Felicia: Blood Bond

October 16, 2011
By headoverheels44 SILVER, Dickerson, Maryland
More by this author Follow headoverheels44
headoverheels44 SILVER, Dickerson, Maryland
6 articles 0 photos 6 comments

Author's note: This is a continuation of the book Felicia.

I sat down on dirt with my back against a tree. Sapphire ate her food I had placed out as I ate a few apples I had found in an orchard on my way out of charted territory. We had been on treacherous land for almost half of the third day of ridding and had yet to see civilization. We had passed the most difficult and active volcano of the area that made it so no one had come this far, that I knew of. I had a feeling this is where the horrid king I was hunting was near, but still had yet to see a white haired, brown eyed stranger. Sapphire ate the amount of food she could have for today and then looked to me. I put away my last two apples and the rest of her food before going to her. I got onto her back and tied the bag around my waist before starting Sapphire off. I watched as we passed a few wild horses that did not seemed terribly spooked by us. They must be used to people on horses coming through these parts; I’m on the right trail. Sapphire rode through the last of the trees and I saw sunlight for the first time in almost a day. I saw desolate, scorched land and knew there was a volcano nearby. I had Sapphire trot quickly as I listened for anything nearby and quickly drew my bow as something moved in a bush as we reached an area that was covered in vegetation. A baby deer with spots on its back came out of the bush and then quickly ran away. Ruby. I quickly shook the memories of those I missed and remembered this was all for them. Sapphire did not stop trotting until we reached the limits of a town. I noticed a woman and man walk by where I hid and noticed the woman’s hair was very short. I quickly tied my hair into a bun so that its length could not be known and then led Sapphire into the town. People looked to me, but then looked away as if I was just one of them and I felt better. I went to a pub in the center of town while Sapphire was tied outside. I went in and sat down at the bar a few seats down from a man and woman that were laughing. A young girl came over to me and smiled, “Hello, stranger!” She said in a perky voice, “It is an odd experience in these parts to receive a traveler!”
“Well this is certainly a beautiful town.” I replied with a smile and she leaned closer to me.
“Are you a half-breed?”
“Yes.”
“It is a rare gem to have blue eyes around here, ma’am! They are so captivating and flawless! Like the water that washes up against the king’s castle!”
I felt myself tense, “Actually, I am supposed to be going in the direction of the castle, but have seemed to come into an area I do not know well. Do you possibly have a way to help me get there? It is urgent that I get there as soon as I can?”
“Oh? Boyfriend perhaps?” She asked with a funny smile, “Well you are not too far, the castle is about three hours to the northwest.”
“Oh, great! Thank you!” I said kindly and then left the pub. I went out to Sapphire and got on her. We rode towards the northwest and did not stop till we reached the city. I walked Sapphire through the streets, but stopped when I saw a barn. They graciously took Sapphire for my money and were to take care of her for the rest of the day and tonight. I walked around the city of white haired, brown eyed creatures and did not stop until I found the castle. It was very large and aged. A guard looked over to me with a frown.
“You cannot be near here, commoner. The king shall be returning home and commoners are not allowed this close.” He hissed and I quickly turned on my heels and walked away. I stopped a few yards away and leaned against a brick wall that lined a group of bushes. I watched as the soldier looked away from me and quickly bowed towards a group of soldiers. I quickly looked to them and saw a flawless white haired, brown eyed man about Henry’s age in the middle of them. He looked over to me as if he could feel me watching him. His eyes seemed to change as he smiled slightly towards me. I felt my blood race and my head pound. What is this feeling? It is almost as if he tried to steal my mind. I quickly looked away from him and started down the sidewalk to my right. I looked back a moment later to see him walk into his castle and disappear behind a pair of shutting doors. I quickly made my way to an inn only a few blocks away so that I would know if this dastardly king left. I paid for the room, went and put my stuff down, and then left the inn. I went up to a clothing cart on the side of the main street and smiled towards the woman. She nodded towards me and I looked to the clothes.
“Anything in particular you are looking for, ma’am?” She asked in a sweet voice.
“Well I seem to have lost my bag of clothes on my trip and am in need of something other than the shirt on my back.” I explained and the woman suddenly pulled her head under the cart. I watched as she sprang back up with a pile of clothes.
“For a young woman such as yourself, you should have something more than riding clothes. See if any of these would pleasure you.” She said and I nodded as she set the pile in front of me. I picked up a light weight pink dress, a brown dress, and a light blue dress. I smiled towards the woman.
“I shall take them all. How much for all three dresses?” I asked and she quickly smiled back to me.
“68 scratches,” She replied and I nodded. I took a small amount of money out of my pants pocket and handed her a seventy scratch bill that she took kindly. She gave me back two scratch bills and I bowed slightly to her before going back to the inn. I went to my room, put on the pink dress, fixed my hair, left the inn, and went to a pub. This was the best place to find out about the king without seeming odd. When I entered people turned towards me, but quickly went back to their own lives. I went over to a booth that was open and an older man came over to me with a slow smile that seemed to make him shakier.
“May I get you something?”
I nodded towards him, “Could I have a glass of water and a bowl of fruit?” I asked and he nodded before walking off. A group of young men on the other side of the pub watched me and I knew I could use my natural talent of getting men to want me on them. One brave man in the group stood from him chair, smiled back towards his friends, and then came over towards me. I focused on my dry hands as he stopped beside me.
“May I accompany you?” He asked as I looked up to him. I realized he was in a uniform and that he may be a soldier of the king. It was as if this was my destiny to kill this king and now made it so I would seduce this man for information.
“Be my guest,” I said and the soldier sat across from me with a warm smile. His brown eyes and white hair made a chill flow through my body but I kept it inside. The old man came over with my fruit and water and set it in front of me, “Thank you.” I whispered and he nodded before leaving once again.
“Are you from around here? I certainly have not seen someone with blue eyes in these parts in a long time.”
“Oh? And who was the last who had my eyes?”
“A half-bred soldier a few years older than I. He was stationed with me in the city about three years ago,” He explained as I ate a piece of melon, “So where are you from, stranger?”
I smiled towards him, “Here, there, and everywhere.”
“Oh?”
I nodded, “My job keeps me moving.”
“Oh? And what job is that?”
“Body guarding.”
“Oh? A woman body guard? That is a very rare trait.”
I nodded, “I do not have many comrades in my line of work.”
“Well if you did they would be envious of your beauty. If you are half as powerful in guarding as you are in beauty, you should be unstoppable!”
I smiled towards the man, “So what is your name, Soldier?”
“Jeremy. I am stationed in this city by the king for the next few weeks.” He said with a proud smile.
“How long have you worked for the king of this fair country?”
“Almost 8 years now.”
“What age did you join the army?”
“15 years.”
“So you are 23?”
He laughed softly, “You are smart too. You sure are a character, my lady. Tell me, what is your name?”
“Faith.”
“Age?”
“20 in less than three months.”
“I took you for a woman of 18 by your looks, but by your wit and skills I would have guessed at least 25.”
I nodded, “I have heard that a lot.”
“So what do you have planned for the rest of the night, Miss Faith? If you would allow me I would love to show you around the area and give you the grand tour.”
I smiled to him again, “That would be wonderful.” I said and he smile grew. He put down some money for the drink in his hand and for my water and fruit.
“I will pay for your food, Miss Faith,” He offered and I nodded. I quickly ate the last two pieces of fruit and then left with Sir Jeremy. He showed me around the town as the sun started to set and then offered to take me to dinner. I accepted and we ate at a place he chose. When we were finished he walked me back to the inn I was going to stay at and I smiled towards him.
“This is my stop.” I whispered and he sighed.
“Please let me take you a few more places, Miss Faith. I cannot stand for this night to end.” He said with a sweet smile.
“I am sorry, Sir Jeremy, but I shall be working tomorrow and need proper sleep.” I said, but froze as he leaned down towards me. He kissed my lips as his arms went around my slim looking pregnant body and held me close. I tried to stop his kissing after a few moments, “Sir Jeremy, I must go.” I insisted but was shocked when he shoved me against the wall of the inn. He kissed me more as I tried to push him away, “Stop!” I yelled, but he kissed me more as his body pressed against mine. I felt as if I would throw up as I realized I was too weak to push him away. Suddenly he was pulled off of me and I looked as the man from before threw his soldier to the ground.
“This is not the way one of my soldiers should treat a woman!” He hissed and the soldier quickly pulled himself to his feet.
“I am terribly sorry, King Vladimir!” He called, bowed and then quickly ran away. I watched the king as he turned to me and sighed.
“Are you alright?” He asked with a concerned look. I nodded to the man as my mind felt like it was swarmed with bees.
“Yes, thank you.” I whispered and then bowed towards the king, but flinched when his hand went around my chin and he lifted my head back to its regular position.
“No need for bowing, Felicia. We are both royalty,” He said with a calm smile and I felt a frown cover my face. I was about to yell at him but stopped when he took my hand in his, “I insist you stay with me, Felicia.” He said and then started walking while pulling me behind him. The buzzing in my mind made it so that I could not decide what to say to this man and so I just stayed quiet. We were allowed into the castle and then he brought me up to his study. He insisted I sit on a couch and I slowly did so as he ordered for everyone to leave the room and let us be. He finally came back and sat down on a couch across from me as I watched him, “It is magnificent to finally meet you face to face, Queen Felicia Hope Parethia,” He played with a strand of his white hair that was in his view, “I heard you killed my best archer and two of my regular soldiers a few days back and assumed you would come to me soon.”
“So you sent that archer to just make it so that I had enough information to know where to find you?”
He shook his head, “I did not intend for you to learn anything of me or run into my archer, but as luck would have it he stopped where you were and one thing led to another so I assumed this would be your next move.”
“Next move? Do you think this is some kind of game!” I yelled as I stood, “You killed Dimitri as part of a game?”
“You misunderstand me, Felicia. Please sit down.” He said but I became angrier.
“I shall not sit down! I cannot just sit here and act as if you are not the man that murdered my fiancé!”
“I regret that move. I did not know he meant that much to you. I assumed it was just an arranged marriage and that it would weaken your people and leave you available.”
“Available?”
“Yes, available. You are not married.”
“So you killed him just for us to meet!”
He nodded, “Do you blame me? You are beautiful, brave, educated, royal, and skilled.”
I felt myself shaking, “And you believed killing the man I love would bring me into your bed? Is that what this is about!”
He shook his head, “That is not it, Felicia. I do not just have sexual feelings towards you, I love you.”
I threw I pillow from the couch behind me at his face and he quickly dogged it, “You cannot love me! You do not even know me!”
He sighed, “You do not understand, Felicia. Have you not felt odd since you saw me?”
I looked to him with shock, “I don’t understand.”
“You can be healed by royal blood, correct?” He said and I nodded, “Well so can I. All pure blooded royal men and women that are directly linked to the first king of this continent have this trait,” He stood and walked over to me, “I first saw you with Dimitri when I was very young and suddenly felt sick. My mind ached, and my heart sped. I did not understand what it was for at first, but my father told me before he died that all purebreds like us receive this feeling when they meet the person they are supposed to marry,” He took my hands in his, “I can tell you have the same symptoms as me when I am close.”
“Are you mad!”
He smiled slightly towards me and then suddenly kissed my lips. I felt a sensation of lust throughout my body and before I could stop myself I had pulled Vladimir against my own body. We kissed over and over and then I finally snapped back into reality. I shoved him from me as I tried to regain focus and control of my actions, “You feel the same as me, Felicia. I can tell.”
“No I don’t!” I hissed, “I love Prince Glen! Not you!” He moved towards me and I tried to shove him away, but when he placed his gentle hand against my cheek I froze. He moved closer to me and then gently kissed me before taking my hand in his and leading me to the couch I had been on to sit down at his side. He wrapped his arms around me and kissed me over and over as he leaned me onto the couch, but stopped when there was a knock at the door. He made an angry growl and then went to the door.
“What!” He yelled and a soldier shook slightly.
“My king there has been spotting of an army to our south.” He said as his voice shook. That is my army coming as they followed Lucas and Glen to save me.
“I shall grab my things and…” He started to say and I quickly sprinted over to him. I wrapped my arms around his waist and kissed the back of his neck gently.
“Don’t leave.” I whispered and he held back a moan I knew he wanted to let me hear.
“Check on it. I cannot leave right now,” he said to his soldier and then quickly shut the door on the man’s face. He whipped around and squeezed me to him as he started kissing me. I have to keep him occupied for at least a few hours or Glen will die.

I sat in Vladimir’s bed and bunched the sheets in my hands. Vladimir turned towards me and rested his head on his hand, “What troubles your mind, my love?”
“I hate this.”
“You could not resist, my love.”
“Stop calling me that!”
“I’m sorry.”
I sighed and my head went onto the bed, “How can I make this work?” I asked the sheets and then looked to Vladimir, “I cannot be with you as much as my stupid body wants me to.”
“If we have a few hundred miles apart I am sure this urge will weaken, my beauty.”
“Luther, Aaron, and Eliot are going to want to marry me as soon as I give birth to one of their children but I will always come back to you…but I want to kill you so badly!”
He smiled slightly, “No you wish you wanted to kill me, Felicia. You want to be at my side.”
I frowned towards him, “Nice try,” I said and he laughed, “I need to go,” I slipped my pink dress back on, “So you will not go back on my requests?”
He sighed, “I don’t believe I can. I cannot go against your will as you cannot go against mine.”
I slipped my shoes back on, “I will see you soon, Vladimir,” I whispered and then started out of the room, but stopped when he grabbed my hand. I turned to him and he kissed me sweetly.
“Sapphire is already outside with your stuff and a few things.”
“A few things?”
“I wanted to let you have some things so I just put them in your bag.” He said and I nodded. I quickly left the palace and started my way to stop this war that was about to happen. I pushed Sapphire faster than she should go, but I was so scared I would not get there in time I had to. I reached Vladimir’s army as they stopped in front of mine led by Glen. I quickly sped Sapphire to between the two groups.
“Stop!” I hollered, “Don’t fight!” I quickly sped Sapphire to the general of Vladimir’s army and he looked to me with shock, “This is from Vladimir, personally.” I explained and he bowed towards me as he took it. He read the note and then turned towards his army.
“We are to not fight anyone from Raidia, Algoria, Alethia, or Parethia under any circumstances!” He hollered and then turned his horse away. The army sped off as I watched them go in the direction I wanted to go. I turned as Henry jumped off his horse and I quickly dismounted off of Sapphire. He embraced me with power.
“Blissful stars, Felicia! What were you thinking? Just sneaking off without a word! I thought you were surely dead.”
I listened to Henry’s quick heartbeat, “I know, but I had to do this. It was my duty and I had to stop this madness. I could not stand the idea of losing someone else,” The pain of Dimitri struck my heart but the memory of Vladimir kept me from crying, “Could we please go home? I want to leave this place.”
“Of course,” Henry said and then turned towards the other, “Let’s go home!” He called and then helped me onto Sapphire before mounting his own horse. I started Sapphire off as everyone else followed in her hoof steps. Glen moved his horse to my side as Henry came to my other. I kept my gaze from both of them and just watched the familiar landscape go past me as my emotions tried to tear my heart and soul in half.

