Cecelia, a farmer's daughter, is given the chance of a life time to possibly win Prince Julian's hand in marriage. Her whole life changes, but is it for the better- or for the worse?

Sophrona, the rich daughter of a lord, wants to marry the prince too and she is ready to make sure nothing will get in her way.


1. Preface

‘’It’s your turn.’’

I looked up at the tall muscular guard’s dirty and sweat ridden face. He did not seem to be bothered that he was taking me to my death; then again, I was one in billions. He had been through it all before. I wasn’t the first and I wasn’t the last. I nodded quickly in response and swallowed hard, knowing what was coming for me. The guard unhooked his key loop from his belt and searched through the many rusty keys, to find the right one. Once he had found the correct key he placed it into the lock and sharply turned it, opening the iron door.  A small dust cloud hovered in the air, like the door hadn’t been touched in months. Everything was covered in a layer of dirt and dust; I imagined my face was close to a dull grey colour.

‘Follow me, do not do anything more stupid,’ the guard exaggerated the more in his sentence, as if he found it funny that I was there, which he most likely did “you don’t want to end up in any more pain, do you?’’ I shook my head, not that it mattered, I was about to die anyway.  Unless, it was set up wrong, then I would swing in agony for half an hour before I finally suffocated, the guards had made sure I remembered it.  They didn’t see me as a threat, I was pathetic in comparison to them.

‘No’ I whispered my voice croaky, my mouth dry and my lips were cracked, I hadn’t had proper drink in days. How did I even end up like this? I stood up of the stone floor, which had been my room, my bed and my life for the last week and would be passed on to another criminal ‘like me’.

‘Follow me. Try to run and we will kill you.’ The guard pointed to his nasty looking knife, which was sitting in the special pocket, which all the guards had, on his worn out belt. I was surprised to see tat he was  the only guard there, but I supposed I wouldn’t be able to do much damage to the guard before he got to me. I carefully walked on through the dark tunnels, I didn’t want to fall, trip or make any surprising movements as it may be my last. Ii didn’t want to give the man a reason to stab me to death. I could feel the  guard’s cold eyes staring into my back.

 I was bare-footed, as I had had my shoes and my clothes taken away from me, just in case I was concealing any secretive weapons. I was only wearing a simple cloth dress that looked like it was supposed to be a crisp white, but it was a dirty yellow colour, with what looked like bloodstains that refused to come out. It wasn’t made to fit me and it drooped off my shoulders.

My hands were handcuffed behind my back so I couldn’t act or harm anybody, not that I’d want to as I’d probably end up worse than they would, but they did not know that, they thought I had killed someone. I was supposed to be dangerous. I tried not to look into the other iron caged rooms, like my one, as inside them were dangerous criminals, most of them murders, if not all. I was supposedly the same as them, a criminal, but I hadn’t done anything wrong I had just fallen in love with the wrong person. I tried to stop myself from thinking about him so I listened to the loud thumps of my heartbeat and the loud, clumpy footsteps of the guard and the constant wines of the locked up people. I could see a glimpse of the wooden structure in the room front of me, not long to go now, I shivered, what had I done wrong to be sentenced to death?

Murder. That’s what I’d done wrong, or at least, what they thought I’d done. I hadn’t done anything, nothing.

‘Stop.’ the guard suddenly said, making me jump out of my skin as he had broken the deadly silence. I sighed in relief; he had not reacted to my jump, the knife was still safe in his belt.

The guard stared at another guard and then he came over. The new guard looked much younger than the first. He only looked a couple of years older than me. I would not be surprised if we were the same age, the horrendous job probably added years. His eyes looked tired and like they had seen too much, but his face still looked youthful and slightly child-like.

‘Have fun with her.’ The first guard smirked ‘Murderer.’ I had to control myself from spitting in his face, telling them I was not the killer. I restrained myself, I was still covered in cuts and bruises from a few nights before. I winced at the thought of the slaps, the kicks, the punches and the pull of the guards tearing at my hair, all of which I had received.

The young guard came up to me with a metal chain, the one that was going to kill me. I gulped. It’s too late now. Why would they believe me now? They did before. They think I killed someone, they do not care whom, why or where and they will never know, as it’s their job to kill me, no questions asked.

‘I’m sorry,’ he whispered ‘I do not believe you did anything wrong, I have to do this or they will kill me,’ he looked sad, he seemed nicer, maybe slightly understanding.  If he refused my death, he would most certainly die too, which I’m sure he didn’t want.

‘Just get in don`,’ the original guard said. The young guard nodded.

The heavy chain was placed over my head.

My hands were hot and clammy and my forehead had beads of sweat dripping down into my eyes, which had real tears forming in them. I was scared, I was only 18 and I was about to die. Innocently.

‘NEXT!’ the executor shouted.

A grimy body of a sturdy looking man was carried out, past me, by two guards on a sheet of cloth covered in bloodstains and dirt, exactly as I would leave the prison in a few minutes.  He didn’t look like he’d put up much of a fight. I took a big breath of air, which was going to be one of the last breaths I would ever breathe. I walked forwards slowly. I could hear shouting coming from the long and winding tunnels, most likely a criminal being brought in. I stepped forward and the executor attached my chain to another chain, which was attached to the tall frame. The guard started hoisting me up the frame and the chain around my neck got tighter and tighter the higher I went. The shouting in the tunnels got louder and louder until I could hear the footsteps of a person running.

‘STOP!’ a familiar voice shouted. I smiled, my knight in shining armour, my prince. The executor stopped hoisting me into the air above and let me fall to the floor with a loud clatter. I smiled and used up all my strength to look up into the face I missed and loved most of all. Then everything went black.

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