Chapter 1

Chapter 5

It's been six days since I last wrote, so much has happened to me but then again, things are like they have been since I was captured. It's true I don't have to sit still all day, but life is far from wonderful. I'll start from the beginning so things make sense.

After we left the ship we all where put in a huge hole in the ground. We were to stay their all night until the auction started the next morning. I looked around for Jace but I couldn't find him or Lesse; Ella and Tearnen had stayed close to me since we left the boat so I didn't loose them. I was surprised that they put us with the rest of the slaves even though we were already sold to the prince. I started worrying that maybe he didn't want to buy us anymore and we all would be sold to whoever wanted us! I knew if that happened my chances of finding a good home would be slim, I'd be as likely to end up as some mans mistress then a servant. The night was cold and sleepless, but soon morning came and one of the guards to all of us to separate holding pens. Ella and I were in one and Jace and Tearnen in another. The rest of the slaves where stuffed into the other pens, I was beginning to believe that the prince really did want us because we were separate from the others.

When I first saw Jace I hardly recognized him, apparently he had gotten into a fight with some one because his face was covered in bruises. I tried to get near him but the guards kept us all apart. After a few hours time some one came and paid the Captain for us the lead us, chained, into a cart; soon we arrived at the palace where we where given bathes and new closes. Then we were taken to a large room where the housekeeper look us over and asked us about what duties we could perform.

Ella was sent to assist the cook and serve dinner at formal occasions, Tearnen was sent to work in the stables. Jace was sent to be trained as party of the palace guard. I was to be the Lady Clarissa's maid, she was the second or third cousin of the prince and she was staying in the palace. I found out a day or two later that her old maid had been found murdered and from the way people talked of Lady Clarissa I knew I would most likely dislike her. From what I've heard she seems haughty, selfish, spoiled and violent, my kind of person-Not!

While I was sitting in the slave pens I was thinking of what I could say to convince everyone that I was no one important; I knew that I couldn't be my normal self and have no one suspect I was anything other than a fresh-caught slave. I started making up the person I would become, Sari Greenwood. I was going to become an innocent girl whose parents where poor merchants. My character had been a lady's maid, which would explain my knowledge of court and give me a good position in the palace. I also would pretend to be dull and not the most intelligent person, pretty much the opposite of what I am really.

My first day I really didn't do much; I was shown around by another maid and told what my duties would be. I pretty much have to do whatever the Lady Clarissa says all day until she goes to bed then I have to bring down her laundry and work on her mending until I go to bed. I'm also in charge of waking up at dawn and laying out clothes for her and heating her bath. Then when she wakes up, I have to bathe and dress her and stay by her side the rest of the day. Thankfully my first day was taken up by getting comfortable in the palace and getting suitable clothing, so it was a break.

After the first day my false self, Sari Greenwood, was ready to be the best maid the world had ever heard of- well not really, but that's what I joked about in my head. I was already starting to feel confined because I couldn't share my real feelings with any one; I had to pretend that I was a simple girl who was content with mending clothes and fetching things for her lady. The Lady Clarissa was just as bad as I thought she would be, she needs to get slapped by some one. She's really picky and is always complaining about something or another but I treat it like a game and see how long I can pretend that I'm happy to here.

I never thought that being a maid was hard work but it really is, every night I've been dead tired and every morning I hate getting up. I hadn't really realize how much muscle I have lost, my legs ache from running around all day and my arms are sore from lifting things for the Lady.

Nothing else interesting has happened, work is the same everyday, and I have hardly any spare time which I've been using to explore my new and hopefully temporary home. I have seen Ella almost everyday since I get the Lady's breakfast from the kitchen every morning and I've seen Tearnen once or twice when I was exploring. I haven't seen Jace though, I miss him more than when we were on the ship because then there was no chance of seeing him. Here I'm always hoping I'll see him but I never do!

I'm going to do my hand-to hand combat exercises because it's late and no one will see so they won't wonder what I'm doing, then go to bed.

It's early morning, I just went and laid out the Lady's clothes and got her bath ready, I was quick this morning so I have a half hour of free time before I have to wake her. Last night about two o'clock some one woke me up, I punched them and leaped up. As much as I have tried to become like my imaginary character, Sari Greenwood, I'm not that clear thinking right after I wake up. I guess I'll have to work on that, but back to the story. It ended up that it was Jace; I was ready to fight when he said,

"You seem to like attacking me."

"Jace?" I asked my voice hardly over a whisper.

"Who else would risk you killing them to see you?" He joked. I laughed and ran into his arms, after a few minutes I stood back to look at him. I suddenly felt really embarrassed and shy in front of him and looked down.

"What? You're afraid of my now?" He teased.

"No, it's just that…I don't know."

"I'm surprised you are actually talking to me."

"What?" I was confused by this, what was he trying to get at?

"You never talked to me, but after I left you talked to everyone." Jace was saying this like he was commenting on the weather, but I knew he was angry.

"That's because I realized that being silent couldn't keep me from getting involved or hurt!"

"Oh, were you badly hurt? You had your dear Lesse to comfort you, didn't you?"

"Did you find me just to come and yell at me? Because if you did you mine as well leave, it seems like whatever I will say wouldn't convince you how I feel!" I said angrily.

"How do you feel?" He replied with just as much anger.

"I think you know."

"Do I? I don't think I do."

"Why are you here?" I asked trying to change the subject; I was ready to cry- Why was he acting this way towards me?

"I came because I missed you, I wanted to see your face and hear your voice but now I wish I hadn't." He turned to leave, and grabbed his arm and said,

"Jace please, I don't want to lose you again!"

"Too late." He pulled away.

"Jace! How can you say that, you haven't even let me talk!"

"I gave you a chance to explain."

"Explain what? Nothing happened, why do you always think I'm cheating on you?"

"Cheating? How can you cheat on me when we were never together."

"The kisses?" I could hardly talk I was crying so hard.

"Just kisses, I was bored." I screamed and leaped at Jace, I hit him with everything I had. He pushed me back into my room and ran. I heard the noise of people running and soon my door was jerked open.

"What happened?" asked one man.

"A rat, a rat the size of a cat!" I lied, trying to look scared and hide my tears. The man shook his head and went off mumbling, everyone else that had been woken up left, angry that I had woken them for nothing.

I cried myself to sleep and in the morning I did my chores quickly to keep Jace out my mind, this was almost worse then him dying! Later I'm going to try to talk to Ella, now she's busy but I need to talk to her and get her advice. Right now I feel so angry with him, I loved him and to him it was all a game. I don't see how he could have tricked me! I was so careful; I feel like some one ripped open my heart and tore it out.

It's very late, I should really go to bed but I have to write. I talked to Ella after the Lady went to bed and she has very upset. She said that she doesn't believe Jace; she thinks he said all that to pretend that he wasn't hurt; but I know better. I was tricked by him once, I won't be again. Ella is just such a good person that she can't believe anyone else isn't, but she's wrong, Jace is a jerk- that's definitely not a strong enough word for what he is, there isn't a word strong enough to describe how horrible he is!

I still don't know what to do, I could get some one to beat him up or even kill him but that would make me as bad as him and it really wouldn't resolve anything. I feel like screaming at the top of my lungs, why did I have to see him again? I would have been happier if all I had were those good memories. Now even those are ruined for my, all I see when I think of them is how it all was a lie. I HATE him.

Another day, more work, more annoying people! I'm so fed up with 'Her Ladyship Clarissa' because she I so self-centered and thinks she is perfect. I was never as bad as her; at least I don't think I ever was. I am ready to just walk out of this palace and keep walking until I get somewhere better; but I know that that would be stupid. I wouldn't get very far and then I would probably be whipped or even killed. I need to think of a plan, one that won't take long because I can't wait to get away from this palace-and Jace.

Something strange has just happened, after the Lady went to bed I was going to see Ella and a soldier came up to me.

"Please come with me, Miss"

"What?" I asked.

"Come with me." I shrugged and followed him outside and into a smaller building near the barracks. The soldier led me into a dim room and left, I looked around then sat down on a nearby chair. I had a feeling that this was some kind of interrogation so I got ready to be Sari Greenwood. I pretended to tremble with nervousness when a tall man entered and sat behind the desk.

"How are you my dear?" he asked sweetly. I pretended to relieved but still at little nervous.

"I'm doing fine, my lord."

"I'm not lord, Sari." I opened my mouth and widen my eyes in pretend shock.

"How do you know my name?"

"I know everything about you."

"You do?"

"Of course, now I need to ask a favor of you." I pretended to be relieved,

"Of course!"

"Would you keep and eye on Lady Clarissa and report all her activities to me."

"But why?" I asked, the perfect picture of a confused maid.

"Just do it, I would explain to you but I know you wouldn't understand."

"I'll do it, but what if I get caught? What will make it worth my while?" The tall man smiled and brought out a bag of coins,

"Here, you'll get more when you report to my again." I snatched the bag.

"Thank you, my Lord!"

"Go now, report here in a week unless you find anything urgent."

"But what I'm I looking for?"

"Secrets, codes, you know. Anything out of the ordinary."

"Yes my lord." I bowed and quickly left the room. When I got out I ran back to my room to hide the coins and gloat. I had fooled the man, he was probably the spy master and he had easily fallen for my act. He said he knew who I was but I know he didn't because if he did they would sell me to another country or use me to threaten my father so he'd do whatever they wanted. Now life is getting a little more interesting and I have money so when the time comes to escape it will be a lot easier. I wonder what's going on in this palace, why do they want me to spy on the Lady?

Today while the Lady was taking a nap I went through her desk looking for anything interesting, all I found was a coded note. Willan taught me about spy word and memorizing codes had become a game to me, so it was easy for me to decode the note. All it said was "Meet me in the lotus garden as the moon rises", but I copied it down and put it in my pocket so I could give it to the spy master in a week. After I returned everything to it's proper place I looked around the rest of her room but I didn't find anything interesting so I just sat down and did some mending.