“Come on Ruby!” I called and she quickly came to her mother’s stall. I closed the door and then left the stable. I quickly made my way to the castle as rain poured down like it always did this time of year. When I went in a maid handed me a towel and I quickly dried off my hair and clothes. I made my way to the throne room to see Henry talking to Glen who stood below the platform for the thrones, “Glen?” I asked as I walked towards them and he turned to me with a smile.
“Good morning, Felicia.”
“Good morning.” I replied and then looked to Henry for an explanation to the sudden appearance of Glen.
“Glen has come to give us word that some of his guards are assisting Princess Rebecca to our home. She seems to want to see you as soon as possible, but she refuses to give a reason.”
“Yes, she was very cryptic in her letter but she said not to worry.” Glen added and I nodded before sitting down in my throne.
“When shall Rebecca arrive?”
“Any moment. Her group was a few miles behind me when I received the letter. Apparently Lucas immediately sent guards to her before telling me about the letter.” Glen replied with anger straining the name of another man.
“Lucas probably assumed that is what you would want, right Felicia?” Henry asked as he looked to me.
“Most likely. He knows how much I adore Rebecca. She was like a sister to me when we used to live here with the whole family.”
“Felicia, maybe you should not be chasing after Ruby. It is almost your due date, correct?” Henry said as he looked to my slightly large stomach.
“My due date was yesterday, Henry.”
“Then you should be on bed rest!” He argued, “You could deliver any moment!”
I smiled towards him, “You make it sound like I will burst.”
“You know what I mean, Felicia.”
I nodded, “Yes, but bed rest will just make me nervous and the doctor said to keep my stress down or it may make me sick.”
“Then maybe you should not talk to Rebecca…” Henry said as he gave me a knowing look.
“I will be fine, Henry. We are just two friends,” I said as the doors to the room opened. Rebecca came in as I stood. I quickly met her halfway through the room and we embraced each other, “Rebecca! It is so good to see you!”
She pulled me away slightly so that she could get a full view of me, “And you look twice the size as the last time I saw you! I believe this is the first time you have not looked like you are just skin and bones!” She teased and I laughed.
“Do not mock me, Rebecca. It is not kind,” I replied with a smile, “So I hear you have a matter to discuss with me?”
She nodded but then looked nervous, “Um, I don’t believe I should say this in front of so many ears.”
“Guards, maids, please leave,” I ordered and then looked to her, “Can Glen and Henry hear this?”
She sighed, “I think you need them to stay with you. I have some shocking news.”
“Let us go to the dining room.” Henry suggested and we all followed behind him to the room. I locked the door and demanded that no one was to disturb us.
“What is your news, Rebecca? You are making me anxious.”
“You should sit down, Felicia.” She suggested and I went over to a couch across from hers. I sat next to Henry as Glen sat beside her.
“Alright, I am sitting.”
She sighed, “I don’t know how to tell you this, Felicia, but…” She looked to the floor, “Eliot has left his wife.”
I felt like I was going to be sick, “He did? When?”
“A few weeks ago, but father and I thought it was just a fight that made him want to leave. Then he announced a few days ago that he wants to divorce his wife and,” She looked up to me, “Marry you.”
“M-marry m-me?” I said as I felt as if I was going to hurl.
She looked away, “He told me everything, Felicia. He told me what happened and I cannot believe it.”
I squeezed my hands, “I did not want you to find that out, Rebecca. I knew it would upset and anger you.”
“It did, but I understand.”
“You do?”
She nodded, “Eliot has had feelings towards you for many years, but isolated himself when he realized you loved Dimitri. Once you were not to marry Dimitri he probably took advantage of your weakened state and did things he should not have.”
“I’m sorry, Rebecca,” I whispered and then looked away from Glen because he did not know about the proposal made by Eliot, “Eliot said that if this child was his he wanted to divorce his wife and marry me. He comforted me when I was at your home a while back when I had so many wounds. But, I could not let him do that. I was not going to be the other woman and take him from his wife. I know what I did was wrong and regret it every day, but I want to make up for it by denying him in the future.”
“What will you do if it is his child?” She asked and I looked to her but looked away again.
“I will tell him and everyone else it is Dimitri’s. If this child is his then it will look like Dimitri also and I can make it so I will not be the reason Eliot divorced his wife.”
“If you love Eliot, Felicia, you should marry him. Don’t deny him if you feel the same way.” She said and I looked to her.
“I do not feel the same kind of love for Eliot as he feels for me,” I said with assurance, “I may have loved him when I was younger, but I do not now,” A knock sounded at the door and I groaned as I got up. My back was killing me and walking hurt my knees. I opened the door with a hiss, “What?”
“My queen, the army of Atria is heading towards our shared border and the king insists to see you.” The soldier told me and I felt my heart skip a beat.
“Alright, come get me when the king has arrived,” I said and then shut the door. I looked to the three people, “Rebecca, the king of Atria is on his way here and I am sure you do not want to be here at the same time as him.”
She frowned, “Why are you associating with that murderer, Felicia? If you don’t remember, he killed Dimitri.”
I nodded and sighed, “I remember.”
“Then why are you meeting with him?” She yelled and I went to my seat beside Henry.
“He has apologized for his actions and has tried everything he can to apologize to you, Eliot, and your father.”
“We are not going to accept his apology, Felicia. I do not plan to ever accept him. Besides, General Lucas told me you have been meeting with that dastardly king at least once a week.”
“Yes, I have.”
“Why?”
I looked away from Rebecca, “You could never understand.”
“Well at least try to help me understand! I feel as if you are drifting from everyone else except for that monster!”
“Rebecca, please…”
“No, Felicia! Tell me what is going on between you and him! I deserve to know, Henry deserves to know, and so does everyone else!”
“I’m not sure.” I whispered, but quickly looked up as the door flew open to see Vladimir, “Vladimir!” I gasped.
“Felicia!” He said with relief and then quickly came over to me as I slowly stood, “You need to lie down, now!”
“What are you talking about, Sir?” Henry asked in a defensive way as he glared at Vladimir.
“Felicia is going to go into labor any moment,” Vladimir explained and then took my hands in his, “you need a doctor.”
“How do you know that about Felicia?” Henry demanded and Vladimir gave him a sharp gaze.
“Why should you care what I do or do not know about Felicia?” Vladimir hissed and I quickly squeezed his hands in mine.
“Stop it, Vladimir. This is my brother Henry.” I explained and Vladimir sighed with relief.
“Thank the stars! I thought it may be those other men you told me about, what were their names? Eliot, Aaron, and Luther?” He said with a warming smile that made the pain crawling over my body weaken and made me feel better.
“No, none of them are here.”
“But why are you!” Rebecca yelled, “You kill her fiancé and are now coming to tell her rubbish!”
“Who is this, Felicia?” Vladimir asked me with a sharp glare.
“This is Rebecca. Dimitri’s sister.” I whispered as I looked to my feet and he seemed to tense.
“Oh. Princess Rebecca…” He started to say but Rebecca gave him an angry gaze and he stopped.
“Save your breath, I do not want to hear your apologies for what you have done.” She hissed and Vladimir sighed.
“But if you and your family never forgive me, Felicia will never let me rule at her side.”
“Vladimir, stop it.”
“I know you won’t Felicia. I understand how much this girl means to you. I can feel how much you love her.”
“Vladimir…”
“This is unimportant right now, Felicia. You and I both know you have been in pain for almost an hour. You need to lie down,” He suddenly picked me up and turned to Henry, “Where is a doctor?”
“I will go get him,” Henry said with a strong look towards me. I knew he did not want to help this man, but he would in order to help me, “Glen, show this man to Felicia’s room. Rebecca stay with Felicia. She will need your support until I find the doctor.” Vladimir started down the hall and Glen quickly came in front of us. He led Vladimir to my room as I squeezed his shirt in my hand. Both stopped in the middle of the hall and looked to me.
“What is it, Felicia?”
“Contraction.” I whispered and they quickened their speed. I was to my room and in my bed within a few moments. Glen quickly ran to my bathroom as Vladimir stood at my feet and Rebecca knelt beside me as she held my hand. I squeezed her hand when pain flowed through my body. I let out a gasp of pain and she squeezed my hand.
“It’s alright, Felicia. It is your first major contraction,” She assured me and I nodded. Glen came back into the room with a wet cloth and placed it on my forehead.
“What can I do?” Glen asked Rebecca right before I let out another gasp and squeezed her hand.
“Go get Henry. Her contractions are coming extremely quickly and she may have her child before the doctor gets here if he does not hurry,” she looked to me as Glen left, “How many contractions have you had before we were told you are in labor, Felicia?”
“I lost count around 13.”
“Why did you not tell us?”
“They were not very painful at first, but the one I had in the hall was much quicker than the rest and much more painful.”
I looked to Vladimir as he came around my bed and sat down beside me. He took my hand in his and sighed, “Here comes another,” He whispered and suddenly the pain hit I squeezed both of their hands and let out a groan of pain, “Hang in there, Felicia. You are doing great.”
“Felicia!” Henry yelled as he quickly came over and stood beside Rebecca as the doctor came to me.
“How far along is she, Princess Rebecca?”
“She is contracting about every 2 minutes.”
“See if she is dilated.” He asked and she quickly looked.
“She is about ¾ of the way open.”
“Here comes the pain.” Vladimir whispered to me and I closed my eyes. I squeezed his hand as Henry took my open one that I also squeezed as I let out a small whine.
“How long was that, Princess Rebecca?” The doctor asked as he moved towards Rebecca.
“Not even a minute separation, doctor.” She said and he quickly lifted the end of my dress. Glen came over and took the cloth off of my head and replaced it with a new one. Pain surged through me as I squeezed both hands holding mine and let out a slight cry.
“She is fully dilated.” Rebecca said and I kept my eyes closed.
“My queen, push,” The doctor said and I did as told with a groan of pain, “Again,” I did it again and let out a louder yell as I felt as though I was going to die, “Another,” He said and I let out a yell. Hell could not be this painful, “Once more,” He called and I pushed with a cry. Suddenly crying filled the room and I felt myself start to cry, “Push as hard as you can, my queen.” He said and I did so. Suddenly the pain was gone and I felt my body loosen. Rebecca quickly grabbed a towel Henry had brought in and wrapped it around the baby. She cleaned the child off and then came over to me. Henry moved a pillow behind my head so that I could sit up slightly and hold the child. I couldn’t stop cry as I looked to the child. Everyone seemed to hold their breath as I cleaned all the stuff off of the child’s face that had made it so it was unrecognizable. I looked up to Rebecca.
“It’s Dimitri’s child,” I whispered in a weep and felt myself crumbling by the sight of this baby. I rocked the screaming baby and then pulled it into my chest. It suddenly stopped crying when it heard my heart and went to sleep in my arms. Henry brushed a piece of hair that had fallen into my face and I looked to him.
“Congratulations.” He whispered and I nodded as I smiled.
“Felicia, I shall take the child while you go through afterbirth.” Rebecca offered and I nodded. She left with Henry and Glen as Vladimir refused to leave me. It did not take long for me to go through afterbirth and when it was over I asked the doctor to leave Vladimir and me for a moment. When the door closed to my room Vladimir gently pulled my head into his lap and stroked my hair as I tried to relax. He watched me as I closed my eyes.
“You wanted him to be the father.”
I nodded regretfully, “I loved him.”
“I know and I shall never forgive myself for what I have done. Now that we are connected I can see how foolish I was and how much I truly hurt you,” He sighed, “You have feelings towards that other man that was here before? The one that gave you a towel.”
I nodded, “I may love him.”
“I’m sorry.”
“I know.”
“You haven’t told your brother, have you?”
“I don’t know how I can. He does not have a destined soul mate and neither does Rebecca, as far as I understand it. We seem to be the only two with this.”
“It makes us unique.”
“It makes us cruel.”
“How so?”
“I loved Dimitri and may love Glen, but I cannot be with them when my body, mind, and soul call for you.”
“I have fallen in love with someone else also, my beauty, but I gave her up once you spent that one night with me. I know I could never feel what I felt then with anyone else.”
“You killed Dimitri…I should kill you. It is what my father would have done.”
“Your father would not kill your mother if she had done this. He was attracted to her the same way I am to you. I may want to control you like I do with other woman, but I cannot. If I ever caused you more pain I would kill myself out of anger.”
“Could we just try staying away from each other?”
He sighed, “I tried for almost 15 years, Felicia and yet I went to horrid lengths to get you back. This is something we cannot just ignore.” He replied and I nodded. I slowly stood and he helped me not fall. He wrapped his arms around my waist and set his head on top of mine, “I can feel my urges to never leave your side growing stronger every day, Felicia.”
“My longing grows each day.”
“At some point we won’t be able to live hours away from each other. We will have to marry or we will go crazy.”
“I realize that, but let’s not think about that right now. I want to see my child.” I whispered and he nodded. He intertwined our fingers and then followed at my side down the hall.
“Do you want me to talk to Henry while you visit your child?” He asked but I shook my head.
“He will not believe you. Just go get situated in my room. Rest. I will wake you up when I come back to the room.” I said and he nodded. He pulled my body against his.
“I love you, Felicia. Do not keep me waiting too long,” He whispered and I nodded. He kissed me and even though my body was sore I felt a surge of lust flow through me. I pulled him closer and we kissed continuously until I reconnected to the truth of what we were doing. I pulled away, but he pulled me back, “Stay here.”
“I can’t,” I whispered and he finally let go. I left him and went to the infirmary to see Rebecca, Henry, and Glen sitting in the room quietly as they watched the small bed the child lay in, “Sorry I took so long. I was fairly weak.”
Rebecca looked up to me with a frown, “How did that killer know you were in labor when you had yet to tell anyone?” She demanded, but watched as I went over to the child. I held the baby in my arms.
“There is something about me that only Dimitri knew for most of my life and he helped me keep it hidden, but I ended up telling Glen of my secret when we killed his father.”
“What is it?” Henry asked with a frown.
“There is a trait that is passed through royal families that are descendents of the first king of this continent. It is a recessive gene that does not typically come up in most royal children, but sometimes does with each generation of pure blooded royalty and is called the royal curse. This gene makes it so royal family members would not die easily if near royal blood. There were only two people that had this trait in our parent’s generation; they were my father and Vladimir’s father. This gene also makes it so you are given strong attractions to another person with the gene, but since there were only two men with the gene they were faced with strong attractions towards two women that carried part of the gene. There was still a very low chance of any of their children receiving the full trait, but they tried. The king of Atria succeeded with the passing of the full trait in his first son, who is Vladimir...” I explained, but Henry cut me off.
“What does this have to do with us, Felicia?”
I sighed, “Our mother and father tried to have a child with the full trait, but neither Sylvia nor you received the full gene so they tried once again and gave birth to me and I carried the full trait. As given by the trait Vladimir and I would be strongly attracted to each other if we ever met. Vladimir saw me once and received his share of the attraction while I never saw him and did not. The trait makes it so the person will go mad until they have the attention of the other and that is what led Vladimir to kill Dimitri. I did not understand this part of the trait before this and was as angry as all of you when it happened so I set off on my own to kill Vladimir. He was still attracted to me and I finally received my share of the attraction. We cannot be away from each other for very long or we will go crazy and that is why I have had to go see Vladimir at least once a week. Otherwise I will either go crazy or become extremely ill…” I felt tears in my eyes and quickly put my child back into the bed, “Rebecca, you have to know I loved Dimitri with all of my heart. Truly I did and if I had known he would die because I loved him I would have never let him near me,” Tears poured down my face, “And I meant what I told you, Glen. I do love you, but this whole thing with Vladimir is getting worse. I have estimated that by my 21st birthday I will not be able to be anywhere without Vladimir and so I must marry him. I have to; otherwise I will die or go mad and may end up hurting all of you.” I lost it and started crying so much that I could not stand it. I felt Vladimir standing at the door with the memory of my words stopping him from coming into the room. Henry pulled me into his arms and I cried even harder. I repeatedly said I was sorry until my child started crying.
“He must be hungry.” Rebecca whispered and I nodded. I picked up my son and breast fed him. When he was done I held him so that his sleeping head was against my burned shoulder.
“I shall bring him into my room.” I whispered and then left the room. Vladimir leaned against the wall to the right of the door and quickly embraced me when he saw me, but not tightly enough to hurt my son. I put my head on his chest as he brushed my hair.
“It had to be done, Felicia. I know it was hard, but they needed to know the truth,” He whispered and I nodded, “You need to sleep.” He added and then led me to my room. I lay down on the bed with my son in the natural curve of my body and pulled my blanket fully around him even though he had on warm clothes. Vladimir lay behind me and looked over my shoulder to the baby, “What will you name it?”
“His name will be Dimitri Junior in memory of his father,” I whispered and he kissed my shoulder, “they hate me, don’t they?”
“Who?”
“Henry, Rebecca, and Glen.”
He sighed, “They could never hate you, Felicia. They are just confused and mad. They will calm down and then things will go back to normal.”
I looked to Vladimir, “My feelings for those other three men will not settle until they also know the truth.”
“You want to see them.” He said with an angry sigh.
“They deserve the truth also.”
He nodded, “Alright. We can send word for them to come here, but after you sleep. You need to relax for a little while.” He said with a full understanding of how weak my body was. I fell asleep in Vladimir’s gentle embrace and did not wake up until hours later when Dimitri Jr. started crying. I changed his diaper and then set him on my bed. I leaned above him and he smiled which made me laugh. I then noticed Vladimir was gone, but ignored it and focused on my son.
“You made a stinky, didn’t you?” I asked as I tickled his stomach and he laughed in a toothless, carefree way I never wanted to leave him. He was innocent and I wanted him to be sheltered from my horrible past and his father’s death involving Vladimir, “Where’s mommy?” I asked happily as I put my hands over my face, but was shocked when he started crying. I quickly sat up and picked him up. I rocked him in my arms as I made calming noises, “It’s alright, Dimitri. I’m here. I didn’t mean to scare you.” I said, but was relieved when he gave me a toothless smile again. I kissed his cheek and he laughed. I then set him back on my bed and pulled his shirt up slightly. I blew on his stomach and then kissed it. He let out a very loud giggle and I could not keep myself from laughing too. I picked him up and got off of my bed. I twirled around a few times as I felt my heart as happy as it used to be when my parents were still alive. I was like a child again, but did not care. I was happy again, “Do you want to help mommy pick out a dress?” I asked and he gave me a smile. I brought him into my closet and he seemed mesmerized by the clothes, “How about this?” I asked as I pulled the blue dress Henry had given me towards my son. He squeezed it in his hands and I smiled, “Alright, I’ll wear this,” I said and then took the dress and brought it and my son out of the closet. I set my son on my bed, but stayed close by so that he could see me. I changed into the dress and a pair of shoes beside me before picked up my son again, “Let’s go see your uncle!” I said and the boy smiled. I carried him out of my room, but stopped on my way to the throne room when Miss Lydia let out a squeal. She and three other maids ran over to me as they stared at my son.
“He is precious!” Miss Lydia exclaimed as she tickled his stomach and he let out a laugh. They all squealed with delight.
“What shall you name him?” The taller of the two other maids asked me with a smile.
“Dimitri Jr. after his father.” I replied, but looked up as I heard someone coming our way. Glen looked to the maids who quickly bowed towards me with their right fists over their hearts and then quickly ran away.
“Luther, Aaron, and Peter are here to see you. Vladimir said that you wanted to talk to them as soon as possible so they came over here quickly.” He explained and I nodded. I walked to the throne room as he followed close behind me and stopped as I opened the doors of the room. Peter, Luther, and Aaron all turned towards me with shock.
“Miss Faith!” Peter yelled as he quickly came over and hugged me. He looked to my son with surprise, “You had your baby?”
I nodded with a smile, “Yes. Earlier today.”
“Well hello there, little one!” Peter said to my son and then looked to me, “Is it a boy or girl?”
“Boy.”
“Did you decide on his name yet?” Peter asked, but we both looked behind me as Vladimir came into the room.
“His name is Dimitri’s Jr. after his father,” Vladimir said as he came to my side and kissed my cheek. He then kissed my son’s head and looked to Peter, “Who might this young prince be?”
“This is Prince Peter.” I explained and Vladimir smiled.
“It is nice to finally meet you, young Prince Peter. Felicia has told me much about you, your brother, and your country’s army general,” Vladimir looked towards the other two men, “Good evening, Prince Luther and General Aaron.”
“Who is this, Felicia?” Luther said with a frown as he watched Vladimir put his arm around my waist.
“How rude of me!” Vladimir said with a slight laugh, “I forgot to introduce myself. I am King Vladimir of Atria.”
“Atria?” Aaron asked but I quickly moved as Luther started coming towards Vladimir with a fist in the air.
“Luther, don’t!” I ordered and he looked to me angrily, but I turned towards Miss Lydia as she came in, “Miss Lydia, please take my son to my room. He should not hear this.” I asked and she quickly came over to me and took my son away.
“He is the man that killed Dimitri, isn’t he?”
I nodded, “But you do not understand, Luther.”
“What is there to understand? He is worse than the soldier that injured you! I should kill him for you!”
“You will do no such thing!” I yelled and he froze. He was shocked by my anger, “If you lay a single finger on Vladimir your country will have to fight Parethia once again!”
“Felicia,” Vladimir whispered as he came over to me. I looked to him and sighed.
“I know. I should not get so worked up.”
“Prince Luther,” Vladimir said, “I understand why you are mad with me and I understand what type of feelings you have towards Felicia, but angering her will help nothing.”
“What do you know?” Luther hissed and Vladimir looked to me.
“More than you or any other man ever could.”
“What?”
“Have you heard of the royal curse?”
“Yes. My great grandfather was a ruler with the curse.”
Vladimir nodded, “And you know that Felicia’s father was another ruler with the curse along with mine?”
“No.”
“Well Felicia and I both are carriers of the curse.”
“Carriers?” Luther asked as he looked to me.
Vladimir nodded, “The madness the curse can give a person is what made me kill Dimitri and I regret that decision every day of my life. Regardless, Felicia and I are affected by the attraction given by the curse and even though we are supposed to hate each other, we cannot. We are forced to love one another more than humanly possible.”
“I don’t understand.” Luther said as he looked to me.
“Vladimir and I are destined to marry each other or we will both go mad or die,” I whispered and he frowned, “I know the feelings you and Aaron have towards me and what I feel for both of you so I thought you deserved to know why I cannot accept you proposal. I’m sorry.” I added and Luther sighed.
“You didn’t choose to have the curse, Felicia. Do not apologize.” He said with a sad smile and I could not stop myself. I moved from Vladimir and hugged Luther tightly. He kissed the top of my head as he held me also.
“I’m still sorry.”
“I know.”
“My queen!” Lydia yelled as she ran in with my son crying in her arms, “He won’t stop crying! I’ve tried everything!”
I took Dimitri from her and he still cried. I swayed him in my arms and his crying weakened. I held him against my chest and made soothing noises until he stopped crying. Everyone watched me in awe as I looked to Dimitri and kissed him cheek. He giggled and I laughed also as I rocked him in my arms, “He just wanted you, Felicia. That is why he cried.” Vladimir said as he placed his hand on my shoulder. I looked up to him and then back to Dimitri as I nodded.
Rebecca came into the room and froze when she saw us. I held Dimitri as Vladimir stood beside me and everyone else watched me with amazement, but I looked to Rebecca and smiled. She came over to me and sighed, “Eliot is on his way here.”
“What are you letting him know?” I asked as I felt a strain on my heart of fear and regret.
“I told the soldier to inform him that the child is not his.”
“Not his child!” Aaron exclaimed, “What do you mean, not his child? What makes him think it was his?”
Henry came from his throne and to me, “Felicia thought it would be best if you two did not know about this, but the truth is Eliot was as likely to be the father as the both of you and Dimitri were.”
I noticed that my son was asleep and pulled his head up to my shoulder as his body rested against mine. He slept with my shoulder as a pillow and my body warmth to keep him cozy, “I did not want to upset you, Rebecca, or anyone else. I desperately regret what I have done. It was not fair to anyone and I hate myself for hurting everyone.” I whispered as I rocked back and forth so Dimitri could go deeper into sleep. Henry came over to me and brushed a hair out of my face.
“You look like our mother, Felicia.” He whispered with a smile and I looked to him.
“I hope I can be as good of a mother as she was.”
“Felicia!” I head Eliot yell as he came into the room. He froze when he saw the child in my arms and the man at my side. When he walked over his frown increased, “You!” He hissed as he looked to Vladimir. He lifted Vladimir off the ground by his shirt, but Vladimir did not even flinch, “I should kill you!”
“Put me down.” Vladimir said as Dimitri started crying. I quickly rocked the child as everyone stopped. I walked away from the group and towards the window of the room. I rocked Dimitri as I looked through the large windows of the room. I saw my city, my country and was reminded I was their queen. I had a duty to marry. In place of Sylvia I would marry and for Sylvia I would deny Eliot. I started humming ‘to our new princess.’
“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 to Dimitri as he loosened in my arms. I kissed the top of his head as he fell back to sleep on my shoulder. I went back to the group as they all watched me, “Keep your voice down, Eliot. You have no right to wake up my son.” I hissed in a whisper.
“I didn’t mean to wake him.”
“But you meant to injure my fiancé, didn’t you?”
“Fiance!” He yelled, but kept his voice down.
“Yes, fiancé. Felicia is my proclaimed bride by the royal curse only we have.”
“Why did you call me here, Felicia?”
I looked to Eliot with a frown, “Because I could not pretend that you leaving your wife for me was alright any longer. I also cannot forgive you for what you did to Sylvia. You could have rejected her without breaking her heart and the relationship we had.”
“Felicia, I don’t understand.”
“Go back to your wife, Eliot.” I said in a hiss and he looked to Rebecca with anger.
“You’re her friend! Why are you allowing Felicia to marry the man that murdered our brother?”
“She has no choice, Eliot. She explained it to me. We may never fully accept what King Vladimir has done, but we must accept him as the man that will soon become Felicia’s husband.” Rebecca retorted and I froze. I could not believe she had just said that.

