Sorry for so many threads, I was indecisive about how I wanted to do this! So, here's Chapters 1 and 2. Chapter 3 is almost done, but I have been so busy with school. I will try and update as much as I can, but I am a bit OCD about turning in unfinished chapters, so I will work like a madwoman to get it done!
Sorry, I'm chatty. Without further ado, A QUESTION OF LUCK!
You will protect her majesty, even to the point of sacrificing yourself to save her.
You will swear your loyalty to her majesty.
You will never marry, for doing so will interfere with your work.
You will listen to the king, even if it overrules her majesty.
You will do everything in your power to please her majesty.
Failure to do these things will be considered as treason, and will result in your death.
These are the things I swore I would do. My name is Colin. Colin Siad. I serve as a knight in the grand kingdom of Anzea. I have served ever since I was a young lad, or rather, younger than I am now. Alas, that is not important right now, for my dearest childhood friend is in danger.
Her name is Anastasia. She grew up an orphan, her father dying when she was little, and her mother disappearing when she was 5. She was raised by a poor farmer, who taught her values that she would need to survive. Loyalty, honesty, politeness, mildness, and other traits and abilities she would need.
And she used them. No matter what people did to her, she remembered those qualities. Even when Matilda and her minions picked on her. Her life wasn’t easy, but she was fine with that.
How I miss the old days.
Pardon my ignorance, I haven’t explained what happened! Well, I have already gotten this far, I suppose it wouldn’t hurt to tell you the rest of the story.
Perhaps Anastasia will tell you herself. After all, it is her story.
Before we begin, I have some things Colin didn’t tell you about me. I lived in a little city by the name of Evloit. I was a normal girl. Well, not exactly normal, but still. I was poor. While the other girls had ornate toys and clothes, I wore cow skin clothes and a wolf pelt. They called me savage, monster, and a Wild.
A Wild. The Wilds are a group of.. Savages. They kidnap, steal, vandalize, and destroy. They are good for nothing creatures. Calling someone a Wild is the worst possible insult. Just another thing I dealt with, I guess. And then there was Matilda.
She was the governor’s daughter, and she knew it. She was rich, haughty, and just an overall brat. Ugly as a burnt stick, she was. But this isn’t about her, this is about me. And the day my life changed forever.
I woke up that morning, the sun temporarily blinding me. My room was a mess, because I had been constantly working on the preparations for the king and his son’s visit. It was the custom to have a party at the Evloit gardens, the place that I worked. And therefore, all the work fell on me.
King Nathaniel has five sons, all of which would be coming to the party. Damien is the eldest, Charles is second, Anthony is the middle child, Jack is the second youngest, and Julien is the youngest. (No one has ever seen them in person.) That’s six, not including all of their servants, and all of the townsfolk.
The party had to be nothing less than lavish and full of splendor. Wine, pastries, tea, it had to have everything. I had the food all ready, I just needed to go work on the garden. After I did my daily errands, of course. Part of my job is to bring orders to people who want fresh flowers.
I didn’t have many orders today. HALLELUJAH! I don’t know what I would do if I had as many orders as I normally do, but all of the people were getting ready for the king’s arrival. So after I slid on my clothes and wolf pelt, I set off through the city.
The roadways were bustling with excitement. All the girls wore their best gowns for a chance at one of the princes’ hearts. Flowers lined the usually dusty path, which had been wet down to prevent dust and dirt. Everything was neat and tidy.
And then there was me, wearing my tattered cow skin and matted wolf pelt. No wonder people call me a Wild. I could feel my face flush red as I hurried to finish my errands and get on with the planning. My first stop was a lady named Meredith Thomas. She ran a little cafe near my place.
“Ms. Thomas? Are you here?” I called out once I opened the door.
Her bulldog, Daisy, laid on the floor, not a care in the world. “Here, Dais, I brought you a treat.” I whispered.
See, Daisy was fat, and wasn’t supposed to have people food. But I fed her anyway, because she was an older dog, and she got lonely. I took a small piece of steak out of my pocket that I saved from breakfast. She drooled with excitement, her little stump of a tail wagging madly.
“Shh.. You can’t let Meredith see..”
She seemed to nod in agreement and snapped the steak out of my fingers, swallowing it with a single breath. Just in the nick of time too, as Meredith came out of the back room the moment.
“Ah, Anastasia, my dear! You have my hyacinth! Thank you sweetheart, I need it to spruce up the old cafe in case we have some royal visitors.” she said with a wink.
