Chapter 1:

Removal of Nostalgia

The Fox of the Valley - [Collab - Jay & Lily]


Helene woke up when she heard the first bird tweet. She could feel her body twitch with worry when she thought she was in the wrong home. Her eye throbbed with pain - a reminder of what happened years ago. No, it wasn’t a dream. It was legitimately a nightmare. Flashes of strange men trying to take aim at her hair to threaten her made her wince. It was around that time of year again, wasn’t it? It wasn’t like she could see through that eye anymore and she had to learn how to live with it.Bookmark here

Even after all this time, Helene didn’t understand why she was kidnapped. Her parents were dead. As far as she knew, she and Princess Clover were protected by the Chapmans unless that was the goal. After all, she had the closest access to them - Princess Eleanor was her dear close friend at the time. But often, she would wonder why she didn’t come for her. Would Princess Eleanor want to save her? That’s what she thought as she got through her morning routine. As time went along, the local doctor had recommended her to put something called ‘eyedrops’ to put in her non-working eye. The fact that she had to eventually hide her hair to live… Helene can’t really recall how she managed to escape in the first place.Bookmark here

Everyone in this kingdom had either black, brown, or blonde hair. They all had different skin colors but the one thing that made her stand out more was her red hair. Everyone in this kingdom would be the first to tell a tourist or someone new to town that they were the original location of the folklore tale, The Fox of the Valley. Because of that, she had to hide her red hair - if these people wanted to praise their origins, there’s no way the obvious connections wouldn’t be made. As a means to protect herself, she ended up buying a wig once she was able to earn enough pennies. She wore a black wig, something to help her blend in better.Bookmark here

Helene wore merchant clothes that she managed to snag after a few years of apprenticeship. She decided to be a merchant just so she could keep an ear out for the gossip in the kingdom. The gossip she heard didn’t really interest her that much. Mostly it was gossips of Sir Jackson having an affair again, or Miss Mathilda having sold off her body to pay her debt again. It’s always those things again and again. The same people doing the same things. Sad things, bad things, things that can keep up a child at night. Helene was used to hearing all those things now, though. She had gotten used to living a simple life. A life that was different from the earlier half of her life. Although she was missing how it felt like to be a noblewoman, she had gradually learned to accept the fate that had been forced upon her. Her look, her gestures, everything that screamed noble about her, she had to change. People looked at her weird at first. Thinking that Helene’s mannerisms were unbecoming of a peasant or a commoner, really. Because of that, she was also out of place. It took her some time to get a job. She was lucky, for some people went mindlessly wandering around in search of a job: knocking on doors, going through towns, talking to noblemen that couldn’t really care. Some die in their journey, some die even before they get into the journey. It was dangerous to get out of the walls, any person could’ve been an enemy. An escorting guard was necessary, but peasants who couldn’t pay one often traveled in groups, sometimes walking with a traveling noble.Bookmark here

The first person that understood her situation was John Merchant, a local trader. John was her master during her apprentice years. He looked at her with a gaze of a father looking at her daughter. Although he didn’t really treat her like one, he treated her more like his son. Taught her all the tricks of the trade but also giving the wisdom that shaped her to who she was now. He often told her stories, folktales, which she really liked. His voice that encapsulated the story as if it were actually happening. She looked up at him, he was aged around twenty to thirty years older than her. John rarely did any trading and selling these days, though. He was bedridden of some sickness Helene didn’t quite understand. She just knew that he coughed and sometimes puked. His temperature was high and there were some unknown rashes on his skin. Helene knew that his end was near. They couldn’t quite afford a doctor to see him, it would cost too much of a fortune. For if they do pay, John would anyhow die for they won’t have money left to buy food, or buy the things they sell. Helene held up the house with her own shoulders. She set up the stall herself, for which before, Helene and John did it together. She already knew the price of each whatnot they were selling. Although she wasn’t that much of a negotiator than John, she did a better job of attracting customers.Bookmark here

