The tears came unbidden, unstoppable, unexpected. She could not control her emotions anymore. What good was a title if she did not deserve it? Now she was sitting in a cold dark cell, scared out of her mind.
A hand shot out to comfort her but she moved away from it. No matter what anyone said, it was her fault. She could not take one right decision, let alone rule a country. The bandits had come, and before they could defend themselves, they were already in shackles, led away into the darkness. She should have expected it, taken another route, waited for the soldiers to find her. Anything! Now she and her companions were bound, with no hope for freedom.
She looked around and saw where she had been the past few days. They were inside a dungeon, somewhere underground, in a small dirty cell with no light coming in. She didn't even know what time of day it was. She was thankful that Myra and Kira were put into the same cell as her and she wasn't alone yet. A bitter feeling seeped in. She was raised as a Princess, and even now, she sought one of the lifelong comforts provided to her, her companions.
She looked at them. Myra was softly whimpering in a corner. She was scared of the dark and for days she had seen nothing but the dark. Kira was vigilant, sitting near the iron gates looking outside, restless as ever.
Both the girls looked very much like her, one of the reasons they were chosen. If they were caught, they would sacrifice themselves in a heartbeat by declaring themselves the Princess. She often wondered, being so similar how their fates were so different. She destined for royalty, and they for subservience.
She could hear some noises outside. Another bandit must be coming to serve them rock hard inedible bread and water- their once-in-a-day meal, which meant it must be around mid morning. The first day they were brought here, back when she still had a track of time, she had marked the meal time and what she called, the dreaded culling time.
The bandits would come in twice a day, once at mid day to serve a meal and once in the deep of the night to take a few people from the cells. She didn't know what happened to them, she did not want to. She just prayed everytime, with every fibre of her being that it wasn't their turn. She knew she was being naive, because it would be their turn some day or the other.
The noises outside got louder, she could hear the beginning of a scuffle. Every day someone would attempt to run away or become violent with the same exact result- death. These bandits, or whatever they were, were absolutely ruthless and showed no mercy. She could not imagine trying to escape here. The tears flowed anew, this time with anxious cries that tore out of her despite herself.
Myra looked at her, her face filled with trepidation.
' They're coming for us next, aren't they?' She asked in a whisper, her voice choked.
Kira glared at her, ' Don't you dare! We'll get out of here. We must!'
Myra just went back to snifling quietly in a corner.
Suddenly there was a rush of activity outside the cells, and she could hear rapid footsteps. Kira stuck her entire face out of the small opening of the cell gate in an attempt to understand what was happening.
'Your Hi....I mean Katia! Look, I think someone must have come to free us!' She exclaimed with wild excitement.
Peony's heart raced, but she refused to get excited. She got up weakly and made her way towards the gate. Kira moved aside so she could see. She could see people fighting, not the usual prisoners from inside the gate but rather the sound of metal clanging against metal.
It couldn't be, could it? Was Kira right?
Maybe the soldiers had found her in this hell hole. She would make sure they were all promoted to prestigious positions when she got to her rightful place.
YOU ARE READING
Pea PrincessHistorical Fiction
This is a retelling/reimagining of the beloved fairytale The Princess and the Pea, written by Han Christian Andersen. When the Kingdom of Ardel falls into the hands of scheming courtiers and evil outside forces, it is up to the unlikely hero, Prince...