Chapter Thirty-four ~
I was functioning the whole day without even a nick of sleep and now I was spacing out. It was my own fault for staying out so late with Vincent. Nod I had to deal with the consequences.
It wasn’t much. Just Leo insisting to his parents that they couldn’t send me back into Mangandaall by myself when Rion had taken most of my guards with him and someone clearly after me. He insisted that he and Vincent should personally escort me home like the gentleman they were.
I had spaced out for most of their argument and I had no interest in bothering to try and take anyone’s side - or insisting that I would be fine by myself. It was only a two days journey after all.
I’d only snapped back to the conversation at hand to reassure Queen Caitlynn that it was no bother hosting Leo and Vincent in Mangandaall.
And that was how I ended up fast asleep on Leo’s shoulder, inside the carriage, not half-an-hour into the start of our journey.
Vincent was out on his horse with his men guilding the way. He’d been adament about not joining us in the carriage as it would give people the wrong impression and that it was improper. Again, I’d been too spaced out to convince him otherwise with Leo. I totally would have on any other circumstance. It’s not like I found it any more improper that he ride with us than on Vigour.
No difference, what-so-ever.
I’ve no idea for how long I was passed out on Leo’s shoulder when the carriage joustling to a stop woke me up. Blinking back my sleepiness I sat up and looked at Leo. He gave me a shrug before pulling aside the curtain and poking his head out.
From the glance I’d got through I’d say it was close for the sun to set. Which would mean that it had to be around three - three-and-a-half hours since I fell asleep.
“Vince! Why are we stopping? We can’t be there yet!” Leo called to Vincent. I heard the clipperty-clop of horse feet that stopped right beside where Leo was leaning out before Vincent’s voice replied Leo.
“No your highness, we aren’t there yet, but there is something washed up ashore and I sent my men to find out what it is. Seems like a shipwreck.” Vincent answered in a formal manner.
It wasn’t like any of the guards didn’t know Leo’s and Vincent’s relationship. But they were no longer in the castle and it would be highly improper and very disrespecting for Leo if Vincent addressed him any other way.
Nodding his head Leo sat back inside. Seeing me looking he shrugged his shoulder. “I’m gonna step out for a moment, you mind?” He asked me with a smile.
“Go ahead.” I answered motioning to the door.
He gave me a nod of thankx and pat my hand before he hopped off the carriage. I could hear the muffled sound of him and a guard arguing about his safety. Stifling back my smile I worked on setting my hair right. I didn’t want anyone to get the wrong impression of what I and Leo had been doing inside the carriage seeing my messy hair and slightly ashen clothes.
Even though we had done nothing, not even talk as I’d been asleep most of the journey. But try proving that to gossip mongers.
Just as I was done, I heard a commotion from outside. Moving aside the thick curtain I poked my head not unlike Leo.
“What’s going on?” I asked near Berlim - who was left with me by the carriage.
He looked at me looking equally confused. “I think they found something on the ship wreck.” He answered me, trying to peer at what was going on.
Nodding my head it I opened the carriage door. Berlim looked alarmed by this.
“Princess, please stay inside. They could be enemy ships!” He exclaimed as he hurried over to the door.
“Or they could be merchant ships that could use our help. Vincent wouldn’t have let Leo anywhere near the shipwreck if it was anything dangerous.” I answered smoothly as I held my hand out for him to help me down. I was getting down with or without his help, but I was proving a point here.
Grumbling about Vincent having his neck, he helped me down. I pat his hand before I lifted my skirt and started towards where all the guards were standing. As soon as they noticed me they stepped aside making a path for me to get through. I nodded my head in thankx for everyone who did.
But as soon as I got through I forgot about giving my thanks and hurried over to Leo, Vince and another guard surrounding an unconsciousness Lady. She couldn’t be older than I.
“What’s wrong with her?” I questioned in monotone as I slowly made my way over to them and knelt down by her head. Vincent rolled his eyes seeing me, shooting Berlim a glare that promised retribution for letting me come here.
“She was washed ashore from the shipwreck my Lady.” The guard answered me.
Nodding my head without looking at the guard I reached out and took her wrist. Checking for her weak pluse I pursed my lips. She’d need CPR.
“Okay, Vince rub her feet, get some warmth into them.” I ordered as I shifted my position so now I was now sitting by her stomach. Pressing my hands to the stomach, counting how many times I pressed, I moved to breathe into her mouth.