Baby Dimitri lay on one side of my bed as I read a document sent over by the king of Radia referring to Dimitri’s belongings. I looked over to him and saw he was still sucking on his thumb like he had been for a while, but now he was lying back on the bed and rolling side to side. He looked over to me as he felt my gaze and gave me a smile before making raspberries on his lips with spit. His eyes scanned the ceiling for nothing in particular and his blonde hair moved side to side as he rolled around. His brilliant green eyes with blue specks in them looked back over to me as he realized I still looked at him so I looked back to the paper. I tried once again to focus on the paper, but jumped slightly as I felt something move the bed. I looked over to Dimitri to see he was closer than before and was slowly crawling towards me, “You can crawl!” I exclaimed as I set the papers down on my nightstand beside me and lay down on my stomach on the bed. I held my head up by my hands as I watched Dimitri slowly crawl towards me. I squealed with joy and he giggled to me. I picked him up, turned onto my back, and held him up in the air. He giggled as I made it seem like he was bouncing off of my stomach. Then I pulled him into me and kissed his cheek, “You’re such a big boy, Dimitri!” I exclaimed as I hugged him, “Now you’d really impress me if you could say mama! Come on Dimitri say mama!” I said and he gave me a curious look.
“Madua.” He babbled and I smiled.
“Almost there, honey!” I said with a laugh and then stood, “Do you want to go visit your horse?” I asked and his eyes seemed to scan my face as though I spoke a different language.
“Hasi!” he called and I laughed. He was almost fully speaking and I just adored it. I carried him on my hip as I left the room. I walked towards the front door of the castle but stopped when I saw Henry talking to Glen.
“Glen?” I asked as I walked closer and he looked to my son. He bowed towards me like he always did now that I was engaged to Vladimir and did not look me in the eye.
“One of my soldiers was injured on our way to the sea and I had to bring him here to get medical help from the doctor.” He explained, but I looked to Henry as he tickled Dimitri’s stomach.
“Can you say Uncle Henry?” I asked Dimitri as I bounced him slightly and he looked to me.
“Uwelhawy!” Dimitri yelled and then laughed.
“He’s almost there!” Henry said with a smile towards me.
“Yes, and he started crawling earlier.”
“Well is that true, Dimitri? You sure are a big boy!” Henry said as he took Dimitri from me and started throwing him into the air, catching him, and then throwing him again. I laughed as Dimitri did also, but then he started whining, “What is it?” Henry asked.
“Hasi!” Dimitri whined and I sighed.
“He wants to go see Ruby. He is obsessed with her!” I said with a slight laugh, “Do you think you could take Dimitri to see Ruby? I have some things I have to do before Vladimir gets back.”
“Sure.” Henry said and then carried Dimitri away.
“So how have you been, Glen?” I asked as I walked towards my room. He followed like I knew he would.
“Fine.”
“Good,” I replied as I opened the door to my room, “And how is Algoria? Any problems?”
“None.” He replied as I picked up the papers on the nightstand. I put them against my chest and then walked to the dining room. I felt my heart tearing by his distance, but it is what had to be done.
“So have you found a girlfriend in Algoria? My brother said that when he was there a few weeks ago you seemed very pleased with a maid that followed you like a child,” I said as I placed the papers on top of a small pile of documents and sat down, “Please sit.” I offered and he sat next to me, but kept his gaze at the table.
“Of course not.”
“What do you mean of course not? Is it so weird for me to think that you may have found a girlfriend?”
Glen finally looked to me, “Has this ridiculous curse made you forget everything?”
“What?”
“I told you when you were crying in our room at that inn in Ebony that my kindness and dedication is repaid by your smile. And I could never be at another woman’s side. I never want to leave your side to be at another’s,” He said as he looked to me and I looked away, “Do you not remember that?”
I looked away from him, “Of course I remember that, but I hoped you didn’t. I don’t want you to give up happiness because I am a horrible person in a horrible situation.”
“You’re not a horrible person, Felicia.” He said with a sigh and I quickly focused my emotions on the paper from the king of Radia.
“Please, Glen,” I whispered and I placed my head in my hands, “I am still trying to get over what I have put you through and you saying this is not my fault or you still have feelings for me will make me lose my composure. Then Vladimir will come back here to comfort me and I will kiss him and all thoughts of how much I long for you to be the man I am with will fade.”
“You still long for me?” He asked and I let out a small laugh as I started crying.
“You’re joking, right?” I asked as I brushed my tears off of my face, “If I can still feel my attraction towards you even with Vladimir at my side then you mean more than Henry does to me,” I let out a sigh after I let out a small weeping sound, “Why does this thing with Vladimir have to exist! Why did I have to receive this trait? I could marry you and be with you as I so badly want to!”
“Felicia…” Glen said as he started to put his hand on my shoulder but I pulled away from him.
“Please, don’t touch me. I will lose myself in my longing if you touch me.” I whispered, but was surprised when he stood. I was sadly ready for him to leave, but when he came closer to me I froze. He knelt beside my chair and kissed me deeply as I cried more. Vladimir’s connection to my mind was cut off by my desires for Glen and I pulled him towards me. He pulled me up so that we were standing and embracing each other. I had my arms around his neck as he used his embrace around my waist to pull me into him more. He lifted from my lips and started kissing my neck. I felt like I was going to melt in his arms and had to keep a moan from reaching his ears.

I looked to the table that was above me and to my right. It seemed much bigger than it had before, but I ignored my wondering mind and listened to my surroundings. Glen was breathing quietly as I slipped my dress back on and I quickly left the room. I went outside to find Henry sitting in my chair as Dimitri slept on his chest, “I shall take him.” I whispered and Henry looked up to me. He stood and handed Dimitri to me. Dimitri snuggled into my chest as Henry grabbed my hand so I could not leave.
“You slept with Glen, didn’t you?” He whispered and I looked away from him in shame, “You have to choose between them, Felicia. It is unfair to keep leading them on like this.”
“I know,” I whispered and then looked to Dimitri, “I need some time to myself. Please make sure no one disturbs me for a while.”
“Okay.” He whispered and I walked away. I snuck into the dining room and picked up my papers before going to my room with Dimitri. I placed him gently in his small bed at one side of my room and then went over to my own bed. I lay down and placed my papers to my side.
“Dimitri, what should I do?” I whispered to the quiet room, “Vladimir is going to marry me, but I still love Glen.” I waited a few moments for a response but then realized no answer would ever come regardless of how badly I wanted it to. I sat up and looked out of my bedroom window. I sat on the window seal and watched the sunlight cover my world. Parethia was now blooming with summer plants and looked magnificent. I sighed and then took on my pile of papers. I felt my heart start to race as Vladimir entered the castle and could tell how angry he was. His anger was so strong that when he came in the castle it nearly knocked me down and I knew it was all towards me. He had experienced the emotions I felt when sleeping with Glen and he knew what I had done better than I did. I looked over as Dimitri rustled in his bed and was surprised when he looked back to me. How long had he been awake and watching me cry? I went over to him and picked him up. I knew he had to be hungry so I let him feed. I then knew I needed to go outside or this problem would never end. I left my room but froze as Glen stopped walking. I looked away from him and quickly walked away with Dimitri in my arms. He let out a sound and I laughed when he tugged on my hair, “Stop that, Dimitri!” I joked, but froze when I saw Vladimir walking in my direction. I quickly pulled Dimitri closer to me and looked down in shame, “Please, don’t yell in front of him. You deserve to yell at me, but Dimitri does not deserve it.”
His hands clenched into fists, “Henry and I talked,” He whispered and I felt tears lingering in my eyes, “He said you need time to decide between death and forgetting about that other man.”
“Then why were you on your way to see me?”
“I needed to be near you,” He whispered and sighed, “I’ve been feeling sick for the past few hours and knew it was that I needed you, so I came to be with you.”
“Oh,” I whispered but then looked up as Vladimir’s hand rested on my cheek, “I’m sorry.”
“I know you are.”
“I want to marry you, but I still have feelings towards him.”
“So have you decided?”
I nodded slowly, “I cannot leave Dimitri like my parents left me to rule. I cannot leave Parethia when it is still not stable. I cannot bring myself to resist you, so I choose you.”
He smiled, “I know that also.” He whispered and then gently kissed me, but I knew he was still furious.
“Listen, I’m going to leave tonight so you can have some time to calm down.” I said as I adjusted Dimitri in my arms.
“You need not leave.”
“I know, but I was planning on bringing Dimitri a few places at some points and I think tomorrow will be a good day to do so.”
“What kind of places?”
“Where I used to play as a child, my father’s favorite part of the beach, and,” I looked down to my feet, “Where his father died.”
“Do you want me to go with you?”
I shook my head, “You will feel enough of my emotions when I go there and if you are with me you will want to make me leave that place but even if it breaks my heart to see where you killed Dimitri, his son deserves to see it,” I whispered, “Do you know where I can find Henry? I need to tell him I will be leaving soon.”
“Who will go with you? You shouldn’t be riding alone with just your child. You could be attacked by bandits or followers of the king that killed your family.”
“I’d like to go on my own, but I can feel that you will not allow such a thing.”
He smiled slightly, “I just care about you.”
“I know.”
“How about Rebecca? She would probably like to spend time with you.”
I shook my head, “She will never go near that place.”
“Then who will you take? You only are close to people who you would protect instead of them protecting you or if they would protect you it would be because he loves you.”
“What about General Aaron?”
He shook his head, “That man would rape you in a heartbeat.”
I laughed slightly, “You don’t even know him, Vladimir. He would never do such a thing.”
“I still do not trust him.”
“Then who shall I go with? It is ultimately your decision,” I whispered and then looked down to Dimitri, “As long as you are here I do not care what happens. As long as you are with me that means Dimitri will not end up like I did and he will have his mother even if he has lost his father.”
“Can you stop thinking about that child for just a moment!” Vladimir yelled and I felt myself shake slightly. I quickly pulled Dimitri closer to me. I had to keep him at my side or I would lose my sense of direction in the world again.
“He is my son,” I hissed, “He comes first!”
“Think about what you want for once!”
I looked down the hall and saw emptiness. I slowly pulled out my father’s sword that rested on my hip and made sure Vladimir could see it, “My parents died in order to leave Henry and me to rule! They did not leave you or anyone else for this job! You have not gone through the hell I have so stop talking to me as if you understand this! Dimitri was the only person who knows everything I have had to go through so unless he is the one who rises from the ground and tells me to raise our child a different way, I will do what I please!” I hissed and Dimitri started crying as a tear escaped me. I quickly put away my sword before I rocked him in my arms and made soothing noises. I then looked up to Vladimir, “I will go on my own,” I spat to him, “If you see Henry tell him I’m leaving tonight.”
He sighed, “If you leave now we will both become sick.”
I looked to him with fury in my eyes, “I would rather feel sick than be around you when you are in such a mood.”
“You act as if this is my fault, Felicia! I am not the one who is cheating!” He hollered and I lost all control over my words.
“I should have killed you when I had the chance! I would rather be with Glen than you and I would certainly rather be married to Dimitri as I have always wanted to be!” I screamed and then quickly turned around, “I hate you!” I hollered before I hurried into my room and locked the door behind me. I slumped to the ground and started bawling, but could not stop myself. Even if I knew Dimitri was crying because I was crying I could not stop this feeling of pain. Once I regained my strength I rocked Dimitri in my arms until he stopped crying and then brought him in his bed. He whined, but I ignored it as I went to my closet. I packed an extra pair of clothes for me, my outdoor gear, three pairs of clothes for Dimitri, a coat for each of us, and a few of Dimitri’s toys. I then changed into my ridding pants, a white shirt, riding boots, my sword belt with sword, and a thin jacket. I brought out a thicker shirt and pants for Dimitri and changed him into them before pulling up my extremely long hair that went to my hips now. I tied back my hair with a small strap of leather before I heard Dimitri whining louder. He was hungry so I picked him up, put him on my hip, and brought him towards the dining room. I passed Vladimir and a group of his soldier’s but pretended to not notice them as I fixed Dimitri’s shirt. A maid came to my side as I reached the door of the dining room.
“My queen!” The young girl called and then quickly bowed respectfully towards me as I turned to her.
“How may I help you, young warrior?” I asked with a smile as she blushed from my kindness.
“Prince Henry has requested to speak to you so I was just on my way to your room to retrieve you.”
“Well my son is hungry and I am going to try to give him real food for once. Could you ask Henry to meet me in here?”
“Yes, my queen!”
“One more thing,” I said and the girl quickly stopped her running to come back to me, “Please make sure the doctor attends to Prince Glen before he leaves our castle. He received a wound a few months back and it looked infected when I saw it earlier.”
“Yes, my queen!” She replied and then quickly ran off. I opened the door of the dining room and then brought Dimitri to the head of the table. I sat down and put him in my lap. A cook brought out some smashed vegetables for Dimitri and I fed him the food. He actually ate most of it, but then quickly seemed full so I stopped feeding him and let him play with my hair as I looked out the window and relaxed slightly. When the door opened I veered towards Henry and smiled as he came into the room. He shut the door and then came to sit at my side. Dimitri squealed when he saw Henry so I handed Dimitri to my brother who gladly accepted him.
“So Vladimir came into the throne room earlier in a crazed fury over what you said to him.”
“I assumed as much.”
“So you are going to leave with just Dimitri?”
I nodded, “I want to bring him to a few places.”
“That is good. He should see more of his country than just our property.” He said with a smile as he bounced Dimitri in his lap.
“I thought so.”
“Well when will you be leaving?”
“In a few minutes. The cook is already making a few things for me to bring.”
“How long do you expect to be gone?”
“No more than two afternoons from today.”
“Alright.” He whispered and then handed Dimitri back to me so I could go pack. I left the dining room and brought Dimitri to my room. I grabbed all of my supplies and then left the room. I went down to the stable and saw a maid was getting Sapphire ready to leave. I sat down on a bench near the stalls but looked up when I heard a horse running. Lucas rode over to me and stopped his horse.
“Lucas!” I said with surprise and he laughed slightly.
“I seem to have surprised you, my darling queen.”
“What are you doing here?”
“Did Henry not tell you?”
“Tell me what?”
“He wants me to ride with you while you are on this trip!”
“Really?”
He nodded, “But where is our other companion?”
“Other companion? Who else is coming?”
“I’m right here, Lucas. No need to fuss.” Glen said as he came towards us with his horse, Erebus, trailing behind him. I stared at him and squeezed Dimitri in my arms. I had to keep reminding myself this was all for my son. I smiled up towards both men and then turned as a maid came with Sapphire following her. I handed Dimitri to the maid as I quickly hugged Sapphire’s neck and kissed her sweetly.
“Ready to go, girl?” I asked and she snorted. I kissed her nose and then got onto my saddle before I took Dimitri from the maid. I set Dimitri in front of me on the saddle and put my right arm around him so he would not fall. I whipped Sapphire’s reins with my left hand and then started off. I looked behind me to see Glen and Lucas following closely. I turned back around and listened to Dimitri squeal as Sapphire sprinted through the forest. I went towards the mountain range closest to the castle and we reached the spot I wanted to be before the sun was fully set. I slowed Sapphire and Lucas came to my right as Glen came to my left.
“Where are we?” Lucas asked as he looked around us. I smiled as I looked towards him.
“Almost there,” I whispered and then slowly moved Sapphire forwards and stopped a few yards forward, “Look familiar?” I asked as I looked over to Lucas.
“This is where we split up the morning before Glen and I went to get Henry and you fought with King Darius.”
I nodded and then slowly got off Sapphire with Dimitri in my arms. I placed him on my hip and then strode a few feet forward before I stopped. I kissed Dimitri on the head, “This is where your grandparents and aunt rest for all of eternity, Dimitri,” I said and then pointed towards the north, “And a few miles that way is where your father rests for all of eternity. Say daddy.”
“Daueda!” He said in a squeal and I had to force myself to smile.
“That’s right,” I whispered as Dimitri played with my necklace, “When you are old enough to understand Henry will take you to this spot and tell you what he did for me. How he saved me and gave his leg for my safety and how this is also only a few feet from where I was shot and…” I choked back tears, “Where your daddy healed me up so we could reclaim our home,” I lost control of my tears as Dimitri pulled on my necklace I had hidden behind my shirt that held his father’s ring. I pulled Dimitri into my chest as he looked up to me, “I’m so sorry, baby. I wish you had met your daddy.” I whispered as I made a sniffling noise and then quickly brushed away my tears as I let out a sigh. I looked back to Lucas and Glen, “Shall we set up camp here?” I asked as I brushed another tear away as it fell down my cheek.
“Sure,” Glen replied and then I went over to Sapphire. I took off her bags and unpacked my camping tent. I placed Dimitri on the ground near me as I set up the tent but laughed as he started crawling away and went over to Glen, “What are you doing Dimitri?” Glen asked with a smile towards me, “Sneaking away?”
“It seems so.” I said with a slight laugh and then finished up my tent. I took Dimitri from Glen so he could finish his tent and went over to Lucas as he started a fire. I quickly made my way to my bags and took out some food the cook at the castle had made me.
I handed it to Lucas and he smiled to me, “Thanks,” he said sweetly as I sat down on the ground next to him, “What is this?” Lucas asked as he held a container up to me.
“That’s Dimitri’s food.” I replied and he handed it to me. I placed it on the ground beside me and then looked to Dimitri as he watched the fire, “Can you say fire?” I asked him and he turned to me.
“Fia!” He giggled and I nodded before we both turned back to the fire. Within a few minutes food was served and the three of us watched Dimitri play with a stick as we ate. He had already eaten and seemed to be getting tired. After an hour he started whining and I quickly went over to him. I picked him up and brought him to my tent. I put him in a large bundle of blankets I had made and then came back out as he fell asleep.
“He should stay asleep till at least sunrise.” I said as I sat down beside Glen and Lucas came back from tending to the fire to sit on my other side.
“You look much like the past queen when you are with young Dimitri.” Lucas commented and I looked to him.
“Henry said the same thing when he first saw me with Dimitri.”
“You are a very good mother, even if you are very young.”
“Thank you,” I said with a smile to Lucas, “So when will you finally be marrying Miss Dalia?”
He smiled back, “We are planning to get married in the fall. Her parents will be coming back from Radia at that point so we decided to do it at the very beginning of fall,” He gave me a curious look, “Will you be coming as I have asked?”
“Of course!”
“I’m glad. It would just not be right if you were not there, Felicia. I feel as if you are a family member.”
“Ever since we stopped dating it has seemed like we are like relatives, I agree.”
“Well Dimitri was much more suited for you at the time and I understood that so I knew our relationship would not last.”
“Yes,” I whispered and then looked up to the sky, “I wonder if Dimitri can see his son wherever he is now.”
“I’m sure he can. Death could not even keep him from watching over you.”
I looked to Lucas and then back to the stars in the sky, “I wish he was still here,” I whispered, “his son needs a father and I have a feeling Vladimir can never be the father I want for him or the husband I need for Parethia.”
“Are you truly going to marry him?”
I sighed and looked to the dirt below me, “Lately I have been debating just that,” I whispered but then stood. I looked back to the guys and smiled slightly, “Goodnight.” I whispered and then went into my tent. I cried myself to sleep quietly so that the other two would not hear my sorrowful cries to Dimitri and my parents to help me choose on whether or not to marry Vladimir. Lately the lust I feel towards him has faded and both Dimitri’s have taken his place. Along with their capture of my heart Glen has captured my soul and I feel as if I am tearing in four different directions. My soul calls for Glen, my mind calls for Dimitri, my heart calls for my son, and my body calls for Vladimir yet I cannot decide which way to go.