Thankfully I haven't seen or heard anything from Him; it's a good thing for both of us because I would have ripped his heart out. I wish I didn't think about Him so much because it makes me even angrier, I still can't see how I was so easily fooled. What would make me believe that he really cared, why would be nice to me unless he wanted something? I'm starting to believe that there are no good men, but then I think of Farris, Lesse, and Tearnen; they are all good but that doesn't really help me feel any better. I would be perfectly happy if I never heard or saw Him again, it's scary how love can turn so easily to hate and loathing! Ella still keeps on telling me that I should talk to Him, "Talk to Jace, I no he's a good man. I also know that he loved you and still does he was probably trying hide his jealously about Lesse!"

"But there's no reason to be jealous of Lesse!" I replied angrily.

"He was with you while Jace was away, alone."

"That doesn't mean anything! Lesse is in love with some one else, even if I like him nothing would have happened!"

"Jace didn't know that."

"Well then you tell him because I certainly won't!" I yelled and stalked out of the kitchen. I feel bad about yelling at Ella but she really needs to leave me alone about Him, I don't want to see him, or say his name ever again. I wish she would let me do that.

Now it's very late, the Lady was at a ball tonight so by the time she got to bed it was around three in the morning. I should really be trying to get a few hours of sleep before I have to get up because the Lady might be able to sleep in but I can't. The reason I'm writing is because something very interesting has happen; I was standing around with the other ladies' maids when I saw Lady Clarissa go off into a garden with some lord. I remembered the note and crept out; I hid from her in some bushes and waited for them to start speaking.

"Adrien," Whispered Lady Clarissa.

"Hush my love; we should go somewhere where we will not be heard." Replied Lord Adrien and he led the Lady farther into the garden, I quietly followed and waited.

"I missed you so!" The Lady said passionately, I heard the rustle of her dress and realized they were kissing. After a few minutes I was wondering if they were going to kiss all night, but just when I was getting ready to leave they started to speak again.

"What have you heard, My Love?" Lord Adrien asked.

"Can't we talk about that later, dear?" whined Lady Clarissa.

"No, I don't have much time; I have to get back to his majesty. He's expecting me in a week, and I think the Prince might be suspecting something. So make sure you're extra careful, if we get caught there's no doubt what will happen."

"I'm not an innocent child, Adrien, I know what I'm doing!" the Lady said angrily.

"I know, I know, it's just that I don't want you to get hurt." The Lord said to soothe the Lady.

"When will you return?"

"Soon, I must go now." After a few more minutes of kissing they left and went back to the ballroom, I waited for a few minutes then followed them in. So now I understand a little bit of what's going on; Lady Clarissa and Lord Adrien are planning something against the prince, or something he wouldn't like. Lord Adrien is part of the king's court which means he might even be working for the king. I'm not going to tell all of this to the spy master though, I'll probably just say that I saw them leave together and that they didn't come back for a half hour or so because a stupid, timid slave- like who I'm pretending to be- would never dream of following them and eavesdropping. I'm going to bed now, maybe if the Lady sleeps all day tomorrow I'll get to take a nap.

I met some of Ella's friends today, after the Lady went to bed I went to see Ella and apologize for yelling at her before. She brushed my apology aside saying that we all lose our temper, and then she invited me to have some tea with her friends. I agreed right away because I wanted to get to know more people here, I only know a few of the other ladies' maids and most of them act as haughty and aloof as the ladies they serve.

There where five other women there, most worked in the kitchen with Ella except for one named Bella, who was a serving girl. They were all very nice and I enjoyed being with them, especially since they weren't stupid or fickle, they were all funny and interesting. I hope they like me and let me into their circle because even though I get to see Ella almost every day I get lonely; but I have to be careful that I don't act like my real self or they might suspect that I'm more then I seem. Ella doesn't even know who my real family is, I don't want all these other people to know even though I like them and don't think they would betray me.

We talked mostly of work, weather, and palace gossip. I found out that Lord Adrien was the son of one of the king's advisors. That puts everything in a different light, makes everything a lot more serious. I have five more days until I have to report to the spy master so I have to work out what I'm going to say. I wonder if I can find out who else is spying for him; that would be helpful for the future.

When the Lady had tea with a friend this afternoon I heard something strange and disturbing. The Lady's friend said that the prince was out riding and he was ambushed by robbers or something. He had his usual number of guards, five, with him but they were all killed except for one. This guard managed to kill all of the robbers and there was about fifteen of them; then he brought the prince safely home. Now the prince is making that guard his personal bodyguard and granting him his freedom because he was a slave.

By the way Lady Clarissa responded to this news, I had a feeling that these men who attacked the prince weren't robbers but assassins that maybe she or her lover had hired! As I waited for them to finish talking about what color ribbons to trim their dresses with and who was courting who, I tried to figure out why Lady Clarissa wanted the prince dead. It didn't really make sense, she was a distant enough relative that if she wanted power she could try to marry the prince. Killing the prince would get her closer to the throne but she was still behind at least twelve other until she was heir, and even then the king was still alive. Even knowing the Lady as little as I do, I know she would have gone to any length to get revenge but what could the prince have done to her that she would want to kill him? Everything was so confusing; I wish I could just ask her what she was thinking.

Jace is the guard! Him! I went to talk to Ella before I went to sleep and she asked me excitedly,

"Did you hear?"

"Hear what?" I asked.

"About the guard who saved the prince!"

"Yes, my Lady was talking about it at tea today."

"Well, you'll never guess who the guard was!"

"Who? One of Tearnen's friends?"

"It was Jace!"

"Jace?"

"Yes! He's free now, and is the prince's bodyguard! Isn't that wonderful!" I nodded and said that I was tired and went up to my room. Why couldn't he stay out of my life? I was just starting to believe that I would never see him again, but now that he was the prince's bodyguard I probably would see him all the time. He would be at all the balls, parties, banquets, everything and I would have to be there to because of Lady Clarissa! I seem to always get the worse luck!

I saw Him today, many of the lords and ladies decided that today would be a good day for a picnic. Lady Clarissa staid close to the Prince the whole time, if I hadn't seen here in the garden with Lord Adrien, I would have thought she was in love with the Prince. Maybe she was trying to marry him to get closer to the throne after all. When I saw Him I pretended that I didn't know him, like he was a stranger. He seemed surprised that I didn't lunge at him, but after that he acted the same way I did. At least he didn't pretend that nothing was wrong.

I was really bored after about a hour of the Lady flirting with the prince so I started looking around and noticed that Jace kept giving the Lady evil looks. I started wondering if he suspected Lady Clarissa of wanting to hurt the prince, did he know more than I did about all this? I have to admit that he is very intelligent even if he is a rude, lying jerk.

Finally it was time to get back to the palace so I got away from Jace. Every time I write his name or hear it I feel a stab of pain and anger, I remember how I used to love that name, how I wanted to hear him speak to me, to kiss me- and now all it does it fill me with rage. I used to always think the quote by Shakespeare that said , "Hell hath no furry like a woman scored" was an exaggeration, but now I know how true it really is, it's how I feel now. Oh, why do I have to think about Him constantly, everything I think about eventfully leads to Him. I wish there was something I could do to forget him forever.

Two more days until I have to report to the spy master, I had a bad idea this morning; I thought that maybe I could tell the spy master that Jace was spying on the prince or helping Lady Clarissa but that would be stupid. Not only would I probably get in trouble, but it would be cowardly because I should get revenge on him myself, not through some one else. See hear I am again thinking about Him! I hate it, I've been keeping myself busy as much as possible to keep Him out of my mind.

Tonight I'm going to see Ella and her friends again, she invited me to come and play cards with them. So I'm looking forward to that because it will be fun and I'll be able to have something else to think about.

I just got back from seeing paying cards with Ella and her friends Emma, Bella, Celeste, Cecilia, and Jewel. I really enjoy being with them and I think that they like me too, it's nice to have friends. Back home I didn't really have many real friends because it was hard to tell who really liked me and who just wanted to be called the friend of the princess. Anyway they taught me a new card game and I was actually pretty good at it, we never played card games like that at home, or at least the girls didn't. Poor Ella, before I left she pulled me aside.

"I have something to tell you."

"Really, what?"

"I talked to Jace this morning."

"Ella, I told you not to talk to me aout him anymore!"

"But this is important!"

"Fine, tell me."

"Well, he says that the lady you serve is suspected of treason! He also asked me to tell you to be careful and not get caught up in her schemes or you'll probably end up died."

"That sounds more like a threat then a warning!" I mumbled.

"Sari, why can't you see it? He still loves you!"

"NO! He doesn't, so stop trying to convince me that he does!"

"Promise me you will be careful, don't get into any of those plots and schemes that are always happening in court."

"And what would you know of court?" I asked suspiciously.

"Enough, now you should get to bed." I said goodnight to everyone and went up to my rooms, did Jace suspect that I was spying on Lady Clarissa? I didn't think i was being obvious, if he can see it then she might too! I have to be more careful, I wonder if Jace has gotten mixed up in all this too but he's on the prince's side. I hope not, the less I see of him the better.

I met one of Tearnen's friends today, his name is Tristan. He's really handsome; he has dark tan skin and black eyes. His hair is black too and he is tall like Lesse. He seems too really like me, he was flirting with me the whole time I was there. I like him too; I think I might give him a try, see if he can keep up with me. That's one of my problem with guys, the handsomest ones usually don't have much in the way of brains. And no, I'm not thinking of giving Tristan a chance because I'm trying to forget Jace; I just like Tristan…I do!

I'm so mad at Ella; she told Jace I still like him! She doesn't understand, there's nothing he can do to win me over now, nothing. She thought that by tell Jace maybe we would get back together, but how can I ever trust him after he lied to me? I hate him for it and there's no ways to change that….unless he really did love me and lied when he said he didn't, but that's a foolish idea. There's no reason why he'd do that, none at all.

Tomorrow I have to go report to the spy master, I still have to get all my facts straight so I can lie convincingly; well, most of it is lies. I have to careful how much I lie because then I have to remember what I say so he doesn't trap me into contradicting myself. The only full truth I'm going to tell him is about the note and that Lady Clarissa and Lord Adrien are plotting something, the rest is rumors, guesses, ect.

I had to drive out with the Lady to some shops and I was shocked to see how much poverty. There were tons of beggars everywhere, not just in the bad sections of the city. There were always beggars at home, but never this many; this country must be in bad shape, I just haven't noticed until now because I'm working in the palace and the rich never seem to notice that their country if falling down around them. I wish there was something I could do to help the poor beggars, at home I always gat them money when I drove or walked by. It seems that the more I see of the life the more I realize how bad the world has become.

