The Wanderblood Princess and Sir Try Hard
Chiffon awoke to an eyeful of soft pastels, a vivid contrast to the doldrums of darkness. The colors were inviting, invigorating even; if Heaven was designed with such warmth in mind, then she would no doubt have believed it.
But pain in her abdomen made her reconsider. The sharpness as she tried to sit up only reminded her that she could draw breath, and not a deep one. It had been ages since she had felt such physical pain. Her status as a Royal made that a challenge normally.
Now, the reality of her soft, comfy bed and playful decor was before her. She had not died. But the knife sinking into her stomach was still a fresh memory. She pulled up her gown and examined it; the wound had been sealed up. Her fingers felt not even a scar where it should have been.
The door opened, and a familiar maid poked her head in with a look of surprise.
“Princess! You’re finally awake! Please, rest! You may be used to feeling invincible as a Royal, but even the best healing techniques won’t fix everything instantly. Your body needs time to recuperate.”
“Catherine… What happened to me?”
“The guards found you, a giant gash in your belly and shackled. It was fortunate that it hadn’t been long since the stabbing. There was still vitality in your lungs. The treatment they could give you on the spot was effective, but you’ve been out for a few days now.”
Surprised that she had been found so easily, Chiffon looked around the room. The familiar sight of her knight was absent. Part of her wondered if his betrayal was all a dream, but a nauseating feeling hit the back of her throat, recalling what he had subjected her to. The feedback on her nerves was far too vivid. She crumpled onto her bed.
“I cannot believe that Sir Cara-, excuse me, Caramello had such dishonest intentions with you. To be a surviving member of the Schichttorte Clan. That was outside of everyone’s expectations. The castle is in a panic, questioning everyone with ties to him. But do not worry, our guards are on the lookout. He will not set foot in the Capital ever again, so rest easy and recover.”
Catherine handed her a cup of tea before heading towards the door. Chiffon accepted it with a vacant expression, not sure if the warm liquid would help settle the queasiness.
“The King and Queen worry about you. I will let them know you are awake,” Catherine said as the door clicked shut, leaving Chiffon with her thoughts.
She wondered why she was even alive, as it was clear that her life was handed to Caramello. Her body and soul, given up as a familiar controlled by him – that was the deal. But he had backed out on it.
Why? Why did he hesitate in the end?
Chiffon shook her head, clearing that blind lovestruck thought. She wanted to believe that the sorrowful expression that he carried meant something. That he had changed his mind. A cold shiver ran down her back recalling the lonely room.
But she was not alone anymore. The company of familiar faces was around. Her gaze drifted from one bright color to the next, and the gleam of sunlight invited itself into her room, all to bring her comfort.
The door opened once again. This time, her mother and father walked in, stern expressions peppered with relief on their faces. They had been just as surprised by Caramello’s betrayal. Her father was the first to speak.
“I never imagined that this would happen again, and by the very same clan as before… I’m sorry, my daughter. Maybe it wasn’t the wisest to block your memories, but we thought it was best.”
They had received reports from Duke Mascarpone, warning the royal family of Caramello’s connection. Lombardy had confronted them for that reason, hoping to drive the betrayer away, but he had underestimated Caramello’s abilites.
“Please understand, we felt like the burden was much too great for a ten-year-old child,” her mother added.
Chiffon could see where they were coming from. A trauma dulled by good intentions. Even now, the mere thought of what she had done haunted her.
After the boy’s arm was dumped before her, she went mad. The darkness of her surroundings funneled into a desire to rid the enemies that caged her.
And it happened so fast that the cell guards didn’t know what was coming. The strength of a Royal and Bloodrile combined, Chiffon’s tiny hand grabbed the much larger man and slammed him into the ground before bringing a foot down to crush his skull.
The next two guards had no luck either. A swift punch from her sent their bodies into the brick wall. But she was far from satisfied by that alone. She wished to do what they had wickedly done to the precious boy offering comfort. Not until the sound of bones crunching did she finally stop. That sound was the trigger, for her to stop and move on. That she had completed her objective.
In a trance, Chiffon escaped the dungeon, pouncing upon every person – man, woman, and child. The sound of fear escaping their lips drove her forward. Just like how the walls of her cell echoed her own suffering, that was all she could hear. They had turned her into a monster.
And Caramello was the only one left to shoulder that outcome. She had killed everyone else in her rampage. The kingdom covered up the entire happening, saying that the guards who found her purged the clan. But in reality, they merely found an empty village with a blood-ridden girl at its center.
Chiffon spent a blissful six years after that with only a vague recollection of this tragedy, while Caramello carried the weight of revenge on his shoulders. That was why she couldn’t imagine his forgiveness.
Not to mention, the feeling of his hand…
I must be mistaken. That boy is dead. He must have branded himself as a failure. Maybe to remind himself of the clan’s gruesome end. Maybe to trick me into letting my guard down. That boy who was so kind to me – he is not Caramello.
She looked at her parents’ worried expressions and mustered up the brightest smile she could.
“I am fine, Mother, Father. But I would like to take a stroll around and get some air. Let things settle in my mind. And then, forget about the bad things – this time, naturally.”
