The world is a cruel place… only for those who succeed and can actually do anything, I thought bitterly as I clutched the hilt of my sword, nothing is ever easy. I hated myself and what I had to do… It wasn’t like I had a choice though. That’s how things were, you followed orders, you obeyed tradition, and you yielded to the counsel of those older than you.
“If you want to move up in the world, fill your destiny, take your rightful place in the world…” Honestly I couldn’t for the life of me remember what they had said about what I was about to do and what it would do for my future… what I was about to do was it really written in my destiny? The things the king and his advisers said had always made sense but this didn’t feel right… After they told me what my duty was I stopped listening… All I could feel was the throbbing pounding in my chest. Even now I could barely get passed the ache in my heart. It was like the world around me was no longer real, everything seemed wrong and out of place, way too calm. The world had no idea what was about to happen, people went by their day… well night, not even thinking about an outcome like the one that was about to ensue. They had no idea what misfortune and pain was going to affect them tomorrow when they woke up. Who knew something I was going to do was going to destroy an entire kingdom… worst part… how much it’s going to destroy me.
Most of my assignments were about people I didn’t know, small things that didn’t affect lots of people.
The hallways seemed so short yet so long. I counted the steps it took to get to my destination… I already knew how many steps it took to get to her chamber… I counted them already when we had our secret rendezvous… when things were simpler, so simple… I wanted to turn around so bad.
My mind went through another list of questions… What am I going to say? Will she accept it? Am I going to cry? Will this be easier than I expect? I felt sick… nothing is going to hurt more in the world than seeing her face, seeing her reaction. I looked out a window… I could just jump and run away… or not catch myself… I winced, I had to do what I was told, I couldn’t not listen. On the other hand Her and I could just run away, start another life, one that wasn’t so complicated. Without people who tell you what to do, people who only think about themselves and how everything will affect them. I took a deep breath… It was so perfect, so simple at the beginning, it was innocent and untarnished… Now it was like everyone wanted to see it fail to see it fall through to have complete control.
All too soon I found myself standing in front of her door. Looking down the corridor I had to fight my feet, I wanted to run away so bad, I just wanted to protect her, I wanted to be with her, never let her feel pain ever again, she had been my responsibility for what feels like a lifetime. A very sweet beautiful lifetime, I never thought it would end… yet here I am… about to destroy everything.
I stood outside that oak door for what felt like hours… I fought and fought with myself. I couldn’t do it, I had to walk away. I turned faster than I expected, relief fluttered through my body. Then I heard the door open behind me, stupid stupid, I should have ran faster.
“I thought it was you I heard!” Came the sweet melodious tone of the princess. I turned shocked to see her. “You look terrified! Have you seen a ghost?” I swallowed hard not answering her… she was gorgeous, her smile lit up the world around her, the air felt so energized. Everything about her seemed to be so perfect, so sweet, fragile, beautiful, elegant, graceful, calm… I hated everything about it. I hated the way her smile made me feel happy, I hated how her eyes seemed to offer me comfort, I hated her and I felt sick because of it. She didn’t deserve this, it wasn’t her fault I felt like this, it was there fault. “Well if it is something dangerous you’ve seen! You better get in before we are both in danger!” She said hurriedly pretending to be concerned and afraid, she let out a giggle then darted from her room to grab my arm and try to drag me in. She grabbed my right wrist and gave it a tug. I clutched my sword but let everything else relax, making it so her tug unsheathed my blade. She stopped and looked down at the shining metal, I could feel the fear and anguish that suddenly consumed her, she didn’t like my sword, she never had, because she knew what it did, but this time she knew and understood way more than just that, she knew what I was supposed to do. She lifted her face to look me directly in the eyes, we talked without saying a word, it felt like she understood the reason more than I did, she accepted it more than I did. Suddenly all the anxiety was wiped away and she replaced it with an encouraging smile, “Come on! I know you want to be my knight in shining armor but let me save you this once!” She took a step forward and kissed my cheek, I had to look away from her to keep from crying. It hurt so bad but I couldn’t let her see that, I had to be strong! I have to be everything she needs… Suddenly the castles armor felt heavy and I felt weak and small. I was conflicted between my loyalty to the crown or my loyalty to the person I loved. Soon she had drug me in her room, her long flowing robe, trailed behind her like mist, small sparkles glitter in the moonlight.
Her room was large and felt like home to me. I looked around, it was warm and inviting yet cool and comfortable, chairs were set up exactly like they had been every time I came in. Usually this room made me feel safe and made me happy… but none of those emotions felt like they existed anymore, all I felt was anguish, pain, desperation for the things lost in the past. Looking over at her, she had just sat down on her plush bed, the worst part was that she had no idea how much this was hurting me, she’d have been so concerned if she did.
“I…” Why wont my words come out? I couldn’t talk to her… I just couldn’t.
“I know.” She got up and walked towards me. I wanted her to stop, so desperately wanted her to run away from me, I was a monster… or was going to be.
“No, I don’t think you do.” I choked on my words, as she lifted my chin so I looked her in the face.
