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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4. Chapter 3

Chapter 3

"I assume you all know to carry on things as if they were normal while I'm gone," the King whispers to his children in the dead of night.

Maya listens to her father as she holds her sleeping brother. The servants are packing quietly while their master bids his farewell to his children. She is trying her best to be strong and hide the tears.

"Too many people have died for me already. I don't want someone to kill you believing it to be me as well. It's too dangerous for me to be here with all our enemies around. I have no choice but to leave when the night shades me to not rouse suspicion."

"Who will be in charge?" Novera asks eagerly.

Martinus looks to his eldest son, eyes filled with direness.

"Octavian, you will be the one to rule in my stead, my advisors will do all they can to help you."

Novera folds her arms with a face of relief.

Octavian's eyes widen with surprise and fear, but bows his head in obedience.

"I will do my best to rule as you have."

He softly places his hand on his son's shoulder.

"I trust and know you will."

"Sire," a servant appears to them.

"We have prepared for departure."

"Do you have to go?" Maya blurts out.

Martinus smiles and goes to bend at her daughter's level.

"You'll be fine Maya," he soothes as he tucks some curls behind her ear while ruffling Junius' locks.

"There is no need to worry."

There is always need to worry with Novera around

"I'll miss you," she croaks as she finally allows her tears to fall.

Martinus hugs her as close as he can while she sobs and kisses the top of her head.

Maya ignores Novera's snears .

Martinus lets go of her to embrace his other children. He hugs Octavian and his son hugs back with equal intensity. Novera does not return the intensity when he hugs her and Maya pushes down her lividness.

He takes to the carriage and waves to his kids as it moves away from the castle. Maya stays until she can no longer see it from the distance.

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Maya caresses her little brother's cheek as she tucks him in bed. It's a shame that he did not wake to see their father go. He did not give an answer to how long he would be gone. She questions if the boy would even remember him when he returns. Maya pushes herself from those absurd thoughts and starts to exit his chambers. She gives the leopard, who is resting peacefully on the foot of her brother's bed, a stern look.

"You better keep him safe Milo," she scolds softly.

The leopard simply yawned and closed his eyes.

Maya breathes out a sigh and closes the door.

The leopards were only kits when they were received as a gift from the land of Hagar. There were enough kits for each of the children. It has been a while since the leopards were unchained, but now with mysterious deaths around the castle. Everyone thought it was time to let them out again to act as violent guards. They are docile so long as one stays on their masters' good sides.

This was what worried subjects.

It had been Novera's leopard, Lina that killed one of her servants. Novera gave the orders when the servant accidentally had one some of Novera's hair out of place. The poor girl was mauled and disfigured to where she was unrecognizable. Martinus had all the leopards chained from then on. Octavian's leopard, Lucilius is probably somewhere hunting while Marigold, Maya's leopard is somewhere chasing mice.

Now that she finds herself thinking about her pet, she wishes she was here with her. She wants her soft fur to comfort her during these dark times. She knows she should be asleep but she is too restless from being vulnerable to attacks and her sister probably plotting to kill her now that their father is gone.

"Maya,"

She looks up to see her brother staring at her curiously. She despises the way her races at his presence.

He gives her a small smile which does nothing to help her aching chest.

"You were just standing there without expression. Surely you're tired."

She violently shook her head.

"There's too much on my mind for me to be tired. Of course there would be more on yours with you being in charge now and all."

She gasps as he took his hand in hers.

"I admit it's scary. All I wanted to do was be a night and protect Aldenwood until my last breath. Now I have to actually make decisions."

"You are the first born son, you were going to have to do this sooner or later," she retorts.

"I was hoping for the later," he sighs rubbing his face in irritation.

"I will be so busy I won't be able to spend time with you as much as I used to."

He holds her hand tighter and leans in closer.

"I won't be able to keep an eye on you," he warns.

Maya felt as if those green eyes were staring into her soul. She wants to drown in them.

"I'll be fine, I have Marigold after all."

Octavian chuckles at her words.

"There's going to be a tourney in a few days as to introduce our allies to myself and the state of our kingdom. Father has it all set up, I'm informing you now so you'll be ready."

Maya bobs her head and yawns.

Octavian smiles and before Maya could let out another breath, he was carrying her.

How her heart has not bursted out of her chest yet, she does not know.

"Looks like Junius isn't the only one that needs to be carried to bed."

Maya does not have the strength to deny and simply rests her head on his shoulder. She is asleep before he could put her to bed.

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