what if the words in a book could take you to another place - literally?
Chapter Six ~ Leylina
It was a beautiful day. In fact, it was often a beautiful day in the kingdom. Leylina leaned over the rail of her balcony and indulged in the beauty of her magnificent view.
“It truly is beautiful, isn’t it?” Leylina said, stroking the raven. It had accompanied her even as she had exited the cave. “I don’t know why father would leave such a paradise.”
She tried to remind herself that, if her mother was correct, her father did not leave, but rather vanished altogether. But it was hard. Her father’s disappearance being caused by him leaving her mother seemed the most obvious scenario, even if her mother, the Queen, was too scared to admit it herself.
“‘Your father loved this place so much, darling Leylina. Too much to have just left.’ That’s what my mother is constantly telling me,” Leylina said to the raven. “But then I ask her - ‘What about you? Surely he loved you, and his daughter, of course!’ She always says the same thing: ‘Leylina, my dear - if he has left, he would have done so for a good reason. And good men make sacrifices for good reasons. And if that means giving up the company of his family and the place he loves, then so be it.’” Leylina gave a heavy sigh.
“I miss him, raven. I miss my father, I really do. He was a good man, but good men love their family more than they do anything else in the world. That’s what I believe. He shouldn’t have just left us here. Well, he at least shouldn’t have just left me here. I hate it. Everyone is scared of any beauty in fear of danger, you know what I mean? I have heard old women curse at me, tell me I am too pretty to be human. I am human, raven - I am very much human. That is what I have been bred to believe.
“But now, after I have discovered what I can do - my powers - I am beginning to second-guess what I have been taught. If I am so human, then why can I do what I can? I know that there is magic in this world, that is something true that I have been bred to believe, but there isn’t a trace of magic in my royal blood. Well, at least there shouldn’t be.”
Leylina pulled the hood over her head gently, and draped the shawl over her shoulders, desperately hoping that no one would recognise her.
She climbed up the palace walls and down onto the cobblestone roads. It would take a while to reach the city.
“But please,” Leylina whispered. “Please, let it be worth it. Let me find the answers I am looking for.”
Half an hour later, Leylina reached the gates of the city. She crawled through, blending in with the crowd and keeping her head bowed. She walked swiftly along the roads, until she came to an alleyway nearby. She looked to see if anyone was watching her, and ducked inside the alleyway.
There was an old, wooden door at the end of the alleyway, set into the crumbling walls. A knocker in the shape of a lion’s head sat glaring at Leylina. She breathed in and out, and again, wished her journey was worth it.
She knocked three times. Almost instantly, the door creaked open, but when Leylina looked inside, there was no one standing at the door.
“Hello?” She asked quietly. Her soft voice echoed off the walls of the small space. “Is anyone here?”
“Princess,” a voice said. It sounded like knives scraping against a blackboard.
“I...yes?” Leylina said, looking around in darkness for a face.
A light suddenly filled the room - a gas lamp, lit from high up on a wall. But nobody was there to light the match.
“Who’s there?” Leylina shuddered, and then she saw her.
A young woman, a cloth wrapped around her face, her expression unreadable. She was sitting in a chair, a bowl clasped on her lap.
“Princess,” she repeated. “I have been waiting for you.”

Keep Reading

Chapter 7

Chapter Seven ~ Tasmin

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