I quietly crept into the kitchen, where I was spotted by the head Chef. He came up behind me and tapped me on the shoulder. I jumped about four feet into the air, before landing into a roll and popping up to face him. “Do not do that!” I hissed.
He shook his head, “Then stop sneaking around my kitchens.” The chef was jubilant man who loved to cook. He was a bit big, from always taste testing everything. He had big round light brown eyes that always seemed to be laughing and his black hair was kept short. He wore all white, to show his station in the kitchen, along with a pure white hat.
I stood up, “I was not sneaking around your kitchens. I was…” I was quick to think, “About to find someone to find out if they need help with anything.” It was a good excuse, considering the fact that I do it about everyday. I would much rather be with the servants and help them, than be up in the stuffy room with the Ladies and their constant gossip.
He sighed and grasped my shoulder, “Follow me.” He led me to a table where there was materials to make cookies. “I know you like to bake, so here you go. We need about five-hundred for tonight.”
“What is tonight?” I looked up to the taller man.
“I thought you remembered. It is the day the Prince is supposed to choose who he wants for the year.” He grinned, “I heard that he was looking at a specific young Lady to allow into his bed tonight.”
I held the look of disgust and about spit on the ground, but I remembered that last time I did that, I was forced to clean the entire kitchen. Instead, I just went with a string of curses. When I was done, I remembered the dusk before and realized, “He was trying to get me to last night.” I broke an egg and put the yolk and white into a bowl, “I refuse to be laid by a man whose only goal in life is to lay as many women as he can before he is married off.”
The chef just laughed joyfully, “I can see that you are going to put up a fight, instead of being one of the complacent Ladies.” He patted me on the shoulder before leaving me to work.
I used this time to think to myself and try to figure out what exactly I was going to have to do in order to get out of this mess. I then remembered that I still wore the blades. I had forgotten they were still on, the blades being so light and comfortable that it felt as if I was not wearing them. I gently pulled them off and set them beside my workstation.
I broke all the eggs I was going to need and added them, one by one into another bowl, before adding the flour, sugar, and other ingredients. Time flew by as I was getting everything prepared for the ovens that I lost complete track of time. I watched as another girl put the cookie dough into the ovens, as the chef yelled to the kitchen, “Royalty in the Kitchen!”
The other girl nodded to me and I ducked under a table covered by a piece of cloth. I reached behind my body and forgot I had taken the blades off. I had a mini-panic attack but knew I could not be seen in the kitchens. I heard feet shuffle and the sound of the Prince’s voice, “Whose blades are these?” When no one answered him, I heard him pick them up and pull them from their sheathes. “These was wondrous…” He mumbled under his breath. I heard his footsteps walk away and the kitchen door shut behind him.
I climbed out from under the table and stretched. The chef looked at me and smiled, giving me the thumbs up. I looked back onto the table and noticed that my blades were gone. “Oh no…” I felt as if a piece of me had been stolen, even though I was just given them. I looked to the chef, “Messer Phillip.”
The chef looked at me and nodded, “It is time for you to go, Lady Dawn.” He used my last name as a formality, and since that is the name the King and Queen bestowed on me. They did not think Twilight was a good name for a Lady, so they officially changed it.
I nodded back to him and placed my fist to my chest. The chef and the rest of the kitchen staff mimicked me. I had taught them that, because I considered them more of my family than the royalty. I ran out of the kitchen and went up to the room that I considered my prison.
I looked to the guard and smiled, “How late?”
He looked at the window at the end of the hallway and saw the sundial’s shadow. “Only by about ten clicks. They have not called the sentry to do a search yet.”
“Thank you.” I saw a courier pass by, but I stopped him, “Can you tell the King and Queen that I am back, and I apologize for being late.” The courier nodded and went on his merry little way.
The guard looked at me and shook his head, “You are covered in flour, Milady.”
I looked down at herself, then to the guard. I grinned and gave him a big hug. He pushed me away and discovered most of the flour had transferred onto his uniform. I smiled and blew him a kiss, “Thank you. Oh, and if you can wait, I will get it off tonight.” I yawned and went into my prison.
I was not bothered by any of the Ladies, because they were scared of me tearing up their faces. That suited me just fine, because it kept them at bay and away from coming near me. I crashed on the bed facing the window, pulled the covers over my head and drifted off to sleep.
I was awakened by someone touching my shoulder. I hit the hand away, quite forcefully, before curling back up. The person touched me again, but this time, they did it by kissing me on the lips softly. I bolted up, slamming my head into the person who did it. I rubbed my head, growling under my breath, “Who in the seven…”
I noticed the Prince on the ground, holding his head. I saw blood drip through his fingers and felt gleeful. He looked up at me, saw me smiling and felt his anger rise, “You… you…”
I was not in a good mood. I looked outside and saw that maybe I slept for about four hours and it was midday. I glared back at the Prince, “What about me?”
“You…” He could not think of anything else to say. He scrambled to get up and when one of the Ladies tried to help him, he pushed her away.
I saw her stumble back and the heel of her shoe snapped. With lightning reflexes, I was out of the bed and caught the girl in my arms. The girl scrambled to get out of my grasp, but I held onto her. I helped the girl stand up and led her over to my bed, “You will need to replace those before tonight.”
The Prince tried to get my attention, “How did…” But I ignored him, instead looking through the drawers under my bed.
I pulled out a pair of stunning black heels and handed them to the girl. “These should fit you better than me.”
The girl did not know what to say, considering that I had made myself to be the evil one. The girl looked at me and smiled, “Thank you.” She put the shoes on and hopped out of the bed, testing them out. “Wow, they fit perfectly.” She went over and gave me a hug.
