The Self-Proclaimed Queen

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Chapter 4

My mind is going wild. I cannot think straight anymore. Someone who has been gone missing for the past four years is finally here. In my castle. Last time I saw Jack in flesh was before he suspiciously ran away from us when we were hosting a big gathering when every person in the village who wanted to attend and be part of the ceremony came. Maria, Nick and I race towards the entrance and I’m anticipating the moment when I will see him in person again.

‘We’re almost there, your majesty.’ Maria breaks the silence between us and I am thankful for that. My mind was wondering off for too long.

‘Your majesty, are you alright?’ Nick asks me, clearly seeing the worried expression on my face.

‘I’m fine Nick. Just a little nervous.’

Maria opens the door and there he is, sitting down on the chair which is closest to the fireplace. Judging by the snuggled posture there is no doubt that he is freezing.

‘J-ack?’ Jack turned swiftly. He stands up straight and bows down to me. What he looked like only a second ago, freezing and trying to get warm, disappeared at the speed of light. Now he looks like a proper knight. A knight, that he is destined to be.

‘Gabriella, my queen.’ Jack smirked, leaving me bewildered.

‘Such courtesy is unnecessary, what happened to you? What took you so long to finally come back?’ I didn’t have time for politeness, I want to go straight to the point. I want answers.

‘I was imprisoned.’ His response shocked me, but I wasn’t the only one feeling the effect. Maria and Nick were startled as well. We exchange uneasy glances between each other before continuing.

‘What? How?’ I manage to blurt out.

‘I didn’t run away, my queen if that is what you are thinking. I was captured.’

‘By who?’ Nick asks, cautiously.

‘By kryptics.’ My hands come over my mouth. Kryptics are the creatures that live deep in the caves of this island. Some people believe that they are just a myth but I know so much more about them. Much more. When William and I were captured in the cave I saw the glimpses of them in the background, behind the people that wanted to capture us. Kryptics don’t have a shape or a voice, they don’t necessarily have any physical traits. Sometimes they appear in a form of a shadow with illuminating pale-blue eyes. They control other people to play their part. They are like whisperers and are created out of pure evil.

‘How did you escape?’ Nick is starting to sound suspicious, I have a feeling that he thinks that Jack might be lying. However, I don’t blame him, Jack’s disappearance was enigmatic after all.

‘Trinity, a girl who I met not long ago, helped me escape. The first couple of months I have spent alone, wondering how to get out of the cage and figure the way on how to escape. Eventually, Trinity arrived. She’s a farmer’s daughter who ended up being kidnaped by them. We became close…’

‘How close?’ I even surprised myself by saying that question out loud. How close, why would I even need to know that?

‘Close-close, we became good friends.’ He looked at me, wondering why I asked him such a question, I suppose. Thank heavens for this vampire state of mind, otherwise, he would have seen me blushing, and that’s the last thing that I want him to pay attention to, my pale, lifeless face.

‘Proceed Jack.’ Nick breaks the awkward silence between us.

‘Anyways, it all went down this morning when the cages abruptly opened on their own and the kryptics were gone out for hunting. I stayed inside of my cage for some time, wondering whether should I run or not.’

‘Why haven’t you?’ I can feel Nick’s suspicion rising in him. But I understand him. We can’t risk having a mole living in the castle.

‘It’s not the first time that something like that happened.’

‘The cages opening on their own?’

‘No, I mean them playing games with us. It’s one of their sick and twisted games. If you ran when the cages were open, they will capture you and kill you. But if you don’t and you just stay inside they will spare you by not using your mind to suit their needs for some time. That is how they know who is stupid and who is a coward. But anyways half an hour passed and Trinity appeared in front of my cage. She told me that this is our chance and I didn’t argue with her judging by how long did I have waited inside of the cage already and wasted my time.’

‘So, what happened with Trinity?’ Nick continues to interrogate.

‘She got captured when we were at the edge of the cave. I wanted to turn around to help her and set her free from them but it was too late.’

‘So, you just abandoned her on the spot?’ I manage to get my voice back, after the embarrassment that happened a couple of minutes ago.

‘No, I came here to ask for your help.’

‘What can she do?’ Nick pointed at me and I instantly knew that I must play dumb.

‘She’s a vampire! I know that she can think of something that can be useful to this situation.’

‘Jack, how do you…’

‘Your father told me before kryptics took me away.’

‘But if they can control your mind they can see your visions, yes? So, they know that I am a vampire?’

‘Not quite, they use your body by placing their mind into your own.’

‘But how can you be sure that they don’t know about me?’

‘I’m not, besides I don’t have a control over my body and my mind when they do that.’

‘So, you don’t necessarily know if they know about me or not?’

‘No, not really, but I don’t remember them using my mind at all.’

‘Alright then.’

‘So back to Trinity, do you think that she is still alive?’ Nick continues with the interrogation that seems to be taking longer than I expected.

‘She has to be, otherwise, I failed her.’

I took a moment to think this trough. If we go to save Trinity I risk the chance of meeting William again. I have sworn to my father to not enter the caves anymore. The risk of kryptics capturing me and using my body as a puppet could put me and everyone else in grave danger. But again, as much as I don’t want to I can’t help but feel the urge to help Jack.

‘Alright, we will go there first thing in the morning.’

‘Your majesty, are you sure about this?’ Nick’s voice makes me turn to face him. His worried face makes me double think about this whole situation.

‘Please, I need you to help me rescue her!’ Jack is becoming desperate. I can sense it in his voice.

On the one hand, I have a person who disappeared a long time ago and then appeared out of nowhere on the doorstep of my castle and is begging for my help. On the other hand, I have a person that I know almost my entire life who is trying to keep me safe by telling me to stay. The answer is simple then. I’ll go.

‘There is no need to worry, besides maybe I’ll find some answer along the way.’

‘This is about that boy William again, isn’t it?’

‘Umm excuse you, if a queen wants to go and investigate then the queen shall go and investigate.’ My body was now so close to Nick that I could feel his breath on my face. After a long day, my energy was running low but I still have some fight left in me.

‘Very well, your majesty.’ His response made me smile.

‘So, it’s decided. Maria take Jack upstairs and make him a hot bath.’

‘Right away, your majesty.’ Maria swiftly takes Jack by the hand and goes with him upstairs.

‘Gabriella, you don’t know what are you doing.’

‘Oh, I think I do Nick.’

‘You’re playing with fire.’

‘Nick, this is my chance. I can’t just be in the castle and isolate myself from the rest of the world. I need to feel.’

’Feel what?

‘Freedom.’

‘That is not called freedom, that’s called recklessness.’

‘Nick, I know what I’m doing. Besides, the dream about my sister might mean something. Something more.’

‘Like what?’ His eyes narrowing in suspicion.

‘I don’t know why, but I have a strong feeling that she is close.’

‘How close?’

‘Closer than she ever was before.’

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