Chapter Four

The celebrations that Prince Sean had left behind came to a grinding halt as the news came to both his parents. All ways in and out of the entire castle and grounds were heavily guarded and every single guest was questioned. No information of the prince's whereabouts came, however, and all the guests were accounted for, even those who had left earlier in the day. Both King Ryan and Queen Kristen were completely infuriated, but, especially the king.

"The prince is what?!"

The guard who brought the news stammered a reply, "W-we believe that he has been kidnapped, Sire."

"You believe?!" Roared the king, "Don't you know anything?!"

The guard nodded, somewhat confused, "Aye, Sire, I know several things-"

"Well, speak! Don't keep on blabbering like an imbecile!"

"Of course, Sire. I know that the last anyone saw of the prince was him walking away from the festivities and toward the outer courtyards with a lady. This was around the nine o'clock bell, or so. The lady complained of a headache and left the celebrations soon after, however, the prince was not seen after that. The entire castle has been searched and several interesting things were found in an outer courtyard. We found the bodies of six unidentified men and the prince's cape."

Queen Kristen's already pale face turned a shade whiter,

"B-b-bodies?" She gasped, "W-what do you mean, bodies?"

"They had been killed, Your Majesty. All had swords and had evidently been eliminated by a far better swordsman."

"You said that you found my son's cape?" The king questioned.

"Yes, Sire," The guard replied, "I did, and from the amount of dust that had settled on it, it seems as if it was removed before the men were killed. It is not damaged or torn in any way. We also found numerous sets of footprints around the courtyard. One set of footprints belongs to a lady, another to the prince himself and all the others are indescribable."

King Ryan thought on all the information that he had just gleaned from the guard.

It is odd that my son would be with a lady. He mused, he has no interest in mixing with people, he would rather be let alone to do what he wishes.

"Guard?" The king queried, "Which lady accompanied my son?"

"No one knows her name, Sire, she never spoke of it to anyone and the only time it was mentioned was when the lists of the guests were proclaimed earlier."

"What did she look like?"

"I do not know, Sire, there were so many ladies here, it was hard to keep track of them all and so many looked similar. I am very sorry, Sire."

"I see," The king said, quietly, "Thank you for all your help. You may go."

"Yes, Sire." The guard bowed. He turned to leave, but was stopped by the king's commanding voice.

"One last thing."

"Yes, Sire?"

The king's tone was insistent, filled with concern, "Find my son!"

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When Prince Sean woke up, it took him only a moment to remember where he was. He sat up and, leaning against the wall, he took in his surroundings. The room he was in was a rather large one, probably about twenty feet by fifteen feet, he guessed. If he stood in the doorway, his own corner would be the back left corner and the princess who he had talked to the night before would be in the back right corner. The princess was still asleep, her long hair covering most of her face.

She looks so peaceful when she's asleep. He thought to himself, what had she told me her name was?

Almost as if she knew that the prince was looking at her, Princess Aralyn's eyes snapped open and she sat up. Now that it was light, she took in Sean with a measuring gaze. The prince had red hair that was only about an inch and a half from being in his eyes, and had piercing green eyes that almost seemed to look through you instead of at you. He was quite handsome; there was no doubt about that! If he stood up he would tower over Aralyn's own five feet five inches.

"Good morning, princess." Prince Sean said quietly, taking in the princess much like she had him.

The princess was staring at him through her dark auburn hair, watching him with golden brown eyes. She was just sitting there, legs folded underneath her, quietly appraising him. As much as he was usually uncomfortable in the presence of ladies, this princess was different. She didn't seem to demand attention from him or expect him to automatically try and please her in every way possible. Sean hated people like that! No, this princess was different, but he couldn't quite say how.

She's pretty, Sean thought to himself, but not in the way most other girls are. There's definitely something unique about her.

"Good morning." The prince repeated, trying to make conversation.

Aralyn just looked at him for a moment before she responded,

"Good morning to you, too, Prince Sean."

"Would you mind answering a few questions for me?"

