the ‘holder’ I have heard so much about? You look just like the woman my mother described to me.”
“You speak Parethian?”
“Yes. I was born with a father of half Alethian and half Algorian, but I was raised and grew up in the capitol of Parethia until it was taken over.”
“So are you a follower?”
He shook his head, “I wish, but I have not been given the chance to join. It seems that everywhere I leave, the ‘holder’ shows up right after me. So I stopped in this city to try to let the ‘holder’ catch up with me. I have heard so much about the alliance and what they plan that I really want to help. I hate the king of Algoria and will do anything to kill him in honor of our royal family that he murdered.”
“I am actually a follower, so I understand your ideas and reasons.”
He shook his head, “I do not want to just join the alliance to get back at that evil king. My real reasoning for wanting to join is to get closer to the princess. I used to work at the royal stable and had really become fond of her. She was my only friend for most of my childhood.”
I frowned towards him, “And what do you believe will come from you telling me such a sappy story?”
“I hope you will tell me how to get into the alliance, since you are a member.”
I sat up formally as a waitress came to my table, “May I take your order?” the older woman asked me.
“Yes, I will just take the house drink.”
“And you sir?” She asked the man in front of me.
“Just a refill of red wine.” He replied and she walked away. I looked at him curiously.
“So tell me, stranger. What is your name? I cannot tell my leaders you will be coming tonight if I do not know your name.” I asked and he leaned back in his chair in a nonchalant fashion.
“Glen,” He replied with a smile, “And yours, miss?” He asked as he stared right into my eyes. I looked away and to a picture frame on the wall at the edge of the table.
“Faith.” I replied and he seemed surprised.
He nodded and took a sip of his drink, “My cousin in Alethia fell in love with a girl with your name and he said she was a beautiful Parethia girl to see if I knew her from the homeland,” He seemed to become interested in me even more than before, “Tell me, have you ever worked at the royal castle in Alethia?”
I shook my head, “I have wandered through that city a few times, but I have never worked a day in my life, so no.”
“Then how do you make a living? Do you steal or what?” He asked as he moved closer, but was interrupted by the waitress coming to us. She brought a second of Glen’s drink and my drink. When she left his eyes went directly to me again.
“My companion on this journey makes enough for the both of us and I am given money for my services.”
“Services?”
“I am a fighter. I am given money to protect people such as royals or nobles.”
He frowned for the first time, “Is that why you are with the princess? Because she is paying you to protect her and her brother?”
I was surprised by the comment, “Of course not! I would never do such a thing! When I was asked to help her I immediately gave up my days of fighting and protecting anyone else because she is the most important person in the world to me.”
He took a gulp of his drink and then smiled, “You are some kind of a character, Miss Faith. I have never met a Parethian woman with such beauty, grace, strength, and bravery. Even more rare is your skills. I have certainly never heard of a woman fighter and not one from Parethia.” He said with a slight laugh, but was distracted when a cheery group of men came into the restaurant. There were six of the unfamiliar black haired men and they were seated near us. I quickly caught the eye of one man and he walked over to the table I sat at. He leaned down towards me and I was surprised by his tactics of obvious stupidity.
“Hey, you’re pretty cute. You know that? Cuter than most girls around here.” The man said as he took a hold of my chin. Suddenly a hand grabbed the man’s right shoulder and he let go of me. “Yea?” The guy asked in a grunt, but when he saw a Parethian man with anger stuck across his face the man became defensive of what he was doing, “What do you want, Parethian?” He said with a racial smile.
“I want you to never put your disgusting hands on that girl again.” The guy replied in perfect pronunciation even though he was very new to the language and I was surprised when I realized it was my companion that had disappeared earlier after losing his horse, Lucas.
“And what gives you the right to tell me I can or can’t touch this girl?” The guy asked and he seemed to grow in just a matter of seconds, but so did Lucas.
Lucas pushed the man away from me so that he could come to my side, “The ring on her wedding finger gives me the right,” Lucas spat and I quickly stood. He looked to me with anger, “What the hell are you doing in a place like this, Faith?”
I looked to Lucas and frowned, “Going out. You got up and disappeared so I decided to go out too.”
Lucas’s attention was brought to the man sitting at my table as the man that had yelled finally sat at his table, “And who the hell is he?” Lucas asked as he looked to me again.
“I just met him, that’s all.” I said and Glen stood. He set money on the table and took a swig of his drink.
“That should cover our drinks,” He told me, “See you later, Miss Faith.” He said and then walked away, but I had to grab Lucas before he tried to punch Glen. I quickly pulled Lucas outside after Glen was gone and stopped at the edge of the road.
“What the hell were you doing in there, Lucas?” I demanded and he frowned towards me.
“What the hell were you doing with some other guy, Felicia?” He demanded also and I quickly walked away from him. He grabbed my arm and pulled me back to him so that I had to answer.
“I was recruiting people, Lucas, and he wanted to join! He knew I was the ‘holder’ and wanted me to let him become part of the alliance! Then you came in and freaked out about nothing! I was going to handle that man who was trying to leave with me, but you came in and started pushing people!” I yanked away from his grasp and pulled the ring off of my wedding finger. I threw it at him and he caught it, “Don’t forget that this ring is fake, Lucas! I am not marrying you so don’t act like you own me! If you don’t remember you came here with me to find my brother and all you have been doing lately is moping and yelling at everything! I did not bring you with me on this just because I needed someone to go with me, Lucas, I wanted you to come and now I am regretting that decision!” I turned away and quickly left the area. I went to the inn and up to our room. I locked the door and lay down on the bed for an hour or so. I then got up and fixed my hair before leaving again. The door opened only slightly before being stopped by something. I put all of my weight against the door, but stopped when I realized what it was. I poked my head out of the door and looked down to Lucas, “Move.” I demanded and he quickly stood. He waited as I locked the door behind me, but before I could leave the hall he grabbed my arm again. I turned to him with anger.
“Listen Felicia, I am sorry about earlier. I over reacted because that guy touched you. I shouldn’t have done anything to him and certainly should not have yelled at that man you were helping join the alliance.”
“Took you long enough to figure it out.” I spat back and then pushed his hand off of me, but I did not leave. I walked closer to him and kissed him tenderly as I gently put my hand on his cheek. He kissed me back and pulled me closer to him. I then smiled up to him, “You are forgiven,” I said and then took his hand in mine, “I know you did it because you are protective of me because you care about me.”
He kissed me again and smiled back, “Yea.” He said and then followed me out of the inn. We went to an area where a crowd of many more than I expected waited for us. I smiled to the people.
“Please follow us.” I said kindly and then started off with Lucas into the woods, past the city limits. I stopped in an open area of the forest and everyone waited for me to give more instructions, “Make yourselves comfortable.” I said and the group moved around and sat without saying a word. They all looked to me and I smiled again, “We thank all of you tonight for coming out here. I am Miss Faith also known to many by the name of the ‘holder’. I am the leader of this alliance and am recruiting as many Parethians as I can for the Princess of our homeland. Princess Felicia has asked for me to form an army of as many people as possible so that once she regains contact with her brother they can lead their people back to claim what is rightfully theirs. If anyone does not agree with any of this please leave right now.” I was surprised when no one moved and they all just looked to me, “I am glad to see so many people accepting this new idea. Now if anyone has any questions about this alliance, please feel free to ask me.”
A woman’s hand rose so I nodded to her, “There has never been a war fought by women. Are woman allowed to join and fight in this battle?”
I smiled to her, “Yes the princess believes that is a flaw that past rulers have made and she will accept any woman’s support along with men’s.” I said and she smiled towards me, but then another hand rose. An older man stood as I nodded to him.
“Where is the princess?” He asked with full-hearted concern that stung me.
“She is under my protection along with Sir Lucas,” I said as I put my hand towards Lucas, “She and we are on our way to retrieve her brother.”
“Then will we all leave with you?” The man asked and I shook my head in a respectful way.
“No, you will all stay here and go on with your lives, but I will send someone to retrieve all of you when the time comes.” The man sat down then and no one else raised their hand so I cleared my throat, “If you would all please come sign a paper I have brought to have all names of followers and I will give you each a symbol to show you are one of us. You must keep this symbol hidden until the time is right and you are asked for it. When that happens you will be brought to the princess herself to be given military orders.” I handed the paper to Lucas and he walked over to a fairly flat rock and a line formed behind him. People quickly signed the paper and then came over to me as I gave each of them a ring that had a swirl on it that represented the symbol my father used to have put on each soldier’s uniform to show that they were a true Parethian warrior. Each person that came to me froze when they saw the ring I set in their hand. They either smiled to me with appreciation or bowed to me respectfully. The person that caught my attention quickly was Sir Glen who walked over and smiled as I gave him the ring.
“So you really are the ‘holder’ like I guessed.” He stated and I slightly smiled to him.
“I was not going to let some brown haired stranger get away with that information without knowing them better.” I replied and he laughed. He looked down to the ring in hand and then back at me.
“This is the symbol soldiers used to have on their uniforms correct? It means bravery.”
I nodded, “The princess thought it would be best to give her warriors a memory of their past king.”
“If the princess is with you, then why is she not here with us?”
“She is,” I said with slight laughter, “She was here for this whole thing.”
“Oh? Where?”
“If I told you that then it would not be a secret anymore, now would it?” I asked and he sighed.
“True, but I have something to ask you.”
“Yes?”
“I want to help you find the prince. Would the princess accept that?”
I frowned slightly, “She does not even trust Sir Lucas, Sir Glen. Why would she trust you?”
“Because she knows me.”
“She has never spoken of you, Sir, but if you would like I shall ask her.” I said and he smiled. He then left and I gave rings to many other people. Finally we were done and Lucas came over to me. I then noticed that Sir Glen was sitting on a rock not too far away and quickly grabbed Lucas’s arm. I pulled him so that I could speak directly to his ear, “The man that is watching us, do you see him?”
He nodded a yes and I sighed.
“He wants to come with us on our journey and help the princess. What should we do?”
“Ditch him.” He replied as he stood regularly and I nodded. He took his hand in mine and we walked past Glen without a word. We went back to our room and I fell asleep happily next to Lucas.
That morning I set the key on the front desk and pulled the bag on the floor back onto my shoulder. I left the inn and saw that Lucas had his horse back. I sighed as he frowned towards me, “Don’t say a word.” He hissed and I laughed quietly to myself.
“Why? Because you gambled your horse away and I had to give you money to retrieve it? Of course I would not say a word about it,” I tied my bag to my horse’s saddle and the turned to him, “Or I will.” I added with a laugh he could hear and he spit at me. I quickly jumped and moved my feet so that the spit would not hit my ridding shoes as I laughed harder.
“Oh be quiet.” He complained and I smiled to him.
“Don’t worry, your secret is safe with me, Lucas. Who would I tell? It’s just you and I,” I said, but then turned when I heard someone, “Glen?” I asked as I looked to the man and he smiled to me. He had a bag over his shoulder.
“Good try, but leaving at 2 in the morning cannot stop me, Miss Faith. I am determined to go with you.”
Lucas frowned to him, “And who says a half-breed is going with the princess? How can we trust you if you are not a full blooded Parethian?”
“Half-breeds are people too, you know,” Glen replied and then walked over to Lucas. He put his hand out to Lucas and smiled, “I don’t believe we have officially met. I am Glen.”
“I’m Lucas.” Lucas replied and then looked over to me with curiosity. He knew it was my call if this man went with us or not. I truly did remember the small boy that used to help me when I was young and I was happily surprised that the young boy had turned into such a brave man.
I looked to Glen, “The princess told me that I could trust you, so I will try to do so.”
“Where is she anyways?”
“She started off before us with another comrade because we were concerned with a new man staying so close to her.” Lucas replied and then turned to me, “Shall we go?”
I nodded and played along with Lucas’s excuse, “She will be worried if we do not go soon. Now who shall you ride with, Sir Glen?”
“If you do not mind I will ride with you, Miss Faith. If an enemy spots us then it will be suspicious if two men are together and they left a woman by herself. It will look much less odd if a man is with a woman.” He said and I knew it was true. I sighed and nodded to him. I got onto my horse and then looked to him. He got on behind me as Lucas got on his horse.
“Where to, Faith?” Lucas asked me and I looked into the distance while I thought.
“Towards Parethia. We must make it to the surrounding mountain range by tomorrow.” I replied and he nodded towards me. We rode very slowly until we got to the edge of town. I looked back to Lucas, “I will lead. Call if someone is follows us.” I announced and he nodded. I whipped the reigns in my hands and yelled to the horse. He went off at full speed as I wove him through the trees. Glen squeezed my waist to try to stay on and I ignored his gaze. I slowed the horse down when we got out of the forest and went at a steady tort through a meadow that went on for miles. I remembered this area from my old life and knew this is where my father had brought me when I was very young, near my 4th birthday. A familiar pond caught my eye, but I quickly went past it and kept on until we reached an area I knew too well. I slowed the horse down and he stopped after a few minutes. Lucas brought his horse to the side of me and I felt his gaze.
“You alright, Faith?” He asked and I looked to him, after I nodded I looked back to the miles and miles of burned, black ground.
“Yea.”
“What did this?” Glen asked as he looked over my shoulder and I quickly grabbed my necklace under my shirt with one hand as I kept the other on my horse’s reigns.
“War.”
“War?”
I nodded to Glen’s question, “This happened the day after the death of the king, queen, and first princess of Parethia. That was the day King Darius’s army killed so many of our people. This was the area that the battle took place.” I quickly looked up to the sky and thought of the war I witnessed on my way to the city, but quickly refocused. I whipped the reigns and yelled to my horse. He started back into a sprint and Lucas quickly followed. We rode all day and did not stop until we reached an area of forest that was suitable. We all slept on the ground in our clothes and did not eat, but gave the horses food in order for them to have energy for the next day.
The next morning we started earlier and rode all morning without food until the sun was high in the sky and we had reached the summit of the mountain range. We stopped for dried fruit to eat and water. When we were done I turned to Glen and frowned, “Glen, you cannot go any further with us.” I stated and he frowned back to me.
“What? Why?”
“I do not feel good about you being here with us anymore. The ride back from this mountain will be deadly and you should not get involved.”
“I am in this with you. I am going to save the prince and protect him and the princess on the way back.” He stated and I turned to Lucas.
“It’s your call.” He replied to my gaze and I sighed. I looked back to Glen and frowned.
“If you are going to go with us any further, Glen, then there is something you have to know.”
“Yes?” He asked me curiously and I sighed as I gained the strength to speak. I pulled my necklace from under my shirt and showed it to him, “You killed the princess and stole her necklace! How could you?”
I shook my head to him, “No Glen. I stole nothing.” I replied and he frowned.
“Then why do you have the princess’s necklace?” He asked defensively and I looked away from him.
“Because it is my necklace, Glen,” I whispered and I felt him freeze up, “I am Princess Felicia Hope Parethia. Princess and future ruler of Parethia. I watched my parents and sister being murdered by King Darius and hid with my brother.”
“I can’t believe this…” He started to say but I put my hand on his shoulder.
“I need you to believe this if you want to keep on with us. I need to save my brother that saved me when I was a child right now, so will you be helping me or will you be staying here?” I asked and he walked over to my horse. He got on and looked down to me.
“Let’s go save Prince Henry.” He said strongly and I smiled to him. He helped me onto the horse and Lucas got on his horse also. We rode up the mountain for an hour until I noticed something familiar. I stopped my horse so quickly that Lucas nearly ran into us. I hopped off of my horse and knelt down as I put my hand on the dirt of the path under me. I looked at the whole area and realized this was the spot my family died. This is where the crying horse that was trying to reach its feet had been and had surely died. I quickly stood and looked to the two men, “We will go on foot from now on.” I announced and they both got off. They tied the horses to trees nearby and then came over to me. I closed my eyes and tried to remember every step I took, every breath I let out, every tear I let fall, and everything I saw. I slowly walked through the trees, but when I looked down I saw my brother’s hand, my snow covered boots, and my small hands. I quickened my pace and started to run through the forest, but stopped by a tree that sent tears to my face. I quickly bent down and looked into the hole of the tree, but saw nothing. I stood and looked to Lucas who seemed confused, but I had no time to explain what was going on. This was all I had built up for and I was not leaving unless I knew Henry was not here, “Henry!” I yelled and then listened for a moment. For the first time this forest seemed deadly silent and I felt tears welling in my eyes. I slumped to the ground and looked at my necklace. I slid it over my head and looked at it fully.
“Felicia?” Lucas asked and suddenly I could not take this anymore. I threw my necklace with all my power at the tree in front of me and it made a thumping noise against its bark. I stood up and brushed my tears from in front of my face. It was just like before. I was the useless, weak child that was having trouble seeing because of tears in my eyes.
“Damn it!” I screamed at the top of my lungs and I felt the two men by me hold their breath. I slowly took a calming breath and then stood. I walked over to my necklace and picked it up. Yelling was doing nothing for us. I turned to the two men and they froze, “Henry was too injured to get anywhere right now. He must have been taken by King Darius.” I whispered and then walked past the two of them. They quickly followed and I frowned to them, “I will go to Darius’s castle but I need the two of you to go to Alethia. There is a chance my brother healed and finally came for me in the city,” I went up to Lucas, slipped my necklace over his head, and set it on his chest, “Show him this necklace and he will understand what is going on. He was always very smart and knew me so well that he will be able to put it together.” I said, but before I could move away Lucas grabbed my arm.
“You can’t go to that castle by yourself, Felicia. I won’t let you. As a friend and as a follower I can’t let you go to King Darius.” He said firmly but when I set my hand on his hand his eyes seemed to weaken with bravery and power. He knew if I said he would leave me he had to.
“Stay safe, Lucas,” I whispered and then turned to Glen, “I wish both of you a safe journey.” I whispered and then came closer to Lucas. I kissed his cheek and he let go of my arm.
“Felicia, wait!” Glen yelled suddenly and I turned to him. He set a ring on my wedding finger and smiled, “This may help you on your journey.” He added and immediately I knew he had lied about who he was. I went to my horse and got on with only myself and my bag of supplies along with the knife in my belt. I could not look to them as I rode off so I just focused on the ground in front of me. Once I was off the mountain I knew so well I stopped. I found a familiar group of boulders and realized that is where I hid from Darius the first night I was on my own. That had been long ago, but in my mind it seemed like it was just yesterday. I quickly took the path I had run through on my way to Alethia, but turned when I knew I was near King Darius’s castle. My horse sprinted nonstop until we reached the city of Algoria, then he trotted through the crowded streets. I turned at a sign that led to the castle and stopped at the gate that held two very unsure soldiers that did not know what to make of such a beautiful girl with anger set in her jaw.
“What is your business here?” The solider to the right demanded from me.
“Let me pass. I must meet with King Darius.”
The left one frowned, “The king is not expecting a visitor today so we cannot let anyone in. You must…” the solider started to yell at me, but a familiar voice stopped him and distracted me.
“She is with me, Sir. She can come inside.” General Aaron said with a smile towards me as he stood on the other side of the gate. The soldiers did not argue with him and quickly opened the gate. I came in, but was asked for my horse so I gave it to a maid as I got off. General Aaron came over to me curiously, “What are you doing here, Miss Faith? You have been gone for a year and now you suddenly show up here. If anything I would expect you to return to the Alethia and not Algoria.”
I looked straight to him but did not smile or frown, “I have to speak to the king immediately. It is urgent. Can you get me inside?” I asked and he stared at me with unsure feelings.
“I have to know why before I can let you go in there, Miss Faith.”
“The princess of Parethia has been murdered and I was instructed to inform King Darius and stop the war.” I replied and he froze for a moment, but then walked off. I followed him and he got me inside of the castle and to a hall I had never seen. When he knocked on a door there was a long pause.
“Who is there?” King Darius demanded and Aaron quickly opened the door. I walked in behind him, but King Darius did not seem pleased, “Why do you bring a Parethian into my home, General Aaron?”
“Sir, this woman was sent to give you information upon the Princess of Parethia.” Aaron said and I quickly went past him. I walked over to the king as he stood from his throne.
“Out with it girl.” He demanded from me.
“Give him back, King Darius.” I demanded with a frown.
“Give back whom, girl?”
“Prince Henry! I know you attacked him and I know you found him in the forest you killed the royal family in! Where is he! I know you know!” I yelled and he quickly walked over to me and tried to slap my face but was shocked as everyone else when I grabbed his arm and stopped him.
“Even if you are a King, you know as well as I that you cannot hit another royal!” I yelled and he froze.
“You are not a royal, girl! You are just a damned Parethian who has gotten into something she should keep her nose out of!” He yelled and I quickly let go of his hand. He dropped it to his side as I took out a ring and set it on my ring finger on my right hand. I held it up so that he could see it very well.
“I am indeed a royal, King Darius and by this ring I know you understand.”
“Why do you have the ring of the past Queen of Parethia I killed?” He demanded from me and I hissed at him as I moved closer to him.
“Because she was my mother!” I yelled and everyone in the room stopped what they were doing.
“What?” He asked in a breathless way.
“I, Princess Felicia Hope Parethia, am here to demand for the return or the whereabouts of my brother, Prince Henry!” I yelled and he took a step from me with shock, “Where is Henry!” I demanded again and he looked to General Aaron with confusion.
“This can’t be…” The king whispered in shock, but when I slapped his face he finally frowned to me.
“I am also here to demand for the return of my country, King Darius. As everyone knows that land is officially mine now that I am 18.”
“Arrest her!” King Darius yelled at the top of his lungs, but when the guards came towards me I put up my left hand and they stopped, “I said arrest her!” King Darius yelled again, but when I turned my hand towards him he froze, “Why do you have the ring of my son Glen!”
I smiled to the king, “Your son has decided to propose to me. He knows exactly who I am and has helped me for a while to save Henry.”
“But he is an Algorian! Why would he propose to his father’s enemy?”
“Because he hates you, Darius. He told me himself,” I retorted and he frowned to me, “Your guards cannot go against the will of their prince, can they? I know my guards cannot go against my word.”
“This is impossible! My son would never do that!”
“Just like you would never have a child with a Parethian woman, no?” I asked and everyone in the room went quiet, “I know your son, Prince Glen, is a half-breed. What you don’t know is that he was my friend as a child and fell in love with me and now he will be coming back any moment now with my brother that I now realize you have given to the King of Alethia when you found him in some time this year while I was searching for him.” The door to the room was thrown open and the whole room fell dead silent including me as I turned to see Lucas, Glen, and Henry walk in. I felt tears flooding down my face as I darted across the room and fell into Henry’s arms. He squeezed me closer to him until it was painful for the both of us.
“Blissful stars! To have you back in my arms, Felicia, is like a dream come to reality.” He whispered into my ear and I finally stopped crying. I looked to his face and smiled.
“Of course when I go looking for you, you end up in the place I started.” I laughed sadly and then turned towards three men as they hurried in. Prince Luther, Prince Vladimir, and Prince Peter froze as they saw me hugging the captive they were sent to chase after.
“Miss Faith?” Prince Luther asked with shock but Glen came over to my side as I let go of Henry.
“Her real name is not Faith, Prince Luther. Her real name is Felicia as in Princess Felicia of Parethia.” Glen announced and the three princes looked to me in shock. I frowned towards them with hate.
“How could you be holding my brother, while I was staying at the castle, without my knowledge?” I asked with anger in my voice.
“We did not know you were you.” Vladimir whispered and I turned to Glen as his hand went to my shoulder.
“The army is already on its way, Felicia. We sent out word for it while retrieving Prince Henry,” Glen frowned towards me, “I thought you said you never worked in Alethia?”
“And I did not know you were Prince Glen, son of my enemy.”
Glen turned towards his father, “Father you have two choices as of now. You must both disown me and face the army for Parethia Princess Felicia has created or you must allow us to form an alliance with her.”
“Like I would ever join an alliance with her!” King Darius yelled and I felt Glen tense, “As of now, Prince Glen is disowned and is no longer the prince of Algoria! Arrest them all!” He yelled and I quickly turned to Lucas who was watching me.
“Get Henry out of here, we will meet up with you.” I announced and he ran out of the room with Henry. Guards surrounded Glen and me as Glen backed up until our backs were against each other. “Are you ready to leave Darius’s grasp for the last time?” I asked with a smile and felt his body loosen.
“I’ve been ready.” He laughed lightly and I took out my bow. I shot the eight men in front of me, but not so that they would die. I then switched places with Glen and shot the rest of the soldiers with only swords, but one man dodged the arrow shot at him and came after me. I quickly grabbed my small knife from my belt and tried to hold him back, but before I pushed him away he cut my face from my right ear to my mid-cheek. When I pushed him off I stabbed him in a way that was fatal before turning towards Darius. I shot him in the shoulder with an arrow and he yelled in pain. I grabbed Glen’s hand and ran with him towards the doors, but was shocked when General Aaron stepped in front of me. I let go of Glen’s hand and walked towards Aaron. He drew his sword, but I smiled.
“Kill me if you must, General Aaron. But your fate has already been made. Even without me, my army will defeat Algoria and Alethia at the words of Sir Lucas and my brother,” I said and I felt his body tense with uncertainty. He didn’t want to kill me because I was the woman who had stolen his heart. I slowly walked over to the end of his sword and lifted it to my neck. I let it slit the side of my neck so that he could see my blood, but I would not die, “You should behead me, General Aaron. It is the proper way to kill my family members as shown to me by King Darius.”
“Felicia…” Glen warned, but I ignored it.
“Choose, Sir Aaron,” I ordered, “Kill me now or let me pass.” As the words left my mouth he looked to me as his grip on his sword weakened and its tip hit the ground beside me. I walked over to him, close enough that it was seductive and smiled to him. I gently kissed his lips as my hand was set on his cheek, “Good boy.” I whispered in an evil way, but then moved away from him. I turned to his cousin and became serious again, “Let’s go.” I stated and he immediately followed me as I ran out of the castle.