I woke up when Dimitri started crying and I quickly picked him up. I brought him out of the tent and slowly rocked back and forth as I made calming noises. He was still not calming down so I decided to do what always calmed him down, “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 he slowly stopped crying. I looked to the east to see the sun rising slowly and sighed, “I wish you had your daddy,” I whispered to Dimitri and he looked up to me with a smile. I smiled back and then sat down on the ground near the burned out fire. I placed him on the ground in front of me and watched as he crawled around on the dirt. I looked down to Dimitri’s ring and then up to my son, “I pray you do not end up like me, Dimitri,” I whispered to him, “Loving two people, but marrying another. I am despicable. Hopefully you are not cursed like I am. Then you will be able to marry who you want, have children, and rule our kingdom… If you had the choice, who would you want to be your father?” I asked and he looked over to me with curiosity, “You have his eyes, do you know that? You have your father’s eyes, his personality, and his smile. Maybe you will grow up to be as great of a man as he was.” My thoughts drifted as I watched Dimitri playing in the dirt. I listened to the surroundings and could feel my eyes welling with tears. I quickly blinked them away and then went over to Dimitri. I picked him up and brought him to my bag that was near Sapphire that was tied to a tree with food in front of her. I fed Dimitri mashed vegetables and did not think of anything until Glen came out of his tent. He walked over to me and sat down on the dirt beside me. I kept my focus on Dimitri while he ate.
“I don’t understand.” He whispered and I looked to him.
“Understand what?”
“Why you are still going to marry that killer. Did you not feel what I felt when we had sex?”
I looked back to Dimitri, “I may have felt more than you did, Glen. I felt more than I have in a long time.”
“Then why are you marrying that guy?”
I sighed, “If I don’t I will die and leave Dimitri.”
“There has to be a way to not marry him and still live.”
I shook my head, “I have looked high and low for a way around this so that you can become Dimitri’s step father but there is nothing. I have to marry Vladimir for the sake of Parethia.”
I looked over as Lucas crawled out of his tent, “Well what are you two doing? We have a tight schedule! We need to leave.”
“Yes,” I replied and then put away Dimitri’s food. I pulled him up on my hip and went over to my tent. I packed away my things as the two guys did the same with their own belongings. We were packed within 30 minutes of starting and then rode off. I led the group with Dimitri in my lap and did not stop Sapphire until we reached a deeply dented tree. I felt my grip around Dimitri tighten as I tried not to shake. I slowly got off of Sapphire and put Dimitri on my hip as I went over to the dark colored indention in the tree. I brushed my fingers across the odd mark on the tree and did not look away from it until I felt Sapphire’s nose brush against my back. I realized I was crying and quickly brushed my tears away as I turned to her. I kissed her nose and then gently brushed it. She gave me a saddening look and I smiled towards her with assurance, “I’m alright.” I promised her and she snorted. I slowly pulled off my necklace with his ring on it and held it in my hand. I looked away from the indention and towards the trees behind us. That is where Vladimir’s men hid before they killed the man I loved. I looked over to the two men as they watched me, “Alright, lets head towards the beach.”
“The beach? Why are we going there?” Lucas asked me.
“My father used to take me there as a child and I think Dimitri would enjoy going there as much as I used to.” I whispered and then struggled to get onto my horse with Dimitri in my arms. I made Sapphire sprint for most of the morning and afternoon and we did not stop until we reached the beach. I slowed Sapphire as I saw the blue waves of the tide and the light tan sand of the beach getting closer. I tied Sapphire to a tree near the edge of the land and then carried Dimitri to the beach. I set him down and he started playing in the sand as I scanned the area.
“You look as if you are checking to make sure a murder is not coming for us, Felicia. Are you worried we will be attacked?”
I nodded as I turned towards Lucas and Glen when they started walking towards us, “I do not trust everyone.”
“But this is Parethia, who would attack you here?”
“That is what I thought when I let Dimitri ride his horse at our border and he was killed. Who is to say there is not an angered enemy that had not presented himself and is out to get my son?”
“Vladimir is not out to get people near you anymore, Felicia. You need to relax.”
I smiled towards him, “Have you ever known me for a person that is relaxed at any part of the day?”
He laughed, “No, I guess not,” He said as he came to my side. I placed his hand on my shoulder and I looked up to him, “So have you made up your mind? This trip was to finally decide what you will do was it not?”
“Partially, but mainly I just wanted to get out of that castle that reeked of mistakes. I wanted to get somewhere that people were not guarding me all the time and I was not making bad decisions all the time. I wanted to go somewhere that reminded me of when I was a child and I quickly thought of the beach,” I looked to Dimitri as he found a shell, “But I still have not decided what to do about this Vladimir situation. I’m still holding hope that there is some way out of this cursed marriage that will give me control over my choices,” I moved from Lucas as Dimitri tried to pick up a crab and quickly threw him into the air before catching him and kissing him on the forehead.
“Mama!” He squealed and I let out a cheer of joy.

“Felicia!” Someone called and I let out a groan of exhaustion. I ignored the noise entirely as I tried to fall deeper into sleep, “Felicia! You have to get up! Right now!” A familiar voice hollered and I slowly opened my eyes. I saw my darling Dimitri standing above me. I felt pain in my foot and realized I was back in the camping sight after being shot. I felt as if something was off and looked up. In place of the roof of the tent I expected, there was a dark sky with stars filling it.
“Dimitri, where am I?” I asked in a groggy way.
“You have to wake up, Felicia! Our son is in danger!” He said as he shook my shoulders. I quickly looked to his face to see horror in his eyes. His red hair was covering his eyes as he looked like he was about to cry, “Please Felicia, wake up!”
“What are you talking about?”
“Our son has been taken! You’re asleep right now and the man who took him is getting further and further away! You must get up and go after him or our son will die!”
“Dimitri’s in trouble?” I asked and he nodded, “but…”
“You have to leave me, Felicia. You have to leave this dream or our son will die.” He said with sternness and I started crying without telling myself to do so.
“Okay,” I whispered and closed my eyes. I suddenly felt coldness around me and quickly reopened my eyes. I lay in the bed of the inn I had checked into, but as I stood I saw Dimitri was gone from his small bed that was at the side of my bed. I quickly sprinted to my bags in the room and took out my father’s sword after I threw on a coat. I suddenly had the feeling that I needed a bow and arrow and knew it was Dimitri telling me so. I quickly ran out of my room and knocked quickly on Lucas and Glen’s room across the hallway, “Lucas! Open up!” I yelled and he quickly opened the door with a yawn.
“What in heaven’s name are you doing, Felicia! It is the middle of the night!” He complained and I quickly pushed past him.
“Where is your bow and quiver? I need them.” I stated as I saw Glen quickly get out of one of the two small beds in the room. Lucas quickly went to his bags that were on the ground and brought his bow and arrow filled quiver to me. I quickly took them, but was forced to stop when Lucas grabbed my hand.
“Where are you going?”
“Someone took Dimitri!” I hissed, “I have to get him or he will be killed!” I quickly pulled away from Lucas and sprinted out of the inn. I ran to the area we had tied Sapphire up to and untied her harness. I ignored the lack of a saddle and quickly made her sprint in the direction I could feel Dimitri was in. I was surprised that I could guide Sapphire through the town and into the forest nearby with such knowledge I should not own, but I knew this was the way to Dimitri. I suddenly noticed a horse a few yards away and made Sapphire go in a different direction. I made my way through the trees and went around to the front of the rider. I got a few yards in front of him and quickly stopped. The man was forced to quickly stop his black horse of Algoria and looked up to me. Without a doubt he was a follower of King Darius. His brown hair and eyes held the truth of his upbringing and made it so I knew this man was raised to hate me and kill the new prince of the person who killed his leader, “Who are you and why have you tried to abduct my son!” I hollered as I noticed the man staring at my earring and necklace.
“You have taken the man I so dearly followed so I shall do the same to you and your dastardly people! Parethians do not deserve a successor from the womb of a brat such as you! You do not deserve to breathe the same air I do after what you have done!” The man hollered as I looked down to the small child in the man’s grasp that was crying, but could not let out a scream for the man held his mouth.
“Let my son go, Alrogian! You have no right to steal my son!”
“My king deserves to have this child sacrificed in his honor!” The man hissed and I quickly drew my arrow. I aimed at the man’s throat.
“I shall tell you once more! Let go of my son!” I hissed, “I will not allow a brown haired, brown eyed monster such as you corrupt my innocent son!”
The man pulled a dagger out of his pocket and held it up to Dimitri’s neck, “How dare scum such as you speak to me that way! Even as a villager of Algoria I am of higher rank than such foul matter as you!”
I redirected my arrow and quickly shot the man’s shoulder that’s arm held the dagger near my son. The man let out a gasp of pain as he dropped the dagger, but within a moment he drew his own arrow and shot at me. I quickly ducked and then made Sapphire sprint to the man’s side. I quickly struck his throat with my father’s sword with my right hand and with my left I quickly yanked my precious child from the man’s grasp. I pulled Dimitri into my body as I realized I had not instantly killed the man. In fear of the man trying to kill Dimitri before he died of blood loss I quickly made Sapphire dash away, but she stopped when I let out a yell and started to fall off of her. I pulled the crying child into my body and pulled myself around him. When we hit the ground I made sure Dimitri was protected as we skid across dirt. I painfully pulled myself off of the ground to look up to the man as he slumped to the ground with a final gasp for air. I looked down to my crying child to see his hand was bleeding from a small cut. I quickly forced myself to sit up and tried to stand up but felt a sharp pain. I quickly sat back down with a gasp as Dimitri’s crying increased. I wrapped his small, cold body in my coat and held him against my body. I made soothing noises as he cried, but looked up as I heard a horse sprinting towards us. Glen suddenly appeared on Erebus’s back as he made his horse sprint, but stopped the creature when he saw me watching him. He quickly jumped off of his horse and ran to my side as I saw Lucas coming closer on his horse. Glen knelt to my side and I quickly turned Dimitri towards him, “He’s bleeding! You have to clean out his wound!” I said as I felt myself start to cry. Glen pulled some gauze out of his jacket and wrapped it around Dimitri’s small hand. I quickly pulled Dimitri back into me as I started to cry harder, “Oh heavens! I almost lost you! I was careless and left you unguarded!” I apologized as tears dripped off my chin. I started shaking as I felt my son snuggling into me. My son seemed warm against me and I suddenly felt my own wound. Something was burning near the lower part of my back and I had a feeling it was what had made me fall off of Sapphire. I looked up to Glen and then slowly looked away, “What is it? What did that man pierce my back with?”
He moved to get a better look of the object and then looked back to me, “The king’s sword.”
I felt an ache in my heart as I realized how much blood he was looking at and how sick I truly was. I had been throwing up repeatedly since last night and I now realized how bad the pain was when I was away from Vladimir. Suddenly Dimitri flashed through my mind and I held our son closer to my body, “Thank you, Dimitri.” I whispered and suddenly felt his presence in the back of my mind disappeared. I felt as though I was going to faint, but quickly focused myself because if I fainted I would never want to wake up again.
“You can’t be so reckless, Felicia!” Lucas complained as he kneeled at my side, “You are the queen now! It’s not like it was the last time we traveled together! Do you want to make it so we have to watch another leader we love die? Do you want to put me and the rest of our country through this again?” He hissed and then slowly took Dimitri from me. He pulled the child into his coat and kept him warm, “But why were you thanking Dimitri just a moment ago?”
I looked up to him, “I’ve kept my thoughts from him for a long time now, but as I slept I suddenly returned back to the time I was shot in the foot. Dimitri was treating me, but the tent was not like it was when it actually happened and Dimitri was acting oddly. Suddenly he started yelling at me saying that our son was in danger and that if I did not wake up right then our son would die. I had to thank him for leading me to our son.”
“Dimitri is the only person I could actually believe could talk to you even after death,” Lucas said with a sigh and then looked to my back, “We need to get that sword out of your back or you will bleed to death at this very spot.”
“You keep the prince warm, I’ll help Felicia,” Glen said and then kneeled in front of me. He suddenly wrapped me in his arms and quickly pulled the sword one way while keeping my body against his. I let out a gasp and he quickly held me against him, “My blood will still be sufficient to heal you, correct?” He whispered into my ear.
I had to keep myself from shivering, “I think so.” I whispered and he held me tighter.
“Lucas, you should ride with the prince on Sapphire and I shall ride with Felicia on my horse. We can leave your horse here since it is just a regular military horse.”
“Alright,” Lucas replied and then stood. Glen suddenly picked me up and carried me to his horse. I realized they had already brought all of our bags with them here so we were ready to leave. Glen placed me on his horse and then quickly got on behind me. I sat sidesaddle with my head on his chest and he held me tightly against him, “Let’s go home.” Lucas said quietly as I heard Dimitri breathing slowly. He was sleeping in Lucas’s arms as I closed my eyes and slowly listened to the heartbeat of the royal man embracing me. I did not open my eyes for hours and slowly felt myself fall into a light sleeping state where I still heard everything around me. I did not open my eyes until I could feel Vladimir close by and knew we were within a few miles of the capital. I watched us pass hundreds of homes that seemed to have every resident of the homes outside to see me at such a fragile state. I ignored their gasps as we rode closer to Henry. I knew if I had Vladimir, Henry, and Glen in the same place with me, my agony would subside and I would not feel like I was dying anymore. When we reached the front grounds of the castle I heard many maids gasp in horror at my wound that was so easy to see. I could feel the blood from my wound was now flowing much slower, but my whole shirt was drenched in it and so was Glen’s and I had a feeling Dimitri had my blood covering him also with the possibility that he had passed it onto Lucas’s clothes too. I looked up from the ground when I felt Henry and Vladimir within a few yards of me.
“Someone get the doctor!” Henry hollered as he quickly came to me. He looked up to Glen for an explanation, but looked to me as I squeezed his shoulder in my hand.
“Henry, make sure my son is alright first. He was cut and he will have a harder time healing than I will. He needs to be seen by the doctor before me.”
“But you are bleeding profusely! You need help as soon as possible!” Henry argued and I smiled sadly towards him.
“But I have the curse, brother. Now that I am near three royal blooded people I will be much better off.”
“Bring the prince inside to the doctor!” Henry hollered and then slowly took me from Glen’s arms. He held me like a child as I clung to his white shirt, “Who must I kill for doing such things to you?”
“An Algorian follower of Darius took Dimitri in the middle of the night. I killed him before he could kill my son, but he was able to throw father’s sword I had thrown at him back at me before I could get away,” I whispered and then quickly diverted my eyes from Vladimir as he stared at me in horror, “I was foolish to have Dimitri out of the safety of our castle without a thousand soldiers around him.”
“I saw his cut, Felicia. It is nothing more than a scratch. He will be fine.”
“But he almost died because of how naïve I was.”
“Don’t fret over it, Felicia,” He whispered and then carried me into the castle. He brought me up to the infirmary to show the doctor changing the bandage on my sleeping child’s hand. I was brought to a bed and was told to lie on my stomach. The doctor came over quickly and saw my wound as I saw his eyes widen.
“You should have died when you received such a wound! How are you still alive?” The doctor asked and I laughed slightly.
“I’m very stubborn I guess.” I replied and he sighed. He put six stitches in my back and then bandaged my whole waist in order to keep my wound covered. Henry brought me to my room and he insisted I had to lie on my stomach. I did so and then looked to Henry’s worried eyes, “I am not going to die, Henry. Do not have such a distressed look on your face. It worries me.”
“How can I not look worried? You could have died today!”
“But I didn’t die, did I? I have been in countless situations where I should have died but I am still here.”
“You are too reckless.”
“We would not have our lives back if I was not reckless.”
He smiled slightly, “This is true.”
“Henry, could you please let me talk to Felicia alone for a while. I will watch over her,” Vladimir said and Henry left after kissing my forehead. Vladimir came and sat in the chair Henry had pulled up earlier that was at the side of the bed I faced, “You love him more than you love me, don’t you?”
I looked to him curiously, “You knew I loved Dimitri more than any other when we first started this, Vladimir.”
He shook his head, “I’m not speaking of Dimitri; I speak of the prince of Algoria. His heart is undeniable only towards loving you and yours’ is slowly coming closer to his.”
“I don’t know,” I said with a sigh, “I can’t think right now. You’re too close to me for my brain to work and my pain is clouding the few thoughts I can receive.”
“We need to figure this out, Felicia! I can’t wait any longer! You’re hearts jumping from man to man and I have to experience it with you! It’s driving me crazy!” He hissed as he threw himself into the air from the seat, “I’m fully in love with you and am dedicated to you while your heart is going from Dimitri to me to Glen continuously!”
I pulled a pillow into my face as I forced my tears to not fall, “You and I are both sick from being away from each other, Vladimir. Do not force my hand to make you leave my home. I will if you do not stop this, I promise you.”
“Who says you can banish me! I am your fiancé!”
I pushed my chest up from the bed with my arms in a sudden burst of power, “Get out! This is my home! Not yours!” I hissed as I started to stand, but felt my wound burst with pain and I uncontrollably collapsed onto the bed. I gasped in pain as I grabbed at my wound to try to stop the bleeding that now slowly covered my back.
“Someone get the doctor!” Vladimir screamed as he suddenly ran to the door and threw it open, “Get the doctor!” I felt as though my body was slowly melting away and leaving me through red streams that now flowed onto my bed sheets. I grabbed my pillow and squeezed it as more pain entered me.
“Dimitri!” I cried as I felt myself slowly dying. But in truth I am not sure which Dimitri I meant to call. The words escaped my lips before I had a chance to think them through and now lingered in the air around me like a dark cloud. Henry came bursting though the door with Lucas at his heels and the doctor only a few inches behind. Henry came to me and quickly tore off my shirt to see the damage. I understood by the revolting sound Henry made that it probably looked as bad as it felt. Lucas made a sound of disgust before he kneeled beside my face. I was crying and sweating now which he could easily see. I let out another gasp as the doctor ripped off my bandage that felt as though it was glued to my skin.
“The stitches have broken,” The doctor informed Henry who quickly looked to me as I blinked back tears, “Nurse! Bring my supplies!” He hollered and within a little while I was re-stitched but the pain did not stop. My bleeding did not slow for almost 30 minutes but when it did the doctor finally left my room. Lucas, Henry, and Vladimir stayed in the room. Lucas was in a chair near my bathroom, Vladimir was standing at the end of my bed, and Henry was sitting in the seat at my side he had left a little while ago.
“Where is Prince Glen?” Henry asked as he looked to Lucas.
“I’m not sure. I sent a maid to inform him of Felicia’s accident but he is still not here.”
“Well we should send another maid to reach him.”
“No,” I whispered and Henry looked back to me, “Glen does not need to worry about me more. Besides, he is probably at his soldier’s side and that is where he should be. He is soon to be king of Algoria so he should be with one of his people, not me.”
“But you are his queen, Felicia. I know he will want to come see you if you are injured because I would do the same thing. You will always be our queen regardless of where we live.”
I looked over to Lucas and then back to the pillow my hand clutched, “Henry, I want my son. Could you get him for me?”
“But…”
“Please, brother.” I whispered as I looked to his familiar eyes of the distant oceans and hair of sand. He stood and quickly left. The room fell silent until Henry came in with my sleeping son in his arms. I slowly tuned onto my side that was furthest from my wound and Henry placed my son beside me. I wrapped my arms around the sleeping child who quickly scooted closer to my body and slept with his forehead against my chest. I lifted his scared hand to my lips and kissed it. I watched as the thick red line disappeared slowly. His regular pale skin progressively reclaimed the area and I let out a sigh, “I’m so sorry, my child,” I whispered as I pulled him closer to me. I looked over to Vladimir who was now watching me, “He is one of us. He has the royal curse.”
“Dimitri was a carrier?” Henry asked me with confusion and I nodded, “And now your son will end up like this?”
I shook my head and then slowly moved my head so I could look to my son’s almost snow-colored hair, “I will never let that happen. As long as I can I will shelter him from the difficulties of our life before he came to be,” I kissed the child’s soft hair, “I will protect you from men like the one from earlier and anyone else who tries to harm you or mutilate your innocence.”