After having washed her face and braided her hair to be easily tucked underneath the wig, she went back inside the room from the kitchen. John was still sleeping. His body was only getting paler the more time he spends in this house, she thought. Helene wanted to help him, but she can’t really figure out a way to do so. All he had was a home-made concoction of herbs she bought from a neighbor, Jane, who said it may help. John was a sturdy man, but now that the sickness had gotten over him, his body degenerated into a bony structure. She was afraid that if he were not to die of the sickness, it would be his own body that would take his own life.Bookmark here

Waking up John was part of her daily job. He slept right across the room, right next to the door to the kitchen. There were only two rooms in their house: where they slept and the kitchen. To do the natural process of defecation and urination, she had to use the outhouse. She said gently: “Get up, John.” After noticing that John wasn’t really responding, as always, she began to tug on his sheets. And after a while of repeating out ‘wake up’ and constantly tugging, he finally opened his eyes.Bookmark here

He looked at her a little bit hostile. He was so comfortable in his sleep, he thought. John said in his hoarse morning voice: “What time is it now?”Bookmark here

“It’s still morning.”Bookmark here

“Then, why did you wake me up?” John rolled his eyes.Bookmark here

“I am here to give you your medicine, don’t be an idiot and give me that look.” John was probably used to her giving him some attitude. She might be in that phase, he thought. Helene was now considered a grown woman, but to him, she’s still a child. Helene was turning sixteen soon, but John didn’t really know the exact date of her birthday, though.Bookmark here

“Okay,” he replied, and obediently took the medicine. It tasted disgusting and he didn’t try hiding that fact. He almost threw it all out, if only Helene just didn’t glare at him.Bookmark here

“I’ll kill you if you let it out,” she said.Bookmark here

He quickly gulped down the rest of the disgusting concoction down his throat, “Are we done, now? Can I go back to sleep?”Bookmark here

She answered: “Yeah, yeah.” The first part of the morning was now done, she thought. Now, she needed to set up the stall and take all the things she had to sell. She carried all of them one by one and settled them next to Ian, or Uncle Ian as she called him. She always talked to him whenever there were no customers inspecting the stall. They would often talk about gossip, business, and other topics that Helene didn’t exactly care about, but rather entertain her instead. Anyhow, when Helene settled her stall and properly greeted Uncle Ian, she began to count all of the things she was going to sell. She counted eight taper candles that would go for halfpence each, and a few more things: the cookies she made last night will be sold as well. She was also selling a few tools that she bought from a mason a few days ago that was struggling to make ends meet and was forced to sell his tools. He took a few pennies from her, but in return, she would be able to sell it for a profit.Bookmark here

“Those are nice candles,” Uncle Ian told her. His voice was soft but had that masculine throatiness that reminded her of her own father. Ian sold his own crafts of small wooden carvings. Helene always admired the detail of the woodwork he created. Despite this, he didn’t sell as much as her.Bookmark here

She replied with a smile and a friendly nod: “Thank you.” It always bugged her that Uncle Ian didn’t manage to sell more than what she expected. Helene knew that it was because she was a woman and men would often just buy from her just to get that feminine smile. It bugged her, but she learned to compose herself. So far, nothing bad had happened to her. She knew a few rumors about some men having raped unsuspecting women around in the area. She knew that she, herself, might be in danger as well. It always scared her to go home alone. The stall was also not that far from her place. She would walk a few yards to safety every night. At this time, Uncle Ian always helped her carry her stuff, to which she was very grateful for. Ian only lived around the corner of the stalls, but it didn’t mind him to escort a young lady home to safety.Bookmark here

A few people went by her stall. She didn’t really like calling out to them like a hawker. But rather she would just smile at people who took a look at the goods she was selling. Uncle Ian would sometimes just call out to people passing by and told them to look at his crafts. A few silent moments went by, Helene noticed that Ian was making a carving while waiting for customers. He stood there with his sharpened knife etching away shrivels of wood probably transforming the small log into an animal, a beautiful woman, or even a majestic building. Helene was always impressed by his skills. His subtle hands moving slowly and pinpoint accuracy of deciding which part of the wood to remove.Bookmark here