Chapter 5

Lady Clarissa is very sick, she thinks it was poison- I heard her telling one of her friends. The only good thing about this is that she's in the infirmary so I don't have to be there so I've had today and yesterday off, I've looked in a few times just to pretend I care but other than that I am allowed to do whatever I please.

The day before yesterday I went to report the spy master, I had to be careful to hide my excitement and pretend to be afraid. Everything went perfectly; the spy master completely believed that I was just a simple minded maid. He told me to keep watching her and said, "But I doubt she will give us anymore trouble," so when she became sick I knew that it was poison. I think he meant for her to die though, why would he just make her sick because I don't think that it would make her stop her plans. She'll just be more careful.

So these last two days I've been sleeping in, then helping Ella in the kitchens and sometimes I'll help Tearnen groom the horses. It's funny that even though everyone has cars, they always seem to want to ride everywhere, even when it's cold or rainy. We did take the car when I went with the Lady to the city the other day but we have ridden to everywhere else.

I'm going to play cards with everyone so tonight should be a lot of fun; it's be a rest from constantly wondering what is really going on in this place.

The Lady is died. I was woken up late last night by a soldier who took me to the spy master, he interrogated me trying to find out everything about Lady Clarissa but even though I had just been woken up I still was able to keep a cool head. I told them nothing more than I had before, and now they have a new assignment for me.

I was kind of hoping that they would leave me alone now that the Lady is gone but no such luck. They said I was to be assigned as maid for another lady and I was supposed to find a messenger. The spy master said the prince was planning to revolt and somehow he is sending out messages and none of his other spies can find out whom. I don't know why he choose me, probably he has all his spare spies looking for this messenger. He also gave me another purse filled with gold coins. So tomorrow I'll be assigned to another lady and that is when I have to start spying again but today is all me own.

I have been feeling guilty about the Lady's death, I feel like it's my fault because I was spying on her. I never meant for her to die, even when she was sick I assumed she would just get better and be her old spoiled self. Now she's gone, died. What would Farris think of me now, now that I'm a murderer?

The lady I'm serving now is Lady Juilla; she's one of the prince's closest friends. She is smart, pretty, and really nice, unlike Lady Clarissa. I think the spy master suspects her of carrying messages for the prince, that's probably why he put me here. I don't really feel right spying on her because she's so sweet, I doubt she's involved with the revolt because she seems so quiet and peaceful.

The bad thing about working for Lady Juilla is that I'm with Jace almost constantly, she goes almost everywhere with the prince, I think they're in love but haven't realized it yet. It reminds me of Farris, and unfortunately Jace, but I think I'm getting better. I can look at him without wanting to hurt him and I can say his name without wanting to cry. Our romance was good while it lasted; I just wish it was real. I am trying to forgive Jace, not for him because he'll never know, but for myself so I'm not filled with anger and bitterness. I hate being angry because it swallows all other feelings and makes it impossible to live a happy life, I want to move on.

Speaking of moving on, I saw Tristan today. When I went down to get some tea for Lady Juilla he was sitting in the kitchen talking to Ella. We talked while Ella was getting the tea, he was telling me about his trip home to the country. He's not a slave so he gets days off to got visit his parents and sisters. He was saying that there hasn't been enough rain for the crops this year so it's going to be a bad harvest. Also, the king has raised taxes to pay for a huge new palace which makes things worse; many people will starve this winter if nothing is done.

I'm so depressed; everywhere I turn I see misery and cruelty where I used to see joy and peace. I don't know if this country is turning upside-down or if it was this bad all along and I never noticed. Was I so wrapped up in my own problems that I never saw that people were dying?

I'm dreading going to see the spy master in five days, I don't know what to tell him. I don't want to get Lady Juilla in trouble too; maybe I'll just tell him I haven't found anything yet and hope he believes me. I almost wish I was back on the ship where everything was simple, no spying or betrayal. I have been thinking of just leaving, I have the money from the spymaster so I could book a passage somewhere. I could be gone before any one noticed or cared; I could get away from Jace. But then there's another part of me that want to stay and do something, but what can one slave do to save a country.

I've only been serving Lady Juilla for two days but I feel like she knows everything about me, she keeps on making comments that seem to be about her life but they also sound as if she's trying to tell me something. If she is part of the revolt she has to be intelligent because she would be dead by now, so maybe she does know something. I'm so confused with my life right now, nothing is simple or easy anymore I'm going to go to sleep because for once writing isn't making anything easier to understand, it's making me more confused.

A small group went to the city today to give food and clothes to the beggars and homeless. I was happy to see that some of the lords and ladies saw the poverty around them. Lady Juilla greeted most of the beggars by name and she knew their pasts, as we moved alone she told me about each one. I was surprised that the Prince knew most of them too, the more I see of him the more I'm impressed. He's not the proud, selfish, stupid prince I thought he was; he is a lot like me, a lot like the princess I used to be. I'm different now though, for better or worse I'm not sure, life no longer seems as hopeful as it did and I have come to see that no one's life in perfect.

I got to talk to the prince today, we had brought food but there wasn't enough for all the beggars because there were so many new ones. Lady Juilla went to get some more and took Jace because he could carry all the heavy items she got, at first I was offended because I'm strong but when I realized I would stay and be with the Prince I was happy. The Prince seemed so angry I was afraid to say anything because I didn't know why he was so mad

"At least twenty new beggars! Twenty!" He mumbled.

"It's been a hard year Highness." I stated.

"And how would you know that, you've only been here a few weeks."

"I'm not deaf." I was annoyed that he thought me so dense that I would pick up something as obvious as that.

"What?" He looked at me like it was for the first time, I quickly looked down. How could I be so stupid, I wasn't home, I couldn't talk to him as I would anyone else.

"I said that I had heard it from a friend, Highness." I said as humbly as I could. He laughed,

"Come, I want to talk to you." He started walking toward a fountain in the square. I followed warily; I knew I would have to work to make him believe I was incurious and stupid now that he had been alerted. As we sat down on the edge of the fountain he asked,

"What else have you heard, Sari?"

"How do you know my name, Highness?" I asked, I was little worried.

"Jace talks of you all the time."

"Oh, I hope he hasn't told you too many lies about me." I said bitterly.

"You are avoiding my question, what else have you heard?" I smirked inwardly, now was my moment to make myself look as stupid and thoughtless as possible.

"I have heard so much! Ella, she works in the kitchen, is expecting in a few months, the silversmith is going to marry one of the milkmaids, the Lady Clarissa was poisoned, the King is going to hold a ball next Friday, Lady Hella is pregnant-"

"Enough! I don't need to know all the gossip."

"I'm sorry, Highness, I thought you wanted to know what I've heard."

"Stop playing games."

"Playing games, your Highness?"

"Tell me about Lady Clarissa."

"What about her?"

"You said she was poisoned."

"Well, that's what some people say."

"Do you believe it?"

"Do you, Highness?"

"That's none of your affair, I asked for your opinion."

"Oh, I don't really have an opinion. I supposed she could have but I don't know why any one would want to have her poisoned."

"None at all?"

"She wasn't the nicest women," the Prince smiled at his, "but that is no reason to kill some one."

"Who told you she was poisoned?"

"I don't remember, so many people have been saying it."

"I see, I'm not sure I believe you but you have no reason to lie to me, do you?"

"Of course not, Highness, I would ever lie to you!"

"Look, Juilla is back. She probably needs your help." I bowed and ran off to help Lady Juilla.

While we drove home I thought about what the Prince had said. Why had he asked me all those questions, and what had Jace told him? I felt a little guilty that I lied to him but I wasn't about to tell him that I was spying on his best friend and it was because of me that Lady Clarissa was dead. I hope I haven't gotten myself in more trouble.

Lady Juilla had a council meeting so she gave me the morning off. I went to see Ella then I went to the stables to help Tearnen with the horses but he wasn't there. As I walked though the stable saying good morning to my favorite horses, Tristan walked in. I was surprised to see him and we stood looking at each other for a few seconds before either of us said anything.

"Sari,"

"Hello Tristan."

"I dreamed of you last night,"

"Oh, so how has you day been going?" I asked, trying to change the subject.

"Its been pretty bad, but now you're here its getting better." I didn't how to answer that so I didn't say anything, I looked down and when I looked up again Tristan was right in front of me. I was about to step back when he put his arms around me and kissed me, I was so shocked that I didn't do anything at first. Then I tried to push away, Tristan let me go. I tried to talk but I couldn't.

"I'm sorry." He said looking down with concern. I felt tears running down my face.

"It's not your fault, I'm sorry, Tristan. I truly am, I don't know what's wrong with me, I-"

"You still like him don't you."

"I don't know, there's part of me that hates him but there's part of me that doesn't…" I started to cry harder. Tristan put his arms around me and I cried on his shoulder.

"I need to get back." I sniffed after my crying had subsided.

"Me too," I started walking toward the door when he call to me, "Sari, if you ever need anything let me know."

"Thanks Tristan," I gave him a small smile and went to my room to wash my face before I went to find Lady Juilla.

I looked everywhere for her but she was nowhere to be found. I had looked in the meeting room, in her bedroom, in the banquet hall, the kitchen, everywhere. I decided to look in the gardens because I had always liked them and it would be nice to wander around in them, I doubted Lady Juilla would be there but it gave me an excuse to be in the gardens. After walking around for fifteen minutes I heard quiet talking. I recognized one voice as Lady Juilla's but the other was too quiet for me to identify. I stepped into the clearing to see Lady Juilla and Jace standing close together. Lady Juilla looked up and saw me, she handed Jace a folded peace of paper before coming toward me.

"Sari, I'm surprised you found me here. I'm sorry I didn't tell you where I was going to be but after the meeting I felt like some fresh air." I smiled, but part of me was furious that she had been out in the garden alone with Jace. Did she like him? Did he like her? The rest of the day I was in a bad mood, I realized that I did still love Jace which was bad because he obviously didn't love me anymore. I told Ella about what happened but she didn't seem too concerned, she just said I really needed to talk to Jace. I asked why and she said because he wanted to talk to me. I told her that if he wants to talk to me then he could come to me and tell me himself.