“Don’t tell me you buy into all that mess? They’re just people like we are.” I said with a scoff.
“Ah, my child, so naive. These are noble men. And there might be a chance once of us catch one of the king’s son’s eye…” she said with a dreamy look on her face.
I dropped her hyacinths on the counter, disgusted that even a focused woman like Meredith was distracted by the visit of the royal family. I set off for my other customers.
Next on my stop was Kimi Orino. She was a foreigner from Japan, and she was a hairdresser with her husband, Hotaka. She spoke English surprisingly well though. Her husband always ordered her a bouquet of carnations every morning. A touching gesture, really.
Hotaka answered the door before I even knocked.
“Ah, Kimi’s carnations! Thank you, Ana dear. Kimi has been so stressed lately, she really just needed these.”
I smiled. “Of course, HoHo.” I said, using the nickname I knew he hated. It was a little game we played for some reason.
He softly laughed. “Touche, Ana.”
He turned and shut the door, returning to his wife, whom I had to assume was still sleeping. I couldn’t help but laugh for a moment before taking off for the rest of my customers. I was almost to my last one when.. She came by.
Matilda and her minions. All dressed fabulously, of course.
“Well, well, well. If it isn’t the Wild. Shouldn’t you be at home in the forest?” She said, eliciting a wave of laughter from her gang.
“Go back to whatever hole you crawled out of.” one of her minions sneered.
I could feel my face getting hot. I had to keep myself calm.
“You’re just a mistake. A disrespect to your parents.”
That was too much. They could insult me, my looks, my job, but they did not insult my family. I was mad, and I didn’t care. I felt anger coursing through my veins. I wanted to punch that ugly face. So hard.
I don’t quite remember what happened next. All I knew is that I hit Matilda, hard. She flew backwards, her nose bleeding. She was unconscious. Everyone stopped as her crew surrounded her, crying out for her to wake up. I stepped closer, her minions moving out of the way.
They were afraid of me.
I could hear the crowd muttering under their breath.
“Did she hit her?”
“I heard that girl is a Wild.”
Gasps were heard.
“No, I thought they were gone.”
“She’s a monster.”
“No.” I wanted to scream. It was an accident! I didn’t mean to punch her!
But they would never believe me.
Suddenly, I saw a flash of bright blue hair making its way through the crowd. It was my old friend, Colin. Ever since he was appointed to be a knight, he was a hit among the girls.
“Excuse me ladies, what seems to be the problem?”
“That.. That thing hit Matilda!” one said, pointing at me accusingly.
“What? N-no, it was an accident, I swear!” I replied.
“Ana? Is this true?” Colin said, looking at me.
“W-well yes, but I didn’t mean to, I swear!”
“MONSTER!” They all screamed.
Colin watched me for a moment. “Don’t you think you should apologize?”
Apologize?! This.. brat acted first! But... Maybe I was wrong. Maybe she had some other reason for acting how she did. I owed her the benefit of the doubt.
“I.. I’m sorry.”
I could feel the townsfolk glaring at me. Colin just looked disappointed. That hurt. He picked Matilda up and carried her to her house for treatment. I stood there, waiting.
I needed to be alone. I gathered myself and ran. I still had things I needed to prepare for the party. It was dark by now. I looked around. The garden was a mess. Leaves and flower petals were everywhere. I unlocked the shed and grabbed a broom, and began a long night of sweeping.
I don’t understand why Colin looked at me like that. We’re friends.. Weren’t we? He should have known it was an accident! I felt my eyes well up, and the tears fell. A noise interrupted my sorrows.
The bushes rustled. It was a man. He had pale blond hair and hazel eyes, dressed in a black suit complete with gold trim, coattails, cufflinks, and polished black shoes. His clothes reminded me of something the princes would wear.
“Excuse me, miss, but why are you crying?”
“The Evloit Gardens are closed. You’ll have to come back tomorrow, when the stupid party is.” I replied in my anger.
The man stood up taller. “I’m not leaving until you tell me why you’re crying.”
Who was this idiot? I didn’t need emotional support, I needed him to get out of my way.
“The Gardens are closed!” I snarled.
I immediately regretted that.
“Ah, apologies.” he said, a twinge in his voice cluing me in to the fact that I had upset him.
He disappeared out the entrance.
“Great, Ana, you managed to push away everyone. Idiot. Why don’t you go live with the stupid Wilds? At least then you’ll be among people like you.” I said to myself.
“Ana? Are you here?”
It was Colin.
“Go away, you blue haired freak.” I snarled.
