“I have the power to control people’s thoughts and actions...What am I, if not a Goddess?”
In a world where all those in power have power the Princess must play a dangerous game with a dangerous man.
Who will win? What will the consequences be?


11. Chapter Eleven

Chapter Eleven


The man holding the gun was a lot older than I expected. In his mid to late thirties with darker skin the man stood with an air of arrogance. From the lines in his eyes I would bet the man had a family waiting for him to come home, he had probably spent a majority of his life working. Being underpaid and underappreciated his life was probably very difficult. He had volunteered for the war in the south by the way he favoured his left leg, and had been sent home early due to the injury.


A young woman who was crying violently stood in front of him, the gun pointed at her head menacingly. I wanted to wait a little longer, to try and figure out what his motives were and what secrets he believed he had up his sleeve. The man turned slowly, his eyes dancing with joy. Before I had the chance to intervene, the man pulled the trigger, the young lady dropping dead at his feet.


As though without noticing her, the man stepped over the body. His eyes turned towards where I was standing at the back of the crowd, his lips parted in a gruesome smile.


“Princess, how nice of you to join us.” He stated.


Silently the room parted. I could almost hear the sigh of relief from the crowd. They at least were confident in my abilities. I joined my hands together in front of me, slowly walked towards the man. With every step the look on his face became harder, the grip on the gun tighter until finally I was close enough to touch him.  


“Princess.” He stated cockily.


“Michael.” I replied cooly.


The man faltered, unsure whether or not I was already in his mind. The truth of the matter was I remembered the man from when I visited his home. He had greatly appreciated the kindness of a stranger, all the while rejecting the monarchy that forced him into war. He cursed me, the stupid girl who couldn’t run a country. The same girl who had sat in his lounge room and given him enough coin to live on.


Michael had tried to prepare himself. Of that I was certain; there seemed to be a brick wall blocking the entrance to his mind. I pushed my power against it, but still the wall held firm. I tried to find the gaps, the little chinks in the armour that everyone had. His wall was not unfamiliar; Max had something very similar.


“Who are you?’ I asked quietly, trying to ascertain even the smallest bit of information.


“You’d like to know that, wouldn’t you? I’ll tell you this; someone in your court told me of your weakness.” He bragged.


His voice was not of a man who was here to kill, it was as though my man standing before me was an entirely different person from the one who had accepted my kindness so long ago. This man’s mind had been tampered with.


“Tell me who.” I stated, my voice dropping a few octaves. Was I referring to the leak in my court or to the one who had utterly changed the man before me? Even I didn’t know.


Michael opened his mouth, the beginning of a name just passing my ears before the man dropped to the floor. A hunting knife stuck through his chest. A simple, clean killing blow. Exactly what I would expect from a trained hunter.  My eyes wandered before finally falling on Max. His shirt was ripped and he was sweating heavily. He looked furious.


My power was still aching to be used. It automatically directed itself at Max. When it couldn’t find any where to latch onto in Max’s mind it dispersed amongst the crowd. A few of the easier manipulated ones fell unconscious straight away, some of the others lasted a full second before they fell. Even still my power was not finished, it came back to me. Intensifying every thought and action, every sense. I could hear every breath, every unconscious thought of the people in the room, even the thoughts of the staff who had been thus far uneffected.


Max stepped closer to me. I could almost feel the block in his mind beginning to crack with the intensity of my power. I was almost there, so close to breaking him. Once I was through I would be able to do anything with his mind. I could finally pull the plug on his existence. Shadows danced across my vision. Believing I was close to unconsciousness I pushed my power further, surrendering myself to the nothingness as I shoved the full extent of my power at Max.


Satisfied, I was able to watch him stagger and fall. Hopefully he was dead.




The weight on my bed revealed I was not alone. I waited for my senses to return, only slightly worried about the fact that I couldn’t smell or hear anything. The person on the bed shifted, a hand coming to rest on my forehead lightly. Like my mother used to do when she took my temperature.


There was a ringing in my ears, my hearing was coming back. I strained my ears, trying to force them to begin hearing again. They wouldn’t comply that easily. I shifted in the bed, hoping to figure out something about the person beside me. They shifted with me, and light started burning the back of my eyelids, an unbelievable pain accompanying it. I was certain I was being burnt alive.


The sheets scrunched under my hand as I balled my fist, clenching my teeth tightly to stop the scream. My ears popped and I could finally hear everything. The person beside me leant away slightly, their breathing deepened heavily as weariness overtook whoever it was.


“Who are you?” A voice asked, and the stranger by my bed abruptly stood.


I didn’t hear them depart the room, though certainly I understood they had done something exceptional for me. Quickly I opened my eyes, they fell on Alexander. He stood at the doorway, his eyes lingering on the open window before he finally looked at me. His eyes had changed since I last saw them, they were clearer now, as though cleansed from a poison that had been invading his system for a long time.


“Majesty, I apologise for disturbing you.” Alexander stated, bowing deeply.


I sought out any lies in his words, but from the small look I got from his mind, he was an absolutely changed person since I had manipulated his mind. With the crippling pain in his lower body he had begun to see a side of life he had never considered. He spent countless hours trying to redeem himself, make himself worthy of asking to be fixed.


“How long have I been...asleep?” I considered my words carefully, unsure of how many people were fully aware of what had really happened in the courtroom.  


“Just on 24 hours.” Alexander said.


I considered the options. I highly doubted my kingdom was in ruin over 24 hours. But in that time any number of decisions had been made without my consultation. I had to be aware of what happened immediately. If necessary I could change or totally revert anything that was too outlandish.  


