Queen in Disguise

Here’s KIRSTEN DANIELLE DELAVIN. GORGEOUS. LETHAL.

Kirsten Danielle Delavin has been known for being an anonymous killer, complete with badass double-bladed knives, swords, scythes, and all those sorts of sharp metal that feel like heaven in her grasp. She had been a secret assassin, as others would label her as, and she had slain various politicians and kings and clans in her disposal. But when the time came when the war had been brought to the country, she sought for the kingdom of Theshra, where she planned to carry out a mission she had long been burdened with under the alias of Kirsten Danielle Sigmund. With a slight glitch in her attempt for attack, she was caught by the Commander of the Royal Sentries and was presented to the Crown Prince of Theshra. Little did she know that her life would eventually spark more flames than it ever did before. And she had to keep her secret at all costs, and will eventually know what it’s like to trust someone enough for her to confide her own,

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2. FIRST

ALEXANDER BRANDON II paced across his throne room, undecidedly thinking over the hard decisions he should make in accordance to the will of the kingdom, but also should not be under wraps from the strong holds of justice. He clicked his tongue, strolled some more, and stopped in the middle of his thoughts as the doors of his throne room bursted open.

He whipped his head to the scene in front of him. The Commander of the Royal Sentries, Cade Sorrowfell, stalked in front of the dais Alexander was pacing on and halted right in front of him.

Cade Sorrowfell had dragged someone inside the throne room, which was unprecedented since the law of the palace strictly denies those unnecessary for a beholding of the courtroom, and Cade never fails to imbibe himself with such law.

Alexander raised his eyebrows as he saw Cade’s hand tightly gripping the elbow of the unwelcomed visitor. Not wanting much attention for himself with all the stress running across his mind, he decided to flop down on his seat, motioned for the commander to proceed and slumped down in boredom.

Scowling, Cade turned to the struggling hooded figure he was grasping and thrusted his arm to stop the moving figure from wriggling out of his hold. He struggled at first, but managed to keep the tormented in place and reached for the person’s hood.

Alexander watched in anticipation as the stranger was about to be put on display and his brows met as the hood fell down and revealed a girl.

***

Kirsten cursed under her breath as her tormentor dragged her forward, her eyes suddenly losing focus because of the blow she received from the hounds when she attempted to scale the walls of the castle.

It was a slight glitch to her plan, she told herself. And she needn’t worry about it failing at all, because the rudimentary prerequisites are being held in place with full security.

She didn’t bother to make the effort of looking at the bastard who was gripping her arms, and she kept her gaze on the floor, silently pondering over the fact that she could easily kick his knees, give him a jab on the mouth as he buckles, and smash his head on the wall for good measure. But she didn’t do any of that, because her plan was at risk. And she had to stick to the plan.

She tried to struggle, the lame drama when it comes to capture and all that, acting like as if she was naïve enough to believe that she could get away with just that mere action. She kept her face hidden, not allowing the risk of anyone recognizing her identity.

But without any prior actions that would lead her to believe such possibility, her tormentor thrusted his arms; he moved so quickly that she hadn’t had time to brace herself from what was about to happen.

Her hood fell. And she was totally exposed.

The sudden burst of light in her vision made her squint, and she found herself inside a gigantic throne room.

She beheld the beauty of it: chandeliers dangling like fractal spires, marble floors which seemed to stretch into eternity, and the dais which looked like a floating mass of diamonds and precious gems.

Kirsten stood there, mesmerized, until she laid her eyes on the person sitting on the throne.

She blinked almost unconsciously.

“Cade,” the man in the throne room spoke in depth of clarity and she couldn’t help but watch in awe as his lips moved impeccably, forming the words through its plumpness.

It was late before she realized that she was standing in front of Alexander Brandon II, the Crown Prince of Theshra.

Kirsten swallowed as she lost focus and looked at the Prince’s blue eyes, orbs that seem to strangle her in a drifting sleep of ocean and sea and clouds. His blond hair stuck out, which would’ve made a man in average beauty look unhygienic, but looked mesmerizingly extravagant on the Prince’s head.

The face of royalty. And excessive beauty.

She suddenly had the strangest urge to stand straight, which she did, and she was too entranced to even think of looking away from the Prince.

“I found her by the grounds, your highness. I reckon she attempted to scale the walls of the castle, which she did miserably after the palace hounds attacked her in such state.”

Kirsten snapped her head to the direction of the voice, suddenly remembering that someone was beside her. She looked at the sentry, traced his nonchalant features, as his black mangle of hair whipped about him. There was a certain clarity of strength on his face that she found alarmingly appealing, and she shifted her weight as she suddenly was all-conscious of her dirty tunic.

“If your highness wishes so, I shall have her interrogated by the council. We couldn’t afford any vigilantes lurking around the castle again,” the sentry said almost mechanically, and Kirsten couldn’t help but look at him in curiosity. He looked at her sideways and never bothered to show a tinge of emotion, and she attempted to tug at his stoic calm with a smirk. The sentry looked away and stared at the Prince.

