Chapter 2:

Chapter 2

I Will Survive And Live My Life As The Fallen Princess

We all saw all the servants fleeing from the palace garden.
"Cowards! Cowards!" Isabel yelled through the open door behind them. 
They didn't seem to mind. The women were leaving with nothing but the clothes on their backs, knowing there would be no mercy once Thaeslomid's troops arrived. Soldiers carried valuables from every chamber, but there was no guarantee they would make it to the safe place.
My mother shifted her gaze to the head maid. "You are not obligated to stay. We have no idea what will happen tonight."Margaret, the head maid, bravely shook her head. "Let us tackle that uncertainty together,"
My mother turned to Miracle, the newest maid, who had only started working a week before. Despite the fact that she was only thirteen years old, the girl's gaze was unwavering. Miracle said, "I'll stay as well."
"After that, we'll have to pack. Take only one bag, Meredith and Isabel!"We dashed down the corridors, but Isabel came to a halt outside my chamber."Are you scared?" says Isabel
With trepidation, I nodded. "Are you ?""I don't believe Emperor Robert will leave anyone alive," " Remember what happened to the city of Poccunid after the kingdom defied him for a year?" I questioned her"Everything was consumed by the flames. Cattle and grain fields are included as well. Khousan, on the other hand, was not set on fire by him. Thaeslomid allowed those people to live when he captured it."
She questioned, "And their rulers?" "Were all of them were murdered by him."
"But why would the Thaeslomid army want to hurt children?" "Because our father is Sir White!" I panicked. "Then what about Luke?"
"He's our prior father's son. Following Maurice's departure, Luke joined the knights of Bestenao, leaving his father behind. No one is in greater peril than he. "Do you have any idea why our mother sent him away?"
Our sibling Luke was fleeing to Africa. What was he going to do if he couldn't find us? "How about Boris?" I inquired quietly.
Boris was the only half-brother we'd ever known, despite our father having children with his mistresses.
"If Robert is as ruthless as they claim, he'll go after Boris as well. But there's a chance he'll spare our lives. We're females. And who knows, maybe when he realizes how smart you are—"
"However, what good is cleverness if it doesn't keep them away?" My eyes welled up with tears, and I didn't give a damn if crying was considered childish.
When Miracle spotted the two of us standing in the corridor, she said, "We don't have the time, my ladies ." Isabel threw her arm over my shoulders. "Please go pack your belongings!"
I entered my room and immediately started looking for my sketchbook. Then I stuffed bottles of ink and loose sheets into my bag. Isabella was standing with our mother as I peeked towards the door. She had exchanged her gowns, which had been hand-picked by Europe's top designers.
I promptly stated, "It's time."
I wondered what would happen to the dozen troops that trailed us as we left. They could lay down their weapons if they were wise, but even then there was no guarantee that their deaths would be spared. Thaeslomid killed everybody who stood against him, according to my father, he would kill his own mother if she slandered his name.
As we exited, two carriages were awaiting for us.With sweat on her brow and her corset undone, Isabel murmured, "Ride with me." 
My sister held my hand as the horses began to move in the chariot we shared with Miracle. We rushed through the gates, and I could hear the birds shouting to one another as they swooped and dived along the breakers from the Royal Harbor.
I inhaled deeply, then exhaled forcefully as my gaze fixed on the blinding sun. Hundreds of thousands of soldiers had poured into the streets. My sister clenched her fists. It was impossible to predict what the people would do. They lined the road leading from the palace to the safe house, however, as silent as reeds. They stood there watching our carriages pass by.
Isabella took a step forward and looked at me. "They should be on their way out!" 
" They need to get out of here as soon as possible!" screamed Isabella "Perhaps they aren't expecting Emperor Robert's army to appear."
"I'm sure they do. The palace is well aware." I said in tensed voice
"Then they'll be here for us," says Isabella. 
With a shake of her head, my sister expressed her dissatisfaction with the current state of affairs "Then they're a bunch of idiots," she snarled.
We arrived at our family's fort. We had been here in happier times to watch the builders at work, and I tried to envision what it would be like without the hammers and the men's humming. I felt lonely and frightened.