Today was the first time I've seen Lady Juilla angry, the King has decided to raise the taxes again! As if the people aren't bad enough off already, he has to go and make things worse. Lady Juilla was just as angry as I was at this; she's scary when she's angry. Her eyes turn an icy blue, she speaks no louder than she usually does but you can feel her anger and outrage. I'm glad it's no me she's mad at! I really don't understand why the King is doing this, he already has more money then he'll ever use and he's making the people hate him more by doing this. There is no benefit to this, I almost asked Lady Juilla why he was raising the taxes again but that's not the type of a question a stupid maid would ask so I was silent.

I'm starting to have doubts about this revolt; I think I have been put on the wrong side. Stopping Lady Clarissa from killing the Prince was good, but spying on Lady Juilla isn't. I'm almost thinking of telling her everything I know and how the spy master suspects her but that would be foolish, she might have me killed. I have only one more day before I have to report to the spy master and I have to find something trivial to tell him, something that will keep him happy an protect Lady Juilla. I like her, even if she does like Jace.

One of my problems has been solved but another one has appeared. I was coming back with Lady Juilla's tea and I heard her talking to some one.

"In the South Garden at noon, three days from now, I'll explain everything that he wants to know- go quickly I hear some one coming." I pretended I had just gotten to the door and knocked; Lady Juilla quickly came out and said she'd have her tea in the next room. I don't think she knew how much I had heard because she didn't seem worried.

I'm going to tell the spy master this because it isn't very important, I could tell them to go to the wrong garden or at the wrong time. I wouldn't get in trouble for not having any information and Lady Juilla wouldn't be caught with the messenger, and the messenger would be safe too! It's the perfect plan, no one gets hurt and every one wins; except the spy master but no one cares about him. So now I don't have to worry about tomorrow.

The new problem is that Jace has a girlfriend, at least that's the way it seems. I saw him walking with her today as I was going to play cards with my friends. She is a tall, stunning blond with large eyes; she was giggling as Jace talked to her and was looking up at him as if he was the only other person in the world. I was so wildly jealous I almost ran at her, but I was able to control myself enough to walk quickly away into the kitchen. Ella was still working so I sat and waited until she was done then I told her about Jace.

"Sari, either you love him or you don't."

"I do!" I said angrily.

"Then talk to him."

"No…especially not if he's likes her!"

"Then how will he know you still love him?"

"I don't want him to know because last time he took advantage of me and made me believe that he loved me but it was all just a game."

"If you don't want him to know that you love him then you shouldn't be upset that found some one else, if that's truly the case."

"What do you mean 'if that is truly the case'?"

"I don't think he likes that girl."

"What do you think?"

"Sari, calm down, everything will work out in the end. Come, the other girls are here." I followed her into the room still angry but soon I became involved and forgot my troubles for a while. I decided that I'm going to make Jace jealous by getting some one else too, some one like Tristan will do just fine!

In a few minutes I have to leave and go see the spy master, I'm a little nervous but since he was so easily tricked last time I don't see why this time should be any different. I've tried not to thing about tonight all of today because I don't want to appear too nervous, but also I don't want it to seem like I've practiced my story a lot because then he might guess that I changed it. Nothing interesting has happened all day, Lady Juilla went for a ride in the park, we ate in a field, came home and she read, nothing out of the ordinary which for once was bad because I nothing to take my mind off of Jace and his new girlfriend. I'll write more when I get back; I need to go to see the spy master now.

Everything when well at the spy master's, he seemed a little confused when I said they were going to meet at the 'mouth of the garden' but I told him that was what Lady Juilla said. I thought if I used something that rhymed with south then I could explain myself if he got mad, I could say 'well, that's what I thought she said!'

My world has completely turned up-side-down; after Lady Juilla went to bed I went to look for Jace. Not because I wanted to talk to him, but because I wanted to see if he was with his new girl. I looked around for a while and found myself wandering around the ballroom when I saw Jace out on a terrace. I quietly crept up and stood behind a pillar. I suspected that he and his lover had snuck back here where they could be alone, but then I heard the Prince's voice. I was surprised because an hour or so ago he had told Lady Juilla that he was going to bed! I listened hard to what he was saying,

"What did she tell you?"

"She said I was to meet her tomorrow in the South Garden." Jace was the messenger! I could not believe it, how could that be possible? That explained why he had been talking to Lady Juilla in the garden a few days ago.

"Tell her that everything in ready, all we need is her report."

"I will. Nathel, I talked to Elsie yesterday." Jace called the Prince by his first name! Lady Juilla was the only person in court to call him that except his immediate family, Jace was not only the messenger; he was the Prince's friend.

"What did she say?"

"She said that your father's spy master had recruited another spy and that this new spy had brought down Lady Clarissa."

"My spies said she had been poisoned." agreed the Prince.

"Elsie said Lady Clarissa was plotting to kill you, why didn't you tell me?"

"I knew my father's spies would take care of it."

"But your father suspects!"

"Of course he does, but he knew if I was murderer the people would rise up so he took a chance hoping that he could later change my mind and keep me in his power."

"You still should have told me."

"Maybe I should have, but it's too late for that now. I need to get to bed; I have a lot to do tomorrow. You can have the whole day off tomorrow since I'll be in meetings most of the time anyway, just come and tell me everything you've learned after dinner."

I staid crouched down in my hiding spot for at least ten minutes after Jace had left then I went back to my room where I sat deep in thought. I had put the lives of the two people I cared on the line just so I wouldn't get in trouble with the spy master. I'm so glad I gave them a false name; Lady Juilla and Jace will be safe, now I have to figure out what to do about the next time I see the spy master.

I'm so restless, I know that Jace will be safe because I told the spy master to go to the wrong garden but I still worry that he might get caught. It's on a few hours after I got up and I still I'm going crazy with nervousness. I'm going to go see Ella and then maybe go help Tearnen with the horses. She seemed really agitated when I came in,

"What's the matter?" I asked and started washing some dishes.

"Later." She said quietly.

"What do you mean?"

"Later, I'll tell you later."

"When?"

"In a half hour, meet you in the back room."

"Alright," We continued working silently until the half hour was up. When Ella had finished I followed her into one of the back rooms, I was really worried about what she would say because Ella was always so happy that even in bad situations she was more cheerful then most.

"It's Jace," She said as soon as she shut the door. I gasped, suddenly feeling faint; I sat down heavily on a box.

"What happened?" I asked, afraid to know the answer.

"He was arrested; he's in the jail now."

"Arrested?" I whispered holding my head in my hands. I was so depressed and confused, how had this happened?

"I need to go," I said getting up quickly.

"Sari, come back! Sit down you look sick." Ella said coming towards me.

"I'm perfectly fine; I just need to do something." I tried to smile and ran out of the kitchen toward the spy master's building.

I burst into the spy master's office angrily,

"You must let him go; you've gotten the wrong man!"

"What are you talking about, you gave us the information."

"I was wrong," I lied, "He is Lady Juilla's lover; I thought they were talking about the revolution but they were secretly lovers. I just heard Lady Juilla reading a poem from him; they're in love not traitors." I was breathing heavily, just now realizing what I had just done I looked down trying to hide my anxiety.

"He might be her lover, but he also has some part in the plot. We already suspected him of being a traitor so this is good excuse to arrest him and hold him for interrogation."

"But-"

"Don't you have something you should be doing? Leave, I don't need you I'll see you in seven days." I left quietly, but angrily, I wanted to smash the spy master's face in but I knew that wouldn't help Jace at all.

I wandered around in a daze and found myself back in the kitchen, and I knew what I had to do.

"Ella, do you have a moment?' I asked as I walked up to her.

"Of course," She said looking concerned. I led her into the small room we had just been in when she had told me about Jace.

"Ella, a few days after we got hear I was taken to a small building by the barracks…" I went through and told her everything that had happened and how I was forced to spy on Lady Clarissa and later, Lady Juilla. When I was done she just sat there quietly for a few minutes then asked,

"What are you going to do?" I was surprised that Ella was taking this so calmly.

"I don't know, I need to set things right though. I got Jace put in jail so I'm going to be the one to get him out. "

"By yourself?"

"Why not?"

"Because that is stupid, you need help. I think you should talk to Lady Juilla."

"Lady Juilla will probably kill me herself!"

"I don't think so, she'll understand." I sighed, there was really nothing I could do on my own except get arrested myself so I agreed to go talk to Lady Juilla.

When I knocked quietly on Lady Juilla's bedroom door, it was opened immediately by the Lady herself.

"Sari, just the person I was looking for."

"Lady there's something that-"

"Not now dear, later. Now will you deliver this to the Prince," She handed me a envelope, "Make sure no one gets it except the Prince himself."

"But-"

"Not now! GO!" I turned and hurried toward the Prince's chambers. If Jace's life hadn't been hanging on a thread I might had laughed at the irony, I was a spy looking for the messenger and now I was the messenger. But now it just seemed like I was wasting time, Jace was probably being tortured and I was running stupid errands for Lady Juilla.

As I went to the Prince's chambers I tried to get my head straight, but I was so upset that nothing made much sense. The only thing that I knew for sure was that I had to save Jace, I loved him and I knew if I didn't save him then I would never forgive myself. Even if though he didn't love me anymore, I still had to right what I had done wrong. And maybe, just maybe if I saved him he would think better of me in the end.

I reached the Prince's chambers soon and I knocked quietly on the door, trying not to look suspicious. The door was opened by a young slave,

"Yes?"

"I have a message for the Prince." I answered.

"I'll give it to him."

"No!" I said a little too quickly, then more calmly, "No, I'm supposed to give it directly to the Prince."

"Fine, wait in here." The slave pointed to a smart parlor right off the Prince's study.

In a few minutes the Prince came in and shut the door, he stared at me for a while before he spoke,

"Where is Jace?" I looked down and started to cry, between sobs I managed to tell him that Jace had been arrested and was now being held somewhere. I didn't say anything about my part in all of it; I didn't want him to know yet.

"So Juilla sent you instead?"

"Yes, she told me to tell you-"

"Wait!" The Prince got up and went to door opening it quickly to see if any one was eves-dropping, when he saw no one he shut the door and turned to me.