"No," Aralyn replied.

Prince Sean nodded,

"How long have you been here?"

"I've been here since the night before last, though it seems as if it's been longer."

"Do you have any idea," Sean continued, "why we are here?"

The princess shook her head,

"I am not entirely sure," She explained, "but I think that the woman who captured us wants to kill several members of royalty and take over the kingdoms herself. I, for one, know that my father's kingdom is very weak. Ever since my little brother, Toby, died, Father has locked himself up in his summer home. I haven't seen him in months and the kingdom is in a bad state of disrepair. It is definitely a huge temptation for any land-hungry person."

Sean was silent for a moment, digesting the information he had just heard.

So that's why she told me that there's no use in me being needlessly killed. He thought, it's all starting to fit together, now.

He turned his attention back to Aralyn,

"Last question, what is your name and how old are you?"

"That's two questions."

Sean sighed, smiling slightly, he was beginning to like this girl.

"Just answer me please."

"Why should I?" She replied, stubbornly, giving him a defiant stare.

It was a good question; there was no real reason why should tell him anything at all.

Still, he thought, this is worth a shot. But would she answer?

"Because I asked you to," He told Aralyn, staring straight back at her, "That's why you should tell me."

She glared at him for a full minute before answering.

"I already told you," she said quietly, "my name is Aralyn. I am fifteen. How old are you?"

A shadow flickered across Sean's normally pleasant face.

"I turned eighteen, yesterday." He told her, almost in a whisper, and looked away quickly.

Puzzled, Aralyn kept her silence.

Obviously something happened, she thought to herself, or he wouldn't have had that sort of look on his face.

But before either Sean or Aralyn could say anything more, the door opened, revealing the blonde young woman, several guards and a slightly middle-aged man. Both Prince Sean and Princess Aralyn kept silent as their captor and her minions entered their prison. The man whispered something to the young woman that made her blue eyes gleam wickedly and they both grinned momentarily. The woman held up her hand to halt the guards and continued walking forward with the man, advancing upon the captives. Halting and turning to her escort, the woman motioned towards the prince and princess.

"Do you think they had a good night's sleep, Raynard?"

Raynard shrugged, "You can never tell, Milady. But I doubt that they would have, being all tied up as they are."

The lady nodded, "Very observant of you. Now, if you don't mind, Raynard, would you kindly take that prince to your room?"

Raynard's eyes took on a particularly evil sheen and he smiled maliciously, "Of course, Milady! I don't mind at all, Milady!"

He turned to the guards and called two of them forward.

"You two! Unchain this prisoner and take him to my room."

Both guards looked apprehensively at each other before wordlessly nodding to Raynard. They made their way toward Sean's corner and began unlocked his wrists from the wall chains. The moment Prince Sean's chains were free he jumped on one of the guards. Whipping out the guard's sword and pushing the now defenseless man away, he spoke quietly to his awestruck audience.

"Listen, Lady Cassandra! I don't know what you have planned, but I'm not going to be a part of it! If you value this man's life, step aside," Here he paused, green eyes flashing, "Or face me in combat."

No one moved; at least, no one but Lady Cassandra. Responding immediately to the prince's challenge, she pulled a dagger from her belt and held it against Aralyn's throat.

"Now you have to choose, prince," Cassandra said icily, "Do you want to drop the sword or do you want her to die?"

Sean hesitated. He didn't want to give up, but he knew that if he didn't, the princess would die, and he didn't want that, either. Letting out a sigh, the prince dropped the sword. The guards hurriedly tied Sean's hands behind him and proceeded to lead him out of the room, followed closely by Raynard.

As soon as they all left, the Cassandra turned to Aralyn.

"Now, my dear princess," Lady Cassandra spoke to Aralyn in a surprisingly calm voice. "You are going to tell me everything about your father's summer residence."

"No."

A/N:: I'm going to add more to this story when I get a chance, sorry to leave y'all on the edge like that! Nothing TOO bad happens, I promise!

-Scottish Princess