Faded Memories #1: Forgotten Princess - Part Five
It took all of Navaleen’s emotional strength to face Fyora and the council the next day. Her eyes burned with the effort to keep her tears at bay. She felt better having Lydriel by her side to support her in her decision. Turning toward the group of faeries, the princess spoke, her voice hard with determination.
“I know I am the heir, but it is also my right to refuse the crown if I see myself unworthy to wear it,” began Navaleen. She couldn’t meet her sister’s eyes. “I do not see myself worthy and I will now forsake my right to be queen and pass it down to Fyora.” She winced as the several of the faeries, including Fyora, stood in protest.
“You are the heir!” cried the fire faerie.
“Fyora is too young,” added the Lilia, the earth faerie.
“I can’t be queen!” Fyora cried. “I can’t...”
Navaleen went up to embrace Fyora. Her sister began to cry into her shoulder.
“Fyora, listen to me,” said Navaleen. “If there was one thing I have learned, it is that to be a good ruler you must be loyal to your people.”
“But you are...” began Fyora.
“No, I am not,” said Navaleen sternly. “They have caused nothing but pain in my life and I hate them for it. You on the other hand, would die for them. I can’t be queen and I won’t!”
The council continued to bicker with Navaleen, but it was obvious that they were fighting a hopeless battle. It was Fyora who first realized and accepted this. Moving away from her sister’s embrace, she straightened and dried her eyes.
“Enough,” she said. The others looked at her. “If Navaleen refuses the crown, as is her right, I will accept it as next in line.” Navaleen smiled at her sister gratefully.
“I can only hope that she will stay here to be amongst my advisors.” Fyora smiled. “I am certainly going to need the help.” Navaleen walked up to her sister and put a hand on her shoulder.
“Not even a herd of Unis could pull me away,” she said jokingly. “Now, I believe the council has some work to do. Or do you wish to wait until your queen dies of old age before you crown her?”
Navaleen’s words had an immediate affect on the council faeries. They rushed about the council room, trying to arrange the time and date of the coronation and at the same time trying to figure out where it would take place and who to invite. Not wanting her sister to get caught up in the chaos, Navaleen pulled Fyora out of the room, Lydriel following close behind.
The princess led the future queen to their mother’s study, or what had used to be their mother’s study. Now, it was Fyora’s.
“Sit down, both of you. Before you fall down,” ordered Lydriel. She quickly brought both girls drinks. Navaleen looked at Fyora guiltily.
“I’m sorry, Fyora,” she whispered. “I just couldn’t...” her voice trailed off.
“I know why you did it,” said Fyora. Her voice was clear and strong. “I know I shouldn’t be but I’m glad you did.” Lydriel and Navaleen looked at her, startled.
“Why?” exclaimed Navaleen.
“Because it gives me a chance to fix our mother’s mistakes,” said Fyora. “It makes me feel better that I can finally do something.”
Lydriel smiled suddenly, her opinion of the lavender-eyed faerie becoming more admiring by the minute. “I think Navaleen was right when she said you would be a better queen. Faerieland is in for a big surprise.”
“I almost wish I could have seen Navaleen as queen, though,” said Fyora. Her voice was far too innocent for her sister’s liking. “It would have been entertaining to see her lose her temper a few times.”
“Very funny,” muttered Navaleen. Lydriel, knowing Navaleen’s sharp tongue and even sharper temper, threw her head back and laughed.
The coronation for Fyora was short and very informal. There was no feasting and rejoicing as there had been in the past. Fyora’s speech was quick and to the point. She promised to do all she could do to fix Thyora’s mistakes and help restore parts of the great city she had neglected.
As Navaleen watched from her place beside Fyora, she scanned the faces in the crowd, her sharp eyes seeing the emotions in the faeries’ eyes. She saw hope, admiration and respect. But she also saw hate, resentment and anger. Her hand moved to the hilt of the sword that was hung at her waist.
Now that there was no Thyora to hide it from, Navaleen had announced her lessons in martial arts and had very forcefully told the protesting council that she planned to use them if need be. Lydriel and Anna had also helped Navaleen persuade the members by having their student give them a small demonstration.
