Hey, guys! I apologize for the delay, but here is chapter 10 of The Lost Princess. Don’t forget to like, comment and add this book to one of your lists! 💜
That’s very important so other people can find it and knowing that I’m not writing for ghost readers 👻 really helps me to keep willing to post every Sat.
I woke up with Aunt Nina grabbing my attention, telling me to get up, and so I did, quickly. Ella was laughing, covering her mouth with her hands and, as soon as I saw her laughing, I started to laugh too. I wanted to yawn, but I imagined it would be too much, even if we were on the second floor of the church.
Now that I looked up, feeling Aunt Nina’s gaze. You could tell she was skeptical about me sleeping in the middle of the mass. Well, if she were the one training at the gym for over a week, trying new clothes, trying to learn how to walk on heels and trying really desperately to discover things about Combellmont, like family tree - asking Justine and Isaac to explain who was who -, she would definitely feel tired too.
When the mass was over, I got up, walking to Chuck as I felt my feet hurting. I had at least one callus per toe and some in my hand too, thanks to the exercises.
“We’ll keep the same plan, Charles. Head to the castle, your backup car will be right ahead of you” Jean informed us, before addressing Aunt Nina.
Chuck nodded once and gave me his arm. We weren’t on good terms since I saw him laughing at me at my physical exams and then I tried to get revenge through Jean’s victory when they were battling. I found out some things since then: the first one was that the guard had about thirty people, including five women, and a small division that they borrowed from France and Spain, which totalized around fifty people working only to protect the kingdom - and, still, as I was training, Isaac and Jean had a tendency to stop by to help me, discussing whether I was lifting the right amount of weight, or if my way of doing the exercises was right, but Chuck kept his distance.
We walked down the stairs without me tripping over, and started to walk in silence, the same way that we did when we got in at first, and that weird feeling when everything was silent was a good match to the pain I felt while I was walking, but I didn’t complain about it because I was afraid that he wouldn’t answer me and then I would feel stupid. However, when we arrived at a room that smelled like old books and candle wax. I took my shoes off to walk more quickly and saw, even with the band-aids on, that my right foot was bleeding right above my heel, staining the pantyhose that I was wearing, and I couldn’t contain myself. I moaned in pain, grabbing Chuck’s attention as he was observing the windows, waiting for me.
“Princess?” he asked, turning around, then he noticed the shoe stained in blood, “Jeez!”
“That’s okay. From now on I’ll walk barefoot anyways” I announced, taking the other shoe off and I immediately felt relieved.
“No. We’ll take care of this first” he asked, getting closer and looking around “Sit down, please”
He was pointing at a dark mahogany office table at the same time he took the chair and stood in front of me. I sat on the table and waited while he was typing something on his phone. Then he looked at me.
“May I?” he asked, raising his hand before touching me.
“Sure” I said, rolling my eyes. I was fed up with the whole royal guard asking me whether they could touch me or not, like touching people made me nauseous “Honestly, I didn’t know that I would be declared as the type of people that--”
After that, someone knocked on the door and Chuck got up quickly to attend. He received a small white and red box.
“What happened? Is the princess--”
“The princess is fine. Give us ten minutes” Chuck interrupted the masculine voice that handed in the box and he closed the door. Then, he got closer to me and sat down again “What were you saying?”
The little box was an emergency kit and Chuck started to open it, putting everything on my side. Then, he grabbed my right leg with one hand and with the other he started to take off my pantyhose.
It felt like I was walking on a rope and I tried not to move as Chuck took off that piece of cloth.
“What were you saying?” he asked and when he took off and gave it to me.
I thought about it for a while.
“It’s not like people disgust me. You don’t have to ask permission all the time to just touch me, you know” I said, watching him remove the band-aid that I had put on my heel.
“Nick, what have you been doing? Your feet are…”
“Terrible? Awful? Yeah, I know. I’ve been trying to walk on heels all night and if I didn’t trip over today, it means that my training is working” I said, shrugging.
Chuck shook his head, looking impressed.
“Your efforts are notable” he said, putting my foot on his leg as he started to search through the small box.
He cleaned my foot with a saline solution and I tried to stay still, but it hurt a lot, then he put some ointment on top of the callus and wrapped it up with a lint. He grabbed my leg once again and got up.
“There you go. I advise you to take off the other side of your pantyhose. And, just so you know, we have everything we need to take care of bruises like this in Combellmont. We always carry an emergency kit box even inside the cars, so your ten francs weren’t necessary, princess” he joked around, smiling like a know-it-all. So nosy and quirky.
“Dumbass.” I cursed, rolling my eyes once again and jumped off the table.
But Chuck scared himself with the possibility of me falling over and held me, grabbing my waist against him.
I felt his hand on my waist as the other held my arm and I couldn’t breathe or think straight and when I looked up to see him, I noticed that his eyes, that were naturally dark green, could get even darker. I knew that I was short, but close to him as I was right now, my head hit the length of his chest.
