They reached the out skirts of Faira and stopped to rest. Xion sat next to Alia as she drunk her water and nibbled on dried fruit. He stared at her as she ate and she stared back. She smiled and tussled his hair. She looked at this pretty boy confused and feeling strangely attached. She felt like she’d seen him somewhere. She smiled and passed him some dried fruit that stuck to their hands with their sweet dehydrated flesh.
“What are you staring at?” Xion laughed hiding his face. He giggle into his black gloves that covered all but his finger tips.
“You look like a girl.” She said and caught herself, “I mean you have thick eye lashes like a girl and your laugh is really adorable.” She said flustered.
“Adorable?” He looked her wide eyed and in awe. She blushed and considered why how he might feel like that was a compliment.
“My apologies Xion if I’ve made you feel bad. I’m sure you’ll grow into a handsome young man.” She laughed awkwardly. Lucian and Dahlon burst in to laughter as they attended to the horses.
“You are the one whos adorable my lady.” Lucian chuckled. He came close and kneeled down. He tilted Alias’ head up to face his. Alia blushed having never had a mans face so close to hers and whimpered.
“D-don’t!” Xion pushed Lucian away from her before Alia could react.
“Xion what is the matter?” Lucian asked puzzled.
“Y-you cant do that to the queen, you’ll get in trouble. Besides…” He said looking down. His messy black hair covering his frowning face. Lucian looked at him and then at Alia who sat still. Her face red and blank as the clear sky.
‘Why would he do that? What was he about to do? I don’t know how to react to this sort of thing.’ She questioned her self. She slammed the back of her head against the ground fainting from the heat covering her face.
“In the name of all saints-” Lucian jumped up. Xion covered his face, while Dahlon cackled into his hands.
“You broke her!” Dahlon cackled. He slipped and fell on his bottom and continued laughing.
“My lady? My lady!? Lady Alia!!” He shouted and panicked. He looked over at Xion, “What is happening? What did i do?” He said and ran his finger in his head and slapped his face. He sat next to her and rested his head on his head.
“God has bless me today!” Laughed Dahlon.
Half an hour later Alia sat up, she had fallen asleep in her shocked position. Xion sat sipping water and eating bread. Alia groaned, “I shall keep myself together from now on.” She mumbled. she looked to the boy as he offered her a dried peach halve.
“Please do so, you’ve worried Xion half to death.” Lucian said as he sat on a rock. Alia nodded and looked to Dahlon.
“I was wondering when we would need direction?” She said picking a rock off of her face and fixing her hair that stuck up. She tied it in a messy bun trying to get used to doing her hair on her own it tangled easily in her hand.
“I believe we ask Xion were are to go next.” He said and looked at the child.
“We go west towards the mountains of Faira springs. It should take about another six hours.” He said mechanically.
“Then west it is.” Said Dahlon.
It was night when they arrived at a clearing in front of the mountains. Alia sat on her horse staring up at the falling stars. The sky looked as if it were about to fall on her. ‘I could probably touch the moon it looks so close.’ She thought. She looked a head towards the mountains and saw how the sky covered the peaks. Small lights caught her attention in the distance. “I think there’s in inn up ahead” she said pointing toward the lights.
“If that is an inn I think we should rest for the night” said Lucian.
“Lets hurry before there are no rooms left.” She said then speed forth on her horse.
“My lady.” Lucian called and she jumped. She stopped her horse and looked ahead. “Please pace yourself!” He yelled as they approached. She turned whimpered and jolted her horse further towards what might be an inn. She didn’t want to think about how Lucian made her feel. It was nonsense anyway.
“What did you do?” Xion glared. “you shouldn’t tease girls.” He said forgetting himself. He looked at Dahlon and back at Lucian. Dahlon grinned at him.
“The way you talk to your father reminds me of your mother.” Dahlon said grinning. Lucian laughed as they pulled into the stables.
“You talk to much brother, you shouldn’t have brought up our relationship so close to the queen.” Lucian said. he jumped off his horse when he saw Alia standing behind her horse.
“Silence!” She choked.
“I can explain-”
“You may not.” She said and took a deep breath. She wiped her face and walked into the inn. She talked to the room teller and ordered two rooms, joined. She took the key and handed them to Lucian as he and rest came into inn. “After diner we meet in my room to discuss your lies.” She commanded. Everyone bowed and followed her as she sat down at a table in the dunning hall. A child the same age as Xion came and took their order. A few minutes later a young girl around the age of 15 settled their food on the table. Everyone ate in silence under awkward air that filled the empty inn dinning hall. After they ate they all followed Alia to her room.
“Lucian take of your shirts.” Alia demanded calmly.
“My lady please allow me to explain.”
