Yes! Phillip thought. She's gonna help! She's as gorgeous on the inside as she is on the outside!
Get over her, He told himself. It won't ever work out. She's a Princess, you're an orphan. Get. Over. Her.
But another part of Phillip believed they could have a future. That they could get married and have kids and grow old together. He quickly pushed the thought aside. It was just... impossible.
What's happening to me? Is this... love?
"We probably should get going soon," Phillip said, trying to be as expressionless as possible. "We'll leave tomorrow at dawn. Practice, pack, and get some rest."
As he turned to leave, Alena called after him.
"Yes?" he said, hoping that she would confess that her feelings matched the ones he had.
"Where do I sleep?" she asked instead.
"Oh," he said, "um... well, this is really manly a male camp, but we do have a women's quarters. There's only one other girl there, but she is... well... you'll see. Her name is Amapola. I'll take you there."
He turned and walked away, hoping that Alena was following him. When he heart the pat of her worn-out shoes, he breathed a sigh of relief. He turned the corner and walked down a corridor that used to be pink, but now had black, green and red graffiti fully covering the walls.
When he reached the doorway, he stopped. "I'm not allowed to go in." he said while he hoped his face was as expressionless as he thought it was. "Be ready at 6 tomorrow morning," he turned around and walked away, no longer wondering if Alena liked him, but wondering if she would make it through the night with Amapola.
Alena took in a deep breath as she watched Phillip stride out of the room. His back muscles tensing up and releasing with every movement he made forward. Internally, she swooned, amazed by how handsome he was.
After daydreaming for several more minutes her thoughts were interrupted by someone making their way into the room. The door creaks open slightly and a head peaks into the room as their entire body slowly advances into the room. She slowly inches towards the figure, dagger in hand ready to pounce, when the light flicks on.
It's a girl and she has shoulder-length inky black hair, blue and green eyes (yes, one blue, one green) and a tall, curvy figure. With her back facing Alena she tosses down her green duffel against the wall. When she turns around and notices Alena, with grungy, ripped clothes and battered shoes, she releases an annoyed groan.
"Great. Another loosey."
What was that supposed to mean? A loosey? Was she calling her a peasant because she definitely wasn't a peasant! Her cheeks becoming red she breathed in deeply and sighed. Not wanting to make a bad first impression.
"I don't know what a loosey is but I know-"
The girl pushed clothes into Alena's direction along with new shoes and gave off a blank stare. For a few short moments the gaze was held and then the girl unfolded an extra bed with fresh sheets and other bed clothes. She threw a pillow onto the bed and looked at Alena blankly once more.
"I don't under-"
"Name's Amapola. Change your clothes, no I don't cuddle, and please shower sometime soon. Night and see you tomorrow."
Alena was puzzled but she did as Amapola said and showered, changed her clothes, and made note not to hug her in any way.
Setting herself onto the cushioned bed she removed the gray covers and lay down on the cot. While being in the surprisingly comfortable bed all Alena could think about was Phillip. The way he moved, how he talked, the way he made her feel better when she was upset. She was starting to love him and she could feel it. Frankly, she didn't like it; love was overrated and she knew that all too well.
She wanted to talk to Amapola, but decided against it. However, she needed some female conversation before she embarked on this quest with Phillip. "What's a loosey, or whatever?" Alena's asked.
"Why are you talking to me? I SAID, Night and see you tomorrow!" she huffed, obviously annoyed. "What's your name, anyway, loser?" she asked, and just for a second her tough exterior broke and a little femininity seeped out.
"Were you named after the stupid legends about that idiotic princess?"
"Kind of..." Alena trailed off, not wanting to tell her possible friend her identity.
"What do ya mean, kinda?" Amapola snapped.
"Well... You see... I'm that witch princess."
"Hooray. Crazy and Homeless!"
"Who woke you up?" Amapola was clearly not convinced.
"What day did the Queen lose the ability to have feelings?"
Alena swallowed. "My birthday."
"Oh my god."
"I said that already!"