It’s still morning, so Helene didn’t really expect the usual throngs of people to come to pass by any second now. But a few people passed by, a woman with a child, she marked. The child looked at her, she smiled back. The child then took a curious gaze at what she was selling, probably the cookies Helene was selling, tugging at his mother to come and check. To Helene’s delight, the mother reacted positively to the nagging of her child. They came looking at her stall, “Good morning, ma’am,” Helene greeted. She let the woman and child look at her goods.Bookmark here

The woman took a look at the candles and carefully inspected them. Helene knew that she didn't need to help the customer. She hunched that the woman was probably that kind of woman that would offer a farthing for the candles, instead of the original price of a halfpenny. Her child was still nagging her for the cookies that Helene was also selling. Helene started to note the child's eyes welling up with tears and will probably start crying soon. “Do you want this, child?” Helene asked. The child nodded with a lingering sadness but also subliminally begging for it. Helene took the bait and gave the child a cookie. The child had very round cheeks blushed with red, for he knew that he’s getting the cookies. The hair of the child is just cut at the right length so that Helene didn’t know whether the child was actually a boy or a girl. The child had this masculine body but the face just showed that of an innocent girl.Bookmark here

The mother then snagged the cookie from the child’s hands and the child then started to gush outcries and tears. “That’s dirty, Oliver!” She scolded. So, that child is a boy, she realized. But anyway, the child was hurt, and also Helene. The woman looked at her with hostile eyes as if Helene wanted to kill her child. “Have a nice day,” she said with hostility and left, grabbing young Oliver by his wrist and almost dragging him away. What a rude lady, Helene thought.Bookmark here

As if Uncle Ian read her thoughts, he repeated the same: “Rude.”Bookmark here

“It’s fine, Uncle.” She said. She was used to it. Some people who used to sell foods now had no food for themselves to eat. It all began when the clergymen all warned the residents that a plague had been dominating the area. People, therefore, stopped buying already-prepared-foods and instead cooked for themselves. She didn’t think of this when she made the cookies. Now, the cookies won’t give her any profit, she thought. Helene never regarded herself as a spiritual person, so she sometimes forgot what those people said. She despised those so-called Men of God, saying that they walked around thinking that they knew everything and probably assumed that they were smarter than everyone. Just because they can read and write better than everyone didn’t mean that they were any better. She heard that all they did was pray, which she regarded as a waste of time. If they were so ‘close’ to God, why couldn’t they just ask God to save all of the people around her, she thought. Anyway, she gathered herself for another customer. This was all part of the trade, she tried calming herself, repeating John’s words in her head: ‘Customer is king.’Bookmark here

“I’d want one of those,” Ian told her with a smile on his face pointing at the cookies.Bookmark here

Helene’s face delighted by his kind action, “Of course!” She replied. She always adored the kindness of Uncle Ian. She then gave him a few cookies for him to snack.Bookmark here

Uncle Ian then took out his small wooden box. Helene knew that this box was Uncle Ian’s little coin box where he’d keep all his money for the day’s work. “How much?” He asked while taking out a few coins, all in different sizes.Bookmark here

“Ah! No, Uncle, you don’t have to!” Helene turned red in embarrassment. She knew Uncle Ian would do this kind of thing, but it never occurred to her that it was for mere cookies she baked in a makeshift oven. “It isn’t that much.”Bookmark here

He looked at her with a gaze of kindness, a kind of gaze that reminded her of her childhood days. Days where friends would do kind stuff towards each other: “Oh, come on, child. You worked for them, you must be rewarded.” Uncle Ian is a dear friend, she thought. He then proceeded to give her the seemingly random amount he took out earlier.Bookmark here

She looked briefly at the amount of money he gave her, for ‘tis rude to inspect a gifted horse in the mouth. “No, this is too much!” She refused.Bookmark here