We rode two stolen horses at full sprint until we reached the city I found Glen in at dusk. I slowed down when I realized there was no one in the streets. This was a very populated town so why would it be desolate? They must have gotten word of our arrival. Would they capture us? “Follow me.” I whispered to Glen and he nodded. I led him to the outskirts of town where I had held the alliance meeting in the woods, but stopped when I heard the beautiful words of Parethia. There were many people speaking in my language and I noticed the fire the large group huddled around. The whole group fell silent as my horse stopped beside Glen’s. All of the people suddenly bowed with their fist over their heart. When they stood regularly again Henry and Lucas walked over to us. I quickly descended from my horse and hugged Henry tightly, but noticed he did not hug me back. I let go of him and he wiped his finger across my cut cheek.
“Who did this?” He asked sadly.
“A soldier.”
I could feel his anger rise, “How dare they harm a princess! That is not right! They should not even look at you for what they have done!” He yelled, but seemed to calm down when I gently put my hand on his arm.
“They are just scratches, dear brother. Please do not fret over them.”
Henry leaned to me and kissed my cuts to show he was sorry, but his attention quickly went to Glen who stood behind me, “And why is the Prince of Algoria at your side, dear sister?”
“I gave up my title, Prince Henry. I could not fight you or your sister because you are my royal family.”
“Oh? You are a half-breed,” Henry’s gaze went to me with curiosity, “And you trust this man?”
“Yes. He has proven his loyalty to me more than once. I trust him.”
“Then I shall trust you also, Sir Glen. But I must thank you for protecting my sister on your way here.”
Glen smiled, “On the contrary, Prince Henry. Princess Felicia did not need my help. She had the situation under control.”
“Sir, Felicia is very skilled in fighting. She has even surpassed the king of Algoria.” Lucas added and Henry set his hand on my untainted cheek.
“You have truly become a great woman, Sister. I am proud.”
“I would not have even seen my 8th birthday if it had not been for you, brother,” I gently set my hand on his fake leg, “You have sacrificed everything for me and I wish I had some way to repay you.”
“Your smile is all I need, Dear Felicia. And I am pleased that you have even planned a full takeover for our country. I had not even thought of something like this. I would have never believed we could get our life back if it had not been for your efforts and work.”
“Thank you.” I whispered and then looked to the group behind Lucas. There are only the soldiers of this city and one close by here. The others must be on their way to us. I smiled to the people who watched me closely, “Thank you all for coming at such short notice.” I announced and they smiled back to me. A feeling of relief flooded over my body and I knew this is what the heavens intended for me. This is what I was born to do. Parethia was meant to be ours once again under my rule. But where would Lucas fit into my life? What would happen to Glen? Would I have to kill Prince Peter that I had come to care for? Would General Aaron be killed for letting me pass today? Could I fight Prince Luther?
“You should sleep, Felicia. Tomorrow shall be an important day.” Henry said and I nodded as Lucas came over to me. He took my hand in his and then led me to an isolated camping sight that had enough room for Henry, Lucas, Glen and I with the three tents. I slid myself into the tent and felt Lucas watching everything near us. I quickly slipped off my ridding clothes and put on a lightweight dress. I let down my blonde hair and then pulled back the opening to my tent. Lucas knelt down by the opening and I lightly kissed his lips.
“Goodnight, Lucas.”
“Goodnight, my lovely Felicia.” He whispered back and then stood. I let go of the opening to the tent and felt secluded for the first time in a while. I lay down and pushed all thought out of my head. Sleep came first. Then came the battle.
I sat up slowly and heard the downpour of rain. A flash of light came through the small crack at the front of my tent and then the area seemed to grow silent. The silence was enough to send chills up my spine, but was then filled with a rolling rumble that seemed to quickly creep towards me. The thunder hit my eardrums as I felt the slight shake of impact to the surrounding landscape. I pulled the cloak at my side over my shoulders and tied the string of the hood around my neck. I pulled the hood over my head so that I would be shielded from the rain before slipping on my riding boots and a weapon. I scooted out of the tent and stood in the campground. Walls of rain limited my vision, but I could not feel anyone near. I quietly walked through the forest and grabbed onto the nearest tree every time light filled the surrounding area in anticipation of the shake that always followed after the deadly silence. At some point I found a steep slope of the hills of forest I hid my troops in and sat down on a large, flat faced bolder that acted as a perch for the view of everything near. When I sat down on the rock I ignored the coldness it gave to my rear and legs. The trees around the bolder made it so that only two small streams of rain hit my hood and made it easier to focus. I looked out to the surrounding areas and was in awe of how beautiful this place was. Everything seemed much greener because of the deep gray clouds above. I saw lightning strike just inches from the ground near the other side of the city. Everything seemed to stop and then came the rumble that felt stronger than the rest. I touched my neck and cheek to find out both of my cuts had scabbed over. Time to focus, Felicia. All of your troops will be here by noon today and you must move them all to a new place. If you stay in one place for too long it will be hazardous. We must go to Parethia. That is where I will lead. If we go through these hills and go northeast for the rest of today and part of tomorrow we will reach the mountains that bordered Parethia. Tomorrow night it will be too late to fight, but we shall have skilled fighters go scout out the area and see what we are up against. But, if we really hustle and make it to the mountains mid tomorrow…no that will be pushing my troops too hard. When we get there tomorrow night we must find out who are our direct problems. We must eliminate the leaders first and then follow with a full-on attack of the army of Algoria. There are only a few hundred soldiers stationed in the heart of the city while we have over one thousand. In three days of now we will have the capitol under our control. Then I must leave Henry there with most of the people and take the most skilled soldiers to Alethia with me to take over the castle. From there Darius and his army, that will hide the royal family of Alethia somewhere, will attack us but I have already set up spies anywhere near the two countries. They will not get away without my knowledge and I will hunt them down. Once the two royal families are killed or captured the two countries will have to sign a treaty with me to get their leaders back. They will not be allowed anywhere near our borders unless it is for trading of goods and I will be able to give Parethia back to its’ people. But... There was a rustle in a bush nearby and I quickly drew my bow and an arrow from the quiver on my back. Glen came out of the shrub with his hands over his heads.
“Put down the weapon, Princess. It is just I,” He whispered kindly and I slowly put away my weapon. He came to me and sat to my right, “What are you doing out in this storm?”
I turned to the beautiful view I had and I knew he looked the same direction, “For this place. If I am alone I can usually think more clearly.”
“So have you decided on our strategy?” I nodded and he seemed to wait for more from me, but nothing came to please him, “So what is it?”
I looked towards Glen in an apologetic way before turning back to the view; “My father trusted our family plans with secrecy only to the one man he called his best friend. He was the exact man that set my parents up for their assassination,” I felt my body tense and my mind start to work towards images of the past but I ignored them, “That man was your father, Glen. My father did not even know his friend was the reigning prince of Algoria and gave away his life for trusting people with the plans of his future,” I lifted my necklace into view and wiped away a drop of rain that lay on it before looking to Glen’s eyes, “I could not even give Lucas my plans, Glen, and I have known Lucas for a very long time. The only people I can trust are those bound by blood and even with them I do not give all my secrets.”
“But I am nothing like Darius.”
“I know you aren’t, Glen, and I am not implying you are like him. I just want you to know that it is not just you I do not trust with my plans because of anyone, you would be the first person I told.”
His expression changed to surprise in almost a playful way. He smiled to me, “You would tell me before Sir Lucas? I thought you were engaged to him.”
I shook my head, “I may be moving around with Lucas, but I do not love him. I have not felt that true feeling of security and compassion towards Lucas yet.”
“But he seems obsessed with you.”
I sighed and brushed a strand of hair back into my hood, “He is obsessed with protecting the Princess of Parethia, but I don’t think he would treat me more than dirt if I was just a regular Parethian woman. My title is what attracted him to my side and what keeps him coming back. If I was just Miss Faith he would have passed me without a second glance.”
Glen fluently moved closer to me so that our shoulders touched, “I doubt that, Felicia.”
“Oh? And what gives you insight on this?”
“Before I even knew you had something to do with the alliance, there was an extreme attraction I felt toward you from the second you walked into the restaurant in town. Your presence as Miss Faith or Felicia is so magnetic it attracts everyone you pass. I can tell by just knowing you for a few days. When you walk into a room your soul attracts the attention of everyone and your bravery holds their breath. It is difficult to look away from someone so radiant.”
“I may seem brave to you, Glen, but it is just an act I put on. When I do anything my mind flashes back to the day I lost my parents and I realize that every step I make, every breath I take could be the last for my people, my country, my brother, and me,” I looked away from him as I started to hum, “Lullabies of sweet love-tell the story of from where you come-Hearts filled with love and joy-given to you by our King Troy-Mother’s care and siblings hope-are given to you on our mountain slopes-People cheer and pray for you-in love we give a name to you-Felicia-our greatest child-shall rule the world with just a smile-As we pray for years to come-we will love you through whatever may come-We saved our dream for such a girl-that will someday rule our world-Love is all we have and all we know-now that you have showed us so,” I turned back to Glen, but turned when I felt my strength diminish from my gaze, “Everyone expects me to be this great princess that will easily rule the world, when I am terrified in a measly storm.”
“Your people don’t expect you to be perfect, Felicia, this song just shows that they believe in you just as I do,” I looked to him with surprise and he smiled, “If I did not believe in you, Felicia, I would not be here. You won’t let me know what is coming so I may be going to my doom, you will not trust me, you can easily lie about anything and make it seem real, and you always keep me at arm’s length,” his arm went around my shoulders in comfort, “I sound crazy by staying here, but I believe you are the future. There is a very good chance we will lose in this war, but I believe you will win,” His corky smile crept onto his face, “I’m not stupid, Felicia. I would not be here unless I knew you would win.”
I gasped when thunder shook the rock under us and without thinking I grabbed onto Gale’s jacket. He stared at me and I quickly let go of him, “Sorry.”
“Do not worry, Felicia,” He said as he pulled me back to where I had been. He gently set my head on his shoulder and put his chin on top of my hood. I felt as if the storm was nonexistent for just a moment as I focused on my burning ears, “I will protect you from this storm, my cousin, my father, Prince Luther, Prince Peter, and anyone else that stands in your way. I will dedicate my whole being to be your solider in this war and getting our country back.”
“I accept your dedication, Glen.” I whispered back as I tried to stop blushing. My heart sped, but then our heartbeats started at the same speed. His arm that went around me seemed to burn my skin and lead to my burning face. I had never felt this sensation of safety since my father had died, “I will win this war, Glen. I promise you I shall. To prove to your father that he made a mistake by banishing you and trying to kill us and I will prove to the world that I will not give in to those that ruined the lives of my people. Those that died on that desolate wasteland near our home will be avenged for their sacrifices.”
I felt a shiver go through my body as another rumble was thrown at us. Another crack of sound followed quickly to its sibling but it sounded odd compared to most. I sat up with curiosity and felt Glen follow me in movement. “What is it, Felicia?” He asked me with fear straining his voice. I stood and had to stabilize my feet on the slick rock. I went back to the dirt ground behind the bolder and looked to Glen.
“That was not thunder,” I let out in a frightened hiss, “That was an arrow,” I squeezed my cloak in my hands as I looked to his eyes, “Go get Henry and the soldiers. I’ll hold whomever it is off until you get away. I will meet you in the mountains tomorrow night, but if I do not show up, reclaim the city by dawn.” Before Glen could refuse the order I sprinted off.
My hood was pushed off my head by the wind as I swerved through the trees and was pelted with rain. I took one of my hidden weapons out from my cloak as I reached the sound of cries coming from a young woman. Her blood-drenched white hair stung my heart as I knelt at her side. She had on a cloak that was covered with berries just like the ground around her and a basket beside her. Tears streaked down her crimson covered face, as I looked to the arrow in her right shoulder, “Please forgive me.” I whispered as I slowly slid one arm under her neck and the other under her knees. She winced and gasped with pain as I quickly jogged a ways before setting her by a nook of a tree. She lay down quietly as I set her between the nook and a bush, “Stay here, my warrior. I will be back for you soon.” I whispered as tears begged to fall, but I did not allow them to. I sprinted off with bow in hand and arrow carrier over my shoulder. I pulled my hood back on with my open hand and held it down as thunder hit my ears. I stopped running when I reached the bloodstain the girl had left and listened. A slow breathing pattern and heart beat caught my breath as I realized who it was. I grabbed an arrow from my quiver, placed it in my bow, and readied to aim at the bushes the man hid behind, “Show yourself, Prince Luther. And give the same order to your guard hiding a few feet away with blood on his soul.” I hissed angrily and Luther came from behind the bush with his hands above his head.
“Put the arrow down, Faith.” He ordered with anger sliding into his words.
“I said for the presence of General Aaron also! Now order him to your side or prepare to die!” I demanded in a yell that made all birds close by fly away. Luther’s rain-covered face changed.
“Come here General! Now!” He hissed and Aaron sprinted towards us but stopped when he realized I had come instead of someone else.
“Faith…” He whispered as his bow fell.
“What gives you the authority to injure one of MY soldiers, Prince Luther?” I demanded, but my arrow did not loosen or move.
“We have come for Prince Henry, Faith. Hand him over or we will be forced to kill all of your people.”
I smiled, “And you think I would let you pass me? I am not the girl that used to work for you, Luther. I am your enemy.”
“I order you to let us pass, Faith!” Luther yelled and I frowned. Before he could move I let go of my arrow and it struck him. He yelled as the arrow hit the tree behind him. His face started bleeding as he took a step towards me. I reloaded another arrow and aimed it to him. Suddenly another bow aimed and I froze just like Luther and Aaron. I turned to my right to see Glen pointing an arrow towards his cousin.
“Both of you are under arrest by the royal army of Parethia and the rule of Princess Felicia,” He stated and I looked to him with anger, “Put your hands over your head.” He added and they both did so. He started towards them, but I grabbed Glen’s arm.
“I told you to take our people away!” I hissed and he gave me a smile that I did not expect.
“They are already gone, Felicia. Do not worry,” He replied and then handed me a long piece of rope, “I will tie up my cousin if you will tie up Prince Luther.” He offered and I slowly nodded. I walked over to Luther and went to his back.
“Do not even think of moving, Luther.” I ordered and then pulled his arms behind his back. I tied his hands tightly together and then noticed Glen was walking Aaron to us. I pulled the knot tight and then looked to Glen, “I will be back.” I whispered and then quickly ran off. I went and found the girl who was still bleeding and knelt at her side. I put one hand around the arrow and another on her shoulder, “Please hold on,” I whispered and the quickly pulled the arrow from her. She cried out in pain, but became silent when I poured fresh water from a sack onto her wound. I ripped off part of my nightgown and used part of it to dry the wound and the other part for a thick bandage around her shoulder. I then helped her up and put my arm around her waist for support. She slowly walked with me to the three men, but grabbed onto me when she saw the two hostages.
“Princess…” She whispered in fear.
“It is alright, my warrior. They will not get you. I shall protect you from their foreign touch,” I whispered back with a strong smile my mother used to give to me as a child. The girl’s grip weakened and I gently set her against a tree a few feet from the captives, “Get some sleep my warrior. The rest of our people shall be here soon to help you.” She nodded slowly as I took off my cloak. Water touched my bare skin continuously and I could tell the girl was as surprised as the three men when I set my cloak so that it shielded her from the storm. I turned to Glen who stared at me and felt a stern frown form on my face; “My stuff was taken with Lucas and Henry, correct?”
“Yes.”
I sighed, “Then this night gown will have to do. It is not suitable for my status, but I will accept it under these conditions,” I mumbled, but then looked to Luther. I walked to him and Aaron while Glen followed at my side, “Where are your brothers and parents, Luther?” I demanded and he frowned towards me.
“Like I would tell you!” He hissed and I smiled.
“So they are nearby?” I asked and his face stiffened, “For their sakes I hope they do not cross paths with any of my soldiers. If they do I will have no way to restrain their anger for our wounds.”
“Wounds?” Aaron whispered in question as he looked to Luther who stared at me.
“You will see what I speak of soon enough, General,” I said in a less angry way and then turned towards Glen, “I shall check if my warriors are close.” I announced and then walked over to the nearest tree. I started up the tree and when I reached the flimsy top I looked towards the south. A dark, moving sea seemed to cover a part of the fields in that direction and I knew this was the other part of my army. I shimmied back down the tree and turned to Glen, “They are almost here,” I replied and he looked towards the girl lying a few feet away.
“How shall we heal this girl?” Glen asked.
“My friend is leading my other troops and he will know how to heal this warrior.” I announced, but the sounds of hoofs on wet dirt stopped me. I turned and was surprised to see my friend slow his horse. He tied the horse’s reigns to a nearby tree before he pulled an extra cloak from his saddle pack and walked to me. He presented the cloth to me and I gladly took it. I covered my body with the cloak before taking the man’s hands in mine, “Dear Dimitri. You have finally arrived.” I said sweetly and then tall man bent towards me. He kissed my lips before smiling to me.
“I wanted to greet you before the others.” He said in a loving way.
“I need you to help one of my soldiers,” I said, cutting straight to the point, and turned him towards the covered girl, “She was shot by an arrow and is bleeding profusely.”
He kissed my lips again, “Anything for you, my princess.” He smiled and then went to the girl’s side. I turned to Glen who seemed as tense as his cousin.
“Who is that?”
I looked curiously to Glen, “That is the prince of Radia. He has been a close friend for many years and offered to help me in our battle.”
“Prince Dimitri?”
I nodded and then looked towards the prince. He helped the warrior sit up, but I was surprised when she flinched at his touched and then looked to me, “Do not be afraid of this man’s touch, my dear warrior. He is beyond loyal to me and is here to help you because I requested such. He will help your wound.” I assured the shaking girl and she seemed to calm down. I turned towards Glen and he smiled. I could feel heat rising from my stomach and towards my face, but I willed it to stop so others would not see me blush, “Seven hundred soldiers wait for us at the bottom of this mountain. They have an extra horse I was supposed to use, but you may use it Sir Glen. Prince Luther and General Aaron shall be riding with my two strongest soldiers so that they cannot escape while I shall set up a place for this wounded soldier to rest. Hopefully there shall be a cart of some sort I can sit on with the girl so that she can rest and I can tend to her wounds while protecting her from any kind of attackers sent by your or Luther’s father. I would not put it past the two kings to attack me. They luckily cannot get to Henry, but we have a high chance for attacks such as the one these two,” I gestured towards the two captives, “tried to perform.”
“Felicia.” Dimitri called and I quickly went over to him. He lifted the cloak from the soldier’s arm and showed me the stitches he had placed. Blood was barely coming from the wound now and even though it was a grizzly sight, I was relieved. “She shall heal soon and is healthy other than some blood loss.”
“Is there anything I can do for the blood loss?”
He shook his head, “The wrapping you put around her shoulder made it so that she barely lost any blood, Felicia. If it had not been for your idea she may have not made it till tonight. You have done more than expected from a princess.”
I sighed as I kneeled next to Dimitri, “She is one of my soldiers. It is my duty to keep her and anyone else who carries my father’s ring safe.”
“I noticed that,” Dimitri replied, “These rings are identical to your father’s soldier’s uniform symbol.” Dimitri’s soft hand caressed my cut cheek, “But you need to keep yourself safe also, Felicia. Being cut by any enemy is a very disgraceful thing for such a beautiful ruler.”
I slightly smiled, “But in return for this cut I was able to shoot King Darius. It was worth it.”
Dimitri frowned slightly, “You cannot fight that man, Felicia. It frightens me that you fight.”
“You are frightened if I trip, Dimitri.” I mocked.
“I care for you, Felicia. Is that so wrong?”
I shook my head, “No. You’re right. I have terrified you and Henry by fighting so I will try not to.”
He smiled, “Good,” He kissed me deeply and then took his hands from me, “Let’s get this soldier to the others. We should leave soon.” He remarked and I nodded. Dimitri picked up my wounded soldier and I quickly held her hand in mine.
“Be strong, my warrior.” I whispered and she slowly nodded. I turned to Glen and walked to his side, “I shall take Prince Luther. You should take your cousin.” I announced, as the rain seemed to pick up.

We rode all day in the rain, but I never received a drop to my skin. Dimitri had me pulled up against his chest so tightly I could not even hear the sound of our horses’ hooves hitting the mud. Dimitri’s steady heartbeat and kind words filled my ears for the whole journey. He spoke of what he had accomplished in the past two years since we had last seen each other and kept reminding me of how much he had missed me and the night we had shared from the last time we spoke. I could feel my hands clutching onto his cloak and my speeding heart. I could also feel his gentle hand on my back that kept me so close. The rain picked up and I looked to Dimitri’s face. His strong chin kept his mouth closed while his majestic green eyes watched the land ahead, but I could tell he still watched my every move. “It is getting late, Dimitri. We should stop and let the soldiers rest up and get dry.” I whispered and he slowly nodded. He slowed his horse and the others came closer to our horse while they all looked at us.
“We shall stop here! Find high ground that will be suitable for us to stop!” Dimitri yelled through the sheets of rain towards our followers and a soldier I knew well quickly pulled his horse beside us.
“Sir, that hill to the west seems wooded and may be suitable.” He suggested in monotone.
I quickly sat up and felt rain pour down on my hair, “Everyone! Head towards the west and into the wooded hills! That shall be our camping ground tonight!” I ordered and like lightning the seven leading soldiers other than us were off. Dimitri quickly pulled my hood onto my head and pulled me back to his chest. I looked to him with concern.
“You shall get a cold if you do not have your hood on in this rain.” He whispered and I slightly smiled. I leaned up towards him and kissed his cheek.
“Thank you for caring.” I whispered and then reclaimed my spot in his arms. He started our horse on in a sprint until we reached the other seven with the rest of the soldiers following close behind us. There were already tents being set up by the first seven as the rest of us arrived. Dimitri descended from our horse and then helped me off. I floated gracefully to my wounded soldier as she arrived in a tent-covered cart. I helped her slowly out of the cart and over to the fire. I turned towards three soldiers talking near us, “You three!” I announced and they turned to me, “Two of you bring the captives to the far part of our camp and the last of you fetch my bag.” I ordered and they quickly ran. One man brought my bag and I led the wounded soldier to the edge of the fire’s glow, “Please slip off your wet clothes. You shall use some of mine till we reach our people.”
“But those are your clothes, Princess.” She protested and I shook my head.
“Please, I insist.” I replied as I handed her a lightweight, sleeveless dress that would not harm her injury. I helped her get the dress on and then turned her towards me, “You should put your cloak back on. It shall be getting cold soon.” I whispered and she nodded. She slipped her cloak over my dress and I smiled, “You are very beautiful.” I remarked and she blushed strongly.
“My Princess, you should change out of sleeping wear. It is almost dinner time and it is wrong for men to see you in such attire.”
I nodded towards her, “How right you are.” I replied and then pulled out a lightweight, short sleeve dress. I slipped the blue fabric on and turned to the girl, “Is this suitable?”
She blushed, “You are radiant, my Princess.”
“Why thank you,” I replied and then closed my bag, “You should rest in my tent soldier. I shall wake you when food is prepared.” I added and she bowed before leaving me, “Soldiers! We need more firewood!” I ordered and half the camp ran off in search of my request. The rest were unpacking and setting up, so I decided to be helpful. I went over to a soldier, “Where can I find the food storage?” I asked and he pointed me towards one of the tent-covered carts. I went into the tent and picked out 5 hides filled with noodles, two hides of tomatoes, and one of spices. I then took my supplies and went to a large pot that had to be the largest pot I had seen and started boiling some water I had found in a hide beside the fire. I threw in the noodles and went back to the tent to get a spoon to stir. I waited for the noodles to be done and then slowly drained the water. I pulled the large pot off of the fire by its handle and set it beside the flames. Squishing the tomatoes in my hands was slightly disgusting, but once I cleaned my hands I was better. I stirred the tomatoes and noodles so that the tomato juice was throughout the noodles. I threw in the amount of spices I needed and then tried a little bit of the concoction. Since I was satisfied I dragged the pot over to a large table for the hundreds of men at this camping sight and started filling the bowls with spaghetti. I heard the others returning from collecting wood and was not surprised when Glen’s hand lay on my shoulder. I turned to him and smiled as I wiped my brow of sweat I had worked up from dragging the heavy pot.
“Felicia…did you do this?” He asked in an astonished way I did not understand.
“Well I was sitting here doing nothing while everyone else worked and decided to help, but the only real thing I know how to do other than fighting is cook,” I replied and then filled my last two bowls, “You should call the soldiers over to eat. I shall take this bowl to the wounded soldier.” I said as I picked up a bowl. I went over to my tent as all watched.
Sleeping soldiers filled the area later that night as I slowly walked over to the two captives with a lantern in my right hand. When I got close they both tensed so I put the light to my face, “It is just I Prince Luther and General Aaron.” I whispered and then sat near them. I put two bowls of spaghetti and the lantern on the ground before standing again. I untied both of their arms by cutting their binding ropes, but still kept their ankles locked together. I sat in front of them again and handed them a bowl with a fork. “Eat up. This may be the only food you get for a while.” I remarked as they both slowly accepted the food.
“Why are you being so kind towards your captives?” Luther demanded and I sighed.
“It is repayment for both of you sticking up for me towards King Darius before I left last year.” I replied quietly but looked to the ground, “Things may have changed between us, Prince Luther. But I still remember what you did for me.”
There was silence, but General Aaron broke it quickly, “I must go to the bathroom, Miss Faith. Could I please be untied to do such?” I nodded, and stood as he did. I untied his feet, but held him by the rope around his waist. We walked deep into the wet, dark woods before he stopped.
“I shall be on the other side of this tree.” I whispered and quickly moved from sight. I waited a few minutes but almost screamed when Aaron’s hand touched me. He quickly put his hand over my mouth.
“Please do not scream.” He whispered and I nodded, but Aaron did not move from in front of me.
“We should go back, General Aaron.” I whispered as I looked away, but nearly jumped when Aaron’s cold hand touched my collarbone and his warm lips caressed the scare on my neck. His tongue licked my wound in a seductive way as he pushed me against the tree. He kissed my wound and then kissed below it on my neck. Then lower on my neck, my collarbone and then the part of my breast barely covered by my dress. His dark brown eyes looked into mine and seemed to hold my gaze.
“You act as if nothing happened at the castle.”
“What?”
“I let you go and ever since you kissed me you have not looked me in the eye. I did not kill you because I like you, Faith, and I thought that is what your kiss meant. I also flirted with you constantly at the castle, but you act as if I imagined it.”
I looked away from him, “I was in love with you for some time, Aaron, but I am your enemy. I am supposed to kill you.”
He turned my head towards him, “Then kill me, Faith. I am in love with you so I cannot harm you.”
“But I can’t bring myself to hurt you…” I whispered and was surprised when Aaron kissed me deeply. I felt my body weaken and was taken over by his actions until my brain kicked in again. I quickly pushed Aaron away from me, but he tried to come back to me, “Someone will see you here, Aaron, and you will be killed immediately. So please stop.” I whispered to him and his eyes went to mine.
“But…”
“I am not Faith, Aaron. I am Princess Felicia and if I am seen with anyone that does not hold royalty or my native blood, then that person will be brutally murdered.” I whispered and he finally gave into me. We quietly walked towards the camp, but I stopped, “Aaron,” I said but never turned to the man behind me, “You must leave Prince Luther here and run. I will make sure your prince is not harmed, but you do not have royal blood protecting you from my people’s knife.” I whispered and before he could answer me I started walking again. When we stepped into the desolate camp I was surprised to see Glen walking to me, “Glen?” I whispered as he walked over to me.
“I awoke when you took my cousin from camp,” He announced and I nodded, “I will watch them now, you should sleep Princess.” He whispered and I nodded. He took his cousin and I quickly went to my tent for the night to try to forget what I almost did.

