Author: InkedGirl PM
A servant girl who keeps her magic under lock and key joins forces with an exiled and cursed prince to end the tyrannical rule of his twin.Rated: Fiction T - English - Adventure/Romance - Chapters: 79 - Words: 175,191 - Reviews: 486 - Favs: 114 - Follows: 112 - Updated: 05-07-13 - Published: 12-28-11 - id: 2983388
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
He quickened his pace down the hall. He didn't know why, but he felt his minds traveling back to Ardis and how he had left her on her own in the unfamiliar place. He doubted that Katrin had remained with her, if he knew anything about the vain woman at all.
He couldn't deny that it was worry, because it was. The Knights weren't to be trusted, even though the Blackwell side of him told him that he should. They were, after all, loyal to him and he had been more than clear that she was on his side. But he knew that kind of fear. It wasn't easily taken away.
But the farther he walked toward the grand doors, the more he felt his emotions take hold of him in a way he had never known. It was a completely different kind of fear, a fear that sent his mind into a jumbled mass that he, for the first time, had trouble controlling.
He didn't want to take the throne. He had never planned on it. Even when he had begun looking for a way to destroy who he had believed to be his brother, he had never planned on taking his place. He wasn't a King. He was barely even royalty, except by blood. He had been in exile for so long, he didn't know how to run an entire Kingdom.
And the things he would have to do before the coronation. The Regent had described each and every law that was held over a new Prince. Capron had forgotten them in his time away. But as a little boy, the rules had been drilled into his head. And there was a single one that he had never thought much about before, but now found it toyed with something important. Something he now realized he had to hide deep away like he did with so many other unwanted emotions.
And there was the other thing. The dreaded problem. The curse.
He was finding it more and more difficult to keep his expression that of calm indifference. Because at that point, there wasn't anything he could be indifferent about.
She wasn't in the hall.
The two guards stood motionless on either side of the door. He studied them for a moment, debating whether or not to ask them. He decided against it.
Something caught his eye. A movement down at the front of the castle. In the night air he could see farther down the movement of tiny lights that stood separate from those guarding the streets. A parade of prisoners.
He paused at the thought that not long ago, he would have been thrilled. But now, all he felt was a strange emptiness, a sadness that had wedged itself somewhere in a corner of himself. He tried and tried again to persuade himself that it would fade or that it wasn't there. Things would have been so much easier had he stayed with the popular opinion, the opinion of his kind. Better to be on the side of your Kingdom than against it.
That was second on the list of reasons why he shouldn't have been chosen as King. Not in two days, not until Halburn itself burned to the ground.
All he wanted was to break the curse that prevented him from being someone who could rule a Kingdom. What was a King without strength? He had told Ardis back in that place across the desert that strength wasn't the measure of a leader. But now he knew differently. He had come to his senses. His father had known the value of it when he had risked his life for his sons. One son, really. The son who wouldn't be King.
He pressed his hand against his tunic where the tiny piece of white lay. The only piece left after the storm broke almost destroying them all. But was it enough? Could she do it?
And when she did, would she leave? That was the one thought that managed to really sink in. It was a thought he wished more than anything didn't exist, couldn't exist in his mind. And he knew that it couldn't. Those kinds of thoughts only led to more difficult ones later on. Things he didn't need to deal with.
There was someone running up the hill. He could see the shadow of a dark cloak billowing behind her as she ran toward him. What had she been doing down there?
She had always been an open book to him, her green eyes unhidden and true. When she slowed down and he could see her more clearly, he knew that something had frightened her. Her face was paler than normal and she shivered uncontrollably. Before she said a word, he grabbed her arm and pulled her inside the doors.
"Shut them," he ordered the two guards.
He led her away, down the hallway he knew led to nowhere except the kitchens.
When he turned back to her, he knew she was much more bothered. Bothered about something else entirely, something he couldn't quite figure out..
"What's wrong? What happened?"
"What do you mean?" he asked, surprised that she would be the one asking him that.
She studied him the way she always did, scanning, digging deeper than anyone else seemed to. "I've never seen you this scared before."
He forced a small smirk. "I don't believe that."
"What happened with the Regent?" she pressed.
She always read him far too easily than he liked. "The coronation is in two days."
She blinked. "And?"
"The crown's passing to me."
Her face was blank. "That makes things easier."
"Your brother never could have been King."
Something about her words bothered him.