“No, I do.” She grabbed my hand that was restring on my still half unsheathed sword, it felt cool and gently, I wanted to relax under her touch, but something about the way she held it told me I couldn’t. She gave it another tug and pulled it completely out, the sword felt so heavy… like the blood that had been spilled on it was still there “I messed up… I put the entire kingdom in danger and shamed my entire family… there is no more room for me here, that’s the law… You tarnish your family name then… I was actually waiting for this night… I just didn’t think it was going to be you.” those words, her soft voice, they hurt so bad.
“We could just run away.” my voice sounded more desperate than I wanted it to, I knew it wasn’t going to work… I felt so helpless, so desperate. What I was thinking about was treasonous…
“No that won’t work” She shook her head, her hair fell loosely around her shoulders, I wanted to run my fingers through it, bury my face in it, smell it once more… just one more time. I found myself begging the world pleading desperately for it. “You were told to do this, it’s your duty, if you don’t they will never stop hunting us, we will never be happy… and I don’t want you to sacrifice your future for me.” Why did she have to be right… My path in life was to be the head commander of the army and guards. I had been told all my life that I had to do that no matter the cost… It had been ground into me… I couldn’t fail… or could I?
“I can’t…” you’re the most important thing to me… you are my future… or that’s what I had hoped.
“Yes, you can” She smiled encouragingly at me again, that sweet smile… I could feel the tears threatening me… I had to be strong. She leaned forward and pressed her lips against mine, they were so soft, so familiar… it was so sad. I couldn’t help myself any longer, I pulled her in and kissed her, the passion felt so real, it hurt so bad. I kissed her as hard as I could. I wished I could turn back time, I wished this wasn’t the last time. I wanted to collapse into her and sob until I couldn’t feel anything.
It ended too soon, I went to take a step back, I couldn’t do it… I couldn’t take her life. But she caught me and whispered, “Coward.” She smiled after just to make sure I knew it was a joke, but it didn’t matter, she could have told me she hated me and it wouldn’t have mattered, and it certainly wouldn’t have prepared me or made what happened next any better.
Suddenly she knocked my sword up so the point was pointing straight at her then with all her strength she grabbed the top of my armor by my neck and yanked me at her, like she was going to hug me… but instead I felt my sword cut through her frail body all too easily. She pressed herself against me, hindered form going all the way by the hilt of my own weapon. The same sword I had used to protect her, now… was sticking out of her back covered in blood, slick and wet…
She gasped in my ear then choked a bit, struggling for air. I was stunned, numb… it had all happened so fast, I didn’t know what to think. I grabbed her shoulder with my left hand as she went limp, I couldn’t hold her body up, it was like there was so much weight I couldn’t take it, I sank to the floor slowly and laid her on the ground. I looked but didn’t see and I didn’t understand, I couldn’t comprehend what had happened.
All I saw was my own sword protruding from her abdomen, crimson blood soaking her white silk nightgown, a pool gathering under her. I looked down at my hands, they too were covered in blood. My armor, what I once wore so proudly, now was tarnished with her life…
The reality suddenly hit me. I grabbed the sword and pulled it from her and threw it across the room, my breathing was rocky and sharp like I couldn’t physically take in air.
I couldn’t help it anymore I cried, and I cried as hard as I had ever cried before, everything felt so heavy, everything I loved had just fell apart around me. My hands shook as I pulled her limp body onto my lap… she still choking on blood, her eyes fluttered open and shut, I could tell she was in pain… she was dying… I wiped the hair from her face as I sobbed. “Please don’t go… Please… I need you… You can’t leave me…” I didn’t care that I was now just blabbering “Please…” I whispered one more time. Her body convulsed and all of a sudden there seemed to be a weird moment of life and calm go through her. She smiled up at me… Her sweet smile… the one I had kissed so many times… now covered in blood.
“I love you…” She whispered weakly, she was going… fading out… leaving me all alone to live with what had happened. I opened my mouth to say something but just shook my head and opened my mouth like a fish out of water. I was now choking on my tears and groaning like an animal in pain. She picked up her weak frail hand and grasped my trembling one, she pressed it against her cheek, it was slickened by the tears I hadn’t even noticed her crying.
“I can’t do it…” I sobbed, tremors wracked my body, I tried so desperately to inhale but the air wouldn’t flow through.
“You are so strong…” her smile weakened, faltered “I knew you could do it… it doesn’t hurt that bad… honest” fell. Her smile was gone and so was the last moments of life. I couldn’t do it anymore. I was supposed to keep her safe from everything! Supposed to stop any harm from happening… except there was nothing to save her from me… the real threat. I barely recognized myself screaming “no” in agony. Begging the world to let me have her back! I pulled her even closer to me and I buried my face in her hair, sobbing, kissing her head gently.
“Please, please…I didn’t mean it… I’m sorry… They told me to… They told me to do this…” I felt so sick! So hopeless, my entire world was gone… They had used me like a pawn. They knew I had been close to her and wouldn’t let anyone hurt her… but they also knew my loyalty to the crown was strong… and they knew her sense of honor, truth and duty were even stronger… it was the perfect combination… they had set us up on purpose they knew what they were doing… but why… why’d it have to me… why did it have to be her? Her body was still warm in my arms… I rocked back and forth… holding her close… why… why…
“Why… why… why…”