I held my wounded warrior close to my chest as our horse sped across the land with hundreds following us. “Princess!” Dimitri called and I slowed my horse so he could catch up, “We should stop soon.”
I shook my head to him, “The rain yesterday made it so that we will have difficulty making it to the hills of my people by nightfall and I promised to my brother and my warriors that I would find them by tonight. We cannot stop for anything, Dimitri, or we will not make it to our soldiers.”
“As you wish.” He whispered and I sped off. The rest of the day we ran our horses like we were being chased by death and did not stop till the sun was almost fully set. I slowed my horse and then helped my wounded warrior off. I tied my horse by those of the warriors that were waiting for me and then waited for the others. The band of soldiers followed me and my wounded soldier up the side of the mountain till I saw the glow of a fire. I quickly led them to the source of the glow and bright faces greeted us. My brother came over to me, as someone took my injured soldier away, and hugged me. I hugged him back and felt safe once more, but the embrace was short lived by my brother’s shock of how many followed me.
“There must be 500 soldiers following you!” He yelled, but was distracted by the appearance of Dimitri, “Ah, Prince Dimitri! You sure have grown since I last saw you.”
“It is an honor to be in your presence, Prince Henry,” Dimitri said, “And there are actually 753 soldiers with us.”
“My, my!” Henry laughed but was shocked when a soldier and Glen brought Prince Luther and Aaron closer to us, “What an odd predicament! Prince Luther, Prince Glen, Prince Dimitri, my sister, and I all at the same camp! I would never dream of such a fate!”
“I do believe Prince Luther and his follower do not wish to be here unlike the rest of us.” Dimitri replied.
Henry smiled towards Luther and Aaron, “We may be sworn enemies, Prince Luther, but I must thank you for watching my dear sister while I was away. I understand you did not know my sister was who she truly is, but its kindness all the same.”
“I do not need your approval or gratitude, scum,” Prince Luther hissed and I looked away from him.
“Gratitude is never accepted by those with a truly tainted heart, brother. Do not try to thank a man that does not deserve so,” I whispered and then took Henry’s hand in mine, “Let us begin our reclaim of our homeland.” I added and Henry kissed my cheek.
“We all follow in your grace, dear sister. Please lead us to our victory.” He whispered and I smiled.
“I must first speak with Sir Lucas, alone,” I replied sweetly, “I would not turn to anyone else for guidance in such matters.” I flattered Lucas as I glanced to him. He came to my side as I let go of Henry’s hand. I followed Lucas into a tent that was larger than the others. Lucas let me in and then tied the two opening flaps together. I stood and waited for him to sit down. Once he did he smiled crudely towards me before beckoning me to him. He took my hand in his before leaning me into him. He kissed me like he used to when we lived under the reign of Luther, like he loved me for me, and then pulled me onto his lap. He stroked my hair before speaking.
“What do you wish to talk about, Felicia?” He whispered in a seductive way.
“We need to pick two other people for a special mission I have planned.”
“Well Prince Dimitri seems suitable. He did get you here safely.”
“Yes, this is true.”
“But this is utterly your decision, Felicia. You must choose who we bring.”
I looked into his familiar, warming eyes and focused, “Glen,” I announced.
“What?”
I sat up straight with dignity, “Glen will be our other person. He is skilled in fighting and these are his father’s troops so he must know something about them.” I replied, but Lucas did not look pleased.
“I do not trust that man, Felicia. He does not seem stable in his attempts.”
I quickly got away from Lucas and felt a frown stiffen across my face, “He pledged an oath of loyalty to me, Lucas. He is to be trusted and…” I nearly hissed, but was stopped when there was a presence at our tent, “Yes?” I whispered and my brother poked his head inside the tent above the string tie that kept us hidden, “Brother.”
“Yes, Felicia,” He replied in a very sophisticated manner, “I believe you and I need to visit a certain place. I know by your actions you would like to visit our parents and sister’s graves.”
“Yes, Brother,” I whispered back and then turned to Lucas, “When I come back have the other two ready.” I announced and then followed my brother out of the tent below the string tie. I walked over to Dimitri in a slightly nervous manner, even though he or the two captives he was tending to did not scare me, “Dimitri…”
“Yes, my love?” He asked sweetly and I looked away from him.
“You’re in charge for an hour or so.”
“I am?”
I nodded quickly, “Brother and I will be back soon and till then these soldiers are under your control.”
He gently held onto my chin and turned me towards him, “What is the matter, my dear? You seem concerned about something.”
I sighed and looked to his eyes finally, “We are going to my parents and sister’s grave.” I whispered and he seemed sad for me. He then kissed me tenderly and hugged me.
“Be strong, my beautiful warrior.” He whispered and I nodded before kissing him and then letting go of him. He brushed a blonde curl behind my ear.
“I’ll be back soon.”
He nodded, “And I will be waiting.” He said sweetly and I smiled before leaving him.

I held my wounded warrior close to my chest as our horse sped across the land with hundreds following us. “Princess!” Dimitri called and I slowed my horse so he could catch up, “We should stop soon.”
I shook my head to him, “The rain yesterday made it so that we will have difficulty making it to the hills of my people by nightfall and I promised to my brother and my warriors that I would find them by tonight. We cannot stop for anything, Dimitri, or we will not make it to our soldiers.”
“As you wish.” He whispered and I sped off. The rest of the day we ran our horses like we were being chased by death and did not stop till the sun was almost fully set. I slowed my horse and then helped my wounded warrior off. I tied my horse by those of the warriors that were waiting for me and then waited for the others. The band of soldiers followed me and my wounded soldier up the side of the mountain till I saw the glow of a fire. I quickly led them to the source of the glow and bright faces greeted us. My brother came over to me, as someone took my injured soldier away, and hugged me. I hugged him back and felt safe once more, but the embrace was short lived by my brother’s shock of how many followed me.
“There must be 500 soldiers following you!” He yelled, but was distracted by the appearance of Dimitri, “Ah, Prince Dimitri! You sure have grown since I last saw you.”
“It is an honor to be in your presence, Prince Henry,” Dimitri said, “And there are actually 753 soldiers with us.”
“My, my!” Henry laughed but was shocked when a soldier and Glen brought Prince Luther and Aaron closer to us, “What an odd predicament! Prince Luther, Prince Glen, Prince Dimitri, my sister, and I all at the same camp! I would never dream of such a fate!”
“I do believe Prince Luther and his follower do not wish to be here unlike the rest of us.” Dimitri replied.
Henry smiled towards Luther and Aaron, “We may be sworn enemies, Prince Luther, but I must thank you for watching my dear sister while I was away. I understand you did not know my sister was who she truly is, but its kindness all the same.”
“I do not need your approval or gratitude, scum,” Prince Luther hissed and I looked away from him.
“Gratitude is never accepted by those with a truly tainted heart, brother. Do not try to thank a man that does not deserve so,” I whispered and then took Henry’s hand in mine, “Let us begin our reclaim of our homeland.” I added and Henry kissed my cheek.
“We all follow in your grace, dear sister. Please lead us to our victory.” He whispered and I smiled.
“I must first speak with Sir Lucas, alone,” I replied sweetly, “I would not turn to anyone else for guidance in such matters.” I flattered Lucas as I glanced to him. He came to my side as I let go of Henry’s hand. I followed Lucas into a tent that was larger than the others. Lucas let me in and then tied the two opening flaps together. I stood and waited for him to sit down. Once he did he smiled crudely towards me before beckoning me to him. He took my hand in his before leaning me into him. He kissed me like he used to when we lived under the reign of Luther, like he loved me for me, and then pulled me onto his lap. He stroked my hair before speaking.
“What do you wish to talk about, Felicia?” He whispered in a seductive way.
“We need to pick two other people for a special mission I have planned.”
“Well Prince Dimitri seems suitable. He did get you here safely.”
“Yes, this is true.”
“But this is utterly your decision, Felicia. You must choose who we bring.”
I looked into his familiar, warming eyes and focused, “Glen,” I announced.
“What?”
I sat up straight with dignity, “Glen will be our other person. He is skilled in fighting and these are his father’s troops so he must know something about them.” I replied, but Lucas did not look pleased.
“I do not trust that man, Felicia. He does not seem stable in his attempts.”
I quickly got away from Lucas and felt a frown stiffen across my face, “He pledged an oath of loyalty to me, Lucas. He is to be trusted and…” I nearly hissed, but was stopped when there was a presence at our tent, “Yes?” I whispered and my brother poked his head inside the tent above the string tie that kept us hidden, “Brother.”
“Yes, Felicia,” He replied in a very sophisticated manner, “I believe you and I need to visit a certain place. I know by your actions you would like to visit our parents and sister’s graves.”
“Yes, Brother,” I whispered back and then turned to Lucas, “When I come back have the other two ready.” I announced and then followed my brother out of the tent below the string tie. I walked over to Dimitri in a slightly nervous manner, even though he or the two captives he was tending to did not scare me, “Dimitri…”
“Yes, my love?” He asked sweetly and I looked away from him.
“You’re in charge for an hour or so.”
“I am?”
I nodded quickly, “Brother and I will be back soon and till then these soldiers are under your control.”
He gently held onto my chin and turned me towards him, “What is the matter, my dear? You seem concerned about something.”
I sighed and looked to his eyes finally, “We are going to my parents and sister’s grave.” I whispered and he seemed sad for me. He then kissed me tenderly and hugged me.
“Be strong, my beautiful warrior.” He whispered and I nodded before kissing him and then letting go of him. He brushed a blonde curl behind my ear.
“I’ll be back soon.”
He nodded, “And I will be waiting.” He said sweetly and I smiled before leaving him.

I woke up and felt coldness on my head. I wiped away the sweat that still lasted on my brow and then sat up. I looked down and was thankful to see my foot was still part of me. I then took the crutches next to my bed and left the tent. I saw a light pink sky and sighed. We had not attacked as planned. I was holding the group back because of this ankle. I felt the gaze of someone and looked over to see the two captives watching me. I went over to them and slowly bent down to pick up their empty food bowls from that night. I started to pull myself back up to a standing position but dropped the bowls. I let out my anger in a sigh and just stared at the bowls, “Damn it.”
“Don’t push yourself, Miss Faith.” Luther whispered in an angry way, but I knew he still cared for me even if I was not him true Miss Faith anymore.
“Injuries cannot hold a ruler back, Prince. You should understand that more than most people here. Your father would never give up even if his foot was almost amputated, correct?”
“Yes.” He looked up to me and I smiled.
“You know as well as I that you would not give up either. If you were in my situation and had to protect young Prince Peter, would you give up?”
“Of course not. He is my brother.” He retorted and I nodded with a broader smile.
“You would protect him because you love him just as I will protect my brother, people, and friends because I love them,” I chuckled lightly, “You reminded me a lot of my brother when I saw you tending to Prince Peter while I worked for you. If the young prince was injured you would do anything to help him just as my brother nearly broke his fake leg to try to save me from losing my foot,” I looked away from him, “Now I know you may take that as an insult because you do not respect Henry like I do, but you must understand what I feel if Peter were in my place. If you had given up your leg for him he would want to repay you, correct?”
“I would assume so.”
I nodded, “The day the other members of my family died, Henry let King Darius shoot him so I could get away. So now I want to pay him back for helping me live by regaining our homeland for him,” I looked to my wrapped ankle, “Now you may or may not believe this, Prince Luther, but I did become fond of you when I worked for you at the castle. If I did not have to fight you in order to reclaim my land then I certainly would not, but I must. I know that even if I loved you and Prince Peter like my own family, you stand in the way of my brother’s true wish. I must gain this land back in order to repay my brother for helping me.”
“If you love me and Peter like family why are you keeping me from him?”
I looked to Luther regretfully, “I have to.”
“No you don’t! You could just cut these damn ropes and set us free!”
I looked away from him, “You know I can’t.”
“You can, damn it!” He yelled and I froze as quickly as the two captives when a string of a bow was pulled back and made a small noise. I looked over to Lucas with surprise.
“Don’t you dare yell at our Princess! She has kept you alive even though YOUR FATHER would have killed someone in your position in a second!”
“Lucas…”
“She treats you greatly compared to how anyone else would! You should bow at her feet in gratitude!”
“Lucas!” I yelled and everything near us seemed to stop. I stared at him angrily, “Stop it.”
“But Princess…”
“I said stop!” I yelled again and he froze. I sighed and looked away from everyone, “Don’t talk about his father like that. We are not here to fight. We are here to regain what is rightfully ours.”
“Felicia…”
“I know you may be angry for past events with these two, Lucas, but they are not evil people.”
“But they have injured one of our own and have harmed all of the soldiers mentally because they understand what these two mean to you and us as a group! They show how much we are in danger here that we forget about while around you!” He hissed at me in a way that was odd, but it was even more shocking when he added, “They deserve to die!” Before I could stop myself, I had slapped him across the face which stunned him and the two captives. A firm hand lay on my shoulder but I did not need to look back to see who it was.
“You have no authority to make Felicia upset like that, Sir. And you are certainly at no position to yell at her regardless of the situation. A commoner yelling at a princess, how absurd.”
“But Prince…” Lucas started to explain, but I could feel the tensing in Dimitri’s muscles.
“But nothing, Sir. I will not stand here and let you yell at the woman I love like she is nothing but a rock in your way.” Dimitri hissed and I immediately looked away from the firry stare of Lucas and Aaron that I knew would quickly follow.
“Dimitri, please,” was all I had to say for him to know what to do for me. He picked me up and carried me back to his tent. He laid me upon his bed and sat down in a chair at the bed’s side.
“You must remember what my father warned you of before this all started, Felicia. You need to keep everyone at arm’s length that is not Henry or I. Even your soldiers should not be too close to you. Your presence will overcome them and more things like this will occur. When we finally realized you,” A sharp gaze from me stopped him quickly, “regardless of our finding, you must act like things are alright or your emotions will flow to others around you.”
“I know. This power has more weaknesses than strengths.” I whispered in a sigh, but looked up to Dimitri when he held my hand and used his thumb to caress my palm. I laughed in a whisper.
“What is it, my lovely?”
“How will the others look at me when I am able to heal so quickly? If I was injured any other time I did not have this problem because Henry was gone, but with him…and you…and Prince Glen…and Prince Luther here I will heal by the time the sun is high in the sky.”
“I thought of that and I have told everyone that the arrow just grazed you so you will be able to move with little pain by noon. The good thing was your blood had frightened Henry so much that he did not really take a full look at your injury. It makes this illusion a little easier to stick with.”

I waited till nightfall to show how much my body had healed. I walked around with only a slight limp that was not even needed because I was pain free, but in order to paint the illusion Dimitri had made I would have to act still injured till tomorrow. Everyone watched in awe as I moved so gracefully even though I had an injury. I stayed by Dimitri all night and did not look anywhere near Lucas until Henry came up to me with assurance. It was time for my selected group to go. “Dimitri, Sir Glen, Sir Lucas.” I called and then walked into the weapon tent. I got out four pairs of swords and four longbows to go with four quivers filled with arrows. When I limped out of the tent I saw all three men had done as I had asked a few hours before. They wore all black or as close as they could get to it just like I did. I handed each man a quiver, longbow, and sword before placing my quiver on my back and my sword through my belt. Dimitri touched my blonde curls that fell into my face and I looked at him curiously.
“You should hide this hair, my lovely. No one has the same hair as you other than your mother and sister who are both not with us anymore so any familiar warriors from past events will recognize you.”
“You are correct.” I whispered and then used a piece of leather that was handed to me by my injured soldier from before to tie my hair back. I then looked over to the large crowd of watchers and caught the gaze of Henry. He knew he could come to me then so he did. He hugged me tightly and I did the same to him. When we let go he turned to Dimitri with a stern look.
“Bring her back with minimal injuries, Dimitri.”
Dimitri smiled, “No need to worry, Henry. I will not let a single one of those with brown or black hair and brown eyes injure her.”
“We shall be back in a few hours, brother.” I whispered and then kissed his cheek before looking to the other three men. I started off in a sprint and they followed me quickly.

I leaned my back against the wall of my true home and slowly looked around the corner. No one inhabited the area near the throne except for the man I had just killed. I slowly crept past the bleeding corpse and went to the two thrones. I brushed my hand across the right armrest of the biggest of the two age effected thrones made of gold and gems before kneeling in front of it. A memory played in front of me, but felt so real. I watched as I jumped into my father’s lap at the age of three and pulled at the sword in his belt, “Daddy will I someday get to have your sword?” I asked in a very quiet voice since most people in the room were watching us. He smiled towards me and nodded.
“I believe someday you will rule with your brother and lead our military, my girl. With your sister at the throne and you two at the head of the army, our country will be unstoppable.”
My mother laughed in a way that reminded me of a melody as I looked to the smaller throne she occupied, “She already shows potential in sword fighting and archery, my love. She may someday even surpass our best soldiers.”
My father nodded, “When that day comes, my child, I will give this sword to you along with my symbol,” He said as he pointed to the thick, flattened metal ring that was in his left ear and held the symbol of a soldier cut in it, “These emblems will go to a rightful owner if they are given to you, I am sure of it.”
A large bang of a heavy door opening shook my mind out of the memory and I stood. My bow was already aimed without the order by my brain. When a band of 20 soldiers walked around the corner I had just been at I shot them quickly, but the last two soldiers had an advantage. They had a longer time than the rest to realize what was going on so they were ready for me. They dogged my arrows and came at me with power. One with brown hair had a bow and the other with black hair had a sword. The one with the bow shot three arrows at me in a quick manor but I sprinted away so quickly that only his fourth arrow, that I did not see coming, hit me. It merely grazed my shoulder, but it infuriated me that a brown haired creature injured me and took my mind away from better times. I shot two arrows at him and as he dogged those I threw a dagger I had stolen from a dead soldier I had killed about two hours before at him. It hit him directly where I aimed and his eyes rolled back as he fell just like the man from the tree yesterday night. The man with the sword got to me just a few seconds after and I pulled out my sword. He hit me high, low, left, and right in different patterns but I could tell which way he was going before he did by the way his muscles moved. Time seemed to slow as our swords hit oddly and both swords shook our wrists in a painful way. We were both forced to let go and the swords hit the ground to my right. The man took the advantage of me trying to grab an arrow from my quiver to strike him with and slugged me in the stomach. I bent over as I felt the pain of the loss of my breath and the man quickly side-kicked me in the head. I slid across the floor of the throne room and the man sprinted after me. He pinned me to the ground but it took him a few moments to realize I had stabbed him with a hidden dagger in the throat. He coughed up blood that went all over my face as more of his blood fell onto my black shirt. I shoved him off of me and then sprinted out of the room. I took the key I had taken from another dead man earlier and locked the right doors of the room from the inside and then went to the left doors to do the same. I had already done this to three other rooms that held the other corpses of my victims, but the only six I was proud to kill were generals of the two armies that were in the locked shed in the back of the castle. No one would find them for a while and would not be able to get into these rooms until they were able to make a new key since I held the only six pairs of the keys for these rooms that I had taken from the generals. I sprinted to a window of the room and opened it. I perched myself on the ledge and waited till two guards moved away from where I was going to jump down before closing the window as much as I could without falling off. I slid myself down the wall until all that was on the window sill was my fingers and then waited a few seconds and listened. No one was near so I let go and fell into a large bush that was under the window. I stopped myself from struggling out of the bush as I heard a guard walking towards the area I was in. When the man walked away and no one else was near I fought my way out of the bush. I fixed the bush as much as I could so that the hole I had made was not visible. I sprinted into the trees that lined the back of the castle and then made my way in the direction of the place I told the three others to meet up if we got separated, which we did within ten minutes of starting fights. I sighed as I looked to the sky and saw the moon was further than it should be. I had told the others three to stop fighting after 3 hours if possible, but I had gone much past that. I guessed I had been gone two to two and a half hours later than planned and the guys were at the camp waiting in anticipation of my return. Most likely they thought I was horribly injured and they were putting together troops to come save me so I needed to get there quickly before they did something crazy. I sprinted as fast as I could until I could see the light of the fire. I then jogged into the camp to see everyone doing just as I thought. The lining of soldiers halted when Henry spotted me, “Stop!” Henry yelled and everyone looked over to where he was looking to see me. Henry quickly came over to me as I walked towards him. He stared at me angrily as I looked away with shame. I had terrified them all, “I would hit you if I was not so relieved to see you, Felicia.”
I walked closer to him and turned my face to the non-bruised side and sighed, “Father would have hit me if I had done such a thing to him. It is what I deserve.” I whispered with regret, but was shocked when Henry lifted his hand but turned my face to the other side.
“What gave you such a dastardly bruise, my princess?” He asked me sadly as the soldiers watched us.
“An Alethian soldier kicked me before I left.”
“Is that his blood upon your face?” He asked and I nodded.
“Most of it.”
“Most?”
“Other Alethian and Algorian soldiers make up the rest,” I said and then pulled six metals out of my pocket that I handed to Henry, “There were only six generals in the capital.”
“The other three soldiers said they never saw a general.”
I nodded, “I killed them too quickly for them to come upon the others. If father had been in my position he would have taken as many injuries as needed in order to keep his soldiers out of harm’s way if possible.”
“But you are not our father, Felicia. You have to realize how much you worried us.”
“That is what stopped me from taking on all of the soldiers anywhere near us, brother,” I sighed and let down my hair slowly, “Father would have not held back. I am weak for even letting all of these soldiers’ feelings stop me. My first priority should be to protect.”
My brother shook his head, “That was our father’s only flaw, sister… If I am not mistaken, I remember having to watch you cry countless times because father would take on a whole empire by himself. Father was not alone, but he would not let anyone else help him because he thought it was the best way to rule. You have made a good choice to let us help you and we may be stronger than ever because of it.”
“But we may lose some of our soldiers because of what I have done! If I had just taken on this whole army I would be the only one injured and our people would be fine!”
A male soldier that was of mid-age came over to me, “Princess Felicia, I believe I speak for everyone in this army when I say we would gladly give up our lives for you.”
“We would follow you to the ends of the earth, my darling.” Dimitri chimed in and all of the soldiers nodded. I tried to keep tears from falling from me, but I could not stop them. I cried slowly but nodded in respect to the soldiers.
“I thank you all for believing such a sappy leader as myself.” I joked and the whole platoon laughed. I looked over as Dimitri came closer to me and he sighed.
“Glen and Lucas, please bring my supplies to Felicia’s tent!” He called and then picked me up. He brought me to my tent and the other two came in with Dimitri’s stuff. I looked over to Dimitri as he asked Glen and Lucas to grab him gauze on the other side of the tent. When they came back with the roles of gauze Dimitri sat to the right of my bed as the other two sat to my left and watched me.
“Arm?” I asked and Dimitri nodded. I slowly slid off my top shirt to show just a light shirt that was covered in blood. The three men stared at my bruised body as Dimitri wrapped my cut on my shoulder, “How do you do it?” I whispered and all three men looked to me as I looked to Dimitri.
“What?”
I smiled as I looked to my legs, “How do you rule with such grace but come upon enemies with an iron fist?”
“I do not understand, my darling.”
I looked to him, “Now that I actually have to act like the princess I have dreamed of being I am in awe of you, Dimitri. You are the perfect Prince. Grace fills all that you do when it comes to most matters but yet you are ruthless when it comes to battle. I have no idea how you or my father do that. Both of you rule and make it look so easy but lately I have realized how hard it is.”
“You are a much better leader than I could ever be, Felicia.”
I shook my head, “I was made to be a military leader of the Parethian army alongside Henry. My father made it so that my sister and I took different studies closer to the role we would play. Sylvia would take edict classes while I was outside sword fighting a man twice my age or practicing archery. Neither of us were made to be a full fledge ruler, we were made to rule together. But how will I deal with affairs after this war? How will I be able to settle down, marry, and have children? I was never supposed to marry. That was Sylvia’s duty and pleasure. I was made to be on some muddy battlefield stabbing an enemy to death. I was made to do the things I did tonight. I was supposed to fight to the death, not bear a child.”
“You will make a man a fine wife someday, Felicia. Do not worry about that. I would marry you in a heartbeat if you would allow me and I understand I am not the only man to think as such.”
“You are wrong.” I said as I looked to the ceiling.
“Am I?” He asked and I looked to him suspiciously, “I have seen how our general captive looks at you, Felicia. Even if you lied to him he still loves you regardless of if he should hate you,” He smiled lightly, “And what about my brother?” He asked and I blushed, “Sending you flowers all the time, asking your father for your hand before we were not even six. And then there is Prince Luther.”
“Prince Luther hates me, Dimitri.”
“He is trying to force himself to hate you, Felicia. He does not and he will be frivolous in his attempt,” Dimitri said as he finished my arm wrapping and went onto a cut on my neck, “And children love you, so that is no problem. But you lack trust in your own abilities if you think you will have trouble with affairs other than battle. You are one of the smartest people I have met and you always are good at solving problems.”
“You make me sound like I am perfect.”
He laughed slightly, “You are not perfect, my darling. There are two flaws you show constantly.”
“Only two?”
He poked my cheek and I laughed slightly, “Blushing too easily,” He then pointed to my heart, “And having trouble letting yourself fully love someone other than Henry. Those are the only flaws you posses other than doubting yourself which I know this war will cure quickly.”
“I wish it was that simple.”
“It could be.” He said with a smile and I felt sick to my stomach with a weird feeling. I knew what Dimitri meant, but I felt as if he was implying something that I could not yet understand.

