Beneath the Crown

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Chapter 48

Ash

I clawed and fought my way out of the ground, the sand getting into my eyes and mouth. I felt it in my throat and up my nose.

When I was out of the hole, I rested on my knees for a moment and looked around at where I was.

Large stone and gold tombs stood in neat rows all around me. The sky turning a dark blue color with the fading sun, and besides the sounds of little insects, it was silent.

I stood up, “Hello?” I called out.

A graveyard? What the hell is going on?

I didn’t get an answer. The cool air made my body shiver, I began walking down the path between the tombs.

“Hello!” I shouted again but was met with silence. Even the insects had gone quiet.

I wrapped my arms around myself for warmth, my bare feet hurting from the rough path, and walked towards higher ground.

Maybe I can find a caretaker or something. A way out, or anyone that can help me.

My eyes stung from the dirt and the tears that filled them.

What if no one will help you? What if Dave is right, and this is just a dream. A nightmare that you will wake up from and have to return to an even worse one.

I walked aimlessly for what felt like hours. When I spotted the same tomb I had passed not long ago, I stopped and let the tears wash my eyes clean.

I walked for a little while longer, taking a different direction this time and when I came across a stunning gold and stone tomb that looked newer than the others, I decided to stop and rest. I sat down on the bench in front of it and stared at the strange writing on the front.

I wonder who rests here?

I shut my eyes for a moment and tried not to let the emotions get to me. I held back my tears, took long breaths to calm myself down, and kept telling myself that it was not a dream. That all this really happened. That the king was real, and what I felt for him was real, but most importantly, that Dave was not in my life anymore. The only man I cared about now, was Zasrus.

I held myself as my body shivered from the ever cooling evening creeping in and when my body felt a bit calmer, and my mind more settled, I looked up at the tomb again.

After a moment, I decided I had to move or I would freeze to death out here. It’s shock Ash, that’s why you feel cold. Just keep moving and try to stay calm.

I stood up and as more sand fell from my hair, I thought about my com. I pressed it and in a hopeless voice I said, “Is anyone out there at all?”

“Ash!” A panicked voice called back. My heart almost jumped out of my chest.

“Hello? Yes, its Ash, oh thank God! Who is this?”

“It’s Rein, where are you?”

I looked around, “I don’t know. It looks like a graveyard. There are tombs all over the place.”

“Can you tell me a name on one of the tombs?”

I let out a sigh, “No. I can’t read any of it.”

“It’s alright, just describe one to me, as best you can.”

I nodded, “Ok, um. . . It's big. It has a stone door, with gold trim around it. It’s got big gold letters on the front and-”

I stopped when I noticed a floral pattern around the edge of the peaked roof. I’ve seen that before.

“Ash? What else?”

“I know that pattern,” I said, more to myself, “I saw it before.” I racked my brain, pushing through everything to that one memory until it hit me.

“The queen’s throne! That’s where I saw this. It’s the flowers from the queen’s throne.”

“Stay there!” Rein shouted, “I’m coming to get you.”

I sat down on the bench again and waited. My body relaxing now that I knew help was on the way.

But why did this happen? Who did this?

When I heard footsteps coming, I stood and saw Rein running from around the tombs. He came over to me, and the relief washed over me in a wave. I flung my arms around the kid and held on tight, “Thank you.” I said with a sob.

He wrapped his arms around me awkwardly and pulled away at the first chance he got.

“Are you alright?” He asked, looking at my face.

“I’m fine. My head is killing me, but I will live.”

He went to the back of my head and I felt him move my hair out of the way, “You have a rather big cut on your head, but it's not bleeding anymore. I need to get you both back to the palace, now!”

“Wait, both? Who else is here?”

He turned to me with a rage in his eyes like I have never seen, “Laylar. I found her only a few minutes ago.”

“Why do we have to get back so urgently. What’s going on?” I asked as we walked quickly down the path.

He didn’t say anything.

“Rein,” I said and grabbed his arm, “What is going on?”

He stopped with a sigh, “The king is going to abdicate the throne to Lord Savnor.”

“What? Why would he do that?”

“For you, and for his daughter. He is going to give it all up, to get the both of you back.”

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