“Mama!” Dimitri whined and I looked over to see water on his shirt. I quickly changed him out of the shirt and into a new one. I then picked him up and brought him from the dining room and to the throne room. I stopped when a familiar face came into view, “Sir Tristan, how may I help you this morning?” I asked with a warm smile as the man came closer. He bowed with his right fist over his heart and then smiled towards my child.
“My queen, all preparations are set for the festival.”
“All preparations? How is that possible? It has only been two weeks since I asked you to plan this event.”
His smile broadened, “Everyone I asked to help was willing to do anything to help you accomplish such an idea, my queen.”
“So you have sent out notifications to all in our country and all royal family members?”
He nodded happily as his light blonde hair moved slightly, “Yes, all invitations have been sent for this Saturday and I have already received over two hundred responses and still have yet to receive a no.”
“That is wonderful! Thank you so much, Sir Tristan!” I said with a smile and the young man only four months my senior blushed before bowing again and then quickly leaving. I turned to Henry who started laughing.
“You did not even speak to him for a minute and yet you already had him flustered! It is truly amazing how quickly you can break down a man’s composure.” He joked as I walked to my throne and set Dimitri in my lap. He crawled up closer to me on my legs and started playing with my father’s necklace.
“Sir Tristan is easily flustered if I smile.”
“He was so flustered that he left without telling you who had replied to his invitation.”
“Well all I truly need to know is who does not plan to come.”
He nodded and then rested his head on his fist as he looked directly to me, “This festival is a magnificent idea, Felicia.”
“Thank you.”
“I knew our two year anniversary of finally ruling Parethia again was sometime soon, but commemorating it with a festival is brilliant.”
I stood and looked to Henry, “If you will excuse us, I need to talk to Vladimir.”
“Of course.” He replied and I quickly left the throne room. I walked down to Vladimir’s room and knocked on the door.
“Vladimir, can we talk?” I asked the door and it slowly opened. Vladimir stood in riding clothes and looked at me.
“What? I was just about to leave.”
I sighed, “I know, I heard you thoughts. I just wanted to give you this before you left,” I said as I handed him a letter and he took it.
“I’ll be back on Saturday for the festival.” He said with no emotion and I looked away from him as he walked away. A surge of anger seemed to fill the air around him and I knew I was the cause of the emotion but getting near him would not help as I wish it would. I sighed but looked down to Dimitri when he tugged on the v-neck of my dress to see a very concerned look on his face.
“Mama,” He asked, “Where’s he going?”
I sighed, “He’s going to see his brother.”
“He’s leaving mama?”
I squeezed him tighter to me, “I have you and Henry. I don’t need anyone else,” I replied and then looked down the hall when I heard someone walking. Two maids smiled towards me and I smiled back even though I wished they were Vladimir coming back to talk to me. I carried Dimitri down the hall, down the southwest staircase, and went through the front entrance. I stopped when I saw a group of young men waiting for me. The eight young soldiers bowed towards me and I smiled to them. I brought Dimitri over to the shooting range and set him in a chair behind the shaded area for shooting and storage. It was made of a small brick building that was only three walls with a longer ceiling than needed. “Stay here and watch.” I instructed Dimitri and he nodded towards me. I went over to the storage area and picked up the bow Henry had asked a man he knew to make for me. It was a regular bow, but its string was made of a material that seemed to make an arrow fly faster and truer than usual. I took out a quiver and put it on the ground beside me as I took my spot at the third shooting marker of ten. I pulled out an arrow, positioned it, and then looked to the hay bale target that was about 20 feet away. I let go of the arrow and it cut through the air quickly and precisely until it pierced the hay bale directly in its’ center. I looked to the eight young soldiers and made my face stern, “You have an hour to try to copy what I have just done. If you have a question, let me know, but you may start shooting now.” I said and then turned to Dimitri as he hopped out of the chair, “I told you to stay there, Dimitri. Did you not hear me?”
“Teach me, Mama!” He said with a broad smile, “I want to try!”
“Alight,” I said and then sighed, “I will have to find my old bow for you to use so go sit back down for a moment.” I said and he happily crawled back into the chair. He was definitely my son. Before even turning a year and a half he was almost fully walking and talking. My father used to tell me when I was young that I had learned how to talk, walk, and ride a horse before I was two so I assume Dimitri will be the same way. I rustled through the equipment on the shelves that lined the back of the shooting building and quickly came upon my old bow. It now seemed so small, but it was the perfect size for Dimitri. I brought it to the 9th marker since the eight soldiers took up the first eight and Dimitri quickly waddled over to my side. I kneeled on the dirt and pulled him so that he stood in front of me with his back against my chest. I took his hands in mine and placed them on the bow where they belonged. I helped him get an arrow and put it in the bow. I helped him pull back the string, “Alright, now close your left eye and line up the tip of the arrow with where you want to shoot,” I instructed and he lifted the bow higher up so that he could look directly where the arrow would go, “And release.” I whispered into his ear and he quickly let go of the back of the arrow. The arrow soared through the air and pierced the hay bale almost directly in the middle. He whipped his head around to me and let out a squeal.
“I did it mama!” He yelled as he hugged me. I hugged him back as he laughed.
“Yes you did, baby. I’m very proud of you.” I said and he seemed to glow with my praise. Suddenly I heard laughing and looked up to see Henry watching us.
“Well done, Felicia.”
“Uncle!” He squealed, “Did you see me?”
“Yes. That was very impressive, Dimitri.” Henry said with a laugh and I saw my father in him for just a moment. I let go of Dimitri and he quickly turned to me with concern.
“What is it mama? You’re sad?”
I shook my head and smiled, “No. I was just thinking of how much your uncle looks like your grandfather when he laughs.”
“He does?” Dimitri asked and I nodded. I wished he could know what my father and his father looked like. I wanted him to have a father to take him hunting, but that could never happen. I killed his father with my naïve nature. I ignored the thoughts and looked to a soldier as he ran over to Henry. He quickly bowed with his right fist over his chest towards Henry and then did the same towards me.
“I’m sorry to bother you, my queen, but I was told to inform you that Princess Rebecca, Prince Eliot, and King Samuel shall be arriving sometime tonight.” The light blonde haired, deep blue eyed soldier of about 30 years said towards me. I stood and brushed the dirt off of my dress with a smile towards the soldier.
“Yes, thank you very much,” I replied kindly and the man quickly left us. Henry looked to me curiously, “I wrote a letter to Rebecca a few days ago asking if she could come early for the festival so that I could talk to her and I assume her father and brother just decided to come along.”
“What do you need to talk to Rebecca about?”
I smiled towards Henry, “It’s a secret!” I mocked and he smiled back to me, “I’m only 21! I can still have some fun, can’t I?”
“A queen acting like a child, who would have guessed such a thing?” He asked with a joking smile towards me. For the rest of the day Dimitri insisted that he wanted to keep shooting so Henry and I watched and helped him understand the art of archery. By the time the sun started to fall behind the slopes of the mountains I made Dimitri come inside to eat. The three of us went to the dining room and started to eat, but were interrupted by a knock at the door.
“Yes?”
An older woman soldier quickly came into the room and bowed to the three of us, “I am sorry to bother you, my queen, but the royal family of Radia has just arrived.”
I stood from the head of the table and Dimitri looked to me, “I will get them settled and then bring them back to eat,” I told Dimitri and Henry before following the soldier out of the room. She brought me to the stables on the east side of the castle and I saw Rebecca walk out of the building first, “Rebecca!” I called and she looked up to me with a warm smile. I quickly went over and embraced her. She squeezed me to her, but quickly let go when the soldier beside me flinched. Rebecca looked to the girl with concern.
“Does our greeting bother you, soldier?” Rebecca asked with confusion and the soldier blushed.
“No! Not at all Princess Rebecca! It’s just…” The soldier looked to her feet, “Queen Felicia was injured a few weeks ago and I am just afraid such a tight embrace may bring my queen pain.”
Rebecca smiled towards the woman, “I am sorry, I did not know,” She said and then gave me a sharp look, “Why didn’t you tell me you are injured!”
I smiled towards her, “It was almost a month ago, Rebecca, and it is healing quickly. It is almost fully closed so I did not take it as a hazard or worry.”
“You are so reckless sometimes, Felicia!” She said with anger but then sighed, “So other than the injury, how are you?”
“I’m good.”
“You’re lying,” She said with a frown, “You look too skinny and seem paler than usual. Are you ill?”
I shook my head, “Not at all.”
“Then tell me why you look so sick. I want an explanation.”
I sighed, “Vladimir’s only been here a few days this month and I’m slowly becoming very ill. That’s all, but it is my burden to bear. I was born to do this.”
She sighed, “Is he coming to the festival?”
I shrugged my shoulders, “He left earlier today.”
“If he doesn’t show up I will personally go and bring him here! I don’t care if he wants to make himself sick, but he is making you so ill you look like a skeleton!”
“It’s alright, Rebecca,” I said with a sigh, but then looked to the king as he came to me. I embraced him and he did the same to me, “Was your trip long?”
“No, not at all,” He said with a smile, “How is my grandson? He is not with you?”
I shook my head, “He’s finally letting me go places without him.”
“The last time I was here Dimitri would not leave your hip, let alone be a few yards away from you.”
“He is with Henry now discussing archery.”
“Archery? He had shown interest in archery?”
I smiled towards the king, “His father was one of the best archers ever to live and his mother is skilled in all formats of fighting, he was destined to be interested in archer. He actually shows very strong natural potential. Today he finally was allowed to shoot an arrow and it almost hit the marker dead-center.”
“That’s remarkable! Well I shall have to see these skills before we leave after the festival.”
“I’m sure he will be happy to show you.” I said, but then turned around when a soldier sprinted towards us. He stopped in front of me and bowed to me as he tried to catch his breath.
“My queen, a letter from Prince Glen.” He said through gasps for air and I quickly took the letter from the man. I read it to myself and then let out a sigh before handing it back to the man.
“Please bring this to my brother.” I instructed and the man quickly left to do so.
“What did Glen say?” Eliot asked as he came over to us.
“Apparently there was a small group of men planning an assassination attempt against me and Glen apprehended them. They admitted to be connected to the man that attacked me at the beginning of the month and injured me. And if the others of this group were as skilled as the man I fought they would have probably been successful in their attempts.”
“Then shouldn’t you be interrogating them?”
I looked to Eliot and then nodded, “I would if they were still here to interrogate.”
“What do you mean?” Rebecca asked me.
“Lucas was there when Glen found the men and he killed them.”
“Why would he do that? They could have given you a warning of other attacks!” Eliot argued and I sighed.
“Most likely he did not think it through. Before the battle to regain Parethia I traveled with Lucas for a few years and he would have done the same thing then so he was probably still imagining these men were going after the woman who had stolen his heart, then denied him, and now is his best friend and queen.”
“Are you going to tell Vladimir that there was an assassination attempt against you? Maybe he would come back and you could become healthier.” Rebecca suggested and I wrapped my arms around my waist.
“I doubt he would come back for that. He will only come back if I am dying or if his sickness gets so bad that he cannot handle it,” I whispered and then looked away from Rebecca, “Besides, I don’t want to worry him. We have enough to deal with right now and an assassination attempt is not something he needs.”
“Where did he go anyways?” The king asked.
“To visit his brother in order to tell him that he may not be stepping down from their throne.”
“What do you mean not stepping down? He’s going to marry you soon and he will have to be the king here!”
“Mama!” Dimitri hollered and I quickly turned around to grab him as he ran to me. I picked him up and spun around once before I kissed his cheek.
“What is it, baby?” I asked with a smile and he looked to the three people watching us.
“Grandpa!” He gushed and I quickly handed him to the king. King Samuel hugged the child and I forced myself to look away for I could feel my heart and forced composure slowly crumble. They all shared his eyes of light green that made me want to weep and see Dimitri in my dreams once more. Sadly he had not entered my conscience since the abduction of our son, “Grandpa, did you hear what daddy did for me?” Dimitri asked and my heart skipped a beat.
“Your father?” The king asked as he looked from me and the child he held in his arms, “You mean Dimitri the first?”
Dimitri nodded, “Yea! Daddy helped mommy save me!”
“Save you? From what?”
“A mean man, grandpa! But he gave mommy a booboo! I saw it! It’s all bruised and swollen!”
“What is he talking about, Felicia?” The king asked with sternness in his tone.
“Let’s go inside,” I suggested with a heavy heart, “You must be hungry.” I added and the king agreed. Rebecca took my hand in hers and we walked inside. I stopped at the door when I saw Henry watching us and assumed he had brought Dimitri here. The six of us went up to the dining room and ate while Dimitri talked to his extended family that watched me as I moved food around my plate, “Soldier,” I insisted as a man in a uniform went by the doors to the dining room. He quickly came in and bowed at my side, “Please send this letter to Prince Glen and this one to General Lucas.”
“Of course my queen!” The man said and then quickly left with the letters I had just written.
“What are you writing to Glen and Lucas about mommy? Are they coming on Saturday?”
I nodded, “I was just writing them about something special I am planning for the festival, honey. Don’t worry about it.” The three Radian royalties looked to me with concern as I quickly looked out the window. Rain started to fall as I felt my stomach screaming in pain. I quickly leaned back in the chair but looked to Henry as his hand was set on my arm.
“You look ill, Felicia. Do you need the doctor?” He asked with concern and I shook my head.
“There is nothing he can do for me.”
“He could give you something to lessen the pain. Please, Felicia. Let him help you.” Henry said and I closed my eyes. I did not have enough energy to argue him. I heard him stop a maid as she walked past him, “Please go fetch the doctor for my sister.” He asked and the woman quickly ran off. I knew she was afraid but I could not comfort her. I was in too much pain to even stand and I could not hide my pain any longer. I was too ill to protect others. The doctor quickly came into the room and I opened my eyes to watch him as he came to my side. He quickly took my temperature as I feared he would.
“My queen, you need to lie down. Your fever is too high.” The man whispered to me and I sighed.
“Lying down is not an option, Doctor.”
“My prince, please make her reconsider. Her temperature is so high she could faint.”
“Felicia, please go lie down.” Henry insisted and I closed my eyes. I put my hand over my eyes with my thumb and middle finger squeezing the sides of my face as I tried to get my head to stop spinning. I then looked to Dimitri as he grabbed my hand.
“Mama?” He asked with concern and I sighed but forced a smile in his direction.
“It’s alright, baby.”
“But you’re sick.”
I nodded, “But I will be fine. The fever will pass soon.”
“Henry send for someone to go fetch Vladimir,” Rebecca insisted, “He is the one making her ill.”
I looked to Rebecca, “He knows I am ill, Rebecca. He just refuses to show concern for it. If he cared he would have come back by now.”
“So force him to come here!” She argued, “He probably does not understand how much pain you are in!”
I looked away from Rebecca, “He is in bed with another woman right now. I could die and he would not care.” I whispered and she quickly stood with anger.
“I’m going to kill him!” She hissed but froze when Henry grabbed her arm.
“Don’t, Rebecca.”
“But he’s cheating on Felicia and making her sick! He should not be allowed to do this!” She yelled, but froze when I slowly stood.
“If you will excuse me,” I whispered and then slowly left the room. I quickly made my way to my room and threw up twice before Henry had enough time to find me. When he came into my bathroom I was crying while lying on the floor. He quickly picked me up and brought me to my bed. I lay down and he sat on the edge of my bed, “I hate this.”
“I do also.” He whispered, but looked up as Rebecca, Eliot, and the king came in with Dimitri in the king’s arms. I quickly sat up on my bed and wiped tears from my face. Dimitri squirmed in the king’s arms until King Samuel finally let him down. Dimitri quickly ran over to my bed and crawled onto it. He came to me and hugged my neck as he pulled his thin build against mine.

