Queen’s Guide Pt 08


Part 08
I hung back in the Merchant’s torture chamber. My arms spread wide, my feet hanging, barely touching the floor, a collar and chain around my neck. How long has it been? I tried to ask myself, but I was so tired. Cold sweat dripped down my body, as he attended to business. He left me hanging here for days at a time until my muscles were taunt and sore. Then he would cut, whip, hurt me for a while. He was starting to grow bored of me, as I hoped he would. If he decided I was no longer fun, he would kill me, just like he constantly promised.

The door opened an a male slave stepped inside. I heard a sudden intake of breath as he got close enough to see my entire body covered in scars, bruises, and deep cuts. “The Master wishes for you to dine with him tonight.” He let me off the holding contraption, before helping me stand. This could be my chance, if I had the energy to do it. The slave wiped me down with a wet cloth, cleaning the blood and sweat from my skin. He was careful, trying to avoid harming me further. I was the only slave who has ever been brought back from the Games, only because his sadistic desires overcame his lust for money.

I stretched my legs and arms, regaining feeling in them. “How does he fare?” I asked the slave.

“Our Master is angry. There was an uprising in the Games and the slaves escaped.” I heard the hint of pride in his voice as he told me, before it changed to fear and accusations. “He has been taking it out on the regular slave staff because you have not been entertaining him correctly.”

“Would you like to trade places and let him play with you for awhile?” The color draining from his face told me that he would not survive. I sighed, “I do not want him harming people, but I do not know how to get him to stop. I keep hoping he would go too far and that it would kill me, but he keeps himself restrained to stop himself.”

The slave looked up to me as he helped me stretch my legs and arms, “You were a Gladiator.” It was not a question but a declaration.

“I was a sex slave first, and that is what I am now.” My voice cracked.

“You were the Queen’s Guard. You were a Gladiator. You were free!” He shouted at me.

I spent the last year using my grief as a shield after the deaths of my Queen, Silvia, and the one I loved the most, Garrett. The Merchant killed them in cold blood, reneging on our deal. I should not feel grief; I should feel rage. But I only felt emptiness where my heart used to be. The slave’s word hit me; I felt something in me break and reform. “I am the Queen’s Guard… and a Gladiator. I was a sex slave, but I am more than that now. My experiences and training define me, not this role I am forced into.”

I looked to the other slave and saw the glitter of hope in his eyes. “You are what you are, not what he tries to make you.”

I stood up, wobbled and corrected myself. I took a step, then a few others, letting my legs regain their balance. “How long have I been here?”

“He brought you back from the Games a year ago, today.” His smile was feral, telling me more than everything I needed to know.

“Are the other slaves alright with this?” I needed to ask, because there would be backlash if I killed the Merchant, and I did not want innocent lives at risk.

“Thankfully, the Master has requested that all slaves beyond you to stay from the dining room.”

“Get them weapons, because when I am through, there will be casualties. You all will need to be prepared to fight if it reaches you.”

“Of course, milady.” He bowed slightly, as he handed me the clothes the Merchant requested. The black corset, stockings, thigh-high boots covered more than I thought he would appreciate but was glad for the coverage. He helped me dress, tightening the corset just enough to still allow movement. I felt something cold go between my shoulder blades, into the corset back, before he braided my hair to disguise the dagger he gave me. The familiar blade warmed against my skin, becoming a part of me.

“Where will you all be? I will try to get the guards away from that area, so the slaves can try to escape.”

“We will be in the lounge on the other side of the manor.” He replied, before opening the door to let me walk to my revenge.

“I can give you ten minutes. Be ready.” I walked outside the torture chamber for the first time in months. I passed by other slaves as whispers followed me. They knew what I was going to do and were excited. The guards looked uneasy at the whispers and excited looks from the slaves. Guards were a step above us, but without the slaves, they would have been forced into our roles.

No one stopped me until I reached the dining room. Two guards stood as sentinels on each side of the door. “The Mer-The Master is expecting me.” Two pairs of lustful eyes looked me from head to toe, then slowly back up. I was a piece of meat to them because of my status.

There was a bellow from inside the doors, “Where is she?!”

The guards quickly opened the doors, letting me into the elaborate dining room. The long table was covered in delicacies that made my mouth water. My stomach growled, and I tried to ignore the coppery taste in my mouth from not drinking water. “I am here, Master.” I spoke clearly, but with no honey on my lips. If I did not fight a bit, he would know something was wrong.