A pillared hall led to a chamber where our mother and father's possessions awaited us inside the safe home. A flight of steps led from this area to the higher apartments, where the sun shone through the open windows, but no light ever entered the lower levels, and I trembled at the prospect of entering them. The horses drew to a stand in front of the wooden doors, and the soldiers divided to make waving gestures.
"My Lady." They knelt before their new acting queen. "What do we do?" My mother looked into the face of the oldest man. "Is there any chance of defeating them?" she asked desperately. The soldier looked down. "I'm sorry, My Lady." "Then leave!"The men jumped to their feet, startled. "And... and the war?" 
"What war?" my mother enquired angrily. "Robert has triumphed, and I'll be waiting here to discuss the terms of my surrender as the people scrape and bow at his feet." 
Miracle screamed across the courtyard about Thaeslomid's impending warriors, and my mother turned to us. She yelled, "Inside!" "Everyone come in!"
We rushed in with a final glance back at the soldiers' terrified expressions.My mother yelled, "Shut the doors!" "Secure them as much as you can!"
"How about Boris?" Isabel inquired, concerned. "He was in a fight—"
"He's gone with your father!" I exclaimed
When the doors thundered shut, Miracle drew the metal bolt into place. Then, suddenly, there was silence. Only the crackling of the torches filled the chamber.Leonard began to cry. "Be quiet!" my mother snapped.
I walked up to Leonard's bedside and held him in my arms. I promised, "There's nothing to be afraid of." "Look, we're all here," I said softly.He screamed out, "Where is Father?"I gently massaged his forearm. "He is on his way."
But he knew I was lying, and his cries turned into terrifying high-pitched wails. He wailed, "Father." "Father!"
My mother walked across the room to his bed and slapped him across the face, shocking him into quiet. Leonard's mouth trembled as her touch left an imprint on his fragile cheek. Margaret snatched him from my arms before he could start crying again.I promptly said, "I'm sorry." "I made an effort to keep him quiet."You see what happens from being kind?" she said. "You should have slapped him." "He's a child."
"Our mother, on the other hand, is battling for the kingdom without a king. God knows where's Magia. What do you think she's thinking when she hears him crying for Father?"
I encircled my knees with my arms and gazed at the wood stacks. "She won't actually set fire to the palace," says the narrator. She only wants to scare Robert. His men, according to reports, have not been paid in over a year. He is in desperate need of her, since mother was a part of the kingdom family. All of this is necessary for him."
My sister, on the other hand, remained silent during the conversation. He grabbed her hands and repeatedly shook them.I yelled angrily, "Stop it!""I recommend that you visit her."
My mother sat on a carved wooden couch on the second storey, which I could see from the stairwell. Her clothing fluttering in the breeze, she gazed out at the sea. "She'll be enraged," I said to my sister
"She never gets mad at you." "You're her daughter" she says. 
She didn't look at me when she stated, "He's a boy." "He's a fool if he believes he can keep Grayson's share of Oudruicia.Maurice was the greatest guy who ever lived, and the Thaeslomid killed him.""I used to think Father was the greatest man in the kingdom."
My mother turned. Her eyes were live blood. " Maurice loved power more than anything else. Your father loves only jousting and wine."
Her voice had a chilling finality about it. "Then what do we have left to hope for?" I inquired.
"They believe Robert was reared by your grandpa, the previous Emperor of Oudruicia. Perhaps he'll want to see Luke as Oudruicia's next Emperor."
"However, where do you believe Luke is now?"With his broad shoulders and stunning smile, I knew she was visualizing Luke. 
She claimed, "hoping, that he was in Venice with his instructor, waiting for a ship to take him to Africa. I hope the princess is doing well after the battle."
I held my breath, and above the crashing waves I could hear men pounding on the door below us. "Is it he?" my mother cried, and I followed her to the bottom of the stairs. Isabel was in front of the door, and her face was gray.
"No, it's Father," Isabel responded, but he threw out his hands to prevent her from approaching. "He attempted to kill himself, Mother. He's dying!" he exclaimed.