“Aw, don’t be like that. I know you’re just upset.”
“No, I’m not. I HATE YOU!” I shouted, throwing down the broom. “And you hate me.” I finished with a whisper, slumping to the ground.
“I don’t hate you.” He replied.
I couldn’t look at him.
“Look, I know you want to be alone, so I’ll be brief.” He replied. “I know you didn’t mean to hurt her. I regretted saying that as soon as I said it. I don’t care if you hate me, because I know that’s not how you are.”
“I came here to tell you that I’ve been sent off again. I have to go to Egressa.”
“WHAT?! That’s on the other side of the country!”
He slumped next to me. “I know. The closest I’ll be back to you is Koit. Even that is a good day away on foot.”
“Why is the king sending you so far away?!” I asked.
He looked at me. “There’s a pack of Wilds that’s been robbing homes and taking children. I don’t know when I’ll be back.”
His fingers brushed through my black hair. “I figure you needed someone to remind you to stay in check. I can’t save your behind all the time.”
I softly laughed. “You still remember?”
“How could I not?! You sat on pokeroot for crying out loud! I still laugh at it!” he replied, his eyes welling up with tears from laughter.
“That is not funny! It hurt!” I said, laughing at myself eventually.
“Well.. I have to go.” Colin replied, cutting our little chat off.
“Don’t be like that, come here.” Colin replied, pulling me into a hug. “I’ll miss ya, Ana. Stay out of trouble for me.”
Then he got up and left.
I didn’t know if I would ever see him again. Wilds were known to kidnap knights and use them to infiltrate the government. If that happened to Colin.. I would have no one on my side.
I snapped out of lala land and got back to preparing the gardens. It was twilight by the time I was done, and I still had to run back to Kimi’s house.
I flew through the empty streets of Evloit, trying to not make and noise. My foster father taught me the tricks to move quickly and silently. Of course, he was a thief, so I took his words with grain of salt. Anyway, Kimi. There was a candle illuminating the living room window.
“Kimi! KIMI! I’m here!” I said, gasping for air.
She opened the door. “It’s about time! I’ve been waiting for hours!” She whispered angrily at me, then dragged me in.
“The nerve of some people…” She said muttering to herself. “I make you a dress, and you don’t even show up on time.”
Yes, Kimi made me a dress. She told me I couldn’t wear a wolf pelt when the royal family was coming.
“Here. Don’t rip it.” she told me, handing me a silver flowy gown with pale blue trim.
I nodded and gingerly took it home. I would wear it out of respect. I decided to try it on before I went to sleep. It fit well, I had to admit.
The sun was rising, and I was exhausted. I needed as much sleep as I would get. My body was weak from all the work I had done. I collapsed on my bed without even taking the dress off.
I heard loud screaming outside.
“OH COME ON! I’M TRYIN’ TO SLEEP HERE!” I snarled to myself.
The noise didn’t cease, so I got up to go see what it was. There was people lining the streets, all screaming in the direction of the entrance to the city. Reality set in, and I realized that the king must be near! I dragged myself up, did my hair, and raced down to the street.
The royal chariot came through, with the king in the front and his sons on the sides. I saw something that made my blood run cold.
It was the man I had yelled at. He was one of the king’s sons. I was so embarrassed, my face flushed and I tried to move into the crowd. It didn’t work, as I fell into his gaze.
I watched as he climbed off the chariot and started towards me. The crowd parted, and I tried to get away, but the stupid dress I was wearing was in my way. I realized there was no hope, and I accepted the tongue-lashing I was about to receive.
“Well. well.” the man smiled, gently kneeling down.
I was terrified. What was he doing?
His hand reached out and took mine, as he gave it a kiss. I turned as red as a rose.
He stood back up. “I assume I will be seeing you at the gala?”
I wanted to say nothing, but that would be immensely disrespectful. “Y-yes, your highness.”
“Good.” he replied with a grin. “A lady such as yourself wouldn’t want to miss such an occasion.”
He gave my hand another kiss before leaping back into the chariot. I heard people gasp in surprise at his actions.
“Prince Julien knelt to the savage!”
They were just as confused as I was. I didn’t know what was going on, but I took off through the backroads of Evloit to the Gardens. I managed to get there just in time. I watched as the king and his sons climbed down and took their places at a table I had set up. The garden was packed.
The king sat in the middle, with his sons on either side. I felt so horrible for yelling at the prince. I noticed a waiter opening a bottle of Vechen Rosato. I sprinted over to the man and grabbed a glass he was pouring. My fingers shook violently as I tried to bring the glass to the prince without spilling it.