“Get over here!” He shouted, the grating voice bouncing off the walls.

I kept my same pace as I walked to him, his beady black eyes staring at me. Each step was a test of wills between his and mine. He as furious that he still had not broken me in the ways he wanted. He loved the fight but wanted me to submit more than anything. I stopped just outside of arms reach for the both of us.

“Kneel before me.” He growled under his breath.

“No.” I stayed where I stood.

The look of rage and fury on his face was exactly what I wanted, “What?! You insolent bitch!”

“If you want me to kneel, you will have to force me.” I was buying time for the other slaves to get into the lounge before I attacked.

He stood up, standing a smidge taller than me, but much more rotund. He grabbed the chain leash attached to the metal collar around my neck. He dragged me face to his, before trying to pull me lower than him. I fought against him, but my muscles had atrophied in the past year. I was not as strong as I was as when I was the Queen’s Guard.

He as able to pull me down, grabbing my braid and wrapped it around his fist. “This is what I have been craving.” He pulled my head toward his face, forcing a sloppy kiss on my face.

I fought against him, trying to not dislodge the dagger between my shoulder blades. It needed to stay hidden until I could use it. He used my hair to pull me away from him. He let go of the chain, using my hair to guide me where he wanted.

I pulled away from him, as much as the pain in my head would allow. I swept my foot around and kicked him as hard as I could. He yelled in anger and pain, letting me go. “You bitch!”

I tumbled back, before landing on my back. I sat up, “You want a fighter, then you better be ready for a fight.” I pushed myself off the floor and stood ready for a fist fight.

He stood back up fully, “When I beat you, you will kneel to me willingly.”

“I doubt that. If you have not broken me this past year, what makes you think you can now?” I angered him, which was my goal.

He charged at me, faster than my reflexes could handle. He slammed his shoulder into my chest, forcing us both to the floor. The dagger slid from the corset, the blade ringing on the tile floor as it slid. He looked to me, then back to the dagger.

I used his moment of confusion to push him off of me to grab the dagger. He jumped back to his feet, pulling his sword. I grabbed the dagger just as the sword came to slash across my chest. I blocked it with the smaller blade, using my other hand to reinforce my muscles on the flat of my blade. He backed up, readying himself for another attack.

I realized that he has been expecting this, so he had been training. That would be why he lost weight over the past year. He replaced some fat with muscle, while I did the opposite in my prone state. “You think that I would not have prepared for this?” He laughed at me. I flipped the dagger blade down, using my thumb to stabilize the hilt. “I have been studying you, waiting for this day. I watched you in the arena, learned your movements, trained on hoe to defeat them.”

“If you know so much, then why are you stalling?” I asked plainly, my mind racing to build a plan of action.

He attacked again, his sword swinging with precision. I was able to block most of the strike, but a few slashes and cuts blossomed on my skin. Blood started to flow from my wounds, adding more happy glee to his eyes. I was formerly the best fighter in Astria, and he was besting me in ways I would have never imagined. This was his goal since the Queen saved me all those years ago. The Merchant watched as I grew and got stronger, then I cut him before he had a chance to react in the Dragon’s Cave. That is when he knew that the only way to make me his was to completely take everything away from me. My Queen, my friends, my love, my strength, my fight, everything he stole to bend me to his will.

There was something that I learned that I never done before. It was deadly, but it was trained as a last maneuver to use when all is lost and only you standing between your Queen and Death. He slashed at me again, but I used my other hand to push the blade away, cutting my hand in the process. As I pushed the sword away, I stepped into the sword’s ineffective range, where it was too close for the sword to be used well. I slashed at the Merchant’s sword arm, but he blocked it with his other one.

He pushed me away from him, causing me to slip in the blood on the tile. I fell to one knee as he slashed downward at me. I caught the blade in with my dagger, holding the sword near the hilt to provide a better leverage.

He pressed down on my dagger, using his strength to try to break through my dagger. Our bodies both vibrated with fatigue, but my arms would not hold under the weight of his sword. My arms shook intensely from the lack of rest, food, water, and from the torture he forced me through. He turned his sword sideways and pulled it up, catching the cross guard, ripping the dagger out of my hands. I watched in horror as it flung through air, arcing behind him and landing ten feet behind him. It was my last line of defense, and it was gone. He put his sword to my throat. “You will kneel to me, or I will cut your pretty little neck.”