“Does the accused have anything to say to this?” the Prince boomed, his head on his hand like as if this scene happens everyday, and stretched out his long legs so much that they almost fell out of support.

Kirsten stared at the handsome young face of the Prince, curled her lips into an innocent smile, and curtsied. The Prince raised himself from his supine position and sat upright and propped his elbows on the arm support as he beheld Kirsten’s sudden movements and politeness.

Even the sentry, Cade, managed to raise his machine-like eyebrows and knitted them together in disapproval.

“A lowly wretch such as I, your highness, does not have a tincture of right to speak otherwise in front of his highness, and I shall resort to the subjugation of the council, although reluctantly, if his highness says so. No opposing word shall escape from my mouth as of the moment, as I saw that the decision of both highly-ranked officials shouldn’t be budged with a reason behind, although it is as truthful as the skies of Theshra. Nonetheless you shall do as you please anyway, and I am just your humble servant, and I prostrate myself in front of his highness in times of utter need.”

Such falseness! Even if Kirsten had to resort to espionage in the most delicate way imaginable, it is not a necessity to speak such insincere compliments! But how could she stop herself, if her will and her mission come first before her pride?

She heard the sentry beside her grunt, and she looked at him with a scowl.

The Prince shrugged, swished his arms in gesture for the sentry and Kirsten to go out, and looked at her dismissively.

Pompous brat!

Kirsten decided it was quite unfair for someone to be achingly handsome and ostentatious at the same time. Such arrogance serves its place in the stables! But what consolation would it be for her to actually carry out what she came here for, and wipe that self-absorbed flash of expression on his face!

The sentry, who she reckoned was Cade, grabbed her arm again rather violently she almost whacked his hand off and kicked him to the ground and knocked him unconscious. But she knew better, and she stayed put and heavily dragged her legs as Cade led her away, away from the throne.

Away from the Prince.

***

Cade Sorrowfell grunted as he pulled the girl away from the throne room. He managed to keep his gaze in front and hold his fist, which he would have gladly used to hit the girl who, from the very second they were out of earshot from the Prince, had talked his ears off with things he deemed nonsensical.

“By the way, I’m Kirsten Danielle. And I suppose you have a name?”

Cade stopped abruptly and looked at her unbelievingly.

Kirsten Danielle? Is she, perchance, the notorious killer of various royalties all throughout Xarnon? Is she the famed assassin of the King of Darputicus? Was she the mass murderer of the Judaria Clan from the North? Was she the renowned anonymous killer of Odaphor the Great whose identity was never recognized or even bothered to be searched for?

But no. She couldn’t be. She’s too … young. And fragile. And she seemed no more older than he is. It couldn’t be … could it?

His surprise must have shown on his face because he heard Kirsten grumble and sighed exaggeratedly.

She clucked her tongue and turned to him, giving him a sheepish smile he didn’t bother to return at all.

“Deities. Why do people have the same reaction like yours whenever I tell my name? They always think the worst! Do you really think, a pretty little thing like me …” She batted her eyelashes. He rolled his eyes. “ … would be a notorious killer? Do you think these delicate hands could withstand the heaviness of the weapons of destruction and actually slay? I am offended! But no. I am not that Delavin, thankfully.” Her eyes flickered for a moment and he suddenly had the urge to draw out his sword.

“I’m just a normal girly girl named Kirsten Danielle Sigmund.”

Hearing her say that didn’t calm the Head Sentry Cade, but he kept his grip tighter, and he heaved her with him to the dark absurd confines of the dungeons.

***

“I suppose you’re the Captain of the Guards?” Kirsten tried to talk to him again despite his silent replies. She could press further, talk more annoyingly, just so she could hear him speak.

He still didn’t reply as he kept a straight face and walked silently towards the stairs.

“You’re a duke?”

The sentry still didn’t oblige, and she was starting to be infuriated.

Honestly! Who could withstand that kind of silence?

“Well actually I don’t think you look close to a duke at all.”

That did it. He stopped walking, and Kirsten couldn’t help but smile at her little victory with the power of her annoyance. The sentry looked at her blankly, and it was that same way that Kirsten felt a little jolt in her insides, without her knowing.

“None of my personal matters concern you, Sigmund. Now sew your mouth shut, or I’ll have you hanging by the gallows,” he snapped and resumed walking. Kirsten winced as Cade took her arms more forcefully, and despite the fact that she was a notorious killer, she was aware that the femininity never wore off, and she was now feeling like it all over. She had to bite down a grimace.

She couldn’t wait to spill his blood across those vast marble floors of the throne room.

“So what were you doing that time I saw you lying on your back? Have you really tried to scale the castle walls?”

Kirsten flinched at his sudden decision to speak, and she had to look at him to make sure that she wasn’t just imagining it. And she couldn’t keep in the smirk forming on her lips because really! What kind of question would that be, considering if you’re talking to the person you’re accusing?

