In the land of Alister, there are two warring countries. When Princess Ashelia's brother dies, she takes his identity as to make his dream come true. But what happens when she get's caught into the enemy's army, and falls in love with Lucas, who is the general, and Prince, of the country she is supposed to hate?


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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Chapter Fifteen

“I missed you!” Amalia screamed in excitement as she ran over and gave Lucas a hug, her long blue dress shuffling about.
            “Hello, Amalia,” Lucas greeted, forcing a smile. High Lord Corydon and High Lady Arissa followed, smiling.
            Lucas’ mother gave them each a welcoming, and guided all of them of over to the couches where they all sat down. Amalia sat down next to Lucas, clinging to him like a leech. It was obvious she knew what they wanted to talk about.
            “So you want to speak to us about marriage?” asked High Lord Corydon.
            “I think it’s a splendid idea,” commented High Lady Arissa.
            Beside Lucas Amalia giggled, and she smiled up at him, batting her eye lashes. As conversation continued about the marriage, and the ceremony, and everything else to be prepared, Lucas looked down at Amalia. As he looked at her, he knew she was really beautiful, and a really nice girl. Someone well known the public, and no one would deny for the marriage. He reached up and ran his fingers through her shiny, soft strawberry blonde hair, which Amalia responded by intertwining her fingers in his. He felt the warmth of her hand, the softness of it.
            Ashelia’s words to say she wanted him to marry her had deeply upset him, but he knew otherwise. That kiss said it all. She loved him too.
            And he knew he couldn’t do this.
            He missed Ashelia’s silver hair, how sometimes there were tangles in it from wearing her wig too much. Or her hands, that was still very much girlish, but still contained scars and roughness from wielding weapons and actual work.
            And she wouldn’t be batting her eye lashes even if it depended on her life.
            He suddenly stood up, and all eyes went to him.
            “I can’t do this,” he said. He turned to Amalia and knelt down to her eyes level, holding her hand. “You’re beautiful and kind. Any man would be lucky to have you…but I can’t marry you. You see…I think…no. I know I’m in love with someone else.”
            Amalia stared for a few moments, the silence killing Lucas. Then her eyes suddenly turned shiny as she soaked that in, but she held back her tears. She shrugged. “Well, you cannot help your feelings, after all.”
            “Lucas,” said Queen Katrina, standing up. Lucas stood up also. “What are you doing? We need this.”
            “Mother,” Lucas said softly. “I’m sorry.”
            High Lord and High Lady Leica stood up, sighing.
            “Disappointment, really,” said High Lord Corydon. “But no marriage, no supplies.”
            “Let’s go, Amalia,” called High Lady Arissa as they started to leave. Amalia looked hesitantly at Lucas, but followed, staring back as the Queen yelled at him.
            “You’re father should be coming back soon, and I’m not the one to tell him during dinner that you refused,” said Lucas’ mother.
            They both looked up as Amalia came running back to them. She gave them both a slight smile and turned to her parents, who were staring at her in shock.
            “Mother, Father. I don’t see why we don’t help them.”
            “No marriage, of course,” said the High Lady. “Why would we help them?”
            “Because we owe them,” said Amalia. “How many times have they helped us? More than we can count, that’s for sure.”
            “That’s not the point,” said the High Lord. “Now let’s go.”
            Amalia crossed her arms, her expression going dark. “A little bird told me local teen citizens weren’t responsible for that gigantic explosion in Autrico Square.”
            The High Lord and High Lady froze, and turned back to stare at her, their eyes wide.
            “King Evander only said it was, didn’t he?” Amalia continued. “To protect a friend. To protect us. It’ll be absolutely chaotic if the public finds out that it was the work of a drunken High Lord with a cigarette.”
            They eyes grew even wider, and the High Lord looked over at Prince Lucas and Queen Katrina. He cleared his throat, and Lucas could swear he saw sweat starting to fall down his face. “Very well. We’ll help you.”
            Shock ran through Lucas, surprised at how everything seemed to be turning out perfectly. The Leica family would help them, and he didn’t have to marry Amalia.
            Lucas looked over at her, giving her a thankful smile. She smiled back at him and shrugged.
            “There’ll be other guys, right?” she shrugged, and Lucas brightened at the thought of how there really were still pure and good people in the world.
            Lucas and Queen Katrina glanced at each other, a smile starting to cross their faces.

            The papers nearly dropped from Dominick’s hands that were violently trembling.