Seeing how close Navaleen was to the two faeries, she had asked them to be Navaleen’s personal body guards. Both girls were glad the two veterans accepted. It gave reassurance to Fyora and Navaleen had someone to talk to during boring meetings in the council room.
After the coronation, Fyora was put to work straight away. She read reports, sorted documents and listened to complaints and still somehow managed to tour the city and figure out which parts needed funding and or rebuilding. Desperate to keep her sister from becoming too stressed, Navaleen volunteered to do the tour of Faerieland. Fyora accepted the offer with gratitude. Neither queen nor princess realized how dangerous these outings were, at least not until rebels decided to point that small fact out to them.
Navaleen rode through the poorer parts of Faerieland with Lydriel and Anna by her side. They had just finished looking at some homes that needed some repairing and were now on their way back to the castle. All three of them were relaxed and none of them expected to be attacked in the middle of a busy street. It wasn’t until a group of about ten dark faeries blocked their path did they notice something was wrong.
“Stand aside for your princess,” commanded Lydriel. “We have no quarrel with you.”
“But you have one with you,” snapped the dark faerie who appeared to be their leader. Navaleen gasped in recognition.
“You!” she cried. Her guards and the dark faeries turned toward the girl. “You’re the faerie who attacked Fyora and me in the marketplace. You’re the fortune teller!” The dark faerie laughed.
“Well, aren’t you a sharp one,” she said mockingly. “Unlike that mother of yours.”
“If you wish to insult me,” said Navaleen, “then do so in another way than calling Thyora names. You will find I call her much worse things myself.” The dark faeries glared.
“We have heard of your sharp tongue, princess,” began the fortune teller. Lydriel interrupted her.
“Enough! Let the princess pass.”
“Sorry, no can do,” said the faerie in front of them. As one, the dark faeries pulled out their concealed assortment of weapons. Lydriel and Anna moved into position in front of Navaleen. The princess stiffened and was suddenly glad she had brought her swords with her.
With loud cries, the dark faeries threw themselves at the guards, who attacked in earnest. The guards’ Unis reared and kicked. Anyone foolish enough to get too close to them soon learned their lesson. Almost half of the dark faeries lay unconscious on the ground when the fortune teller raised her hands, shouting a word Navaleen had never heard before.
Black fire flew from the faerie’s hands to hit Navaleen’s guards. Both fell from their saddles and lay on the ground unmoving. Navaleen went dead white with terror and the dark faerie turned toward her with a smile.
“Give up, princess,” she snarled. “You won’t last much longer if you fight.”
Navaleen looked around her and felt her stomach twist with nervousness. Many faeries of different elements watched the battle take place. None of the faeries who were not part of this rebel group would help her. She could see it in their pale faces. They did not want her to get hurt, but they didn’t care about her enough to actually interfere. She was after all, Thyora’s daughter.
“You would be surprised at what I can do,” she said to her opponent.
“You are unarmed and there are five of us! Give up now and we can ransom you. If you don’t...” The faerie shrugged. “You won’t be too much of a loss.”
“She doesn’t see my swords,” thought Navaleen silently. “My cloak must cover them.”
“All right,” she said aloud. The dark faeries cackled in triumph.
“Dismount,” said their leader. Navaleen moved to obey.
Stepping off her Uni in a way that the dark faeries wouldn’t see her actions, Navaleen drew her swords and leapt at them. Caught unaware and startled by the princess’s lightning like movements, the dark faeries fell one by one until only the fortune teller remained standing.
The two faeries stood facing each other. They sized their opponent up and looked for the others’ weakness. Navaleen found the dark faerie’s first. Despite what she said to Fyora months ago in an alley, the dark faerie was very gifted in magic, but her skill with a sword was mediocre. Navaleen attacked using her extraordinary speed. Her blades flashed in the sun and the dark faerie soon found herself disarmed and standing with two sword points at her chest.
“You are a fool,” hissed Navaleen. “But I am going to give you one more chance. I have let you go twice. One more time and you will wish you had never been born.”
Navaleen backed away from the faerie. She stepped backward until she was close to the unconscious Lydriel and Anna. Before the dark faerie could come to her senses, Navaleen muttered the spell which would transport her and her guards to the palace courtyard. The last thing she heard was the dark faerie’s shriek of rage as her quarry disappeared.
To be continued...