“I don’t need your petty explanations. They will only cloud my judgement. Undress.” She said and sat in a chair facing the three. Lucian stepped forward and began to undress showing off his long strong arms. His markings where the same as Dahlon’s. “You lied to me.” She said.
“I never lied I told you who I was.” She came forward.
“Your name, you being a knight? You’ve never told about you being a prince of a Hanseni” she stood.
“Lucian Alstom is my name and I am a knight in your castle for 4 years. I haven’t lied?”
“why is your name different– are you a bastard?” She quickly realized. “You are some bastard prince of Hanseni that’s has worked in my castle without my knowledge?” she said almost screaming but quickly remembered where she was.
“Yes, my lady.”
“Are there any other lies you want to unearth.” She said. He looked at her and opened his mouth as if to answer. “Are there!?” She yelled. She shook with fury.
“Xion is my child, my daughter.” He sighed. “I’m protecting my daughter coming here to work. That’s what I wanted to tell you I wanted to tell you, Alia I swear. But-”
“Get out.” She said and stood. “Get out!” She said slapping her hand against the air and they disappeared. She didn’t care were she sent them and how far they might be. She didn’t understand the need to lie. Alia crumbled into the floor and looked at her hands. Her eyes hot with hate and disbelief. ‘I’m a fool for feeling betrayed I’ve only known them a few days.’ She thought to herself. She relaxed and climbed into bed. She would deal with her own stupidity and easy trust later. But for now she slept.
The three stood just outside the clearing. Lucian looked around, “Well I expected her to do a lot worse then just scream.” He mumbled. He patted his daughter on her head as she sobbed looking at him. He picked her up and stared to walk.
“Its a shame she trusted you so easily brother. You are a liar.” He scuffed.
“Do we really have to start this again?” He groaned.
“Yes we start now. You’ve lied to everyone.” He stood looking at Lucians back. “Mother is worried about you. Thinking your dead when you actually you ran off with some peasant girl.”
“Now you stop right there.”
“Stop where? When you’ve killed yourself off, impregnated a lowly peasant, just to save the child and neglect her safety.”
“I kept her as safe as I could you.”
“From what? She’s dead! From now on you daughter will know you as the man who let her mother die.”
“Calm your self brother you love her just as much as I do. You wont say things that will sadden her, not now.” Lucian sighed. Dahlon huffed and waved him off as we walked back towards the inn “I admit I’ve done many wrongs but i will protect my child.”
“So you tell her to lie?” He scuffed.
“How am I supposedly the bad guy. I’ve always done what I could to protect my daughter.” He said. he walked just behind his brother. Xion had fallen asleep through their argument clinging to him.
“Lucian you will be so careless as to destroy the queen with your words just as you destroyed that girl. The child is not even your own flesh.” He yelled as he walked to catch up to the shadow of the inn.
“She’s mine and no one could tell me other wise.” He mumbled into Xion’s shoulder tighten his grip around his daughter.
In the morning Alia sat at the dinning table looking down at her greasy meat and roasted potatoes. She never looked up at her companions. Lucian stared at her until his food came. He didn’t know how to talk to her without there being a scene so he cleared his throat. ” My lady, it has come to my attention that we are behind schedule.”
“What do you suggest?”
“We should leave after we eat.”
“Do we have provisions for our passage through the spring?” she said stuffing potatoes in her mouth.
“Dried provisions to last underwater and in heavy rains.”
“Very well, pack and meet me at the stable. We ride immediately.” She said and stood. She left a small bag of coins for payment and trailed off to the stables. She sat on top of a barrel of alcohol with her hands in her face. ‘I’ve gotten no sleep’ she thought to herself. She looked up at the horses, soft and calm. The horse huffed and nudge her head and she giggled feeling better. She hugged his face and stroked his main.
The Hanseni part of her group filled in to the stable watching Alia as she cuddled the horse. Xion went over and patted the horse. She had pushed her hair up in a bun just as messy as Alia’s. She looked at the queen with big dark eyes that matched perfectly to Lucians. Alia wonder why she never noticed the way Xion looked exactly like Lucian. “Your Majesty I’m sorry I lied please forgive me.” Xion said as she studied the queens face.
“Am I a fool for trusting you easily?” Alia asked.
“N-no I will be honest and forward with you!” She said and grabbed her hands. Her eyes wide and intense, the brim of her eyes welling with tears. “I want to be your friend and I’ll even protect you like a guard. I believe I’m strong just like my father and will serve you well. So please forgive me, your Majesty.” Xion sobbed. Alia blinked gathering herself and then hugged the child.
“Call me Alia, call me your friend, call me your queen. I forgive you Xion I will hold you to your words.” She said as she sobbed with the child. Alia thanked god for the big heart this child had. She gave her hope and the strength she needed to save the country she loved. She didn’t need to be scared anymore. She felt confident as if she were meant for greater things and greater relationships.