CHAPTER ONE

BOOM! CRASH!

I jerked up, beads of sweat running down my face. All I heard was the distant pitter-patter of water meeting earth. Not the collapsing of a building; specifically the castle.

I felt as if I were experiencing a heart attack, a stomachache, and dehydration, all at the same time. The reason why: thunder.

After the effects of shock had weaned, I fell back into the comforts my bed provided me. I tossed and turned until it could be easily mistaken as thrashing. One time or another, it has happened to all of us; I just could not fall asleep! Realizing thrashing would do me no good; I tried lying still, listening to the soothing rain. I then realized my problem; my throat was as dry as a desert.

Hoping one of my servants would be awake; I left the safety of my bed and slipped into the hallways. What I saw shocked me. Dozens of servants with urgent looks on their faces were running about, with various items in their hands. What were they doing up at the dead of night? I then realized something serious must have been occurring. Hmph, if no one even bothered to wake me, why should I care?

I tried catching the attention of a few servants, but they would just acknowledge me and run off to their tasks. What did it take for a girl to get a glass of water around here? I tried to get yet another peasant's attention, but she just brushed me off, carrying her glass of water to its destination. I was confused; the servants never ignored me. In addition, when I was confused, I was frustrated. I ran after her, wondering what was more important than serving me. She still did not bother to look at me.

As I ran after her, I realized something. The girl was running towards the King and Queen's bedroom. My parent's bedroom. My stomach turned into a knot. The baby.

I watched as the girl disappeared behind the large wooden doors. I stopped in front of it. My hands grasped the handles, though I did not have the nerve to pull. Instead, I pressed my head against the door; all I could hear was inaudible whispers. I cursed the doors for being too thick.

Finally, I realized I would find out eventually, I opened the heavy doors with shaking hands. Once I could clearly see the lighted room, my arms fell to my sides.

On the bed lie a pale woman and her baby in a puddle of blood.

- - -

"You are hereby banished, from my kingdom," he said in an almighty voice.

The king sat on his throne, besides the queen's, which was empty. He wore a royal, dark red robe decorated with gold silk. He looked as kingly as ever with the crown resting on his balding head, which was as shiny as ever. His thick eyebrows were furrowed, his mouth pulled downward. I looked at his piercing eyes, and dared not look at him again.

"Father... I...what did I do wrong?" I whimpered, staring at my feet.

"Their deaths were your entire fault!" the king said, banging his staff on the wooden floor. I flinched, staring at it. It stood high and tall, even taller than Papa sitting on his throne did. The tall stick was domineering, I got the feeling that it was trying to intimidate me.

I shuffled a bit, thinking for something to say, "Yes Father..."

"You shall not refer to me as 'Father,'" he stated. I did not show it, but I was hurt. Beyond hurt. He disowned me, for something beyond my control... I had not been anywhere near them until they were dead. I bowed, fighting back tears, and backed out the room, never showing my backside to him. As soon as I left his presence, I ran below a staircase, crumpled into a ball, and let tears fall.

- - -

I heard the conversation echo in my head.

I leaned out the window, my eyes taking in the immense sky that reminded me of cornflowers. Fluffy, light clouds were floating freely about. I heard the sweet singing of birds and the low humming of bees below. It was a beautiful day in spring; in other words, it absolutely disgusted me.

How could such a dreadful and grim day be so, so bright! This was the last day I would reside in this castle, and if that was not bad enough, the kingdom as well! And what had shocked me the most is; the servants were celebrating it! Saying things with such enthusiasm, like, "The witch shall be gone!" or, "What a glorious day indeed! We shall no longer serve the demon!"

I did not get it; I had not been too cruel to my servants. The worst I had done was occasionally spit, hit, yell at, and sometimes send the peasants to the dungeon. Sure, they were not the nicest of things to do, but I only did them about twice a day, at the most five! And when I did, they really deserved it too. For example, the tailor who had torn my favorite gown. Sure, it had been accidental, and sure, it was a quick fix, but to me, the gown would never be the same again. So of course, I had to give her the death penalty.

Therefore, it could not have been because of that... Did they think I was literally a witch or a demon? Did someone spread rumors about me? Oh, they would pay! As soon as I caught the culprits, I was sure I would order their death immediately, until I realized I could not do that. I am not a princess…

I turned my head appalled. My eyes locked with the cloth pack, which equally disgusted me. Inside contained only one gown, and a lunch. What was I supposed to do with one meal? I might as well feed it to the dogs! Even worse, one lousy gown? I would temporally, (I would find a way back to this kingdom if it was the last thing I did) reside in another kingdom with only one gown as well as the one on my back? I would be a peasant for Pete's sake!

Knock, knock.

