Chapter 13 - The Princess of Amaranth
April 1, 1645 (Five Days After)
The Walled City of Arcadia, Capital of Ivaris
-King Seth Liam Ivaris XV-
“She still refused it your highness. She sends this back to you with her regards.” The footman handed to me the wooden box which contained a teardrop-shaped diamond necklace. I sighed and ran my fingers through my hair.
What does that girl like? I tried sending her the biggest and most beautiful diamonds I could find. She returned them with a note that said that I should just donate those to charity and they could feed an entire kingdom for a year. Now, I sent her the simplest necklace I could find and still she rejects it.
It’s been five days since we’ve returned to Ravenswood and Adrienne has been civil and polite to me every time I requested for her presence. She doesn’t smile when she is with me and she’s been nothing but exaggeratedly proper. Yesterday, I invited her to practice archery with me but she politely declined and stated that she wasn’t feeling well.
I know I made a mistake with her and I’ve tried to make amends for the past five days already. I asked to talk to her so I could apologize but she refused to see me. I sent her a letter of apology which I composed for a long, long time but she sent it back to me ripped into tiny shreds inside the envelope I placed it on.
I tried giving her flowers, new gowns, shoes, jewelleries and books but they were always returned to me. The jewelleries were returned in the worst condition while the others were returned untouched. I sighed and again remembered the night when I lost my head to my anger.
I messed up and now it seems there’s nothing I can do to make her forgive me. Also, I cannot seem to enjoy anyone else’s company but her. I missed the conversations between me and Adrienne. One day, I tried to talk with Brianna over lunch and it was just then, after having her as my mistress, for six years that I realized that her brain is either small or nonexistent. All the topics she wanted to talk about are clothes, jewelleries and her vain self. I sent her away after that and I could not even stomach looking at her again.
“Get Adrienne and tell her that I am ordering her to go to my study.” I replied and picked up my shirt on the floor. “Carry on training without me.” I ordered my men as I placed my sword back on its scabbard. I placed my foot on the stirrup and quickly mounted Lightning and he bolted back towards Ravenswood.
I went to my solar and rummaged my drawers to look for the proof that Adrienne wanted. If she didn’t believe my words about Amaranth and its princess, she’s going to believe me now. I poured myself some whisky as I waited and twirled the document around in my hands.
A knock sounded on the door and Adrienne was announced. “Enter.” I said. I looked at her as she entered and she again wore the rags I was so irritated with. Since our return from Escrow, she didn’t wear any of the new dresses I’ve given her. However, there was a ruby brooch pinned on the bodice of her gown. I tried to remember when I’ve given it to her but I couldn’t.
“You summoned me, your highness?” I asked.
“Sit.” She fluffed out her skirts and sat on the chair opposite my desk. I unfurled the document and pushed it towards her. She picked it up and started to read.
I leaned back on my chair and studied her as I sipped my whisky. Her eyes turned from calm to disbelieving and then to outrage. I saw her scan the seal and check every part of it for validity.
“I swear to you, on my honor as king, that I did not tamper with the seal of the King of Amaranth.” I said to her and her eyes flashed towards me.
“No...” she whispered softly as she pushed the document back towards me. “You do not believe the proof right in front of your eyes?” I asked her and quickly scanned the documents of the betrothal between me and the princess, signed by my parents and also the King and Queen of Amaranth. The document was dated almost eighteen years ago.
“My parents told me it was signed during the princess’ first birthday.” I told her. Her eyes were riveted on the carpet and she was twisting the folds of her skirt in her hands. After a few moments, she picked up the paper once more and read the terms for the marriage.
“How could they give Amaranth away like that?” she whispered mostly to herself. “They’re not really giving the kingdom away. It’s more of a merger. Ivaris is near the sea and we have one of the busiest ports. Amaranth, on the other hand, lies between the best trade route. It could benefit both kingdoms if they were to merge under one rule.” I explained.
“Also, the king couldn’t have more heirs because of his queen’s condition. A princess cannot rule the kingdom. The men wouldn’t like them being ruled by a woman and sooner or later, the nobles will revolt and oust the princess from her throne. The king and queen prepared for that and secured the princess’ welfare and that of Amaranth by allying themselves with Ivaris.” I added.
Her eyes flashed towards me once more and still there was disbelief in those hazel depths. “The princess never knew of this.” She said after a long while.
“Were you close to the princess, before?” I asked her and saw her flinch.