“Child, who else would pay for the rest of the cookies?” He proceeded to look more intensely at her, giving her no room to discuss any further. Despite her delinquent attitude, she had respect for those who deserve it. She stayed quiet and took humbly the money Uncle Ian gave her. It was about six pennies, or about the price of a day’s work. She knew it was way too much for mere cookies, but she didn’t dare say anything more. She just looked at Uncle Ian who gave her a kind nod. She knew he meant it nice, but she also knew that Uncle Ian doesn’t make this much in a day. His carvings didn’t sell well but he always kept an enthusiastic front for her to see. He would sometimes give her the extra food his wife made at night for John and Helene to eat. John and Ian were two of the few men that respected Helene.Bookmark here

A few hours went by, few people barely noticed Helene. Maybe even ignoring her. It was a busy street at this time of the day, people walking back and forth going to their workplaces. The street overlooked a canal of about a few yards in width and stretched from the eastern walls that meander to the northern. It was used as a medium for boats to carry their spices and other imports to the guilds. Therefore the guilds were also next to the canal. Those big sailboats couldn’t fit in, but the smaller ones were deployed to transport the goods all the way from the river, a couple of miles away. The canal was apparently man-made, Helene could barely believe that. This canal also divided the lower half of the kingdom to the higher, although it was sometimes possible to see a few noblemen and women passing by with their regal carriages towards the gates. She chose this spot for a reason, she knew that this will be the spot to see the people leaving and entering the castle. Bookmark here

Although she also knew that no one would be coming for her, a speckle of hope remained in her heart. She would look eagerly at each passing carriage for the familiar face of her childhood friend, Eleanor. She couldn’t possibly cross the second gate towards the castle, for she doesn’t have permission. She may even be whipped for trying so, she’d need a man to pass, a man with a purpose. Although she often was around alone, people would look at her like an alien. It was common for women to be escorted, but a lone woman was either dangerous or prone to danger. In her early days, John was always with her, but ever since he was bedridden, he couldn’t be with her anymore. That gave Helene a new sort of feeling or an adventure, she always liked adventures, she used to sluggishly read them in books or she would hear them from John who told her all kinds of stories. She didn’t care if it were all made up or real. What she liked about them was that everyone in those stories had a goal. A goal in life to achieve, unlike her who had none. There was a point that she even forgot who she even was. It was a point of her life where she was wandering around not knowing what to do, she had been dumped in some unknown area and left there stripped of her identity. At that time, she wasn’t Helene Gardiner, for she felt she was someone else. Someone totally unknown. She didn’t know what to do and would sleep at night alone and starve in a surprisingly comfortable spot near some garbage that was at least soft to the texture but stank to the smell. Her age was thirteen at the time, and she still couldn’t believe that she had experienced all those miseries at such an age. She remembered that her sister would play with her friends and gossip around at that age, also probably looking at some boys who were practicing with the sword. Bookmark here

Her days sleeping and begging for food ended with a man who saw her as he was about to throw trash on top of her. As the man was about to throw his garbage out, he jumped in fear of what huge animal was there looking at him throwing his trash out. It was bigger than a rat with a bright blue eye, and another eye with faded blue color, he noted. She had red hair as well. He was shaken at first, it was his first time seeing someone with such color of hair. But his heart was soft and he realized it was someone’s daughter but clearly abandoned, her tattered clothes and malnourished face explained it all: she was left there to die.Bookmark here

A man came closer to her stall and asked: “How much for that?” He was pointing at the masonry tools. His rigid and bony fingers moved back and forth as if it were to make her hurry up and blurt out her response.Bookmark here

She sighed because she knew it would be another rude one. She repeated John’s words again in her head and replied: “Ten pennies, sir.”Bookmark here

“Is that all you can give mel?” He replied.Bookmark here

“Yes, sir.”Bookmark here

The man grew impatient: “What the fuck?! Another guy over there sells those exact same tools for eight pennies!”Bookmark here

