A chance meeting between a prince and a peasant results in consequences that will not only change their lives, but also the kingdom.

Cover by Zillah Designs.


25. Chapter Twenty Five: Samera


      Rolling over I found myself nose to nose with Khyber. I blinked in surprise a few times but then the night before came back to me. He had saved me from Remy. I brushed the hair from my face and gazed at him. Khyber really was an unusual person. Any other man would have had his way with me but not Khyber. I recalled the disappointment I had felt when he had kissed my forehead and not my lips. What had that meant? Was it because for the briefest moment I had believed that someone as handsome and kind as Prince Khyber had feelings for me? Of course he didn’t. Why would he? Yet he had given me those compliments. He had called me beautiful. Confused I slid out of his arms and went downstairs. Khyber had brought back the bucket of water so I set about making us drinks and breakfast.


      Weeks passed and I spent them working in the Church and helping Myra. Prince Abelard married Princess Mariella of the Opal Isles and there was a week of celebrations. Khyber visited the Church often and I begged him to tell me everything about the wedding. What had the dress and cake been like? Was Princess Mariella nice? Khyber seemed to find my interest amusing and he answered my questions as best as he could. He helped out at the Church which meant that my workload was lighter. We would talk as we worked. I found myself becoming disappointed when Khyber didn’t appear but I knew that he had far more important things to do than come to the Church. There was a war on after all. Some rations were running very low such as oil, meat and milk. I was surprised when Khyber made me follow him to a disused part of the Church one afternoon to give me a box of supplies.

      “I want you to have these,” he said handing me the box.

      “What’s inside?” I asked intrigued.

      Opening it up, I found an assortment of every rationed food item. “I can’t accept this,” I whispered, overwhelmed by his generosity.

      “It’s a gift,” Khyber told me smiling. “I want you to have them.”

      “But...” I started to say.

      He interrupted me. “No buts, Samera. They’re for you.”

      I blinked away tears. “Thank you.” kissing him on the cheek, I said. “May the Goddess bless you for your kindness.”

      Bashful, Khyber avoided my gaze and muttered something about having to go.


      A week after that the King travelled to the frontline leaving Prince Abelard in charge of the kingdom. It was the day after that Princess Leanda was kidnapped. It was Kale. It had to be. I feared what he would do to the princess. Kale had no doubt taken Princess Leanda so that he could ransom her for an outrageous amount of money. How could he do something so cruel? Khyber and his brother were probably going out of their minds with worry. Soldiers swarmed around the lower town searching homes for the princess. The next evening I only just made it to the lower town in time for curfew. I passed several men on my way home.

      “Is that her?” I heard one whisper.

      Increasing my pace I sent a prayer to the Goddess that they would leave me alone. It seems that this time She wasn’t listening though.

      “Hey!” one of the men called. “You’re Rasun’s daughter, ain’t ya?”

      A gang of hollow cheeked men suddenly appeared blocking my path and I turned around to go back the way I had come to find myself surrounded.

      “It’s her,” someone confirmed.

      They grabbed me and a hand clamped over my mouth when I started screaming. I was taken to the basement of a house. The men shoved me inside and then disappeared. It was dark and damp, and I knew that I wasn’t alone. Rubbing my elbow, which had gotten bumped, I realised that the noise I had thought was scurrying was actually sobbing.

      “H...hello?” I whispered. I reached out tentatively into the darkness. My fingertips brushed flesh and someone squeaked in fear. “Princess Leanda?”

      The basement door opened and three men walked in carrying torches. Horror filled me when I recognised one of them as Kale. Glancing away I saw that it was indeed Princess Leanda that was in the basement with me. She didn’t appear hurt but her dress was dirty and her hair was messy. The princess’s cheeks were stained with tears. Her eyes were scared when they met mine and I gently took her hand in mine. Princess Leanda was shaking and I squeezed her hand for support.

      “What a pleasure to see you again, Samera.” Kale smirked as he came to stand in front of us. The torch he was carrying sent shadows flickering across his face, which made him look even more sinister than usual.

      The two men flanking Kale were leering at us and the princess leaned closer to me.

      “What do you want with me?” I demanded my voice unsteady.

      The last time Kale had wanted me for something I had nearly died. I didn’t want that to happen again.

      Kale grinned revealing pointed teeth. “I need you to do a little favour for me.”   


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