“I was her maid.” She replied and I nodded. “What was she like?” I asked. She pursed her lips and looked outside the window for a long time before answering. “I’ll not discuss her with you.
“Fine, then. ” I replied and poured myself another glass of whisky. “Why did you invade Amaranth?” she asked after another long pause. I almost choked on my whisky. “Are we really back to that again? I told you I did not invade Amaranth.” I said sternly.
“But your men! Your flag! Your colors!” she replied.
“I know not what happened to Amaranth. All I know is that a week prior to its attack, I sent word that I will be collecting my bride. Before I left, Ivaris was preparing for a grand wedding. When I came to Amaranth, it already lay in ruins and my bride was nowhere to be found. No one knew where the princess was. We didn’t find her body anywhere. I returned home to my kingdom without a bride and all the preparations were for nothing.” I explained.
“That still does not explain why the men who attacked us fought under your banner.”
I shrugged and took another gulp. “Maybe someone wanted the people of Amaranth to think that it was their future king who attacked them. Someone who wanted to sabotage the alliance between me and the princess.”
Again, Adrienne was silent for a long time as she digested my words. “Who holds Amaranth now? What happened to my home?”
I willed myself to be calm before replying. “Let me remind you that Ivaris is your home now. You belong here.” I took a deep breath and another gulp before continuing. “The capital of Amaranth was burned to the ground. The nobility scattered to the provinces and the Lords tried to hold their own castles. Some succeeded, some didn’t. It was hard for the captors to subdue the entire kingdom so they just closed off the trade route to Amaranth. In doing that, they lessened the food supply coming in and also cut off the source of income of the merchants. People began to leave the kingdom and that is all I know.”
I saw despair in her eyes at the fate of her kinsmen and her past kingdom. I reached over and patted her hand but she withdrew from my touch. “What if you found the princess? What then?” she asked me.
“I would marry her right away.” I replied.
“Gain back what is rightfully mine by virtue of the agreement. I will send the might of my army and we will fight to gain Amaranth once more.” I replied.
“And then?” she persisted.
“I haven’t really planned that far ahead.”
“If you marry... Would you discard all your mistresses?” she asked. Again, I almost spit out my whisky. “Hell no!!! I’d just never let her know. Don’t worry, your position’s safe.” I told her and she looked at me with barely contained rage. She looked as if she’d spring from her chair anytime and then strangle me to death.
She stood up and gave me the iciest look she could manage. “Then I’m happy that the princess isn’t here to marry you or even know what an emotionless and unfaithful cad you are.” She said and then strode out the room and slammed the door shut.
I quickly walked towards my bedroom and ignored all those in the hallway who looked at me with fear when I slammed the door shut on the King of Ivaris. Maybe they think I’ve gone crazy or that I’m fearless for having done such a thing but truth be told, I just wasn’t able to stop myself because of all the things I’ve heard.
The moment I reached my chambers, I slammed the door shut and flopped down on the bed. Everything the king said couldn’t be true. But he gave me proof and I saw the signature of the King of Ivaris and also his seal. I’ve seen that seal hundreds of times before and I know that the document is valid... Yet in my heart, I just couldn’t find the will to believe it.
Could the king really be telling the truth? For the first time in a long while, doubt crept into me as to whether the King of Ivaris was really the one who invaded Amaranth. What if he was telling the truth? Then this changes a lot of things. If he is telling the truth and the princess marries him, then Amaranth can be restored to its former glory.
Ivaris is a rich kingdom and the King can certainly spare the funds to repair the castle and the capital. Once the trade route gets opened and a treaty with Ivaris is signed, both kingdoms will prosper and Amaranth will be richer than I’ve ever seen it before. But that will take a long while...
If the princess marries the King, she would’ve done her duty to her kingdom... But could she give that big a sacrifice?
Could she give up the chance for her own love and happiness and marry a cruel husband and share him with only gods know how many other mistresses?
Isn’t there any other way?
Then I remembered my vision... Duncan’s coming for me. Maybe he knows something else. Maybe he knows something about Amaranth’s condition.
It’s already been five days since I’ve had the vision and the vision told me that they’d be coming in a week. I only need two more days and he’ll be coming for me. Then I’d decide what I should do then.
I sighed and then picked up my pillow and hugged it tight. I missed Duncan... I missed him so much. It’s been a long time since I’ve felt those arms around me. It’s been a long time since I laughed from his jokes. Where could he be now? I pray that the gods deliver him to me safely... But I doubt anything could ever be the same again between us now...