Prince Julien saw me coming over and stood up.
I knelt out of respect. “Y-your highness, I would like to apologize for my rudeness last night. Please, accept this glass of wine as a gift offering.” I said, my voice trembling.
“Consider yourself forgiven.” he replied, taking the glass from me. He took a sip and swirled the contents around. “Ah, Rosato. My favorite.”
I breathed a huge sigh of relief and stood up. I was about to walk away when I noticed something strange about one of the prince’s goblets. There was a strange oily looking film over the top of the liquid, and I knew what it was in a moment.
“STOP! DON’T DRINK THAT, IT’S POISONED!”
The garden went quiet. The prince looked at me for a moment, his pale blue eyes commanding me to explain.
“S-sorry to interrupt you, your highness, but y-your glass. It has spiderberry concentrate in it. I can prove it.” I said.
He contemplated my response. “Then prove it.” he told me, handing me the goblet.
I took the goblet and a flower from a nearby bush. I would pay for it, but oh well. I set the flower on the ground.
“Step back, everyone. Please.”
They moved so fast it was like they were never there. My hands trembled as I slowly poured a drop of the wine on the flower. It turned black and shriveled up into ashes.
“See?” I mumbled.
“It would seem you are correct.” the prince replied. “What is your name, my dear?”
“Anastasia.” I replied softly.
“Anastasia. Pretty name.” he chuckled. “Prince Jack. Nevertheless, you saved my life. I am extremely grateful. Whatever you desire, let it be given to you!”
The crowd gasped in anger and surprise. No one dared debate the prince.
“I desire nothing, your majesty.”
This time, the king spoke up. “Such humility… We could use a woman like you in the palace. Let the royal decree be heard!” He said, standing up. “This woman, Anastasia, is to be brought to the palace with us! Let her live out her life as a princess, for she has acted with such bravery. May her name be written down in the books!”
“P-please your majesty, I haven’t done anything exceptional.” I hesitated.
“AND ANYONE WHO PROTESTS OR DEBATES ME WILL BE PUT TO DEATH!” He roared.
I paled and shut up.
“Now,” the king continued. “We must leave. We thank you for your hospitality, but my other sons may be in danger.”
He clapped his hands twice, and Colin came up to him.
“Yes, your highness?”
“Prepare the chariot at once. And make sure we have enough room for Anastasia.”
Colin’s eyes widened. He shot me a worried look.
“As you wish, your majesty.”
“Something, however,” Prince Jack interrupted. “Must be done about your.. Clothing. It may be fine for a town girl, but for royalty..”
His brothers nodded in agreement with him.
“We will talk about that when we arrive.” the king remarked, before standing up.
His sons immediately followed suit. The royal guards parted the crowd and let the king and his sons back to the chariot, as I trailed behind meekly. I could feel the disapproval from the townsfolk.
Prince Julien noticed I was trailing behind. His pace slowed, and he walked next to me.
“I suggest you stand up straight.” he whispered. “If you act like a princess, people are more likely to think that you are. And plus, you are in the presence of his majesty himself.”
This was not what I wanted. Nonetheless, I stood up and increased my pace to keep up with them. If I didn’t know any better, I would have thought that the princes were quintuplets. They walked the same, were the same height, wore almost the same clothes. The only thing that was really different was their hairstyles.
I needed to remember to learn their names. I knew of Prince Julien, but I couldn’t pick out Prince Jack, or any of the king’s sons. If I was to live with them, I must learn.
I trotted back up to Prince Julien.
“Um, can I ask you something?”
He glanced at me. “If you want.”
“Not to be disrespectful or anything, because I would never want to be. Last night was just an accident, I was upset and I thought you were another troublemaker, and I-”
He clapped his hand over my mouth. “I thought I made it clear that you were forgiven. Now, ask your question before I decide I don’t want to give an answer.”
“Y-yes your majesty. Uhm, well, I don’t know any of your brothers. I am merely a simple town girl and I do-”
“You do not need to bring yourself down. Our father has deemed you worthy to come with us. That speaks volumes. Now, to answer your question.”
“Damien is the eldest. He’s the one with black hair and green eyes. The one wearing a white coat, black shirt, white pants, and boots. You’ll notice we all dress similar, except for small changes in color. Charles is the one with red hair, and light grey eyes. With the red coat and white shirt. Anthony is the one with light brown hair and green eyes, and a gold coat.”
