Tears welled up in my eyes as the tall formally dressed woman placed the two books atop my little head. I tried my best to hold them back, but failed. She saw my glassy eyes and grabbed the ruler resting next to a glass with two cold tea bags in it on a small wooden table table next to her. My stomach flipped and jumped back with fear, letting the books topple off of my head onto the precious marble floor.
“I told you not to cry! Hold out your hand!” she commanded.
“No!” I rebelliously squealed, clutching my tiny hand against my chest. Tears were streaming down my plushy dark caramel cheeks. “I wanna go home! You're not my mom!” Her intimidating maroon eyes and peach toned skin between her eyes narrowed. “I'm well aware of that. I'm here to teach you how not to embarrass yourself in front of the whole country. Annabelle is such a proper name. You definitely don't live up to it at all.” I sniffled and wiped my tears away, “You're not nice at all.” She grabbed the two cold tea bags from the cup on the table and forcefully held them against my eyes to help get rid of the puffy-eyed-look from my crying. The paparazzi will be here soon. They don't want to see the future Queen of Noon crying her eyes out.”
“I'm going to be the Queen of Amerigo, not Noon! This country is horrible! There are people starting riots out there and you won't even listen to what they have to say!” She struck me with the ruler on my upper arm. I yelped in pain and clutched my arm there. “This is not a democracy. We don't have to listen to what they have to say. You're going to be a ruler–you have the power to do whatever you like–well, I wouldn't go that far.” She then removed the cold tea bags from my eyes, “Let's try this again, shall we? Your wedding is coming up in a few days and you must have perfect posture.”
“Okay, Mrs. Bossy.”
“That's Mrs. Gent to you.”
Two days later…
My royal servants were prepping my wedding dress for the ceremony. It was long and red with a beautiful pattern of white where it hugged my hips. There was also a long and white cape that hung from my shoulders just above my heels.
“Why is it red?” I asked the servant who was adjusting my veil as she knelt down on her knees.
“This is the traditional Noonian wedding theme, Princess Annabelle,” she politely explained.
“You look gorgeous, Your Majesty!” another, who was straightening my cape, complimented me.
“Thank you,” I replied, almost emotionless. My head hung low with sorrow. “How come my mom and dad were married when they were adults? I'm only five. I don't want to get married.” There was an awkward pause before someone hesitantly answered my question. Mrs. Gent entered the ballroom and approached me. Had she been listening in on our conversation? “In Amerigo, it is traditional for the King and Queen to marry off their first born child to a foreign country’s prince or princess because of Amerigo’s debt.”
“What debt?!” I snapped, slightly offended.
“That tone of voice is not ladylike! Apologize immediately!”
“I'm sorry,” I muttered. She irritably sighed, “In the year 2090, Amerigo went from being an indirect democracy to a democratic monarchy. Of course this caused much uproar from the people and the government didn't know how to solve this problem, but they conjured up an idea one day. It would cost much money for what they had in mind, though. Noon was one of the countries that donated to that sorry state, which plunged our country into poverty. All of the countries that helped Amerigo wanted something in exchange obviously, so we all decided that the King and Queen’s first born child was payment enough. Each year, Amerigo gives up their first prince or princess to each of the eleven countries that it owes the child to. You are a gift to us, Annabelle.” That was probably one of the nicest things she had said to me, although I wasn't old enough to know that I had been sold off like a product. She removed the veil. I saw the servant, who had so perfectly placed it there, almost grimace at her hard work ruined. “So, ladies?” A disturbing grin formed on her lips. Out of all the people, I would’ve never expected to see her smile. It almost made me want to vomit. “How will we have her hair for the wedding?”
“We were thinking a nice braid to the side or a half up and half down style,” one of the servants answered her.
“That seems adequate,” Mrs. Gent nodded with approval. “I’ll go make sure the groom’s preparation is going well.”
The groom…, I thought, negativity washing over me. Misery from days ago started to overwhelm me again.