I weighted all of my options, trying to figure out how I could turn this around. Then it hit me, I could easily get this to work. “You bested me.” I grumbled.

“Make your choice.” His voice was harsh, which was not surprising, since his other arm was bleeding profusely. I put my other leg under me, so I was now on both knees. He moved his sword away from my throat. He knelt down to my level, setting his sword to the side. “This is all I ever wanted since you were stolen from me.” There was a commotion outside, shouts coming from the door. He turned away from me, grabbing his sword as he stood.

I used my knees to launch myself forward, grabbing onto his neck. He tried to hit me with his fists and how sword, but despite the cuts and bruises he was giving me, I held on using the only things I had left. I used my rage and hatred for this man to squeeze his neck tighter. I used my hand grabbing my wrist to get more leverage to squeeze tighter. I could feel his heartbeat through my skin as it sped up with adrenaline. He dropped the sword to use both hands to grab at my arm under his chin.

“Guards!” He shouted through my strangulation. The two guards burst through the door, saw me and ran towards us. I pushed the Merchant away, grabbed the sword, then rolled to my feet. The Merchant gasped for air, before pointing to me, “Get her! But do not kill her.” His eyes blazed with hatred, “I want that pleasure.”

I circled them, as they circled me. I grabbed my dagger as I passed it by. They nodded to one another and split up. They attacked me at the same time from two different sides. I used both the dagger and the sword to block their attacks, immobilizing the three of us.

The Merchant grabbed a knife from the table and ran towards the three of us. I could not move without on the swords crashing down onto me. An arrow came from nowhere as it hit the Merchant through his leg. He stumbled and the guards dropped their guard against me. Kicked one away, the slashed the throat of the other. The second guard went to the Merchant’s side, trying to help him escape.

I threw the dagger, hitting the guard in the middle of his back. He dropped the Merchant, trying to grab the dagger sticking from his skin. I ran up to him, using my should to push the blade hilt deep. The guard fell dying on the ground.

The Merchant tried crawling away, but I kicked him onto his back. I raised the sword up to stab down into his pelvis, “This is for Silvia.” He screamed in pain, and I felt satisfaction pulse through me. I pulled the sword from his pelvis, then stabbed into his stomach, “This is for my Queen!” I pulled the sword, blood pooling on the ground. I stabbed down again in his chest, “This is for Garrett!” I pulled the sword and watch the light fading from his eyes. “This is for everything you stole from me!” I slammed the sword through his neck, decapitating him. His head rolled to the side, and I fell to the ground exhausted.

It was done, I killed my enemies and my kingdom would be safe. The Prince would make a good ruler, I hoped. I then let myself cry for the fallen, the first time I allowed myself to feel after since the Merchant ordered the death of my family.

I ignored the commotion in the hallway, not caring if I died at this point. My life’s goal was complete with the death of the Merchant. I heard a male yell, “There is someone in here!”

I looked up to see more guards arrive at the door. They did not have the insignia of the Merchant or the King of this land. It took me a second until I realized who’s guards it was. I sat there dumbfounded as they poured into the room, forming a circle around the dead guards, headless Merchant, and myself. I tried to stand up, but my body would not allow it. I pushed it too far this time, and since my emotions were spent, I had nothing to force it to move.

“Is it her?” A few guards mumbled and asked amongst themselves.

“It has to be her. Do you not see the dead around her?” The Commander stated. He walked passed his men and grabbed my hand. “Can you stand?”

I shook my head, “I cannot.”

He wrapped his arm around my waist, lifting me up. “We were not sure if we were too late.”

“How did you find me? How did you know I was going to kill him today?”

The slave that helped dressed me earlier stepped forward. He wore the robes of a young General now, “We always knew where you were, but it took time for us to get into this country after the turmoil you caused by killing their King and crown Prince. They sent me ahead to act as their spy and to try to keep you safe and strong.” I remembered as he had been the one to make sure I was fed and given water. He helped to clean my wounds, as the Merchant did not want me to die from infection. “I knew our army was close, so I sent the signal, then told the Merchant that you were going to have a change of heart, if he allowed you to dine with him. Then when you went to face him, our army attacked the guards and made our way through the manor.”

“Thank you for saving me.” I mumbled, as my body gave out.

The Commander caught me as I fell, so I would not take him down with me. The General went to my other side and helped the Commander hold me up. “Your job is complete. Let us get you back home.”