“You know Jack. He’s the one with dark brown hair and blue eyes, with a royal blue coat.”
“Why do you wear a black coat with gold trim? None of your brothers have the trim?” I asked.
He grinned. “I’m the youngest. While the eldest of the family is usually considered special, I was the last child of our late mother, and therefore I am marked.”
I nodded as we reached the chariot. Julien gently helped me up into it, and we set off, and the princes carried on with friendly banter, not even noticing that I was there.
I didn’t belong here. I was nothing more than a poor girl. I was no princess. Those girls were right. I am a Wild.
King Nathaniel was deathly silent through all of this.
“Father? Is something troubling you?”
“No…” he said faintly. “Just observing.”
I tried to avert his eyes as much as I could.
“Why do you hide, my child?” the king asked me.
“I’m not hiding.”
“But you are. You do not venture to gaze upon myself, nor my sons. Are they not handsome, and full of vigor?”
“WHAT?! No, you misunderstand, your highness. I am not interested in your sons!” I replied angrily.
They gasped in surprise. I had just yelled at the king. I waited for him to kick me out of the chariot. Instead, he just started laughing.
“Finally, a woman who stands up for herself!” he said, regaining his composure. “I am merely jesting, my child. I mean you no disrespect.”
“However, I suppose I should tell you the reason I am bringing you to the palace with us. While your skills are remarkable, I am more interested in your knowledge of plants. We have had several attempted assassinations lately, one of which would have been fatal if it were not for you.”
“I was raised in the forest.” I replied. “My father was a poor man. What am I to you?”
“We shall see in good time.” he replied, grinning. His amber blond hair framing his face, ever so perfectly. “Please, call me Nathaniel. If you are to stay with us, you deserve to know our names. I’m sure Julien told you?”
“Yes, he did.”
Nathaniel clapped his hands, and the chariot came to a halt. We had arrived at the capital of Anzea: Ankora.
The buildings were a stark white, some with gold trim, others with rainbow colors. The palace was a massive building, covered in gold that shone brilliantly in the morning sun. There were people everywhere, screaming for their favorite prince. (Calls for Prince Jack were prominent.)
Each of the respective members of the family stepped out of the chariot. (They really did command your attention.) I couldn’t help but feel small. I tried to hide behind the king’s massive cloak, but he noticed and made me walk next to him, making me visible to everyone.
“Who is that girl with the king?”
“She couldn’t possibly be a suitress for one of the princes, could she?”
“I heard she was a Wild!”
The king heard that remark, and his face turned cold.
“PEOPLE OF ANKORA! The woman whom I have brought with is no Wild! She has saved my son, Jack, from death and-”
He was cut off by the screams of girls for the beloved prince. This was how people in the capital behaved. I would have nothing of it.
“SILENCE!!!” I screamed, my voice echoing through the crowd.
“Is this.. Madness any way to treat the king?! He is your ruler, after all! He should be treated with the utmost respect! And while loving the princes is commendable, SCREAMING LIKE THIS IS NOT!” I snarled.
The crowd was silent, until someone started clapping.
“Finally! Someone who knows order around here!”
It was a young woman, no older than 15, was clapping loudly. She was about 5’5 (appeared Scottish), with fair skin and dark brown hair, just below her shoulders that was in a ponytail, with dark brown eyes that looked very capable of mischief. She wore dark brown leggings that were torn, with a long dark emerald green shirt with a light brown sleeveless jacket, and a light brown boots with laces that went up to her knees.
“Trinity, I thought you were on border patrol.” Prince Charles whispered to the girl.
Her face flushed for a fraction of a second, then she returned to normal. “I was. I can safely say there are no Wilds out there, your majesty. I caught some game, however.” she replied, holding up a spriggan that had an arrow in it.
Prince Charles chuckled at the sight of the girl. She was very proud of herself. (With every right to be! Spriggans are extremely quick and hard to get a proper aim on.)
“This is Trinity Kerr. She’s an archer.”
“At your service, milady.” she said, bowing to me.
“I think you’ve made a mistake, I’m not a-” I said before Julien clapped a hand over my mouth again.
She laughed. “Well, I better be off. But thanks for restoring some order around here.” she said, before leaping onto a horse nearby, (which I assumed was her’s) and rode in the direction of the entrance gate.
“You must keep up appearances. They,” Prince Julien said, gesturing to the crowd, “Do not need to know that you are not royalty.”
He removed his hand, and we continued on our way to the palace, which was in the middle of the city.
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