It all started at the beginning of summer. The sun gently kissed the skin of everyone and the breeze was light yet refreshing. The Prince had been on a business trip to Mystaria, a Kingdom foreign to him. Somehow he ended up at a show and he saw a beautiful woman dancing on the stage. Her dazzling dance seemed to lure him. He had been so entranced by her that he just had to speak with her. Her name was Amara. The two got along great and had spent tons of time together. They often went on double dates with Amara’s roommate Cleo, and her boyfriend Cairo. Cleo was more than Amara’s roommate, the two had been best friends since childhood. Cleo had first met Cairo because of Amara. Cairo was a musician who often accompanied Amara’s dancing.

The four of them had grown close over the course of just 2 months. They’d go to all the best local spots to sightsee and eat. That was when she was happiest. But looking back at her life now she couldn’t fully grasp the idea that she once could be so happy. It all felt like a distant dream. She had finally come out of her room today. Not that it felt like hers. Not with all the foreign items decorating the room. None of it was familiar but they were beautiful nonetheless.

She stared off into space remembering better days. Then the door to her room burst open. “It is her majesty the Queen!” A man announced, a tall woman comes walking into the room. Clack! Clack! Clack! The sound of her heels combined with the silence makes the air in the room feel heavy. The man repeated her title after loudly clearing his throat.
The confused girl guessed that she was expected to speak first despite the Queen being the one who came to her first. “Queen? Wouldn’t that make you Darien’s mother? It’s so nice to finally meet you!” She says bowing her head a little just to be respectful.

The woman does not smile back, she only gives a stare cold enough to freeze the ocean. Her gaze was full of utter disdain as she looked the young girl up and down. She finally began to speak, “I guess my son is at that age where he likes pretty things. I wonder how long you can hold his affection before he leaves you for one of the more attractive women.”
The woman’s words were frigid but they did not bother the girl too much. She continued to stare blankly at the Queen while listening to the lecture about how a Queen would never allow her son to take a gold digger as his bride. “I think there’s been a misunderstanding.” the girl finally managed to let out as her patience began to run thin.

But the cold woman would not let up. “You speak English well for you to have come from the middle of God knows where.” Before anything else could be said the Queen left the room. Shortly after the sounds of her clacking heels had faded they were replaced by the sound of a frantic boy running down the halls.

“I heard my mother came here. Did she offend you?” He asked, breathing heavily.
“Don’t worry. It was nothing I couldn’t handle, Darien. But she did go into detail about why we shouldn’t be in a relationship.” she admitted.
Darien’s eyes widened “She said that to you?” He asked before sitting down beside her and apologizing.

The girl only sighed as she wondered if the boy sitting next to her had always let his mother control his life. “Yeah, I pity the woman you marry,” she said before resting her head on her pillow; still haunted by The Queen’s scary aura. The two weren’t in any romantic relationship like his mother had assumed. The truth was much more depressing.

They’d remember that night as if it were yesterday. It was past midnight and although the stars were twinkling especially bright, the wind was howling like a mad dog. The girl had been asleep but was awakened by the screaming coming from the kitchen. Then “BOOM.” The screaming had stopped, but she was now wide awake. “What was that?” she questioned aloud.
Panicked, she searched for her glasses so she could take a look at what was going on. “I’ll go check. Stay here.” Cairo volunteered as he handed her the glasses. She had forgotten that he stayed the night to help work on the upcoming performance. The room looked clearer and she almost felt safer. That is until she heard crashing sounds from outside the door. She tiptoed closer and peeked out the door.

There was a group of men dressed in all black. They each carried weapons. One had gripped Cairo by his hair and pointed a gun to his head. “Where’s the other girl?” He asked. Cairo didn’t reply. The girl’s gaze fell on her roommate’s bloody hand laying on the ground. She couldn’t bring herself to look any further. “Come on I’ll let you go if you tell me now. Either way, I’m gonna get to her.” The man tried again. But Cairo didn’t say a word instead he hummed a sweet melody as he closed his eyes. As much as I wanted to jump out and save him it had reminded me of the reality of the situation. What could I do besides get both of us killed. “Kill him.” The man finally said.

“Boom.” she flinched as Cairo’s blood splattered across the room. She wanted to scream or do anything but she was too scared. She stepped back and ran inside the wardrobe. Covering her mouth she prayed and begged God so that she wouldn’t be killed. She heard the footsteps entering the room slowly, then a series of thunderous banging noises. She quickly looked for something to use as a weapon, the only thing she found was a bottle of wine. She heard a voice yelling. “Amara!” it seemed to say but she could barely focus on anything other than waiting for the door to open.

Then it did, and she swung that bottle with as much force as her arms would allow. “Hey hey hey wait, it’s me.” A familiar voice said as he tried calming her.
“Darien?” She asked. He wrapped his arms around her as she dropped the glass bottle.
“Yeah, it’s me. Cleo, you’re gonna be okay now.” He said reassuringly. She lifted her head to look at him as tears filled her eyes. She opened her mouth to speak even though her throat felt like it was burning.