“But sir, those tools are worn and used, I-” She said but unable to end her sentence.Bookmark here

The man suddenly turned red in irrational rage, he then gathered all his saliva in his mouth and spat on her, barely missing her face but still on her clothes. She jerked in surprise unknowing what just happened, probably having difficulties processing the sudden turn of events. “Listen! That’s too expensive! You stealing whore!” He yelled, now Ian’s gaze and everyone else’s in the vicinity also jerked themselves towards them. Ian saw this happen before and he also knew how Helene would react.Bookmark here

Helene then looked at that bastard with an offended glare and in a vengeful manner, spat on his bony face. That ugly rude fart, she thought. “Burn in hell!” Although barely knowing what hell exactly was. Ian shook his head, he knew it would happen. He stood up and grabbed the man who was ready to beat her up. Helene continued giving him a stare. She shouldn’t lose, she thought. She always fought back and was not afraid of the consequences. She had seen more horrid things and she wasn’t afraid of a few drops of blood.Bookmark here

“Sir, please leave,” Ian said. Now that Ian stood up, he clearly towered over the man. Ian’s face giving that stern look, the man knew that he couldn’t possibly stand a chance. Despite Ian’s age, his body was big and muscular from all the earlier work he had as a sculptor: carrying those big and heavy stones and chipping them all day.Bookmark here

The man left in obedience but still managed to leak out a curse: “Y’all can die in a ditch! I’ll shoot you!”Bookmark here

Uncle Ian spat on the ground. His head shook as he looked at Helene who was wiping the man’s saliva off from her clothes, “You shouldn’t have spat on him back. But I understand why you had done so.”Bookmark here

Helene was still heated: “If you do understand, then why are you telling me not to?”Bookmark here

“You’re still a small girl, child. You can’t fight back!” Said Ian, he understood her but he pressed on.Bookmark here

She started to look more annoyed now than she first was: “I am not a small girl anymore, I am turning sixteen soon! I’ll be a woman!” She reminded him.Bookmark here

“Still! A woman mustn’t do such a thing! A woman must-”Bookmark here

She cut him off, she knew where this was going again. She knew the exact same words that were going to come out of his mouth, ‘A woman must give in to a man.’ But she believed otherwise, “I don’t wanna hear anymore, you’re driving out our customers.” She was right and Ian silenced himself and proceeded to sit back on his chair. She wasn’t only annoyed by the bastard customer now, she now also felt annoyed by Ian who scolded her. She found all of these things about being a woman giving in to men twisted. She followed Ian and spat on the ground too. Ian gave her a disapproving gaze afterward. She knew that a woman mustn’t do that as well, but she couldn’t care any lesser now. If I already broke the rules, then I’ll just break them all, she thought.Bookmark here

Everyone around her knew she was a delinquent. Saying that she’d rather listen to herself rather than someone else. They didn’t really care much, though. They thought that all kids that age were always like that. She did her chores and sold her goods well enough to still get away with her attitude. They knew it was probably all part of her personality, a mishap that happened because she was abandoned. She had lost trust in people, except for those close to her. At the back of her head, that event still haunted her: the way that they took her from her room, forced her to get up and dragged her to some unknown carriage. She was probably drugged afterward because the next thing she knew, she was lying somewhere dark and smelly. Her parents were long gone, for they died in a storm during their travels. That part of her life hurt, but this part hurt as well. She didn’t like comparing the two events.Bookmark here

People knew that she had a dark past and probably blamed that part of her for her attitude.Bookmark here

A man came by looking at her stall, eyeing the masonry tools. She noted that this man had a half-witted way of walking, for he limps a little bit on his left leg. Why would he be interested in masonry with those legs, she thought. But he seemed to be friendlier than the last customer at least. That was more than enough for her to give the man a friendly smile and a greeting: “Good afternoon, sir. Do you fancy being a mason? They are barely used, sir.”Bookmark here

The man looked back at her with a friendly gaze, “Ah yes, I can see that,” he said. “I am a mason.”Bookmark here

