Analiese guides me through the twists and turns of the castle. I try, and fail, to remember
each turn we take, I give up after two left turns, two rights, and three lefts. She leads me
through a large door trimmed in gold just like the ones to my chambers.
Analiese breaks the silence. "Everyone is very happy to have you awake again, Queen
"Please, just Leilah," I respond with an awkward smile a toss of my hand.
"Of course," she grins. I decide that I like Analiese; she seems like a genuinely nice person.
"Here we are," she says pushing open a door revealing a circular room. It has a high dome
ceiling and in the center is a large cherry desk and chair. A bookshelf also made of cherry
is pushed against a wall close to where Analiese and I stand. I gawk a little on the inside.
There must be hundreds of books.
Analiese drops in a curtsy and I notice a man sitting behind the desk. He has ginger hair,
like Analiese, that is balding toward the front. He is of heavier build most men and is about
my height, which is a few inches shorter than average for a man. He waves his dismissively
hand at Analiese in a rude gesture, which angers me. She swivels to leave but I gently tug
on her arm.
"So you are Lord Rowan?" I ask, he nods in response. "Well, I'm sure you know who I am,
and you know that I am above you." I pause for effect. "You will answer my questions
truthfully, and you will not dismiss--" I sound so. . .superior. But I am still not accustomed
to sounding as if I own a person. "-- one of my ladies with merrily a rude wave of your
His bottom lip twitches. "As you wish, Your Majesty." He glances at Analiese long enough
to say, "You are dismissed, Lady Analiese."
She leaves hurriedly.
"Queen Leilah, do have a seat," Rowan says in his low register voice as he gestures to the
I do not like this man. He seems almost vicious in a way I can't quite catch.
"I think I will stand, thank you," I say, approaching his desk.
"Very well. We have a lot to --"
"What happened to my mother?" The question has been bothering me since I woke up.
"Ah. Well, what do you remember?"
"I remember when I became Queen, along with bits of my childhood." I don't want to talk
about David with this creep, so I don't say anything.
"Well, the night of your coronation, assassins broke into the castle to kill you. They got past
the guards and came for you and your mother. They found you both, along with your Royal
Guard in your Chambers. They killed your mother, and the guard tried to stop them but was
also killed. They thought they killed you when your head was busted on the bedside, but
you survived. Except, well, you were in a coma. The Empire appointed me to rule until you
woke up. That was three years ago."
I don't know if he said anything after that ,because I sat down and tried to wrap my head
around what he just told me. David and my mother are both dead. I feel the urge to cry, but
my eyes stay dry. How can I cry if I don't remember? My memories are what kept me close,
and without them, both are like total strangers.
I think back to when I woke up: the nurse injecting the orange fluid into my arm. It only
made me sleep for a few hours after I exited the hospital. They must have been injecting it
everyday, which explains my reoccurring deaths for three years.
But now I know his story doesn't add up. Why would the Empire want to keep me asleep?
The only logical explanation is that Rowan is lying to me. But why?
Come on Leilah, remember, what really--
"My Queen." Rowan says, interrupting my train of thought. "Your duties will be returned to
you tomorrow, so you have a day of rest."
"Excellent," I force, jumping up.
He does not object, so I exit his office. I try to navigate my way through the endless
corridors back to my chambers. Let's see, a right on the way here would be a left now,
Rowan is a liar, and I have to find out what really happened.