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.


7. The Princess

Christabel had had a nightmare. A dreadful nightmare she would never tell about for the rest of her life. The night terror had the impression that Castel would never again return to the castle, to see her again. After all, they were betrothed, so Christabel didn’t know why he wouldn’t want to see her again. She had woken up in a cold sweat and, as an immediate instinct, rushed to her bedside table and splashed water on her face. Her reflection, a tall, extremely thin figure with long bleach blonde hair, stared back to her in horror. Backing up, she tripped over a chair and she clattered on the cobblestone floor. A nearby night maid heard the commotion and rushed in.


“Take me to see the king,” Christabel demanded to the night maid who calmly explained he was unavailable to be seen at this hour. “Then the queen. Take me to the queen. “The maid refused to wake the queen and helped Christabel up and motioned for her to get into the bed. “Then I will go to the queen myself.”


Christabel quickly threw on a silk night robe and a pair of slippers, rushing into the hall, followed by the maid who was hoping to stop her before reaching the queen. The night maid, however, would enjoy the queen’s reaction and the conversation that would follow. She had never liked Christabel, too pushy, too bossy, and too perky. The maid failed to stop her, as she had hoped and Christabel burst into the bed chamber, startling the queen so much that she fell out of bed… but a queen does not fall she “downwardly glides”.


      “Christabel,” The queen said, standing up and walking over to her. Both the same height, standing up had no affect on Cristobel’s decision. “What is the meaning of this? Why come to me in the middle of the night.”


“I’m sorry my queen,” Christabel said and bowed slightly to show her sympathy and regret, though she truly felt none. “I came because of your son, and my beloved.” The queen cocked her head to one side, now interested in the matter Christabel had brought. “I had a nightmare about him. I think he hasn’t come back from his hunt. Something happened to him.”The queen’s eyes widened to her fullest revealing her their hazel centers.


“The boy wasn’t kidding,” The queen whispered and then she rushed out of her room and to the long corridor. “Guards!” She shouted and three appeared out of nowhere. “You take the North end.” She pointed to the tallest guard and in an instant had disappeared again. “You take the South and you the East.”  The guards disappeared completely from sight. “Oh please don’t let this be true.” She began to run down the hallway towards Castel’s room.


When they arrived at Castel’s bedroom, the queen didn’t even knock before entering .The maid lit a candle and they looked around. Castel was truly missing. The queen, awestruck, sat on his bed that made a crumpling sound almost like… paper. Picking up the piece of paper she read the note aloud.


“Dear whoever it concerns. If you are reading this I have left to see the world. I may never return. Do not come after me. Love as always Castel.”The queen turned to Christabel, who was already in tears, and then walked over to her and held Cristobel’s hands. “I want you to go with the men. Go look for him. You might be the only one that can talk some sense into that boy. He never listened to me and never will. Even as a young child.” The queen held her hand over her mouth as tears dwelled in her eyes.  “Christabel,” the queen turned to Christabel and her tears seemed to stop shorter. “Do you know Castel’s older brother?” Christabel shook her head. She had always known Castel wasn’t the oldest, but she didn’t know anyone older than Castel. “Good. He married himself out of the family, that’s for sure, to a pauper from some faraway village. Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on which way you look at it, she died in childbirth years ago. He happens to be a skilled tracker. I want you to get him from Chasten and him, and his daughter, with you to find Castel. That is, if he doesn’t show up in Chasten, this afternoon. His name is Cedric; though don’t tell him I sent you.”


“Your Majesty,” a guard came in, with a black eye and a blood stain on his Lawanda Royal Guard uniform. “Castel has escaped and there is more threatening news.”


“Out with it! What is it? It’s been a very long night,” The queen rubbed her forehead as the guard whispered something into her ear. She let her hand fall to her side and her eyes widened at the news. “It’s worse than I thought. Good night guard.” The guard and the night maid left leaving Christabel and the shocked queen.


“What is it your Majesty?” Christabel was concerned; she had never seen the queen act in such a manner. 


“It seems the prince was last seen on a horse escaping through the palace gates.


“That doesn’t seem anymore than we have known.”


“That isn’t the worst part. The prince was last seen riding through the palace gates with a girl on the back of the horse. Though he seemed more afraid. Christabel, I’m sorry. I think he’s left from you.”


“I refuse to believe that,” said the offended Christabel, starting to twist her hair. “He was kidnapped I’m sure of it. Taken against his will. Yes, that’s what happened. My Castel would never leave his princess.” She tried to say it confidently, to convince herself it wasn’t as it seemed. “I will go immediately.”


The queen heaved a sigh, that Christabel couldn’t define, and placed both her hands on Cristabel’s shoulders. “You will find him Christabel. Of that I have no doubt.”


“Thank you my queen. If you will excuse me, I must depart to pack. She touched the door handle and turned it ever slightly. “Thank you. I shall be back before the turnoff the year. If I am not, I am afraid Castel will not be joining us again.”

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