And I wasn’t mistaken as I thought that he would hate me when he found out what I was hiding from the very beginning.
The person I expected to understand me was the first to turn his back on me.
A few days have passed and I can say that a lot has changed, the rotation of the world has changed and as well as him.
I hoped that of all people here, he would get to understand me but I was totally wrong at that point. I didn’t think that my pretend-actions would make such a big impact on him that almost even if we were still far apart from each other, he would change his way just to make sure he won’t get to meet me.
“I don’t want to... see you again.”
To this day, I still can’t forget the word he told me that night. It left a big mark on my mind. I couldn’t understand why every time I remember it, it was as if my chest was tightening, I was having difficulty breathing and my heart was slowly shredding into pieces.
I could do nothing but follow what he wants. I was planning to leave the palace next week. I have only three days left before I leave their Kingdom. I don’t have the courage to face him every day especially since I know it’s my fault. I admit that it was my fault and maybe this was the compensation for what I did. But was what I did too bad and unfair? I just pretended to protect myself but why is this the punishment? Why now?
Why now that I already found a reason to stay here?
I was taken aback when Alfaro called me. Here we are today in the garden of their palace, my favorite hangout spot. Recently he has been my constant companion. He’s the only one who does not change. Aside from the fact that sometimes he is serious, he’s still more often foolish and annoying. And if I were to be asked, I would prefer him to always be like this. I prefer not to change him.
“W-What is it again?”
His eyebrows met in confusion and he stared at me for a moment. After a while he shook his head and cleared his throat.
“Do you have plans for today?” he asked and I immediately shook as a response, “Do you want to take a walk?”
I sat properly. Yeah, when?”
My eyes widened slightly in a bit of astonishment. I wonder why he invited me for a ride all of a sudden. But anyway, his suggestion was also good. I also have nothing to do today so I will just go with him. Besides, I love to see the beautiful scenery throughout the Kingdom of Araya and the breeze, it was soothing and it makes me refresh my mind. And I know that’s what I need right at this moment.
“Sure!” I gladly agree.
Alfaro stood up and held out his hand to me. I smiled then briefly neaten up the long dress I was wearing before accepting his hand and standing up.
We went to the palace yard together. He told me he would just take his pet horse so I just waited there quietly. I watched him run while waving at me. I smiled sparingly from afar. I think he’s just doing this to lighten up my mood.
He didn’t even ask me what happened that night but I knew he was attacked by curiosity and he was just looking for the right moment to interrogate me especially since he caught me crying back then. But for now, I don’t want to let him know the truth. I don’t want to rush a decision again and regret it later on.
Alfaro soon arrived with his black horse. He stopped in front of me and came down to help me get on board.
We traveled all over the whole Kingdom of Araya. It loosens the load every time the cold air hits my skin at the same time as the sun’s rays. It’s autumn here and it’s nice to see the fallen leaves from the lofty trees around. I beamed softly when one fell off on Alfaro’s head. I took it slowly but before I could get my hands on it, it already deliberately fell to the ground. I just put my attention on the way. Where are we? What path are we taking? I don’t know, I have no idea.
“Can I know where we are going?”
“Where do you want to go?” he asked back, eyes were focused on the road.
I think of a place. “Uh... I don’t know either.”
He didn’t say a word again after that so I just kept my mouth shut. He stopped when we reached a place unfamiliar to my eyes. That place is hidden and I can only see tall grasses everywhere.
I winced and turned to him in astonishment as we got off the horse. He just smirked and shrugged. He tied his horse to the tree near our stand before he simply pulled up the tall grasses in front of us and that was how amazed my eyes were when I saw what was there. The scene is so breathtaking. I could see the sea and white sand from where I was standing. Shocked, I turned to Alfaro.
“Why didn’t you let me know that there was such a place in your Kingdom? Oh my God!”
I would have been back and forth here for a long time if only I had known of such a beautiful place like this in their world.
At that moment, it was as if I was going back to childhood when I had no other thoughts but to run and get close to it. I almost forgot that I was a Princess in this world because I was so eager to sit on the sand and paddle in the sea. I noticed Alfaro sat beside me. I smiled at him then I looked at the shining sun. The light coming from there was dazzling and my eyes were already hurting but I still couldn’t help but stare at it.