            “Impossible,” he breathed. He quickly put the papers back into the folders and ran out of the room. He had gone to library that to see if he could find any connections between the current rulings of Serennio and Camuilla, and was granted permission as the Royal Collaborator to search through the Secret Archives.
            Well he found something alright.
            He continued running, searching the corridors and halls. He had checked where Lucas and his mother were supposed to be meeting the Leica, but they were already gone, so he continued to search.
            He turned a corner and ran right into someone, causing him to crash to the ground.
            “Dominick? What are you doing?”
            Dominick looked up and saw Lucas. “I’ve been looking for you!”
            Lucas pulled Dominick up, frowning. “What for?”
            “Where’s Ashelia?” Dominick asked, his eyes darting around to make sure no one else was there.
            “I don’t know,” he murmured, remembering how she had shut the door on his face. He touched his lips with one his fingers, remembering the kiss.
No, I know what she felt, he thought. She didn’t want me to marry anyone either.
Lucas glanced up at Lucas, finally clearly seeing the desperate look on his face. He frowned. “I haven’t seen her all day.”
            Dominick’s eyes widened as he looked Lucas. “Well you’ll never believe this,” he said. “So apparently, according to the records, your father, King Evander, killed Queen Ahleya.”

            Ashelia quietly crept through the halls, silently following King Evander. He had just got back, and this was the only time he seems to be alone.
            “Do you need to speak with me, Ash?” he called.
            Ashelia froze as he looked over his shoulder, his blue eyes seeming to stare right into her, like he already knew everything.
            “Come with me then,” he said, gesturing her to follow.
            Ashelia hesitantly followed him, making sure to keep a safe distance. He led her to his office where shelves were placed everywhere, and every slot for a book was already filled. His desk had stacks and stacks of paper on them, along with papers randomly placed on every table surface. As she looked at him, it was evident he was worn and tired.
            He turned his back to her, shuffling through papers. “You know, Ash. I find it very interesting that Lucas actually made someone his Royal Guard. You must be quite something,” he said.
            Ashelia knew this was her only chance, so she started to creep forward, slowly reaching for the knife hidden under her cloak.
            “I suppose,” she said. “He just finds me amusing.”
            “I bet,” King Evander murmured, though his voice trailed out in thought. “Though he still wanted you to live…”
Ashelia got closer and closer, her hand tightening the grip on the blade until her hand turned white, her nails digging into her skin. She wouldn’t be surprised if she started to bleed.
“He has always been like that,” the King said, “He has a pure kindness in him that seems to have disappeared over this damned war. It seems that he gets it from his mother.”
            Ashelia was in reach, and she held up the shining blade, inching closer to his neck. Her hand started trembling, knowing this was the moment she had been waiting for. All these months of training and pretending to be someone she’s not, all the things she has had to do; it was all for this moment.
            Only an inch closer, and she could slash his throat, ending his life like how he had ended her mother’s.
            “So why don’t you do it already, Ashelia?”
            King Evander’s deep voice echoed in her ears. She froze, every fiber in her body had seemed to shut down, and it felt as if she lost control. She told her body to quickly move away, knowing she was in danger, but her hand wouldn’t move. All it did was stay there, shaking violently.
            King Evander slowly turned around, so the blade was right in front of him, touching the skin of his neck. Ashelia’s eyes widened as he looked down at her, his blue eyes extremely sad.
            “How did you know?” Ashelia asked, finally managing to find her voice.
            King Evander tilted his head slightly, his gaze softening as he looked at her, and then reached up and pulled the wig off, dropping it to the ground. “You look exactly like your mother.”
            Anger started to surge through her, and she screamed at herself to kill him already.
            What are you waiting for, a voice asked inside her, kill him already. Do it.
            King Evander leaned forward, and the blade cut him slightly, causing a drop of blood to drip down his neck.
            Ashelia couldn’t stop shaking.
            “Do it,” he said, his voice commanding. “Do it already. Kill me.”
            Do it. Do it. Do it.
            Everything screamed at her to finish it already. She had done everything she could, been through hell, just to do this.
            This is what Aeson wanted, right? To avenge their mother’s death.
            So do it already.
            Before she knew it, tears had started to fall down her cheeks, making her vision blur. All she saw was the black hair and blue eyes that seemed to see everything she couldn’t.
            “I hate you,” Ashelia said, her voice shaking. “I hate you with everything I have. Because of you, my mother died, and my father couldn’t even look at me and my brother. If you had never killed her, Aeson might still be alive. Everything would be normal, and life wouldn’t have been a living hell.”
