The wind grew as if in response to her heart beat, hitting her face blowing her hair back. She leaned over the railing looking at the streets so far yet so close. The fire from the recent explosion allowed her to see only shadows of the rebels and soldiers fighting. The soldiers were retreating. Somehow, the rebels were winning against the royal soldiers, armed and trained to be the best guardians in the world.The smoke was clearing and the moon - full moon as she predicted - was in plain sight. An explosion got her grabbing onto the railing as the entire castle shook from the impact, followed by cheers. That was something she didn't expect to hear in her lifetime. People shouting and laughing and cheering and without looking, she knew what happened. The rebels broke through the castle walls. Although from her balcony she could easily see the city streets, the castle was made with walls so thick that it would take much more than just explosions to destroy. It would take more than catapults and ballistae. What were the rebels using? She didn't dare take her eyes of the fighting, of the rebels now leading a charge towards the castle, the royal soldiers retreating. She could hear the clanking of armour and heavy footsteps on stone moving towards her room. She didn't bother turning around. If the rebels truly managed to damage the wall, even slightly, then the guards would be here to either escort her away or protect her room.
The door swung open just as another explosion sounded and the castle shook again. "Your Royal Highness, we were sent by the King to escort you towards the secret passage in case the rebels break through. It's a ma-" but before the soldier with greying hair and beard finished speaking she interrupted him. "No." She only looked over her soldier for a second before scanning the city looking for the explosions or whatever the rebels were using to attack the castle. They can't possibly be using th- "His Majesty said you are to be escorted no matter what happens. It is for your own safety". It was then that she realised that there is no way the rebels could have broken the lines fast enough to attack from this side of the castle. She strode towards her dresser before she stopped herself looking to the side of her room. There was one other thing she learnt from the meeting her father summoned her to. Her birthday was to be coming soon and they planned to end the rebellion on that very day. In honour of her celebration, her mother prepared a dress for her. A dress she naturally refused to wear and told the handmaiden that she would personally execute her if she told her to 'at least try it' one more time. So as a compromise, she promised she'd wear a dress designed by the tailor of her mother's choosing as long as she got to choose which dress. She didn't dislike dresses, she loved them as a child, she merely didn't care for how uncomfortable and over the top most of them were. She chose a dress that was designed for longer journeys, meaning that it was much more comfortable and simple than the other gowns. It was made from midnight blue linen that was tied tightly around the chest with a golden ribbon that was left loosely hanging in the front of the dress. The dress had a large skirt that began slightly above the hips and gathered neatly on the floor. It wasn't layered and didn't require crinoline making it one of the best options. The sleeves were like the ones of a bliaut, very wide and covering almost her entire hands except for the tips of her fingers. They were longer at the back and embroidered with golden lace at the very end. The middle of the dress was separated with two golden stripes travelling from the neck down and the middle under the golden ribbon was snow white. The dress was finished with a large loose hood, the edge also embroidered with golden lace - great for hiding anyone's face. The dress would definitely pull attention to her but it could also help her blend in with the other nobles left in the castle. She didn't bother warning the 2 guards as she threw off her nightgown and started dressing, making sure to take more time than she usually would. Before she even managed to take the dress off of the mannequin she heard the door of her room slam close and a very colourful language of the guards. One would think that they'd use different vocabulary in a life threating situation than their everyday complaining but apparently that is not the case - still the same.
She looked through the balcony one last time before walking through the door. The rebels surrounded the castle the soldiers attacking mostly with aerial weapons. Another advantage- castle walls and weapons of all kinds. yet the rebels were still pushing - how? Her skirt was flowing behind her as she walked past the guards heading towards the not-so-secret tunnel which she has seen multiple times when she explored the castle as a child. The guards cursed under their breaths as they struggled to keep up her pace. The castle shook every couple of seconds and some of the windows were near breaking as they walked through the empty hallways. The walk lasted for about 5 minutes and she knew the secret passage was just behind a corner when she pressed a hand to her leg and - shit. She stopped in her tracks suddenly feeling the ever-present anger rise again. The dagger that she has hidden under her skirt wasn't there meaning that she must have lost it on the way. She didn't ever use the golden rimmed dagger however she definitely didn't trust the soldiers to protect her if the rebels showed up. The dagger wouldn't do much damage however at least she could feel better knowing she'd hurt them as much as she could before they took her down. After years of waiting for death to escape the maddening stillness, she wouldn't truly care if she died. The world will return to normal again but now she finally found another path in the labyrinth and she planned to explore it. "I'll be right back. Don't. Follow" and with that, she ran back to her room.