Subtlety is the best form of larceny.

Kirsten and Cade were still walking, which was a torturous trek across the whole castle. Kirsten wasn’t able to answer the question as a group of guards passed by, nodded at Cade, and swept past them. Kirsten tried to divert the topic.

There has to be a way she could make him talk. Everyone, according to her experience, has their own bending point. You just have to find the hotspot where their pride resides because when it’s a matter of ego, introverts may reach their tipping point. You can force out the words of someone when you just hit the exact spot where he has to defend his disturbed legacy.

“So what is your name then, Captain of the Guards? It wouldn’t actually hurt if you tell me your name, would it? I mean, I’m just a wee lamb,” she said playfully. Cade gave her a sidelong glance and she flashed him a childish grin.

Bullseye.

“You are utterly mistaken on two notes. First, I am not a Captain of the Guards; I am the Commander of the Royal Sentries. And I am Cade Sorrowfell. Second, I barely think you are a wee lamb. You have intended to scale the castles now, haven’t you? Now if all your inquiries are answered, will I still slice off your tongue or you shall silence it yourself?” He walked faster now, making Kirsten stumble to keep up with his pace.

Why, what a nasty brute he was! She erupted within her insides and chopped off his head a hundred times inside her imagination. If only it were true.

“But I suppose, on a brief surmise, you are aware that the ‘Commander of the Royal Sentries’ is just a nice name they give to the Head of the Guards,” she pointed out matter-of-factly. Cade growled in an unreserved irritation because of this undesirable nuisance.

Cade was cross with her! She laughed internally at such pleasure she had just by teasing him.

He was finally compromising to his own tipping point because his name was at stake, and he had to defend it as his dignity teeter-tottered.

“Then if you’re a sentry ---“

“A commander!” Cade snapped which made Kirsten smirk. He was so temperamental which she extremely finds enjoyable! Oh, how she takes pleasure from people like him.

“Fine. A commander. If you’re a commander …” Kirsten said the last word in a drawl. “ … of the sentries ---“

Royal Sentries!”

Kirsten was getting annoyed at the fact that he kept correcting her small mistakes. What a perfectionist the brute was!

“Oh for the deities’ sake! Alright, then! If you’re the ‘Commander of the Royal Sentries’, why are you escorting me here instead of guarding the palace gates?”

“Your mistakes, I presume, come by two’s. First, I am not escorting you. I am merely accompanying you to your designated area ---“

“A designated area! What exactly do you mean by that? And for your enlightenment, that very much sums up the meaning of the word ‘escort’!”

Cade ignored her which made her blood boil.

“As I was saying, I am not escorting you or some sort. Second, I am the commander. I rarely guard doors or palace gates. I go about the palace, checking in on the royal family every now and then, and I eventually fall in to the barracks with the rest of the sentries ---“

“Barracks! You have a barracks? Where, may I ask, is your barracks?” Kirsten asked in an innocent squeak. Cade looked at her and just gave her an apathetic response.

Why that brat! Kirsten thought.

“His highness had asked me to guard the royal family, since I am the only one trustworthy enough to have that kind of privilege ---“

“Privilege? You call ‘guarding’ a privilege? You have a terrible judgment.”

“And although I am a royal sentry, I am promoted to be a man with two sides …”

“A man with two sides? That’s a terrible metaphor!” Kirsten exclaimed and huffed. Surely, he could’ve done better than that?

“And I guard those guests worthy enough or ranked highly enough for such arduous security and firm guarding duty. And don’t you get flattered I am guarding you; I am accompanying you for the security of the Crown Prince and technically he is still the one I am guarding for a dangerous woman like you, and not the other way around.” Cade took the opportunity to heave out his anger, and she smirked at his wavering façade.

But she didn’t stop there, because she loved the way Cade’s cheeks twitch in annoyance whenever he hears her voice.

“How old are you?” she said, studying her fingernails of her free hand.

Cade studied her face, and she swore she saw that twitch again. She stifled a laugh.

“I’m 20.” Cade managed to draw back to his shell again, and he turned dour and glowering once more.

“Oh! I’m 19!” she said giddily which made the poker face of the sentry leer at her. “Are you married?”

“No.” Cade dragged her across a landing, and she suddenly found herself in a dark hallway, like that of a cellar.

“I’m not married too.” Cade’s nostrils flared. Kirsten smirked. “Do you have a family?”

Cade led her into a dark chamber, past the ominous shadows casted by the high windows, and down to the nethermouth of the corridor where bars lined up in uniform. Kirsten gulped noisily, and she looked at Cade in a sort of plea.

“Would you leave me here? Alone? In the dark?!” she shrieked. Cade took out a key from his pocket, opened a cell, and pushed Kirsten inside, making her stumble toward the dark prison that smelled of waste and piss.

“Yes.” Cade slammed the door shut, locked the door, and strutted away, his footsteps echoing in the distance.

 

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