the sequel to clary_grace_jackson’s ‘secret’
Chapter One ~ Leylina
Leylina watched the sky’s orange tinge fade as the sun began to set and the sky darken. She quickened her pace and she trudged briskly up the road to the palace gates.
Right before she reached the gates, she ducked behind a tall, oak tree, and caught her breath. She shut her eyes tightly and wished, hoped, and prayed for her mind to transform her into the same person who had allowed her to escape the guards in the first place - Frauline. She felt her mind buzz with energy as she felt the magic take over her. She opened her eyes and held out her arms, her eyes wide with amazement. It had worked. It had really worked. Her skin tone had changed to a dark, almond colour, and, as Leylina felt her head, she noticed that her long, silky hair had become curly and textured.
She had no time to lose. She walked as quickly as she could without seeming suspicious up to the gates, and was greeted warmly by the guards, who let her into the palace grounds immediately.
Leylina quickly rushed into the gardens and ducked behind a bush, blooming with dark pink and white flowers. She shut her eyes once again and willed for the magic to wear off. Surely enough, her arms became pale once again, and her blonde hair tumbled onto her shoulders. She sprinted up to her bed chamber, being cautious not to be seen, and ran into her bedroom. She quickly got changed into a gown and brushed her hair. She hid her black cloak under her bed, but felt the familiar rustling of paper as she did so. Confused, she checked the pockets of the cloak and brought out the same worn letter from the Queen to the citizens of the kingdom that Veska had shown her earlier. She must have put it into her pocket after reading it.
“Princess?” Came a voice from the above her head.
Startled, Leylina glanced upwards. Standing there was Frauline, her hair pulled up into a tight bun. Her lips were pursed as she tilted her head, seemingly examining Leylina like a specimen.
“Frauline!” Leylina exclaimed. She stood up, kicking the cloak beneath her bed in one motion and slipping the the piece of paper into the collar of her gown. “You really should knock.”
“Sorry, your highness. I just came in here to make sure that everything was all right, and that you were completely satisfied.” Frauline said, tilting her head to the other side.
“Yes,” Leylina said quickly. “Yes, I am completely satisfied - thank you for your concern.”
“It’s no problem,” Frauline said, her back straightening. “Although would you mind if I asked you a rather simple question?”
“No, if you don’t mind - you really ought to go, Frauline.”
“I saw you go out of the palace gates this morning, Leylina,” Frauline said suddenly, disobeying her orders. “Might I ask what your business was in the city?”
“No, you certainly may not,” Leylina asked, shocked that both Frauline would dare to ask such a thing and that she saw her sneak out of the gates. “My business outside the palace gates is none of your business. Now please, Frauline - I need some privacy.”
There was a quick silence before Frauline spoke again. “Of course, your majesty.” She turned around to walk towards the door. “However, I must let you know...I saw you leave the servant Konan’s sleeping quarters last night.”
“What?” Leylina breathed.
“I said - I saw you leave Konan’s sleeping quarters last night. And I just want to make you aware that you should take more caution with your actions.”
“Frauline,” Leylina’s voice loudened. “You may not speak to me like that! I am sure the last thing you want to have happen to you is for you to be sent into exile. However, if this is true, you are not headed in a direction that ensures that this does not happen to you.”
“Forgive me, your Highness,” Frauline turned around to face her.
“I most certainly will not,” Leylina said quietly. “It’s not what you think it is - Konan and I. There is nothing between us.”
“As you say, Princess,” Frauline said, smiling.
“Leave now, Frauline. Or I shall call a guard to escort you out of the palace.”
Frauline nodded her head and quickly walked out of the room, leaving Leylina stunned and horrified.
Leylina felt the cool breeze against her cheeks as she walked out of the palace and into the night. The conversation she had exchanged with Frauline was stuck in her mind, replaying itself over and over again.
What kind of maid would dare to speak to her like that?
She needed to hear what Konan had to say about this.
She walked past the fountain and through the palace gardens, scanning the grounds for him. She had already searched the palace’s interior.
She sat down on a marble bench that was situated under a gas lamp, its light surprisingly vivid. Leylina tilted her head backwards and gazed at the stars above her, making out shapes and letters as she and her mother had once done when she was only a child.
“Fancy seeing you here, Princess,” spoke a familiar voice.
Leylina looked in front of her, and groaned inwardly. It was Alistaire. His amber eyes seemed to be even more luminous in the dark, if it was possible.