            “Then kill me already,” he said flatly, his blue eyes darkening as he let go of every emotion.
            She continued to stare at him, the tears still falling.
Black hair, blue eyes. That’s all she could see.
            Ashelia’s hand stopped shaking as she reached her resolution. “I can’t.”
            King Evander blinked at her, becoming confused as she lowered the knife in her hand and dropped it on the ground.
            “…why?” he asked.
            “Because of you, all of those things I said are true,” she murmured, looking away from him. “…but it’s also true that if it wasn’t for everything that happened, I would have never met taken my brother’s identity and been able to join the army. I wouldn’t have been captured and I wouldn’t have met Lucas.” Ashelia looked up at him, finally able to look him straight in the eye. She had been scared to look and see those murderous eyes that had killed her mother. He was the man who had changed everything. She had expected to see hate and anger raging, like when she looked into her own father’s eyes, but it was different.
            All she saw as they looked at each other was sadness and sorrow.
            “I would have never met Lucas,” Ashelia murmured. “And fallen in love with him.”
            How many times had she told herself to give up on Lucas? She knew that them being together was impossible…but how many times had she completely forgot about that fact every time they were together? Every time they kissed or even just when Lucas smiled at her?
            Every time.
            King Evander stared at her, the tears still rolling down her face. He could still see the anger inside them, but he could also see the forgiveness. The anger will fade in time, and there would be no more hate.
            “How can you just forgive me?” he asked.
            “Without you doing what you’ve done,” Ashelia said. “I would have continued being the spoiled princess I was. And I never want to be her again.”
            Forgive me, Aeson. Please, forgive me. I can’t kill him. I just… can’t.
            Ashelia froze, already knowing who it was before she turned around. Lucas’ eyes were bright with confusion and anger. In a flash, he was in between her and his father, his sword raised and pointed directly at her.
            Dominick came running in the room, and froze when he saw the scene, his eyes wide and frantic.
            Ashelia already knew what it looked like to both of them, seeing how there was a knife beside her and a wound on King Evander’s neck.
            “How could you?!” Lucas scowled at her, his voice rising and shaking. “How could you do this? I loved you.”
            Ashelia couldn’t believe the pain that was shooting at her. Every word he spoke seemed to stab her straight in the heart. She never saw Lucas this angry, especially not at her. He’s never even been mad at her at all. The expression on his face scared her, not because it was angry, but because she knew she hurt him. She hurt him, when she said she never would.
            “Lucas, I—“
            “I hate you,” he said flatly, his voice becoming poison. “I hate you. You lied and betrayed me. How could you try and kill my father?!”
            Ashelia shook her head, not even wanting to speak. Anything else she said would make everything worse.
            How could she possibly explain herself?
            Apologize? Say she’s sorry? Tell him she’ll never do it again?
            Even to her it was pitiful.
            “I loved you,” he repeated, and she could see some tears start to roll down his face, his blue eyes staring straight at her with a look of…betrayal.
Her heart ached, feeling it tear apart. She wanted to go to him and embrace him, telling him she loved him too.
But that was impossible now.
            “Lucas,” said King Evander. “Put the sword down.”
            “But father!” Lucas protested.
            “Put the sword down,” he repeated, more sternly this time. Lucas stepped back uncertainly.
            King Evander took a step towards Ashelia, but she backed away, shaking her head. She could barely see, and she could barely breathe. It felt like she could pass out any moment. Tears were running down her face, and her head started to hurt.
            “Ashelia,” he said gently. “It’s okay.”
            Guards started come in; their swords already rose for defense. Queen Katrina ran over to where her husband was. King Evander shook his head and gestured for the guards to put away their swords.
            Ashelia shook her head, the only words she could hear was Lucas’, ‘I hate you.’
            Lucas hates me.
            He hates me.
            And I deserve it.
            “I’m sorry,” she cried. “I’m sorry.”
            Pitiful. That’s what I am. I’m pitiful.
            King Evander turned to Lucas, putting a hand on his shoulder. “She attempted to kill me, but then decided not to.”
            Lucas’ eyes widened, and he glanced at Ashelia, everything started to sink in. He looked at his father, his eyes intent. “…Is it true? Did you kill Queen Ahleya?”
            King Evander looked over at Queen Katrina, who had a worried expression on her face. She bit her lip and nodded.