I wanted to argue that I failed my job, because our Queen was killed. I could not protect her, like I should have been able to. It became too much work to form the words I needed to, so I stayed silent. They took me to the Commander’s carriage, helping me inside. The General helped me take off the garments I wore to kill the Merchant, and he helped get the blood off my back, as I got it off my front. I was given a knee length black dress that the General helped me navigate without opening the wounds, as he had already seen the wounds from the year of torture. The Commander opened the door once to see my back crisscrossing with scar tissue that covered every inch of it. He shut the door quickly, not sure how to take seeing the wounds.

The General gave me standard rations and water, both of which I devoured quickly. He smiled as he laid me down on the bed, “Get some rest now. We will wake you when we are in Astria.” I grabbed the bottom of the jacket, wanting to apologize for everything, including our Queen being murdered. I still could not bring myself to say it, but he grabbed my hand. “You are safe now. We have the army all around us, and they will not let anything hurt you.” He kissed my bruised knuckles, before setting my hand back down. Within the next few minutes, I fell asleep, giving my body the rest is desperately needed.

I woke up to the sound of water sloshing around the sides of the ferry. I stretched, my muscles sore, but I needed to get up. I climbed out of the carriage and took a deep breath of fresh air. The Commander saw me exit his carriage and helped me down the steps. I shakily walked to the edge of the ferry, using the railing to hold myself steady. “How are you feeling?” He asked me, as we both looked out across the calm river.

“Pain. My muscles will not stop aching, but I feel lighter.” I answered truthfully.

“Revenge is a heavy thing to carry.” He said without thinking.

“I had plenty reason to feel that weight…” I looked up to him, his grizzled face reminding me of an older Garrett. “I failed, Commander.”

He looked down at me, confusion in his eyes. “How did you fail? I do not think you know everything, but I was told that you would figure it out when we reached the city.”

“Know what?”

“About the Queen.” He spoke softly.

My heart dropped, but I already knew she was dead. “May I give you my full report when we get back to the city?”

“Of course. There is also parchment in the carriage if you want to write it down, in case it is too hard to say.”

He gave permission for me to use the carriage for the rest of the couple day trip. “Thank you sir.” I looked around and only saw the carriage and a few knights. “Where is everyone?”

“You know there is only one ferry, and getting you back is the priority. Since you killed the King, there is a tentative peace between our kingdoms. Do not worry yourself about those things right now. This is time for you to rest and regain some of your strength.” He bowed slightly, then stepped away.

I looked out across the water, before walking to the back of the ferry, where there was no railing, I sat down, putting my feet and legs in the water. I watched fish swirl under the water, the calming water helping me think.

When they find out that I was the one who could not stop the Queen’s death, I will be killed. I thought to myself. I took a deep breath of air, enjoying the smell of the trees and water. But at least I will die at home and not at the hands of a sadist. I laid back and closed my eyes, my feet still hanging off the ferry.

Someone touched my should carefully, my eyes slowly opened to see the Commander standing over me. “We are back in Astria. Did you want to ride in the carriage or up front?”
I sat up and rubbed my eyes. Twilight had arrived, and I decided that I wanted to breathe as much air as I could before I was to be killed. “I will sit up front, sir.” He helped me stand, this time I was not as shaky, my legs holding up better than I thought they would. The cool water probably helped to heal the aches in my muscles. He walked me to the front of the carriage and up to the driver’s seat. He then went inside his carriage, most likely to get some paperwork done.

The General held the reigns, “Ready to see out beautiful city?”

“It has been too long…” I replied as he got the horses to start moving.

We went faster than an amble, but not by much. We passed by a few farms, before we stopped for the night. The General helped me off the driver’s seat, and I took a walk around the campsite, stretching my legs and body. The two males, the Commander and the General fell asleep quickly, but I stayed awake as long as I could. This reminded me of my time with Garrett, and I felt tears slide down my face before I knew what was happening. I hoped the pain in my chest where my heart used to be would subside, but it stayed until I fell asleep near the fire.

The Commander woke me again, helping me stand up. He handed me jerky, bread and water. I decided against inhaling it as I did the rations. Instead, I took them with me into the driver’s seat, nibbling on them, trying to get the nervous knots out of my stomach.

As we reached the city, my body started to shake uncontrollably, happy to be home. I knew that a death sentence awaited me, but I was home. The gates opened up above us, as the General pulled us to the side. The Commander took the reigns as the General got a horse for the two of us. “Are your legs strong enough to ride?” He asked sympathetically. I thought about it, but the thought of trying to hold myself up made me tired to even think about. I shook my head, so he pulled me onto the horse in front of him.