“Do you know that I love the sea?” I recounted, “So much that every time my birthday comes, I always ask my parents to take me to the sea, where I can get to see through my own eyes the splendid view of the world.”
It has also been a long time since I last saw the sea. On my last birthday, I was the only one celebrating in Palawan because Mom and Dad had a business trip. I feel temporarily relieved every time I look at the hidden paradises that the world has. As if it indicates that even though I had faced so many circumstances in my life to the point that I almost gave up, there is still a good future waiting for me.
“When my days were gloomy, this is the place I always go to.” Alfaro said, “After a few minutes, I feel like I was being calmed down. Because every time I put my eyes at the sea, my heart and mind become peaceful and the heavy feeling is briefly lost.”
I smiled widely especially when I heard that from him. We have something in common somehow. Like me, the sea also calms him down.
“Promise me that no matter what happens you won’t do any harm.”
He turned his gaze to me because of what I just said. He grinned broadly before sarcastically nodding.
“I’m serious, Prince.” I added but the grin on his lips still didn’t disappear.
“But what if you were the reason that I have to do something bad?” he suddenly asked.
I was stunned for a few seconds but I still tried my best to answer his question.
“Even if I’m the reason…” I swallowed hard, “Promise me-”
“I promise,” he said unrealistically.
I forced a smile and looked at the sea again. We just waited for the sun to set before we finally left.
We were about to return to the palace when we passed the market. I interrupted Alfaro and told him that I only had something to buy so he stopped the horse there first.
I ran fast to Varri’s store. She is moving away and seems to be leaving as well. Fortunately, I caught up with her there.
She raised her eyebrows and looked around. Finding out which voice came from calling her name. I raised both of my hands in the air which caused her to look at me. I hurried to get close to her.
“Oh, Emerald!” she said softly then simply looked at my back, “Did you came here all alone?”
I shook my head and pointed to where Alfaro was.
“No, I came with him.” I replied.
“I noticed you were close with the two Princes. Last time it was his brother with you here, wasn’t he?” Varri asked, I looked away awkwardly.
Need to really mention it? Need to remind me?
“You shouldn’t have let that happen.” she added.
I frowned. “Which?”
“You shouldn’t have let yourself be approached by those two Princes and especially you shouldn’t trust lightly. What if one of them or the two of them finds out who you really are?”
“Actually, that’s the problem.” I bit my lower lip, “I confessed to Alvaro about my true identity…”
For a moment, Varri couldn’t say a word, what I said seemed to be registered in her brain. I was shocked when she started pinching me.
“Damn you!” she was shivering.
I closed my eyes in pain and then backed away slightly.
“Why did you do that?! Do you know what could happen to you then?”
“I’m aware of the possibilities,” I looked up at her. “But what I don’t know is why I even informed him that even though I knew my life would be put in danger…”
“Don’t you really know the answer there or you just don’t really want to admit it to yourself?” Varri asked, I was dumbfounded. “There is nothing we can do. We don’t have the power to erase the memory of Prince Alvaro so for now just wish that he shouldn’t be told about it because if anyone else finds out, you will surely be damned.”
I was engulfed in fear. It was as if I had put myself in danger, as if I had dug my own coffin because of what I had done.
“As time goes on, your survival and safeness will be lessened so it would be better for you to just leave the palace.” Varri suggested.
“I’ve already planned that thing. I’m leaving the palace next week. I’m just preparing my farewell to let them all know.”
“Where will you go after that?”
“Anywhere.” I sighed, “By the way, since you’re already here, then can I stay at your residence? I have nowhere else to go to.”
She nodded and did not speak a word for a few minutes. I glanced at Alfaro then I turned to Varri again who I think was remembering something she wanted to tell me.
“I bet you haven’t heard yet that tomorrow will be the official handing over of the throne of King Alfredo to the new ruler of the Araya Kingdom.” she uttered and I was surprised. “And when that happens, the former King will also start searching for Prince Alvaro’s future wife to be honored as the next Queen…”