“Good evening, Alistaire,” Leylina gave him a smile, trying to make it look as not-pained as possible.
He took a seat next to her without invitation, and tilted his head so that he was looking straight at her. His face was dangerously close to hers.
“Look, I want to apologise,” he said, his voice slow and mesmerising. “For yesterday. I was foolish, and I understand if you were under the impression that I was being horrendously rude to you. I just...I’ve never met anyone quite like you, Leylina. Someone who is able to speak their mind so freely.”
She didn’t say anything. Each word that poured out of his mouth surprised her.
“We never actually got a proper chance to talk to each other,” Alistaire continued. “To get to know each other. Again, I am deeply sorry for the way I behaved yesterday. Truly.”
Leylina opened her mouth to tell him firmly that she wasn’t interested in anything he had to say when she thought of something, and shut it again. Now would be the perfect time to tell him about what she had discovered about the war. But could she trust him enough? If she had enough faith in him, she could possibly piece together the missing puzzle pieces, and figure out why her mother had kept it a secret from her.
“There is something I need to tell you first,” Leylina said, folding her arms.
Alistaire raised an eyebrow. “Yes?”
“I was curious about what you had told me yesterday - about the guards patrolling the city, and about my mother calling to your father for help.” Leylina took a deep breath. “So I - “
“You left the palace and went into the city,” Alistaire looked over at her. She met his gaze with shock.
“How did you know?” Leylina asked in pure astonishment.
“That maid of yours...the one with the dark skin and brown hair? She came and informed me this morning.”
“Frauline?” She exclaimed. “Why would she do that?”
“Who knows,” Alistaire said, frowning. “She does seem a bit strange.”
“She does, doesn’t she?” Leylina murmured, and then gasped. “You didn’t tell anyone, did you?”
“No, no, of course not,” Alistaire shook his head. “Don’t worry.”
“Oh. Thank you.”
“So, what did you find out? In the city?” Alistaire asked, intrigued.
Leylina reached inside the collar of her gown and brought out the letter from Veska. She blushed, embarrassed about her hiding place. She hoped Alistaire couldn’t see her reddened cheeks in the dim light.
“I met some people, in the city,” Leylina explained. “They told me that the Queen had sent these out to every doorstep in the kingdom.”
Alistaire held the letter against the light of the gas lamp, and scanned over the words, his face paling by the second.
“Oh dear,” he muttered. “This is not good.”
“The people I met said that the guards began their daily patrols around a week ago, so really recently. They haven’t actually harmed anyone, they just walk around with that superiority. Like they’re waiting for something. The guards patrol all the way down to the edge of the city, and further. Apparently some of the guards are on some sort of ‘lookout’ as far as the mountains on the outskirts.”
“A war.” Alistaire realised.
Leylina nodded. “I fear so.”
“Why didn’t our parents tell us about this?” He sounded frustrated. “Father didn’t even tell me that we wouldn’t be able to return.”
“What should we do?” Leylina asked, staring up into Alistaire’s eyes.
“Nothing, for now,” he folded the piece of paper and handed it back to her. “We’ll see what becomes of it.”
Leylina sighed and looked up at the sky again.
“Do you like to make shapes out of them?” Alistaire said after a silence. “The stars, I mean.”
Leylina looked over at him. “You read my mind. I used to do it when I was a child. My mother and I would create shapes out of them and then create a story based on those shapes.”
“It’s just a habit of mine,” Alistaire said, his eyes still glued to the constellations.
There was another silence.
“You really are beautiful,” he spoke softly. Leylina looked at him, and realised he was staring at her. “Even in the darkness.”
Leylina blushed, and looked away.
“I’m sorry,” he sighed, and sat up. “That was rude. I apologise for making you uncomfortable.”
“It doesn’t matter,” Leylina stood, and smiled at him. “At least it was a compliment.”
“How true.”
“Good night, Alistaire.” She said.
He grasped her hand lightly and planted a kiss on the backside of her palm. “Good night, Leylina.”
Author’s Note
Hi there!,
I just wanted to make sure that everyone was aware that this is the sequel to my previous book ‘Secret,’ so that we can avoid any confusion.
If you haven’t read Secret, please check it out via the link below:
If you HAVE already read Secret, you are probably awaiting chapter 3, which will hopefully be published very soon! Chapters 1 & 2 will be Secret’s chapters 33 and 34, but after that I will be continuing the story!
I hope I didn’t forget to mention anyone in the comment section!
Thanks for reading!
- Clary :)

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Chapter 2

Chapter Two ~ Tasmin

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