"Sorry, continue."

"Lady Juilla said that 'everything is how it should be, the time is come because all that was need has been acquired'." I looked at his face expectantly.

"Is that exactly what she said?"

"Yes, that was everything."

"Good, you may go now."

"But-" I stopped, "Do you have anything for me to let her?"

"No, go before anyone grows suspicious."

"Thank you Majesty." I bowed and hurried from the room and walked slowly back to my room since there wasn't anything else I could do. I put this book and my pen into my pocket and went out to the gardens to write.

I few minutes after I finished writing about Jace getting arrested I heard the tramp of marching feet. My first instinct was to run and hide but I knew that that would make me seem guilty. The spy master had no reason to arrest me, well actually he did but I doubted he knew about me delivering the message so I stayed where I was and waited. The noise got closer and closer; soon a group of about thirty soldiers turned the corner and came towards me. I jumped up and watching them come closer, when they were a few yards in front of me one, probably the sergeant or lieutenant, stepped forward and said,

"Slave Sari?"

"Yes." I answered cautiously.

"You are under arrest for treason against His Most Royal Majesty, the King." Two other soldiers came forward and took hold of my arms. While I was trying to figure out what was happening the soldiers started dragging me out of the gardens. I started fighting them, kicking, biting, and screaming. I knew it was useless but I still tried to get away, I actually got free for a few seconds but I was caught again. They must have knocked me out because the next thing I remember was lying on the cold stone floor of the jail.

Awhile later, I'm not sure how long it could have been minutes or hours, the spy master came to the door of my cell. I jumped up and ran to the door,

"What is going on? Why am I in here? I have risked my life to get all that stupid information for you and now you repay me by throwing me in jail!" I yelled angrily.

"Shut up, you know why you're here."

"For doing what you asked me to!"

"One of my spies saw you go into the Prince's chambers."

"So?" I asked, I was quickly thinking of a lie. I could say I was sending him a dinner invitation from Lady Juilla or I could pretend that the Prince and I where lovers…

"You think you're smart don't you?"

"Compared to some, yes." I bite my tongue; I had forgotten that I was supposed to be a stupid slave, not my real self. But now it was a little late to start pretending again, he would definitely notice.

"You can not talk to me like that, Slave!" He yelled. I just rolled my eyes,

"I just did!" I smirked, screw this stupid act! I thought to myself. I knew I was caught so I mine as well enjoy my last few hours of life. I felt so good to speak my mind, I didn't really think anything through; I just kept taunting him.

"Do you really think arresting me will save you?"

"Shut up you-" I smiled sweetly at him while he cursed me in at least three languages. I was glad that there were bars between us because he completely exploded. His face got purple and he was shaking, I tried not to laugh but I couldn't help it- he looked so stupid! Of course laughing was the worst thing I could have possibly done, he stomped out and came back with the frightened guard. You can probably guess what happened next, the guard unlocked my cell and dragged me out. I kicked and screamed even though I knew it would do no good, I felt that the concept of fighting until the end was important even if it was useless.

The guards pulled me out of the jail and I was tied to a post in the middle of the practice yards. All the other prisoners were brought out to watch, as a warning, and many servants and slaves came out too, to see what all the commotion was about. It was satisfying to have such a big audience but I can't explain why.

"This slave has disrespected her betters, she will be flogged as a punishment for her disobedience and disrespect; let this be a warning to you all!" The spy master bellowed. I looked around me, trying to distract myself from what was to come, I wanted to be as strong as I could and didn't wasn't the spy master to have the satisfaction of seeing me in pain. While I tried to compose myself by looking around I found myself staring at the group of prisoners. I looked at the prisoners closely and I saw Him. I couldn't help it, I smiled.

"Do you think this is a game? Do you think this is funny? I'll teach you not to laugh at me!" The spy master screamed as he saw my smile. I felt the whip cut into my back and my smile vanished. The second blow made me clench my teeth so hard I thought they would break. The third made my vision spotty and I felt like I was falling into blackness. I waited for the next but it never came; I thought maybe I was unconscious or dead. Tried to open my eyes, but they stayed shut. I tried to scream but I couldn't make a sound, it felt like a nightmare; I hoped it was.

I felt something hit me, my eyes flew open. At first all I could see was light; after my eyes adjusted I could see the practice yard. It was full of people, people yelling, cursing, fighting, and dying. What was going on? I tried to move but I was still tied to the post. I cried out for help and looked around me; I was surprised and a little pleased to see the dead body of the spy master lying about ten yards from me.

I had been conscious for about five minutes before some one rushed forward and cut off the ropes that held me. I fell into the dirt and slowly pulled myself up. Once I was on my feet I staggered into the spy master's office, I started emptying all of his files onto the floor in one big pile. Then using a lighter I had found in one of his cabinets, I lit the pile on fire and ran out of the room as fast as I could.

I collapsed outside of the building, too tired and weak from loss of blood to continue. I was happy though, I felt that I had redeemed myself a little by burning all of the records. Now I was sure Jace would be safe, or at least I could hope.

I remember some one picking me up but then I must have pasted out again because when I woke up I was in the kitchen. I was lying on my stomach and some one was cleaning the wounds on my back.

"She's awake!" Some one said.

"Good, Sari dear, can you hear me?" Asked Ella, who was the one cleaning my back.

"Ella!" I cried happily and tried to get up, only to fall back on the table with a groan of pain.

"Be patient, I'm almost done." Chided Ella. I stayed as still as I could as she finished bandaging my back.

"Here Sari, drink this. It will help with the pain." Ella handed me a cup full of a steaming liquid, I drank it quickly, trying to ignore the bitter taste. Not long after drinking the medicine the pain in my back became more of a dull ache then the throbbing breathtaking pain I had woken up to. Now that the pain wasn't so strong I started to try to figure out was going on but I couldn't order my thoughts. There was only one thing that was clear to me, I needed to fix the wrong I had done. I would sacrifice my life if need be to help this revolution that the Prince was planning, only then would I feel free of my guilt.

"I need to go." I said as I slowly and painfully got to my feet when Ella was done bandaging my back.

"Are you crazy?" Ella said.

"I need to find Lady Juilla!" I started walking toward the door, I felt dizzy but I managed to stand straight.

"You can hardly walk!"

"I'm fine, I need to go." I turned away and continued walking.

"Sari!"

"What?"

"At least let me find some one to go with you." Ella begged.

"No time." I said and walked out the door.

"Let me sent someone else!" Ella yelled after me.

"No, I need to go."

"Sari, you're being foolish! You're going to get yourself killed!" That's the point, I mumbled to myself and walked as fast as I could out of the kitchen into the hallway that led to Lady Juilla's chambers. As I turned the corner I crashed into some one going the other way. I lost my balance and fell backwards but before I hit the floor I was caught gently.

"Sorry, I-" I looked up and saw that I had just run into Jace.

"Hello Sari," He said happily, like he hadn't broken my heart, like there wasn't anything strange going on, like I wasn't the one that got him arrested, like there weren't dead bodies lying outside in the courtyard.

"Jace!?" I whispered, I just stared at him stupidly.

"What are you doing here?" I asked thinking of nothing else to say, "Nevermind, I have to go!" I untangled myself from him arms and started off in the direction of Lady Juilla's rooms.

"Wait!" He said, grabbing my hand.

"I need to go, Lady Juilla probably needs my help." He smiled and pulled me gently towards him and tilted my head up.

"Jace!" I protested, pushing away, "What is wrong with you!"

"What do you mean?" He asked pulling me back towards him.

"People are dying! I don't have time for your stupid games!"

"Games?"

"Yes, you jerk!"

"I'm not a jerk." He pulled me closer and tried to kiss me.

"What the hell is wrong with you? Let me go!" I said angrily, did he think he could break my heart then just expect me to…to fall into his arms? I have to admit it was very tempting but I had enough self control to myself.

"But I love you!"

"Like hell you do!" I yelled and punched him in the face. I turned and ran towards Lady Juilla's rooms

I burst into Lady Juilla's room without knocking; no one was in the first or second room. I looked around wildly and was about to leave when I heard a scream from the terrace. I rushed out on to the terrace to find Lady Juilla fencing with a palace guard, and she was winning. At first I was so surprised that I just stood watching but the I took a knife from my belt and rushed forward to help her. I jumped on the guard and just started stabbing wildly at whatever I could get a hold of.

The guard screamed and smashed me into the stone wall, knocking the air out of my. I still held on but he kept smashing me into the wall and I started to black out. I felt the guard suddenly go limp and I fell to the ground with him. I crawled off and some one lifted me up and splashed water in my face, I sputtered and opened my eyes.

"Well, it took you long enough!" Lady Juilla said. I just gaped at her, then she began to laugh and soon I joined her. I was surprised I was able to laugh at a time like this.

"We need to find the Prince." I turned to see Jace standing behind me, his one eye was swollen shut from where I punched him.

"How did you-" I began, then changed my mind. It didn't matter, "My lady, there is something I have to tell you." I said turning to Lady Juilla guiltily.

"Hush my dear, now is not the time!" Interrupted Lady Juilla with a smile, "Besides it doesn't matter now, you have shown to whom your loyalty belongs."

"You knew?"

"Not until today, but like I said before, not is not the time. We need to find the Prince before the revolution is over."

"The revolution? It has started?" I asked, everything was starting to fit together now.

"Yes, our revolution, now come!" Jace took my hand; I started to pull away from him.

"Please?" He begged; I rolled my eyes.

"Now is not the time!" I replied and followed Lady Juilla.

When we got there no one was there so we went looking for the Prince outside that was where most of the fighting was taking place so we figured he was probably in the middle of it. On our way we broke into the armory and stole some weapons, it felt so good to have real fighting knives again, not just the kitchen knife I had been carrying. I haven't had a good knife in long; I also found a sword so I was prepared for almost anything. That is, as long as my back didn't hurt me too much.

"I think I see him!" Jace said as we ran though one of the larger courtyards.

"Where?" Lady Juilla and I asked simultaneously.

"There!" He said pointing at a small group of soldiers fighting a handful of armed servants. We rushed toward them to help; as we got closer we were sure the Prince was there. We all started fighting the soldiers, trying to fight our way to the Prince so we could help protect him.

