A prince, a playmate and a pawn of royal conquest hold three distinct pasts that have shaped their present. Their stories intertwine in a tale of loyalty, love and redemption that call into question everything they've sacrificed for a better future.


12. Betrothed

“We can’t go,” Castel said sternly as we whispered to each other, a few paces away from Rosario, Detonae, and Alaqua.


          “And why not?” I asked angrily, crossing my arms across my chest. “Is that where the royals will expect you to be?”


          “Well, now that you mention it,” Castel said, scratching the back of his neck, “Yes. There was a carriage when we were exiting the border, and it belonged to my… betrothed.”


          “You’re getting MARRIED?” I asked a bit too, shocked that I didn’t already know that. I had spent my life growing up with him, though he was always on the other side of the castle walls. Rosario gave me strange look, yet Alaqua looked at me wide eyed as if she perceived I was the one getting married. Just to avoid false assumptions, I shook my head, making her gaze disappear.


          “To Princess Christabel of Chasten,” Castel added, “I believe my mother sent her after me, yet Christabel is not a skilled tracker so she would, of course, need the assistance of my brother, Cedric, who lives in Chasten.”


          “Why isn’t he first in line for the throne, then?” I asked , trying to prove that he was lying just to go to Adolia, who was known for its fine hunting grounds.


“He married a pauper,” Castel sadly, as if he were remembering how much potential he had. This left me in a bad mood for the rest of the day. “She died in childbirth seven years ago.”


“I don’t care,” I snapped after a moment’s pause. “I will not be able to live with myself knowing I missed out on such an opportunity to help Zulma.” I huffed, walking over to the others and sitting on  a log that surrounded the small campfire they had made. “I would love to help,” I said, gazing back at Castel, who was adjusting the saddle on his horse, taking my bag out of the saddle pouch and placing it on the ground.

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