"Grayson! " My mother shouted, pressing her face against the door's metal grille. "What have you done, Grayson?" " Isabel and I couldn't understand what our father was saying since we were both deafeningly deafeningly deafeningly de With a shake of her head, our mother expressed her dissatisfaction with the situation. "I can't," she stated flatly. Any one of your soldiers could take us for ransom if I open this door."
"Please!" Isabella cried. "He's dying!" "But if she opens the door—" Margaret began. "Then use the window!" I exclaimed. My mother had already thought of it. She was rushing up the stairs, and the five of us followed swiftly at her heels. My mother shouted, "Meredith, the rope!"
She flung wide the window that looked out over the cathedral. Waves slammed into the eastern casements below. It's impossible for me to say how long it took my mother to do the unthinkable. She had my, Isabela's, and Miracle's assistance, of course. Our father's bloodied litter on the ground below was attached to the rope, so she pulled him two floors and placed him on the fort's floor.
I stood against the marble wall, my back against it. Outside, the cheerful sound of gulls had gone, and there had been no more waves, soldiers, or servants. There was nothing but my father and the spot where he had slashed his own ribs with his own sword. Isabella's frantic breathing could be heard, but I couldn't see him. My mother's hands, bloodied from my father's armour, were the only thing I saw.She cried out, "Grayson." "Grayson! " She put her cheek against my father's chest. My father with a heavy heart spoke"Do you know what Robert promised after the Battle? That if I killed the princess and Our son Luke, he would keep me as king. But I'm not going to do it.I'm not going to do it!
" She was giggling uncontrollably. "And now... what have you done?" says mother
His eyelids fluttered. I had never seen my father in pain. He was bigger than any man who stood next to him, faster, stronger, with a louder laugh and a wider smile. But his tanned good looks had gone pale, and his hair was wet with perspiration. "They said you were dead.""Because I instructed them to. As a result, you would flee rather than kill yourself. Grayson, it isn't over yet." But the light in his eyes was fading.
"Where have my two princesses gone?" he murmured."Isabel led me forward. I don't think I could have crossed the chamber without his help."
My father's gaze was drawn to me. "Meredith..." he exhaled deeply. "Will you bring your father some wine, Meredith?" "Father, there is no wine in the fort," I said, but he didn't seem to understand.
"Some good wine," he continued, and my mother burst into tears. "Don't cry," he gently stroked her braids. "I am finally becoming an angel," my mother sobbed, and he was strong enough to take her hand in his."I need you to live," she begged, but our father had shut his eyes. "Husband! " she yelled. "Gray! "
I could hear the soldiers approaching outside our fort's doors. Their chanting carried across the water, and my mother clung to my father's body, clutching him to her chest and pleading with Isis to return him."What exactly is that?" Isabel inquired, fearfully.
"The prayers," Margaret said quietly. "Thaeslomid's soldiers are pleading with God for their conquests."
"Jesus will never abandon us!" my mother yelled, terrifying Leonard with her fury. As Mother stood, he buried his face in Margaret's lap. My father's blood stained her gown; it soaked her chest, arms, and even her braids. "Downstairs!" she exclaimed. "If they try to break down the door, we will light every piece of wood in that chamber on fire!"
We left my father's body but I looked around to make sure he wasn't moving.Merdith, he's gone." My sister was in tears."However, what if—?"
"He's no longer there. And only the gods know what is happening to Boris." Isabel tearing.
I could feel a tightening in my throat, as if the air I was breathing wasn't enough. Margaret and Miracle were given swords by my mother at the top of the stairs. "Stay here and keep an eye on the windows," she said. "You know what to do if they force their way in! "
My siblings and I followed in my mother's bloody footsteps to the first floor. Soldiers were pounding on the door and pressing their faces one by one outside."Stand behind me," my mother instructed
We did as our mother instructed, and I dug my nails into Isabella's arm as she approached the door. As she approached the bars, there was a muffled sound of voices, and then a man on the other side of the door told her to surrender. 
She raised her chin, allowing the sword to peer into the soldier's eyes. "I will surrender," she said through the iron bars, "when Robert informs me that Luke has become king"
We moved closer to the door in order to hear the soldier's response."I'm afraid I can't give you that assurance, Lady. However, you can be confident that the Thaeslomid kingdom will treat you with both respect and clemency."