I walked into the throne room with the thought of what I had told the Raidian royal family last night on my mind. I had on the dress Rebecca had given to me for the celebration starting tonight. It was light purple, made of many flowing layers with glitter all through it, and gems that represented my family and the radian royal family that went around the v-neck and waist. I came up to Sir Tristan but he froze suddenly. “Is something wrong, Sir Tristan?”
He cleared his throat and blushed, “No, not at all, my queen. I was just surprised by how beautiful the Radian royal family gems look on you. They truly fit.”
“Thank you, Sir Tristan,” I whispered as I felt sick, “Have you by chance seen my son? He seems to have gotten away.”
“Yes, he was at the archery range with the king and princess of Radia.”
“Alright, thank you very much,” I said kindly and then walked away. I went down the staircase on the west side of the building but suddenly felt dizzy and quickly sat down in the middle of the stairs. I felt hot and light headed. I quickly closed my eyes and leaned back on the metal hand rail that was behind me. My breathing was fast and painful, but I had to keep breathing or I was afraid I would faint. A cold hand was placed on my arm and I slowly opened my eyes to see Eliot kneeling in front of me on the stair I was sitting on.
“You look ill, Felicia. Should I call for the doctor?” He asked with concern that did not lessen even when I shook my head in response.
“I just felt like I was going to faint. The feeling will pass soon.”
His face turned to a snarl, “When Vladimir gets back here I am going to punch him for hurting you like this.”
I brushed my hand across his cheek with a smile, “I’m fine, Eliot. Do not worry.”
“How can you tell me not to worry? You almost fainted by just walking down the stairs!”
“This time it was my fault. I promise.”
“How could it be your fault?”
“I made Vladimir cheat and that has made our bond weaken which is difficult on the person who does not do the cheating.”
“How could you make him cheat?”
I looked away from him, “Vladimir got the pain I am facing when I was contacted by…Dimitri,” I whispered, “I put him through this pain so I deserve this.”
“But you did not cheat! My brother just contacted you through your conscience! You did not ask him to!”
I nodded, “But I did cheat before this so I cannot be mad at him for anything. He gave up seeing anyone else and I went and slept with another man. I made him angry and he took it out on me,” Suddenly the area around us was filled with the voices of Dimitri, King Samuel, and Rebecca. I quickly forced myself to stand as they came to the end of the staircase.
“Mama!” Dimitri hollered and quickly ran up the stairs to me. I ignored all pains in my body and picked up the boy. I kissed him on the cheek and he smiled to me, “Grandfather helped me shoot the target! He said I’m getting better!”
I laughed, “That’s great, baby. I’m very proud.” I replied and he glowed with my praise. I then looked to Rebecca and the king as they walked up to me, “Rebecca, could I speak with you privately before we go to the festival?”
“Of course,” She said with a smile and I set Dimitri down. I walked with Rebecca out of the building and to the grass, “What do you need to talk to me about?”
“Actually I wanted to ask a favor of you.”
“Favor?”
I nodded, “I was wondering if you would honor me and Dimitri by becoming Dimitri’s godmother.”
“Godmother! You want me to be his godmother?”
I nodded again with a smile, “Shall I take your enthusiasm as a yes?” I asked and she quickly hugged me.
“Of course! I’m honored that you asked me!” She said with a smile as she let go of me.
“Then I shall tell Dimitri the good news,” I said and then led her back inside. I went to Dimitri and picked him back up, “Guess what, baby.” I said with a smile to the little child.
“What Mama?”
“Rebecca is going to be your godmother. Isn’t that great?” I asked and he let out a gasp of joy as he looked to Rebecca.
“Really Aunt Rebecca?” He asked with enjoyment and she nodded. He let out a cheer and then hugged me tightly, “This is the best day ever, mama!”
I nodded to him, “And I also have a surprise for you today too.”
“A surprise! What is it?”
I poked his nose, “You’ll just have to wait and see like everyone else!” I laughed and he let out a whine.
“Not fair, Mama! I want to know before everyone else!”
I shook my head, “It’s a secret! But I will be sharing it this afternoon at the beginning of the festival!”
“Then let’s go!” He insisted and I laughed.
“We cannot go until the others get here!”
“Oh yea!” He said with a smile, “Peter is coming, right? He promised the next time he came over he would play with me!”
I nodded, “I’m sure he will!”
Suddenly Dimitri squeezed onto my dress and I looked to him with concern, “He’s here, isn’t he?” Dimitri asked me with concern.
I sighed and nodded, “Yes, Vladimir just arrived in town a few minutes ago and will be here shortly.”
“Does he have to come, mama? He will just make you sad again!” He whined and I sighed to him.
“This is not your place to speak, Dimitri. I told him to come.”
“But he’s really mad, mama. I can tell.”
I nodded, “But don’t worry. He will not be rude towards you or I will hit him, okay?”
“Yea!” Dimitri said with a smile, “Can we go see if Peter is here yet?” He asked and I nodded. I then led the group back upstairs and to the front of the house. I froze when I saw Lucas and Glen. Lucas had a large bandage over his right eye that quickly sent my mind flying. I set down Dimitri and quickly ran over to him.
“Dear father, Lucas! What did you do?” I yelled as I wrapped my arms around him, “Are you trying to give me a heart attack!”
He hugged me, “It’s nothing.”
“Nothing? It is certainly not nothing! Who gave you that?”
“One of the men that was trying to kill you,” He said and I looked away from him with shame. He put his hand on my cheek and turned my face back to his, “It’s alright. I did not lose my eye.”
“You’re too reckless,” I said with a frown but then kissed the bandage over his eye, “Does it hurt?”
“Not as long as you are not injured.”
I smiled towards him, “Because of you I do not have to worry,” I said but then let go of Lucas. Peter ran into the room and quickly sprinted at me.
“Miss Faith!” He yelled as he squeezed himself to me. I hugged him back as I noticed he was almost as tall as me.
“Hello Peter.” I said with a smile and then moved the odd hair on his head back to place.
He smiled towards me, “You’re the only person I allow to do that, Miss Faith.” He informed me and I smiled, but let go of him as Dimitri ran over to us.
“Mama…” He whispered as he grabbed onto the end of my dress.
“I know, baby.” I whispered but quickly grabbed Eliot’s waist as he started to storm out of the room, “Eliot, don’t!” I hissed as I squeezed him in my weak arms.
“He deserves a few good punches to that cheating face of his!” He hollered as I felt everyone’s eyes in the room fall upon me. Suddenly Vladimir came into the room and looked to me holding onto Eliot. I had to squeeze him tighter as he pulled on me, “I’ve got a problem to settle with you, Vladimir!” He hissed and Vladimir let out a laugh.
“Oh yea? Over what?”
“You know over what! Don’t act so naïve!” Eliot hissed and I felt sickness flowing through me.
“If you do not stop this, Eliot, precious Felicia will faint again,” Vladimir said with assurance as Eliot turned to me. I quickly let go of him and smiled towards Aaron as he came into the room.
“Aaron, where is Luther?”
“He’s checking on Sapphire and Ruby,” He said with a smile back and then bowed towards me, “I must thank you for what you did for Prince Luther last month.”
“It was nothing, Aaron.”
“What did Mama do?” Dimitri asked Aaron.
“She captured three people planning to attack Prince Luther when we could not find them.”
“When was that, Mama?”
I smiled towards him, “While you were with your uncle a few weeks ago I went riding and found the three men. It was nothing short of a fluke.”
“A fluke I would be dead without,” Luther said as he came into the room. He embraced me and I did the same to him, “It is so good to see you, Felicia. It has been too long.”
“Indeed,” I whispered kindly as I let go of him, “Well what are we standing around here for? We have a festival to go to!” I said with a smile and then walked over to Dimitri. I picked him up and he let out a cheer of enjoyment.
“You’re going to tell us your secret now, right?”
I taped the end of his nose, “Soon, my child. Be patient.” I joked and then started walking. Peter quickly came to my side as everyone else followed. We left my home, left through the gate, and went to the center of town. As we came close the view of enjoyment came upon us. People shuffled throughout the large area of food, games, and greeting that quickly halted as I reached the platform made for an announcer. I cleared my throat and smiled towards the crowd as it fell silent, “Good afternoon, my citizens! Today is the landmark for our 2nd year of ruling Parethia as our own once again!” Cheering filled the area and then died down, “Now I ask you all to join in celebrating this day and I also come to bear news!” Everyone seemed to focus on me intensely, “In four months our country shall receive our new princess of Parethia and I also ask you all to celebrate over such proud things! Now please enjoy yourselves!” I called as everyone in the crowd cheered with happiness that they now had a princess, but I could tell that all those close to me held their breaths. I grabbed Dimitri as he ran to me and I hugged him to me.
“Mama, I’m going to have a sister?” He cheered and I laughed even though I wanted to weep.
“I knew you would be pleased!” I said with a smile as my body ached. Pain surged to me from Vladimir while morning sickness and depression squeezed me. I forced myself to only focus on Dimitri as I carried him off of the platform and thanked a large group of people for their blessings to me for my daughter. I felt sick and suddenly my sickness seemed to increase. I handed Dimitri to Rebecca as she came up to most likely yell at me, “I’ll be back!” I called as I ran off and then quickly sprinted to the castle. As I was about to go in I crouched at the door and threw up repeatedly. I started crying and shaking with no way to relieve my pain. I sat down on the ground a few yards away and looked up when Vladimir’s body shaded me from the sun.
“Is this child mine?”
“Yes.”
“How do you know for sure?”
I looked away from him, “I took an herb so that I could not become pregnant with Glen’s child. I knew you would hate me more if this child was his.”
“So I guess we should get married?”
I looked up to him, “No, ask the girl you slept with before to marry you. I’m just the person keeping you from dying of this curse so you do not need to treat me like anything more.”
He let out a sigh, “You know you’re more than that to me.”
“Don’t treat me like you do the other women, Vladimir. I am only that to you so don’t try to make this into something it is not. I am the queen of Parethia, your slave, and the mother to my child. That is all I can ever be because I was forced to stay at your side! If I could leave you and not hurt my people and my son I certainly would, but that is not an option!” I brushed away tears as they came down my face, “I so badly wish I could take back everything! I want this child to be Glens! I want to marry him and have him become Dimitri’s step father, but I can’t because I will hurt everyone if I do! I want so badly to be selfish, but I could never do that to everyone!” I stood and walked past Vladimir and he grabbed my arm.
“Then what are we going to do, Felicia? You don’t want to be with me but we have to be together so tell me what you want me to do! I am stuck in this with you so we have to work together!”
I looked off to the direction of where everyone was celebrating, “You will stay beside me, I will have your child, and you will do as you please. Take other women to your bed while I take care of my children. That is the only way to make it through this hell.” I pulled away from him and quickly walked back to the festival. As I walked I made myself presentable and look happy even though death was a beautiful thing to me now. I walked up to the party and saw the Radian royalties, the Alethian royalties, Glen, Lucas, and Dimitri all together which warmed me slightly. I walked through the crowd and smiled when someone would bow towards me or congratulate me, but one man caught my eye. I looked to him again to make sure I was not seeing things but my first glance was right. The man was much taller than me, strongly built, handsome, blue eyes, and had a beautiful shade of blonde hair. Yet, something about him made my stomach churn. I stared at him to try to figure it out, but when the man noticed my staring he quickly turned away and walked in the direction to my left. And there it was! The clue to prove that my odd feeling was correct! A stray dark brown hair was at the very low part of his neck, almost unnoticeable if you were not looking for it. I quickly followed after the man and made my way through the crowd, but lost him. I kept going in the direction I had last seen him in, yet he was gone. Suddenly I was pulled into a small alley between two stores as my mouth was covered. Leather touched my lips as the handsome man’s face came closer. He smiled towards me in a disgusting way.
“Why do you cast such an enchanting glance upon me, my queen?” The man asked as he removed his hand from my mouth but pushed his body against me so I could not escape from his gaze.
“I am certainly not the queen of a half-breed like yourself,” I hissed, “You are one of the men trying to kill those close to me. So tell me, Sir, whose head have you come to take? Mine, my brother’s, my son’s, the Radian royal family’s, the Princes of Alethia, your general, or your prince? Who do you scout to kill?”
He smiled towards me, “You have proven it is not possible to kill those you speak of, Queen Felicia, but there is someone who is defenseless without you and will not be protected by the ones you have already protected from us.”
“Who do you speak of?”
“King Vladimir,” He hissed in a maniacal way that made chills go down my spine. He was right. I was the only one who would protect Vladimir here at this festival, “He will soon no longer be a king; he shall become the earth’s nutrient.”
“Well you certainly cannot kill him while pressing against me, Sir. It is not possible.”
He smiled again, “I do not enjoy dirtying my hands, Queen Felicia. I am not his killer. I am merely a distraction,” He suddenly pressed his lips to mine and I quickly bit his lip as hard as I could. He quickly recoiled from me and hit my face with power, but I did not back down. I shoved him away, giving myself enough time to pull out my father’s sword. I charged at the man as he got to his feet, but he did not have time to move. My sword forced him against the brick wall on the other side of the alley as he coughed blood. I pulled out my sword because of the lack of time, but had to stop when the dying man grabbed my calf. His nails acted as claws to tear away my skin in five lines before he hit the ground and was still. I shoved my sword back into its sheath as I started to run.
“Move! Out of the way!” I hollered at the top of my lungs as I ran through the festival. People quickly moved out of my way as I sprinted much faster than I knew I could. I spotted the large group of those who were close to my heart and felt fear strike me, “Lucas!” I yelled and he quickly turned to me with shock, “Protect Vladimir!” I added as I heard the footsteps of brown eyed devils. I quickly turned as one hopped off the roof of a home close to me and he darted at me.
“Murderer!” The man hissed at me as I heard some of my soldiers running to my aid. I quickly started off at the man and he thrust his sword towards me. I blocked it with my sword I had pulled out quickly and then pulled away before thrusting my sword into his side. I cut his torso halfway through and left him to die while I went to fight another man with brown eyes.
“For King Darius!” The new fighter yelled, but he was not near my skills. I cut him at the connective tissue of his neck and shoulder until I had hit his heart and then pulled away from him.
“For our King!” A third man yelled as he attacked me while my back was turned and tried to stab me, but I hit his sword. He slit the right side of the waist of my dress and I struck his chest. There were only three of the almost 20 men that started to sprint off. I turned to the few soldiers who had killed a lot of the men and now watched me.
“Half of you follow those men! The rest of you, search the surrounding area for more attackers!” I ordered and my soldiers ran off. I quickly went over to the group as I saw blood on Lucas and Vladimir who both had swords drawn. I put my sword away and ran to Vladimir. His arm was cut so I quickly turned to the crowd watching in horror, “Someone go fetch a doctor!” I ordered and many people ran towards the castle. I grabbed Vladimir’s arm and inspected it. The laceration was not terrible, but was still bleeding profusely. I used a handkerchief that had been in Vladimir’s shirt to try to stop the blood. I turned to Lucas to see his face was still in shock, “Give me your handkerchief.” I asked and he quickly handed the small cloth to me. I put it over Vladimir’s wound but looked to him when he used his other hand to grab my right wrist.
“You’re bleeding,” He whispered with a pale look on his face.
“It is just a scratch,” I replied but then looked to the doctor as he ran over to me, “Vladimir’s arm is cut.”
“Follow me, King Vladimir.” He said and I was about to follow but was stopped when I heard Dimitri.
“Peter, let me go!” He cried as I saw his tears but Peter pulled on Dimitri’s arm harder.
“You have to stay here!”
“No!” Dimitri cried, “I want mommy!” He looked to me with despair and I quickly went to him. Peter released him and stared at me. I knelt down to Dimitri and searched his body for injuries.
“Did any of those men touch you?” I asked as I put my hand on his cheek which made him cry harder. He wrapped his arms around my arm and wept.
“Mama,” He whimpered and I could not hold back my own tears. I quickly embraced the child and folded him into my body as I shook. I had failed. No matter what I did I could not save his innocence from corruption because I am the corruption. I am hurting my son because of my natural savagery. I quickly forced myself to stop crying and looked to my son. I kissed his cheek and then hugged him again. Yet I was shocked when Dimitri pulled away from me, “Your wound!”
I smiled towards the child as he realized my bleeding cuts had suddenly covered the areas of cloth around them in blood, “I’ll be fine soon enough.” I replied but looked to Lucas as he picked me up.
“Don’t worry, Prince Dimitri, I will make sure your mother reached the doctor immediately,” He said and then started off. I lay my head against his chest as he carried me, “How did you know they were going to attack? I had the whole festival surrounded and yet they still got in and would have been unnoticed if you had not come.”
“One of them caught my eye and gave me an odd feeling so I decided to follow him and I found out from him.”
“You are incredible, Felicia.” He whispered as we came into the castle. I was brought to the infirmary where I had been so many times before for injuries to see it was occupied by a soldier with a cut on his arm, Vladimir, the doctor, and a few maids. When I came in they all seemed to freeze as Lucas laid me on the first bed.
“Where are all of your injuries, my queen?” The doctor asked as he came over to me. I pointed to my side and then the cuts on my leg.
“What on earth gave you those scratches?” Lucas asked as he kneeled beside my bed.
“The man I confronted that told me of the attack.”
Suddenly Lucas touched my cheek and I felt a sharp pain, “Did he also punch you?”
I nodded, “He tried to rape me and when I attacked back he punched my face.”
Lucas suddenly fumed with anger, “That man did not deserve a quick death if he did such things to you! How dare he try to rape the pregnant Queen!”
I smiled towards him, “It’s alright Lucas, please calm down.”
“My queen, you will need stitches on your side.”
I nodded to the doctor and turned on my side. He slowly injected me with numbing medication before he started the process of giving me stitches. I looked to Lucas as he took my hand in his, “Squeeze my hand if it hurts.”
I smiled slightly to him, “I have become used to it.”
He gave me a painful look, “When you were a maid you barely knew of physical pain, but now that you have come back to royalty you are injured continuously.”
“I did as a child also.”
A maid came over with a smile on her face, “I can testify for the queen on such matters. I was a maid of the previous king and queen and the young princess always seemed to come home from a hunt with more injuries than any of the men.”
“I will be fine soon enough. I am cursed, but am blessed by the presence of other’s with royal blood and the presence of such good friends at my side,” I squeezed Lucas’s hand, “Thank you for protecting Vladimir.”
“I would kill myself if ordered by you, Felicia.”
I felt tears welling in my eyes and quickly brushed them away, “You used to say that to me when we traveled together, I remember. But that was because you loved me then.”
He smiled, “I still love you, Felicia. But not as the young, naive man I was. I love you as my best friend, my new family, and my queen,” He kissed my hand, “And I will always be here and shall do whatever you ask of me till my last breath. My only goal in life is to keep you safe in your father and Dimitri’s place.”
I nodded to him, “I know,” I whispered but looked up as Luther came into the room. He walked over to me and kissed my cheek, “How is he?” I asked with worry straining my voice.
“He’s better. Peter and Rebecca calmed him down, but all he keeps saying is that he wants to come see you.”
I looked to the door, “Is he waiting outside for me?”
He shook his head, “Rebecca thought it was best if he could not disturb you so she brought him to your room so he could lie down and rest for a while. Both of you need some time to rest.”
I smiled towards him, “Would you rest in this situation, Luther?”
He sighed, “This is not similar to the time you captured General Aaron and I. You do not have the strength anymore to compare yourself to the way things were before. Rebecca and Eliot have informed me of what has happened to you lately.”
“Lately? What happened?” Lucas asked as he stood and looked Luther directly in the eyes.
“Felicia has been terribly sick lately and has been getting into a lot more fights with attackers.”
“Do you speak of the time Prince Glen and I were traveling at her side and she was stabbed in the back by the man that stole the young prince from Felicia’s room?”
He nodded, “And some small fights that have happened since.”
Lucas turned to me, “You must be terrifying Prince Henry daily.”
“He does not know of most and I had planned to keep such trivial events from each of you also. I only seem to be causing trouble lately even though I have been trying my hardest not to.”
“You’re too unguarded,” Lucas retorted, “You need some personal guards to follow you around.”
I smiled, “I could never do such a thing.”
Lucas gave me an angry look, “Dimitri would insist on it if he was here with you.”
I looked away from him, “Do not speak of him.”
“But…”
“Lucas,” I warned, “He is gone. The only Dimitri I can care about now is my son. Prince Dimitri of Raidia is gone so I cannot keep thinking of him. I cannot fix what I caused in the past so I must try to forget of him and everything that he has said or done.”
“But you love him, Felicia.”
I sat up as the doctor finished my stitches, “Wait my queen!”
“My Queen you need to rest!”
I turned to the concerned maid and doctor, “Send for my brother, the king of Raidia, the king of Alethia, Prince Glen, and the Prince of Atria.”
Lucas grabbed my shoulder to stop me, “What are you planning, Felicia?” He asked with concern in his voice.
I looked back to him with power in my eyes, “I was not careful before and I lost people I loved. I will never let that happen again. These followers of Darius shall join their king in hell before they can touch anyone again.”
Suddenly Glen entered the room and just froze. I knew he was shocked to see such an expression of pure hate on my face, “What is this about, Felicia? Why are you calling all representatives from each country here?”
I looked away from him as my heart ached, “I told you a long time ago that I shall never let anyone, not even Henry, know what I have planned and I still believe that is the best way.”
He suddenly became angry, “You always told Dimitri of what you planned.”
I felt anger fill me more, “So you want to die also?” I asked, “You want me to tell you my plans when I only let one person in on my secrets and he was killed? You want to follow in his footsteps?”
“Of course not…”
“Then you must either follow me blindly once again or leave my home and never return. I have too much to deal with so I do not need to add a traitor.”
He smiled slightly, “I was not wrong before to follow you blindly and I also still believe that is the best way.”
I turned as I heard something moving and quickly fled over to Vladimir to try to pull him back to his bed, “You need to rest!” I insisted but was surprised when he kissed my forehead and then embraced me. I felt the warmth of his body and my heart squeezed.
“The best medicine for both of our wounds is to stay like this. No amount of sleep can compare to your power.”
“Vladimir…” I whispered as I looked to him.
“I’m trying to say I’m sorry,” He whispered and then brushed a tear off my face, “I don’t want you to be in pain because of me again.”
I felt flushed as he smiled, “I accept your apology.” I whispered but then looked to the door as Rebecca appeared with a frown.
“He is just like his father,” Rebecca hissed as she quickly walked over to me. I let go of Vladimir and turned to her, “He will not leave his room till he sees you. That is just like my brother!”
I smiled towards her, “I shall take over care of my son. Thank you for your help, Rebecca.”
She smiled back, “What else is a godmother good for?”
I turned to Luther, “Could you go check on Sapphire and Ruby for me?” I asked and he nodded. I left the room and went down the hall to my room. I knocked on the door and Dimitri opened it. He quickly threw himself around me and I embraced him.
“Mama!” He repeated continuously as I pulled him closer.
“I’m here, Dimitri,” I whispered and then stood with him in my arms, “I promise on your father’s grave I will never let something so horrible happen near you again. I will keep you safe and out of any harm’s reach,” I felt myself about to cry, but held back, “After everything I cannot lose you, Dimitri. You are my everything; my life, my soul, my essence, my compassion, and my comfort. I will never let you see something like that again.”
He grabbed my dress, “Mama, don’t fight anymore,” He whispered, “I don’t want to lose you either.”
I pulled him closer but could not reply. I looked as Miss Lydia came near me. I smiled towards her, “Dimitri, go with Miss Lydia. I have to prepare for the arrival of other royals.” I said as I handed him to her. He quietly left my side and I went to the throne room to see Henry sitting in his throne just watching the empty room. When I came in he sat up to watch me.
“You do not look pleased, Felicia. Is something the matter?”
I sat next to him and watched the window across from us, “I cannot accommodate to his wishes.”
“Whose wishes do you speak of?”
“Your Nephew’s.”
“What does he ask of you?”
I looked to Henry, “He does not want me to fight ever again.”
“I would sincerely enjoy that also.”
I put my head in my hands, “I was raised to kill! I was raised to stand at Sylvia’s side with sword at hip, bow in hand, and quiver on back! I was not made to be a mother, wife, or queen!” I looked to him, “How can I give up the only thing I have left that reminds me so much of Father? When I practice sword play I feel as if I am honoring our king’s memory.”
“And a bow with arrow must remind you of Dimitri the first.”
I gave him a side glance but did nod, “I would give the world for that child’s happiness, but he only has asked one thing of me and that is the one thing I can never give up!” I looked to my own hands, “Why does he have to ask me such a thing? Does he not understand that I fight to protect him and his people?”
“He is just a child, Felicia. He will understand at some point.”
“I would rather die than disappoint that innocent boy, but giving up father is not an option.”
Henry put his hand on my shoulder, “Then teach him. Teach him how to shoot and fight. Once he has felt the power of you and Dimitri’s natural talents flowing through him he will understand why you cannot give up fighting.”
I looked to him and smiled slightly, “When he was shooting before did you notice it?”
“Notice what, dear sister?”
I let out a quiet laugh, “He looks just like Dimitri when he was his age. Shooting at the range and counting the hours between the lessons, he will soon become just like that.”
“Maybe he will become as great as Dimitri.”
I shook my head, “No, I will make sure he becomes better. Then he will be unstoppable.”
He looked to my stomach, “Then will she sit where you do? Or shall you have Dimitri bestow upon your throne?”
I smiled, “I shall see how their natural personalities progress. Whoever is much like Sylvia, dedicated and interested in studying more than anything else, shall take my place. Whoever of the two is much like you, Dimitri, or I, free spirited and intent with training, will replace you when the time comes,” Suddenly a chill filled my body, “I need to go. Vladimir is looking for me,” I said as I stood. I went down the hall and to Vladimir’s room. I knocked before opening the door to see him sitting on a couch near his bed, “You needed me?” I asked quietly as he sat up to smile.
“I am aching, please help me,” He asked and I quickly shut the door. I went to him and sat beside him. I pulled my legs to my open side before leaning into him. He turned slightly so that I lay mainly on top of him as he embraced me tightly, “I shall never take another woman, Felicia. I promise you that with all my heart.”
“How can I believe you?”
He pulled me even tighter against him, “All I could think about while watching that other woman was you. All I ever think about is you lately. I have become obsessed and want you so badly to be only mine that I am willing to injure our relationship in the process.”
“I knew that, but it is nice hearing it from you,” I whispered, “I have not betrayed you since that time long ago with Glen and I will never do it again. As long as you stay at my side, I promise on the lives of my brother, my son, and my people that I will be faithful.”
“You should say OUR brother, OUR son, and OUR people, Felicia,” He whispered and I was utterly confused, “I want to get married. I want to marry you in front of everyone. I want to take you as my wife and claim the place beside you in ruling this country.”
“If you wish to be married with me, then I do not protest.”
“I want to marry you before the end of summer. I want to claim you as my own before the next season.”
“But summer ends in two weeks.”
He kissed my head, “Then in two weeks, we will marry,” He whispered, “I shall claim Dimitri as my step son and we shall finally become the family that is destined to happen.”