I let the girl give me a hug, thinking to myself, She must be a new one. She is kind of cute, maybe sixteen in age… The girl pulled away, and hopped over to where the other Ladies were. The other Ladies looked at me, shocked at my sudden kindness.
I looked at the Prince; I took a few steps towards him and poked him in the chest, pushing him back, “How dare you?” I put both hands on him and pushed him again, “Do you not know what could have happened to her?” I pushed him again, “She could have broken her leg!” I pushed him a final time, pushing him into a wooden table, “Realize this now, these Ladies are some of the best people in the castle and you went to broke them all. They have no chance at being blushing brides nor do they have the chance of becoming emissaries to other kingdoms.” I spat on him, “You are worse than the Fallen Morning Star.”
I turned on the ball of my foot and walked towards the door. The Prince jumped up and tried to stop me, but the Ladies, after realizing the truth, blocked his path. I opened the door and spoke to the guard, “I can not stay here. I will be back later, but I am going to the west wing.”
The guard smiled and nodded, “I heard it all, milady. And thank you for helping them. My daughter was just introduced this morning to the rest of them.”
“Do not worry about it.” I smiled to the guard covered in flour. “I just cannot stand men like him. Who tromp around like they own the world.”
The guard shook his head, chuckling, “You remind me of a young man who just joined the army and was sent into battle. His name is Hiku and I swear you two would make a perfect pair.”
The name perked my ears, “Which campaign did he go on? To which land was he sent?”
The guard thought about it for a tick, “He was on one of the last ones. His battalion disappeared in the Demon King’s Domain.”
“Oh No!” I put my hand to my mouth in shock. Hiku was gone and I doubted he was alive. “That was my brother…” I told the guard, before bolting towards the west wing, tears streaming down my cheeks.
I opened the door to the farthest room in the castle, before slamming the door closed behind me. I went over to the dusty bed, collapsing onto the pillow surface.
A gentle hand touched my shoulder, causing me to sit up. I knew this touch, the soft touch of my brother. I looked over my shoulder and saw nothing behind me.
I closed my eyes and saw him standing in front of me, looking the same as he did when he joined the Knights. He was tall, blond and cheery. His hair was short, cropped close to his head to keep the helm where it belongs. His eyes were their laughing light brown of his mothers. I knew that looks were very deceiving; he was the strongest man in the entire kingdom, but he hid it behind a veil of thinness. I also knew his dark secret. He was only half human, Dyne being his human father. His mother had come from the forests, Elfin. That is where he got his strength, from his mother’s side.
I inhaled deeply, knowing that he would no longer look like this, after being battle hardened. I caught his scent on my inhalation and my eyes flew open, trying to see where he was. “Hiku…” I whispered softly, as I felt a ping of pain in my heart. I looked to the simple silver band on my right ring finger. It was a promise that he would come home safe and he would get me out of this hell. New tears welled up as pain gripped my soul.
I closed my eyes again, letting the warm scent engulf me. I spoke softly, taking the ring off my finger and holding it in my hand, “Show me what he sees.” I was clear in my command, knowing the ring would obey me as it always had.
I felt my body becoming warm then to fiery hot. I saw in my mind’s eye a terrible King wearing a crown of thorns atop a head of long chestnut brown hair. Two delicate horns spiraled from his hair and curved to the sides, giving him the look of a devil. His skin was surprisingly almost the same color as my own, though he was a bit darker than my very light golden skin. His eyes were dark, the irises were a deep blood red, for a quick tick, I saw that the king was very muscular and had scars that swathed his chest. As Hiku’s gaze fell, I saw that he wore a pair of leggings that were darker then the night and held the embodiment of darkness itself. At his side was a sheathe for a sword with what I saw as a simple hilt.
He lifted Hiku off the ground, “Where is she?”
Hiku coughed and choked; before the Demon set him back down, “Who?”
“Your king’s daughter. She was supposed to be here to exchange for your lives. I guess your king has no care for his fallen armies.”
“I do not know… Where she is… He probably never sent her to this hell.”
The King’s eyes shifted, as he saw Hiku’s eyes change for just a tick, “Who are you?”
“Hiku Reme.” He answered quietly.
He threw Hiku onto the ground, before pulling the sword from his sheathe. “Well, then Hiku Reme, since you have none of the answers I wish for, it is time to meet your end.” He raised the sword above Hiku’s head.
I shouted through Hiku’s mouth, “NO!”
The King grinned, “I thought I saw your eyes change.” He lifted Hiku back up, “Listen, child, whoever you are. You have one full moon passing before I slaughter them all. Tell your king that I demand a bride as payment for their lives. Remember, one full moon passing.” The King put his hand to Hiku’s forehead, blocking my vision to him.
I felt him physically push me back, into a sea of fire and heat. I bolted up, having fallen sideways on the bed. I opened my eyes and felt the heat alleviate. I looked around the room and saw nobody there with me. I looked all over my body, before putting the ring back on. I did not find any markings to tell anyone of what I just did. I spotted a mirror on a bureau. I ran over to it and picked it up. “Please show no marks…” I was relived to find none. I looked exactly as she did before meeting the King.
I stood there, looking into the mirror. “Could I pass?” I inspected myself and shrugged, “Let us hope so.” I felt the touch again, before a slight squeeze of warning on my shoulder. “Hiku… I have to do it. I promised Dyne that I would get you home.” I set the mirror down, as the touch drifted away. “I am going to need my blades back from the spoiled bastard.”
I felt myself shiver slightly, as a sick feeling rose in my stomach. I then remembered about the ball that night. “Oh no…” I then gained an idea, “I will ask the king and queen to leave tonight.” I opened the door to the musty room, took a deep breath and went out to face the ball.