"I'm not interested in clemency!" she exclaimed. "Luke is Maurice's son, the rightful male heir, and the rightful heir to this throne. For nearly thirty years, the Oudruicians ruled over Oudruicia. What do you have in mind? To be ruled by Thaeslomid? To burn down the Library of Holy Scriptures sent by the Saints and commit murder in the streets of the world's greatest city? Do you believe the people will care about it."
"Your people are already bending over backwards to show respect to Robert."My mother jerked back, as if the man on the other side of the door had slapped her. "Has he adopted Maurice's surname?""He is the heir and son."
"And Luke is Maurice's biological son!"
As I moved forward to catch a glimpse of the soldier's face in the window, a man's arm caught me around the waist, and I felt the cold tip of metal at my neck.
"Mother!" I screamed, and a line of soldiers descended the stairs from the second story before Isabel could defend me. They'd walked in through the open window. Two were in charge of the maids, and a third was in charge of the held Leonard by arm.
My mother unsheathed the dagger at her waist, but a broad-shouldered soldier caught her wrist in his hand while another man unlocked the door.
"Give me up!" My mother's voice was a sharp warning, and despite the fact that she lacked the authority to command Roman soldiers, once the man had disarmed her, he freed her wrist. He had the same physique as my father, with well-muscled legs and a powerful chest. If he had wanted to, he could have snapped her arm. He is in command.
"Take them to the palace," said the man. "Because the princess is no longer alive, the new emperor wishes to see her before speaking with the people of Oudruicia."My mother tucked her chin in. "Who are you?" she inquired."Commander-in-Chief Benjamin."
Isabel looked across the chamber at me. Benjamin was the general who had defeated our father. He was the secret behind every one of Thaeslomid's military successes, and the man our father had feared above any other. His face was round, and although I knew from our father's descriptions that he was already thirty-one or thirty-two, he looked much younger.
"Benjamin" His name was caressed by my mother. She spoke foreign to him, and despite the fact that she was fluent in eight languages, her words were accented. "Did you notice this treasure?" She pointed to the floor and the heavy silver and gold chests that nearly obscured the view of the rugs. "It could be yours. If you want, you can have all of Oudruicia. Why should you give it to Robert when you are the one who has conquered?
Benjamin, on the other hand, narrowed his eyes. "Are you suggesting that I betray the emperor alongside you?" "The kingdom is dead, everyone is dead, and your so-called son is a coward and a fool."
"I am saying that you would be accepted as king by the people if you were with me. There would be no conflict. There will be no bloodshed."
The man who was holding my arm chuckled softly, and my mother's gaze shifted to him."You want me to betray you," he said. "You might as well request that the sea stop meeting the shore.
Benjamin clenched the hilt of his sword. "She is desperate, and doesn't know what she's saying. Stay here with the treasure, Philip—"
"Philip," my mother called him with all the venom a single word could muster. "I recognize you," she said as she took a step forward, and Philip took my hand in his. However, there was nowhere for me to flee. Soldiers surrounded the fort. As our mother advanced on the man in gold Armour, I stood next to Isabel.
 " Her gaze was drawn away from his leather cuirass and toward his double-edged sword. "You've turned traitor."
Philip's jaw was clenched. "If I were you, I'd keep my speeches for Emperor Robert." "So, why isn't he here?" " she insisted. "Where has this mighty conqueror vanished to?" " "Perhaps he's inspecting his new palace," Philip suggested, and the suggestion shook my mother's confidence.
She shifted her gaze to Benjamin."Don't bring me to him."
"I have no other option." said Benjamin
"What about my husband?" " She directed his attention to the top of the stairs, where my father's body was lying.
"I assure you, we will bury him properly," Benjamin said, frowning. Are you in the fort? "With the emperor, empress, and princess," he said, nodding. "If that's what you want." "What about my children?" questioned mother
"They will accompany you." said the commander
 "But... what about Luke?" said mother
I saw the look that benjamin passed to Philp, and I felt a tightening in my chest."You may ask him yourself what will become of him." said Benjamin furiously.

Ise Minori