We overtook the city by noon the next day and only had three people injured severely. I left Henry in charge with all of my soldiers except Dimitri, Glen, Lucas, and ten other soldiers. We rode through familiar land, but I stopped when I heard something odd. Everyone stopped their horses at my sides because they were confused on what I was doing. They were even more surprised when I hopped off of my horse with my bow aimed and ready, “Glen! Duck!” I yelled and he immediately pulled his head down to his chest as an arrow flew past him. I turned towards the right and let go of my arrow towards an area of trees a few feet away. Someone yelled out in pain, but I was shocked as the man with an arrow only inches from his heart ran out towards me with a sword. He started screaming, but I did not move. He got so close that most would be terrified, but I pulled out a dagger that was on my hip. I threw it at the man as he got within three feet of me and he froze. Blood started out of his throat and he fell to his side. His sword fell from his hand as he stopped moving and I walked over to him. I kneeled at his side and put my hand around the dagger in his neck. I yanked it out and more blood came out, but I ignored it. I walked back over to the group that watched me in awe, “Are you injured Glen? Did that arrow hit you?” I asked as I used a handkerchief that had been in my sleeve to clean the blood off of the dagger, but looked to Glen the whole time.
“No.” He whispered in a breathless way and I nodded as I looked back to the dead man. I spit at his corpse and then threw my handkerchief to the ground before getting back on my horse. Everyone still stared at me so I turned around to look at them.
“Come on, the day is still young.” I said and started my horse. The men followed close behind me until we reached the city limits of Algoria and I stopped, “Follow close behind. Stay alert and warn everyone if you spot someone with a weapon. When we get to the castle I will go inside with Glen while everyone else fights the army that will be awaiting our arrival.” I then started through the evacuated city with the others following and did not stop until we came upon the army I had dreamt of. There were only about 60 soldiers in front of us, so I knew we would be fine. I looked over to Glen and he nodded. We started our horses off in a sprint and the other 12 followed a few feet behind. I pulled out my sword and started at the soldiers that were directly in my way and reached the castle doors with only a few cuts even though I had killed at least 15 soldiers. I jumped off of my horse as Glen did the same and we ran into the castle front doors. It was empty so I looked back to Glen, “Which way to your father’s quarters?”
“Follow me,” He whispered and I nodded. He started off down a hallway to our right, we went up a staircase, went down a hallway to our left, and then stopped at a large pair of black doors. I threw the door open to find ten soldiers circling the king, 4 with longbows and 6 with swords. I aimed my bow at the six sword holders and killed 5 of them. The four archery soldiers shot at me and one got me in the side. I stopped for a moment because of my pain and bleeding as I realized Glen had killed the four archery soldiers and was now fighting the last soldier left. I quickly ran over to Darius who pulled out a sword towards me, but he was not fast enough. I hit his sword with my own in a way that shot it out of his hands. I pinned him against the wall behind him as Glen killed the last soldier. Darius’s face changed and he seemed to shrink in my grasp. His whole face turned white with fear of me.
“Alright! We can make a treaty! I will settle with you! Just don’t kill me!” He yelled and I immediately let go of my sword and punched him across the face with all of my power.
“Do you truly think I would make a deal with you?” I hissed in a yell, “You murdered my father, mother, and sister right before my eyes! You shot my brother and made him lose his leg! You shunned your own son just because he would accept me! Are you that naïve, Darius?” I asked as I felt tears pouring down my face, “My whole life, my kingdom, and my people were destroyed because of you! I should kill you slowly and painfully for what you have done!” I picked up my necklace that was owned by my father and held it up to Darius’s neck, “My father trusted you with our lives, Darius! And you killed him! You killed my father just because you felt like it! How could you do that? I had finally started to trust you just days before you murdered my family, Darius! You shattered my brother and my people’s hearts in one fell swoop and now I will kill you with the memory of my family! But for my father I will kill you quickly!” I yelled and then pulled the sharp metal circle I had sharpened for this exact moment across his throat. Blood flew in all directions as his body fell to the ground, but his head fell in a different direction. I fell to the ground and held my burning side as I had trouble breathing. I coughed and blood came from my mouth as I shook with shock. I felt Glen coming towards me, but I could not stop him from turning me around so that he could finally see the blood coming from my mouth and my side.
“No…” He whispered in fear and I could feel my body giving out.
“You have to take this arrow out, Glen. I will die soon if you don’t.” I whispered in a gasp of pain and Glen quickly knelt in front of me. Tears lingered in his eyes as he quickly yanked the arrow out of me while holding me back by pulling back on my shoulder. I doubled over with a gasp of pain as more blood started out and I could hear tears coming off of his chin and hitting the ground in front of me. He pulled me up so that he could embrace me and I felt his tears falling onto my shoulder as I shook in his arms.
“You can’t die, Felicia. You can’t die now!” He whispered and I could feel his royal blood slowly making my wound close.
“Don’t let go of me, Glen,” I whispered as I still shook, “Just let me stay in your arms for a little longer.”
“Don’t talk like that, Felicia! I have to get you to Dimitri or you will die!” He yelled, but when he tried to move me I stopped him.
“You don’t understand, Glen! I will die if you let go of me! Your royal blood is healing me, but if you let go of me right now I will bleed to death!” I yelled as I pulled him closer to me, “I was born with a trait that makes it so I can be healed from any wound if I am near royal blood. That is why my foot healed so quickly a few days ago. Truthfully it was going to have to be amputated but because I was near you, Dimitri, Henry, and Luther I healed within hours. But now that I am far away from the others I have to depend on your blood only and that is all that kept me from dying when I was shot and what is keeping me alive right now. If you let go of me I will die like anyone else would.”
He pulled me closer to him, “Then just stay with me, Felicia. I won’t let you die.”
“Glen…” I whispered and he pulled my head into the crook of his neck so that I was closer than before.
“What is it?”
“I’m sorry.”
“It’s okay.” He whispered and we just sat there silently until my wound was very small. I pulled away from him slightly and he looked into my eyes.
“It’s fairly small, but I need Dimitri to be with us in order for it to fully close.” I whispered and he quickly picked me up. He ran down the hall, down the stairs, and out of the castle with me in his arms. Blood was still dripping out of my mouth and I knew Glen had seen it which made him run even faster. He stopped when we saw Dimitri wrapping the arm of Lucas as the other ten watched.
“Prince Dimitri!” Glen yelled as he started to run me over to them, but they all stared in horror when they saw the blood dripping from my side and my mouth. Dimitri quickly stood when we got there.
“Set her down on the ground. I will put something around her wound.” Dimitri said as Glen set me on the ground. I looked up to the ten regular soldiers.
“Please go fetch the head of King Darius.” I whispered and they started running. They left us in silence as Dimitri wrapped my side with a mound of things to try to stop the bleeding, “Dimitri…” I whispered and he stopped what he was doing to just stare into my eyes. I brushed a tear that fell down his cheek as he stopped and he tried to hold the rest of them back but three others fell quickly which I brushed away. I held his hand in mine and he kissed it tenderly, “It’s alright, Dimitri.” I whispered and he kissed me sweetly as I smiled towards him.
“Henry will kill me.” He said with a sigh as I felt my wound close.
“Henry will never know.”
“You will have a scar there for the rest of your life, Felicia. What will you do? Never let him see you?”
“If I have to, I will. I don’t want to worry Henry when I have already worried all of you,” I said and then looked to Lucas, “What is the damage from this fight?”
He cleared his throat, “We lost two horses in the fight. Other than that everyone just has a few cuts and bruises.”
I gently set my hand on his arm where I had seen Dimitri wrapping it, “You’re injured.”
“Not terribly. Just a small cut. Nothing worth stitches.” He said and I let out a sigh of relief.
“Where to now, Felicia?” Dimitri asked me and I looked up to the blue sky above us.
“We will go back home.”
“But what about Alethia?”
“We need to go back home. The way this war went I know the king of Alethia will not dare attack us. We took down an army with just 14 soldiers. I know the king will understand he cannot win against our whole army if we could do that. He will come soon enough to our home in order to make a treaty for his son and general’s safe return.” I said as the ten other soldiers ran back to us with a sack that I knew had Darius’s head in it. I looked up to Glen with regret and then back to Dimitri, “Let’s go home.” I whispered with a smile and Dimitri picked me up. He brought me over to his horse, but stopped when I looked back to the group, “Two of you will have to group up.” I said and two of the regular soldiers offered. We all went to the horses and Dimitri gently placed me on his white horse from his country. I leaned against him when he got on behind me and we started off towards home. I felt warmth in my stomach and realized this was the first time I was finally going home, to my real home, in more than 11 years. “Dimitri?” I asked and he pulled me slightly closer in response, “How do you know you love me?” I asked, even though I felt like a child.
“I never want to leave your side and I always want you to be happy, even if that means dying in the process. I assumed it was love a long time ago, but it was confirmed that night so long ago. I never wanted that night to end and when you left I could feel my heart aching so I knew I was in love with you and only you. Since then I have not slept with anyone else.” He said as he kissed my head.
“How can you love me if you know I’m still not sure if I love you back?” I asked with an ache in my heart.
“I don’t think I could love anyone other than you and I don’t want to try. You have been through so much so I do not blame you for having trouble with finding who you love. For the past 11 years you have had to ignore your heart at all times so it may take a while to figure out how to listen to your heart once again.”
I loosened in his grasp, “Today I think I may have gotten closer to listening to my heart all the time. I actually listened to my heart today and last night and I think it was the right thing to do.”
“Last night?”
“I opened my heart and told you what I truly thought. I never thought I could do that.”
“I’m glad you did.” He said and then we were quiet. I enjoyed my time next to Dimitri even though we did not speak. We just enjoyed each other’s company for the rest of the ride. When we reached the city I saw house lights coming on and I had to keep myself from crying. I finally did it. I finally gave my people back their old lives.
“Go to the castle.” I whispered and Dimitri did as instructed. We reached the castle entrance and I saw two soldiers standing guard at the front gate. They gasped when they saw how injured I looked, but quickly looked past it and opened the gate.
“The Princess had arrived!” One of them yelled at the top of his lungs and it was like a domino effect. From him everyone at the castle near us would yell the same thing, then the people near them, and on and on it went till Henry came out of the castle. He stared at me with awe and I slowly got off of Dimitri’s horse. Henry quickly came over to me and embraced me tightly. I ignored that my cut reopened and my large bandage was now refilling with blood as I cried like a child into Henry’s shoulder.
“We did it!” I cried in a hiccup and he pulled me tighter, “We have our land back! Parethia is ours once more!”
“All hail Princess Felicia and Prince Henry!” Dimitri yelled at the top of his lungs as I looked to him with a teary smile.
“All hail Princess Felicia and Prince Henry!” Echoed numerous people and I laughed as I hugged Henry again. Henry then let go of me and I quickly felt Dimitri take a hold of me.
“You’re bleeding again.” He whispered to me as Henry stared at the blood trickling from my mouth.
“I know, but don’t care.” I whispered as Dimitri picked me up.
“Bring me my supplies!” Dimitri yelled and then brought me into the castle as Henry, Glen, and Lucas followed.
“Bring her in here.” Henry said and we followed him to my parent’s room. He opened to door to show a newly made bed that I was laid upon. Dimitri looked to the group as his stuff was set down next to him, “Let’s leave Dimitri to tend to Felicia,” Henry said and then pushed the group out. He stuck his head back into the room, “Goodnight my warrior.” He whispered and then locked the door behind him.
“Dimitri…” I whispered and he looked to me in a lovesick way.
“What is it, my love?” He asked and I pointed to a door in the room. He walked over to it and looked back to me.
“Use the combination of my birthday to open the lock,” I whispered and he did so. The door opened and Dimitri took out a medium sized box and a long sword with its sheath covering it, “Bring them over to me,” I said and he did so. He sat down next to me and handed me the sword first. I slowly slid off the sheath and looked to the leather covering. I gently slid my fingers across it before sliding it off. I looked to my father’s gem encrusted sword handle and the shining blade above it, “This was my father’s sword. He left it to me,” I whispered and then slipped the leather casing and the sheath back onto it before taking the medium sized box from Dimitri. I opened it to see my father’s royal rings, his emblem earring, and my mother’s earring that showed she was the queen. I took out my father’s earring and put in my left ear. Then I took out my mother’s earring and put it in my right ear. My father’s rings were what I put on last and then looked to Dimitri, “I’m going to be queen soon, aren’t I?” I asked and Dimitri smiled to me with a nod, “Do you think I’m ready?”
“You are beyond ready, my love.”
“I will have to marry soon, won’t I?”
He nodded, “You will be able to have someone else at your side to help you and support you for the rest of your life.”
“I think I’m ready to marry. I think I want children.”
Dimitri took my hand in his and kissed me tenderly, “I want to be at your side for the rest of my life, I want to have children with you. I want to be able to rule at your side and help you with whatever you need,” He said with a saddening look, “Will you marry me, Felicia?”
I sighed and looked away from him. When I looked back he looked like he was going to cry, “Dimitri, I think I love you,” I whispered and he smiled, “But I cannot answer you until this war is over. I’m sorry.” I whispered sadly to him, but was surprised when he kissed me tenderly as he leaned over me.
“I understand and I can wait till then for your answer,” He whispered and I kissed him. He immediately understood what I wanted and kissed me back. He was always a step ahead of me when it came to things like this. I started to unbutton his shirt but he took my hand gingerly from him, “You’re injured still. Let me do that.” He whispered and then kissed me once again as I wrapped my arms around his neck and pulled him closer to me. I immediately had no doubt in my mind that I loved him.

I sat up in my bed and just watched Dimitri as he slept at my side. He looked so peaceful and happy. I decided that I would let nature take its course and would not take an herb that would make it so I would not become pregnant like I usually would. If I was meant to become pregnant with Dimitri’s child then it would happen. I brushed a strand of strawberry-blonde hair out of his face and was glad when Dimitri’s eyes did not open. I started to get up but yelped quietly when his arms wrapped around
This sounds like the end of the story, but it isn't! It's just the beginning!!
my waist and pulled me back into my parent’s bed, “Don’t leave. Not yet.” He whispered in a yawn and I slowly slid down in the bed next to him. He wrapped his arms around me and pulled my naked body closer to his. I rested my head upon his bicep and listened to the quiet room for a moment.
“I was thinking.”
He did not open his eyes but I knew he heard me, “About what?”
“About what I should do for Algoria. I killed their leader yesterday and have killed most of their army, so I forcefully own their land now, right?”
He yawned again, “I assume so. That is what Darius did with this land long ago.”
“Then I think I will put Glen in charge of the country. He is, after all, the rightful prince of that country and I can put him in power without any worry that he will betray me.”
Dimitri’s gentle green eyes opened and looked to me, “I agree. Glen likes you so I know he will not betray the woman that has stolen his heart.”
I nodded, “And for that same reason I believe I will put Lucas in charge of the Algorian army.”
“But who will lead the Parethian army?”
“Henry.”
“Ah, yes. Henry would do a good job with that.”
“But I want to still be part of the military. My father always wanted the two of us to rule the military so I think I still will. I will be in part leadership of the army alongside Henry. That way I can still fight and rule at the same time.”
“That sounds like a brilliant idea.”
“But…”
“But what, my love?”
I brushed my fingers through my hair, “But what will happen to Alethia? I cannot just sign a treaty and expect them to follow it. I need to have some kind of bond to that area or have someone from Parethia in charge of the military there.”
“That is true…” Dimitri said, but we both froze when there was a knock at the door.
“Yes?” I called.
“Felicia, the king of Alethia will be arriving in less than an hour.” Lucas called through the door and I looked to Dimitri with shock.
“Alright, I will be out momentarily,” I said and then listened as Lucas walked away. I looked to Dimitri again, “Well he certainly is coming here fast than I assumed he would.” I said and Dimitri smiled.
“He is terrified of your deadly beauty, my lovely.” Dimitri said and then kissed me. I slowly got up and he watched. I walked over to my parent’s closet and opened it. I went to my mother’s dresses and pulled out a night-blue colored dress. It had a v-neck that was lined with pearls, a thin sash made of white silk, and fell to the ground because my mother was slightly taller than I was and she also liked longer dresses than she needed to wear. I slipped it on and followed with a pair of white high heels that matched the silk that went around my waist. I then realized I could not tie a bow in the back of my dress for the silk sash so I went out of the closet to see Dimitri almost fully dressed. He was buttoning his shirt back up as he looked over to me.
“Could you tie the bow in the back?” I asked and he quickly walked over to me. He tied the bow in the back and then wrapped his arms around my waist as he kissed the back of my neck. I lifted his head up to mine as I turned my head back and kissed him, “You should go. You need to change into something other than the clothes you fought in yesterday.” I said and he nodded. He then left as I picked up my father’s sword and took its sheath off. I slipped it into the silk that went around my waist so that it would stay up. The silk ribbon worked as well as a sword belt so I did not have to worry about my sword falling off. I then looked into a mirror near me to see myself for the first time in a while. I was in awe of how much I looked like my mother and sister. My two earrings were easily seen because my blonde curls were behind my shoulders, my necklace matched them easily, and my father’s rings that were on all of my fingers except for my wedding ring finger made me look like all of this belonged with me and not like I was just using things of someone else. With satisfaction I left my room and went down to the throne room. It was clean of the blood I had left on the floor the last time I was here, but the thing that caught my eye was my brother. He sat in my mother’s throne with his eyes closed. I walked closer and the sound of my heels against the marble floor made his eyes opened.
“Sleeping in mother’s chair?” I asked and he smiled to me.
“Says the girl who wears mother’s dress.”
I laughed, “Does it not suit me?”
He shook his head, “Certainly not. It belongs on you since it looks like it could easily be your own,” He then stood and smiled again, “Where are you off to this early?” He asked and I smiled back.
“I thought I would go visit our wounded soldiers.”
“Follow me.” He said and then walked over to me. He took my hand in his and led me down to the infirmary of the castle. He knocked on the door and a woman opened it. She quickly bowed to us with her right fist over her heart and then allowed us to come in. I saw the three soldiers that had been wounded in the battle yesterday morning and my wounded soldier sitting on beds in the room. I walked over to my wounded soldier first and she started to get up to greet me in a formal way but I shook my head.
“You do not need to salute me, my wounded warrior. Your wounds are example enough that you are loyal to us,” I said and she smiled to me. I turned to a nurse close by, “How are these four brave soldiers?” I asked and she blushed.
“They are much better, Princess. They will be healed in no time.”
“I’m glad to hear that,” I said, but was cut off from saying more when the door opened. Lucas came in with Glen behind him.
“Princess Felicia, the king of Alethia has been spotted nearby.” Lucas said and I nodded.
“Bring the two captives to the throne room. Henry and I shall meet you there. Make sure the soldiers outside know to stay on their guard but do not attack the king unless he hurts one of our own.”
“Understood.” He said and then went on his way. I left the room with a smile towards the four soldiers. I started down the hall with Henry at my side and felt as if I ruled to world.
“Father’s sword and earring look as if they were made for only you, Felicia.” Henry commented and I smiled towards him as we turned the corner to the throne room. We walked over to the two thrones that were up on a raised area of the room with stairs leading to them. I looked to Henry who seemed confused.
“It does not seem right for me to sit in father’s throne.” I whispered and Henry set a gentle hand on my shoulder.
“It is your throne now.” He whispered and I nodded slowly. I went up the stairs and watched as Henry sat in Mother’s throne. I then slowly sat in my father’s throne and realized how much bigger it still was when compared to me. I looked up when Dimitri, Lucas, and Glen came into the room while they held onto the two captives and the bag with the head of King Darius. I smiled to Dimitri and he smiled back as he helped the other two men I trusted to move the two captives of war closer to me.
I stood slowly, “Today is the day of your release, Prince Luther and General Aaron. I am sure we will easily come to a compromise on a way that you can safely be returned to your homeland,” I turned towards Lucas who had the bag in his hands, “Lucas, could I please have that?” I asked kindly and he quickly came up to me and handed the bag to me. I took out the head of the fallen king and heard Prince Luther gasp. I looked to him with a smile, “I told you one time I did not blame your family for the war that killed my family, did I not?”
“You did.”
I nodded as I sat down and put the head of Darius back into the bag before placing it on the edge of my armrest to the right, “Well you should be glad I did not blame your father, Prince Luther. Otherwise I would be holding your father’s head instead of King Darius’s,” I said and before I could add on the right doors of the throne room flew open and a soldier ran into the room. He quickly bowed his head towards Henry and me with his right fist over his heart.
“My Princess, the King of Alethia has arrived at our gates.” The male soldier of about 20 said and I nodded.
“Show him to us.” I said and the man quickly ran off. I looked to Henry for approval and he smiled to me. The room then fell quiet as we all waited for the moment to come. When the doors to the room were finally reopened I looked up to see the pale face of the King of Alethia as he looked from me and to the two captives many times. I was startled when Prince Vladimir and Prince Peter came into the room a moment after him. I frowned towards him, “What is the meaning of you bringing your children to this type of meeting, King Argos?” I asked with anger.
“With those Parethian soldiers outside I would never think of leaving my sons anywhere other than at my side.”
“There is nothing to worry here, King Argos. I promise you my soldiers and people will behave themselves. After all, I am the one calling the shots in this ordeal. My people have nothing to worry.”
“And what makes you think you, a young princess, shall call the shots in this ordeal?”
I smiled towards the king, “The army all around us, the fall of your ally country, and my hold of your eldest son and your army general give me all reason to understand that I am the one calling the shots in this game.”
Suddenly Prince Peter ran towards me and an archery soldier in the back of the room aimed for the Prince. I quickly stood, “Do not shoot, soldier,” I ordered and the man quickly lowered his weapon. I looked down to the young prince and then back to the king, “You need to control your youngest son, King Argos.”
“Miss Faith! Why are you doing this? Why are you keeping brother away from me?” Peter yelled as tears rimmed his eyes, “Come back with us, Miss Faith! I don’t want daddy to fight you anymore!”
I felt something tear low in my heart and I looked away from Peter and to Henry who watched me like everyone else. Everyone held their breath as I walked down to the son of my enemy. I knelt in front of Prince Peter and brushed the small black piece of hair on his head, which always seemed to go out of place, back to where it should be. I smiled slightly towards Peter, “Young Prince, do you see the young man behind me?” I asked and he looked to me before looking to Henry. Peter nodded, “That is my elder brother. He is almost as much older than me as Prince Luther is to you.”
“Your brother?” He asked and I nodded.
“Yes, and didn’t you come here today to get back Prince Luther in order to be with him once more?”
“Yes.”
“Well that is the exact reason why I cannot leave with you, Prince Peter. I must stay here so I can be with my brother.”
“But why did you take brother?”
I sighed and looked over to Luther, “I had to hold Prince Luther with me for a little while in order to protect my brother and my friends. That is all. I promise you Prince Luther was not injured once he was under my care.”
“But why do you fight daddy?”
I looked back to Peter, “Because, sweet prince, your father did not want me to be with my brother. He had his reasons to do such, but I just want to be with my brother. You understand that, don’t you? It is the same as you wanting to be with your brother.”
“I understand.”
I smiled, “Good, now why don’t you go back to your father so that we can settle on a way for Prince Luther and General Aaron to leave with you soon, alright?” I asked and he nodded, but I was shocked when he hugged me tightly.
“I will miss you, Miss Faith.” He whispered sadly and I hugged him back. When he let go I lifted his face so that he looked to me.
“I will miss you also, Prince Peter. But be strong.” I whispered and he ran back to his father who stared at me with shock.
“What do you want in order to let me have back the two captives, Princess Felicia? State your terms.”
I looked to the king as I stood, “I want you to never interfere with my country or Algoria, which will soon be run by Prince Glen. You will only associate with us when it comes to trading or conflicts and in either case you will meet on my terms and not fight me. If I even hear of any of your people interfering with Parethia, Algoria, or Radia you will have a battle against you that you will never be able to win,” I walked to my throne and picked up the bag. I threw it to the king, “As shown by your ally, King Darius. He represents what will happen if you cross me. Also there will always be someone to represent me within your government in order to make sure you never cross me,” I said and the king stared at me, “Those are my terms.”
The king thought for a moment and then looked to me, “I will agree to your terms.” He said and then I nodded towards a woman that I had asked to write up my terms. She hurried over to me and handed me a piece of paper and a quill pen. I walked over towards the king as the woman quickly pushed a small table over to us. I set the paper on the table and looked up to the king. He took the quill from me and wrote his signature at the bottom of my paper. I then signed my name next to his and looked to Glen and Dimitri.
“The two captives are free to go,” I whispered and then took the paper off of the table before it was moved away. Prince Luther and General Aaron came over to the king as I walked away, “Good day to you King Argos, Prince Luther, and General Aaron.” I said and the king looked to me. I was surprised when a slight smile was shown at the corners of his mouth.
“Good day to you Queen Felicia.” He whispered and was then escorted out of the room.

It could not be real. I had to be dreaming. Dimitri could not be gone. After everything he could not be gone from me forever. I sat in my throne in shock as I heard Henry crying for me. I could not feel my face and could not tell if I was crying. Glen stared at me as Lucas dropped everything in his hands. The weeping soldier stared at me for any type of response so I knew I was not crying, “D-dead.” I repeated in a shaky, broken voice. I heard a maid nearby start crying for me as the red haired soldier ran out of the room as he lost control of his emotions. My whole body felt numb.
“This must be the doing of Alethia!”Lucas yelled in my defense as he looked up to me, but all confidence in his eyes left when he finally looked to me. Suddenly my brain kicked in and I felt a surge of pain flash through my body and I let out a cry. My face fell into my lap and I started crying. I felt as if something low within my body had just been shot at by an arrow and was now bleeding profusely, yet something told me royal blood could not cure this wound. I felt my body shaking finally, but I had to stop this. I cannot cry more in front of my people when we have just celebrated our first six months of being a true country once more. They do not need to see me crying when they were already deeply hurt by this. I just announced yesterday that I was going to marry Dimitri and he would be the king of Parethia so they all were upset with the loss of another person that was soon going to be their new king to replace and hopefully mend the wounds in their hearts made by losing my father. I forced my body to stop shaking and my tears to stop falling. After all, I had learned nothing over the past 11 years if not to ignore my heart. Even if I had finally started listening to my heart constantly it seemed easier than it should to close off my emotions. I sat up, cleared my throat, and looked to an archery soldier that was in the back of the room quietly crying for me and the country.
“Soldier, please go make sure the soldier from Radia is alright,” I whispered and then stood, “Someone please prepare my horse for a strenuous ride. I will fetch her in a moment.” I said and the weeping archery soldier and another soldier quickly left the room. I started down the stairs in front of the two thrones, but stopped when Henry took a hold of my arm. I looked back to him curiously.
“You cannot go to him right now, Felicia.”
I shook my head and looked away, “I promise you I am not going to Dimitri right now. I am going to Radia.”
“Radia?”
“I must give my regards towards the king. He has just lost his youngest son and I know he, his oldest son, and daughter will need someone there that understands what they are going through,” I looked down to the ring on my wedding finger, “Dimitri would want me to be with them right now. He would want me to help them.”
“Felicia, please stay here. You are in no shape to leave.” Henry said as he took a step in front of me.
“My mental or physical shape has nothing to do with this matter, Henry. This is what is right. The king, the princess, and eldest Prince of Radia need me and…” I squeezed my hands to my chest, “I need them. I need to be with them or I will not be able to cope with this.” I moved away from Henry then and walked out of the throne room. From almost every room I passed I heard people crying and I could feel the metal gate I had put up over my emotions slowly bending with the weight of their tears. I started running down the hall and did not stop until I got to my parent’s room. I threw the door shut behind me and ran to my parent’s closet. I quickly took of my light red dress and put on a pair of riding pants, riding boots, and riding shirt of my mother’s before slipping many pairs of shoes and dresses into a bag near me. I slipped on a sword belt and put my father’s sword through the holder below my right hip. I left my room and exited the castle through the back entrance. I went over to the stables off to the left side of the castle and found a soldier holding the reigns of my grey horse. I went over to the man and nodded a thank you as I took the reins from him. He bowed with his right fist over his heart and then left me. I gently fought the straps to the side of my saddle in order to put my bag on it. On the other side of the saddle I noticed someone had put a bag there and I knew it most likely held water and food for my horse and me. I lay my head against my horse’s neck and gently brushed her. She moved her head around so that she could see me and I lifted from her neck. I kissed the top of her nose and then wrapped my arms around the place where her head and neck connected. I let out a quiet sob as the horse laid her head against my back in a way to show me she was there for me and was not leaving. “You are a good girl, Sapphire.” I whispered and the horse snorted in response. I finally let go of the horse’s neck and smiled slightly to her in order to let her know I would be okay. As I started to get onto the saddle on her back I heard heavy hooves on the muddy ground around the stable. I turned around to see a familiar black horse and looked up from the animal to its rider.
Glen smiled sadly towards me. “The prince believes you should not ride alone so I offered to go with you.” He explained and I looked back to his horse as I nodded. I got onto Sapphire’s saddle and took her reins in my hands. I started Sapphire off in a sprint and could hear Glen’s horse, Erebus, following at the same speed. I ignored the thoughts and feelings rolling around inside me and focused on the steady beat of Sapphire’s hooves. We did not stop running until we reached the very edge of Alethia. The sun had set hours before, but with the sound of a storm following us and gaining I decided we should stop. We were in the small town of Ebony and received a room in a small inn in the center of town. Glen had requested I go get us a room while he would go find a place to house our horses out of the rain. He came back about 15 minutes later as I took off my muddy ridding boots. When the door opened I looked up to see his hair and clothes were drenched. I quickly stood and he seemed surprised as he stopped in the entry way of the room. I ran to the bathroom of the room and came back with a large towel. I quickly put it on his head and started drying his soft, brown hair as his blue eyes stared at me.
“You shall catch a cold if you come into this cold room with your hair dripping.” I said, but stopped moving the towel through his hair when his gentle hand rested on my arm. I looked up to him curiously to see tears rimming in his eyes.
“How can you stay so calm and collected when the man you were going to marry was murdered just this morning?”
I started drying his hair again as his hand moved with my arm, “I do not think about it.”
“But you were so upset when you received the news. How can you talk to people like nothing has happened?”
I stopped moving again, “Our people are upset enough with finding out they have lost another king. I do not want to add sadness to them by crying more and I do not want sympathy from black haired, brown eyed strangers,” I whispered and then took my hands from his head, “You should take a bath and try to warm up. Otherwise you will become sick and be of no use to me, correct?” I asked and he nodded. He slowly left my side and went into the bathroom. I went back to where my boots lay and picked up the cloth I had put water on before Glen had come back. I sat in front of the mirror on the bed of the room and slowly wiped all the dirt off of my face. I did not need a bath in order to get dirty again tomorrow, so washing my face would do. I then slipped off my ridding pants and shirt and got into a sleeping gown. I noticed that my stitches on my side still had a large black and blue bruise around them so I did as Dimitri had told me to do every night until the swelling went away. I lay on my opposite side on the bed and placed the wet cloth on my bruise. The coldness of the cloth under my night gown chilled the rest of my body in the cold room and I focused on the slight amount of pain I received from the wound in order to keep my mind from Dimitri even though it so badly wanted to go to him. The door to the bathroom opened to show Glen in only a pair of light weight pants and I realized how beautiful he really was. I had been too busy since I met Glen in dealing with my feelings towards Lucas and Dimitri in order to see how handsome this creature that would follow me to the ends of the earth really was. He was toned with muscles and his tan skin of Algoria made him look like a god. I then realized he was staring at me also and noticed I was crying. I quickly brushed my tears from my face and sat up.
“Please do not stop on my account, Princess. You should feel free to let out your sorrow for losing Prince Dimitri.” He said as he came over to me. He gently brushed a blonde curl from in front of my face.
“I was not crying over Dimitri.”
“Then have I done something to make you cry, my Princess? I am sorry if I have.” He said with concern lingering in his eyes.
I shook my head, “I just realized how I have ignored you since you started your journey with Lucas and me.”
“You have not ignored me.”
I shook my head, “Never mind. It is of no importance.” I said, but was surprised when he took my face in both of his hands.
“Anything you think or say is of great importance to me, my beautiful Princess.” He whispered and I felt myself smile sadly. He embraced me then and I felt so safe in his arms.
“You have done everything for me, Glen, but I have no way to repay your kindness and dedication. You should be looking for a wife, not holding me.” I whispered and was surprised when he kissed the top of my head and then rested his head on mine.
“My kindness and dedication is repaid by your smile, lovely Felicia. And I could never be at another woman’s side. I never want to leave your side to be at another’s.”
“Don’t let me go into sadness, Glen. I cannot handle these problems my heart is facing right now. I need to think of my people and not give into my emotions.”
“As you wish, Princess.” He whispered and I slowly closed my eyes while in his arms. I felt myself flow into deep sleep as I stayed in this man’s warm, loving embrace.