I rode to the spot I had been called to and stopped when I saw blood on the dirt below me. I looked to see two of Luther’s soldiers corpses’ on the ground before looking up to the man drenched in blood that stared at me with odd eyes. He was obviously a follower of Darius and here to kill me, so I decided to face him. I got off of Sapphire and walked closer towards the man. He started shaking and pulled a third soldier I had not seen from behind him, “Come any closer and I shall kill this man!” He hollered and I quickly dropped my bow to the ground. I pulled my sword out of its sheath before placing it on the ground also. I put my hands in the air.
“Let that soldier go!” I ordered and the man threw the soldier to the ground that let out a large grunt. The man came at me with a sword while laughing loudly.
“Die, you savage beast!” He hissed as he came at me. I quickly dogged his first three attacks, but the fourth one got my arm near my wrist. Pulling out a dagger before he could notice, I attacked him in a flash. The dagger went through his skull and he limply slumped to the ground. I quickly went over to the two corpses to make sure they had no pulse and no chance of living before heading to the soldier with a large cut across his chest. I knelt at his side and he gave me a look of terror as he tried to move away.
“Don’t hurt me, please!” He cried and I quickly pulled my hair behind my ear.
“You can trust me, soldier. This earring proves I am the queen of Parethia. I have been sent by your prince and king to help you,” I whispered and then put my hand towards him, “May I examine your wound? I want to make sure you will not be more injured by ridding with me,” I said and he nodded as he lay down on the dirt. I pulled up his shirt to see a deep laceration, but not deep enough to pierce organs. I quickly went over to Sapphire and pulled off the bag of medical supplies. With gauze and some tape I put on the best bandage I could for the time being. I then picked up the soldier like a princess and carried him to Sapphire. I helped him onto her before getting on behind him, “Lean back on me so that you are not straining your wound, soldier. I will bring you to my home in order to see the doctor who will help you until you are well enough to return home.” I whispered before the soldier nodded. He leaned back on me and I made Sapphire start moving. His breathing soon slowed and he fell asleep on the way back. When I reached the castle a guard ran towards the gate in front of my home.
“Open the gate! The queen has arrived!” The soldier hollered and then saluted me with his right fist over his heart before I moved on. I quickly went into the castle grounds but got off of Sapphire while making sure I did not wake the soldier sleeping in my arms. I quickly carried him upstairs to the infirmary where the doctor ran over to me as I set the soldier on a bed.
“He was attacked with a sword and had a large laceration down his chest but it did not reach his organs,” I informed the doctor who quickly brought two nurses to help him stitch up the man. I left the infirmary and made my way to the throne room where I found a soldier talking to Henry, “Soldier! Please send someone to inform the king of Alethia that one of his soldiers survived the attack and is now under my supervision!” The soldier quickly left the room with a salute towards me and I looked to Henry as he watched me.
“You should get your arm wrapped, sister.”
I smiled, “Oh, I forgot. I shall do that right now.” I said before following through with my promise and going to the infirmary. When I came in I saw the soldier from before sleeping so I quietly asked the doctor to help me. Once my arm was wrapped I left the infirmary and went outside to where Lucas was giving Dimitri riding lessons. When I came out Ruby quickly ran over to me with Dimitri on her back. As she stumbled I quickly grabbed Dimitri before she fell. I set him on the ground and quickly helped the young horse up before looking to Lucas who came over to me.
“She was doing wonderfully till she saw you.” He said with a smile as I brushed dirt off of Dimitri.
“Then I am sorry I interrupted,” I replied, “But it is time for dinner and I hoped you would join us, Lucas.” I said and he kissed my forehead before nodding. We all went inside and to the dining room to see Henry and Vladimir talking. They both stopped chatting to look at us but I was shocked when Vladimir came over to me and grabbed my arm that was wrapped.
“What on earth happened, my bride?” He asked with worry.
“It is just a scratch, Vladimir,” I replied, “I was told there had been an attack on a group of Luther’s soldiers near our boarder so I went to go see if any of his soldiers were still alive. I was able to save one soldier, but had to kill the attacker first.”
“You are too reckless. You shouldn’t have gone by yourself to attack that man.” He said with a sigh as he hugged me.
“I am alright,” I whispered, “Well let’s eat.” I said with a smile to Vladimir who nodded. I sat at the head of the table with Dimitri to my right, Henry at my left, Lucas next to Henry, and Vladimir beside Dimitri. I was pleased when I saw Vladimir help Dimitri cut up his meat when it was given to the young child. He was like a true father, which tore my heart in blissful joy. I ate as I listened to Lucas tell my brother of Dimitri’s natural ridding skills.
“He certainly is wonderful, Prince Henry. He easily tamed Ruby even though she is a very wild mare. It reminded me much of the days Felicia trained Sapphire as her own horse.”
“He must come by it naturally,” Henry agreed, “But he has become magnificent at archery and sword play also so he will become a wonderful heir to the military, right sister?”
I nodded, “He will follow in his Uncle’s footsteps, I am sure,” I replied and then looked to Dimitri, “Isn’t that right?”
Dimitri nodded, “I want to be just like uncle!” He replied with a smile, “Then I can protect my little sister when she takes mommy’s place! I will make sure to leave our country to victory!”
“He talks like an adult,” Lucas commented, “He must get that from listening to his wonderful mother speak to the country.”
I smiled towards him, “Speaking of the country, when will you be leaving us, Lucas?”
“I shall leave in two days.”
“Well then you should ride with Luther’s soldiers since they will be going near your home.”
“Oh? Why are his soldiers going to come through but not him?”
“Luther must stay at his fiancé’s side since she is pregnant.”
“I never thought I’d see the day where Luther would think to marry anyone other than you, sister,” Henry commented, “He seemed infatuated with you.”
I nodded, “He was, but I have made it clear that we can never be more than friends ever again just like his army general.”
Henry looked to Lucas, “I am surprised you will be leaving now, Lucas, since my sister shall be giving birth in the next week or so.”
“I requested that Lucas go back to Prince Glen’s side. He did not want to go, but I assured him that you and Vladimir could take care of me,” I replied but then smiled towards Lucas, “But I hope you will be coming back at the end of the month for the wedding.”
He nodded, “Of course, Queen Felicia,” He said with politeness, “I am sure everyone in all of the countries will come to see such a historical day.”
I sighed, “That is precisely what I worry about. Followers of Darius have already tried to attack Vladimir and Dimitri before, so they will most likely try to take us down at such a joyous moment.”
“They are at least human, Felicia, they are not cruel enough to attack you on such a day.” Henry argued and I sighed again as I put my cheek in my hand.
“You have not seen them when they attack, brother. They lose all humanity in hopes of killing me or scaring me by killing someone I love. They will surely attack on the wedding day."
“Then we should make the wedding more secure and small.” Henry suggested but I quickly shook my head.
“And run from the enemy? Never. I would rather be killed than run like I am still a child. We must face them, or they will never leave us alone.” I said but then looked to Dimitri when he grabbed my hand. He smiled kindly to me.
“Mommy, Prince Glen will be coming to the wedding, right? I want to see him again. He was always nice.”
I put my hand on his head, “If you would like him to be there, I shall send another invitation with Lucas.” I whispered and he seemed to become extremely happy. I looked to the window and saw a smaller group of soldiers coming to the side of the castle and stopped in the side courtyard, “Soldiers?” I asked as I looked to the table, “Has something happened in Radia? Those are Radian soldiers.”
“I have not heard anything.”
“Neither have I.” Lucas agreed with my brother.
I quickly stood and looked to Vladimir, “Watch Dimitri.” I insisted and he nodded. I ran out of the castle and quickly to the leading soldier. When I appeared many of the men immediately dropped to one knee, “Soldier! What is the meaning of your sudden appearance at my home?”
The head soldier quickly came to me and bowed, “I have been asked to bring you something from King Samuel,” He said as he gestured for me to follow him. When he walked away I followed closely behind and did not stop till we reached three chained men. I stared at them as their brown eyes tried to cut me, but quickly looked up to the leading soldier for an explanation, “The king found these men on our country’s boarder and found out they were sent to kill you and your brother, so he believed the best course of action was to send these men to be interrogated by you. He said you were the best for the job.” He whispered and I looked to the men again. My eyes went to Lucas as he walked out of the castle.
“Lucas! Secure Dimitri in my room! Make sure they are heavily guarded!” I ordered and he quickly nodded before sprinting back into my home, “Soldiers! I need soldiers!” I called and five younger men quickly came to my aid, “Transport these men to the holding prisons. Make sure they cannot escape.” I ordered and the men quickly did as told. I turned back to the soldier and smiled, “Give my regards to King Samuel and tell him to see us sometime soon.”
“Of course Queen Felicia.” He mumbled before moving his troops away. I followed a few yards behind the captives, but looked to Vladimir as I came into the castle. He watched the captives go past him and then looked to me for explanation.
“King Samuel found those three men on the boarder of Radia planning to come attack our home. He asked for them to be delivered to me so I could interrogate them.”
He sighed, “Why can’t people just leave us alone?”
I smiled sadly, “I’m sorry you have to go through this.”
“But you are going through it also.”
I nodded, “Yes, but I chose to come back into royalty and to kill Darius. You did not choose anything and are forced her by the curse.”
He sighed, “I did choose to be here, Felicia. I want to be with you regardless of this curse or not.”

