The Self-Proclaimed Queen

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Chapter 8

My mouth dropped. I am looking at the prince. The prince I was so tremendously pissed off at, because of his unannounced arrival. At least his look is passable, for now. I wanna know how does he behave.

‘Shall we proceed to the dining room?’ Nick asked Prince Challan.

‘Only if your majesty approves.’ I nod firmly and manage to titter. His manners are on point. Good enough to leave a good first impression.

‘Why, of course. Maria, lead the way.’ Maria goes first and we all follow.

As we approached the dining room Jack and I exchange quick glances. I notice he’s smiling.

‘I guess you’re feeling better.’ I try to act as polite as I can possibly manage. After all, there is a prince close to me.

‘Getting there. Yourself?’ This is weird, he doesn’t usually care about how I fell. I guess he started to see me as an actual person and not just a thing who provides help and safety.

‘Never been better.’ Jack smiles and I overlook his sarcastic expression. ‘Don’t start!’

‘Wasn’t planning to.’ His smile fades away, leaving me confused? He doesn’t wanna argue, what’s wrong with him?

Maria opens the dining room doors and we all enter. Within a minute the humongous dining room is overcrowded with what seems to be a million of shiny armors. They all came because of me. Because of Challan wish to meet me. I better not mess this up.

‘Your majesty, what do I serve?’ Maria whispers in my ear.

‘Food, Maria, you serve them fresh food.’ I say through my smile which is overly stretched and looking unnatural. I have a feeling that my cheeks will explode and my smile will just make a huge scar around my head.

‘Your majesty, we threw everything away.’

‘Why did you do that?’

‘With the vampires roaming around the castle, we agreed on to throw all the food away, your majesty. Last time I checked, we don’t eat food anymore, we are vampires.’

‘But Nick does and he’s not a vampire.’

‘Well, what do I do now?’

‘You improvise.’

‘What? How do I do that?’

‘Is everything alright?’ Nick comes closer to us from behind.

‘We ran out of food Nick.’ I try my best not to look worried but as soon as I spot Challan and Jack talking and laughing amongst each other, I calm down. Challan is distracted and therefore I can relax and be my skeptic self again. At least for a minute.

‘Do we have any animals left in the castle?’

‘Unfortunately, your majesty, they were overcooked when the castle was on fire. Therefore, they all died.’

‘The castle was on what?’ Maria asks out of shock.

‘Yeah, long story Maria. I’ll explain it to you later.’

‘This is no good, Challan and his knights will eventually see that something is off. We need to do something about this, quick.’ Nick starts to become as worried as me, and that is not a good sign.

‘Shall we call of the dinner?’ I suggest even though this is a bad idea.

‘Your majesty, they traveled for several days on a boat to come and see us. Wouldn’t be at least fair to offer them some snack at least to munch on?’

‘How can I offer them something that I don’t have, Nick?’

‘How about we sacrifice one of our own?’ Maria’s suggestion made both Nick and myself to stare at her. ‘Just teasing. Maybe we turn them all into vampires and then we can offer them something that we actually have. Blood.’

‘That isn’t a good idea, Maria. There are too many of them and I don’t wanna waste the blood that we have. But maybe if we bite several of them and…’

‘We are not turning anyone into a vampire. Enough of this nonsense. We don’t need any more lunatics.’ Nick interrupts me.

‘Watch your mouth, Nick. I am still a queen.’

‘So, what does that mean? Do we turn them into vampires now? Is this a big sacrifice? Should I prepare the big kettle?’

‘No, you’re right Nick. We are getting out of hands with this.’

‘Look I have an idea.’

‘What is it, Nick?’


‘Nick what are you doing? The last time we went there the castle burned down!’

‘Someone really needs to tell me when and how did that happen?’

‘Shush Maria! Nick, we can’t just invite millions of them to enter a small bar for us to eat.’

‘Can’t we?’

‘Well…’ I spot Challan approaching and I quickly shut my mouth.

‘Well, where are we gonna go?’ Challan asks.