We trotted down the Main Street, the warm wooden buildings of the Old Town gave life to the cold white buildings of the New City. I watched as the merchants, farmers, and other peasants parted away from us, as they bowed to the General. We passed through the gates between the Old Town and New City. Guards kept a close eye on the people going through the gates, trying to prevent thieves from entering into the New City.

The upperclass people bowed out of our way as well. I tried to remember more about the General while we rode. I only met him once, when we were both younger. I looked up at face, remembering the tales that the Commanders had told us about him. He was originally a regular knight when the war between Astria and the other broke out. He created a strategy that helped to broker the tense peace between our nations. Then the Queen sent him on various missions in other places. He was recalled from his missions before we left for the Dragon’s Cave.

I looked ahead as the castle rose before us. The gates opened just enough for us to go inside, before they shut behind us. The Knights saluted the General as we passed. A few of them had looks of relief on their faces, making me wonder if them saving me was an uncertain risk. We reached the entrance to the castle, as someone carefully helped me off the horse. I thanked the person, realizing that I knew him, he was my rival in training. He ended up going down a different path, to which he became a leader in his own right. “Thank you for helping me down.”

“We were not sure if you were still alive or how badly you would be hurt.” He answered, sympathy in his eyes and voice. We had both come a long way since our training days. He looked at my hands that were covered in scar tissue. “I am so sorry for what I out you through in training.”

I grabbed his hands in mine, “You helped make me into a stronger person and knight. If you had not pushed me, I do not think I would have made it as far as I did.”

The General coughed and I let go of my former-rival’s hands. “I asked to be put in charge of your training,” He grinned, “So, when you are ready, we will see who is stronger now.”

I smiled back, allowing myself the luxury of thinking I would be able to train again. “I will pound you into the mud, just like the final test.” I followed the General into the castle, as he led me down familiar corridors, stopping me at the door which led to my quarters.

“I was told that you needed to clean up.” He knocked on the door, a maid opening it. “May I leave her with you, while I make my report?”

The maid gasped when she saw me, pulling close to her. “Thank Kitarr you are alive!” She squeezed me, popping my back in the process. She curtsied to the a General, “I will take care of her, sir. What time is she expected?”

He looked at the window, telling the time from the sunlight. “Supper should suffice.” He turned to me, “Let them pamper you and get some rest. Supper might be exciting.”

I was not sure what he meant, but he walked away before I could ask. The maid pulled me into the room. “I can really do this on my own.” I mumbled as she threw off the black traveling dress.

She sucked in her breath as she saw the scars and healing wounds. “You could, milady, but you heard the General.” She dragged me into the bathroom, helped me clean up, stretched my muscles, before showing me yet another dress. This one was the color of the kingdom, a forest green with silver threading, something fancy that I did not believe suited me. We argued back and forth about it, until she finally relented by letting me wear the forest green, long-sleeved tunic and leggings. She swore that if they demanded I wear a dress, that she would put it on me with the corset.

I felt like myself once I had my clothes on. I looked to the window, then to her, “Do you think I have time for a quick nap?”

She smiled at me, “You do. I will be back to wake you up and to braid your hair back.”

“Thank you.”

She pulled me into a hug, before getting me tucked into the large bed. “Have a good nap, sweetie.” She closed the curtains, then left my room. In the warmth of the blankets, the smell of home hit me as I fell asleep.

She kept her promise and woke me up by opening the curtains. I yawned and sat up, seeing the Commander standing there. “You should be wearing the dress.”

He looked to the maid, who put her hands up. “She is as stubborn as ever, sir.”

He sighed, as the maid sat me up, then led me to a chair. She started brushing my long hair as he talked, “You have been gone over a year. Things change every year, but this past year was one of our worse. The Royal Family wants to discuss with you about how these changes will affect you personally.”

“Sir-“ I tried to ask, but he stopped me.

“No questions for me. It is not my place to discuss what the a Royal Family wishes to say.” He left my room as the maid braided my hair, leaving me to my thoughts. I found a pair of black gloves that covered my hands completely, so I put them on.

After she finished, she helped me into soft leather house shoes. She knocked on the door three times and the General opened it. He made the same face about me not wearing the dress as the Commander did, but he was also wearing his best military uniform. The maid threw her hands up in the air, as she glared at me. “Sir, I feel more comfortable in these than I ever would in a dress.”

