We all remained silent on our way back. I still can’t comprehend what just happened. What happened to Trinity and how awful must Jack feel right now. He didn’t speak to me much in the carriage and as soon as we arrived at the castle he just stormed out without looking back at me. I guess he needs some time to calm down. But so, do I.
‘Your majesty.’ Maria’s voice almost made me jump.
‘Maria.’ I said bluntly.
‘Are you alright, your majesty? What happened?’
‘Nothing. We’ll discuss this later.’
‘As you wish your majesty. I’ll be upstairs if you need me.’ I nod and she goes away, leaving me alone at the castle’s entrance. I decide to go down and visit the dungeons. Every time I felt lonely or sad that was the place to go to. Ballroom did wonders as well but judging by what happened to me the last time I was there I rather not go there anytime soon.
The spiraling stairs are stone cold. I can sense the staggering sensation of loneliness and isolation in the air. It is succumbing all around me. When I reach the bottom and the darkness overtakes completely I lit up the nearest porch.
I walk relentlessly, without stopping. Revisiting the same cells over and over again, hoping that maybe something else will appear or better yet someone else. I start to get bored and turn around, making my way towards the spiraling stairs but something stops me on the way. A noise coming from behind me makes me turn around and yell out.
‘Who’s there?’ There’s no response. I swallow and proceed to the place from where I think the voice occurred.
It is a narrow passage, a passage that I never noticed before. With all the darkness around me, no wonder I haven’t noticed it before. I can sense the flame diminishing and fading away from my porch as I walk. I struggle to lit up again. It’s no use. The flame goes smaller and smaller until I am left in a narrow corridor in a complete darkness. I try to move but I just keep bumping into walls. It feels like I’m trapped like I am in some sort of a box. I try to press hard onto the wall but something grabs me from the back and pulls me backward. I go through the stone wall and the next thing I know I’m falling. I am plummeting down. I can see glimpses of a baroque style architecture surrounding me and then I splash into the water. Surprisingly it doesn’t feel cold. Fortunately, it isn’t deep and I manage to get myself out quickly. What I see on the surface makes my mouth drop.
The architecture surrounding me is simply breathtaking. Pale yellow lamps that are engraved onto the stone walls light up the way all around me. A couple of stone bridges, connecting the passage between the four stone towers. The baroque design on the stone walls is simply majestic to look at. Judging by the size of it, it is completely incomprehensible to me how did something this big remained hidden from me ever since I got here. It looks like a perfect getaway. But it’s empty. It carries the sense of serenity and calmness. I take it all in. Trying to keep my mind off things for a minute. If I can manage to do it for that long.
‘What the…?’ I hear myself muttering and I shut my mouth immediately, still shocked that something this big lay under the castle grounds. My castle, that I know so little about.
I walk towards the nearest bridge. The four grand stone towers look mesmerizing. I can’t take my eyes off them. But something quickly catches my attention. Doors. Dark gray doors that are at the bottom. Millions of them. All lead to an unknown location. I walk to the nearest door and I try to open it. Purely testing my luck not to end up being lost or trapped somewhere. Judging by the fact that I am the only one who knows about the place, or at least I hope so, the chances of someone finding me and rescuing me if something happens to me are very low.
I push the door open and I see nothing. Finding a stone wall behind the closed door was the last thing I thought that I will find behind a closed door. However, I proceed to another door. Same thing. I proceed to another one and I am again presented with a stone wall behind it. I open several more doors but they all have the same thing. Stone walls. I’m not sure why would anyone want to barricade whatever lay behind the walls, but it leaves me agitated to use my power and break through it. As much as I want to use my powers they are too drained from what happened today and I am too tired and sad to even care about it.
I can feel my stomach rumbling. I need blood. Even though all the doors lead to nowhere I have another problem on my list. I need to get out of here.
‘CAN ANYONE HEAR ME!’ I yell out. Not sure why exactly. The chances of someone hearing me are very unlikely but it calms my nerves at least.
Suddenly a great idea jumps into my mind. Run towards the wall. If I run fast enough and hit the right angle I might sprint upwards and approximately hit the same spot in the wall from where I came from and go through it.
I take a moment to calm down and then I get into the position. Next thing I know I am running. Running so fast that I can’t see the towers anymore. Everything moves in a slow motion and the wall is getting alarmingly close. I shut my eyes. The next thing I know I am in my bedroom, laying on my bed.
‘Your majesty, you’re awake. Jack is waiting for you downstairs.’ I look at Nick. My eyes so wide that I leave him flustered. He looks at me weirdly but I look away. Staring at the hills from my bedroom window.
‘I’ll be right there.’
‘Are you alright, your majesty?’
‘Yes, yes I’m fine. Just give me a couple of minutes to get ready.’ Nick nods and goes out of my bedroom.
As I make my way downstairs I see an army of people through the window, all approaching my castle. I hurry up. When I enter the main area, I see servants all in a position, probably waiting for someone, and when I see Jack I can’t help but smile. Even though I doubt it that he will smile back. Not after what happened today. Or yesterday? I don’t like when my dreams are so vivid it makes me forget how long was I dreaming. If I was dreaming at all.
‘Jack, what the matter of this?’
‘The prince is coming to meet you.’
‘The prince? The prince who?’
‘Prince Challan of Tristania.’
‘What? How long did you know about this and why am I not informed?’
‘Well since you spent three days locked up in your bedroom I didn’t know how to tell you that information.’ Three days? Three full days of me being unconscious and believing that I was under the castle. On the bridge. Opening the doors that lead to nowhere.
‘So, what’s so special about this prince anyway?’
‘Well, maybe if you behave well he might offer an alliance. Maybe even a proposal.’
‘I ain’t marrying anyone.’
‘Why not? Tristania is a powerful country.’
‘So, what? Are you trying to say just because we are an island that we are easily conquered?’
‘No, I’m just saying that it will do you good to have a protection from outside of this island.’
‘Jack you’re full of shit! Why didn’t you tell him to go away? I don’t want to speak to him.’
‘Ella, you need to calm down! I’m doing this because of you.’
’You’re doing this?’ In that moment, the castle’s door opens revealing the horde of knights all in metallic armor and sitting on the black horses. They all seem to move aside, as in making the way for someone to pull through. A knight on a white horse proceeds to the front. He jumps down from the horse and removes his helmet. He has blonde hair, blue eyes, bony face and nice lips. Knowing my luck, the prince must look very ugly if he hires the knights that look this good. The blonde-hair guy proceeds to me and Jack. He bows down to us. Jack nods his head in approval but I remain silent.
‘Your majesty, allow me to properly introduce myself. I’m Prince Challan of Tristania.’