Chapter 54: The Lost Prince
Tears streaming down my cheeks, I flung my body into Vincent’s arms. I so desperately craved the warmth, the love, the compassion and most of all the security that being in his arms had brought to me always in the past, but for a reason unknown to me in the very movement when I needed most to feel it all I could not find even the semblance to it.; my mind was struggling to make sense of everything, but, the fog of shock and bafflement created by the happenings of last few hours was too dense to let intelligent thoughts through.
Vincent’s fingers found my waist, as I clung to his body; arms around his neck like wines. Gripping my waist, with application of gentle pressure he pulled my body apart from his. Shock was all that masked my features at his actions; he had always been there to pull me closer never push me away.
“I am not the man you love and need; I am not my brother,” he whispered.
If shock was my former feeling then right now utter confusion had me in its wrap. Cluelessness had its claws sunk in me deep.
“Lady Black, my name is Enock, and you do not know me, but it is high time you do.”
“What the bloody hell are you trying to feed me, Vincent? I get it a king will never marry an ordinary girl, and you had a change of heart; now you want nothing to do with me and the baby, especially with all the stuff sheep-head poured onto us back there, but for that you do not need to shit me with some farfetched and implausible crappy story. Just tell-“
“Slow down and take a deep breath, Ms. Black. Give me a single chance to offer you an explanation and help you make sense of the complete situation.”
Anger, frustration, and sorrow brewed inside me simultaneously, but I crumpled it all into a ball and shoved it into an unreachable part of me; taking a deep breath I tried to keep my calm and put on a brave front. I replied to him with a pointed look meant to convey the message to him; to spill his guts out.
“Like I mentioned before, my name is Enock, and I am brother to Vincent.” I parted my lips to stop him right there and inform him about how excessively absurd he was sounding, but he silenced me with a wave of hand and rushed words. “I know it seems a conjured up story, but it is not, that I can assure you of. Catherine Kozlovsky; known as the queen of Estercrest Empire to people but as a mother to me, was a tender hearted woman who had made the mistake of falling in love with a humanly seeming beast, and she was aware of her mistake very much. Her love blinded her only for a short span of time in which she said yes to the marriage proposal of then king; Cedric, and entered into the betrothal contract with him. Few months into the marriage, my mother saw the true and completely monstrous face of the late king. She witnessed with her own two eyes, the injustice he delivered, and the inhuman acts he committed without batting an eye and rather finding pleasure in them. Mother for a while thought that having a child would change the king for good, but by the time she was expecting for the second time she knew very well that her husband did not possess the ability to change for good. She was certain that any child she brought into the world of Cedric Kozlovsky would be doomed with a miserable life. Hence, when she gave birth to twin sons she made certain that the younger of the two was snuck out of the castle without anyone knowing about him, so he could lead a life with normalcy; with which her other two children will never be familiar. She bought out the silence of the few castle works present with her at the time of birth, and so the world including the king knew about the existence of only one prince who grew up to be Vincent; the man you love.”
The saner part of me was willing me to discard the whole story as a complete fragment of human imagination with not a singular touch of reality, but the more dominant part of me ruled by my gut instincts and heart was urging me to believe what I was being told; it was perhaps all because of a raw quality to his voice as he recounted for me the past and because of the series of emotions playing in the man’s eyes that highlighted honesty.
“I am not saying I believe you, but, assuming that I do believe you there is so much more that I do not know and I have a multitude of questions running around in my mind, what about them?”
“I am willing to address all your queries and questions, but on one term.”
“I do not find much of comfort in striking deals with you, but I see no other choice so go ahead.”
The corners of his lips turned up just a fraction at my words, but, he did not proceed with shooting any comment regarding them.
“You will allow me to get you out of here and take you to some place safe, before we indulge into any kind of question answer session.”
“Oh! But I do not know that you are trustworthy and where you will lead me will be safe at all costs. For crying out loud I do not know you.”
He smiled, once again. This time he brought on a comparatively much more easy to pick up smile.
“You do not know if I am trustable or not, true, but you do not have any other option than to place your faith in me, for those who did make you believe in their credibility are the very ones out for your blood.”
His words brought to surface, once again, the thoughts that I had strenuously tried to push down and barely succeeded. Strong tremors of pain took me into their clutch as the vivid scenes of innocent and young Emily’s body lying on ground drenched in blood and struggling through agony fleeted in my mind; followed by it were the pictures of Adrian plunging his weapon into the flesh of the man who possessed my heart and love. The sounds of his pain laced groans came back to haunt my ears.
A fresh trail of tears, that I was not aware of, had made its way onto my face. Jolts of pain crashed through my body making me clutch my stomach; the origin of the pain as I could deduce. I screamed as the pain threatened to consume whatever was left of my being. My knees hit the ground as my legs gave away under the weight of those utterly torturous memories threatening to consume my sanity. Enock folded his frame to get down to my level and employed the long sleeves of his slightly dust coated top to wipe off my tears, letting me know of their presence. A sweetly hummed song met my ears; the words of it washing over me and eradicating a major part of my panic, sorrow and pain for the time being. As the tears dried and my vision cleared, I could make out the movement of Enock’s lips in complete synchronization to the lyrics of the song that soothed my battered body and soul. My eyelids drooped low; dense darkness embraced me, hungrily.