We reached the castle of the king of Radia at around noon and stopped at the metal gates that guarded the area. I saw Dimitri’s older sister reading under a tree as two guards stopped me, “What is your business, traveler, to stop at this gate?” The guard to the right asked me with anger lingering in his voice.
“I, Queen Felicia, of Parethia am here to speak to the king.” I said with sternness in my voice and looked up as the Princess one year my senior looked up to me when she heard my voice. She quickly came to the gates and frowned towards the guard who had almost growled his words towards me.
“How dare you talk to the fiancé of our departed prince like this! You should be beheaded for such cruelness to a woman who has just lost her soon to be husband!” Princess Rebecca said in anger as the guard quickly bowed to her.
“I am sorry, my princess.” He whispered and then quickly opened the gates for me. I led Sapphire into the grounds of the castle with Glen following me as I saw tears rimming Rebecca’s eyes. I quickly descended from Sapphire and Rebecca embraced me. I felt her crying and finally could not hold back and started to cry too.
“Cruel fates have bestowed themselves upon our two doorsteps, poor child. But I am glad you have come to us,” She whispered with a sniffle as she embraced me tighter, “Dimitri would want you with us.”
I squeezed the woman tightly to me as I started to shake once again, “Oh, Rebecca, why did this have to happen?”
She gently smoothed my hair as she continued to cry, “Whoever took our beloved Dimitri from us will pay dearly for what he has done to you, Felicia. I promise you that.” She kissed my cheek.
“How is everyone handling it?” I asked as I finally loosened my grip and still held onto Rebecca, but made it so we were looking eye to eye. Her red hair was still flawless, but her green eyes were puffy because of her crying. We both slowly stopped crying.
She brushed tears from her face with one hand but held onto me tightly with the other, “They will feel much better once they see your beautiful face, dear child.”
“How is Eliot taking it?” I whispered sadly and it took her a moment to meet my gaze.
“He has not eaten since we got word of the murder of our brother and has not left his room. But I am sure once he knows you are here he will finally eat and come to all of us,” She brushed a hair out of my face sadly, “The first thing he asked our father when he received the news was how you were so I believe he wanted to wait for you and has done what he has because of that.”
“Bless his poor soul,” I whispered as I kept myself from crying again. I let go of Rebecca and she took a hold of my hands, “I will go to him once I see the king.” I said and she nodded. She led me into the castle and I heard Glen following us. When we passed a maid they quickly bowed towards me with an upsetting look. Luckily it did not take long for us to reach the throne room of the Radian castle. The king sat in his throne with his head in his hand that’s elbow rested on his left arm rest.
“Father, Felicia had arrived.” Rebecca whispered and the king’s head shot up. He quickly stood and came to me. He embraced me in his large build and I felt as if I was being hugged by a larger version of my father. The man cried on my shoulder and I held him until he stopped crying. He then looked to me sadly.
“Please, dear child, go to Eliot. He needs you more than anyone else.” He whispered and I nodded. I lightly kissed the king’s cheek.
“Could you please show my soldier to my room? I will meet all of you at dinner.”
“But it is only noon, dear girl.”
I sighed, “I know Eliot needs some time. Hopefully he will be able to come out at dinner. If not expect me later tonight,” I whispered, “but first may I change?” I asked and the king nodded. He quickly led me to a guest room where I changed into a black dress and shoes as Glen waited outside. When I came out he stared at me sadly. I handed him my father’s sword, “Could you please hold onto this for me? I do not need it to comfort an old friend,” I asked and he nodded, “You may rest in this room. I will be back later tonight.” I whispered and then walked away. I made my way through the familiar halls of the castle and stopped when I reached a pair of dark wood doors. I knocked and heard Eliot sniffle.
“I told you to leave me, Father.” Eliot hissed sadly.
“It is not the king, Eliot. It is me, Felicia.” I whispered and was surprised how quickly the door to the room unlocked and opened. The taller look alike of Dimitri embraced me so tightly it hurt but I did not pay attention to it. I paid attention to my good friend that cried in my arms. When he finally calmed enough to talk he looked to me.
“Please come in,” He whispered to me as he took my hand in his. He led me into his room and relocked the door behind us. He led me over to his bed and I sat down beside him, “Whoever killed Dimitri will burn in the flames of hell for what he has put you through!” He hissed, but immediately became less angry when I put my hand on his cheek. He put his hand over mine, “Why did this have to happen to you? You just reclaimed your country and had accepted Dimitri to be your husband. Why now?”
I did not say anything for a moment, but then gained confidence and opened my mouth, “Death could not be this painful,” I whispered as I started crying again and he quickly embraced me, “Eliot, how can I go on without Dimitri?”
He kissed my head, “I would give up my soul in order to find the answer to that. I would kill myself in order to bring him back to be at your side, Felicia.” He whispered and I started shaking. I pulled him closer to me and he pulled me into him also. I rested against him like I used to when we were children.
“No, I don’t want you to die either. I cannot live without you here, Eliot. You are the only thing in the world that has kept me from dying of heartbreak.” I whispered and he lifted my head to his. He kissed me like he used to.
“Please, Felicia. Let me take your mind off of Dimitri for just a little while.” He begged and I looked to him. I kissed him deeply and he pulled me closer to him.

I sat in Eliot’s bed and watched the door. It never moved regardless of how badly I wanted it to. I wanted someone to come in and take me away. I could not look at Eliot any longer because every time I did I thought Dimitri slept beside me just like he had a few days before. I got up slowly and went to his bathroom. I washed my face and then looked at my naked body in the large mirror of the room. I looked older than I should and looked much like Sylvia now, which made my stomach ache. I slowly looked down to the stitches and blackened side of me. Why did he have to die? Why did that kind and gentle man die? Did he die because of me? Did I somehow cause the death of my family and Dimitri because I loved them with all of my heart? If that was true why was Henry still here? An aching came to my chest and I felt odd. It was as if my body was trying to tell me something. I mentally opened the metal gates in front of my heart and was immediately consumed with Glen. Am I in love with Glen? Did I fall for someone else and not even realize it? I heard Eliot move slightly and I looked to the window of the room. The sun was beyond me now and I had a sudden rush of fear. Could Glen know I had slept with my soon to be brother in law because I had stayed with Eliot all night? I shook myself and tried not to think about it. And why do I care if Glen knew or not? He is just a friend and a Parethian half-breed. I slipped on my dress and shoes before fixing my hair back to its usual shape and not a knotted mess. I slipped quietly out of the room and went down the hall. No one was awake anymore, so I quietly went down to my room. I stopped in front of my bedroom door and sighed. When I went in I saw Glen sleeping, shirtless, in the bed. I could not look at him after what I had done. I cannot think of how much I want to tell him what I had done so he can hold me tightly and make me forget. He would not hold me like he did yesterday night if he found out. He may become angry and at the state I am in, I cannot handle it. I went to my bag and took out a shawl to put over my shoulders before leaving the room once again. I quietly left the castle and went to the stables. I found Sapphire in the first stall and took her out. I did not want to wrestle a saddle or bridal right now so I would just ride bareback. Since I was in a dress I decided to ride side saddle, without the saddle, which was much harder than I thought it would be. I ignored how difficult it was to stay on Sapphire’s back and just rode till the sun started over the mountains in the direction of Alethia. I stopped when I reached the shore of the ocean on the west side of Radia. I stopped Sapphire as we reached the sand of the beach and I slid off of her. I sat on the beach about 6 feet from where the waves hit the land. Sapphire kneeled at my side and then lay down like a large dog beside me. She let out a long snort and I smiled over to her. I brushed her and then kissed the top of her nose, “You were great, girl. I’m sorry I ran you for so long when we went on such a hard journey yesterday,” I whispered as I snuggled into the fur of her neck as I lay on my side against her. She acted like a dog, but that is what I liked about her. She was loyal, caring, and friendly. I loved her more than any horse I had ever gotten, even though she was from Prince Luther. He had sent her since he remembered I had always commented on how beautiful his horse was, so he gave her to me about two weeks after I gave him back to his father and the war ended. I still had yet to see him or General Aaron or Prince Peter since that day even though I had been asked to stay with them numerous times. Maybe Dimitri was right about the general and the prince. He had told me they loved me and maybe he was right. Sapphire nudged me with her nose as I realized I had started crying again. I quickly brushed my tears away and then smiled sadly to her, “Sapphire, I slept with a married man,” I whispered and even though she did not know what I was saying, she could tell I was upset by my tone. She turned her head and laid it across my legs that were straight out in front of me. Her deep brown eyes looked at me in a way to tell me she was here to listen as long as I needed her to, “I slept with my soon to be brother in law. How could I do that? I knew when I went into Eliot’s room by myself that would happen, yet I went anyway. What did I think would come of it? He would leave his wife to come comfort me for the rest of my days as my husband? What am I thinking? I don’t want to replace anyone for Dimitri and receive a husband. Sapphire…do you think I could rule on my own?” She blinked with confusion and I sighed. I can’t get a response on how to live my life from my horse, but who could I talk to about what I have done? Rebecca? No, she would be hurt and stuck in the middle of this. She would have to decide if it was better that I had done that or to yell at me for possibly ruining her brother’s relationship. Who else was there? A man would not understand this, but I am not close to any woman except for my darling Sapphire and Rebecca. I sighed again and then looked to the sea, “I wish I was as free as the sea, Sapphire,” I said and her ears moved with the sound of her name, “I could flow anywhere and everywhere, but could never be defeated by others. Also, I would not have to deal with these damned emotions that always get in the way of my judgment. I could go on forever without a care in the world,” I looked to the horizon to see pink sky that seemed to be like fog far away above the water, “Or I would not mind going back to being Miss Faith; tending to Prince Peter every day, becoming closer to Prince Luther, and falling in love with General Aaron once more. That would be marvelous.” I whispered in a sigh, but sat up when I heard someone. I looked behind Sapphire and I to see a familiar face.
“Why did you suddenly run off like that and not tell me you were leaving, dear Felicia?” Glen asked as he came off of Erebus and walked towards me, “If it had not been for my light sleeping I would have never heard you and the royal family of Radia would have been worried out of their minds that the person who killed Prince Dimitri had killed you also.”
I looked back to the pink fog, “I just needed some time to think,” I whispered and then gently brushed Sapphire, “I needed to be alone with Sapphire to decide what to do next.”
Glen sighed as he sat down in the sand on my side that Sapphire did not occupy. He looked to me as I looked to Sapphire and brushed her more, “So is this how it is going to be now? A horse has taken my spot in this?” He asked sadly and I looked to him with confusion.
“What are you talking about Glen?”
He looked to his hands, “The morning we captured Prince Luther and my cousin you said that you had left to find somewhere to think more clearly. I asked you if you were thinking about our battle plans and you said yes but would not tell me what they were. You then said you could not tell me because you could not tell anyone your plans because of what my father had done to the King. But then you added that if you told anyone your plans, I would be the first one you would tell, yet I find you out here telling Sapphire your plans so I am wondering if she has taken my place.”
I shook my head, “Sapphire could never take your place, Glen,” I whispered and then looked back to the horse as I started brushing her again, “She is just someone I can talk to that will listen without yelling at me about anything.”
He smiled slightly as he leaned across me to pet Sapphire, “That is because she cannot understand you, sweet Princess.”
I nodded, “I know.”
“Well wouldn’t you like to tell someone who would understand? I understood you yesterday night when you told me things,” He stopped brushing Sapphire and gently moved his fingers through my hair as I stopped brushing Sapphire also, “I am nothing if not a good listener.” He said with an odd smile and I looked away.
“I wanted to tell you what I came out here to tell Sapphire, truly I did Glen, but I was too ashamed to tell you.”
He sighed, “You can tell me anything, Felicia, and I will always understand.”
I shook my head, “You would not be pleased with me if I told you.” I whispered and he shook his head.
“I will understand regardless,” He replied, “Please tell me.”
“I…I slept with Prince Eliot.” I whispered as tears rolled down my face and Glen stared at me.
“What?”
“I slept with a married man. I slept with Dimitri’s brother,” I whispered and then buried my face into Sapphire’s mane and she turned to try to comfort me. I was crying so hard that I was hyperventilating, “Oh, Dimitri, why!” I cried as I shook, “Why am I so weak without you at my side!”
“Felicia…” Glen whispered, but I could not look to him.
“How could I do such a thing?” I asked myself, “I am a horrible person!” I was shocked when Glen yanked me off of Sapphire and pulled me into his arms. I cried harder as I finally realized I had fallen in love with this half-breed.
“You were confused and could not fight Eliot’s desires while in such a delicate state, Felicia. This was not your fault. Eliot took advantage of you.” He whispered into my ear as I shook in his arms.
“But why?”
“I have seen Prince Eliot and he looks much like Dimitri. Your mind made you imagine the man you love.”
I shook my head, “But I wanted him to be you,” I whispered and then quickly pulled away as I realized what I had said. I gasped as tears still ran down my face, but quickly stood and Sapphire followed my movements, “I should not have said that! I’m sorry!” I yelled and then quickly got on Sapphire and rode off. I feel like I am trying to make a man fall in love with me by telling him something I did not mean to and then running so he would come after me. I am just like Sylvia. She did the same thing to a man she liked when we were young, but he never came after her. He did not love her back. What if Glen did not come after me? What if he goes back to Parethia? Or even worse, what if he comes to the castle and ignores me? I made Sapphire go faster until we reached the castle of Radia.

“Now you must write me the moment you reach the Alethian castle, alright?” Rebecca said as she squeezed my hands tighter to emphasize the word and I nodded.
“The moment I reach King Argos’s home you will be the second person I shall write.”
“Second!” She yelled with disgust in her voice.
“Henry is my first priority, Rebecca. It has and always will be that way.” I said with a smile.
She gave me a face as if she was a child not getting her way, “Fine, Fine. I know,” She said and then looked to Glen who was holding my horse for me. She pulled me closer to her so Glen could not hear her, “So you still have yet to tell me why you insisted the General of the Alethian army come get you and a group of our soldiers get Prince Glen home, care to explain?”
I sighed, “I made him mad and I do not want others to see us fighting, especially young Prince Peter.”
She smiled towards me, “Jealousy perhaps?”
I shook my head, “Disagreement is a killer.”
“Ah, well don’t forget to write for me, alright? I will be waiting here worried until you do and I expect it by tomorrow afternoon because of the storm you will be facing.”
“Storm?” Glen asked as he moved over to us. I looked to him and nodded, but quickly looked away.
“The first snowstorm of the season will be coming through the north east part of Alethia while I am traveling that way.”
“Then maybe I should…” Glen started to say but stopped when Eliot ran out of the castle. He stopped when he saw me in my riding clothes and holding his sister’s hands.
“You did not seriously believe you could leave without saying goodbye, did you, my breathtaking Felicia?” Eliot said as he walked over to me. Rebecca let go of me as Eliot embraced me tightly, “Come visit us on your way back to Parethia if possible, alright?” He asked and I nodded; “Now I expect Luther’s general will behave himself around you.”
“General Aaron is very dedicated to his job.”
“There is nothing to worry with my cousin,” Glen said as he stayed by Rebecca, “He will protect Felicia will all of his power.”
Eliot looked from Glen and back to me with a frown, “Wait, this is the same general you captured?”
“Yes.” I replied and he became madder.
“I shall certainly not allow this!” He argued, “Dimitri did not trust that man and he said that this general of Luther’s had very intimate feelings towards you.”
I looked away from Eliot’s familiar face, “Aaron will behave himself. He still believes I will be marrying Dimitri and has not heard the news. I plan to keep it this way until we reach the Alethian castle.”
“Will he behave himself just because you were destined for marriage?” Eliot asked and I heard Glen stiffen a few feet away.
“There is no need to worry, Eliot,” Rebecca said with an assuring smile as she wrapped herself around me from the side so that we both still looked at her brother, “Felicia is nothing if not loyal. She would never even imagine a man with her other than Dimitri, at least not for a while.”
“Yes,” I whispered as I looked to my wedding ring on my hand. I took it off and handed it to Rebecca who looked at me with confusion, “I believe this ring should stay at your home. It is, after all, the family ring and I do not want it to stay with me when I shall not become part of this family.”
Rebecca sighed, “You will always be part of this family, Felicia. With marrying Dimitri or not, you were always considered family.”
I smiled at my feet, “That means a lot, Rebecca,” I whispered and then looked up as a guard yelled. Aaron and three other soldiers came into the courtyard of the castle on black horses. Aaron was on the same horse he nearly ran me over with a long time ago when I was still Miss Faith, “Well it is time for me to leave,” I whispered and then moved away from Rebecca’s grasp. I went over to Sapphire and hugged her neck as I looked at Rebecca and Eliot, “Shall I see you at the funeral in four days?”
Eliot nodded, “We shall be coming to your home that morning.” He replied and I smiled slightly and then turned to Glen. I walked over and hugged him tightly, which surprised him but it did not take long for him to hug me back.
“Ride safely, Glen.” I whispered and then let go of him. I walked over to Sapphire and got onto her saddle.
“Keep an eye out for murderers, Felicia. Those men could come for you next,” Rebecca warned and then quickly came over to me. She placed my wedding ring back into my hand, “Father will want you to keep this.” She whispered to me and then walked back over to Eliot’s side. I looked to Aaron, who smiled to me.
“Shall we go?” I asked and he nodded. He called to his three soldiers and then we started off. Aaron rode in front of me as we left the Radian castle while the other three soldiers rode around me. As Sapphire brought me towards the last place I could still see the castle at I looked back and let out a quiet tear. I then turned back around and watched the landscape fly below Sapphire’s hooves. We rode all day in the slowly changing air as it became colder, but stopped when Aaron looked back to me.
“We must decide now if we are to go through the mountains or go further out of our way and go around them.” He said as he looked directly to me.
“Going around the mountains will be less of a hassle and better on our horses. With the storm coming we will have trouble going through torturous landscape while it snows. We may add a night of ridding by going around the mountains, but it seems like the best option for now.” I replied and he nodded. He called to the other soldiers to say we were going around the mountains and would not be stopping tonight unless we have to. We started ridding again and did not slow down until it started snowing. After an hour of going through the quickly falling snow and trying to keep up our pace I noticed how cold Sapphire was. I quickly pulled off my top jacket and lay it on her neck. I leaned over slowly as she kept running, “Keep going, girl,” I encouraged as I tied the sleeves of the jacket around her neck and then sat up regularly. The wind of the storm finally hit me through the thin jacket I had on, but I forced myself to not shake. If I do I would worry the four soldiers around me and Sapphire would refuse to go on until she knew I was okay like she had done once while I was riding with Dimitri through a rain storm on our last trip to Radia together about a week before. Snow was now engulfing my hair and I quickly brushed a lot of it off. As we reached a small town I saw many lights turning off and knew it was near ten. I had not seen light since three hours into our trip and was surprised how much my eyes had adapted. I listened to the steady beat of the 20 hooves until we reached the edge of town and we were attacked by wind that had been weakened by the town’s buildings. We slowed down because of the difficulty this made the trip on the horses and did not reach another town till snow was almost to Sapphire’s knees. We rode through the awakening town that I recognized as one only five hours away from the capital of Alethia. When we reached the end of the town we started through a large area of woods which shielded us mainly from the wind and snow. It felt as if we went through the woods for a year, but when we reached the edge of trees I saw the large town of Ester that was the second largest town in all of Alethia. Aaron slowed his horse as we got to the main street of the city and then turned to us.
“We shall stop for 30 minutes in order to give the horses a few moments of rest and to get food,” He announced and then led us to a stable on the east side of town. We gave a family that owned the stable our horses and then I waited outside with the three soldiers as Aaron talked to the father of the family. When they came out of the stable and to us I quickly went over to them, “Good.” Aaron replied to the man who grunted in response, but then the man saw me. He quickly bowed to me and smiled even though I knew he did not want to.
“I am terribly sorry to bother you, sir, but I must inform you of something.” I whispered quietly as the wind kicked up and I had to push my blonde hair out from in front of my face.
“Yes?”
“My mare, the charcoal colored horse, is pregnant and she is sensitive to anyone getting too close to her that she does not know. I just wanted to warn you to be very slow when coming towards her, especially if you go near her stomach.”
“Oh, well thank you, Queen Felicia.” He said and I nodded.
“Take good care of her, please. She is a very good horse.” I whispered as I looked away from the stable. This was the first time I would leave Sapphire to someone else’s care and I was nervous.
“Do not worry, Queen Felicia,” Aaron said with a smile, “This family has taken care of the royal family’s horses many times. They are trustworthy and will treat our horses well.”
“Yes.” The man said, but then left as his wife called to him. I looked to Aaron as he turned towards the three soldiers.
“Men, you may go off on your own. I shall accompany Queen Felicia,” Aaron said and then looked to me, “Please follow me. I know of a good place to go.” He said and I nodded. I walked closely behind him as he led me two blocks towards the west and five blocks over. We went inside a small pub and were greeted kindly because of the symbol Aaron wore on his chest. We were brought to a warm booth and sat down across from each other. A large woman came over to us quickly and bowed towards Aaron while I made sure my earring were covered by my hair, my necklace was behind my shirt, and my hands were under the table to hide my rings.
“How may I assist you this morning, General Aaron?” The woman asked as she blushed towards him.
“I will take a small coffee and…” Aaron looked towards me to add and I looked to the woman as she turned to me.
“The same for me,” I whispered and she nodded before walking away. I looked to Aaron and he smiled, “they all hate me,” I whispered as I looked to the table, “Every last one of them.”
“They do not hate you.” He whispered with kindness.
I shook my head, “No, they should hate me. I have changed their lives for the worse and took their general and eldest Prince. They have all right to hate me.”
“Is that why you have hidden your jewelry?” He asked and I nodded without looking to him, “Well they have no right to hate you,” He said and I shot my head up to give him a confused look, “They would have the right if King Argos or Prince Luther hated you, but they do not.”
“And to this day their actions still shock me,” I whispered, but was quiet as the woman from before came back to our table. She set two cups of steaming coffee down and handed one to both of us. I put my hands around the hot cup and soaked in the warmth, but was shocked when the woman dropped the tray that she had carried our drinks over on.
“Dear King Argos!” She gasped as her hands went over her mouth and I guessed it was because she had made such a scene but was shocked when she took my left hand from my cup and held it between hers, “Queen Felicia! I did not recognize you!” She gasped, but then tears lingered in her eyes, “I am so terribly sorry to hear of your loss. My sister that lives in Radia just sent me a notice to tell me of the misfortune all of Radia and Parethia have been faced with!”
“Thank you, my lady. Your sympathy is greatly appreciated.” I whispered as I looked to the ring she stared at on my forth finger.
“How can you seem so collected when such a tragic thing has happened to you?” She asked as a tear finally fell, “The murder of your fiancé is horrid to think of!”
I looked away from her, Aaron, and all other eyes that lay upon me with sorrow now, “I just remind myself that he would not want me to mourn him and try to go on.” I whispered and she bowed slightly to me which I did not expect.
“May Prince Dimitri rest in peace.” She whispered and then was called away from us. I quickly slid my hand around the cup again and tried to ignore how sad Aaron looked for me.
“Prince Dimitri was murdered?” He whispered in a sore way.
“He was killed three days ago.”
“I’m so sorry, Queen Felicia, I had no idea you were going through something so terrible.”
I nodded, “Most do not know. One of the reasons I am coming to visit the royal family is the invite them to Dimitri’s funeral in three days. That is why I must leave tomorrow night.” Aaron watched me as I took a sip of my coffee and then we were silent.
Finally Aaron stood and placed money on the table, “We must go or we will not make it to the castle by noon,” He whispered and I quickly got up. We quietly left the pub and started down a street, “I noticed your jacket was around your horse.” He whispered.
“She was cold on the ride here and I did not want her to become sick.” I retorted as we trudged through the snow more.
“That is the horse Prince Luther gave you, correct?”
I nodded, “Sapphire.”
“Yes, Sapphire. I remember giving her to you almost six months ago,” He said and I nodded once again, “She seems very protective,” He commented and I looked to him with confusion, “I tried to take your jacket from her earlier and she nearly stomped on me to stop me.”
“Really?” I asked and he nodded, “She seems to act angrier towards men since she became pregnant.”
“I saw her try to nip the wife of the man we left our horses with.”
“Huh.”
“She seems to only act kindly when you are with her,” he said as I looked to him, “she must really love you.”
I sighed as I looked up to the dripping grey sky, “She is the best horse I have ever had. She is more like a dog than a horse.”
Aaron smiled as I looked quickly over to him and then back to the sky, “She never acted so kindly towards Prince Luther.” He said as we walked into the stable. I saw Sapphire being brushed by the wife of the man and I went over to her.
“May I do that?” I asked quietly and the woman looked to me with shock, but gave the brush to me. I kissed the tip of Sapphire’s nose and then started brushing the fur where her saddle would go. Suddenly another brush started on her other side and she snorted angrily and stomped her hooves. Aaron quickly backed away from her and I went around her back end to him, “Give me your hand,” I whispered and he put his right hand out to me. I held his wrist and led him to Sapphire’s head. I kissed the end of her nose and brushed her with my hand that did not hold Aaron’s wrist. I then brought Aaron’s hand to the end of her nose and let her sniff him, “It’s alright, good girl. He won’t hurt you or your baby,” I whispered and then gently moved Aaron’s hand down her nose. I brought his hand back to the top of her nose and then let go. He brushed her nose on his own and she did not act angry. I smiled to her as he moved away after a moment of brushing her and then went over to Sapphire. I hugged her neck and she placed her head on my back, “He smells like Glen, doesn’t he?” I asked her as I felt him watching me, “you’re such a sweet girl,” I whispered and then kissed the side of her neck before letting go. I looked to Aaron and smiled, “She won’t try to attack you now,” I whispered and then walked over to my bag that lay beside her saddle. I took out the blanket made for a horse that Rebecca had given me and went back to Sapphire. I took my jacket off of her and placed the large blanket on her, “There you go, Sapphire. Now the snow won’t make you cold.” I whispered, but looked outside of the stall as the three soldiers from before came over to the door. I slipped on my second coat as I looked over to Aaron.
“We should go,” Aaron told them and they all quickly went to their horses as Aaron went to his black stallion. I gently placed Sapphire’s saddle with my bags on either side over her blanket on her back and belted it into place. She still had on her bridal so I did not have to put that on. I got onto her back and led her out of the stall. We went out to where the three soldiers waited for us and then we started off with a wave to the man who owned the stable. We rode through the falling snow for hours until we reached the edge of Lidia, the capital of Alethia.

