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4 Broken Promises



PRINCESS LE-ANNE

THE BORDERLANDS

"They have left. Reveal yourself," Princess Le-anne commanded. Her heart was beating so fast, unsure if sending away her maids had been the right thing to do.

From behind the huge copper mirror, a familiar figure slowly emerged.

"Mistress Kei has trained you well," he grinned. Le-anne's body tensed at the sound of his voice. His presence ignited the feelings she didn't know she still carried towards him: frustration, hurt and anger.

"Brother Hu-go, what brings you here?" She tried to keep her voice neutral.

"Her ladyship has changed." He ignored her question, "more confident than before; bold, calculating, and a complete seductress." He approached her dream catcher that was swaying in the air and inspected it.

She knew from the moment he turned around that he was now a father. At the back of his bald head was a neatly braided ponytail. Huticah gave recognition to men who had children by letting them grow hair at the back of their heads. This was to motivate them to have big families so that their small nation could expand more rapidly. Boys did not become men through age but by having children.

While she had been locked in this dungeon-like place, Brother Hu-go had only paid attention to matters that concerned his throne. It hurt, and though she didn't want it to, nevertheless, it did.

"Congratulations to His Royal Highness. Is it a prince or princess?" She set distance between them by using formalities.

"A princess," his voice was laced with something she couldn't recognize. "I was hoping for a prince but..."

"Brother Hu-go—"

"I saw you defending Huticah's slaves earlier." He stopped her from saying anything further, from embarrassing herself by pleading for the impossible. She considered it impossible because he valued his title more than he had ever valued her. If she wasn't sure about this before, it was clearer as day now.

"Father was wise in sending you here. Exposure to the pain of your people will be a good thing for you," he continued.

In so many ways, he was right. The Borderlands—the land between Nevoria and Huticah—was the heart of the slave trade as Huticah sold some of its own people to Nevoria.

Overtime, this had birthed a dream in her, a passion to have her people freed. Even though she was the illegitimate daughter of the king, it did not mean she was unable to make a difference when she finally left for Nevoria. But at the same time, she did not owe anything to Huticah. All that nation had done was separate her from her mother.

"Did you send any people to Furia?"

'Brother Hu-go, you must have done this one thing right,' she pleaded from within.

"I went there myself." He strolled towards her. "I used to think the best and most beautiful things in this world cannot be seen or touched until I visited Furia." He sighed as he clutched his heart, exaggerating his deep affection. Had he really gone looking for her mother by himself?


"The land of golden beauties," he sighed dreamily. "However, you are the best I have seen so far, Princess. Your beauty is power and your smile a sword that can strike the greatest of warriors." He reached for the sheer cloth that covered half of her face, but before his fingers could graze the fabric, she backed away from him. She had heard those words a thousand times. The more they were repeated to her, the less charming they were, their effect on her now no more than a gust of wind.

"Did you find Mother?" She reinforced. Could that be why he had come?

"Princess..."

From his tone, she could detect his failure in keeping another of his promises. This time, she refused to be a victim to the emotions of disappointment.

"I wish to rest." She walked towards her bed on which her nightwear had been left neatly folded on top of each other.

He didn't react to her words but stood motionless.

She wasn't sure if she was brave or just trying to be, she had no idea. All she hoped was that it was not too late to bargain for her freedom. She released the knot at the back of her head, the sheer-cloth uncovering her face.

"Aaaah..." She screamed.

"Princess!" He panicked and rushed towards her.

Too easy.

"My hair, I accidentally pulled it when I was..." His eyes. He was deeply staring at her, like she was the most fragile thing in the world that was quite precious to him.

Hu-go.

He had become a true man, and ever so handsome he was. His muscles so taut and rigid. Before she knew it, her lips were locked with his. This had happened before, and back then, her heart had felt like it was growing wings. But this time her eyes stayed open. She held his chest, debating whether or not to push him away, but he groaned in appreciation. The sound of his lips ravaging hers sounded more obnoxious than enticing.

He was being too bold. His muscular hands ran down the torso of her small body and pressed hard on her waist. His touch was desperate and too possessive. The man who had just rejected her and the man who was now touching her felt like two different people. The next thing she knew, he was untying the sash that held her dress together.

It was all going too fast for what she had bargained for. She couldn't keep up.

"Br... brother Hu-go..." She tried to breathe. He didn't let up but pushed her to the bed instead. He skillfully threw her over robes to the floor but when he got to her dress, it was too complicated for him, and he ended up ripping it apart. Clearly, he hadn't been with a Nevorian woman before.

There was so much discomfort.

Instead of feeling like a woman for once in her life, she felt like a piece of meat being pounced upon. None of the married women she had once laughed and joked around with about the affairs of the heart had ever mentioned that it would feel this way—dirty and degrading. She already knew that his affections for her were next to nothing, but this was still too much. What was the difference between her and his other women now?

She tried to push him with all her strength, but he was stronger and didn't budge.

"Ai! Ai!" She screamed for her maid, and as if he had come out of a trance, he quickly loosened his grip.

"Princess, I'm sorry... I did not..." He fumbled for words.

What he wanted to say, she did not care. She scrambled for her robe, hurried for the door, and ran. She didn't know where she was going but she kept running. The night was so chilly with a little bit of wind, and her tousled hair unpinned, splaying all over her face. Her chest was heavy, eyes sore with unshed tears. She wanted to cry so badly but she wanted to be stronger than that. This could not break her.

"Mother, if you were here... if you didn't let me go... would things be different?" She muttered to the darkness, catching her breath. She pulled out the pendant that hung around her neck and squeezed it.

"Mother..." Tears streamed down her face, not because of what had just happened, but because once again, she was reminded of how lonely she was.

How truly alone she was.

S.V