“A Guard through and through.” He remarked, as he held his arm out as an escort would. I took it, letting him lead me to the throne room. In the hall, there were whispers floating around everywhere. He stopped outside the doors to let me gather my wits and breath. I could hear people talking loudly on the other side of the heavy doors.

We entered through the large ornate wooden doors, as the guards opened them on each side. Trumpets played an announcement before the announcer shouted to the now quiet room,

“Announcing General Robens and Guard Samarra!”

The room erupted into applause, as the royals stepped aside to let us pass. The women wore their elaborate dresses, and I suddenly understood why they were dismayed I did not wear the dress. The men wore their best coats and fancy items. The applause stopped as we reached the thrones, my eyes on the ground to stop myself from thinking our Queen would be sitting there.

“Samarra!” She shouted my name, as she stood up. I felt ice cold shock course through me, causing my legs to give out. The General caught me, as did another knight. “Samarra, I am glad that you are home.”

I wanted to cry in joy, but I could not wrap my mind around how she was still alive. “You are alive…” I mumbled more to myself than anyone.

She sat down on her throne and nodded. I looked to the other chair, the Prince sat there smiling at me as well. “I am alive, as are Silvia and Garrett.”

I tried to see around the knight’s head to try to find Silvia and Garrett. Silvia curtsied from the wall where she stood waiting in attention for her Queen. I tried to find Garrett but did not see him in the crowd. I heard him whisper in my ear, “You are looking too far.”

The General let me go, as the knight held me. My eyes focused on him, his brown hair falling in waves around his face.. “You are alive too.” I could not stop the tears from falling as I wrapped my arms around his shoulders. I cried into his shirt, wanting to be sure he was real. I thought I had seen the last of him when the Merchant ordered his death. He held my head to his chest, letting me sob uncontrollably.

When I ran out of tears, she lifted my face up, “We are alive.” He kissed my lips softly but stopped before we fully touched, as someone cleared their throats. He turned red, as he pulled away, remembering that we were still in the throne room.

I looked to my Queen, “May I ask how this miracle happened?”

She looked to Garrett, “When the Merchant told the guards to kill all of us, Garrett was able to get a sword away from one of the guards. He pushed Silvia and I into the alcove as he went to battle. He and the other slaves were able to subdue the guards. We led a slave revolt that destroyed the arena and released the animals they used for their entertainment. The animals killed most of the spectators, before fleeing into the wilderness surrounding the arena.

“We were almost out of there when my brother’s small army found us. We wanted to go after you immediately, but we were chased from the country by angry nobles. It took a year of hard fighting with our army to get to where the Merchant held you, on the other side of the kingdom. We fought many battles as we went, until the other kingdom yielded to our might.” She motioned to her brother, “He is the new King of that kingdom, where we will now have peace on this continent.”

I felt relief that everything worked out well for the kingdom. “I am glad to hear that, your majesty.”

“Now what to do about you…” She smiled. “I do think that being a Queen’s a Guard is what you want, but your body lost a lot of strength in the last year.”

“Your majesty,” The General interrupted her. “We already have a couple volunteers who wish to help her regain her strength. If you would permit, they could start working with her with different weapons as well, so she can become more proficient with more weapons.”

“That sounds like a splendid idea to me. Samarra, you are to return to your job as a Queen’s Guard when you choose to start your retraining.” She clapped her hands together, “Now, we feast!”

The servants lifted the curtain to the right of us that I never noticed before. Large tables filled that part of the of the throne room, as servants brought food from the kitchens. The Queen and Prince walked over to the tables, choosing their seats, followed by the General and royalty.

“That is a lot of people and a lot of food.” Garrett mumbled under his breath. “There is always so many people for supper.”

I turned to him, “The guardhouse usually has less people, and the food is still good.”

He grinned, “Or,” He wrapped his arms around my waist, pulling me into his chest, “We could get food from the guardhouse and I can eat with my wife in our room.”

My face turned red at the word ‘wife,’ “I have to warn you that a lot has happened this past year. He did some things to me that I need time to recover from, and some things that I will never be able to push past. Can we take it slow until I think I could handle everything you want to give me?”

“I think I can do that for the woman I love. Anyways, you owe me a farm one day.” He leaned in and kissed me lightly, before we ran from the throne room to gather food from the guardhouse. We spent the night eating, catching up, before falling asleep in each other’s arms.



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