The two of them nodded, giving Chiffon some space. King Vaniglia made a few gestures, and suddenly, five women came out of hiding. Chiffon was shocked, but apparently, Caramello had merely knocked them out before kidnapping her. They were the ones who had led the guards to her location.
She got out of bed, dressed herself in a nice ensemble, and stared at the mallet in her hand. Though she grabbed it out of habit, she had no desire to fight. For the first time, the thought of blood made her sick. With a sigh, it was shrunk and tucked away in her pocket, hopefully unneeded for a while.
Chiffon vacantly poked at her plate. Whenever she felt down, something sweet usually hit the spot. The tantalizing tingle that hit her tongue with every bite was a healing potion for her heart. But as she sampled the latest treat from Margaret, there was no doubt something was missing.
“That’s strange. It’s rare to see a treat hardly touched by Your Highness after so long. You must be feeling ill.”
“Ah!” Chiffon yelped, her patisserie friend having crept up on her. “No, I’m fine! Just fine!”
With haste, she pulled out the fork that dangled in her mouth and cut a hefty piece, chomping down on it. Margaret smiled awkwardly at her action.
“You don’t have to force yourself. I feel sorry for the cake, being eaten so carelessly. Just like people, cakes are a mood. You might find something that you like unexpectedly. Or perhaps… you may find that a favorite has fallen out of favor.”
Margaret eyed the empty chair at the table. She had taken notice that Caramello was not with her. Publicly, his betrayal had not been announced, but Margaret could tell that they had a falling out. She left Chiffon alone to tend to other customers.
The Princess’s mind was wrought with confusion. The gentle reminder of Caramello’s absence had brought up her time with him. In fact, a walk through town held many flashes of his presence, warm and exciting.
She both loved him and hated him. The pendulum in her heart was made to swing both ways, making her wish it would choose one or the other. She had every reason to hate him. To toss away her feelings.
But then, the taste of cake in her mouth said otherwise. The current glob in her mouth felt complete, unlike the one before. That was because a speck of iron invaded it, a result of stabbing her mouth when Margaret surprised her.
Caramello’s blood – he had trained her to crave it. To quell the darkness of her heart. He was both the source and the cure. And upon realizing that, Chiffon dropped her fork and ran out of the bakery.
“Your Highness, what brings you here today?” The curious voice of a young lord beckoned as he bowed at an unexpected visitor.
Chiffon had grabbed a carriage, leaving behind a city full of memories. She needed a break from the constant reminders. The garden of colors made for a good escape, letting her thoughts be buried in the blossoms.
“Lord Schokolade. I was hoping that you could find me a dress to help my mood.”
The young artisan who had a gift of reading another person’s beauty eyed her carefully for several moments. Even without any heightened senses, he could tell that her heart was turbulent.
“Your Highness wavers upon something important. A decision not to be taken lightly. What you apparently need is confidence – bravery to take that step forward. Otherwise, you will continue to question the very person you are. I know just the thing.”
Lord Scho slipped back into his mansion, and after Chiffon stared at the clouds for some time, he returned with a flowing garment. The vibrant, rich red that flapped in the wind caught her attention, and once again, thoughts of Caramello flooded her mind.
“And in my eyes, you burn with a passion as you strive to pave your own path.”
Crimson, the very color that defined her relationship with the knight. The color that he found her lovely in, even if it was a lie. The color that she found herself bathed in, no matter the circumstance. It was fate between them. The string that tied them to each other.
“Your Highness. There is no color more distinguished than red when it comes to bravery. Charging forward, turning a blind eye on the blood split in battle, ignoring your own losses in favor of opportunity – it takes courage to don the mantle of red. Just like how red roses give courage to pursue love at the risk of heartbreak. That is what Your Highness needs at this moment.”
Chiffon stared at the crimson dress, its beauty speaking to her. But it was not just the quality of fabric or the design that drew her to it. She grabbed the garment and went to change.
Minutes later, she came back outside, flaunting her new attire like a phoenix reborn within flames. A look in the mirror had told her – beauty lay not in the dress alone, but that who wears it.
It was her battle attire. The outfit she needed to face the truth, rather than let others find it for her. She was the Wanderblood Princess – she who fought to drive the fear away. A little blood wouldn’t scare her away. She let herself bathe in it. That was what she had always been. Memories or not, she would become the person she aspired to be.
“Thank you, Lord Scho. I would like to take this dress with me.” Chiffon smiled with determination.
“I shall send the bill to the royal castle. The fire in your eyes, it has returned.”
Chiffon strode out of the grounds, pulling her mallet out and placing it upon her shoulder. There was one more obstacle to get out of the way before proceeding.
A team of five women, dressed like midnight, stood in her path.
“Princess, you cannot seek him. We will not let you.”
But Chiffon merely laughed. She didn’t need others watching over her. Obtaining permission was reserved for the uncertain. After all, she had already declared to the Queen of her intentions once.
“Sir Caramello is my knight! I will deal with him as I see fit! If I shy away from one man, how can I be fit as a ruler?”
With a swing of her mallet, she grazed the ground. A spray of earth erupted from her tremendous power, tossing the five guards meters away. By the time they had regained their senses, Chiffon was nowhere to be seen.
They would have trouble catching up to a determined Royal moving at full speed.
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