"Wait a sec!" She reached under her cot and pulled out a small, pale blue book. She tossed it to Alena as she walked towards her. "This is your mom's diary. My mom used to read it to me and tell me the stories about you. How you were so beautiful and kind, considerate. I always wanted to be you when I grew up," Amapola said with tears forming in her eyes, "Then my dad left and my mom blamed it on me and used you as a comparison. 'You should be more like the Witch Princess, she wouldn't be so stupid as to upset her father' she'd always say."
Alena could practically see the hard, cold shell forming back over the damaged Amapola as she crawled back into her bed. It was like her father had always said, "People who are mean now have a reason. They've had harder times than the rest of us."
Her thinking of her father made the tears crawl down her cheeks landing into her lap, onto her plain clothes. With every tear that fell she felt weak and, to her, weakness was terrible. Quickly, she wiped them away and shot her head upwards.
"I saw that. And maybe... just maybe... we're more similar than I thought..."
A weak smile crept onto tired Alena's lips as she lay down. Amapola did the same.
"Night, Princess," Amapola said, a sly smile on her face.
Waking up she reaches for the covers as her feet were cold. Half asleep she pulls the blanket over her chilled body and lies back down, only to have the covers be removed once again. When she opens her eyes she sees Amapola standing above her with a smile on her face. Not a kind one but one that signifies pleasure in bringing annoyance.
Frustrated she gets out of bed and lets her cold feet touch the light brown, wooden floor. Heading towards the armour and getting out her armor that she'll need for her journey to the castle of Griselda.
On her way downstairs her stomach grumbles signalling that she needs to eat. As she grabs an apple and makes her way downstairs to get Phillip she bumps into him, Amapola slamming into her and all of them falling to the ground.
"Ow," Phillip said, his body being on the bottom, "Amapola, what are you doing here?"
"This quest is for Phillip and me only," Alena said, clearly annoyed.
"Says who? You guys are probably going to need me as I have mastered several weapons instead of three and five," Amapola said pointing to Phillip then Alena.
Phillip is slightly persuaded.
Alena shakes her head.
"I'm coming no matter what you say and you'll just have to deal."
Amapola strides forward with a speed-walking Phillip close behind and a slouched Alena. Alena didn't like at all how bossy this girl was; she didn't like to be bossed around by anyone at all, frankly. But it seemed she was impossible and didn't stand for compromise.
A long journey to Griselda's castle was filled with nagging complaints, tired feet, and awkward silences. Feet were getting snagged on vines found lying around and zombies were being killed with skill. Although they seemed to somehow reappear and come to exactly where they were the trio was always successful in defense.
"We're here and this place sure is good with creeping me out," Amapola said taking her sword from its sheath and advancing forward.
They made it only five steps in advance before a herd of zombie soldiers darted their way towards the three. Phillip threw a bottle of brown liquid towards Alena as he shooed them, telling the girls he would catch up. Shortly after Phillip was swallowed into the crowd of soldiers.
The tears were falling down her cheeks but she kept going. She was strong. She was brave. She could handle this task. Once she found her parents everything would be okay and they could resume their lives.
Amapola was moving swiftly among the hallways of the castle. Making sure the cover was clear before they moved onward. Slowly they made their way through the halls eventually reaching the door.
"I'm going in first, Amapola, you stay here. But I'm going to need your sword," Amapola gave her sword to Alena and Alena went into the room.
Before she could make it halfway to the room her arms were restrained. She took the bottle of brown liquid and splashed some of it onto one of the soldiers and then the other. Each of them fell to the ground as smoke rose from their figures. They disintegrated into dust.
Alena ran as hard as she could, pumping her arms and breathing heavily until she finally reached the door. As soon as she barged in she was hit with something hard knocking her unconscious.
When Alena awoke she was tied up in a dingy brick walled building. The little amount of light that was seeping into the room was tinted blue as water dropped from the ceiling. She was in a prison cell as noticeable by the thick, black bars that were standing tall in front of her.
But one thing thing she was not expecting was her mother and father to be with her.
A weak voice spoke her name and looked towards her; the bruises on her face and black eye triggering harsh emotions in the inflamed Alena, "Alena, dear, is that you?"