A week before…
“She’s all yours, Chance,” his mother happily said. King Miles, Queen Nemesia, and Prince Chance stood around me in the royal throne room, examining me as if I were a caged animal. The war-like atmosphere outside in the night wasn’t helping me calm down.
“She cries too much. Can I send her back, please?” Chance begged, annoyed by my sobbing.
“She's just homesick for that trashy country she seems to love so much,” Miles muttered. I could feel his fiery blue eyes shooting daggers at me.
“You two will be getting married in two weeks, Chance!” Mrs. Gent excitedly announced.
“That’s ‘Your Majesty’ to you, Gent!” Chance barked, causing Mrs. Gent to stumble back with fear. I was a bit scared and he wasn’t even talking to me. She fell to her knees and bowed at his feet, “My apologies, Prince Chance! Please, forgive me!” she pathetically pleaded. I was so shocked by the scene that I had to look up from my now wet hand to get a good look at it all.
“Great job, son!” Miles praised him. “‘Taking authority like a real king!”
“You better thank God I didn’t decide to give you a caning!” Chance continued his verbal abuse. For a split second, I could see pure sadism flicker in his eyes. “You’re a worthless pig!” He reeled his foot back and right before he could kick the poor woman, I shouted, “Stop!” His father grunted looked like he wanted to put a knife through my heart right then and there. Chance looked up at me eyes wide. His surprised look turned into a warm, regretful one. “I apologize, Annabelle. You must think I'm a barbarian.” Miles looked shocked and disgusted by Chance’s sudden change in behavior. Chance took my hand. I flinched at his highly unwanted touch, “I'm sorry about all the tears you've cried. You must be so torn after being taken from your home country.”
“Chance, what did I teach you about mercy and dominance?” Miles sternly reminded his son. A fearful facial expression formed on Chance’s face and his body froze. He turned around, facing his father. “You're exactly right, Father. I apologize.” Chance looked back at me with a totally emotionless face. “Don't interrupt me when I am giving punishment to someone who deserves it, or you will receive the same punishment. That is a warning.”
On the wedding day...
Two servants opened each of the large and heavy French doors that stood before me, revealing the ballroom and many cameras flashing on me. I put on a fake smile and entered the room. The room was full of my family on the left and Chance’s family on the right.
A man, who was playing a large black wooden horn, was blasting a loud and horrible noise out of the horn beside the altar as I slowly walked down the aisle with a bouquet of red and white roses to match my gown in my nervously sweaty hands. Cameras abruptly flashed on me from the end of the aisle. My family sat on the left side of the of the large ballroom. They didn't seem very pleased with the whole event; half of them were in a fit of tears and the other half was almost frowning. I would've been crying myself, but I guess I had cried so much before that I was out of tears to shed. I gulped and looked in my family’s direction. Half of them were in tears and the other half was almost frowning. I looked at the groom’s family. I saw some of his relatives glaring at me and some of them had smug grins on their lips. They disgusted me. I looked at my parents at the altar on the left side of my future husband in each of their own golden thrones, adorned with beautiful rubies. I couldn’t look them in the eyes with the fear of bursting into tears in mind; I’d ruin my makeup and Mrs. Gent would kill me for it. I then looked over at Chance’s parents on the other side of him. His father had a smug look on his face just like most of his family, while his mother had a fake smile on her face like mine. I could see slight pity in her eyes, though. I finally made it to the the altar where Chance stood in his suit with a cape like mine, only red. I didn’t want to look him in the eyes either, so I just kept looking beside him. And a good while later, we had to exchange vows. I tried to stop shaking as I lifted my hand up for him to place my ring on. When it was my turn, I wanted to throw his ring out the window. Then, the priest said those dreaded six words, “You may now kiss the bride.” Chance placed his hands on my shoulders and pulled me in for a terrible kiss that felt as if it lasted for ages. Right then and there, I felt completely locked up in that prison of a castle with no escape.