“Amara and Cairo…they…they need help. We need to call a doctor, we can still save them.” Cleo said trying to stand up, but Darien wouldn’t let her.
Cleo could tell he was crying too now. “Please, stop. Cleo, they’re both gone already,” he told her. Deep down she had already known that but she didn’t want to hear it. She had hoped they’d somehow be alright. The two cried in each other’s arms until their tears had dried up.

Darien invited Cleo to come back to his home with him since it was too dangerous for either of them with the people behind the attack still being a mystery. She agreed after some discussion and the two planned to escape together while a few of Darien’s men stayed to handle things.

After she finished packing her things she also swiped some of Amara’s things and even Cairo’s guitar. She just wanted to make sure she’d always remember them, no matter what. After she handed the heavy chests to Darien’s men she went to take one last look at Amara’s corpse then at Cairo’s. They looked like the hallowed shells of what were once two beautiful burning souls. “They had families that loved them,” Cleo said as she clenched her fist. “Amara’s mother may not have liked that Amara was a dancer but she always supported her. She’d even bring us food in case we got hungry. And Cairo’s niece loves him so much, how will his brother and sister-in-law explain this to her?”

Darien placed his hand on Cleo’s shoulder. “I’ll make sure their families are well taken care of,” he said quietly. “Do you want us to let your family know you’re leaving?” He asked. Cleo hesitated then lifted her head from the ground.
“Uhh, what’s that?” she said staring at a corner of the ceiling. There was a dark blue crystal protruding from the shadows.

Darien followed her gaze. “That’s weird. It looks like a recording crystal but what would one of those be doing here? Advanced tech magic like this is rare and expensive.” He questioned.

Cleo gasped. “Oh right! Amara is pretty famous you know, people bring her gifts and money all the time. Cairo had told her to buy it as a security measure. She must’ve set it up just before the attack!”. Cleo rushed closer to the crystal. She stepped onto the kitchen counters to grab it. “It must’ve had a real good view,” she said. But before the two could even look at it they heard a stampede of horses approaching.

“It must be the knights, we need to leave now,” Darien said grabbing Cleo’s hand. The two ran out the back door and after a few weeks of traveling together, they’d finally reached Darien’s home, Genesis. “I’m sorry I wasn’t honest about being a Prince. Anyway, I think you should use a fake name from now on.” He told her.

Cleo blinked slowly as she took in the huge Palace. “There’s no need, my name’s already a fake. Actually, you don’t know me very well so you’d better not try anything.” Darien was taken aback as her words were colder than what he was used to. Cleo turned to face him and her familiar smile crept its way back onto her face. “And don’t worry about it, everyone has their secrets.”

This brings us back to the present day. Cleo had been staying with Darien for a little bit now, he even gave her a few personal maids. In the beginning, neither of the two ate or slept much, but now they’d eat every meal together. “What time are we going to meet that Crystal Caller?” Cleo asked as she stuffed her mouth with cake.

“Later this evening.” Darien had answered her without looking up from the stack of papers he was reviewing. She loudly sighed before slouching further in the chair. Although they still had the recorder crystal that Amara set up, they couldn’t view what was recorded without the help of this Crystal Caller. All of this just because they weren’t the owners of it. Darien had paid a very hefty sum so they would keep the meeting and its contents a secret. After the sunset, the two snuck out the palace walls and ventured deep into the capital of Genesis. “We’re here,” Darien said motioning towards a shop. The sign on the front read “Crystal Cavern”. The two walked inside. The only person in the shop was an elderly-looking man.

“Are you the Crystal Caller?” Cleo asked. The man turned around slowly before leaping at them. The two stumbled back and screamed. By the time Darien had pulled his sword out the old man was already gone. “Was it a ghost?” Cleo asked Darien. Before he could answer there was a loud cackle. The two stuck close together as they tried to figure out where it was coming from, but soon the cackling turned into giggling. They looked at each other, then in the direction of the giggling.

There was a little girl with braided red hair sitting on the countertop. “That was so funny! You were scared weren’t you?” She began laughing loudly again. Darien was so shocked he didn’t know what to do. The girl noticed his sword was still pointed at her and giggled. “Don’t worry, it was only an illusion crystal. I’ve had my fun so I’ll help you two now. This will be a piece of cake.”

Cleo pulled out the crystal and gave it to the red-haired girl. As soon as it was in her hands the viewing began and they could see everything that happened that night. “I want to hear their conversation,” Cleo said when she saw the group of men dressed in black again. In reality, a lot of the men had run away when Darien and his men came but they had managed to capture a few. Darien and Cleo often went down to question them. But even when they used the more barbarian methods, they never got anything useful. So she knew that they weren’t really there but her anger burned nonetheless.

The three spent a long time going through the recordings. Then it finally clicked when they heard what one guy had said. “I can’t believe two customers wanted the same group dead, we get twice the money for half the work. The royal families really are dirty.” Darien and Cleo stopped the red head’s viewing. They didn’t need to see anymore.

The thoughts they each kept buried surfaced all at once. “It’s all my fault.” They both thought. They said their farewells and left. They walked through the near-empty streets of the darkened city. “I’m sorry-” they both began to say.

“I’m the one who didn’t tell you all I was a Prince!” He says.