I jumped from the sudden rapping, as well as the voice from behind my wooden door. I groaned. What did Father want with me this time? Agitated, I said, "Come in, peasant."

The door made a loud creaking noise, as it swung open. Gabriel. He had ruffled messy black hair and dark brown eyes in contrast to my purplish-gray ones. His wore a more prideful expression, instead of his usually sad one. Oh, so just because I would not be around anymore, he felt more esteemed? He was easily scared, wimpy, and most of all, easy to control. You do not find characteristics like that in servants anymore. I will defiantly fix this later.

"Prim – Rebecca," he said, clearing his throat, "Sir Mordred is waiting outside to escort you," he said it in such a firm voice.

He left the room as quickly as he had come. I would have preferred it if Papa summoned me! Why not just a few more centuries?

I grudgingly stood up from my stool. I would miss this room... Its majestic dark red cloth, decorated with embroidery of golden silk. The window that had a beautiful view of the outside world. The bookshelf made of expensive wood containing a wide variety of books. That would be what I would miss the most about this room. Whenever I was bored, I would retrieve a book from the shelf, and read for hours upon hours.

I felt so depressed and tired that I knew I was not in any condition to carry anything. I stepped out into the hallway and called, "Gabriel. Come carry my pack."

He soon appeared in front of me and said, "Um, Pri – Rebecca, I'm not supposed to take orders from you anymore."

I could not believe the words that came out of his mouth, "WHAT? I have provided you with a job for years upon years, and you can not do this measly task for me?"

"Rebecca, you are not of the royal family anymore," he said, cowering in fear.

"Did Father order you not to do so?"

"Uh, no..."

"Then carry my pack!" I screeched.

I saw him cringe slightly, before he hesitated. I gave him the best intimidating look I could pull off which was a dirty sneer, and the narrowing of my eyes. Apparently, it worked a charm, for he quickly ran into the sitting room and took my pack. "That's better," I said, satisfied, "Escort me out of the kingdom – and, please." I said the last part sarcastic, "Get someone to pack me an extra meal. Do you really think I'll survive with what little they gave me?"

- - -

"Lady Rebecca," he said, bowing with respect, causing his armor to clank loudly. I could only see his deep blue eyes behind the armor. However, it did not say anything about him. On the dirt ground beside him was a long steel sword, and a thick rusty shield. Despite the fact that the sword was clearly old, it was obvious that if you inserted small pressure onto the point without protection, you would bleed.

I passed him by, no greeting in return; I did not respect others of lower rank than I. Instead I said, "Well," expecting him to know exactly what I meant by it.

"Excuse me?" he asked, shifting a bit, his helmet clanking. I could tell by his voice that he was not very skilled. He sounded a bit unsure - or maybe that was because of my intimidation.

"Well," I said again. Silence. I finally figured out that he was much to slow and ignorant to understand the likes of me, so I just flat out told him.

"Tell me where you are taking me!" I demanded.

"I see. To the sacred kingdom, Mordrivale," he responded.

I shriveled up my nose. The things I had heard of the kingdom were defiantly not the least bit sacred. The saying, 'Thieves strike in the night' did not apply here! Criminals gladly stole your belongings in broad daylight, so wherever you went, whenever; you had to watch your step. On the topic of watching your step, Mordrivale is much too dirty for my tastes! Crumpling buildings, animals scattering around, and bugs galore! I will not survive a day there!

"No! Take me somewhere else!"

"Alas, I cannot, it is of the king's orders," he said.

I felt a knot swell up in my throat. I felt like cursing the knight out, though I knew it would be no use. You should obey a king's orders. I sighed, "Gabriel, hand me my pack."

Gabriel stood there for a moment before moving. I snatched my pack away from his grasp, suddenly remembering my silent promise. I spat aiming directly at his head. It hit his right eye directly, causing him to flinch and wipe furiously. He act as if he unaffected, though I knew better. I was sure I got rid of that attitude of his.

"Quite the lady, aren't you?" I heard Sir Mordred mutter behind me. How dare he! Sure maybe I was not of royalty status, but I had royal blood in me, and that made me better than a peasant! Once I got my Princess status back, I would be unworthy of it unless I sent him to the dungeon for a few days. The dirty, rat-infested cells and the revolting food would teach him a valuable lesson: Never insult those of higher rank than thou. I stared at the knight, detesting him already.

I heard the creaking of the bridge as it drew up. I soon heard the giant wooden doors slam and lock. Gabriel, a servant, a peasant, gets to stay in the castle, but not me. This is so unfair.

I sighed, knowing I would make up for this. Now, to get back at Sir what's-his-name. An idea sprouted in my head, even if I had to obey Papa's orders, he never said not to make Sir Mordred's life miserable... With pack in hand, I followed the knight farther away from the castle. Only being thankful for the fact that Papa had not made that order.