            “I think it’s time to be honest,” King Evander said, taking in a deep breath. “I think it’s about time I let go of this…guilt. The truth is…I didn’t kill Queen Ahleya.”
            Ashelia whipped her head up at him, the hate starting to roll in. “You’re lying,” she accused, she took a step towards him, and the guards raised their swords again. King Evander made them put their swords away again and Ashelia stepped forward, towards him.
            “You’re lying!” Ashelia screamed again.
            How could he just lie like this?!
            Lucas stepped forward and tried to pull Ashelia away before she attempted to kill his father again.
            “Let go of me!” she screamed at him, the hurt still too much. Shock filled Lucas but he let go.
            “I’m not lying, Ashelia,” King Evander said softly. He looked at the guards and gestured them to leave the room, which they did hesitantly. Dominick went over to Lucas and patted him on the shoulder for reassurance.
            “He wasn’t the one who killed Queen Ahleya,” Queen Katrina said gently.
            Ashelia shook her head, disbelief in how they could still lie like this.
            “I think it’s time you knew the truth,” said King Evander. The he looked over at Lucas and Dominick. “All of you.”
            Ashelia waited. And suddenly the sadness in King Evander’s eyes seemed to surface, like he had been holding up a guard that he has been desperately trying to keep for so long.
            King Evander looked at Ashelia. “Do you know about Cassius?”
            Ashelia nodded.
            He sighed. “Well, as you know, I had a son with Cadence De Limesia, but as you also know, I sent her away in the name of my honor.”
            Queen Katrina went over and held onto King Evander’s arm, reassuring him.
            “I love Katrina,” he murmured, kissing her on the forehead. “But it had always killed me how I threw Cadence away like dirt. Not because I still love her, but it was the guilt.”
            “What does this have to do with anything?” Lucas asked.
            “Let’s start at the beginning then,” the King said. “Cadence wasn’t my first love. My first love I had when I was about sixteen. We were together for a year or two, but things changed. I fell in love with her best friend, Cadence.”
            Silence echoed the room. Lucas looked over at Dominick to see he had that thinking expression again, and wouldn’t be surprised if he was going to start pacing.
            “It might have been an accident, but it still devastated her when she found out Cadence became pregnant, even if years had already passed,” said King Evander. “Again, I still felt guilty…to both of them. She had run away to Marcellus to live there instead.”
            King Evander looked over at Lucas, this time worried. “Then all the things of Lucas finding Cassius happened. And soon I had dropped Cadence and Cassius off in the Admes forest.” King Evander looked at his son, nervous for what he was about to say next. “Cadence and Cassius are still alive, Lucas. They live in Marcellus now.”
            Lucas froze from surprise. “A-alive?” he stammered, still not believing it.
            King Evander nodded. “And Cadence and my first love found each other. They have been in touch ever since,” he said, talking about the first girl.
            Dominick nodded, intensely interested in what he was saying.
            “After she had run away, she had built a great life there, becoming very high in the hierarchy. But she wanted to be at the top. After she had an illegitimate son with this certain man, she went and killed his wife so she would become his legal wife.”
            King Evander watched Ashelia closely as he continued, and something in Ashelia started to click together. Everything started to make sense.
            “She lured and killed his wife in the Admes forest, the same day I was there also, leaving Cadence and Cassius there,” said King Evander.
            Dominick’s eyes widened. “She blamed you!”
            King Evander nodded. “I didn’t see her, but she saw me. Someone apparently saw Queen Ahleya’s dead body there before she could get the body out, and so she blamed me.”
            Lucas’ eyes narrowed, “And you didn’t deny it.”
            King Evander nodded. “If the blame was on me, I could hide that fact in Amicah, so it wouldn’t affect anyone. It was also relieving though, that the news there was said that Queen Ahleya died of some sort of sickness, but unfortunately, some news leaked out.” King Evander said. “Cadence and she were still best friends, and I thought I owed it to them for treating them the way I did.” He looked at Ashelia, his eyes saddened again. “I got sent a picture of Queen Ahleya, which haunts me to this very day…You really do resemble her.”
            Ashelia shook her head, still trying to make everything clear. “Wait, wait,” she breathed, her head spinning. “Her name. What was her name?”
            King Evander’s eyes softened. “You already know.”
            “Say it,” Ashelia said. “Please, just say it. I want to make sure.”
            King Evander stared at her, uncertain, and then he nodded slowly.
“Jade,” he said softly. “Jade De Aquila.”
            Queen Jade.

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