12 years later…
The evening was beginning to set in. Chance entered my room, looking worn out, before I could slip on a pair of gloves that were hidden in my personal desk drawer. Oh no! Please, make this quick! I anxiously thought. “I forgot to ask: Annabelle, what did the Vice President of England converse with you about while you were there?”
“Well, we talked about our favorite places to go,” I giggled, “and she-”
“Anything important?” he callously interrupted. I returned to my regular dull expression, “No, not much, My Lord.” He shook his head with disappointment and walked over to me. He examined me with his wine colored eyes, then he put his pale hands on the desk behind me, trapping me in my place. I started to tense up, barely managing to hold my rage back. He flipped his long silky black hair black out of his face, “She's probably more attractive than you by a long shot, but you'll have to do. I can't believe I have to spend the rest of my life with you.” Oh, you won't, my tyrannical prince. I was used to his insults. He kissed me and let me have my space. I was just an object to him. “I have better things to do than be around you.” He left the room, closing the door behind him thankfully. I opened the drawer again and retrieved the gloves, quickly putting them on. I then went to my closet and slipped on some tennis shoes under my dress. I tapped on the center of my belt on my long, blue dress, “All cameras are disabled?” I questioned. “Precisely, Anna,” she happily answered, her English accent thick. “I’m hacking into the front gate guards’ walkie talkies now.” I walked out onto the screened balcony and watched the guards at the front gate she was talking about. They both grabbed their shoulder microphones, listening to them closely. Moments later, they fled inside the building and an alarm sounded off. “The Castle Shut Down is occurring! Come on, Anna! You have thirty seconds before the rope disintegrates!” I grabbed some rope, a gas mask, and a flashlight from under the bed, slipped back out onto the balcony, tied it to the railing, swung myself over the railing, and slid down until my feet firmly hit the ground. Thankful for the gloves my great friend gave me, I made a short run to the bottom of the short hill that supported the castle, putting my gas mask on as I ran. I found the tiny tree I had planted there just a month ago, yanking it from the ground and pulling it back into the hole by its roots as I jumped down into the hole. With the hole covered again, I ran through the dark diamond mine under the castle, shining the flashlight around as I ran. No bats were around, since there was a heavy gas buildup in the mine after it hadn’t been used for years. I ran to a mine cart and hopped inside after clearing out all of the cobwebs and hopping inside. I pushed the handlebars up and down until I made it to the end of the tunnel. At the top of the cave walls was an exit where another rope waited for me. I climbed it and it led me to the exit and a unique black car that hid itself in tall grass, parked in front of the cave entrance. Standing before the car was a nicely trimmed black haired girl with honey toned skin, green eyes, and an encouraging smile. When I was close enough to the top of the cave, she grabbed my hand and pulled me up. The rope disintegrated like the other one. “You’re athletic for princess!” she giggled, hopping inside her car. I went around and got in on the other side. She backed the car away from the mine and turned around onto an old road that went through an abandoned city. I couldn’t help but smile. This smile actually felt natural-real. For once, I could be happy again.
“So now that you’ve escaped, you’re an honorary bad girl,” she said. “How do you feel about that?”
“I-I don’t know,” I chuckled. “Free. Ecstatic.” I took my gas mask off and started pulling my valuable belongings from under my dress, where I had hidden them before I started running.
“All of that must’ve been heavy under your frilly little dress,” she laughed.
“Princesses can work out too,” I playfully defended myself.
“Yeah...” I started staring up into space, getting lost in my traumatic memories at the castle. “It was one of the only things that kept me from losing my mind.” But I think it's already gone. I looked back at her with much gratitude, “Thank you so much, Ms. Clara.” How did I find someone like Clara to help me escape my worst nightmare? Well, England’s Vice President obviously needs someone to protect her. Not only is Clara her bodyguard, but she’s also a part time spy for England’s National Defense Agency.
Hello, fellow Movellians! I hope you enjoyed the first chapter of my first story on here! If you want more, just like, favorite it, leave a comment, and follow me to let me know! <3 Cheers!