Chapter 25

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Chapter 25

When Elle awoke she was very aware of the number of people in the room. She was lying next to a young girl, and across the room was her mother and sister. They didn't have any proper beds. Elle was grateful that for all of these years she could have been living like this, but at least she had a real bed. It was a tight squeeze, but Elle didn't mind. It was better than being alone.

It was early in the morning, and as she sat up, Elle could feel the stiffness in her bones. She had been tied up for so long. Her face was stinging, but Elle was too excited to pay much attention.

She wanted to get up, but to leave the room would mean stepping over three bodies. And Elle didn't think that she should risk waking them.

As she sat there she thought about what her family are like. Sure, she had heard things about the royals, but never anything personal. She couldn't even remember how many siblings she had.

Would they like her? Elle knew that they had been looking for her, so surely they must miss her. But the doubts in Elle's mind were strong. What if they hated her when they met her? They might send her away. She would just have to hope that this wouldn't happen.

It wasn't too long before the other women in the room began to stir. Mrs. Greyson, the children's mother, was the first up. She gave Elle a slight bow of the head and a smile, before leaving the room.

When Elle was sure that the younger girls were awake she followed Mrs. Greyson's path to the kitchen area. Andrew was sat on a chair. When she approached he looked up.

"Good morning, Eliza." He said.

"Eliza?" she asked, having never been called this.

"It was what we used to call you. If you would rather me call you Elle I can."

"I don't mind," Elle replied. It might take some getting used to, but it was a start in getting her old life back.

They sat in silence for a few minutes, before James and Oscar walked in.

"Good morning, princess!" Oscar teased. "Your face looks pretty sore."

Elle reached up to touch it. Her cold finger felt nice, but the pressure made it sting slightly.

She noticed Andrew's worried glance. "It's okay." She said, trying to reassure him. It didn't seem to help.

"What's happening today?" James asked, sensing the tension.

"We will be going back to Grea and staying the night. And tomorrow morning we will travel back to the castle."

By the time they had eaten their breakfast- a very generous portion considering the families condition- they were ready to go.

"Mrs. Greyson, thank you so much. I can't express quite how much you have done for us. It means a lot." Oscar said, shaking her hand.

Andrew was talking to Matthew and Noah. "You've both been very brave. You have made the kingdom proud. If you ever want to come and visit the castle you can. Maybe one day we will recruit you as guards." The boys looked excited at the prospect.

Mrs. Greyson pulled Elle in for a hug. "You and James are so lovely together," she commented.

Elle pulled away and gave her a confused expression. "What do you mean? James and I are only friends."

"Oh, I'm so sorry. I just assumed." She gave Elle a smile, with a twinkle in her eye.

The whole family had gathered around to wave goodbye. The three men easily mounted their horse, but Elle stayed on the ground.

"What are you waiting for, princess?" Oscar asked, looking at her in puzzlement.

"I'm not sure how..." she gestured to the horse.

James jumped down from his horse and before Elle knew what he was doing, she felt his hands around her waist and she was lifted right onto the saddle.

It was a normal saddle, as they had borrowed it from one of the guards.

Elle blushed slightly in embarrassment and from the close proximity.

Mrs. Greyson watched with a twinkle in her eye.

Elle's horse was fairly well behaved, so followed the others with few issues. They did have to go slower than expected, though.

The ride seemed to take hours, and by the time that they were in Grea it was late afternoon. They could possibly have ridden straight back to the castle, but Elle was clearly exhausted. She had very weak lungs, and Andrew suspected that it was due to the filthy bookstore that she had been living in.

Oscar was also in pain due to a small wound on his left leg, and although he didn't complain, his face was pale and he was being overly quiet. Clear signs of pain.

On Elle's request, they rode straight to the bookstore. She just wanted to visit it one last time.

It was just as dusty as it had always been, and Elle knew that she wouldn't miss it.

"Do you want to pack a bag?" Andrew asked.

"No, I have nothing to take."

Andrew just looked at her with sad eyes. "How bad was it?"

"How bad was what?" Elle asked, turning to look at him.

"Living here."

"I'm not going to lie and say that it was good. But it wasn't too bad." They both knew that this was a lie.

Elle took a quick look around. She could take a few books, but she assumed that there would be a library at the castle. Besides, she had read them all a million times.

She didn't have any personal possessions other than the clothes on her back. The lack of possessions had never bothered Elle. At least she would have nothing to help her remember her old life.

It felt weird to Elle that her life could have been so different. She had been living a lie for so many years. It would now be difficult to see the truth.

It wasn't long before Elle had had enough. She wanted to shut the door on this section of her life.

Andrew and Elle walked out together and met Oscar and James. They locked the door and walked into the village.

Elle didn't once look back.

A/N- Sorry that it isn't super long!

Thank you to all my voters and commenters. I can't tell you how much it means when I get comments! Dedications will usually go to my favourite commenter from the chapter before Xx :)

Also, if anyone wants to make a cover for this story, I'd love to see it! I change my covers pretty often, and even if I don't use it, I will upload it with a chapter.  :)

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