Maya of Narcia

Princess Maya and her family live in a time of war and betrayal. They fear their lives everyday, sometimes barely escaping death. There are spies everywhere waiting for their chance to strike. Through all of this, Maya tries to navigate through life all while trying to keep her head.

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5. Chapter 4

Screams of agony and despair sweep across the Crimson terrain. Mounds of corpses fills the landscape. Balls of Fire is continuously falling from the sky. All she could feel was pain from the heat. No matter where she went, were she turned, people were burning.

Is this hell?

Maya awakens to the feeling of a slick, sticky, wetness on her face.

Marigold is happily licking her master, letting out a series of purrs.

She gently nudges the beast away from her to begin her day. Maya has yet to calm down from her terrifying dream. She has had strange ones before, but this nightmare felt too real. She needs to go to the Chapel for the chance that the Finch would know something. That would come later, now she has to bathe and get Marigold's drool off her face.

The leopard leaps from the bed to loyally follow her master. Servants bow to her respectively as they pass.

"Maya!"

The princess stops and turns her head to find Julie, her personal servant, waving and catching up to her.

"It's sun high," she comments. "You've slept the morning away and I feared the worst!"

Julie has been a good friend to Maya over the years she has been with her. It is difficult to be a servant of a high born who people seek to kill and easy for a servant to be detached from the situation in order to save their own life. Maya is both thankful and fearful of Julie truly caring and worrying for her life. She thinks back to Rufus and wonders if she will lose Julie as her father lost him.

Maya smiles a comforting grin toward her friend.

"I'm fine I assure you. Where's Junius?"

"He's off with his tutors possibly bored with his lessons."

They both giggle imagining Junius whining about maths. At least her brother is safe.

"I was just going to the baths," Maya announces. "Marigold," she looks strictly down at her pet, clueless of her master's words, "slobbered on me this morning."

She will tell her about the dream when she makes sense of it. She does not want anyone worrying more.

Julie laughs and gently pets the leopard.

"I'll help you baths if that's not a problem."

"It's no problem at all!"

As they traveled to the baths, Marigold found her way to the kitchen, leaving the two girls be.

***

Upon entering the baths, Maya's eyes widen at the terrifying sight. Fear and anger fill her body and she becomes anxious to the point of shaking.

Novera is humming to herself as her servants scrub her arms and comb her hair. She seems relaxed.

For now.

Maya and Julie give each other a look before attempting to back away. Their attempt fails when Mays and Novera lock eyes.

She shivers at the mischievous smile Novera gives her.

"No need to be frightened," she speaks sweetly. "Come and bathe with me dear sister, I have seen you in less than what you're wearing now."

She turns to her servants revealing an icy expression.

"Leave us."

The servants now and obey.

Her expression changes to a kind one when she looks to Julie.

"I can bathe my sister myself if you don't mind."

Julie looks at Maya with hesitation.

"I'll be fine," she assures to her servant.

Julie nods and exits the baths.

Novera's mischievous smile returns.

"My we have so much to catch up on, we never talk anymore," she whines.

It took all she had to not roll her eyes as she undresses.

"I suppose we do not have the same interests."

"Nonsense! We're both interested in the good for this Kingdom!"

Maya slowly dips into the pool and nearly shrieks when Novera pulls her arm to her.

Her back pressed against her chest and Maya wants nothing more than to get away, but fears what Novera will do.

Novera takes some oils and begins to spread them over Maya's shoulders.

"So you have finally awakened from your slumber. We were afraid that you had been poisoned."

"Wouldn't you have liked for me to be poisoned?" Maya bit her lip. She did not mean for that to slip out.

Novera continues to run the oils on her arms. Their skin tones vastly contrast with Novera's being ivory and her's the color of light chestnuts. It is another reminder that she and her brother are outsiders in this kingdom.

Maya was taken from her thoughts from the pull of her hair. Her head lifts back from the force to lock eyes with her sister once more. Her eyes as green as Octavian's yet colder.

"I would have liked to have poisoned you myself to make sure you were dead and shower in the feeling that I killed you but we can't have it all," she wets Maya's curls and begins to comb her hair.

"Your precious fiancé already has me under his suspicions. He has been suspicious of me for years. Remember when I bit your arm? He hated me for months!" She chuckles at the thought.

They had been fighting over some jewelry their father had found on his explorations when Novera sunk her teeth in her skin. That moment was when Maya began to distance herself from her. She remembers Octavian apologizing profusely for her.

"You like him don't you?" she teases.

"He is my fiancé." she defends.

Novera snorts as she pulls out a knot.

"Of course all fiancés like each other, but I know your true feelings for him. You have always looked at him that way and you try to hide it. The only reason why you are even engaged is because father hoped that their would be peace between our mothers. That did not fair so well now did it? Elaine despised Nefertiti as I despise you who stole the throne from the real royals. What is it with you low born Hagarians falling in love with Narcians?"

Maya hates the way she feels about Octavian, not only because the feelings weren't requited, she hates the way it controls her. Octavian was the only boy who accepted her in this kingdom, more than half the girls in this country have fallen for him with his charm, kindness, and way with the sword, how could she NOT be drawn to him? Did her mother not like the way she felt about the King?

She felt her hair being tugged again and winced at the pain.

"You just have too many knots!" Novera chirped before taking her hand to make Maya face her.

"Just to be clear. I have eyes and ears all around this palace just as much as our enemies from the Windfields and Stormhills. I suggest watching your back more because I could have killed you here, but that would have been to easy. I need to kill Junius to see the pain on your face before I even get to you."

Novera gives her sister a gentle kiss on the cheek before getting out the bath.

"I have a long day of beautifying to do before the tournament, not to mention finding the right clothing! I'll see you then!" she waves.

Maya let out a breath she did not know she was holding in and rests her head against the tiles.

Dark thoughts of strangling Novera enter her mind.

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