Helene felt embarrassed and blushed, “Oh my apologies.”Bookmark here

“It’s fine, child.”Bookmark here

She hated it when people call her child, but the man was nice enough that she overlooked it. “Thank you.”Bookmark here

“How much for it?” He asked.Bookmark here

“Ten pennies, sir.” She replied. Now she waited anxiously as the man thought about the price. She knew the reactions the man may have, she already saw one.Bookmark here

The man took out from his little pocket a few coins, she didn’t expect this. She’d at least expect that he’d try to settle the price down a bit, but he’d actually given her ten pennies as she counted when he gave it to her, “Is that enough?”Bookmark here

“Yes, sir. Thank you.” The man then took the tools, put them all in its original bag where it was laying on, and carried it away. She looked at the man as he vanished into the throngs of people. She checked the amount he had given her again, there was no mistake, she now had ten pennies and the tools were gone. She sighed a gust of relief.Bookmark here

“Nice men exist as well, child.” Ian looked at her, pleased with what he saw. He was equally surprised at the turn of events.Bookmark here

“Perhaps they do.” She knew he was right, her father was a nice man as well. He took care of her and brought her storybooks to read, those books with pictures, and easy-to-read lettering. She couldn’t read well, at least not as well as Eleanor could. She knew to recognize a few letters here and there, then deduced which word it was. Now that she didn’t have many opportunities to read anything at all, she couldn’t practice anymore. She thought that probably she already forgot to read. She tried recalling letters, reciting the alphabet: thinking about the letter ‘A’, she knew this pretty well for it looked like a witch’s hat. She laughed at the thought and Ian looked at her wondering what she might be thinking about.Bookmark here

It was about the middle of the afternoon now, the sun was at its highest and her only working eye gazed upon the cloudless autumn sky. It’s another day, a normal day. She reminded herself to use those ‘eyedrops’ again. She paid a lot for it, so she might as well use it regularly. A few people looked at her as she put a few drops on her non-functioning eye underneath the cloth that was tied around her head. Her eye glistened white, no sign of her iris whatsoever, or so it seemed. Her iris just turned white during the time she lived with her injury. She first noticed it getting more painful a few months ago. She didn’t like the pain, not only because it hurt, but also because it reminded her of something sinister. Because of that, she then proceeded to visit a local doctor, despite its rumored expensive consultancy. The rumors weren’t wrong for she paid almost a week’s worth of work. She first hesitated to get the consultancy, but John insisted.Bookmark here

As she was done tucking back her eye in her makeshift eye-patch, she continued her day. It was a really boring job, she thought. Sitting there all day, waiting for customers who she never knew might come or not. She had no choice, though. She was merely thankful that John took her in and gave her at least a job that would occupy her days and gave her a sense of duty. Her stomach rumbled, so she took a few of her own cookies and ate them. She also gave some to Ian who took it happily. She might want to stop by a butcher and buy some meat for dinner, it’s a good day after all. She sold off the tools for a good price and got six extra pennies from Ian who was kind enough to buy all her cookies. Nevertheless, she still cannot leave just yet, she had to make sure to sell everything on her little stall. She still had a few candles and some pieces of tools and whatnot. Sometimes she doesn’t even understand the things she was selling. She believed that she’d only sell them, after all. John didn’t like that, he said that it’s easier for people to fool her that way. But she didn’t like asking around what those things are, because she was anxious about people thinking she was half-witted. Her sense of pride still boiled inside her despite her previous experiences. She thought that having pride will help her overcome the hardships, John agreed. Although he didn’t know everything that happened to Helene, all he knew was that it wasn't nice memories. That’s why he didn’t bother to question her as well. Rather, he would just try to listen to Helene, and God knows (he thought, for he was an avid man of faith) she might’ve said something about her past. He got a few puzzle-pieces from now and then, he knew, for example, that her parents were dead and that she was kidnapped by strange men. But what he didn't know was that she was the lost princess of The Kingdom of Kolan.Bookmark here