She didn't make it two corridors before she heard screams, 3 pairs of footsteps, clashing steel and two desperate pleads 'Spare us' was the last thing the two ever so familiar voices said before she ran even faster. She only had to make it to her room and - she stepped on her skirt and without having the chance to catch herself fell to the floor. She put her hands out to stop the fall, sending shooting pain up her left arm. Her heart beating fast and adrenaline coursing through her veins she ignored the pain, stood up and held her skirt as she ran up the stairs to her room. It wasn't long before she heard screaming somewhere in the castle, however, that was the least of her problems. The running footsteps that she heard since leaving the secret passage were getting closer and she was much slower than she'd like to be with the dress slowing her down. She wouldn't like to admit that she didn't truly exercise in the last 10 years except for some weekly, particularly slow, jogging to keep her appearances as the beautiful daughter that could be sold to the best political ally. Her lungs burned and she cursed through her teeth as she climbed the last set of stairs, staring at the still open door to her room. She found the dagger lying halfway across the corridor which she practically lunged for as she heard the footsteps climb the stairs right behind her. She didn't dare look back as she ran but now she turned around as she backed away into her room. Her hair still loose around her were reaching below her collarbones before she flicked them away preparing to meet whoever followed her. She glanced at the clock which now showed 4:58. Has it really been that long since she woke up? This was the first time that time went by too fast. The figure finally appeared at the top of the stairs, his face hidden by a hood. She almost laughed as the violet hood with black embroidery fell back to reveal the boy she has now seen three times. There was a fresh scar above his brow, blood running down the side of his face, his loose hair stuck to his face from sweat and blood. He was still just as pale as the first time she saw him but did indeed gain some healthy weight and his eyes weren't showing fear or anxiety - but rage. She caught his stare and his eyes caught her off guard. His left eye appeared to be violet in the light while the right was bright green almost glowing in the dark. She took a step back towards the balcony arch when the first ray of the sun shone through the night. His violet eye now looked look blue and it surprised her once again just how intense the colour was. His eyes, however, were bloodshot accompanied by large purple rings underneath. "Princess"
She raised her dagger with both hands, steady and calm. It wasn't fear, she wasn't afraid of dying, it was exhaustion that made the dagger feel heavy in her arms and set her hands trembling. "Leave." Her voice was surprisingly calm and clear. Just like the day in the library. How long ago was that? "Leave and you may keep your life" A laugh. Short and bitter and practically spat as an insult. "Keep my life. What is it worth when I have weeks, maybe months, left in pain and suffering." He took a step towards her and raised his shortsword. His hands were bruised and bleeding, his nails broken but still - not shaking. "No, I don't want my life, I want revenge. I want to make sure you suffer just like every person living under your rule." He took another step forward and her back pressed against the stone railing. When did she move? "And maybe when your lovely parents realise what their daughter has to go through, they'll finally try and find a cure for the plague." She did laugh then. Just as short and bitter as his was. Did he truly think that her parents would care? That was their great plan? The world deserves to burn if that's the best plan the rebels could think off. "That's the most pathetic plan I've heard. You could have gone and sat on your ass because you won't achieve anything by infecting me you can be sure of that." His eyes narrowed staring into her eyes, searching for the bluff that wasn't there. Her steel grey eyes remained on his, taunting him. "We'll see". And before she managed to move out of the way, his blade was on her throat pushing her against the railing. She held his stare as she angled the dagger into his gut. "You want to stab me? Go ahead, at least you'll get infected faster. Either way, I'm not making it out alive" His face was inches away from hers, his voice deep but slightly hysterical - possibly the plague. "I guess the same goes for me" and she meant it. She was going to shove the dagger deep into his gut. She was going to make sure that the bastard's going to go down with her. But again, he was too fast and before she got her chance he grabbed both of her arms, his blade hitting the floor with a loud crash. How is he so fast? He laughed then. Yes, hysterical. She stared at him. If she wasn't already infected she would be in a matter of seconds. The plague was extremely easy to spread. That's why she only interacted with 4 people in the last years - 2 of them dead and 2 missing. He leaned in closer to whisper into her ear "A goodnight kiss for the Princess then?" and she could have sworn she would have killed him with a thought alone at that moment if he wasn't faster. He placed a ghost of a kiss on her cheek, his lips warm and definitely unwelcome against her skin. She let some of that leashed anger out then. Just enough to make sure she could hold back later, so she wouldn't break completely, and pushed him away making him trip but otherwise stay on his feet. She grabbed the dagger from the ground and lunged for his throat fast and wild. He ducked out of the way a hint of a laugh on his face - the bastard was laughing at her. She tried again twisting her blade low in the last second. She hit then. She didn't do any major damage - a small cut just below his shoulder - but damage anyway. When she lunged the third time he used her momentum to turn them around placing himself next to the balcony. Before she could get her next strike he turned around and jumped over the railing disappearing out of sight. She ran to the edge, only to find him ziplining on a rope towards the rebels still fighting outside. They were retreating and the royal guard was finally reclaiming the streets outside. She put one leg on the railing, letting out a sharp breath as pain shot through her side, before stepping up with the other. She stared at the attacker and her exhaustion hit her fully. She looked over the edge and wasn't sure if jumping now wouldn't be easier than waiting for the plague to hit her. Her eyelids were slowly closing and she decided that she'd let fate decide as she passed out.
225 days left