When we got into the city I saw men, women, children, and animals quickly move out of our way as we went down the main street. We reached the gates that went around the castle grounds in about 2o minutes and they were opened by recognition of Aaron. I saw the familiar fountain on the inside of the gates and two men sitting there. The much aged Prince Peter jumped up from the fountain as Prince Luther just smiled towards me. I quickly got off of Sapphire as Peter came towards me. He hugged me tightly near my breasts and I was surprised that he held me that high up. He used only be able to hug my waist, but that was now history.
“Miss Faith!” He yelled as he squeezed me tightly in his arms. I hugged him back and then smiled to him as he let go. I brushed the odd hair that always went out of place into its spot as he smiled back to me, “Only you do that, Miss Faith.” He said with a much deeper voice and I was slightly surprised.
“You have grown much in the past six months!” I said with a slight laugh, “If it had not been for your charming face I am not sure I would have recognized you!” He blushed as I laughed even more. I turned as Aaron took Sapphire’s reins and she snorted in anger. I kissed the end of her nose, “It is alright, Sapphire. He will be kind to you.” I assured her and she willingly left with Aaron as Prince Luther came over to his brother’s side.
“She looks different from the last time I saw her.” He commented and I nodded as I brushed some snow out of my hair.
“She was barely pregnant when you gave her to me. She is now much bigger.” I said as Aaron came back over to me.
“Well let’s go inside before we catch our death,” Luther said and then came over to me. He put his arm through mine and then led me to the dining room of the castle. I sat down next to Luther who sat at the head of the table as Peter sat next to me and Aaron sat across from me. Peter stared at me for a moment so I met his gaze.
“Could I see your earring I have heard so much about?” He asked and I nodded. I turned to the side and brushed my hair behind my ear so that my father’s earring was prominent. He traced the swirl in the metal and then smiled to me, “It is beautiful.” He whispered and I smiled. I put my left hand on his that went to his lap.
“I’m sorry, I just cannot get over how mature you seem.” I whispered, but was surprised when shock filled his face. He touched the ring on my forth finger.
“You have a new ring?” He asked and I nodded, “Are you getting married?” He asked and I quickly looked from his gaze as I pulled my hand from his and held it against my chest.
“No, darling Peter, I am not.”
“But brother told me you were going to marry Prince Dimitri,” He said and I looked to him again, “Are you not?”
I sighed, “I was, dear. We were to be married this coming summer at my home.”
“What happened?” Peter asked as his hand went to my shoulder and I quickly brushed away a tear as it ran down my cheek.
“Uh, he…” I started to say but felt like I was going to choke, “Dimitri was…murdered,” I whispered and Peter’s hand fell from my shoulder, “Three days ago.”
“Oh, Felicia, I’m so sorry,” Luther whispered as I looked to my wedding ring, “Is there anything we can do?”
I nodded slowly, “I would greatly appreciate it if your family would come to his funeral in three days.”
“We will,” Peter said with power in his voice as he looked to Luther, “Right brother?”
“Yes.” He whispered and I slowly stood.
“If you do not mind, I would like to change.” I whispered as I looked to Luther who nodded quickly and stood.
“I shall show you to your room,” He whispered and then came over to me. He put his arm through mine again and led me out of the room. We walked quietly down the hallway of the corridor and I felt the cold winter winds flowing down to us. We went down another hall and stopped at a large pair of black doors. I started to move towards the doors, but stopped when Luther did not let go of my arm. I looked to him curiously and in one swift movement he came around me and embraced me in his arms. I lay my head against his strong chest as I felt his body heat warming me, “I’m so terribly sorry, Felicia. This must be very hard on you.”
I listened to his heartbeat for a moment before speaking, “I don’t understand you.”
“What?”
“I held you captive, shot you, and yelled at you. How can you act so nicely towards me?” I asked as I pulled from his chest and looked him in the eyes, “You should hate me for what I did.”
He pulled my head back to his chest, “You also stood up for me against Sir Lucas and gave me back like you said. Sir Lucas was right when he said if someone had been in my position with my father that my father would have killed them. I would have killed them too, but you fed me, healed my wounds, and did as you said you would. You also acted so kindly to Peter even though you should have killed us all for what my family has done. But after all that, you told Peter why you had done everything and I realized you had no choice but to capture us. We injured your soldier and were a threat to you reclaiming what my father and King Darius had taken from your family and you stuck with it to protect your brother,” He started brushing my hair gently, “And you were right. If Peter had been in your situation he would have done the same thing for me and I would have done the same things as Henry did. How could I hate you when I understand I was the one at fault along with many others?”
“You wouldn’t have killed captives, Luther. You are too kind to do something like that.”
He pulled me closer to him, “I wish that was true, Felicia, but I am as cruel as King Darius was.”
I pulled myself closer to him, “You are not like Darius, Luther. Do not doubt yourself like this. Before this all happened you may have thought somewhat like Darius did, but you have changed for the better. You are nothing like him now,” I whispered and then lifted from him to smile, “Let’s talk inside. It is too cold out here.” I whispered and he nodded. I let go of him, but when he held onto my hand I did not resist him. I led him into the room to see my bags on the bed and he shut the door behind us.
“You should change. I will wait.” He offered and I nodded. I went over to my bag as he sat down at a chair near me.
“How has Peter been since I last saw him?” I asked as I looked through my bag for a long sleeve dress I had packed. I took it out and then looked to Luther. He sat with his legs crossed, his black hair in his face, and his chin resting in his hand.
“He has matured a lot and has become much smarter,” Luther smiled slightly, “And he could not stop writing to you in order to get you to come see us. He asked me every day if I had heard something about you or Parethia.”
I turned around so that my back was to Luther as I slipped off my two jackets, “I received all of his letters, but did not have time to reply while trying to grow Parethia back to what it used to be.” I slipped off my shoes and then slipped off of my shirt. I stood there in only a corset that covered my breasts and pair of riding pants.
“Where did you get that pair of stitches?” Luther asked and I looked down to my wound before looking to him.
“An archery soldier shot me the day I killed Darius and left me with a brutal scare. Henry thinks I shall have it for the rest of my days.” I replied and then unfolded my dress but slightly jumped when I felt Luther’s cold hand rest over my wound. I felt myself blush as I realized Luther was touching me as I stood there in almost nothing.
“I shall murder the soldier myself that gave you this wound,” He whispered into my ear as he leaned down to me. I felt him move behind me and then I felt his soft lips against my stitches, “He shall die at the end of my sword for this.” He whispered and then kissed my wound again.
“Luther…” I whispered as I blushed even more. He moved behind me again and then his arms went around me. He hugged me in his muscular embrace and then I felt him kiss the side of my neck. I shivered in his grasp and I heard him laugh lightly before kissing my neck again.
“You are so fragile and sensitive, Felicia,” He whispered in a breathless way, “I want to take all of your sorrow and keep you in my arms forever…I wish I could replace Dimitri in your heart.”
A knock sounded at the door and I froze, but Luther kept kissing my neck, “Yes?” I asked as I forced my voice to not shake.
“Miss Faith, are you alright? Are you going to come join us?” Peter asked through the door and I was relieved when Luther’s lips lifted from my neck.
“She is fine, Peter. She is still getting changed.” Luther called back as he let go of me. I quickly pulled my ridding pants off and slipped on my long, thick dress. I put on a pair of red shoes that matched the dress I wore.
“I’m coming out right now, Peter.” I called and then quickly went to the door. Luther followed me out of the room and we quickly went down to the dining room with Peter. After dinner I wrote Henry and Rebecca in order to fulfill my promises. Later that night I went into the library with Peter and Luther in order to listen to Peter read me a story he wanted to share with me. Luther led me to the back of the library as Peter had to leave us in order to go to sleep. He stopped at the last row of books and went to the middle of the shelf. He pushed me up against the bookshelf as his arms went around my waist and his lips went to my neck.
He repeatedly kissed my neck as I felt myself blush and I tried to pull him off of me a little bit, “Don’t resist me, Felicia, and I will mend the spot in your heart that has been torn by the loss of Dimitri,” He whispered into my ear and then slightly bit it. He moved his mouth to my lips and started kissing me as he moved his hands to my hips.
“Luther, someone will come in and see us.” I whispered in a breathless way as I felt myself letting go of my feelings to stop this.
“Then let us go to my bed,” He whispered and then kissed me once more before taking my hand in his and leading me out of the library. He quickly went down to a large pair of black doors and turned as General Aaron appeared at the end of the corridor, “General Aaron.” Luther called in a quiet way and Aaron quickly came over to us. He looked to me in a confused way before bowing towards Luther.
“How may I assist you, Prince Luther?” He asked and looked towards Luther for an answer.
“Please make sure no one bothers me for the rest of the night.” Luther said as he smiled towards me and I had to stop myself from shaking in fear of repeating what I had done with Eliot.
“Yes Sir.” Aaron said and watched me as Luther pulled me into his room. Luther pushed me up against the inside part of his door and started pulling down on the top of my dress as he kissed my neck.
“Luther, the general will hear.” I whispered in a heavy breath.
“Then let him hear.” He whispered into my ear and then started kissing my lips again as he pulled on my dress more.
Luther had his way with me as I forced myself not to cry. When he finally fell asleep at my side I slipped out of his grasp and put my dress back on. I put on my shoes and then slipped out of the room. Luckily Aaron was not sitting outside of the door like I imagined he was all night. I slowly made my way to the front of the castle and got to the fountain that was turned off so that the water would not freeze. It had stopped snowing sometime in the 4 hours I had been stuck in Luther’s room so I brushed off an area of snow from the side of the fountain and sat down. The stone was cold on my legs, but I could not focus on the pain. My head was spinning with the grief of my actions. I slowly stood and walked through a corridor on the opposite side of the fountain from where Luther slept. I went into the stable that was in the left corner of the castle grounds and opened the large wooden door. I slipped in and then shut the door behind me. Most of the war horses did not stir from the small noise I made but I saw Sapphire stick her head out of her stall and snort towards me. I slowly made my way to her and opened her stall door. She moved from the door as I came in and then she came to my side as I shut the door behind me. She brushed her head against mine as I lifted off of her face to kiss her nose. I then hugged her neck and just listened to her slow breathing. She placed her head on my back like she always did and I slowly started crying, “I am weak, Sapphire,” I whispered in a sniffle and she pulled me closer to her with her head. She knew I was crying, but would never understand why, “Dimitri took my strength with him. When he died so did my humanity,” I pulled away from Sapphire and sat down in a pile of hay in the left front corner of her stall. She kneeled down and sat like a large dog beside me. Unlike usual I let her lay her head in my lap instead of me laying on her. I slowly brushed her mane as I kept crying, “The only princes I have yet to sleep with are Glen and Henry,” I said with slight humor in my voice, “And for the way I have acted I might as well sleep with my own brother to destroy all honor I should be leaving to Dimitri,” I brushed her neck and she calmed slightly, “I am a horrible person, Sapphire. I am in love with another man than Dimitri, yet I have slept with two different men.” I sighed and then just brushed Sapphire for another hour and did not stop until the door to the stable opened and a maid came inside. As she went into another stall I quickly slipped out of the stable so that she could not see me in such shambles. I quickly went to my room and took a bath. I listened to others waking up throughout the castle as I soaked in the water. When I got out half an hour later I slipped into another long sleeve dress I had brought that was purple. I went to the dining room to find Peter sitting a seat down from Luther who sat at the head of the table and Aaron sitting to his other side. I gracefully went to the open seat between the two princes and sat down. Peter hugged my arm and I kissed the crown of his head.
“Good morning, Miss Faith.” He whispered sweetly.
“Good morning, Peter,” I said and then smiled to Luther who smiled to me, “Good morning, Luther,” I finally looked to Aaron, “Good morning, General Aaron.”
“Good morning,” Aaron replied as he did not look to me, “My cousin just sent word that he shall be here later today with Sir Lucas to bring you back to Parethia.”
“You’re leaving? Already?” Peter asked with sadness and I nodded slowly towards him.
“I must go back to make preparations for the funeral.”
“Well should we go with you? We can meet father there tomorrow.” Peter offered, but I shook my head.
“It shall be very boring for you if you come today with me,” I replied, “I will be just giving orders and signing papers.”
“Papers?”
I nodded, “I am debating whether I shall rule on my own without a husband and that will take paperwork if Henry agrees to it.”
“You are not going to marry?”
I shook my head, “My father believed that you only marry once and you should love that one person for the rest of your days.”
“But you never married.” Peter argued and I nodded.
“But I feel as if I have,” I whispered, “I don’t want to make my people deal with another change. They trusted Dimitri after the war and I believe they could not deal with me marrying another.”
“What about Sir Lucas?” Peter asked, “You seemed very fond of him while he was here with you and he helped you in the war.”
I shook my head, “He shall become the army general in Algoria once Glen goes back to being the prince there,” I looked to my hands, “And besides, I don’t believe I ever loved Lucas like I loved Dimitri.”
“But ruling a whole country by yourself would be difficult.” Luther argued and I nodded, but did not look to him.
“You should marry brother!” Peter exclaimed suddenly, “He could help you and then I could see you all the time! It is perfect!”
I looked away from Peter, “Marrying your brother would complicate many things, Peter.”
“But you told daddy that you needed some type of connection to Alethia in order to feel better with our treaty.”
“Yes, but marriage is not what I had in mind. Regardless, your brother will soon become king and he could not be king of both Alethia and Parethia.”
“Then you should marry General Aaron!”
I smiled towards Peter, “As a royal family member I am to marry a Prince or widowed king.”
“Then you can marry me!”
Luther laughed to that, “Peter that could never happen! Felicia is old enough to be your mother so you cannot marry her!”
“Drat.” Peter said as he slumped in his chair. I kindly kissed Peter’s cheek and he blushed.
“Do not fret over this, Peter.” I said with a smile and he let out a sigh, but nodded towards me a few moments later.

I rode Sapphire through the snow as the cloud covered sun started to set. Suddenly I felt her saddle moving and I quickly stopped her. Glen and Lucas stopped also, “Why have you stopped, Felicia?” Lucas asked as he got off of his blonde horse and came over to me as I bent down to look at Sapphire’s stomach, “What are you doing?” He added as he stopped at my side. I looked up briefly to Glen who had yet to talk to me, but then looked back to my horse.
“Sapphire’s saddle started sliding around,” I replied and then noticed the belt that held on her saddle had slid up towards her front legs. I quickly undid the belt and slipped off her saddle and it landed in the snow. I walked around Lucas and went to Sapphire’s face, “You okay girl?” I asked as I kissed her nose and then brushed it. She snorted in response and I went back to the saddle that lay in the snow, “I will have to ride without a saddle.”
“What?” Lucas asked as he picked up the saddle.
“Her stomach is making it so that the saddle will not stay on. If I tie it tighter to her to keep it in place it may hurt her or her baby,” I said and Lucas brought the saddle back over to his horse.
“I will carry it. If she is having trouble then she does not need this much weight on her.” He said and I nodded. I got back on Sapphire and we started off again as I sat on her blanket that was on her back. When there was no sun left to keep us warm it seemed to get much colder. The wind kicked up and we started moving slower. We did not reach Parethia until we were all tired and the sun was slowly rising in the east. We got to the castle as it started to snow again. Henry was waiting outside when we got to the gate and it opened. I got off of Sapphire and went over to him. I hugged him tightly and he hugged me back.
“Let us go inside. You must be freezing, dear sister,” He said and then took my hand in his. He led me to the dining room where a maid lit a fire in the fireplace to the right of us. I sat down at the head of the table as usual, Henry sat to my right, Lucas sat next to Henry, and Glen sat to my left. I sighed as I slumped into my chair and relaxed, “Felicia,” Henry said and I looked to him, “When I hugged you earlier I noticed you are much thinner than you should be. Have you been eating since you left?”
I looked to him and then rested the side of my face in my hand as I rested my elbow on my right armrest, “I have not had much of an appetite lately.” I replied quietly.
“Well I shall have a maid bring you some food.”
I shook my head, “I am not feeling well. I ate something this morning at King Argos’s home and it did not settle well with me.”
“Do you want to lie down? If you are sick you should be sleeping.” He said but I sighed and he looked sad for me.
“I shall be fine, brother. Do not worry so much.”
He frowned towards me, “How can I not be worried about you, Felicia? You are barely speaking, sighing all the time and seem to be somewhere else every time you do speak.”
“I just have a lot to think about, brother.”
“Such as?”
I looked to Henry and then looked to the table, “I am debating if I will marry.”
“Well of course you will marry, Felicia, you must marry.”
I looked to him, “I built this whole country back up from the ashes, brother. I think I can rule by myself.”
“But you will be taking on difficulties that are too much for one person to handle, Felicia. You need someone to rule with you.”
I looked away from everyone in the room and to the floor, “Dimitri was to rule at my side, Henry. Dimitri was supposed to take my difficulties off of my shoulders. He was supposed to be the father of my children. He was to be the king,” I held back tears; “I do not want to replace him.”
“Felicia…”
“Please, brother. I have only thought of Dimitri for days straight! I need to think of my people right now and not go back to mourning him! I owe that much to them!”
Henry put his hand over mine that still lay in my lap, “Your people want only what will help you, sister.”
I looked away from our hands, “I know,” I felt a tear escape me, but I ignored it, “but I miss him more than I want to protect my people. What ruler puts a death over their own people? I have failed my people and my country…” I was stopped from adding on when the doors to the room were thrown open. A soldier quickly came to my side and bowed with his right fist over his heart.
“Queen Felicia, Sapphire has attacked a maid and she shall not calm down. I must get your approval to sedate her.” He said and I quickly stood with anger.
“You shall do no such thing!” I ordered and then quickly went to the doors of the room, “Show me to her,” I added and the soldier quickly ran past me. He led Henry, Lucas, Glen, and I outside to the stables. I heard neighing and snorting coming from a frantic horse as I went inside. I saw three maids standing outside of her stall with terrified expressions as another maid was being treated by a nurse from the infirmary. I quickly went over to Sapphire’s stall and threw open her door. She bucked back and forth and made a loud noise, “Sapphire!” I yelled, but she did not stop her kicking as she faced away from me. Suddenly I felt myself hit the ground and quickly sat up. I was leaning against the door of the stall across from Sapphire and felt blood coming from my shoulder. I looked down to see a rip in my ridding shirt as the three maids, the soldier, the nurse, the injured maid, Henry, Glen, and Lucas ran to me.
“Queen Felicia!” The soldier yelled as he was the first to reach me. I then noticed that there was blood in my mouth and turned my head to the side. I spit out blood, but quickly stood afterwards. The soldier tried to pull me back so that I would sit down.
“Let go of me!” I ordered and he immediately let go. I quickly went back over to Sapphire’s stall and saw she was now lying on her side on the ground. She was breathing heavily as she neighed and snorted like she had gone mad. I quickly turned to the maids who watched me, “She is in labor!” I yelled and they stared at me with shock, “Fetch towels and another nurse!” I ordered and then quickly came back to Sapphire. I kneeled at her side and brushed her neck. I stood and went to the other end of her. She was extremely dilated and she started breathing more heavily. I saw the nose of her baby slowly coming out as she let out a pain filled neigh and I quickly went back to her head. I set her head in my lap and gently brushed her neck more, “It’s alright girl. The pain shall be over soon,” I whispered in a soothing voice my mother used to use on me when I was crying. She let out a few more painful neighs before the maids came back with a nurse and towels. The nurse went down to the other end of Sapphire as I heard a cry come from Sapphire’s child. Sapphire let out a painful neigh again as she shook slightly and I quickly hugged her head as I started to cry, “You’re doing great, Sapphire. Hold on,” I begged as she started breathing heavily again. Her child neighed for the first time and I let out a small wail of happiness. I pulled Sapphire’s fur to my face as I cried more. I could hear the nurse and the maids moving around.
“One more push and she shall be out!” The nurse exclaimed towards me and I lifted my head so that I could look Sapphire in the eyes. Her deep brown eyes filled with pain looked back to me.
“You can do it girl!” I assured her and a moment later her whole body relaxed in my arms and the nurse looked to me as I looked to the tiny horse that now lay at the end of Sapphire.
“She has done it.” The nurse whispered, but I quickly stood.
“You must get out of here. When Sapphire gains enough strength she will hurt you if you are near her child,” I whispered and the four women quickly left the stall and waited outside the door. They watched me just like the soldier, the injured maid, the other nurse, Henry, Glen, and Lucas did. I went over to the sleeping foal and used a towel the nurse had left to clean her off. I then slowly picked her up so that she would not wake up and placed her next to Sapphire so that she would not have to get up and move over to her child. I placed three clean blankets over the foal so that she would not freeze and then looked up to the soldier. I brushed tears off of my face, “Please start a fire. We must keep this foal warm or she will die.” I whispered and the soldier quickly left. I watched as Sapphire looked over to me and then to her child, “Congratulations, girl.” I whispered as I leaned against the opposite side of her stall that she lay with her foal.
“Felicia, let the nurse look at your injuries.” Henry pleaded and I slowly nodded. I noticed Sapphire move slightly towards me as I left the stall so I sat down in the doorway. She calmed down because she could see me and knew I was still there for her.
“Sapphire will try to get up if I leave her stall. I have to stay here for a moment longer,” I said and no one argued. The nurse put ointment over the cut I felt on my lip and then she moved my arm around. I let out a gasp and hunched over as she moved my shoulder back. Sapphire started to get up to attack the woman that was hurting me, but I quickly looked to her, “It’s alright, Sapphire. I am alright.” I assured her and she calmed down again.
The nurse looked up to the four maids and the other nurse that now kneeled at my side that was outside of the stall as the three men stood behind them, “She has dislocated her shoulder slightly,” She said and then looked intensely at the other nurse, “get a sling and some gauze ready, quickly,” The woman insisted and the other maid quickly left, “My queen, we need to get you inside and treat your wounds.” She whispered and I slowly nodded. I got up and went over to Sapphire. I kneeled at her side and brushed her mane.
“I’ll be back later, girl. You two rest.” I whispered and then left the stall. I shut the door and Sapphire did not fight me.
“Please follow me.” The maid said and I slowly walked behind her while holding onto my aching shoulder. She brought me to the infirmary and insisted I needed to take off my shirt so that she could heal me. I nodded and then slowly took off my riding shirt to show myself in only my corset and pants. I had flashbacks of yesterday with Luther and shook, but forced myself to stop when Henry brought a blanket over to me.
“Thank you.” I whispered and then looked back to the nurse as she came into the room with a large cloth. She wrapped it around my neck so that it could hold up my arm.
“This shall make it so you cannot harm it any more than it is. It will hold it in place for you,” The nurse explained and I nodded. She wrapped my shoulder with a large bandage to stop the bleeding and then helped me slip my shirt back on, “Someone will need to help you get dressed, my queen. It will be difficult for you to do much of anything for a few days, but you will soon get used to this.”
“Alright.”
“I shall help you,” Henry offered and I nodded towards him. He helped me stand and then we walked to my room. I slipped off my shirt and pants with the help of Henry and then he helped me take off the sling so that I could put on the dress I had picked out. Henry helped me put the sling back on over the brown dress and then we left my room. He walked next to me until we reached the throne room and we sat in our thrones. I slumped in my chair and Henry looked to me, “Are you in pain?” He asked with full-hearted concern.
I shook my head, “No, sore is more a correct word for my state, but that is not why I slouched.”
“Then what is the reason?”
“I just cannot believe how brave Sapphire was through the delivery. She did much better than I thought she could.”
He smiled slightly, “She injured you, Felicia. I would not call that handling it well.”
“She did not know what was happening, Henry. She was just confused and became angry. She would never hurt me on purpose.”
“Yes, she does seem very fond and protective of you.”
I nodded, “General Aaron told me she never acted so nicely towards Luther. She must have a thing against men.”
“You two are kindred spirits.” He said with a smile and I frowned towards him.
“Pardon?”
“She was fond of Dimitri and so are you. And other than Dimitri you two do not seem to like any other man.”
I smiled towards him, “I do like other men, brother. I just do not love them like I did Dimitri.”
His hand went on my leg, “Have I told you how terribly sorry I am for this?”
“Yes.”
“Well I say it again. I am sorry for this loss.”
“I am beyond words to express how much I am sorry.” I whispered and he nodded sadly towards me.
“So what shall you name her?”
“Name who?”
Henry smiled towards me, “Sapphire’s daughter. What shall you name her?”
I thought for a moment and then turned back to him, “She shall be named Ruby.”
“Ruby?”
“Sapphire is a type of our countries’ natural stones and another is Ruby. I want their names to be alike.”
Henry looked as if he saw something in front of us I never could see, no matter how hard I tried, “Sapphire and Ruby,” He whispered, “I like that. They definitely deserve fire colored stones by the attitude I am sure Sapphire shall pass onto her child.” I laughed at that and so did Henry. For a moment I felt as if Dimitri and our family had never died. It felt like the way our lives were supposed to end up. Both of us enjoying each other’s company and laughing together. It was a picture perfect moment brought to us by the two most perfect horses ever to exist in this era. Henry and I went and ate dinner a few minutes later and afterwards I led him to his room. I hugged him goodbye and then I went down to the stables. I saw Ruby was still asleep, so I went and lay down next to Sapphire. I ended up falling asleep next to her and did not wake up till late in the morning. I then went and changed into new clothes and came back out to watch my two horses. I sat next to Ruby and brushed her coarse hair as she breathed heavily. I had watched her, just minutes before, standing and walking for the first time. It had taken her almost 20 minutes to actually get up and then she ran and fell repeatedly for almost an hour. She was finally tired, which gave me a chance to finally brush her. I pulled a long piece of hay out of her coat and looked to her with a smile. She had Sapphire’s deep brown eyes and was the same color gray, but she had black spots on her back end that made her look like a baby deer and seem even more irresistible. I giggled as she got back up, “Ruby, come back here!” I called as she stumbled out of the stall. I laughed as she turned around to me and Sapphire, gave us both a defiant look, and then started trying to run again. I heard her crash into something and she snorted at the object. Suddenly she let out a terrifying squeal like she had when she saw another horse for the first time 15 minutes before and I quickly stood as Sapphire followed me. I ran ahead of her, but stopped when I saw Ruby engulfing snow while squealing with excitement. She would bury her face into a pile of snow, take a whole mouthful, look up to me, swallow, squeal with joy, and then run to another pile to start the cycle over again. I laughed hard as I leaned against Sapphire while she watched over her daughter running, “She sure is energetic,” I commented to Sapphire who turned to me and snorted before looking back to Ruby who slipped on a patch of ice and let out a yelp as she fell. I went over to her and helped her up. She licked some snow off of my check and I let out a small shriek as he slobber reached my skin. I kissed the end of her nose and she showed me her teeth, which she had become amused by earlier this morning, “You are a riot, Ruby!” I mocked as I watched her run off in the direction of the nearest snow pile. Sapphire came to my side and Ruby let out a neigh and then ran to another snow pile. I watched over her with a light heart, but was shocked when she let out a shriek like before but ran to me. She hid behind my legs and Sapphire’s right leg that was next to my legs so that she could look between her mother’s legs, but still hide. I looked up as Aaron came around the side of the stable and smiled towards the three of us. He was in all black just as I was in a long sleeve black dress.
“So Sapphire finally had her foal?” He asked as he walked closer to me and Ruby let of a neigh, but hid her face afterward.
I nodded, “Yes, this is Ruby.”
“Was she born on your way back here?” He asked as he stood only a few inches from me.
I shook my head, “No, she was born yesterday after we got back.”
He placed his hand gently on my bruised lip as he looked to the sling on my arm, “When did you get these? Were you attacked?”
I shook my head again, “Sapphire accidentally gave them to me when she was spooked before she gave birth.”
“How did she give you them?”
“She bucked while I was behind her and hit me,” I replied, “Did you just arrive with the royal family?”
He nodded and then gently kissed my bruised lip. I blushed as he sighed, “I’m sorry; I have tried to hold back from attacking you like I did in that forest at the beginning of this year, but after knowing you slept with Prince Luther I became infuriated and wanted you for myself. And to now see you so terribly injured on the day of this sad funeral I could not hold back.”
I leaned onto Aaron and kissed him gently as I tried not to hurt my lip anymore than it was, “I knew you were holding back for my sake and I felt horrible that you saw that. I knew it hurt you and have wanted to apologize for it.”
He wrapped his arms around me, but held me lighter than I knew he wanted to in order to not injure my arm, “Please, Felicia,” He whispered into my ear, “I know we should not have anything to do with each other, but I still love you. After all of this time apart and after trying to find someone else, I still want to take you to my bed. Please, let me hold you for just a little while. Maybe then I can get over this obsessive heart I have for you.” I lay my head on his shoulder in response and he seemed to relax. I closed my eyes and listened to his heartbeat and breathing. We did not move until I heard someone walking nearby and then I let go right before Henry came around the corner of the barn. He came over and smiled towards Aaron as he took my hand in his that was not in a sling.
“Good morning, General Aaron. It is good that you could make it.” Henry said as Aaron bowed to him.
“I am terribly sorry for your sister and Parethia’s loss.” He whispered, but then had to leave when an Alethian soldier called him away. I turned Henry to see Ruby and he smiled towards the foal.
“Well hello, Ruby. We still have yet to meet formally,” He said as I let go of his hand and he brushed her nose. She neighed up to him as he moved from her and brushed Sapphire’s nose, “You did very well yesterday, Sapphire.” He whispered and Sapphire’s ears moved at the sound of her name.
“Brother, could you help me bring them inside?” I asked and he nodded, “Come on Sapphire! Come on Ruby!” I called and then walked towards the stables with Henry at my side. We easily got them into their stall and then made our way to the large crowd forming in the back courtyard of the castle. I saw Eliot, Rebecca, their father, Peter, Luther, Aaron, Vladimir, King Argos, Glen, Lucas, and almost all of Parethia standing around his body. I watched as Rebecca put a torch upon Dimitri’s body and watched as his body burned. I started crying as we reached Rebecca and she held me as we both cried. Once I had cried until I could not cry any more I watched as the man I loved burned in front of me, his family, and all that had come to love or respect him.