I took a trip down memory lane as I thought of Duncan and remembered a distinct memory of us four years ago... Back when I was still at Anselm Castle. The king and queen’s main palace at Harrow, Amaranth’s capital
Duncan and I were sitting over a large boulder at the river. The boulder was flat at the top and we laid out a blanket and some food. I was so young then, just over fourteen summers. Duncan, on the other hand, was older than me by six years and he has just started working for the King’s Guard.
“Do you think this uniform looks good on me?” he asked. I rolled my eyes and threw a small pebble at him. “I think you’ve asked that for a hundred times now!” I said and he laughed.
“Sorry. I just can’t get over the fact that I was accepted into this honourable position.” He said and looked far away across the river. This was our favourite spot and no one knew of it. When we were here, we had no responsibilities and we can just be ourselves and relax. We came here often ever since we were young.
“Penny for your thoughts?” I asked him and he looked at me.
“Hmm... I was just thinking... When I’m captain and I have saved enough and got a cottage of my own near the palace, I’d marry you...” he said.
I dipped my hand on the water and splashed him. “That’s what you get for teasing about things like marriage!” I said and then giggled like a little fool. He dipped his hand and splashed me back and we laughed until the sun was almost down.
“We should head back to the palace. I have to go prepare for the ball tonight. There are still a lot of things to be done and the maids might already be looking for me. I’d get lectured again for laziness and not doing my duties.” I huffed.
Duncan patted my head and then told me, “Go then. We must not be seen returning the palace together. But I’ll follow you closely while hiding so that I can ensure you’re home safe.” He said.
I rewarded him by smiling at him and for a moment there he looked taken aback. “Something wrong?” I asked. “No... It’s just that you’re beautiful.” He replied and this time I was the one who’s stunned.
“You’ve never said that before. You always called me little frog.” I said and then splashed him again. “I’ll make it a point to tell you how beautiful you are. Always.” He promised and I giggled again.
“Save me a dance later?” he asked.
“You know I can’t do that... I’ll be too busy entertaining the guests...” I replied and he looked crestfallen.
“Why don’t I save you the balcony dance after the ball? You know where my room is.” I said with a wink and then held out my hands and twirled. “We’ll dance with no music under the moonlight once more and it will be better than anything during the ball.” I said to him and his face brightened and he grinned.
“I’ll hold you to that promise.” He said.
“I’ll wait for you, then.” I replied and then ran back towards the castle.
I sighed when the memory ended and hugged my pillow tighter. When Duncan first said that he’ll marry me, I laughed at him thinking it was a joke. Three years forward, he did just as he promised. He became captain of the King’s Guard and his position and wealth became so famous that he became one of the most sought-after bachelors in the kingdom. But he had eyes for no one else for it was me he asked to be his bride.
And there’s nothing more I’d like than to belong to him...
April 8, 1645 (1 Week Later)
The Walled City of Arcadia, Capital of Ivaris
It was a beautiful afternoon and the sun was about to set. The large grounds of Ravenswood Castle was transformed once more into a huge arena. Benches were placed around the fighting area which was then filled with sand.
A raised dais stood on the northern part where a throne was set-up for the king. Beneath the throne were several chairs for the king’s mistresses. New gowns, shoes and jewellery were brought to us and the king requested that everyone be a their finest in this glorious event.
Of course, I defied his wishes once more and dressed in the brown gown I wore when we had our little archery competition. I was already comfortable seated on the farthest chair from the center.
“What are we celebrating?” I asked the lady beside me. She shot me a look that said she assessed me as someone who is incredibly stupid because I did not know what the event was.
“It’s the King’s birthday. Usually the celebration lasts an entire week.” She said and then turned away from me and fanned herself.
I did not know it was the King’s birthday. So that was what all the fuss last week was about. I saw the women bugging the new seamstress to make them the finest gown and they all tried to outdo one another. I thought there was some silly competition or pageant but it turns out that it was the King’s birthday.
“How old is he?” I asked the lady beside me once more.
“Twenty and eight.” She replied.
I had no idea he was that old. He was older than me by ten years! He looked younger than his twenty eight years, though.
The King strolled towards his throne and lifted his hand. The murmur of the crowd died down and all attention was given to him. “Begin the festivities!” he shouted and the crowd cheered once more.
From the set-up, I knew this was going to be another Hakor or a fight of some sort. I wish I’d brought a fan too so that I’d have something to cover myself with. Watching a fight isn’t really one of my favourite things to do. I hate seeing people get hurt and all the gore makes my stomach want to return everything I ate.