She began to say something, but she paused and restarted. "You'll be a much better King." She added a small, wavering smile at the end, as if trying to reassure him. "You know more than most that physical strength isn't necessary in a leader. Whatever I said before about that, I didn't mean it."
He could tell that something still made her anxious. Anxious and unsure. And for some reason that made him feel the same.
"What happened out there?" He glanced up at the closed doors, feeling the presence of something like a specter on the opposite side.
"Nothing." She paused. "I was just walking and…"
He waited for her to continue.
"Your aunt. She was one of the ones being let out."
"We can't let her stay if they know," he said. "And they do know. Now, at least."
"I…she helped us. She helped me so much. She brought you your brother. It doesn't seem right that we leave her out there."
"She lasted this long out of Halburn. In the Endless Wood for Hirette's sake. She's fine."
She pulled at the ends of her hair. "I hope she is."
"What did she say to you?"
"She didn't say anything. I just saw her—"
"You're a good liar but not that good. Whatever she said bothered you." He tilted his head to get a better look at her. "It must be important."
"It can wait."
Torin could not have picked a worse time to show himself. Still, Capron tried his hardest to appear uninterested in Ardis and instead focused completely on his twin.
"I have been looking for you." Torin eyes traveled over Ardis as he spoke, studying her like she was some intriguing piece of art or a piece of flashy armor. He didn't even bother to hide his interest. He then turned back to Capron, coolly confident.
"We need to start preparing," he said. "And she must go with the rest of the servants. The ones we have as of now are quite weak due to…previous circumstances and I believe as well as you, that she should be put out of the way of wandering eyes until we can figure out what to do."
"Yes. What will you do with me?" The question was directed toward Torin. She looked at him, her eyes burning like hot coals.
Capron could almost feel the uncomfortable heat from her temper warming him. He was surprised that she had such fire against his brother, such a strong dislike.
He felt nearly the same way. His brother couldn't be trusted, and that bothered him more than anything. Some idea, some sort of puzzle was forming in his head the more time he spent with Torin. And the more he thought about it, the more it made sense.
It didn't mean he had to like it, though. He wanted to trust Torin more than anything. He wanted to have an ally in him, someone he could put his faith in, someone that wouldn't lie to him or give him more reasons to doubt himself. He wanted a friend in his brother, not a enemy or a neutral party.
"Your existence within this castle is held by a very thing thread, girl. Watch where you step," Torin said. "Giving you a place among the servants will be the best due to your previous experience along with keeping you undetected until we can secure a place for you elsewhere."
"And where would elsewhere be?" She asked.
"Not in the servant's quarters, certainly," Torin answered, eying Capron with interest. "Elsewhere. But until then I suggest you go and assist them. There is a staircase down this hall and to your left. They will likely require help in the kitchens currently."
She looked at Capron for a moment, and he knew she was still upset, frustrated even. She gave a slight curtsy, something that bothered him in the deepest way, before leaving, her eyes then trained on the floor as she glided back down the hall, her cloak trailing behind her like a heavy shadow.
"Why did you tell her that?"
"I know what her place is as should you," Torin said, pretence of softness all but dissolved. "It would be wise not to forget it."
"But you enjoyed it," he continued, observing his brother anew. "She doesn't make enemies easily and yet she has made some sort of enemy out of you."
"She deceives. It is her job. And I do not wish my brother to fall prey to the same things our father did. Manipulation. Baiting."
Capron couldn't help the smirk that tugged at his lips. "You fear her."
"She has no power within the castle," he replied, expressionless. "If she tries to light a single torch in this place she would be jailed and executed. There are too many eyes and too much fear within here for her to use her…abilities."
"She distrusts you. I cannot see that coming to a peaceful end," he said with finality.
"Yes, well there will be no end at all for the two of you. There will not be much of anything, actually." His eyes flashed with spite.
Capron felt the corner of his mouth twitch in response to the man's words. Of all the things his brother could say. Then again, Torin always had had a talent for knowing the sweet spot, of knowing the exact place to hit to make one stumble, to make one crack.
"Come, let us meet with the dear Princess."
Super sorry about the late update. I've had sooo much homework lately and real life stuff going on. It sucks, but hopefully I'll have a bit more writing time for the next week. I haven't been keeping up as much as I would like.
Anyway, I hope you like this chapter! I was sort of iffy about it, but that's what first drafts are for.
Tell me what you think?