I sat outside on a chair that I had found in the stables as I wrapped myself in a blanket from my parents bedroom that was now considered mine and watched Sapphire and Ruby run around in the now melting snow. I felt as if my stomach was destroying itself by how much it was hurting, but I ignored it. I had too much to think about before I thought about how much pain I was in. My late bleeding was driving me mad with worry as my decision for marriage was being harped on more and more. The terror of thought that I could be terribly sick and could leave no man at the throne other than Henry made me feel like I was going to hurl, which I had done repeatedly in the past two days. I slowly stood as my now almost healed shoulder ached and I pulled my blanket back around it, “Come on, time to go inside you two.” I whispered and the two horses quickly trotted to my sides. I led them back to their stall and let them in. I shut the door after I gave them both a kiss on the nose and then went inside the castle. I slowly walked back to my room to find Glen sitting in front of my door. He quickly stood when I came towards him, “Glen, what are you doing here?” I asked and he smiled towards me.
“I wanted to be the first to wish you a happy 19th birthday,” He said and then hugged me, “Happy birthday, dear Felicia.”
“Thank you,” I said as he let go, “but how did you know it was my birthday?”
He smiled again, “Henry told me last night while you were out with Sapphire and Ruby. He said he wanted to be with you all day on your birthday, but knew he had to go to Lithia today to meet with his fiancé,” He looked at me with confusion, “but why did you not want him to tell anyone?”
I looked away from Glen, “I have not celebrated my birthday since my parents and sister died.”
“Really?”
I nodded, “Henry is probably the only person left in this world that knows of my birthday other than the king of Radia,” He nodded and then I moved over to the door, “I must change, but you can come inside,” I offered and then opened the door. He followed me inside and sat on my bed as I went into my closet. I put on a dress and came back out. Glen looked at me in awe, “Do you think this suits me? Henry gave it to me as a present last night.” I explained as I held my hands behind myself. The dress was very light weight and perfect for the warm spring air that had just taken over to the area. It was a light blue silk that flowed to the ground. It had pearls around the top where the dress went into the two thin straps and had a dark purple piece of silk that went around my hips to make an hourglass shape out of my body.
“You look radiant, Felicia.”
“Henry said it reminded him of the sea and since our father would always take us to the sea for my birthday he thought it was suitable for the occasion.” I replied and he gave me a sad look.
“You miss your family a lot, don’t you?” He asked and I looked away from him.
“I miss them every moment of every day,” I whispered and then went back into the closet, “Don’t you miss your mom?”
“Well she died when I was very young so I never really knew her. She actually died almost exactly one year before your family died.”
I came out of the closet as I strapped on two pairs of shoes that were the same color purple as the silk around my waist, “Really? Well then you should have known her fairly well if she died when you were…” I started to say, but did not know how old Glen was, “Glen, how old are you? I do not even remember. I know you told me once when we were children, but it has slipped my mind.”
“One year and nine months older than you.”
“Then she died when you were almost nine, so you should have known her fairly well.”
He shook his head, “We did not have much money so I worked at the castle all the time in order to get money and when I was home, she was working so I did not see her much.”
I stopped what I was doing, “Here I am complaining about my life when yours is terrible, Glen. I am sorry.”
He shook his head again and smiled towards me, “There is no way my life could ever be worse than what you went through at such a young age, Felicia.”
I looked away from Glen and looked in my mirror, “Glen, did you ever meet my sister Sylvia?”
He shook his head, “I never did.”
I sighed, “Henry thinks I am her spitting image.”
“Then she must have been a beautiful, flawless, goddess of a girl,” He said as he smiled to me through my mirror and I quickly fixed my dress as I looked away from him and blushed strongly, “Felicia…” Glen started to say when a maid threw open the door. She ran over to me and her face was flushed. I then realized it was the injured soldier that I had healed before we took back Parethia so long ago. I turned to her and she quickly bowed with her right fist over her heart and then shot back up as she started jumping up and down.
“Queen Felicia!” She squealed and I smiled as she finally stopped jumping.
“What is it Miss Lydia?” I asked and she squealed again.
“Prince Luther is on his way here!”
“Was I expecting him?” I asked as I looked to Glen, but looked back to the maid as she took my hands in hers.
“No! He’s coming as a surprise!”
“A surprise?”
She squealed again, “He’s coming to propose to you!” She yelled and I stopped moving. She started jumping again.
“W-what?” I asked in shock.
“Prince Luther is on his way to propose to you!” She squealed again and I felt light headed.
“Is General Aaron with him?” I asked in a whisper and she looked to me with confusion.
“I do not see how that matters, but I am not sure.” She replied and I felt sick. What if Luther was going to propose to me in front of Aaron while I had slept with Aaron two days after I slept with Luther?
“I need to lie down.” I whispered and quickly made my way to my bed and sat down next to Glen. I rested my head on my hands as I closed my eyes. I felt as if the room was spinning.
“Are you alright, my queen? You look pale.”
“Could you please call the doctor?” I asked as I felt myself becoming sick, “I think I am going to be sick again.” I whispered and within moments of her kneeling at my side I jumped up and sprinted to the bathroom. I threw up in the bathtub, but was shocked when I felt my hair being lifted from my face. I ignored it as I threw up two more times before the sickening feeling finally stopped. I then sat down on my bathroom floor as I leaned against the wall.
“The maid has gone to get the doctor.” Glen whispered and I opened my eyes. I took the wet towel he was handing me and cleaned off my face. When I was done Glen picked me up and brought me to my bed. He lay me down as the male doctor who had just come to stay at the castle days before came in. He came to my side and checked me for other signs of illness.
“That is the third time you have thrown up in the past 24 hours, my queen. You need to rest.”
I looked to Glen, “Could you please go check on my horses?” I asked and he quickly left with the maid at his heels. The doctor stared at me and finally I looked back to him.
“Last week, you said you were running late on your bleeding. Has that changed?” He asked and I shook my head. He looked away from me and sighed.
“Doctor, what could be wrong with me?” I asked and he looked back to me with sadness on his face.
“Did you have sex with Dimitri anytime in the week he died?” The doctor asked and I slowly nodded, “Being sick continuously, skipping a bleeding, and having a fever; the only thing your symptoms are pointing to is morning sickness from pregnancy, my queen.”
I shot up off of my bed, “What!”
“I will listen to your stomach to make sure, but I believe that is what is wrong with you,” He whispered and then put a piece of metal to my stomach. He was quiet for a moment and then took the thing off of my stomach and sighed, “Unless you have gained another heartbeat you are pregnant, my queen.”
“Alright. Thank you.” I whispered and the doctor left. I sat there in my bed and watched my ceiling. Who is the father of my child? Dimitri? Eliot? Luther? Aaron? It could be anyone and by how long it took for it to show it is least likely to be Dimitri’s child. I started crying and kept crying until there was a knock at my door, “Yes?” I asked with a sniffle.
“It is me, Felicia.” Glen whispered through the door and I quickly lay on my side and hugged a pillow to my chest.
“I’m sorry, Glen, but I do not want to talk right now.” I whispered and then he walked away. I remembered the last time my father had taken me to the sea for my 8th birthday, but it was interrupted by a knock at the door.
“Yes?”
“My queen, Prince Luther is almost here.” Lydia whispered and I slowly got up. I felt worse than I had since I had started getting morning sickness, but I left my room to see Glen and Lydia standing outside of the door. I slowly walked down to the front gates of the castle to see General Aaron, Peter, Luther, and two other guards. I smiled towards them and Peter quickly came to me. He hugged me tightly and I hugged him back.
“Happy birthday, Miss Faith!” He exclaimed as he squeezed me even tighter. I smiled towards him as I realized his father probably heard from the king of Radia that today was my birthday and told them. I kissed Peter on the head.
“Thank you, Peter.” I whispered, but when Peter looked to my face he seemed concerned.
“Are you feeling alright, Miss Faith? You look pale.” He said and I smiled slightly towards him.
“I am just sick.” I whispered, but was surprised when the doctor came out of the castle and walked over to me.
“My queen, you should not be outside. Your fever will go up if you stay out here too long. You should lie down.” The doctor said and Peter looked to me in confusion.
“The doctor said that I need to go inside and lie down or my fever will go up,” I explained and Peter looked at me sadly, “Well after such a long journey I bet you are hungry!” I said with a smile, “Why don’t you let Glen show you and General Aaron to the dining room? Your brother and I have something to discuss so we will meet you there momentarily.” I said as I looked up to Luther and he came over to me.
“Yes, go along with Aaron, Peter. We will meet you there soon,” Luther said as he took my hands in his. I led him into the castle and up to my room. I shut the door behind him and he led me over to my bed, “You should sit down, Felicia. If you are sick you should not be moving so much,” He said and I nodded. I sat down on my bed and he smiled towards me, “I am sure one of your maids has told you of why I have come so suddenly.”
“Yes.”
He smiled and then bent down on the ground in front of my bed, “Felicia, will you marry me?” He asked and I stared at him as he held out a ring to me.
I looked away from him, “I was going to say yes to you, Luther, but I cannot anymore.”
“Why?” He asked me and I started crying again. He quickly sat back at my side and hugged me. I cried into his shirt.
“I’m pregnant, Luther,” I whispered and he pulled me from his shoulder in shock, “And I do not know who the father is.”
“Do you think it is Dimitri’s?” He asked, but when I looked away from him he stood, “Who else do you think it is?”
I looked to my legs, “It may be yours, Dimitri’s…” I started crying, “Or Aarons.” I whispered, knowing I could not tell Luther about Eliot yet, and before I knew anything Luther had stormed out of the room. For a moment I sat there, thinking her was going to leave, but then realized what he was going to do. I sprinted after him and got to the dining room as he started over to Aaron. He picked Aaron up by his shirt and was about to hit him, “Luther! Don’t!” I yelled as I ran over. I grabbed his fist and pulled it back as he tried to punch Aaron in the face, “Please, Luther!” I cried as tears started down my cheeks.
“He deserves to die!”
“Brother! Stop it! You’re scaring Miss Faith!” Peter yelled and Luther let go of Aaron as I let go of him.
“You slept with Felicia and now she may be pregnant with your child!” Luther yelled to Aaron as I started crying into my hands, “You did that when you knew you will be hung if that child is yours! My father will not allow you to get away with that!”
Suddenly Glen stood between Luther and Aaron, “Luther! You have upset Felicia enough! Stop this or leave!” He yelled and Luther stormed to the door of the room.
“You better pray that isn’t your child or my father will kill you!” He hissed as he left. I quickly ran out of the room and went out to the stables. I went to Sapphire’s stable and quickly went inside. Sapphire and Ruby rushed over to me as I sat down inside of the stall door and cried. They both lay near me as I cried more and more. Unlike so many times before I seemed to never run out of tears and cried for what seemed like eternity. I did not stop until I heard the door to the stable open and I tried to be quiet in hopes of the person not being able to find me, but that was of no use. I was sniffling and could not stop my tears so quickly. Glen came into the stall and closed the door behind him. He sat down next to me as the two horses moved away. He hugged me tightly and I started crying again.
“Is that why you’re so sick?” He whispered and I nodded, “I’m sorry. I know you did not want this.”
I pulled myself closer to him, “I want this child to be yours. I don’t want it to be Luther’s or Aaron’s or Eliot’s.”
He was quiet for a moment, “What?”
I cried even more, “I know you do not feel the same way for me, but I think I love you, Glen,” I whispered, “I want this child to be yours. I don’t want to hold someone else’s child in me.” Glen pulled my head up to his and kissed me tenderly. He pulled my body into his as he kissed me over and over again. When he finally moved his lips from mine we were both breathing hard.
“I have been in love with you since we were children, Felicia, but I ignored my feelings because you were in love with Dimitri and then you slept with Eliot.”
I looked away from him, “I think somewhere in the back of my mind I always knew I loved someone other than Dimitri and once he was gone I realized it was you.” I whispered and he kissed me again. He did not stop kissing me until we were both out of breath.
“I love you more than anything else, Felicia. But are you sure you love me?” He asked in a sad way.
“Yes,” I whispered and then kissed him. He pulled me into him once more and then he stood, “Glen?” I asked and he looked to me.
“I am going to go get rid of those two before I kill them both.” He whispered and then left me with my horses. I looked over to Ruby and she quickly came over to me. Sapphire joined us and both horses lay with their head on my legs. I brushed both of them as I thought of how happy I was. I then realized I should be with Glen while he does this for me so I hopped up, kissed both horses goodbye, and left the stable. Glen was standing next to his cousin and they both looked angry. I started over towards them, but froze when I heard a slight ringing in my ear. It was the ringing of a vibrating bow string after letting go of an arrow. Before I could think I started sprinting and shoved Glen to the ground. The arrow pierced my just healed shoulder and I gasped. I could not stop myself from letting out a scream of agony from how painful this was, but it did not stop me. I got up and looked to the soldiers that had been around the area and were now running towards me.
“Get everyone inside! Half of you come with me!” I ordered, “Someone make sure Henry does not leave Lithia and stays inside!” I yelled and then grabbed the bow and arrow Aaron had on him.
“Felicia!” He yelled as he grabbed my arm to try to stop me, “You need to get medical attention!”
I pulled from him, “Both of you get inside!” I ordered and then sprinted into the woods behind the castle in the direction I had heard the ringing coming from.

I sat in the infirmary and grabbed onto the nurse that was holding onto my shoulder. The doctor yanked the arrow out of my shoulder and I let out a quiet wail of pain as I doubled over. I could not stop my tears or my shaking. The doctor pulled me back up before he started wrapping my shoulder and then put the sling I had just stopped using back on. He looked at me with sorrow, “You need to go rest, my queen. After all of this and you being sick, you could easily faint any moment.”
“I cannot just sit around! Henry is out there without me and he may be being hunted just like Glen and Aaron were as we speak! I have to get to him!” I yelled and then looked over to Glen as he translated for Luther, Aaron, and Peter, “People near my heart, near the heart of Parethia’s queen, are being hunted! What if that was the same person who killed Dimitri? What if he was killed just because he was going to be my husband! Then who is to say Luther, Aaron, Peter, Glen, Lucas, Henry, and the Radian royal family are not next!”
“My queen…”
“That was not a request, doctor, that is an order!” I hissed and he nodded before leaving us with the nurse running behind him. I got up and Peter ran over to me. He hugged me tightly and I held him with one arm. I squeezed him to me as much as I could as I held back more tears.
“You’re shaking, Miss Faith.” He whispered as I heard him start to cry for me and I could not hold myself back.
I sniffled as tears started down my face, “I am just terrified I may lose you,” I whispered and he squeezed me as he cried more, “I need to leave, Peter.”
“Don’t go, Miss Faith! That man will kill you too!”
I forced myself not to cry anymore as I let go of Peter and knelt down in front of him. I brushed his hair back into place like I always did, “Whoever this is that has tried to attack Glen and Aaron is not after me, Peter. I have stayed outside by myself countless times and I was standing out right where they were. If this man wanted to attack me he would have shot that arrow at me.”
“But…”
I slightly smiled to Peter, “You would go get Luther if he was in danger, would you not?” I asked and he slowly nodded, “Henry is my brother just as Luther is yours. I must go get him.” He slowly nodded in understanding and then moved from me. I turned to a maid that watched me with tears in her eyes, “I cannot ride Sapphire since she is still feeding Ruby, so please prepare Dimitri’s horse for my ride.” I asked and the woman quickly ran off. I slowly walked over to my room and heard Glen following me after telling his cousin to stay and guard the two princes. I went into my room and heard him shut the door behind me.
“You’re taking Dimitri’s horse?” He asked in a whisper and I nodded slowly as I went into my closet. I changed into my ridding clothes before I packed all I needed for my journey and then came back out with my bag. I slipped on my sword belt and put my father’s sword in it.
“I was planning on bringing back his horse to his home and since Lithia is only a few miles from the castle I shall bring back his horse. This way I can ride back here on the same horse as Henry and the archer that tried to shoot you earlier will not dare shoot Henry in fear of shooting me.”
“But who is to say your appearance will stop him?”
I slipped on my two heavy coats, “There is nothing that says this man will or will not shoot at Henry just because he is riding with me, but I have a feeling this stranger will not want to pick a fight with this countries entire army.”
“This is true,” He whispered, but then I felt him walk up behind me as I tied my ridding shoes. I turned to him as I finished and he embraced me gently, “Just promise me you will be careful and will come back to me.”
I lifted slightly from him and kissed his lips kindly, “King Darius himself could not keep me away,” He kissed me once, but then let go because we both knew I needed to leave now in order to come back by tomorrow night. I slowly went down to the back exit of the castle, but then turned back to Glen, “But in order for me to come back to you, you must stay safe also. I need you to keep inside until I come back and I need you to do the same with Luther, Peter, and Aaron. All four of you are in danger, so please stay inside so I can have one less thing to be terrified over.” I whispered and he nodded. I slowly walked over to him and kissed him once more before leaving the castle. I went out to the stable to see Dimitri’s white horse named Cletus waiting for me. He had on a saddle and just as before had a bag of supplies on one side of his saddle. I tied my bag onto the other side of the saddle and then went to his face. I brushed his mane and he seemed to remember me from the few times I had ridden him before. I mounted him and then saluted to a soldier watching me before ridding off. I rode Cletus for hours straight as the air around us seemed to chill more and more as I rode. Because the snow had melted in most areas I reached the small town of Ebony by late into the night, but kept on unlike last time. I rode through the night and did not stop until I reached the castle of Radia as the sun started to rise. I dismounted Cletus as I reached the front gates of the castle. The soldier from last time bowed to me and then let me inside. He turned to a maid as he led Cletus and me towards the stables.
“Please inform the king that the Queen of Parethia has arrived.” He whispered to the woman who quickly ran off.
“Cletus shall be staying here.” I informed another soldier as he took Cletus from me. He nodded and then I followed the soldier from last time around to the front of the castle. I was brought to the throne room as the king walked in while yawning.
He gave me a concerned look, “What are you doing here so late at night, Felicia? We had no advance warning…” his gaze went to my sling, “And what have you done to yourself!” Just as his voice rose Rebecca came in with Eliot following closely behind her, but she stopped when she saw my arm.
“Felicia! What have you done to yourself?” She yelled as she quickly came over to me. I held her hand in my only usable one.
“Rebecca! Thank the heavens you are here!” I said with a sigh of relief and she still did not seem pleased.
“What on earth has gotten into you, Felicia? Coming over with no warning, riding by yourself at night, and being injured!”
I squeezed her hand in mine, “There is someone trying to kill you and your family, Rebecca. I had to come here as soon as I could, regardless of my wounds.”
“Sit down, Felicia,” Eliot insisted, “Take off your coats and come to the dining room. We should not discuss things while like this.” A maid started to take off my coats, but stopped when I let out a painful gasp. She quickly moved away as I grabbed onto my bleeding wound. I knew my wound had started bleeding while on the ride, but I did not realize it had seeped through to my jackets and made it so it was like taking off a piece of cloth glued to me. I felt woozy again and quickly leaned on Rebecca who hugged me and helped me stay up.
“Felicia!” She gasped as she felt my shaking, “Bring the doctor! Immediately!” She hollered in a hiss and maids fled. A doctor came into the dining room as Rebecca helped me walk to there. I was set on a couch that was to the side of the table and the doctor came to me.
“What seems to be the problem, my lady?” The man asked as he kneeled at my side and I sat up.
I looked to my shoulder, “I was shot with an arrow earlier today and the wound reopened on my ride here, but I did not realize how much I have bled. It has gotten to my coats and they are stuck to me,” I explained, but when the man touched my arm he quickly recoiled his hand and looked to me with shock, “My fever has also risen.”
“Do you have an infection? It is very unusual to have a fever for just an injury.”
I looked away from everyone and closed my eyes, “No, that is not it. I am going through morning sickness because I…” I did not realize how hard it would be to tell them the words, “I am pregnant.”
I felt Eliot and Rebecca tense as the king sat down next to me, “Pregnant?” He asked and I nodded as I looked over to him.
“I found out this morning.”
“Is it Dimitri’s child?”
I clenched my hand, “Possibly.”
“Possibly?”
“There are others it could belong to...” I whispered as the doctor slowly took off my top coat that was not too painful, but Rebecca gasped when the jacket was removed to show most of my other coat covered in blood. He then slowly peeled off my other jacket which made me gasp every few seconds, but once it was off Rebecca ran out of the room. She could not bear to see my whole white shirt dripping with my blood. Eliot looked pale from the sight as I felt sick.
The doctor looked up to Eliot, “Please go ask your sister for a spare ridding shirt,” He asked and Eliot quickly left. The doctor peeled off my shirt to show my blood red bandages that he quickly took off and replaced with twice the amount before cleaning off my corset that was made of a material that did not absorb liquid and then cleaned off my body. Eliot and Rebecca came in with a spare white shirt as the doctor quickly took off my sling. I held onto my shoulder as he took the shirt. He slipped it on me before he put the sling back on my arm. I then looked over to the king and had to keep myself from crying.
“Sir,” I whispered as I felt everyone watch me and become quiet, “I think I may have found Dimitri’s killer.”
“What!”
“The arrow that killed Dimitri was made of an odd wood I had never seen before and when I was shot today the person used the same type of arrow.”
“So Dimitri’s killer is out for you now?”
I shook my head, “The man’s target was not I; he shot at Glen and General Aaron while they were at my home today. I was the only one who realized what was happening and before I could think I had shoved them both out of the way and the arrow had hit me…I believe this person is out to kill all that are close to my heart and that is why I am here,” I looked at the king with sternness, “Until I find and kill this man I must insist you, Rebecca, and Eliot stay indoors. I am terrified that this man may kill you all just as he did Dimitri, but he only seems to shoot people when they are outside.”
“You should have sent a letter to us, Felicia. Then you would not be injured as much as you are now.”
I shook my head, “Henry is in the next town over and since I was already on my way I decided to just come tell you personally. Regardless, I was planning to return Cletus to you so I rode him here so he could stay and I could ride back on the same horse as Henry in hopes that maybe this killer will not shoot him if I am behind him.”
“You should stay here with us, Felicia. We can send word out to the people keeping Henry and have him go back home with a small army of mine in order for him to get home safely and for you to be able to rest here under my protection.”
I stood and sighed as I brushed my hair back, “You do not understand, Sir,” I whispered and then turned to him, “None of your army will come home alive and neither will Henry.”
“Do not underestimate my army, Felicia. We may not be as great as yours, but a group of my men can take down this man.”
I shook my head, “I do not doubt that, Sir, but this man is remarkable. I found his footprints almost a mile away from where he had shot me. He is beyond any archery skill I have ever seen!”
“That is impossible, Felicia. No one is good enough to make their mark from a mile away.”
I nodded, “I thought so too, sir, but I went and talked to a soldier who had found Dimitri dead right afterward and he said he had found footprints almost a mile and a half away from where Dimitri was shot. This cannot just be a coincidental thing sir and to add, Dimitri was a skilled archer himself and if he could not hear this man beforehand this man must be as good as I figure.”
“Then what do you presume I do, Felicia? Sit in my home and wait till you are either killed by this man or you kill him?”
I looked to him and sighed, “I know it is something you do not want to do, sir, but if you trust and care about me at all you must let me do this. My father, Eliot, and Dimitri trained me to fight. I am better at archery and sword fighting than I thought possible and I can shoot a target from almost a mile away. I believe my army and I can take this man down. I know we can.”
The king stared at the window of the room and then sighed, “Alright, Felicia. I shall follow you.”
I went over to the king as he stood and hugged him, “Thank you.” I whispered and he kissed my cheek.
“Dimitri would believe in you, so I shall do the same,” He said with a smile and I nodded, “But please at least stay here the rest of the night. I insist.”
“Alright.” I whispered and then turned to Eliot as his hand rested on my good shoulder.
“I shall take you to the spare room,” He offered and I nodded. He put his arm around my waist and then led me out of the room. He brought me to the spare bedroom of the castle, but came into the room as I sat down on the bed. He shut the door and then came to my side to sit. He stared at me sadly, “When you say it possibly could be Dimitri’s, did you mean it could also be mine?”
I looked away from him, “You are one of the men.”
“One of?”
I nodded as I looked away, “Dimitri, Luther, General Aaron, and you are all possibly the father.”
“But isn’t there a rule in Alethia against half royal children?”
“I just found this out myself.”
“What will we do if it is mine?” He asked in a whisper. I looked away from him and to my stomach.
“If it ends up being yours we could not say it is your or your wife would find out.”
“So?”
I whipped my head around to him, “What! Your wife would want to divorce you! How can you not be concerned?”
He brushed a piece of hair out of my face, “If this child is mine then I want to become your husband.”
“You are married, Eliot!”
He kissed me gently, “I only married when I found out Dimitri wanted to marry you. I just did not want to get you stuck between Dimitri and me because we both wanted to marry you.”
“You wanted to marry me?” I asked as I felt myself blush.
“I wanted to and still want to, Felicia. I love you so much.”
“But you are supposed to become king of Radia, Eliot. I cannot marry you because I am the queen of Parethia. I cannot be the queen of both kingdoms.”
“Then I will give up my crown, Felicia. I will give it to Rebecca’s fiancé as long as it means I can marry you.”
“You are married, Eliot! You cannot talk about marrying me when you are already married! I am not going to be the other woman!” I yelled and then walked to the door, “You need to leave Eliot.” I hissed and he slowly left the room. I went back to my bed and started crying. I cried myself to sleep within a few moments.
I woke up with my aching shoulder, but ignored it and got out of my bed. I went to the throne room as I put on my coats I had found washed and hanging on a chair in my room. The king was in the room and was talking to a maid but stopped when he saw me, “Sir, I must leave now or I will not get back to Parethia before dusk.”
He stood and walked over to me, “Alright, but you must take some of my soldiers with you,” I nodded and then followed the king outside to the stables. I saw six soldiers on five horses while another one waited. They were all white horses like Cletus and acted as quiet as he did. I went over to the rider-less horse and got on him, “Be safe, Felicia.” He whispered and I nodded. The group of soldiers started off with me leading them once the king was safely inside. We quietly rode towards Lithia as I kept my eyes and ears wide open and alert. Nothing went wrong and we reached Lithia within an hour. I went to the home Henry was staying in and knocked on the door. A familiar woman I knew as Henry’s fiancé opened the door and her eyes were as big as saucers.
“Dear Queen,” She whispered, but then let me inside, “Henry!” She called as she stared at my arm and I heard movement in the house. Henry reached the bottom of the staircase as his face went from a smile to fear.
“Felicia! What happened?” He ordered from me as he walked closer to examine my injury, “the soldier that came here to deliver your message said you had been shot, but did not mention you were in shambles!”
I ignored his anger and hugged him closely to me with one arm. He sighed and then hugged me back as I started to cry, “It was horribly, Henry! The man that killed Dimitri tried to kill Glen and Aaron! I got in front of them, but then when I could not find the man I was terrified he was coming after you!”
He rubbed my back for comfort, “It's alright, Felicia. I am safe.”
“Because of me you could have died again!”
He kissed my head, “Shh.” He whispered and after a moment I calmed down. I then took Henry outside and he got onto the horse I had been on. I got on behind him and then we started off with the soldiers surrounding us.
“Henry, there is something I need to tell you.” I whispered as our horse sprinted.
“I’m listening.”
I sighed, “Henry, I’m pregnant.”
His whole body tensed, “You are going to have Dimitri’s child?”
I forced myself not to cry, “I…I…I’m not sure.”
“Not sure? What do you mean? Did you cheat on Dimitri?”
“Of course not,” I whispered, “But I slept with someone else after Dimitri died. I just could not control myself and gave into the feelings between me and another man.”
“Who is it?” He asked with anger in his voice.
“Uh…there’s more than one.”
“More than one! What do you mean! When did you sleep with more than one man without me knowing?”
I sighed, “When I went to Radia and then to Alethia after he died I did the unthinkable.”
“You slept with Luther.” He said in a way that I could not tell if it was a question or a statement.
“Yes.”
“How many others?”
“Two.”
“One of them was General Aaron.” He said in the same was as before that made me not sure if he was asking telling me.
“Yes.”
“But who was the other?”
It took me a minute or so to respond, “Eliot.”
“Eliot.” He repeated.
“Yes.”
“Eliot as in Prince Eliot of Radia. As in Dimitri’s older brother.” He said in that same confusing way.
“Yes.” I replied in a whisper and he was quiet. I waited for a response for almost 20 minutes, “Please talk to me Henry. Yell at me. Hit me. I don’t care. Just let me know how you feel.”
He was quiet for a few more moments, “I am not sure if I should be relieved that it finally happened or angry in Sylvia’s place.”
“What does Sylvia have to do with this?”
“Do you remember how heartbroken Sylvia was for almost a month when you were still six?”
“Yes. She did not eat of a week straight.”
“Do you remember why?”
“Mother told me that she ran away from a boy after telling him she loved him and he never came after her.”
He sighed, “Mother and father did not want to tell you the truth of that until you were older, but that is not what happened. Sylvia told Eliot that she loved him and he told her he was in love with you…She came home heartbroken that you, her sister that was 8 years younger than her, had stolen the heart of a 15 year old teenager while you was only 6 years old.”
“Dear father.” I whispered as the rift that came between Sylvia and me after that incident made so much more sense. She was jealous of me. I never did anything wrong as I thought I had.
“Sylvia would be so angry if she was still alive, but I am slightly relieved I do not have to keep this from you anymore…but he is married, Felicia.”
“I know. After I remembered that I ran away from him and when I was at his home last night I finally had to speak to him again. I was terrified this child is his and that his wife will find out, but when I told him I would say it was not his even if this child is his he said it was not important. He pretty much said he wants to leave his wife for me and that this child would be the perfect reason to divorce his wife and marry me.”
“He is going to leave his wife for a woman that may not even carry his child? Does he know that it could be Luther’s or Aaron’s?”
“Yes, but he did not seem to care and when I told him I could not be the queen of both Radia and Parethia he said he would give up his crown to marry me. Can he actually do that?”
“Yes.” He whispered and then was silent, so I went back to opening my eyes and ears to our surroundings. I quickly stopped our horse when I heard something.
“Queen Felicia?” One of the soldiers asked as he and his comrades stopped their horses.
“Shh!” I hissed and everyone was quiet. I took the bow on my back and the arrow from the quiver on my back. I aimed the arrow at the noise in the forest that was to our left and shot. The arrow sailed through the air and I heard it hit something, “Two of you! Go check as see what I have hit! But be careful!” I ordered and the two men on the same horse rode off in the direction of my arrow and the other four soldiers surrounded Henry and me with arrows drawn and ready. The two soldiers came back quickly with something and quickly rode their horse up next to mine. The soldier furthest back on the horse handed a piece of red, dripping cloth to me. I took it from him with confusion.
“You struck someone, Queen Felicia,” He informed me, “There was blood smeared in the shape of a hand across a tree trunk where we found this blood drenched piece of cloth,” I examined the cloth, “But Queen Felicia, you struck this man from more than half a mile away! How did you know he was there before any of us did?”
I examined the cloth and barely listened to the soldier, “Soldier, how big was the handprint?”
“Just a little bit larger than mine, ma’am.” The other soldier replied as he showed me his hand. I nodded and then looked forward.
“Let’s go. If the man is injured he will not be able to follow us far and the more room we put between him and us, the better I will feel.” I said and the soldiers quickly repositioned themselves. We started off and Henry did not speak to me for the rest of the ride. When the sun was low in the sky I dug through my bag on the side of the saddle as I hugged the horse with my legs and then handed a bag of fruit a maid had put in my bag of supplies before I left our home. Henry looked back to me with confusion, “You should eat.” I insisted as I took the horse’s reins in my one good hand so that he could eat. He slowly ate as we reached the edge of Parethia and the sun started to set. We reached the castle when the sun was almost nonexistent and I took my bags off the side of the horse as I stood behind Henry. The soldiers that were doubled up on another horse separated and one came to our horse. I handed the soldier the reins and then smiled, “Have a safe journey.” I whispered and then watched as they rode off. I led Henry inside, but my upset stomach finally became more than I could handle and I quickly ran to the bathroom nearest the front entrance. One of the two maids that had greeted us at the door followed me and held my hair back as I threw up into the bathtub. Once I was finished I accepted a towel from the maid and washed off my face before I went back to Henry. He placed his hand on my side.
“Are you alright?”
I nodded, “Morning sickness from the baby has made my stomach very temperamental,” I replied but then looked up as Peter ran into view. He hugged me tightly as I hugged him with one arm and closed my eyes. He is safe and the man that hunted him was injured. I feel so much better. I smiled to Peter as he let go of me, “Have you been bored while I was gone?” I asked and he nodded with a smile.
“No one would play with me and Luther has not left his room since you left!” He complained and I was surprised, but did not show it as Glen and Aaron came over to me. Glen came to my side and kissed my cheek as Peter moved away slightly.
“How are you?”
“My fever has gone down and the doctor at the Radian castle changed my bandages.”
“Why did he change your bandages?”
“My wound reopened.”
He gave me a concerned look, “Maybe you should rest.”
I nodded, “I will, but first I want to go see Sapphire and Ruby. They are probably concerned since they have not seen me in more than a day,” I said and he nodded. I walked in the direction of the stables, but once Glen was out of sight I made my way to Luther’s room. I knocked on the door and he did not answer, “Luther?” I asked.
“Please go away.” He whispered in a sad way, but I did not move.
“I need to talk to you and I do not want to do it around anyone else so could you please come and visit Sapphire and Ruby with me? I am sure Sapphire would like to see you.”
He finally opened his door and looked to me with sorrow. I smiled towards him, “Who is Ruby?” He asked me.
“Oh! You still have yet to meet Ruby! I forgot!” I said with a slight laugh, “Ruby is Sapphire’s child.”
“Sapphire had her baby?”
I nodded, “She had Ruby the day before the funeral.”
“Well let’s go see Ruby and Sapphire.” He whispered and I nodded. I took his hand in my usable hand and intertwined our fingers. I led him out to the stables, but stood close to him as we went from the safety of the castle to the safety of the stable. I brought him to Sapphire’s stall and opened the door. He went in before me and then I shut the door behind myself. He went over to Sapphire and brushed her nose and I knelt down to Ruby as she snorted and let out a squeal of joy. I kissed her nose and then petted her with my usable hand. She licked my face and I let out a sound of disgust but laughed and then looked over to Luther as he watched me, “Luther, this is Ruby.” I whispered and he sat down near her. She went over to him as I went to Sapphire. I pulled myself into her neck as I hugged her with one arm. I let out a few tears as she rested her head on my back. I then let go of her and kissed her nose, “Hey girl,” I whispered and she snorted in response before she nudged at my arm. I smiled towards her, “Sorry, Sapphire. I know I told you that I would never have a sling on again, but I did not keep my promise.” I whispered and then brushed her mane as Luther stood.
“You were in a sling before?”
I nodded, “About two weeks ago. Sapphire got spooked when she did not understand why she was hurting because of labor and she kicked me when she did not realize I was behind her.”
“She kicked you?”
I nodded again, “She cut my lip and dislocated my shoulder when she also cut it with her hoof.”
“That’s brutal.”
“She would never do it intentionally,” I replied and he nodded. I looked away from him and sighed, “Just as I would never intentionally hurt you, Luther, but it seems I have hurt you more than once lately.”
He leaned against the side of the stall, “I thought that night meant as much for you as it did to me so I was just shocked to find out you had slept with Aaron.”
I nodded, “I wasn’t thinking, Luther. I couldn’t let myself think or I was afraid I would die of heartbreak,” I looked to him, “I let feelings I had hidden for such a long time out accidentally and did the unthinkable to you and Aaron. I’m truly sorry, but I don’t think I could ever express it to you.”
“So they were old feelings?”
“Partially old feelings and partially new.”
“New?”
I nodded, “I’ve always liked you, Luther. Even when I held you captive I could not forgive myself from injuring you. I was supposed to hate you, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it because I had slowly fallen in love with you and Aaron without realizing it.”
“Is there any way you could accept my offer, Felicia? I would give up anything to marry you. Just name it.”
I started brushing Sapphire again, “I am still not fully listening to my mind right now, Luther, and if I were to tell you yes I am not sure I would be able to keep to it.”
“But you cannot marry Aaron, Felicia. It is not allowed.”
“He is not the only other person, Luther.” I whispered and he seemed to tense, “I’m sorry.”
“Glen?” He asked as he moved to Sapphire and brushed her too.
I nodded, “But he is not the only other one. There are others I wish for you to never associate with.”
“So there is another that could be the father?” He asked and I stopped brushing Sapphire. I looked to his sad eyes and then the floor.
“Yes, but it would never work with him.”
“Complications?”
I nodded, “More than between you and I.”
“So is your answer a no?”
I looked to him again, “It is but isn’t. I am not saying no because I do not want to marry you, I am saying no because I cannot truly answer you right now. All I can think about is protecting you and everyone else. My marriage and this pregnancy come second.”
He walked closer to me and kissed my forehead, “I will wait for your answer as long as you need me to. I am not going to marry anyone else until I know with no doubt that you will say no.”
I sighed and then hugged him with one arm, “I do not deserve your love or your kindness and understanding in such a horrible situation.” I whispered into his shoulder and then we stayed like that for almost an hour and enjoyed each other’s company.