The King’s steward, Iain, went to the arena and intoned the same blessings he said during the first Hakor...
“Aiken, god of warriors, we offer to you this Hakor as payment for your blessings for us for another year of prosperity. Our army is still the greatest in the land and never have we lost a single skirmish under the name of our King. We thank you for another year of life you granted to our King and for keeping him away from harm on the battlefield. Let this Hakor be acceptable to you and may you grant us another year of prosperity...” the steward prayed with his eyes closed and his hands towards the heavens.
I felt a strange tingling warmth inside me. Also, a feeling of recognition took hold of me. I fidgeted in my seat and the lady beside me glared at me.
Aiken... The God of Warriors...
Is it the same Aiken I always dreamt about? Or was he just named after the God? No... That can’t be... He looked real enough... In a vision, he even competed in the games once and he won... If he was a God would he be doing that?
I quickly cast the thought out of my mind... Maybe it was just a coincidence...
“The first group of warriors to fight in this Hakor are again those who are sentenced to be judged by the god himself. Ladies and gentlemen, the sinners of Ivaris!” the steward announced and there was a commotion on the right side entrance of the arena.
Men who were bound by silver chains were dragged by some soldiers and led to the arena. A piece of black cloth was tied to their arm. A chill travelled down my spine when I looked into the men. The steward called them sinners and I know that only those who did a grave wrong but had no proof gathered were sentenced to fight in a Hakor.
It was said that they can prove their innocence by winning and then they would be condemned guilty should they lose. It is the people of Ivaris’ belief that if someone is innocent then the God would guard him and keep him from harm in a battle.
I heard another commotion to my side and this time, I saw the warriors assemble. The left-side entrance to the arena was where my seat was situated. I looked back and saw another group of men. This time a red piece of cloth was tied on their arms. They looked larger than the sinner group and it seemed as if they knew each other for they were talking about their strategy.
“The second group! A group of pirates whose vessel was caught near the port of Ivaris. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you... The pirates of the vessel Sea Serpent!” the steward announced.
My heart fell to my stomach and my lungs seemed to have stopped working. I turned my head to the left side as the men began to march. The first man to emerge from the shadows was the tattooed man I saw on the ship. I stared at him and he looked at me and winked. I exhaled the breath I was holding and waited for the other men to emerge.
Now I know why they never showed up five days ago. Their ship has been captured... I waited with bated breath for the others to appear. When Duncan left me in Durnham a year ago, he took almost all his men with him. Are they here with him too? Has Duncan been captured or has he escaped?
“Please... Let him escape... ” I prayed to all the Gods.
The next man who emerged seemed familiar to me. He had brown hair and a scar on his cheek. He was handsome and the scar made him look even more dangerous. “Brodie...” I whispered as recognition hit me. He is Brodie, Duncan’s lieutenant and member of the King’s Guard.
He seemed to have heard me whisper his name and he looked around, searching for the source of the whisper. His eyes locked into mine and his brows scrunched in concentration as if struggling to recall something. He stopped walking and the man on his back pushed him forward with a curse.
My eyes widened as I recognized the next man. He was also a soldier of the King’s Guard and he was looking at me with eyes wide. “Hunter.” I whispered with a nod of my head. My eyes filled with tears at seeing the people I once knew and played with as a child.
Before I could warn Hunter, he shouted “Princess!”
I clamped my eyes shut and let the tears fall. I should’ve shut my mouth. Now, everything will be damned.
“It’s her!” Brodie shouted. “I knew it!” Hunter said and they ran towards me. The other men emerged and I searched for Duncan but he was nowhere to be found. “We found her! Everyone! It’s the princess!” Brodie shouted and it was loud enough for the entire arena to hear.
They elbowed their captors and then rushed towards me with their chains and all. I was overwhelmed when I saw them again. “Arise, everyone... Here... I’m not a princess anymore...” I told them and their eyes widened and they looked at me as if I’ve lost my mind.
They looked at me, my clothes, where I was seated. And I knew they understood exactly what I was here on Ivaris.
“You are a princess. You are our Princess Almira. Never forget that.” Brodie said. He said it with such reverence that more tears fell from my eyes. They continued to kneel there, ten warriors... Most of whom I’ve known in Amaranth.
