Sighing deeply, Christophor looked outside the carriage windows. The guards were finalizing the route to Cerenia whilst the servants placed the boxes full of the prince’s items into the carriages. His eyes sought to find a comforting face – there were none -, only to see those of his personal guards.
“Rivan,” he called out after he opened the carriage window.
The armored guard broke away from the group he was in and made his way to the prince.
“Are my sisters coming to send me off?” Christophor asked, trying to mask the sadness in his voice.
“I’ll go check again. Do not worry Prince Christophor, I am sure they would come.” Rivan replied, bowing to take his leave.
The sun had yet to rise, the sky was still dark and yet half of the castle staff were already awake. Christophor had to leave today for Cerenia, it was a three-day journey, therefore, the King had instructed them to leave as early as possible.
Looking down at the white rose in his hand, he felt his heart ache. He would not be able to visit her again. Biting his lower lip, he closed his eyes as he felt the hot liquid gather at the corners of his eyes. He was going to miss this place; all the childhood memories, the days he spent with his mother practicing his violin.
“My violin!” he remembered.
Pushing open the carriage door, Christophor leapt out of the carriage and ran towards the palace. Forgotten, the white rose fell to the ground, stepped on by the servants hurrying to finish loading the baggage. A while later, the prince returned, holding onto a black case; a small smile on his face.
However, with the return of the guard, Christophor’s smile faded away as the command for the carriages to leave the castle ground and begin the journey sounded. As the heavy carriages passed, the white rose laid crumbled in the mud.
Lightening flashed in the distance, followed by a roar of thunder; the dark rain clouds loomed like a dark cloak shielding the sun. The horses neighed nervously as they continued on their ay to Cerenia; the carriages rocking vigorously as they traveled over the uneven country road.
Christophor sighed deeply as he turned away from the window and allowed the white-silk curtains fall back into place. They had been on the road for almost two days already, he was tired of staying in the carriage; he wanted to enjoy his surroundings before he reached the palace. Closing his eyes, Christophor recalled the times he used to have playing the violin for his sisters and his mother. Biting his lip, Christophor felt his eyes sting beneath his eyelids. Slowly, Christophor drifted off to slumber, allowing his siblings to invade his dreams…
“Your highness. Prince Christophor, its dinner time.” Came a soothing voice.
Unfocused, Christophor stirred from his sleep and looked at Rivan who was standing by the door beckoning him to leave the carriage. The scenery had changed, instead of the endless sea of lush green fields, large trees towered over them all. Little sunlight broke through the canopies, the voices of nature were far and few – Have we crossed the borders? Christophor asked himself.
Exiting the carriage, Christophor realized that the soldiers had already set up camp., fires had been started and the aroma of cooked lamb drifted towards him. His stomach growled deeply reminding him that he was hungry and that the lamb was waiting for him to consume.
“How long more to Cerenia?” Christophor asked as he approached his dining tent.
“If we travel without stopping at all, we would arrive at Cerenia by noon tomorrow. Otherwise, if we do stop to rest, we would arrive at Cerenia by sunset at most. “ Rivan replied as he pushed the flap away to allow Christophor to enter.
Settling down, Christophor sighed deeply. He could not escape what was installed for him. He looked at Rivan pitifully; hoping that he would be able to help him in any way. Yet, Rivan just smiled apologetically back at Christophor.
“Sit down and dine with me Rivan,” Christophor said, indicating the empty seat beside him.
“Shall I be nice and arrive at noon?”
“Christophor, it is not whether you want to or not you know you need to arrive there as early as possible, least the King gets unhappy.” Rivan replied, formalities missing from his voice as he gazed from the piece of lamb just given by one of the servants to his childhood best friend.
“I know… But, Rivan, the person I am betrothed to is a male!” Christophor cried out.
“I do not know how I am supposed to be like. I can grow to love a woman, but how am I supposed to love a fellow male?”
“Christophor, even if you tell me this, what can I do? I am only a soldier, I do not have the right to even have a say in a matter like this. All I can tell you is that, no matter what happens, I will always be there to protect you okay?” Rivan replied, smiling gently at the tearing boy.
“You better!” Christophor muttered as tears streamed down from his azure-blue irises.
“What are we doing here again may I ask?” Nathan asked, irritation etched upon his handsome features.
“Why must I be here? I’m also not the one getting married!” Damien – fifth and youngest child of the Cersario family – whined.