My back was burning terribly but I did my best to ignore it, I wouldn't let it hinder my fighting. I knew that if I tried to take it easy because of my back I would be killed and I was not really for that yet since I really hadn't done much to help the revolution.

We finally managed to get to the Prince and kill the remaining soldiers. I was died tired but somehow I managed to stay standing. Lady Juilla looked awful; she had a wound on her shoulder that had covered her in blood. As soon as the fighting was over I ripped off part of my skirt to stop the bleeding and bandage her wound as best as I could. Jace was fine, he had a few small cuts but nothing serious, the Prince was the same, they were both lucky.

"Do you have any news, Juilla?" the Prince asked.

"Not much, I know the revolution has spread but I don't know how far or how it fairs with the others."

"I see. Hello Jace, I'm glad to see you. I was afraid you were still imprisoned."

"No, I all the prisoners were brought out to see her" he motioned to me, "be flogged. All the servants who were watching were outraged because they all thought of her as a meek shy girl." He smirked, "They figured that the spy master was just trying to frighten them so they started protesting. I took the chance to knock out the guard nearest to me and soon everyone was fighting the guards, the spy master was killed and all the prisoners were freed."

"And that is how all this started? Am I correct?" asked the Prince.

"Yes, I was angry and took the chance to fight. It was foolish but it worked out in the end."

"So it has." I just stood there gaping; the revolution was started because of me in a way. Since I angered the spy master, he had me whipped, the servants got angry, Jace started fighting, and everyone followed. Jace started fighting, maybe he really cared for me…but that doesn't matter now. I can figure all that out later, if I'm still alive.

"Come, we need to move into a less exposed place." Said Lady Juilla, we all nodded and followed her into a nearby building.

"My thanks to you, Sari," The Prince said when we got inside; I just looked at him open-mouthed. Why was he thanking to me? I was the reason Jace had been put in jail, I had put them all in danger.

"Tongue-tied?" The Prince teased good-naturedly.

"I-I haven't done anything worthy of thanks, My Lord."

"Don't be so humble, you started this revolution!" exclaimed Lady Juilla.

"No! Jace started it." I retorted.

"Yes, but because of you."

"No, he would have started the fighting even if it was some one else, Majesty."

"No, because before he was arrested I ordered him to do nothing until I gave the command. So you see if it was anyone else he would have just stood there but it was too much for him to see you hurt." I tried to say something but I could find the words, if that was true than he still loved me! But part of me still warned me to stay away from Jace; he had hurt me so much I wasn't sure if I could ever trust him again.

"Where do we go now?" I asked after a while, trying to change the subject.

"We need to try to gather all of our forces; we should get horses too, and then crush the remaining soldiers." The Prince said, looking at Lady Juilla.

"Yes, we need to hurry." She replied. We all took off toward the stables, gathering as many people as we could. By the time we reached the stable we had over one hundred armed servants following us.

We all mounted horses and road through the palace helping to defeat the remaining soldiers; it was night before the fighting in the palace had stopped. The king had been captured so the battle was virtually over but outside the palace there still was fighting going on. It would take weeks until the whole country was conquered by the Prince's men. Many of the King's soldiers surrendered and swore allegiance to the Prince

I spend the next few days after the start of the revolution resting, there wasn't much I could do so Lady Juilla had me sent to the infirmary and wouldn't let me leave until the doctor said that I was fine. For once all I wanted to do was to work, but all I could do was lie in bed. It drove me crazy because all I did was think about what had happened and the more I thought about it the more confused I became.

From what the Prince said, Jace still loved me but how would he explain breaking my heart? Why did he tell me it was all a lie if he really loved me? It made no sense; maybe the Prince just lied about what happened so I would be quiet. Or maybe Jace thought he loved me now, I don't know. Part of me thought that maybe, just maybe, Jace lied when he said that he never loved me, maybe he had to lie to me. But I knew that was just me trying to justify what he did.

I had this book with me while I was in the infirmary so I spend so of my time writing down what had happened. I got all the news from the doctor so I knew what was going on but I still wanted to get out and see what was going on for myself. The doctor also told me that the Prince's guard, Jace, was promoted and now was the Prince's second in command.

I'm finally free! Not free, free I mean I'm still a slave; but I'm out of the infirmary! I was so happy when the doctor told me a could leave that I wanted to dance around but I controlled myself, partly because I was afraid he would think I had lost my mind and decide I shouldn't leave.

The first thing I did was go to my rooms and change into new clothes, then I went down to the kitchen to see Ella. She wasn't there when I got there so I wandered around for a while before deciding to go to the stable to see if she was there. I didn't find her there but I did see Tristan who just said hello then ran off. This was a little weird but I didn't really can that much, I was starting to worry that Ella and Tearnen might have gotten killed in the fighting. The longer it was, the more frightened I became. I rushed through the palace looking all over of them and after an hour or two I ran back to the kitchen just to check if she had returned. Ella still wasn't there but I did see one of the servants that I knew,

"Have you seen Ella?" I asked anxiously.

"She is resting, she had her baby." The servant answered, then bowed to me and hurried out. I stood there with my mouth gaping, Ella had her baby! But the part that shocked me most was that the servant had bowed to me, why? I was a slave and she was free! I sighed and went back to my room to rest, I wanted to go see Ella but I was so tired from running around the palace I felt like I was about to drop any second.

After I woke up and ate I went to go find Ella, it wasn't hard because I had been to her rooms a few times before so I only took a few wrong turns before I got there. Ella looked so radiant, lying in bed with her beautiful baby girl in her arms. Tearnen was beside her and seemed overwhelmed by happiness, just looking at the two of them made me feel warm inside. There were two people who loved each other. But thinking about that just reminded me about Jace.

"Sari! I'm so happy to see you!" Ella cried when I entered. I ran to her and gave her a big hug.

"She's beautiful!" I whispered as I gazed down at the little child in Ella's arms.

"I know, it's amazing! I was afraid I would lose her but Tearnen got me to the doctor in time. Did you know I was in the middle of fighting when my water broke?"

"You've got to be joking! You are so lucky you got to a doctor, I was so worried. When I couldn't find you in the kitchens I thought you must have been killed."

"I'm sorry, darling, I should have sent word but I have been so busy and…"

"Don't apologize, it's fine. So what did you name her?" I asked holding the baby's hand.

"Sari, Sari Rose." Tearnen answered.

"We named her after you, because of what you have done for us." Continued Ella.

"After me?" I stammered, amazed.

"Yes, we are free now. The Prince freed us, if it wasn't for you we would still be slaves and my little Sari would be a slave too." I started to cry,

"You are the best friend I have even had! I love you so much!" I sobbed and hugged Ella again. I was so overwhelmed, I felt so loved. For once since I had come to the palace I felt completely happy, I didn't have to worry about any schemes or lies. Nothing. I could be happy.

I talked with Ella and Tearnen for until some one knocked on the door, Tearnen opened it and a servant came in,

"Her Majesty, Queen Juilla requests the presence of Lady Sari at her rooms immediately."

"What?" I said, thinking there must be a mistake. The servant repeated his message and told me to follow him. I quickly said good-bye to Tearnen, Ella, and baby Sari then left. I was worried that I might be punished for my treachery before the revolution but I thought that Lady Juilla had forgiven me.

The servant led me to Lady Juilla's rooms and escorted me into her parlor and asked me to wait fro her. I sat there nervously,

"Sari!" Lady Juilla rushed into the room and embraced me. I was so take aback I just stood there for a few seconds before embracing her back.

"You may leave us," She said to the servant, then turned to me again, "How is your back?"

"It's healing very well, My Lady."

"Don't call me that anymore, just call me Juilla. We are friends now, and you are a lady."

"What?"

"You are no longer a slave, do you think the Prince, the King now, would treat you so unkindly after all you did for us? He has freed you and given you the title of duchess now."

"Oh," was all I could manage to say.

"Come on, there isn't much time!"

"Time for what?"

"You need to have a bath and get dressed!"

"Why?"

"You don't expect to go to the banquet like that do you?"

"Banquet?"

"Yes, Nathel, the King, is holding a banquet in your honor. Now come with me and we'll get you into the bath." I nodded and followed her, dumbfounded, into her bathroom.

Two hours later we left Juilla's rooms and walked together to the banquet hall. I felt so strange in the fancy clothes she had given me to wear; the funny part was that they were not any grander than the clothes I had been used to wearing when I was home. But that seemed so long ago it was more like a dream than real life.

When Juilla and I entered the hall everyone stopped talking and turned to look at us, we were greeted by the Prince, now King, who insisted that I call him Nathel now too. I was seated at Nathel's right hand and Juilla, not his wife, was at his other side. Jace sat across from me, this made me feel even more uncomfortable but this kind of event was what I had been raised to deal with. Even though I was dazed and confused by the recent events I managed not to make a complete fool out of myself.

I even managed to get through the dances without forgetting any steps or stepping on any one's feet which surprised me since it had been so long since I last danced. I was glad it was such a big event because I wasn't alone with Jace long enough to have a real conversation with him. This made me feel a lot better since I still didn't know what I thought about him. It seemed like every man in that room wanted to dance with me so I wasn't worried of having to dance with Jace for more than a few minutes but he surprised me when he came over and cut in when I was dancing with some duke.

"We need to talk." He said.

"Your eye looks better." I said, almost as a warning.

"Yes, it's doing much better now. I couldn't see out of it for days." He said with a smile.

"Oh, that's too bad, you poor baby!"

"Sari, please be serious."

"I am serious."

"No you're not, listen I need to explain."

"Yes, you do. But I doubt it will make a difference."

"Will you please just listen? I need to tell you this; you have no idea what I've gone through!"

"What you've gone through? What you've gone through! Where the one who was lied to? Are you the one whose heart was broken? Where you the one who almost killed the one you loved?"

"Sari, please let me explain! I know you probably hate you but things aren't as they seem. I-"

"Can I have the next dance?" A young man interrupted.

"NO!" Jace and I both said angrily. The young man looked scared and left quickly.

"As I was saying, I had to tell you that I didn't love you."

"WHAT!? What reason could you possibly have for doing that?"

"I had to protect you, I-"

"Oh please! Do you think I'm stupid enough to believe that Jace?"

