22. Leave me be

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I didn't eat dinner with him that evening, but he knew I wasn't coming, because a servant brought me dinner to my room, and asked me if I needed anything. I didn't answer. I felt numb, and when I started to feel again all I felt was pain.

I didn't leave my room until the next day. I needed time alone, because I can't trust anyone in this damn country. I needed time to grieve and to contemplate. I would've preferred to stay inside my chambers forever but my bladder had other plans.

I waited patiently, listening.

Listening for the Kings chamber doors. And then finally. They open and close again. He must've left, or someone came inside, which is why I wait.

After silence is all I hear for a while, I slip out into the Kings chambers. Why can't my room be directly connected to the hallway?

I pull open the large door, when suddenly someone speaks. In a normal state I would have shrieked, but I am numb. Like a vessel only being led by my bodies needs.

"Lady Alice, where are you going?"

Strangely there are two knights stationed before the Kings chambers. They usually leave after escorting the King.

"To the bathroom." I sigh.

"Alright."

It didn't matter to me that they asked me where I was going, which is why I turned and walked down the hall.

Clinking and clanking followed my steps making me stop in my tracks. The knights walked behind me, seemingly following me.

"Will you be following me to the bathroom?" I ask.

"Yes, M'Lady." The taller one replies.

"Why?"

"We have direct orders from the King to escort you whenever you leave the royal chambers."

Fear strikes me, the numbness of only seconds ago suddenly gone like the wind. 

Why am I being observed? I nod and continue down the halls. My chest tightens and I feel small beads of sweat forming on my forehead slowly. A Lyrian General is killed with many witnesses, and I am now being observed. Could it be that someone saw the two of us recognizing each other? But even so?

That doesn't automatically make me suspicious. Or worse. What if one of the  captive knights had recognized me as well and traded this information for his freedom. That wouldn't make any sense since they only need to swear their loyalty to King Theodore. My thoughts circulate in my head while I release my bladder and join the waiting knights and walk back to my room.

If the King did know what my true identity was, I would be in a dungeon right now. Or dead. This I was sure of. Seeing him beating someone to death only for his unfavorable opinion, has reawakened my fear.

Returning back to the big doors of the royal chambers my stomach churns. One door is kindly pushed open by the taller knight. I'm glad they don't wear helmets when in the castle. It makes them more human. More lucid. Back at home helmets were a must.

I nod with a small insincere smile before entering the chambers. The door was already being pulled closed again when I quickly ask, "Will the King be back soon?"
The guard stops the door and furrows his brows. "I'm not sure." He stares and me intensely before closing the door. What was going on?

Confused by this I gaze around the room. To my left is the Kings desk and I remember the paper with my name on it. Knowing better than to snoop around, didn't stop me. I walk over to the papyrus scattered around the table. They were letters, all addressed to his parents.

My eyes scan them carefully. They've all been covered completely with writings. Moving some around looking for that one word soon finding it, I pick up the paper.

"Dear Father, dear Mother,
I wish now, more than ever to seek your guidance. My supposed mate arrived in Walzenor a few days ago. Even writing you these words pains me. She's from Lyria. Her name is Alice and she's truly the most fragile person I have ever met. Then again I'm also then one causing her pain. I cannot look past the fact that she's one of them, but her smile gives me strength and her tears are my weakness."

Confused I reread the last sentence.

"For the first time in my life I've lost all my senses. But that isn't even the worst of it. The worst part is that I always try to make you both proud. But I don't know if I'm doing that anymore. If you were to look down at me, would you shake my hand and proudly clap my shoulder or would you leave and turn away in disapproval? If onl-"

The chamber door swings open and a hectic looking King storms in. His eyes land on me immediately and then down to my hands. His hair is a mess and he seems out of breath. "What do you think youre doing?!"  He seems more distressed than angry.

I place the thick paper back on the desk quickly. I don't know what to say so I look away.

He quickly takes a few steps towards me until we're almost body on body. He takes my chin into his massive hand and makes me look into his eyes.

"Answer me!"

I shut my eyes. I'm scared of him, and I don't want to admit anything. I can't even look him in the face.

My lip starts to quiver as I continue to press my eyes shut.

The King lets go of my chin and his hands drop on to my shoulders. "ALICE!" He shouts impatiently while shaking me vigorously.

My whole body is trembling, as I burry my head between my shoulders.
I try to take myself out of my current situation, mentally at least. My mind concentrates on old memories of mother and I taking a walk through the garden of roses back home. The Kings harsch voice is repetitively shouting my name, but I think of the smile my mother wore that day.

Then.... silence.




Two heavy hands are lifted off of my shoulders slowly, bringing me back to reality. Never have I been able to mentally flee my situation more than just now, but the silence brought me back, as it was unexpected.


Nothing.


My body is still shaking as I slowly open my eyes again. The King has gone and turned his back to me. His head hanging low. Could he possibly feel guilty? Or is this the part where he confronts me about my connection to Lyria?

He doesn't move, but he speaks," Did you try to kill yourself yesterday?" His voice is hushed, almost weak....

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