What a Disgrace
The entire palace has been quite tensed and the atmosphere dull since yesterday. It was like something sad had happened.
I hoped Troy was fine, and it wasn't bad news. The king- my mind drifted to him, hope nothing was wrong.
Swirling to the left and right side on my bed, I was down with the flu so could not perform my duties as expected, so I called in sick.
A couple of minutes after drooling in strange thoughts and imaginations, I forced myself to sleep when my door heaved open and a panting Echo rushed in.
Her manner of entrance made me jump up, panicking from bed that I practically forgot how sick I was.
“My lady! My lady!” She screamed out, still panting and battling to calm herself.
“What is it, Echo?” I howled at her, feeling disoriented within my body system.
Stammering between gasps and pointing again at the exit, she started “The queen..... the queen is coming”
“So what?” I demanded, less concerned with my tone a slight heightened.
“My lady, there's problem. An enormous one” she stammered again shuddering.
My eyes enlarged, my face melted as I braced my mind for the worst. I had already concluded it had to do with Troy when the royal guard's tone sounded signaling the Queen's arrival but did not end when the queen appeared before me with a troop of guards behind her.
Echo immediately dropped to her knees while I bowed lightly, about to speak when she pointed her hands forward at me, disgust written all over her face.
“Arrest her, that's the wench who has desecrated the crowned prince” she uttered as the guards jolted forward to grasp me.
“Wait!” I exclaimed, confusion plastered over my face, and the guards froze still. “What is going on here?”
“Are you insane or deaf? Didn't you understand me? Come on arrest her” she repeated shouting again as two guards grabbed me by my arms, tugging me out of the chamber without respect or reverence.
I struggled in their grip to break free shouting, “What have I done? Let me go” but their control on me was strong.
I heard Echo crying and pleading that I be freed as she followed hard behind. As they kept pulling me, at a point I stopped resisting them and gave in to the arrest even still I was ignorant of my crime.
The queen was much ahead of us, muttering under her breath and cursing at me continuously.
Just when I thought she had given me a break, this happens, and when neither Troy nor Adrian was around. The whole thoughts and ill treatment forced tears out of my eyes and I wept quietly.
Finally, we got to the royal prison, and she commanded they threw me inside one cell.
“I told you. Didn't I, that you were going to be dismissed soon. I knew you were not the angel you pretended to be. You deceptive woman! I swear I won't let you off this time easily” She spoke spitefully at me as they locked me up binding my hands and feet and all I did was just shed tears and cry.
I was too stunned to even utter any word. Pains and sadness engulfed me. I kept swallowing hard, with each saliva slurped, my heart throbbed so much that it tingled.
The cell cage was sealed and the prison gates shut with the instruction that they allowed none access to me, not even to get me food.
Throughout out that day and the next, all I did was break down and sleep, weep and sleep. Thoughts and more frightening thoughts kept flooding and travelling through my mind.
How did I act so naïve believing the queen's silence as genuine when in the actual sense it was all a trap to a bigger humiliation and disgrace?
All this wouldn't have happened if only I had listened to my inner mind and turned down attending the selection ceremony that day, or better still, rejected the prince's proposal.
I saw the handwriting on the wall and it was too glaring, yet I ignored it. Now see where it's led me to.
Thinking I could endure it was one of my biggest mistake. I whimpered until I dozed off.
So they locked me up for four days without food or water or even showering. I smelled and oozed.
The flu I had got worse with my eyes and face swollen. I could swear my tear glands had shriveled up because they had shed enough.
Bringing me before the king, queen and the entire council, I stood there glancing at the faces of everyone there. Most of them wore repulsion like powder on their faces, while others just shook themselves in disbelief and compassion.
Then my eyes moved further, searching for him before it settled on my father. His head was lowered down, he couldn't look at me and this broke me.
Meanwhile, the queen was all smiling and in a delighted mood. It was like her prayers had been answered.
Luckily for me, I was ordered to freshen up before appearing before the council which was a good thing.
“Lady Aris of Islandes, bride to be of the crowned prince” Steflos — the king's hand spoke. “You are brought before his majesty, the king and her majesty, the queen and the entire council today because a strong allegation has been levied against you. You will only speak when you are asked. Understood?”
“Yes” I answered still wondering what might be the accusation.
“On the fourth of this month, you had sexual affairs with Lord Charles. In fact the charge has it that you seduced him and threw yourself at him right in your chambers. And when he tried to stop you, you forced yourself on him. As the prince's bride, such actions cannot be condoned. So, how do you respond?”
I lost him from the point he mentioned I had sexual affairs with Charles and ducked into my mental world.
What? How can I do such? I don't even remember vividly what transpired that day. The memories were in fragments.
"Arrghhhh" I howled so loud. How could Charles do this? Thought we were friends? Besides he was Troy's best friend.
"Lady Aris we are waiting. How do you plead?" The man's voice took startled me again.
"Not guilty" I replied with confidence, my reply causing a commotion in the room.
"Hold on!" He calmed the room. "You said not guilty. But we've got evidences" and instantly he placed some pictures infront of me.
They were embarrassing to behold. I was merely wearing my undies, lying ontop of Charles while in another, it was like my lips were on his. I held the pictures staring intensely at them and shuddering as tears started trickling down my eyes, silently wishing they could shoot lasers and consume the evidence.
This was me, not any other person but me in many compromising positions. What a conspiracy! It would be no use defending myself before them. They will never believe me. So I kept mute and allowed them do their thing.
Several times, I was asked but I didnt say much.
"We shall take your silence as confirming the allegation since you've refused to speak up. This is the crowns verdict. After going through the evidence and testimonies from lord Charles and you as well, we find you guilty and therefore dismissed from court with immediate effect and the title of the prince's bride be rescinded and denounced now. You are likewise not allowed anywhere in court or close to it, and also near or around the crowned prince because of your gross misconduct. What a disgrace!!” He proclaimed, and the court was thrown into ruckus.
I slumped to the ground, crying and pleading for clemency. I wished to explain myself still, no one wanted to listen as expected. My fathers eye darted towards me and the way he looked at me gave me hope, notifying me at least somebody believes me.
Within split seconds, they whisked me out of the palace, my things already packed into the car and ready to leave.
“I'm so sorry, my lady. I couldn't do anything” Echo groaned as I hugged her.
“It's okay” I consoled her in tears. “Thank you so much for being a friend” I whispered into her ears then pulled away to hug also Dorothy.
“I believe you, my lady” she smiled at me with tears in her eyes and a reassuring nod.
“Thank you, Dorothy” I said, more secretion gushing out at her expressions.
Victor and the other guard escorted me down to the parked vehicle expressing sadness in their way while I offered them a small sad smile and entered the car.