"I might be stupid, but not that stupid." I pushed away from him and walked back to the table. I wanted to just leave but that would be very disrespectful to Nathel so I sat down until another guy came and asked me to dance.

I really don't remember the rest of the night; I was too busy thinking that I really don't remember who else I danced with or how dances there were. I also had a little too much to drink, I wasn't crazy drunk or anything; it's just that I wasn't really myself. I know that wasn't the best thing to do, but it's too late now- it's done and over with. I'm tired and I want to go to bed, actually I don't want to but that's besides the fact. Oh, and I've been given new rooms near Juilla's so now I have my own bathroom, parlor, bedroom, study, and dinning room. I really like my rooms but after living so close to other people for so long it is a little lonely.

I wish I hadn't drunk as much last night, I feel horrible this morning. Actually, it's the afternoon but still, I feel horrible. Not only does my head pound and feel like it's stuffed with cotton but my heart hurts too but that has nothing to do with drinking. I still don't really understand about last night, what was Jace thinking? We can't be telling the truth, can he? I really wish he was but I know better than to hope. I don't want to be disappointed. Maybe I'll go look for Tristan, no that's wrong, I can't go breaking his heart to help mine feel better. I don't know, I really don't understand what's going on. I wish it would just be easy. But it's never easy.

After lying in bed for a while I decided that I might feel better if I took a nice long bath then lay around the rest of the day. I figured since I was a "duchess" now I could do whatever I pleased. I got up and asked the servant girl; yes I have my own servant now, to fill up the bath. While I was waiting for her she told me I might want to go look in the parlor, I walk in and my parlor looked like a greenhouse.

There were bouquets of flowers everywhere, on the tables, on the floor, on the window sills, everywhere. I just stared for a few minutes then went into the bathroom where the servant was.

"What are the flowers for?" I asked. The servant smiled,

"For you, of course; they were sent by your admirers. They've been coming in all morning, My Lady, there are some more in the dinning room. Some one also sent you a box which is on the dinning room table and there is a pile of letter there too."

"Letters?"

"Yes, from your admirers too I suppose."

"But why?"

"Why? My Lady, pardon me for saying so but have you looked in the mirror? You are gorgeous, not only that but you are now a duchess, and are very close to our new King and Queen. You have become one of the most sought after women in the kingdom. Most people are looking to establish their new position and what better way to do that then to marry you."

"Damn!"

"My Lady?"

"I'm sorry, I just have a lot on my mind and this is the last thing I want to have to deal with." I sighed and removed my robe and stepped into the bath. I closed my eyes and just soaked in the bath until the water became cold. I got out and decided that I should probably dress instead of staying in my robe all day.

I had a breakfast/dinner of fruit then started looking at the things that my "admirers" had sent me. I had been sent every kind of flower you could imagine; roses, tulips, violets, primroses, pansies, lilies, marigolds, irises, and some many others that I couldn't name. It was definitely an ego boost but it really didn't make me feel any better, I even read some of the notes but I soon got tired of them the all said the same basic thing, "you are so gorgeous" or "I fell in love with you at first sight". They were all filled with clichés or were disgustingly romantic. There were few good ones but they still didn't mean anything to my, I didn't even recognized most of the names of the men who had sent them to me. I am a romantic at heart but these things just disgusted me because I knew that none of them were sincere, no of those guys knew me, and I knew none of them.

Even though I didn't outwardly admit to myself at first I was a little angry that Jace didn't send me anything. Of course, if he had I probably would have thrown the flowers out the window but still, I wished he had. I did get something from Tristan though; he sent me a package of beautiful grooming equipment for the horse that Nathel had given me. This was the one present that I actually appreciated because it had purpose and he didn't even write some stupid poem. He just said that the tact was for my new horse and he would help me with her when ever I came down, he said he looked forward to seeing me and that was all.

I didn't even read all the letters that were sent to me, I asked my servant, whose name is Beth; to look over them and let me know if any of them were worth reading. When she was done with that I asked her if there was some way that I could get rid of all the flowers without throwing them away. She had a wonderful idea, she said I should set up a flower stand and sell them in the city and give the money I get from them to the poor. I laughed; it was the best thing I had heard all day. I started to really like Beth after that, I asked her to arrange for that to be done then I decided I would go for a walk in the gardens.

I made sure not to go into any of the gardens that people loved to go to, I wanted to be alone. Besides, with all the attention I was getting I was sure to meet one of my "admirers" and I knew that if that happened it would not end well. I ended up in a dark garden full of tall oak trees; I fell in love with the spot at once.

As I was walking along, trying to think of nothing and just enjoy the silence I heard someone walking towards me through the darkness. I snuck off the road but there was no place to hide so at the last minute I decided to climb one of the trees. This is not the easiest thing to do when you have a full length dress on but I managed somehow. I was safely hidden when the intruder turned the corner; I squinted to try to see through the darkness. I most fell out of the tree when I saw who it was! It was Tristan

"Tristan!" I cried as I tried to scramble down from the tree.

"Sari?" He asked laughing as he helped me down from the tree.

"Who else would climb a tree in a gown?" I laughed

"Very true, how are you doing this evening, My Lady?"

"Don't call me that Tristan!"

"Sorry, what are you doing out here all alone?"

"What does it look like I'm doing?"

"Being foolish!" He joked.

"Foolish? Me? Never!"

"Oh of course not! How could I have even thought of such a thing?"

"I know, it hurts me real deep!"

"So would you like some company, Sari?"

"If you are to be the company, then yes."

"You do me a great honor."

"Oh shut up!" I said and punched him lightly in the arm.

"Oh! I feel so loved, I will never wash this shirt because the Lady Sari touched it!" Tristan said in an over dramatic voice.

"Don't make me hit you again!" I threatened.

"Please do!" We both started laughing and walked towards that castle arm in arm. We were talking and laughing when I suddenly realized that Tristan had guided me into one of the main gardens. There were throngs of people everywhere.

"Lets go somewhere else." I said quietly.

"Why? You don't to be seen with me?" asked Tristan seriously.

"Tristan! You know that's not it, I just am not in the mood to deal with any of these people. Especially the men."

"You hate men now?"

"Tristan, this morning half the kingdom sent me flowers or poems! I really am not in the mood to meet any of them in person because I really can't just walk away without being extremely rude."

"Right…"

"Tristan, you don't believe me do you?"

"Not at all."

"Why not?"

"Because, I don't."

"Fine, I'll walk in this garden with you but it's not going to be fun. Neither of us are going to enjoy it."

"Of please, you're so overdramatic."

"Come on, just you watch." I took his arm again and started to walk through the garden, we hadn't gone two steps before a flock of five or six young men came over and started asking me to be their dance partner at the next ball or to go riding with them, or take a walk with them. I just smiled and said I would have to see. Tristan glared at them all but none of them seemed to notice. We weren't there for half and hour before he started whispering,

"Lets run before more come!" but more always did come and it wasn't until an hour later that we were able to slip out. As soon as we were out of sight we ran and fast as we could back to the darker, more secluded gardens.

"That was horrible!" Tristan said as he threw himself down on a mossy patch under a large tree.

"Yes, it was."

"Come on, say it."

"Say what?"

"I told you so."

"Well I did but I wouldn't rub it in your nose, I knew you didn't really understand."

"Are you saying I'm stupid?"

"Of course not! You just aren't used to the way things are in court."

"And you are?"

"Yes-I mean…I was serving Lady Clarissa and Lady Juilla, you know-"

"I knew it!"

"What?"

"You weren't born a slave!"

"Of course I wasn't! I told you that I was captured, I was born free."

"But into what class?"

"Middle, I told you that too."

"Right, I forgot." He stared at me and I became uncomfortable.

"Well, I should get back to my room, I'm tired." I stood up and brushed off my dress.

"I'll walk you back to your room."

"Oh, you don't have to!"

"I know, but I want to. Besides if I didn't who would protect you from your passionate admirers."

"True, okay. Let's go." We walked back to my room quietly, hardly saying anything. I said good night and went into my room; I was almost knocked out by the smell of flowers. They smelled nice but the scent was so strong that it gave me a headache. I quickly went around my rooms and opened all the windows, Beth wasn't there but it didn't bother me. I sat down on one of the couches and started reading a book I found nearby.

I was about to get ready for bed when I heard some one knocking on my door, Who could knocking at this hour? I thought to myself. I didn't really want to open the door because I was afraid it might be one of my "admirers" but I decided to risk it.

"Good Evening Sari," Nathel said when I opened the door.

"You majesty, I-"

"Please, call me Nathel."

"I'm sorry, Nathel, I forgot. What is it I can do for you?"

"Will you take a walk with me?"

"Of course, just let me get my shawl." I quickly went back into my room to get my shawl since it was cool out.

"There is something very important I need to talk to you about."

"What?" I asked.

"It has to do with Jace-"

"Did he put you up to this?" I demanded.

"No, he doesn't know I'm here and truthfully he would be very angry if he knew."

"I see, I'm sorry continue."

"You're driving the boy mad!"

"No I'm not!"

"Yes you are, now let me talk. He loves you," Nathel raised his hand to stop me from starting to speak again, "Listen, I know it doesn't make sense to you right now but he truly loves you. I feel partly responsible for what's going on because it was my fault all this happened."

"How was any of this your fault? He lied to me the whole time we were together, e never loved me! What does that have to do with you?"

"I told him to say that he didn't ever love you, I-"

"YOU TOLD HIM TO SAY THAT!"

"Sari, calm down,"

"I AM CALM!"

"No, you're not! You're screaming at me!"

"How could you do that to me? Why did you tell him to do that? Do you have something against me?" I started to cry.

"Sari, please don't cry. I was trying to protect you."

"Protect me? How?"

"Listen and I'll tell you. Right after Jace came here he became a spy for the revolution, he ran messages for me in his spare time. I ended up becoming friends with him, he always talked about you and I began to get worried. At first I was just worried that you might keep his mind off his work but when I began to get to know him better I also realized that if anyone found out about how much he cared for you they could use you against him. I told him that he shouldn't talk to you but he said that even if he didn't talk to you that you would come and talk to him, this led into a long lecture about how wonderful you were and everything. I was trying to get him to get serious so I asked what you did when you two were separated on the ship and he told me about Lesse and how he was jealous of Lesse because he got to be with you.