I heard gasps from the surrounding ladies and then remembered that we were in an arena and that everyone was watching. “Thank you, Brodie... But I am just a captive like you...” I said. “No. We’ll fight for you, princess. You’re all that’s left of Amaranth.” Hunter replied and they pulled me towards them and surrounded me.
“No! Please don’t do this! They’ll kill you!”
“Then we die with honor.” Brodie said. The King of Ivaris’ soldiers stood up and rushed towards us. The men surrounding me tensed and they all prepared for a fight. “Protect the princess!” Brodie shouted as the King’s soldiers charged towards us.
“Stop!” a voice rang out. The King of Ivaris stood up and his soldiers bowed and stepped away. I looked at him and saw the fury in his eyes. I looked down and more tears fell.
“They are to fight in this Hakor, aren’t they? Unchain them and we’ll see them fight!” the King of Ivaris ordered. His soldiers rushed towards us and unchained the men. The King stepped down the dais and hauled me to his side. His grip was bruising as he glared at me. “Not a word.” He warned.
The sinner group was also unchained and the crowd roared with excitement. The steward spoke more words but I couldn’t understand them from the roaring in my ears. “Don’t do this... Please...” I pleaded with the king but he seemed to not have heard. “They are members of the King’s Guard in Ivaris... Elite soldiers of my father... Please don’t...” I pleaded.
He looked down at me, shrugged and said. “If they truly are elite soldiers then they will win this without so much as a sweat.” He replied in a nonchalant voice. I looked at the arena and the men with black cloths circled the men with red cloths. The sinners’ movements look scattered and they seemed to be fighting for their own survival. My soldiers, on the other hand, stayed on the middle and analyzed the men’s movements.
The biggest of the sinner’s group lunged toward Brodie and he effectively sidestepped the attack. The man lost his balance and fell face down towards the sand. Brodie placed his boot on the man’s back and then yanked his hair, causing the man’s back to arch. Then he placed his hand on the man’s jaw and with a sickening crunch, the man’s neck twisted and he fell in a dead heap.
The crowd roared once more and cheered. Three of the sinners jumped towards the soldiers’ circle but instead of scattering, the soldiers held their position and braced themselves for the attack. When the sinners came close, Hunter sprang and grabbed two of the men’s heads and knocked them together. Then he passed the men towards Hunter and another man I recognized as Kurt. With the swiftness trained into them, they twisted the men’s necks and threw the bodies across the arena where they hit the remaining men from the sinner’s group.
The remaining men tried to run but they chased them down and broke their necks too. One of the sinners tried to fight but Brodie gave him a punch in the face. The sound of bone breaking was heard and the man never stood up again.
The fight was finished in an instant and I was able to breathe a sigh of relief. The crowd cheered and I shouted and cheered along with them. “In honor of our princess!” they shouted and then kneeled with one knee and placed their hands on their chests. They bowed towards me and then stood up and cheered along with the crowd.
“So when were you going to tell me that it was you?” the King of Ivaris snarled beside me. “Never.” I replied and his fingers dug into my skin even more. I looked up at him and there was fury in his eyes but another expression was there also. Joy? Relief? I don’t really know.
“Princess! Princess! Princess!” the men chanted and the crowd chanted along with them. I waved my hand and I heard the ladies on the dais hiss at me. They looked murderous and I realized that maybe they knew about the betrothal between the King and me.
I suddenly remembered the King’s words and I tried to move away from him but his grip on me was hard and steady.
“The next fighters! One of our King’s elite soldiers versus the leader of this men!” the steward announced and he pointed towards my soldiers who were then ushered towards a corner.
The King’s soldier entered and he stood there while the crowd cheered for him. He bowed towards his King and the King of Ivaris gave him a nod of approval. He stood in the middle of the arena as he waited for his opponent.
His opponent emerged and he was a tall and muscled man with wavy, brown hair. He was naked from the waist up and sweat and grime covered his entire body. This warrior moved with grace and when he was on the arena, he lifted his head and his green eyes connected with mine.
My heart stopped beating altogether and I felt as if the world suddenly tilted upside down. My tears blinded me for a moment but I quickly blinked them away. After a year, he’s here! He’s finally here!
With a sudden burst of strength, I turned and yanked myself away from the King’s grip. I ran towards the edge of the dais and towards the arena. Duncan ran towards me and when I was within an arm’s length away from me, he picked me up and crushed me towards his chest.
“Princess...” he whispered and he buried his face in my neck and hugged me as tight as he could. “Duncan...” I sobbed into his chest. He clutched me tighter and we both fell to the sand. He pulled away and inspected every inch of me. “You are well?” he inquired and I nodded amidst my tears.
