The other castle was very big. Not it is a big castle I mean like you could fit the whole of my village in there with room to spare. My village is only what two hundred people living there full time. Anyhoo Grandmother and I walked in. Louis was a no show as he was reading in the grounds where no one could find him. A man servant took our coats and walked us through the building. I felt confused as to why we were looking at an old castle. It looked slightly like something I would see on a history trip.
‘What is going on?’ I asked as we were shown into a huge ballroom which had tall stain glass windows depicting the death of Jesus. ‘This is a wonderful place.’ I muttered as I took in the large heavy curtains and dark floors.
‘You will need your own place soon ma petite.’ She said looking around nodding slightly. I froze. I did not need such a large castle. Yes it was dark, big airy, very little light and everything was creepy but still something so big.
‘Grandmother, are you sure. I mean I don’t need a castle. Honestly.’ I said trying to change her mind.
‘This was used for the Russian president in world war two. He seeked refuge and we granted it.’ I guessed I gained the art of changing subjects and selective hearing from her as my father could barely stop talking once he was started.
‘So why do we have it now?’ I asked trying to sound interested despite the fact that I wanted to be talking to Phoenix or Emily.
‘Oh because they got bored of this whole country and so my family from centuries ago invaded. We just gave them refuge when WW2 happened.’ This was never in my history books at school. I would check with Louis if he was a normal person. But who is normal these days? 95% of the psychiatrists in the world are not classified as sane.
‘Wow. That is so interesting. So we are a neutral country?’ I asked feeling more interested than I had moments ago.
‘Yes and you need a passport to get in and out unless you are me, your father or you.’
We aimlessly wandered around the castle with Grandma commenting on what I could add or take away, build on, take a wrecking ball to and so on. By the end of the day I would of rather be sat in double french learning verbs. I smiled and nodded from time to time trying to sound engaged but I wouldn’t bring myself to do it.
‘Yes my darling.’
‘Why do I have a castle?’
‘Because when you and Louis are married you will live here.’ In your dreams. He is my friend. I am not putting something like that at risk.
‘I have already signed the contract. Lord Behan just has to agree.’
‘What? Dad said-’
‘Anthony has no say in this.’ She said airily cutting me off. I opened my mouth to protest but then shut it. My grandmother was a very stubborn lady and if my father had no choice, I could nor anyone with half a brain could change hers, even with a brain transplant. So I played to her rules trying to manipulate her to change it.
‘You are right grandmother. After all it is for Ethelburgesa.’ She smiled at me.
‘I see that you are learning faster than your father. Good to start them off young. It is a good thing that you knew each other before this happened.’ I forced a smile. I am so going to rip up that contract some day soon, my brain sang.
Grandmother showed me into a small dark room with no windows and scary drawings on the walls of people in pain and screaming.
‘Oh look! This was my nursery when I was a baby.’ My jaw dropped. This room looked like it was where meat would hang or people would be tourchered, not for a baby. No wonder she was crazy. I would have been locked up pretty quickly if I was her. She looked at me expectantly waiting for my opinion. I thought fast to make up a lie to get me out of here. I was never going to live here. Ever.
‘What a lovely room. I really need to get back to Louis Grandmother because we promised to call my friend.’ I lied. It was an awful lie and I didn’t believe it but she did. She clapped her hands with glee.
‘Perfect. I’ll get the car.’ She trotted at a fast pace back to the limousine. A footman opened the door for us when she clapped her hands.
I walked out into the gardens and was nearly run over by Sydney, the head gardener.
‘Your majesty.’ He tipped his hat to me.
‘Sydney, just the person I need.’ I said with a bright smile. ‘Where is Lord Behan? I need to speak with him.’ He pointed towards the lake.
‘That way and turn left.’
‘Thanks.’ I ran off to hear his yell: “Princesses don’t run your majesty. Don’t let the Queen see!” I waved my hand in thanks and kept running.
I tripped and fell into Louis’s arms as he walked past the path I was running down.
‘Whoa. Wheres the fire?’ He asked seeing my panicked face.
‘I have an issue. Your grandfather just has to sign the betrothal contract and - and then we have to get married.’ I was really out of breath from the frantic running I had done. Louis sat me down on the bench facing the maze.
‘Say that again but slower.’ He said as I tried to calm my racing heart. Once I was calm enough I repeated what I had said in a rush but more slower. ‘But our fathers-’
‘Have nothing to do in the matter. We have no choice either. Grandmother even bought us this dark and dank castle for when we have so many children.’
‘I, no offence, am not marrying you. You are one of my best friends. Fat chance.’
‘None taken.’ I laughed. Maybe this was not so bad.
A tall man with dark curly hair and a wire going from his ear into his jacket ran up to us. He looked familiar. Especially his eyes which were bright blue. Like that boy I used to play with. No they could not be the same person. The other boy was much older than me.
‘Your majesty. I am your appointed bodyguard, Two.’ He said clearly to me. His voice was low but not super deep and sounded very articulate and British like he knew many languages and had to keep in just one. Louis raised an eyebrow at me when I looked at him.
‘Hello.’ I rang the Phoenix and we were instantly put through to the answering machine we made back in year seven
‘Hey this is Amelia, Phoenixs assistant may I take your message?’ Sydney was frantically waving at me. I moved closer to him leaving Louis with my phone.
‘What? You are not meant to speak to me.’ Two followed closely behind me like a shadow. Sydney pointed up to the palace. I looked in the directing he was pointing…
My father was on his knees at gunpoint.
I ran back to Louis and dragged him deep into the maze. My phone rang and Louis connected it.
‘So Taylor how is life?’ Phoenix asked. As Two was guiding us through the maze. I grabbed my phone back from Louis and disconnected. Two took us right into the heart of the maze where we sat down. There was a loud shout from the palace.
‘YOUR MAJESTY YOU ARE NEEDED UP AT THE PALACE!’ Louis tensed up and gripped my hand. Two never left my side and held a black gun loosely at his side. Someone ran through the maze towards us. A man dressed in black, like Two, with blonde hair arrived beside us. Two lowered his gun which he had raised suddenly.
‘Three. What is going on? I brought them here.’
‘I was appointed to be Lord Behans bodyguard, so I came out to find him. Then there was gunfire. Sydney told me where you went.’
‘What is going on? We are dragged into a maze and then you turn up. Where is my father?’ I demanded feeling slightly impatient with everyone.
‘Prince Anthony is being held hostage with the queen right now. Talk about taking over Ethelburgesa from an outside source.’
Louis pulled me into a hug as I made to get up and start shouting.
‘It will be okay. Can we get to England?’ He asked covering my mouth with his hand. Three scratched his head with his gun barrel looking slightly gormless while Two nodded.
‘Well it can be done. We just need to get out of here into Russia and then to Germany. From there we can get to Belgium and then England.’ I wriggled out of Louis’s grip and stood up.
‘Let’s go. They will probably be scouting the grounds for us. The maze is the most obvious choice to hide.How many guns do we have in total?’ Two pulled out two guns and so did Three. ‘Great. One each. We need to get to the lake. Leave all electronics out of the water. We will need them.’ Two stopped me as Three handed Louis a gun and I took one of Two’s.
‘What are you doing?’ He asked quietly holding my arm.
‘Hiding. If we get to the pond and use the guns as snorkels or if there are any reeds. Trust me.’
We ran to the pond keeping a look out for anybody else. We put all our phones under a bush in a seal tight plastic bag. We waded into the water. We all linked hands so not to lose anyone and put the guns in our mouths.