“I’m sorry” he said and I couldn’t understand if he was sorry because he held me or because he was still holding onto me. But it didn’t really matter, honestly.
After that, we heard someone knocking on the door angrily and Chuck let me go, breaking our contact to open the door.
“We are ready” he informed them, like nothing had happened between us just a moment ago.
“Chuck, get back inside” I heard the same voice that handed in the small box and then a blonde and skinny man entered the room “We suffered an attack. Two people got hurt. We can’t leave with the princess now”
Suddenly, my legs felt like ice and I had to take two steps back to hold onto the table that I was sitting on when Chuck was helping me. I couldn’t speak, but everything I could think of was Ella and Hugo.
Those were the worst hours of my entire life. Chuck and I were isolated inside a parochial room and we couldn’t get out. We didn’t hear anything from anyone and only after one hour and ten minutes that Aaron - the other guard that was supposed to be the driver of the backup car, appeared to help Chuck to escort me to the car. Both of them were walking ahead of me as I kept praying that nothing bad had happened to Ella and Hugo. Aunt Nina was a part of my prayers too and I promised that if she was well and alive, I would try to deal with her in a better way and maybe I would have to become someone who wouldn’t seem too annoying to her. And, after we arrived at the castle, I felt relieved to see Ella running towards me. She hugged me, jumping on my lap.
“They are going to die too, aren’t they? They will all leave!” she said, sobbing and crying.
“Chuck, come with me, please” Isaac asked, getting closer to Chuck and putting his hand on Chuck’s shoulder.
“No” I heard panic in Chuck’s voice when he analyzed Isaac’s expression.
“He’s alive, but he was shot. A shot got through his vest and another fired right on his right shoulder. Come, we’ll go downstairs and then head to the hospital”
“What about Aunt Nina?” Ella interrupted, raising her head that was laying on my shoulder.
“She’s alive too, Ella. Her left arm is hurt, but that’s all. She’ll be back soon. Now, let’s go, Chuck. We need to debate the princess’ going to the school”
Isaac pet Ella’s head and looked at me like he was asking me to take care of her, and then left with Chuck, leaving me alone at the entrance hall.
“Everything will be alright, Ella. Aunt Nina is alive. She’s alive… Where’s Hugo?” I asked, looking both sides in order to recognize a soul, but we were all alone.
“He’s upstairs with Justine. He was the first one to leave the church and the first one to arrive” she told me, sobbing, but looking calmer than before.
“What happened? Nobody told me a thing while I was at the church…”
“Someone shot Aunt Nina by far and the shot hit her arm, then, someone jumped at me, tried to grab me and I heard another shot…” she explained, looking at me with her big green eyes full of seriousness “There were a lot of people screaming and then Isaac took me on his lap and brought me here. Then, everyone from the guard started to run like crazy and I heard someone saying that Jean was also hurt”
“But now you’re here, Aunt Nina is alive and so is Jean. Everything will be fine, Ella” I affirmed and she nodded, hugging me again.
I walked with Ella on my lap to the elevator and then, after asking her where her room was, we got in and I put her on her bed. The whole decoration of the room was pink and yellow and, at the left side of the wall, there were three piles of books and huge pillows that looked like chairs.
“On the first one, I put the books that I have already read, on the second one, the books I’m obligated to read and on the third one, the books that mommy and daddy used to read to me. They are my favorites” she explained, pointing “You can check it out while I change. But you can’t mix the piles, okay?”
I smiled and Ella jumped off the bed, turning away and pointing her finger so that I could slide her zipper off. After I slid the blue dress with the yellow flower dress, she left for the bathroom, leaving the door open, and I headed to the piles, sitting on the mat.
All of the books had different sizes, thickness and language and I asked myself how many languages Ella could possibly know. On the top of her favorite books, I spotted The Sleeping Beauty and, below it, there was a copy of Alice in Wonderland, followed by a lot of books of princesses. All of them were in perfect state and I felt ashamed to open one since I could leave any stains behind.
“When will I be able to visit Aunt Nina?” I turned around to see Ella walking, wearing a pink robe with golden crowns in it.
“I’m not sure, Ella” I replied.
“When will she be back?”
“I’m not sure either” I assumed, feeling useless.
Ella sighed and went back to the bathroom.
“Ella, I’ll change clothes and…” I tried to think of something quickly. “I’ll see how Chuck is. Is it okay?”
“Yes” she replied, inside the bathroom “I’ll go after Justine and Hugo”
“Is it really okay?” I felt a weight in my heart for leaving her alone.
“Yes. I just want to know when Aunt Nina will be back and if Jean is okay… If you get to know the answer for those questions, will you tell me? Promise that you will tell me?”
“Yes” I promised.