I touched every inch of him I could and I found that he was more muscled than before. “And you?” I asked and he nodded. “I’ve looked everywhere for you, princess... I’ll find a way to get you out of here.” He promised.
I buried my face in his chest and then he was suddenly yanked away from me. I was hauled upright by one of the King’s soldiers. “Duncan!” I shouted and reached for him but he was being dragged away by two soldiers.
“No one touches any of the King’s mistresses without his permission!” the soldier clutching me shouted at me. I saw Duncan’s eyes flash with anger and then he butted his head on one of the soldiers dragging him back. Then he turned around and pulled the sword from the other soldier’s belt and impaled him with it. It all happened so fast and when I next blinked, Duncan was running towards me again, the two soldiers who dragged him away were now dead on the sand.
He circled the man who was holding me. “She belongs to no one else but me.” Duncan snarled and then he lunged and before the soldier could react, his head was already rolling on the ground. Duncan pulled me to his side once more and I saw the other soldiers of Amaranth run towards us. All of them looked ready for a fight.
The King stepped of the dais and walked towards the arena. By now, the entire crowd was quiet as they waited with bated breath at what the King of Ivaris would do. The King stopped right on front of me and Duncan.
“Adrienne, come here. Now!” the King of Ivaris shouted. I tightened my grip on Duncan and refused to budge from the spot I was standing on. Duncan flung out his arm as if to protect me as the King took one step forward.
“Now! Or they all die!” he ordered and pointed upwards. The archers were on the topmost bleacher and their bows were already loaded with arrows and aimed towards my soldiers. Fear seized me that instant and I took one step towards the King before Duncan stopped me.
“Please... Don’t.” I pleaded with the King.
“Come here now and they will be spared.” He said drily. I nodded to Duncan and stepped towards the King. He looked at me and smiled. “I believe I’ve found my bride!” he announced to the audience and they exploded into loud applause and cheers.
I felt the King’s body tense and then he pushed me away and in an instant, he had his sword drawn and he was blocking Duncan’s attack. “She’s not your bride!” Duncan shouted and he swung his sword once more. Sparks flew from where their swords met. The King pushed with his sword and Duncan jumped back.
“She was betrothed to me since birth, you fool.” The King of Ivaris replied and then this time, it was he who swung his sword in a wide arc. Duncan turned at the last moment and the king’s sword met thin air. Then Duncan ducked and aimed his sword towards the king’s chest. The king was able to parry the blow with his sword but Duncan’s sword grazed the king’s tunic and a wide gash appeared from it.
“You missed.” The king of Ivaris taunted and Duncan snarled. They circled each other and then the flurry of blows continued. The King of Ivaris kicked Duncan on the chest and he went down on the sand. The King ran towards him and stabbed his sword towards Duncan but he was able to roll away and the King’s sword met the sand.
“Looks like you missed too.” Duncan said with a smile. The King roared and attacked once more. His attacks were now faster and heavier and Duncan was not to be intimidated. He met the king’s blows and gave his own with equal fervour.They looked well matched with their strength and expertise in sword play but I can’t have them continue this fight any second longer.
“Stop!” I shouted and ran towards the middle. I pushed Duncan back and looked at the King of Ivaris. “Stop this!” I shouted to him and he raised an eyebrow towards me. “Archers! Ready! On my word, kill them!” the king shouted and pointed towards my soldiers.
“No! Please! Don’t!” I pleaded and knelt in front of the King. “They’re all that’s left of my home... Please don’t kill them...” I begged.
“Princess! Don’t kneel to him like that! No! We won’t let you!” Brodie shouted but I lifted a hand to silence him. They all looked at me sadly.
“Fine... They will be allowed to live. But not him.” He said with menace as he pointed at Duncan. I stood up and covered Duncan’s body with mine.
“Noooo! Not him too! Please! I’ll do anything!” I said and the king’s lips curved in an evil sneer.
“Anything?” he asked.
To save Duncan and his men, I’d do anything... I wouldn’t be able to bear it if their death was on my conscience... I know that saying yes to the King of Ivaris would be like signing my soul over to the devil but if it meant that the man I love would live, then so be it.
I looked at the king and resigned my fate to him by nodding.
Ta daaaa! Duncan came and the identity of Princess Almira is revealed all in one chapter.
I think I’m ready for all the new readers' “I knew it was her!′ comments. hahaha. Bring them on, people! :D