I did this twice more before she started couching up water. I lifted her head so she wouldn’t choke on the water coming out of her mouth.
“Someone go find something warm we can wrap her up in.” I ordered softly, not wanting to scare the girl. At the sound of my voice her doe brown eyes looked at me, and then darted around at everyone around. Leo helped me to help her sit up.
“W-where...” she strutted, but we all understood what she was asking.
“You’re safe.” Leo answered her with that boyish smile. The same smile that had all the court ladies wrapped around his finger.
The girl relaxed slightly at his calming voice, soothing tone, but best of all seeing that charming smile. I swallowed back a smile. Instead accepted the cloak one of the guards handed to me. Wrapping it around the girls shoulder.
“It’ll keep you from getting hypothermia until we find somewhere we can warm you up better in,” I explained when she looked back at me. My monotonous voice seemed to throw her off as she looked around unsurely. It was seeing Leo smiling softly and nodding at her than she gave me a small nod in understanding.
I simply stared at her since I wouldn’t let myself give her a reassuring smile. She fidgeted under my stare, so I averted my eyes to Vince. I didn’t want her to make her uncomfortable. She was clearly lost among a bunch of strangers. Not need to make her feel unwelcome on top of everything.
My gaze was instantly caught in deep sea blue eyes and I nodded my head back to the carriage. We needed to discuss what we were going to do with her. Leo was more than capable of taking care of her in our absence.
Vincent didn’t give acknowledgement that he understood what I told. He simply got to his feet, ordering his men to spread out and keep watch. Then he stalked off in the direction I had nodded my head.
“Um - I, I can’t remember.” The girl was stuttering when I turned my attention back to her. Leo had introduced all of us and asked what her name was.
I gently laid my hand on her shoulder. “Don’t worry. You will remember. Just relax.” I told her in a soft voice. She looked at me worriedly. “You mind is still settling down after the traumatic experience you clearly had. Once you calm down, relax and rest, your mind would settle and then you’d remember everything.”
She slowly nodded her head.
“There you go. Nothing to worry about.” Leo exclaimed with a happy smile.
Hiding another smile when her cheeks tinted pink, I got to my feet. I held my hand out for her. “Come, let’s find somewhere warm for you to rest.”
Leo instantly jumped to his feet and helped her up. I moved aside letting him help her since I was just in the way. When it became obvious that she didn’t have the strength to stand up just yet, he scooped her up in his arms. I led the way back to the carriage - where Vince was leaning on the side.
Seeing us all coming towards them he quickly opened the carriage door. Leo gently settled her inside. I moved to Vincent’s side as Leo gently settled her down.
“What are we going to do with her?” I asked in a small voice that wouldn’t carry.
Vincent groaned and ran a hand through his hair. I looked up at him and he shrugged.
“I honestly have no idea. Did you find out anything about her?” He asked.
I shook my head, looking back at the carriage. “She can’t remember anything.” I replied.
Vincent looked down at me. I could feel his gaze on me.
“Do you think she’s telling the truth?” He asked me so softly that I almost missed it. Blinking to hide my surprise, I tilted my head to meet his gaze. Seeing how serious he was, I slowly nodded my head.
He released a breath, chewing on his lower lip. That’s when Leo got down from the carriage, a look of worry etched into his features.
“She fell asleep.” He was asking if this was good more than stating it.
I gently touched Leo’s arm, hoping to reassure him. “Good. She needs the rest.” I told.
He sighed in relief, and patted my hand resting on his arm. Then he turned to Vincent and asked, “What now?”
Vincent shook his head.
“I’ll tell what? We need to get her proper medical care. How about I take her back to the castle, it’s not more than a four hour ride from here. You can make sure Zigra get back to Mangandaall safe and sound.” Leo proposed.
I liked this idea.
“Don’t ride, take the carriage. She’s in no state to be riding. I’ll be fine on horseback.” I told Leo, turning to Vince nodding my head in agreement.
It took a while to convince Leo to take the carriage and even more to make Vince agree with our plan. Thank God I had got a few hours of sleep to argue with him. No way would we have won if I hadn’t.
At last, Vince agreed to let them go with a few guards with the promise that he’d send my carriage to this inn - a three hours ride from where we were - as soon as he got back to the castle. This would give the hordes enough time to rest before we started tomorrow morning.
We stayed by long enough to watch the carriage roll away. Then Vincent mounted Vigour and helped me onto the horse as well. With Vincent’s arms on either side of me - holding the reign - we galloped towards the inn.