"I told Jace that he had to do something about you are you were going to get hurt, which was true. I told him the best thing would be to break up with you, we argued about that for days. I finally convinced him that it was necessary so he went and found you that night." I broke out crying even more, remembering that night. "He told you that he never really loved you so you would stay away and be safe."

"Safe? I was not safe! That hurt me more than anything else would have!" I cried.

"I'm so sorry. I didn't know it would affect either of you so much; I have to admit, I thought you two didn't really love each other. I thought it was more of infatuation. But I know I was terribly wrong. Jace came back crying like a baby, going on and on about how happy you were to see him, then how hurt you looked when he said it meant nothing. He said he almost didn't go through with it, he said if he had stayed a second longer he would have broke down. He didn't get any sleep for the next week and he was so bad I was about to tell him that he could tell you it was just a lie and just tell you the truth but the fate of the country was in the balance and I was not going to sacrifice the revolution for two lovers."

"You should have just told me! I would have stayed away, I would have done anything but it killed me when he said those things to me. I don't even know if I could trust him ever again."

"What do you mean? He just did it because I commanded him to!"

"He still did it! You can't just fall into some one's arms when they do something like that to you."

"Do you hate him?"

"I did but not now, I still love him and I always will but that doesn't mean that it doesn't hurt."

"If you love him then why haven't you given him another chance?"

"Another chance? All he's done is try to kiss me in the middle of the fighting and try to talk to me at the banquet! After what he did to me it's going to take much more than that to win me back!"

"He started a revolt because of you! He changed the course of history because of YOU! Isn't that enough? What do you want him to do, die for you?"

"No, I don't want him to die. And he didn't start the revolution for me! It was for you and your cause!"

"You don't believe me? I'll tell you exactly what happened, I was watching from my rooms. I heard a commotion and looked out to see you tied the whipping post in the front of the jail. Jace and the other prisoners were on one side and a lot of the slaves and servants and even some nobles were watching on the other side. The spy master started screaming something and the turned to you, it was hard to see but it looked like you were laughing at him."

"No, I saw Jace and I could help but smile. I don't know why, maybe because I felt I was about to redeem myself since I was the one that got him in jail in the first place, sorry. Continue."

"Anyway that spy master started flipping out and got out his whip. As he raised it to hit you Jace started yelling, 'she's innocent! she's innocent!' and things along those lines. He fought the guards like crazy and the other prisoners followed his example. By the time he was free the spy master had hit you three times, Jace stabbed the spy master to death with a knife he had gotten off one of the guards. You must have passed out, but the whole courtyard erupted and all the slaves and servants started fighting against the soldiers. Jace stayed near you, trying to keep everyone away from you. Finally all the soldiers were dead and he cut you down and carried you to the kitchen where they took care of you. After he left you there he came to me and I sent him off again. That's when he bumped into you and you punched him in the eye. And just so you know, I forbid him to do anyting like what he did that day. I admit, I'm glad he did because I don't think we could have won other wise, but still I told him not to start anything until he was told to by me but he disobeyed my commands because he loved you. Because he couldn't stand there and let you be punished."

"He did that?" I asked, trying not to cry again.

"Yes, yet you still shun him. He is so lost."

"Lost?"

"Lost, the other day he came up to me and asked if we could talk. I said yes, of course, and he started talking about you again, as usual. 'I don't know what to do' he said, 'I want her to be happy but I want her to know that I really love her' he went on forever talking about how he could deal with you being with some other guy as long as you were happy and knew the truth about him. Then he started blaming himself for everything that happened to you. It was horrible, he started saying things like 'maybe she would be happy if I died' and stuff like that. You need to talk to him; he is so guilty for everything that happened that he is ready to kill himself because he thinks that would be payment for what he's done."

"What? You can't let him do that! And how does he know how much it hurt me? I thought I did a good job of hiding it after that night!"

"He watched you; sometimes he would sit at my window all morning trying to just get a glimpse at you. He talked to Ella a lot too and she told him all about how you felt. And some one told him about Tristan."

"What did they tell him?"

"Just that you and Tristan had something going on."

"Oh," I put my head in my hands, "what am I going to do? I feel so horrible, but in a way I still don't believe you."

"Do you need proof of how upset he is?"

"What do you mean by proof?"

"Come with me."

"Alright."

"Be very quiet." Nathel whispered and I nodded. We walked quietly into a small overgrown garden with a small pond covered in lilies.

"Look over there," Nathel pointed toward the far end of the garden. I tip toed up and looked closer. Jace sat on a rock outcropping, he had a small book open by his side but he was looking up at the moon. Everything about him spelled misery, his broad shoulders were slumped, his mouth in a grimace of pain, him eyes open but unseeing with tears running down his face. His hands were clenched into fists. I could feel the tears in my eyes as I walked closer to him, it was too much. Whatever he did he was sorry now, I wasn't cruel enough to just walk away.

"Jace?" I said when I was only a few feet away. Jace looked towards me, startled.

"This is a dream." He said.

"No, Jace…Nathel told me what really happened."

"He did?"

"Yes, and I-"

"Do you love him?"

"Nathel? No!"

"No, Tristan."

"What? Why do you think that?"

"Because everyone says you two are together."

"Jace, I don't love him or anyone, anyone except you."

"This is definitely a dream."

"Jace!" I said angrily and then I started to laugh, "This isn't a dream."

"Come here then." He held out his hand and I took it.

"See I'm not a dream, you're holding my hand."

"How did you know I was here?"

"Nathel brought me here."

"Why?"

"Because I still didn't completely believe him, I wanted to believe him but I was afraid that he was wrong and you didn't love me."

"Who doesn't love you?"

"What kind of question is that?"

"I missed you, I missed you so much. I can't even begin to describe it; you know how some people say that they can't live without the one they love, well they are wrong. I can live without you, but it was hell. I missed you constantly, everything reminded me of you, and sometimes I even thought I saw you but it was just a shadow I cursed love because of what it did to me." I put my arms around him and started to cry, again. How many times am I going to cry tonight? I thought angrily to myself.

"I missed you too, I wouldn't let myself admit it but I did. I tried to hate you so hard but I never really could, it drove me crazy because I thought you lied to me. Do you know hard it was to stay away from you? How hard it was not to smile at you? Not to dream of you? I tried to fight my soul but I lost because I love you and that will never change."

"I love you Sari," he kissed my hand, "And want you to stay with me forever, I never want to be parted from you, never. Sari I want to spend the rest of this life and the next with you, will you share eternity with me? Will you be my wife, my best friend in the world?" I couldn't speak, I was so happy, I nodded and Jace just kissed my hand again and started to laugh at me. I laughed to and he kissed my gently on the lips.

"Marry me?"

"Yes, a thousand, a million times yes!" I whispered.

"This is the best day of my life!" Jace said happily, getting up quickly. He helped me up and we ran hand and hand back to the palace. Jace pulled me up the stairs and burst into Juilla and Nathel's rooms.

"We're getting married!" He cried happily. Juilla and Nathel were both sitting in bed reading, Nathel looked up slowly then said,

"It's about time!" Juilla leaped out of bed and gave me a huge hug,

"I'm so happy for you! I don't think I would think anyone else would be near good enough for you but you two were made for each other!"

"Thank you, I am so happy!" I said and hugged Jace.

"So when is the wedding?" asked Nathel, getting up from the bed slowly with false dignity.

"Now!"

"What?" Juilla, Nathel, and I all exclaimed at the same time.

"We're getting married now, there's no reason not to. You can marry us, Nathel, you're the King!"

"Can he do that?" I asked Juilla.

"I don't see why not, the captain of a ship can."

"Sound good, it saves money on a fancy wedding. Let's do it!" Nathel joked.

"Ok, Juilla you can be the witness."

"Are you ready love?" Jace asked me and took my hand, I just laughed. I was so happy there was nothing else I could do.

So that night we were married, the next day the news was spread and half of the kingdom was scandalized, the other half refused to believe it was true. We ended up having a proper wedding in the next month just to shut some of the noble up because many were offended because they were not present at our wedding and they didn't seem to believe when we said that no one else was there.

Our wedding was amazing, I have to admit though, I liked our first wedding better. Our second, "real" wedding was so formal and strict that it took most of the joy out of it but it was still beautiful. Juilla and Nathel gave us a mansion and estate as a wedding present which is where we moved to. It was close to the palace but we had peace and didn't have to deal with all the things that went along with court life. We were still a big part of court life though; Jace became Nathel's second in command and closest adviser while I worked with Juilla and helped a lot with constructing the kingdom's new spy network. It was hard work for both of us but we enjoyed it so it wasn't bad.

I finally told all of my close friends who I really was after Jace and I were married, for the second time. They were surprised but they all said I seem too accustomed to court life to have been a merchant's daughter like I said. I never contacted my family though, that is until I had my first child; a handsome, strong boy who we named Willan, after my true father. Willan might not have been my parent but he was my father and it was because of him that I became who I was.

Willan actually came to visit me, it was a big surprise. I was so happy to see him; he said my parents had sent him to give me their congratulations and gifts. I was annoyed but glad at the same time that my parents didn't come. Also I learned something amazing, Farris was alive! He never died, from what Willan told me they knocked Farris out and thought he was dead so they left him in the forest. When Farris woke up he followed that tracks but he didn't get there in time and I was gone. He then traveled back to my old home and told everyone what happened. My father being the coward he was said I was probably dead and didn't sent anyone out to look for me but Farris left on his own. He looked for me everywhere and he was about to sail to Yannina, the city I now live in, when the message came that said I was alive and well. I was surprised that Farris didn't come with his father but it's understandable that he didn't now that I am married and have a child.

I told Willan to give Farris my best and thank him for looking for me so loyally when my own family deserted me.

Everything has changed for yet nothing has. I still am a noble, but I'm a duchess instead of princess. I have a family, but they actually love me and I love them. I have work to do, but I love it. Things have worked out well for me after all, it's strange though, how fast life can change. I went from princess, to slave, to spy, to duchess in less than eighteen months. The only part about that which bothers me is that sometimes I wonder if my life is going to change that drastically again.