As the sun started to rise I searched the small town one last time and for the first time I was finally confronted with the sound of another horse’s hooves hitting the ground. I was sent a letter from one of the towns of Parethia that was near the border we shared with Radia that said there had been recent sightings of strange men. All night I had been circling the nearest town to the one that sent me the letter and now felt adrenalin pumping through my veins. I made Sapphire quietly sprint towards the noise but she stopped when I pulled on her reigns. We were just far enough from the people that the fog of early morning hid us enough that we would not be easy to see. I got off Sapphire and crouched on the ground to wait while I already had a bow and arrow set up and ready to strike. I watched as five men came into view and quickly shot at the bow on one of the rider’s backs. It flew off into the distance as the five men became aware that they were not alone. I quickly got onto Sapphire and rushed in front of the men with my sword drawn.
“Who are you and who do you serve?”
One of the men moved his horse closer, “Who gives you the right to interrogate us, Miss?”
I moved my sword so that its tip was at the man’s throat, “Answer my question before I become annoyed, sir,” His face finally came into view as the sun finally reached above the ocean line to the west. Brown eyes and white hair calmed me slightly but not by much, “Who is it you pledge your loyalty to?”
“You are Parethian, Miss?” The man in the middle of the group asked and I slightly lowered my sword as he moved next to his comrade, “Please excuse my soldier’s rudeness, Miss. My name is Damir and these four men are my soldiers. We are merely traveling through Parethia to reach your wonderful sea.”
“May I ask where you hail from? What country do you call home?” I asked as I put away my sword but kept my hand on it.
“We hail from Atria, my lady,” The man with slightly darker brown eyes than the rest said, “And by your attire and archery skills I presume you are part of the Parethian army?”
I watched the man without trust, “Yes, you could say that, but all Parethian civilians are considered soldier,” I looked to the rising sun, “You are trying to reach the sea? Any part of it in particular?”
“We have heard rumor that the ocean is at its most beautiful near the capital, Miss.”
I turned Sapphire towards the town I had been circling, “I am going to be heading back to the capital in a few hours and I suggest you do not go through our fair country without an experienced traveler of these parts. In some areas it is not possible to go through with a horse.”
“Oh? And you are an experienced traveler of these parts?”
I smirked towards the man, “You could say that,” I looked away from him, “I need to retrieve my things in that town but then we may leave. I suggest you follow me because most soldiers of Parethia do will not allow people of brown eyes to live if they are seen skulking around.” I slowly started Sapphire towards the town and when we arrived at the inn I had stayed at during the past afternoon a young man greeted me by bowing with his right fist over his heart. I smiled to him before allowing him to take Sapphire. I looked back to the brown eyed men, “Please wait here.” I insisted before going into the inn and retrieving my single bag of belongings before going back outside but had to turn around when I felt someone tug on my trousers. I knelt down to the small girl that had followed me out of the inn. The young girl had greeted me the afternoon before because her father was the owner of the inn, “Good morning, little one.” I said kindly.
“I got this for you!” She exclaimed as she handed me a flower, “It is for the princess once she if born.”
I took the red flower happily, “Thank you.” I replied before standing and going to Sapphire. I got on her and then started ridding as the men followed behind me. We kept ridding for hours but I suddenly stopped as the sun reached its peak and the five men following me nearly trampled me.
“Why did you stop?” The darker brown eyed man growled but they all fell silent as I loaded an arrow into my bow and aimed to our right. When I shot a man hollered as two others came out of the surrounding trees. I pulled out my father’s sword and jumped off of Sapphire as the first man got near.
“For King Darius!” He hollered and as he lunged towards me. I dodged his sword but as I stabbed him a bow string rang and I was barely able to doge it. The arrow cut the entire right side of my face as I ran at the man and stabbed him before he could shoot me again. I put away my sword and went over to the three men.
“Is everyone alright?”
The darker brown eyed man watched me in awe, “How did you know we were going to be attacked?”
I smiled, “They were heavy on their feet.” I replied before getting onto Sapphire and started riding again. We did not stop again until we reached the capital city. I looked back to the man, “If you continue east you will find the ocean.”
“Well…”
I snickered, “So now you are going to admit your true destination? You are going to the Royal family, correct?”
“How did you know?”
“There is almost no Ocean near the capital, sir,” I replied, “Follow me and I will lead you to the castle.” I started off and did not stop until we got to the gate.
“Open the gates! The Queen has arrived!” A soldier hollered and the gates opened to present Dimitri and Vladimir sitting at the front steps of my home.
“Mama!” Dimitri hollered as I quickly got off of Sapphire and embraced the child when he reached me. I then stood and Vladimir kissed me kindly before looking to the men who followed me.
“Brother, what are you doing here?” Vladimir asked as I gasped.
“This is your brother?” I asked and he nodded. I watched as the man with the darker brown eyes came over and shook hands with Vladimir before smiling towards me.
“I would’ve never guessed such a ferocious warrior would be the Queen of Parethia.”
I watched him but regardless of his connection to Vladimir I could not forgive his dark eyes, “No wonder I did not recognize you.”
“But we look fairly alike.” Vladimir argued but we all turned when a deep voice sounded.
“You’ll have to forgive Felicia, Vladimir,” Brother said as he came over and kissed my cut cheek, “It is very difficult for us to trust anyone with brown eyes other than you. If you did not have the curse, we would never have trusted you either. That is just how we grew up. We hated anyone we could associate with Darius.”
I turned to him, “Brother, have the captives spoken to anyone yet?” I asked and he sighed.
“They refuse to speak.”
I looked down to Dimitri when he tugged on my shirt, “Mommy, what is that in your pocket?”
I pulled out the slightly tattered red flower, “A girl I met asked me to give it to your little sister once she is born.”
“Speaking of our princess, Vladimir,” Brother asked, “Have you sensed anything from the baby?”
He shook his head, “Not yet.”
I looked to the castle as I heard someone move to see Prince Peter trying to sneak over to me, “Prince Peter, what in my father’s name are you doing?”
He flinched before showing me an awkward smile, “Dimitri and I have been trying to scare each other all day.”
I let out a laugh before messing up Dimitri’s hair, “You certainly enjoy having another boy here to play with, don’t you? Well I will not keep you from playing any longer,” I turned to Vladimir’s brother and felt a chill go up my spine, “Please make yourself at home,” I reverted back to my brother, “I would like to interrogate these attackers.”
“Felicia…”
I looked to Vladimir, “I can handle them, Vladimir.”
“But they are dangerous criminals who were sent to kill you.”
I frowned towards the sky, “Maybe I should make an example out of these men.”
“You cannot be serious, Felicia!”
I looked to brother, “What is wrong?”
“Killing those men will not help!”
I looked to the castle, “I will not kill them until they tell me everything they know.”
“Mama…” Dimitri whispered and I looked to where he pointed to. A boy of white hair and eye of storm clouds sweated while breathing hard and holding onto the gate of the castle I had passed through just before.
“My Queen! I must speak with you! Please!” The boy of about 13 begged as he shook slightly.
“Soldiers! Open the gate!” I hollered and when the boy got in he ran over to me with a horrified face. I put my hand on his sweaty face, “Is something wrong, my young warrior?”
He took in a large breath, “My Queen! It is my mother! She is ill and I don’t know what to do! Please! Help my mother!”
I kissed the boy’s forehead before turning to a soldier off to my right, “Send five men to follow this young man to his mother! Bring her back here immediately!” I turned around to see another soldier, “Prepare the infirmary and tell the doctor what is happening!” As soon as I was done talking many people went into action, including the young boy. I turned to brother, “Where is Miss Lydia?”
“Inside tending to dinner.”
I looked to a female soldier coming out of the castle, “Send for Miss Lydia!”
I looked to Vlad who had been interpreting my entire conversation for his brother and his brother’s soldiers, “Felicia, isn’t that a little strange that a boy came to you for help? How do you know he does not want to avenge Darius?”
I smiled to him slightly, “The ring on his finger gave me all reason to trust him. He was part of our army when we took over and now bares the crest of my father’s soldiers.” A ringing touched the back of my mind and I quickly shoved Vlad and his brother to the ground, “Everyone get down!” I hollered and everyone near hit the ground as an arrow flew over my head. I jumped up and shot in the direction I had heard the bow. When I heard a yell of pain I turned to a very young woman soldier, “Bring ten other soldiers with you and go check to see if I hit my mark.” She started running as I put one hand out to Vlad and the other to his brother. They accepted the help and got up as I looked to Dimitri to see him watching where I had shot.
“Mama, you also heard that ringing?”
I nodded to the boy, “You certainly have my hearing, my child. That was the sound of the string of a bow humming as an arrow was shot.”
“You cease to amaze me, my sister,” Henry said with a smile, “Oh! I forgot to mention…”
“Felicia!” A familiar voice hollered and I whipped around to see Rebecca running over to me. When she embraced me she was held slightly away by my stomach, “How long were you planning to keep me waiting, dear Felicia? I was worried!” She looked to my face and gasped before touching my now healing cut on my cheek, “Who injured your beautiful face, my dear friend?”
I smiled to her, “I was ambushed on my way back here so I was delayed. I’m sorry I took so long but I did not know I had company.”
She smiled, “Well I wasn’t sure when you would have your daughter and I also wanted to spend some quality time with you, Dimitri, Henry, and Vladimir.”
“Truly? You want to spend time with my fiancé?”
She nodded, but Henry spoke first, “They have been talking all morning about you.”
“I had to explain to him that there were very particular ways he will have to treat you once you are married since he did not know the customs of Parethian marriages.”
I smiled towards her, “Thank you, Rebecca.” I quickly turned around when I heard someone running. One of my soldiers came sprinting around the corner with a woman only ten years older than me in his arms.
“My queen!” He insisted as I hurried to meet him halfway from the gate and where I had been standing, “She is horribly ill, my queen.”
I slowly took the wounded woman into my arms and held her closely to me, “My warrior, how can we help you?”
She watched me with dim spirit, “I am beyond salvation, my queen. I have been ill for quite some time.”
I frowned towards the woman before turning to Rebecca, “Fetch the doctor and as many nurses as you can find. I will meet you in my old room.” I hurried inside with Henry at my heels and rushed the woman upstairs.

The author's comments:
This chapter isn't finished.

By the time the woman was stable and resting, the sun had already reached its decent. I came into the dining room to see Vladimir sitting next to his brother at one side of my throne and at the other Dimitri sat between brother and the young boy who had asked me to help his mother. Dimitri was watching the young man beside him since the boy refused to eat and just stared at his hands. Everyone was informed of my presence when a maid suddenly bowed to me, “Good evening, my queen!”
I smiled sweetly towards the woman, “Good evening to you, my warrior,” I walked over to the young man who now watched me with concern and anticipation, “Someone please prepare a plate for our wounded soldier.” People started hustling around to try to follow with my request as I watched the young man stand in front of me.
“My queen, how is my mother?”
I placed my hand on the boy’s shoulder, “She had to go through surgery, but the doctor has assured me she will be able to leave here by tomorrow morning with minimal or no pain.”
He threw himself to the ground as he started to cry, “Oh thank you, my queen! I cannot thank you enough!”
I smiled before putting my hand out to the young man, “Raise your head, my young soldier,” He took my hand slowly and I helped him stand, “No thanks are necessary. I merely did as I saw fit,” I turned to a soldier that stood at the door to my right while still holding onto the young man’s hand, “Please prepare the room beside my patient,” I turned back to the young man, “I have sent a few of my soldiers to retrieve the rest of your family. I believe it will take pressure off of your mother’s mind if she has her family staying at her side. Your family will stay here tonight so this can happen.”
The young man held my hand with both of his and bowed his head, “I am forever in your debt, my queen. Thank you.” I watched as the boy ran out of the room to go to his mother’s side.
“That was very heroic of you, sister.”
I smiled towards brother, “It’s strange,” I replied as I sat in my seat, “That boy’s actions were much more than I have ever seen.”
“He was thankful for your generosity and pure heart, Felicia!” Rebecca exclaimed as she came in and took a seat next to Dimitri.
“Rebecca, I assume you helped with the surgery?” Vladimir asked but I was surprised to see his brother’s eyes still stared me down.
She nodded, “But I was not the only one, Felicia also helped.”
“Well during the war, Felicia did help heal the wounded soldiers so I assume she is skilled.”
“She is a woman of many talents.”
Everyone looked up when one of Vladimir’s brother’s soldiers came into the room but I was shocked when I recognized him, “Prince Damir, is this one of your soldiers?”
He nodded, “Yes, he is one of my strongest soldiers.”
The man watched me, “I certainly thought I would never see a familiar face with brown eyes, how interesting.”
The man seemed annoyed but nodded, “I certainly never expected to be under your roof, Queen Felicia.”
“You know my soldier?” Damir asked and I nodded.
“It was right before I knew of Atria. I captured a man who shot at my brother’s horse, but he ended up escaping when I was engaged in a fight with another.”
“This is the boy you spoke of?” Brother asked as he looked to the man, “I certainly remember this boy’s skill. He killed some of our best soldiers all at once. Most people cannot do that.”
“Your name is Sir Rei if my memory serves me.”
He nodded, “And I presume this young man beside your brother is the child you carried when we last met?”
I smiled, “Yes, this is my son. But tell me Sir, did your shoulder recover from its knife wound? I have wondered.”
“Due to your hospitality it healed perfectly, Queen Felicia,” He seemed nervous by the looks of the others, “But, if I may ask, has your injury healed? I clearly remember your blackened wound.”
I took Vladimir’s hand in mine, “Yes, the king of your homeland assisted me with his birth given powers to heal my wound.”
Sir Rei was about to reply but stopped when Damir’s gaze shot from my face, to my hand holding Vladimir’s hand, and to Sir Rei’s face, “What is it you need of me soldier?”
“I wanted to inform you that all of your belongings are now in the room you requested them to be moved to.”
“Then you may go.” Damir hissed and Sir Rei quickly left.
Rebecca cleared her throat and then placed her hand on Dimitri’s shoulder, “Tell me, my nephew, where has my Prince Peter gone?”
Dimitri smiled to Rebecca, “Miss Lydia came in and told Uncle Henry that Grandfather and Uncle Eliot were seen nearby so he went outside to meet them.”
Rebecca looked to me, “As I was on my way here, Felicia, I heard two of the maids talking about how Lucas was on his way here.”
“Yes, Lucas insists to come and stay at my side to help me while I am so close to giving birth.”
“He is truly dedicated to you.”
“Can you blame him?” Brother asked as he looked to me, “You are his country’s queen, his best friend, and his former lover.”
A knock came to the door and everyone looked up as Eliot and King Samuel came into the room with Prince Peter at their side.



Similar books


JOIN THE DISCUSSION

This book has 6 comments.


on Jun. 6 2012 at 7:58 pm
headoverheels44 SILVER, Dickerson, Maryland
6 articles 0 photos 6 comments
I feel sorry for your english teacher, but thank you very much!

on Oct. 27 2011 at 10:14 am
BethanyCobb16 BRONZE, Blowing Rock, North Carolina
3 articles 0 photos 2 comments

Favorite Quote:
Love is just a word until someone comes along and gives it meaning

This is veryy good! I sit in english class reading this instead of listening to my teacher. lol. I loved this book alot!! please keep writing!! :)

on Oct. 23 2011 at 12:20 pm
headoverheels44 SILVER, Dickerson, Maryland
6 articles 0 photos 6 comments
Cool! You should let me know when you put your novel on here so I can read it :)! Hopefully I will get some time (and inspiration) to write more on this story soon

on Oct. 23 2011 at 2:49 am
Spazzy_Kinz2013 BRONZE, Oceanside, California
3 articles 3 photos 18 comments
I would totally buy it!!! :D im like the world's craziest Dark Romance freak hahaha and no problem, im currently writing a novel myself right now so hopefully it's just as good as yours :) you've got to keep updating, im so excited to see what happens next

on Oct. 22 2011 at 1:29 pm
headoverheels44 SILVER, Dickerson, Maryland
6 articles 0 photos 6 comments
Thank you so much for the words of inspiration!! I'm not sure if I will ever publish, but if I do its awesome to know I have a least on person who will buy it :)

on Oct. 21 2011 at 11:27 pm
Spazzy_Kinz2013 BRONZE, Oceanside, California
3 articles 3 photos 18 comments
I have been reading this book non-stop and it's truly amazing! You should really publish this book, I thing you would be really successful as a writer. Keep up the good work :)


SciArc

MacMillan Books

Aspiring Writer? Take Our Online Course!