After that, I said goodbye to her and left, running to my room, only to notice that I was walking barefoot and had left my shoes at the church. Well, I will not mention that subject next time I see Aunt Nina. After changing clothes, putting on one of my old clothes and my All Star with socks, so that my bruises wouldn’t get worse, I ran through the castle, towards the south-west wing.
“Isaac” I yelled at the camera, trying to reach a higher pitch than the one emitted by the alarm.
However, it was Aaron who opened the door and, even though he was quick at hiding, I saw the gun he was carrying around.
“What are you doing here, princess?” he asked, going to the camera at the same time that the alarm stopped.
“I need to see Aunt Nina and to know if Jean is fine” I asked, breathless.
“Both of them are fine, princess. I can’t authorize your way out of the castle” he informed me, putting himself in front of the door so that I couldn’t keep walking.
I crossed my arms.
“And that’s why I was calling for Isaac” I exclaimed, tapping my foot. I knew that Isaac was the security chief and that his word was above Jean’s or Aaron’s.
Aaron looked like he was forty, even though he had lots of hair and tiny brown eyes.
“Isaac is busy, princess. There’s a lot to be discussed about your going to the school”
I wouldn’t give up.
“And maybe that’s why I should be present to debate too, don’t you think? It’s me who’s going to school… Please, call Isaac or take me to him” I asked.
He looked angry, but took a deep breath, went to the camera, authorizing me to pass through and, as soon as I heard the door clicking, I walked with large steps, getting in, and following through the path that I had decorated already.
One of the rooms from the lower floor had an intense movement and, while I got down the stairs, I noticed there was a meeting going on. Once I was already in trouble for being there when I shouldn’t, I decided to simply sneak into the meeting and only stopped when someone grabbed my arm and pulled me to the side.
“What are you doing here?” Chuck asked, incredulous.
“How’s Jean?” I asked, looking around. Everyone was paying attention to Isaac speaking.
Chuck raised an eyebrow and pointed out to where Isaac was, and then I saw Jean holding onto the table, with his shoulder bandaged.
“He wouldn’t miss a reformulation and now he’s angry because he has to stay”
“What do you mean?” I asked and Chuck explained that he and Jean were the guards that used to come and go with Ella and that they were supposed to stay with me for a week when I go to school, but, after the attack, Isaac would replace Jean and Chuck would have to stay longer than a week at the school. He would have to be there until they catch the person behind all of that.
“Princess, what are you doing here?” I heard Isaac speaking loudly and everyone went silent.
I turned around to look at him so I could speak, but I couldn’t say anything.
“She wishes to visit counselor Nina” Chuck explained for me.
Isaac nodded once, like he understood it, and as soon as the meeting was over, he passed through the guards, getting closer to us.
“Your aunt was medicated, princess. The bullet was taken out already and they are analyzing it. While this happens, I’ve made some reformulations on our plan to escort you to your school, but everything is organized. After she wakes up, we’ll bring her back to the castle, but I believe you only see her next week, when you’re back” he informed me and my heart relaxed a bit “Chuck, come with us to my office. We need to discuss some things”
“And give you some warnings” Jean said, crossing his arms, looking angry.
Chuck rolled his eyes and pulled off from the wall, bowing when he looked at me.
“Go up, princess. I imagine you have to pack your bags” asked Isaac.
“Okay. When should I be ready?”
“We’ll escort you after dinner, but today we’ll leave early. We are not sure if the shooter is waiting to attack again” he informed me, taking a deep breath.
When I went upstairs, I headed to Hugo’s room, where I met Ella and Justine, who refused to leave Hugo’s side and had left Frida in control of the kitchen. At lunch time, I didn’t feel like sitting on a twelve-seater table with Ella, so I convinced her to have lunch in the kitchen.
“Jean!” she yelled when she saw Jean entering the kitchen, running to hug him.
Jean now wore a hoodie - with his sleeves up to his elbows.
“It’s good to see you too, princess Ella” he greeted, smiling and tapping Ella’s back.
She took his hand so that he could sit on her side and, as lunch was being served, she started to interrogate him.
“Did it hurt?”
“A little” Jean replied, shrugging.
“Did it bleed a lot?” She asked with a grimace.
“A little” Jean repeated, hiding a smile.
“Can I see it?”
Jean smiled and shook his head.
“The wound is closed, Ella. When I take off my bandages, I promise I’ll let you see it. But the one that shot my vest left a mark right here” he explained, putting away a part of his hoodie to show to Ella the little pink mark on his skin.
Ella analyzed everything, frowning her eyebrows and turning her head away.
“Don’t worry, princess. I’m fine and you’re safe” he affirmed, covering the wound and petting Ella’s head.
The table went silent for a bit and I noticed that Jean had only said that to make Ella calmer. The guard was right to be angry since someone was playing with and winning against them. Not even Jean knew if or when a new attack would come and who would be the shooter’s next victim, which made it clear that we were not safe at all.