I sink to my knees, shaking with heavy breaths. Ailee's men are retreating. They're outnumbered. A tear slips out of my eye at the thought of all the blood I've spilled today. I try to calm myself by saying it was necessary for my kingdom, but even so, there's a voice in my head saying it wasn't.
Looking up, I find Darien dragging a wounded man into the clearing. I angrily wipe my tears and stand up.
"What happened?" I ask.
Darien looks around. "I should be asking you the same question."
I shake my head. "Your sister's men retreated."
He sighs. "This is my brother. Ailee threatened him into working for her."
Walking up to the boy, I put my hand on his shoulder. "I am Ariana, Queen of Arania." He pulls his arm off of Darien shoulder and drops to his knees.
I give him a weak smile.
"It will take many years to rebuild what your sister has destroyed, I will need much strength and patience to restore this kingdom to its former glory."
I crouch down next to him. "However, I'm running short on allies."
His big brown eyes look up at me before he bows his head.
"I am forever at your service, Your Majesty."
Looking up at Darien, I smile. He returns it with a genuine one of his own. The rest of my men gather around me, before getting down on their knees. I turn around and address them all.
"You fought well today."
A cheer erupts in the men.
"You became my allies when I believed I had none. You stood by me, and rode with me into a battle where the odds were completely against us. And for that I will always be in your debt."
I give the men a bow, before straightening. I tip my chin.
"Rise, my knights."
Murmurs roll through the crowd as they stand. Darien whispers something to his brother, who smiles and goes to stand in the middle of the crowd. He clears his throat.
"Drinks on me, lads!"
The men erupt in cheers and follow Darien's brother to the tavern. I laugh and for a moment, my sadness is forgotten.
Darien slowly sidles up to me. I cock my head to the side.
"What is it?"
He smiles and reaches into his coat pocket. My breath catches as he pulls out a velvety box. He drops to one knee and clears his throat.
"I know this probably isn't the best place to do this, but I'm afraid I won't get another chance."
A slow blush creeps up my cheeks as he takes my hand in his and pops open the box. I gasp at the ring in the box, its diamond glittering in the light of the sunrise.
"Ariana....will you marry me?"
A tear slips out of my eye as he puts the ring on my finger.
"Yes," I say, "Yes."
He stands up. His warm fingertips brush the hair out of my face. "I love you."
Smiling, I look up into his baby blues. "I love you too."
He leans down and gently presses his lips to mine.
We stand like that, holding each other, the sun rising like the hope in our hearts.
The End of Book One
Thank you so much for all the support you guys have given me so far, I couldn't have done this without you! Special thanks to my bestie, you know who you are, and all the people who have voted and read my story! I love you all! xoxoxoxox If you would like a book two to the RULE series, let me know! xoxox Hugs and kisses all around!
P.S. Look out for my new book coming soon to wattpad!
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"You are queen now, start acting like it." Ariana has waited her entire life to become queen and rule her country. But things prove to be much more difficult than she ever thought they would be. After the death of her beloved father, her mother sudd...