Beads of sweat rolled down the side of his face as a vein twitched in his jaw. Why did he have to come and welcome the damn enemy, and in this kind of weather. Not to forget, his head was throbbing painfully and the velvet covering him was killing him.
“Can you two be quiet? It is warm enough out here; your voices are making the situation even worse if you did not notice!” Davien – third son of the Cersario family – snapped.
“Damn it. If that bastard doesn’t get here right now, I’m going to kill him when I see him!” Anderes screamed within.
In the distance, a dark spot appeared as it made its way towards the royal siblings. The carriages and the royal guard were traveling at a very fast pace. In a matter of minutes, the entire convoy was just a few feet away from the royal siblings.
“Why isn’t it slowing down?” Elsie asked anxiously.
Just as she finished her question, the carriages and its guard raced past the royal siblings and sped towards the
“I am Rivan Henson, head of Prince Christophor’s own guard. My apologies for the sudden change of plan. Because of the sudden drastic change of climate, Prince Christophor has fallen ill. I have just instructed my men to send his highness to see a physician. I will see to it that Prince Christophor will enter the palace by nightfall.” Turning, Rivan replaced his helmet, remounted his horse and hurried off to catch up with the rest of the convoy.
“What the hell?’ Nathan muttered.
Chuckling to himself, Christophor lifted the white silk curtains slightly; they were leaving the ‘welcoming’ party behind. He watched as Rivan rode up by the carriage smirking at him as they shared a silent victory cheer as the convoy moved on.
“We did it!” Christophor laughed as he opened the window slightly.
“Yes, your highness, we did-“ Rivan replied before he was interrupted.
“Stop the carriage!” Anderes commanded as he pushed his horse forward.
Hearing this, the blood drained from Christophor’s face as he slammed the window shut. The last thing he saw was the frightened look in Rivan’s eyes. Falling back onto the seats, Christophor felt his mouth go dry as the carriage slowed to a stop. Beads of cold sweat rolled down the side of his face as he tried his best to calm his heart; it felt as though it was rising up through his throat and it made him breathless.
“May I ask what the problem may be, your highness?” Rivan asked.
“Open the door, ask your prince to come out and let me see him.” Anderes spat bitterly.
Hearing this, Christophor felt the tips of his fingers go numb. The temperature around him seemed to have dropped suddenly as his skin prickled with anxiety. He felt light-headed; small black dots were beginning to materialize out of nowhere; and they seemed to be dancing in front of his eyes.
“Prince Christophor is not feeling well, I’m afraid I can’t allow you to see him.” Rivan replied.
It started with just one, but in a split second, the sound of swords leaving their sheaths broke the silence. Outside, Rivan glanced at the tip of the sword at the base of his neck to the person holding it. His dark eyes were burning with ferocity. Around him, his fellow guards had drawn their swords as well, ready to fight the prince if he struck, similarly, the prince’s own guards and presumably his siblings had drawn their own swords, poised to attack.
“Open it.” Anderes ordered.
“Over my dead body, your highness.” Rivan snarled.
“I shall grant it then..!” Anderes muttered as he pushed the tip of his sword closer causing a slight red line to appear.
Rivan glared at Anderes with hate-filled eyes when the opening of the carriage door attracted their attentions. Eyes followed the pale-looking teen that climbed slowly out of the carriage. Christophor was covered in cold sweat. His throat was mighty dry, his lips pale and chapped. His brows furrowed as he tried his best to cling on to the carriage door for support.
Glaring weakly at Anderes then the others, he said “And you must be the one who asked for my presence, the one who threatened my personal guard with death? For what reason may I inquire? For not allowing you to see me?” tucking his fringe behind his ear. His voice was tired, but he showed no sign of being frightened, even in the midst of an entire group of armed assailants-to-be.
“Your highness!” Rivan yelled before Anderes stopped him by pushing his sword forward enlarging the red line.
Anderes eyed Christophor suspiciously before Rivan pushed him aside to reach his best friend who had just collapsed into a coughing fit.
“Rivan, I think I am really sick…” Christophor muttered weakly.
“It’s fine Chris, do not worry, I’ll get you to a physician right away,” Rivan uttered as he carried his prince and best friend and laid him back down within the carriage. “If you are done causing enough harm, his highness has to be looked at now. We shall be going now.” Rivan said matter-of-factly as he closed the carriage door, ignoring the other party totally before climbing back onto his horse.