’Yes Nick, where are we gonna go?’ I look at Nick. Expecting a valid answer.

‘There is a small restaurant, the food over there is delicious. You won’t regret it I promise.’

‘What’s wrong with the kitchen here?’

‘Rats were spotted in the kitchen, mingling with food.’ Maria’s perfectly reasonable lie manage to evoke relief in me because I was lost for words. Somehow Challan presence made me stupid. And the level of stupidity increased more based on how close he is to me.

‘Alright then, I’ll let my men know.’ Once he leaves I turn to Maria and thank her.

‘You as well Nick, hopefully, the food is as good as you told him to be.’

‘Trust me, your majesty, I am a regular customer there.’

‘Oh, so that’s how you get fed. I was wondering how were you surviving after we all became you-know-what.’ Nick laughs and I smile.

After the long trip and several hours of talking and eating the food, which tasted as grotesque as I imagined it to taste like, we all started to get bored so I went out to catch some fresh air. Overlooking the town’s dilapidated buildings made me feel worried about the stage that this town was in and in the distance, I can barely distinguish the outlines of the clock tower.

‘Isn’t it too cold for a fine lady to be all alone, unaccompanied?’ I turn to see Challan.

‘I can protect myself, you don’t have to worry about me Prince Challan.’

‘Oh well, then it was pointless of coming all the way here.’

‘What are you trying to say?’

‘Well, I was expecting a weak, afraid and lonely queen who is willing to give all of her precious heart to the man who truly finds her beautiful and astonishing. Oh, well, never mind. I guess we can’t have everything that we wish for. Am I, right?’

‘Yes, you are.’ He’s way too much of a romantic for my taste. ‘I can see that your brilliance and wisdom came from a particular source or was that what your mother has taught you?’

‘Well my dear lady, I guess I am that obvious, aren’t I?’

‘Painfully.’ He smiles and in that moment, my heart melts. I never saw anyone smiling so beautifully and innocently. His whole face changes when he smiles. His deep-blue eyes leaving me astonished by his beauty. I am falling hard for a man that I just met.

‘So, tell me about yourself?’ Here comes the ‘’Who Am I’’ question that I am so not ready for. Mainly because even I don’t know for sure who am I exactly.

‘Oh, I am no one special. Just a girl who happens to be given a castle and the trust of people on this island that I have to protect and take care off.’

‘I think that there’s more to it than it meets the eyes.’

‘Are you trying to say that I’m enigmatic?’

‘No, you are far more than that. You are ambiguous.’

‘Well, I can say the same thing about you as well.’

‘What do you wanna know my lady. Just ask me and I’ll answer to the best of my abilities.’

‘Very well then. Tell me about your country, Tristania.’

‘Well, what can I say about Tristania. Well, it’s a country filled with immense landscapes, forests, animals, mountains and one small volcano that we all are trying to avoid.’

‘It’s very inconvenient I might say. We have tons of volcanoes here.’

‘Do you?’

‘No, I’m just teasing.’ I can see that I had upset him somehow. ‘If I may say, for a prince that looks like it’s made of steel you are extremely bendable and fragile.’

‘Well if I may add to that my lady, even though you appear as a strong and powerful woman, you are very kind and lovable on the inside.’

Wrong. I am dead inside. I am pale and lifeless on the outside and there is nothing either kind or lovable inside of me.

‘Look at you two lovebirds, chatting and getting to know each other. I am so proud of you Gabriella.’ As soon as I spot Jack’s drunk expression on his face the urge to hit him went away. ‘I knew that organizing you two to meet each other wasn’t a bad idea after all.’

‘Jack, you should really slow it down, you are already drunk and it’s the middle of the day for goodness sake.’

‘I guess your friend is a light-drinker.’

‘Yes, unfortunately, he is.’

‘Oh well, never mind, shall we head back now?’ Thanks, Jack, you ruined my opportunity to make Challan like me. But again, doesn’t he already find me kind and lovable?

‘I think we should.’ I look at Jack and we all go back inside the restaurant.

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