“Bring me those who ruled in my stead. I’ll be ready to receive them in an hour.” I stated, Alexander bowed and left the room quickly.


Breathing heavily I forced myself to sit up. My middle was bandaged, though whatever wounds I had seemed to have healed rather well. I left the bandage on, just in case I accidentally opened the wounds from too much strenuous movement.  Carefully I climbed out of my bed, the movement causing pain to ripple up my spine. Gripping onto my bedside table with all my might I barely stopped myself from falling to my knees.


Forcing myself to walk, it took me five minutes to reach my wardrobe. Obviously whatever healing the stranger had done was not enough to fully return me to health. I chose a red dress that had a fuller fit, just in case my wounds opened. At least this way the blood wouldn’t show. I tied my hair at the nape of my neck, wincing slightly. I should have given myself more time to prepare, as I had obviously overestimated my abilities. I now had only a few minutes to fully prepare myself.


I relaxed into my wicker reading chair, closing my eyes for the briefest moment before my bedroom door opened. Alexander stood there apologetically, before he stepped aside. Max’s face was hard, determined. His eyes showed a slight fear as he regarded me. In the last hour as I had been getting ready I had discovered that my memories had been erased after I left him in the garden. It seemed whatever I did to him was unforgivable.


“Highness.” He stated, placing a fist over his heart and bowing steadily.


“Please come in.” I motioned to the chair opposite me, marveling on the fact that this might be the first time I actually invited the man into my room.


Slowly Max moved into the room, his eyes fluttering to the bed before they slowly returned to me. It was almost as though Max could see the wounds underneath the dress, and was aware of how much pain I was in. Gently he sat on the chair opposite me, folding his hands together in his lap.


“How are you feeling?” Max asked quietly. I nodded in response, unable to adequately word the feelings.


“Tell me about what happened. Please.” I asked, my voice was a lot quieter than I intended, the words coming out as more of a plea than an order.


“What do you remember?” he asked, leaning forward and taking a cup of tea, sipping it noisily.


“I remember leaving you in the garden...and then, nothing.” It was hard to admit it out loud, I didn’t know how much of my memory was missing; was it only a few minutes, an hour? Or more?


“Do you remember Michael?” Max asked, a strange tone making his voice hard. I shook my head.


“He had a gun. You tried to stop him and went a little overboard. You focused your power at me, causing me to fall unconscious for some time. When I awoke, no-one in the castle knew where you were. A few hours later you turned up in your bedroom, covered in blood with bruises down your left side.”  


A few hours. In those few hours I had escaped my castle and somehow accumulated not only bruises, but other wounds as well. It would explain why my feet were sore and dirty, as though I had walked for some time. If only I knew where I had been, or what I had done.


“Mia… I was so worried.” Max stated haggardly, placing his head in his hands, finally showing some form of emotion.


I didn’t have a reply. What was I meant to say? ‘I’m sorry’ hardly seemed fair. I had disappeared without a trace, leaving him to run a country he didn’t really know anything about. How was I meant to move on from here? What might have happened haunted me, the ‘what if’s’ running through my mind, confronting me with images of the possibilities. I didn’t know if they were real or imaginary. That frightened me the most.


“We’ve been waiting for you to wake. One of my friends from the south specializes in the healing of the mind. I have called her, and she has taught me the basics. If, of course, you want to find out?” Max asked, his earlier quietness replaced with resolve and determination. He wanted to know as much as I did.


“What’s the process?” I asked, leaning forward. I was always curious to learn about specialisation healing magic, especially those that worked with the mind.


In my years studying my power, it seemed those who were able to heal the mind had a very similar power to mine. They were able to manipulate and change a person, though they had no control over their actions or thoughts. From many of the texts I had read it seemed mine was simply an extension of what they could do, though I had never seen their powers before.


Max chewed his lip absentmindedly, his eyes dropping to his hands. He was reluctant to try the Southern method of healing with me, for whatever reason. The fact that he was unwilling made me even more curious - what would he have to do for me to gain my memories back? And when I did get them back, who’s to say in the end I would even want to remember?


“Do you trust me?” He asked, repeating the words I had said to him in the garden. Considering what I had done to him, I wasn’t sure whether or not I truly did. He stared at me intently, waiting patiently. After a moment, I nodded.


Max didn’t waste a second, lunging from his spot on the chair towards me. I didn’t even have a chance to scream before he was on me. I raised my hands automatically trying to block any blow that came at my face. The chair I was sitting on was knocked to the floor, causing Max and I to tumble off. Max pinned my arms to my side, tears started streaming down my face. I was sure in that moment I would die. Max leaned on me, settling himself on my body, his weight heavy enough to pin me down.


“Please” I thought begging would help. My mind kept flashing from the here and now, to one of the memories.


I still couldn’t understand it, without a context the fear meant nothing. Even though I tried to tell my mind there was nothing to fear from Max, the memory refused to leave me. Slowly releasing one of my arms Max placed it on my face. An almost loving, and kind gesture, but the pain was more than I could bear. He was trying to heal my mind, logically I could understand that but I wasn’t thinking logically. My emotions were heightened to the point that every second his hand was on me the fear grew, the memories became sharper, but they were still shrouded in darkness.


It seemed that the past was taking over my mind, I fought it with every breath, not wanting to be lost to the present. I felt as though if I let go, I would never come back, I would never be able to live with what I had done.


“Trust me” Max spoke, the pain in my head making every word vibrate through my skull as though he was screaming.


I forced myself to remember to trust him. Even though I didn’t. Taking a deep breath, inhaling the pain, I let go.

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