I sprinted with Sapphire as the man sprinted on foot. He was unreal. Sprinting faster than Sapphire on just his feet was unbelievable. I finally stopped Sapphire by pulling back on her reins and aimed my bow. I shot at the man six times in a row, but he was so fast that he dogged the first five and only my last one hit him. He fell to the ground with a gasp of shock and then slowly stood, but I had already gotten off of Sapphire and now sprinted at the man with my father’s sword in my hands. The man got up faster than I expected and started running again so as I ran I slipped my father’s sword back into its holder. Sword fighting would not be possible. I would have to fight him with my body or I would never capture him. I sprinted with all my power and finally reached the man. I tackled the man to the ground and we fell into a puddle of cold, muddy water made by the fully disappeared snow. The man struck me with something in the neck, but I dogged it mainly and he only slightly cut the side of my neck. I shoved his shoulders into the ground with all my power to stop our rolling as we both struggled to gain the upper hand. He winced when I jabbed a small knife into his shoulder, but he came back with a punch to my ribs. I gasped as I squeezed my nails further into his shoulders and knew I had broken the skin. I lifted my right hand as I pinned him down with my left hand and the rest of my body as I punched him across the face. His nose started bleeding as he turned his head to the side and bit into my hand. I quickly jabbed my nails even further into his shoulders before trying to shove a pill into his mouth, but it did not work. He would not open his mouth, so I devised a plan. I quickly stuck the pill into my own mouth, pushed my nails into his shoulder enough that he gasped in pain again and I leaned down to him. I bit into the capsule and put my mouth to his. I let the breaking pill fall from my open mouth and into his as he shoved me. He pinned me against the ground as he spit out the pill but I watched and felt his body loosen. He suddenly slumped on top of my body, but he tried to force his muscles to move. I slipped out from under him and looked to him as he lay on the ground, “You can try all you want, sir, but you shall not be able to move or speak for at least 4 hours.” I informed him and he tried to yell back at me but his mouth would not move. I quickly picked him up, threw him over my shoulder, brought him to Sapphire who was almost half a mile from us, and placed him limply across her back end. I tied his arms behind his back just in case the pill wore off too quickly and then tied his waist to the back of my saddle so that he would not fall. I got onto Sapphire and whipped her reins so that she would move. Sapphire sprinted towards the edge of the forest and I stopped to look at the six dead soldiers. I slowly looked away and kept on before I would cry. Sapphire then sprinted for three hours until we reached an abandoned house on the northern border of Algoria near the very tip of Parethia. I brought the man into the house and found it was not abandoned, but held the corpses of a man, a woman, and a baby. I quickly took them outside of the house, but I did not have enough time to give a proper funeral to them before the captive would be able to move. I carried him over my stronger shoulder into the house and then set him on a small bed of the two room house. I tied his hands to the head railings of the bed and then went outside. I tied Sapphire’s reins to a tree and placed a bowl of food and water in front of her. I then went to where I had left the three corpses and just stared at them. The father was very young, about twenty-five, handsome, muscular, and flawless other than the large cut in the middle of his stomach along with the blood from the wound that covered his farming type shirt. This was the most painful way to die by the hands of a sword and that is how the man and his wife had died. The wife was very pale, thin, but beautiful just like their small daughter that had a hole at her throat. At least the killer had some small amount of a heart, enough to put the baby through little pain. I used a shovel that was leaning against the front porch of the house to dig three graves and then placed the poor corpses into their resting places. I buried them, said a prayer for their souls, and then went back inside to see my captive was much better. He was fighting the ropes on his hands while cursing. I went over and slapped him across the face. He looked to me with shock as I stood and went over to the bag I had brought in with the man. I went over to a chair that was at the small wooden table in the room and turned it towards the captive before sitting down. I took out a small package of fruit that was from a maid and ate it as I watched the man that still stared at me, “Tell me, sir, are you a half-breed?”
“No.”
“Then where are you from? Algoria?”
“No.”
“Alethia?”
“No.”
“Radia?”
“No.”
I sighed as I slouched in the chair, “Well you are certainly not from Parethia, so where are you from?”
“Why would I tell you?” He hissed and I smiled.
“I need to know where to send your corpse,” I said and his eyes widened as I looked towards the small window to the right of us, “If you were to cooperate and answer my questions, this situation would end much better for you.”
“Why should I believe anything you say?”
I looked to him as my eyes narrowed, “You killed my men, hunted my brother, and injured me. I have done nothing wrong except try to capture a murderer so you have no reason to not trust me,” I replied in a hiss, but he looked away from me, “If you are not going to talk to me, you will have to talk to the army general of Algoria and he certainly has much harsher ways to make you talk. I am trying to give you a fair chance and you test my patients.”
“He can torture me all he wants, but I will never breathe a word!” He yelled and I sighed again as I stuck a grape in my mouth.
“That is fine, I have gotten enough information. If you die before we can interrogate you it will not be a complete loss.” I said and then stood. I went over to a small mirror beside the bed and saw my injuries. I went over to my bag and took out some things the doctor of the castle had insisted I bring to heal the soldiers if they were to have to fight. I took out a roll of gauze and wrapped it around my neck so that my large cut was not open to the elements. I then used some cleaning liquid and a cloth to take all contaminants out of my teeth shaped cuts on my hand. I wrapped gauze around my hand and then went over to the captive with the supplies. He spit at me as I came closer so I slapped him in the cheek before sitting next to him. I unbuttoned his blood and mud covered shirt and he blushed slightly as he tensed. I had to keep myself from laughing, but could not hold back a smile, “You must be very young if you are so nervous by my touch.” I said and his blushing increased.
“I am almost 20. I am not young.”
“Almost 2o? Then you must be about my age,” I said as I poured some of the cleaning solution onto a cloth, “This may sting,” I informed him and then placed the cloth on the ten bloody cuts I had made on his shoulders, “So can you tell me your name, stranger?”
He hesitated as I did not look to him and focused on his wounds, “Rei.” He whispered and I nodded, but then focused on his knife wound as he winced slightly, “And your name?”
I looked up to him with shock, but then let out a small laugh, “You are certainly not from these parts, Sir Rei. Everyone from anywhere near here knows my name,” I said as I looked at his wound and then to his face, “It is Felicia.”
“That is a very noble sounding name.”
I nodded, “Queen’s are usually named noble sounding names.”
He blushed slightly, “You are a queen?”
I nodded, “And the man you tried to shoot with an arrow before killing some of my soldiers was a Prince.”
“Yes, I knew that much. His clothes gave it away, but you seemed to be just a regular soldier.”
I nodded, “I do not enjoy wearing anything but riding clothes,” I said and then sighed before standing. I went to my bag and took out a bag of bread before going back to the bed. I untied one of his hands and handed him a piece of bread, “You need to eat. I cannot have a captive die on my hands. I never have.”
“You have captured more people than I?”
I looked to him with astonishment, “Where have you lived that does not know of my story, Sir Rei? I have never heard of someone who was not affected by my existence.” I said, but he looked away from me. When he was done eating I tied his hand back behind him before putting away the bread. I then unbuttoned my shirt slightly and felt Rei tense. I looked to him, “Do not become so excited by just a shoulder, Sir.” I said with a slight smile, but then focused. I took an ointment the doctor had given me and rubbed it on my blackened scar on my shoulder. I felt Rei watching me, but did not look to him. Once I was done I re-buttoned my shirt and turned towards the man, “Does this scar seem familiar to you?” I asked and he shook his head. I let out a deep sigh, “You are certainly not who I had hoped to capture.”
“Who were you expecting to catch?” He asked and I looked away.
“The man that killed my fiancé and gave me this wound is out to kill the man you shot at today and many other people I love. I was hoping I had finally captured that man.”
“How long have you been searching for this man?”
I looked to his face and then to my feet, “For almost seven months. I have been traveling with the six soldiers you killed that whole time, but finally got to see my brother again when I had to protect him while he came back home.”
“Why have you been searching constantly for seven months? Take a break and see your brother.” He suggested and I laughed again before I sighed.
“If only I could. If only my life was that easy,” I said and then sat back down in the seat in front of the bed, “I must find this man within the next two months.”
“Why?”
I looked away from him, “I cannot battle a man that is out to kill the people I love while raising my first born child,” His eyes widened, “But I cannot rest until this man’s head is on a platter. He took my child’s father and for that he will die.”
“Do you have any idea of who it could be?”
I shook my head and then looked to the window, “Archery skills of immeasurable power are not something I have seen in a long time. The last time I saw that was when I went hunting with my fiancé the week before he died.”
“So his death was out of the ordinary?”
I looked to my lap, “I never expected him to die because he was going to be my husband. I have reasoned with all of my enemies, so I never expected anything to happen to him, if I had I would never have accepted his proposal.”
“Did you love him?”
I stood and went to the window of the building, “Soldiers,” I whispered as I moved towards the edge of the window, “There should not be any soldiers out this far…who are they for?”
“Are they coming at us?”
I shook my head, “They are grazing. That is not normal,” I whispered and then looked to the captive, “Stay here and be quiet. I will get them away. But if I come back to see anything out of the ordinary I will kill you,” I hissed and he nodded. I went outside with my bow in my hand, quiver on my back, and sword at my side. I slowly went around the side of the building and then whistled at the men. One looked over to me, frowned, and then looked back to his comrade. I quickly stormed my way over to him and stood at their sides, “What do you think you are doing here? There are not supposed to be any Parethian, Radian, Algorian, or Alethian soldiers anywhere near these parts.” I hissed with power in my voice. I noticed the hair under the man’s hat was whiter than snow and his eyes were a deep brown that sent chills up my spine.
“We got off course, ma’am. Our apologies.” He said with a smile and I walked away I went back into the house and watched them within the window. They were not leaving.
“Who are they?” The man asked and I looked to him.
“Sh!” I hissed and then looked back to the group, but they were gone, “No!” I yelled and then quickly ran out of the house. I got to the porch as the men got off of their horses with swords, “What do you plan to do with those toys?”
“Give yourself willingly and come with us then these swords will never go near you, Queen Felicia.”
“How do you know who I am? Who are you and who do you follow?” I hissed as my hands went to my hips.
“Our king sends us. He wants to let you out of your misery.”
“What misery?”
“Your loss. He did not realize how much the death of Prince Dimitri would bother you. When he sent us to do such he did not know about your feelings and he wants to make it so you can go to your beloved man.”
I felt my hands shaking as I forced the rest of my body to not move, “Y-you killed D-Dimitri?” I asked as I felt tears brimming.
The man nodded, “Please come with us, Queen Felicia.” He said as he put his hand out towards me and tears started down my face.
“You are the archer? The one I shot?”
He nodded again, “That is behind us, my lady.”
“Why did you kill him?”
“Our king wants to own your land and he had to kill those close to the throne in order to reach it more quickly.”
“Y-you killed him for land?” I asked in a sniffle and the man nodded once more. I moved as fast as I possibly could and shot at the three men with my bow and arrows. I struck the man to the right side of the killer in the throat and he died quickly as the other two came at me with swords. I quickly pulled mine out and ran at them. I defended both men’s shots at me, but realized I could not win if I fought both of them at the same time. I held my sword with my left hand as I quickly grabbed a dagger out from my coat and threw it at the other soldier that had been beside the murderer. It struck him in the heart and he fell with a holler of pain. As I fought the murderer I suddenly heard the dying man move and jumped away as his sword slit the side of my calf. I let out a small hiss of pain and the man stopped moving. The murderer came at me and pushed me backwards with his weight into the house. As we came in I fell to the wooden floor and it started pooling with my blood. I looked to the bed and saw my captive had somehow gotten his ropes to move enough that he could hide behind the bed and leave the fighting to me. The murderer pinned me to the floor as he shoved his sword and mine away. He leaned so close to my face that I could feel his breath and then smiled, “Let me go!” I hollered at the top of my lungs as I started crying again, “You took the man I loved away from me! Have you not hurt me enough? Leave my friends and people alone!”
“They are the easiest way to break your heart, Queen Felicia. They were just pawns in my king’s game.”
“Then he should have just killed me and gotten it over with! Why force me to live when I hate to!” I hollered, but stopped talking when the man set his lips against mine. I quickly bit his lip and he lifted from me. He punched me across the face where I was already forming a bruise and then started kissing my neck as I tried to get him off of me, but it was impossible.
“The king said you were a delectable creature, my lady, but he did not give you enough credit. You are a goddess of seduction.” He said in an evil way before ripping my shirt apart and kissing my breasts where they were not protected by my corset.
I started crying again, “Please! Stop this!” I cried and the man let out an evil laugh before trying to untie my pants. Suddenly the man was off of me and thrown across the room. An arrow was shot and hit the murderer in the heart. He died with only a few shrieks as I sat up slowly and looked to Lucas who stared back at me. He quickly knelt in front of me and I buried my face into his shirt. He embraced me as I started shaking and crying harder. When I finally had calmed down I just lay my head against Lucas’s chest as many of my Algorian soldiers ran around according to the orders Lucas yelled to them. Finally there was no one left in the room but us. I lifted from Lucas and looked down to my body. Luckily I had not been injured much by the man, but my body still ached. Lucas helped me up and then handed me an extra shirt that was his. I slipped it on as I took off my coats and torn shirt. When it was on I tucked in the extra cloth in my belt, put my coats back on, and then followed Lucas outside. He helped me onto Sapphire and then went to his horse.
“Henry waits for us at the castle in Algoria!” He called to his army and then started his horse. I followed directly behind him and the soldiers followed behind me. We rode continuously until we reached the castle to see Glen standing in the arch way, staying inside the castle as I had asked him. I followed other soldiers to the stables, gave Sapphire to a maid, and then made my way towards Glen. Lucas was already there and held the captive’s bound hands. I slowly looked to the captive and then to Glen who stared at my bleeding leg.
“Doctor!” Glen yelled into the castle and a doctor quickly came with a soldier that would carry me, but they both stopped when I put my hand up to them.
“I shall walk.” I whispered and Glen came towards me.
“But Felicia…” He started to argue but I stopped him.
“Stop, Glen.” I hissed and he stopped talking. I followed the doctor to an infirmary and sat on a table he asked me to go to. I put my leg out so that the doctor could examine it and then wrap it. I left within twenty minutes, but looked to Glen quickly, “Where is Henry?” I asked and he started walking. I followed him to a room where he knocked on the door and Henry opened it. He quickly embraced me and I listened to his gentle words of concern.
“Felicia, my darling! I never thought I would see you again!” He said as he squeezed me in his arms.
“Neither did I.”
“Did that man give you this bruise?” He asked as his hand gently caressed my swollen cheek and I shook my head.
“Dimitri’s killer did,” I whispered, “When he tried to rape me and I fought back,” I whispered and Henry held me closer to him, “Lucas killed him.”
“The man shall burn in the flames of hell for what he has done! Killing your fiancé and then trying to rape you is unforgivable!”
I pulled Henry closer to me, “There are more of them. There are more people out there than the man who I killed. There is an entire country coming after all of you because I let you into my heart!”
“Felicia, this is not your fault.” Henry whispered, but I pulled away from him as I sighed.
“May I sleep?” I asked Glen and he nodded. He led me to a room and opened the door. I went inside and he let me be. I went over to the bed as he shut the door. I could feel him outside of the door, but did not want him to be there. Now I could not leave without him and some of our soldiers following. I quickly went over to the window and opened it. I slipped over the railing of the balcony on the room and went towards the stables. I snuck into Sapphire’s stall and put her reins on her, but the only maid left the stable before I could put Sapphire’s saddle on and I knew I had to take this chance. So I grabbed a bag of horse food and water, opened the door of the stall and slowly led Sapphire out of the stable. I then got to the forest on the side of the castle and got onto Sapphire. I started into the hills and did not want to stop. This king will kill everyone if I do not go to him now. I have to find out where he is, go to him, and kill him.



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