In the end, she didn’t get to sell the remaining candles and other stuff. But that was alright, she thought. Her earnings were already more than a day’s work. She’d best go to the butcher now and buy some meat. John would like it, and it would be good for his health. He’d been eating only vegetables and some porridge. It’s about time for dinner or near sundown, Ian sold a few of his carvings to which he got quite a few pennies. She thought someway she could repay Ian for his kindness earlier, perhaps she could give him some of the meat she was going to buy. She liked the idea, so she made a mental note about it. It was time to gather up all the stuff and head home before going to the butcher. She did all the tidying up herself, for Ian would also be doing his cleaning as well. She didn’t mind the heavy stuff, she believed it made her a little bit stronger, and therefore better for her health and courage.Bookmark here

While cleaning, she noticed the unusual graceful galloping of horses, probably from a higher ranking noble. She looked briefly trying to look if it were someone important: she saw the majestic horses, but also a white carriage. A carriage with some intricate woodwork and a coach driver with the royal family’s uniform. Royal family’s uniform! It must be the royal family, Helene thought. The carriage was about ten yards away and she couldn’t really see who was inside of it. She was curious, though. This was the reason why she wanted to be in this spot.Bookmark here

She wanted to go closer but she couldn’t possibly leave her stuff. “Uncle Ian, can you look after these?” She asked in a hurried manner. He didn’t get to reply to her as she sprinted towards the main street. It was about a few yards from her stand on to an intersection. It’s where the drawbridge towards the upper area was; going to the upper part of the kingdom. Ian looked at her while she ran towards the general direction of the carriage. Ian noticed no escorting horses, so he deduced that the person inside might not be the king or queen, but rather someone else. He didn’t know why she suddenly ran towards the carriage, but it seemed to him that she only wanted to get a gaze of a royal figure, as all kids do at some point.Bookmark here

As Helene got nearer, she noticed the elaborate curtains inside the carriage. A purple velvet textile with a few minor details, the coach driver looked at her with suspicious eyes. He readied to whip the horse on to a faster pace, but he knew that the girl looking in the carriage was only curious. Helene was, indeed, for she yelled towards it, she knew who might be inside: “Eleanor!”Bookmark here

The coach driver jerked himself with surprise and set the coursers to a faster gallop. Helene started to run with the carriage, and Ian looked with surprise with what she just did. It occurred to Ian that Helene was very mysterious as she really did nothing like what she was supposed to do as a girl her age. She had put herself too much out in the open, he thought. He wasn’t wrong. Girls her age usually play with other girls and probably go eyeing boys playing sports or practicing the sword or gun, but Helene wasn’t like that. He somehow liked that but at the same time, he was afraid of what society will think. He didn’t know whether she’ll be accepted by people or even be married. In a few years, it would be high time for her to be married and get children. But so far, he couldn’t see that happening. She had to change, he thought.Bookmark here

The carriage curtains flipped open, Helene could barely see who was inside but she knew for sure it was someone familiar. She hoped anyone would notice her, her voice probably. A figure, she noted, looked at her. She can’t quite pinpoint who it was but she could see the pretty and innocent-looking blue eyes that looked at her. Helene was slowly getting tired, she ran a good and tiring mile by now, and the carriage was only getting faster. The coach driver signaled for her to go away, holding his pistol on his side as a threat, but she insisted, so he yelled: “Go away, child!”Bookmark here

She didn’t listen but instead yelled again: “Eleanor!” She believed it was her, that person who was inside that carriage. She knew, for those purple velvet curtains were her favorite.Bookmark here

Helene lost her strength, she gradually slowed herself and the carriage left. The coach driver sighed in relief, slowed the horses a little, but Helene breathed heavily. She hadn’t run this much in years. Anyway, she decided to wait for the carriage to go back. If they went away, then she knew they must go back. She only didn’t know when. She deduced that this was the only way they would take, they were going out through the southern gates. The direction to the Kolan Kingdom.Bookmark here

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