“And I’m the one who still never told you or even Cairo that I’m a frickin Princess!” She hushed her voice on that last word. Darien stopped in his tracks. Cleo wondered how angry he would be, but was surprised when he grabbed her hand and began running.

“Someone’s following us.” He said. The two ran from the mysterious person chasing after them. Cleo began cursing the mysterious figure under her breath and objects in the street began randomly flying towards the assailant. Darien pulled Cleo into a narrow alleyway. She could feel him breathing as his body and hers squeezed between the walls. He became flustered at the realization that he could feel her chest pressing against him.

“Where’d they go?” A voice said. The two recognized this voice, it was Darien’s half-brother, Byron. “You should have done the job right back in Mystaria. I need them dead so let’s search quickly,” he said. The footsteps grew closer to the alleyway. Then suddenly Cleo grabbed Darien closer and kissed him. Byron was embarrassed to catch two people kissing and hurriedly walked away.

When the two got back to the Palace they could barely look each other in the eye. “I have a plan but we would need to get married.” Cleo began. Hearing the half-baked plan Darien still agreed. Darien’s mother became on board with the rushed wedding immediately after learning Cleo was the Princess of Mystaria.

The wedding finally came and the Queen had made sure it’d be grand. Cleo walked down the aisle by herself and came to a stop in front of Darien. “I know I’m not as pretty as Amara would’ve been in this dress,” Cleo whispered apologetically.

Darien leaned close to her ear and told her “You are beautiful in every way.” An obviously flustered Cleo tried hard to conceal her expression. After the ceremony was over, Darien and Cleo had an announcement to make. “Now that we’ve married, We have decided to go to Mystaria and join our two kingdoms by having my new bride take the throne. We also would like to lock my traitorous brother in the Dungeons for now.” Darien’s voice was loud and stern when making his argument which is different from what Cleo normally saw. There were numerous things to prepare and many officials did not agree with their decisions but in the end, the plan went through anyway.

Darien and Cleo traveled back to Mystaria, with enough soldiers to wage a war. Although they left most of the soldiers outside the city. “Are you sure we should be seeing your parents alone?” Darien asked as the two stood waiting for her parents to come.

“They won’t hurt me, and if they try to hurt you we can always fight back,” Cleo reassured him.

“That’s disappointing to hear sweetheart.” Cleo’s dad said entering the room.

“Oh, she’s just joking dear. What can she do when she never even awakened her power.” Cleo’s mom said.

“Cut the crap. I know you hired men to kill Amara and Cairo.” Cleo said. “So I’m here to relieve you both of your positions; the nice way.”

Cleo’s mom looked shocked. “Oh my, you must be so sad. I can take the pain away just come here. You won’t remember them soon enough.” she said reaching out to Cleo.

“Stay away from me!” Cleo yelled. “I knew it. You’re trying to use your powers on me.”

Cleo’s dad cleared his throat. “Of course, it’s not as if it’s the first time. Every royal family member on this earth gets power and your selfless mother uses hers to protect you from the world. That Amara girl was a bad influence and the music boy wasn’t good enough for you.” he said. “Neither is he!” he yelled while pulling his sword out and charging towards Darien.

Cleo used her newfound power before he could even reach him. Everyone else in the room flew just as the objects had that night in the street. “I’ll make sure your prison is comfy since you two are my parents after all. Then maybe you’ll see how I felt all these years,” Cleo said as her soldiers took her parents to be temporarily locked in their bedroom. Taking over the kingdom wasn’t that hard since Cleo had support from loyalists who thought her parents went too far and from people who just were happy that their kingdom would join hands with the rich and advanced Genesis.

A few days passed and things seemed to calm down. Cleo’s parents were treated well as prisoners given their status. The same could not be said about Darien’s half-brother who was killed for being found guilty of treason. Many other Kingdoms either sent congratulatory gifts to Cleo and Darien to get on their good side or sent letters that warned them not to act rashly. The news of their marriage alliance must’ve had spread quickly. Whatever others thought it was now irrefutable that the two had become a power couple birthing a Kingdom that was a force to be reckoned with.

“Wow, that’s a lot of paperwork!” Darien exclaimed.

Cleo sighed deeply without looking up. “Yes, the duties of a Queen never seem to end.”
Darien smiled “Well maybe I can be of some help.” Cleo finally looked up from the paperwork and realized that Darien was now towering over her. He turned her chair to face him and leaned in to kiss her. The two kissed passionately before she pushed him away. The fear and embarrassment began to rise in Darien “Oh I’m sorry, I just-”

Cleo stopped him from apologizing. “No no no it’s not that,” she said while waving her arms. “It’s just that I think they’d be proud of us and how we managed to find our happiness in each other.” she finished. Darien smiled and his eyes lit up again as he heard her words. She thought he kind of looked like a puppy this way so Cleo stroked his hair and the two exchanged kisses sweetly. Although Amara and Cairo had died gruesome deaths, they would not let that mark the end of their lives for the sake of their people. This was just the beginning for the kingdom that rose from blood. {The End}

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March 14, 2022 3:27 am

I like this story because it has a good ending and even though they had people die, they did not let people get in the way of their happiness.

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