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I look up to see the afternoon sun, shining brightly down at me. The warmth and light it provides, makes me forget of those cold, dark times.

I see some birds flying so freely in the sky, wishing I can face the same freedom and independence as them. Being stuck in this castle and seeing the townspeople, only the nobles that is, during annual events and balls is truly depressing.

I look back down at my book, continuing to read the chapters. It's the only place I really feel at home, not having to worry about my every move.

I remember the happy times in my childhood, at least when my mother was alive. She died of a sickness, when I reached the age of eight. I always looked up at her for being a strong queen, a loving mother, and a loyal wife, despite her husband's many mistresses.

My real father, the true king of Alasia, died before I was born from an attack directed at him. Until this day, the culprit was never found and punished for their crime.

My mother told me how she loved him so much, as he did of her. She was the daughter of the royal advisor and although he was expected to marry a princess, their love won at the end and he married her.

The death of my father reached before he was able to bore a son, therefore my mother was left, no choice but to remarry a suitable man, a suitable king.

At the end, she decided with the head warrior, my father's right hand man, Shaffar. Neither was he a good husband nor a good father. He was able to maintain peace in the Kingdom of Alasia, but nothing more than that.

He had many mistresses and didn't even try to hide it from the public eye. My mother was having difficulty with her infertility and soon he impregnated one of his mistresses.

Hoping the child will be a son and not be a born bastard, my step father married his mistress, Rita. As per his wishes, he infact did have a son, my step brother, Rafik.

Before my mother's death, we both were our own family, as was he with his biological children and second wife. Soon after his wife gave birth to two daughters, Sheila and Reela.

I guess my mother couldn't stay away from her beloved husband for long, as she soon joined him, leaving me in the clutches of these monsters.

To the outside world, I'm their beloved princess who is gifted with designer dresses and shown the utmost attention. In reality, within this castle, rather dungeon, walls I'm treated equally to a slave.

It started with petty chores and verbal abuse. As my mother taught me, I stood up for myself, just to be beaten physically and being locked in my room without food or water for days.

I tried to escape for my life, but when I got caught, I was nearly whipped to the brink of death. Leaving me hopeless and injured, my step father's slimy soldiers tried to take advantage of me. He stopped them, only to say my virtue will come to value one day.

From then on, I became a reserved girl, beyond broken from the mistreatment and verbal abuse of my step father, step mother, and their children, who grew up just to be as foul minded as them.

I often spent my time in the castles, helping the maids and in the library. Before her demise, my mother taught me basic literature, and from then on I was able to improve my education.

I snapped out of my thoughts, as I felt a tap on my shoulder. Turning around, I see one of the more timid and new maid, calling out for me.

"I'm sorry to interrupt your thoughts, princess Avani. The King has summoned you to his court. I believe he has urgent and important news."

I nod my head before waking down towards the royal court. Never in my life, have I included myself in political affairs. The royal court was one of the rooms I only saw due to curiosity.

Walking in, I bow down to the king and queen, a part of me hating myself for showing these horrid people such respect. I raised my head up, before giving a questioning look towards them.

"I have important news. You are to be married to King Nathaniel the first of the Northern Land, two weeks from this day. You may leave."

I stood there speechless at his absurd request. I always believed marriage to be my only escape from the clutches of these monsters, but the King of the North was rumoured to be cruel and controlling.

"This is absurd! How can I marry a man known to be so cruel to others. He is our enemy for god's sake!"

"Mind your tongue or I won't hesitate to cut it off your body. Have you forgotten who you're speaking to! He is your King and I'm your Queen!"

"The Northerner will torture me, possibly kill me!"

"You existed for nearly two decades, and a worm has been more useful than you. If he does kill you, I assure you, nobody will cry over you."

I stopped my reply, as I listened to the King's words. He is right afterall; I don't have anyone in this world, but I do on the next. Hesitantly I nod my head and bow before walking towards my chamber.

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