"I can't believe this is happening right now... I can't do this. No, I won't do this." I turned back and left the throne room, never looking back despite knowing the severe consequences that awaited me.
The news of the enemy's approach at our borders came sooner than I had anticipated. Lives were lost, our forces were ambushed, and chaos ensued. I had been taking a moment to relax when I was abruptly awakened by a shout. Startled, I sat up in bed, trying to comprehend what was happening. The shout pierced through the air once again, "We are under attack!"
I quickly put on my shoes, which lay on the floor near my bed, and rushed to the door. Peeking out, I saw a soldier standing there, splattered in blood. The metallic scent reached my nose, confirming the reality of the situation. Everyone around me appeared terrified and shocked by the news. I stepped out of my room and approached the soldier, instructing one of the servants, who stood there dumbfounded, to call for a doctor. The servant nodded and hurriedly left to carry out my orders. Little did I know, the royal advisor had already taken charge of the situation, addressing the wounded soldier in hushed tones.
I greeted the soldier, Matthew, who forced a smile that failed to reach his eyes. "How are you faring?" I asked, concern evident in my voice. He gave a brief nod, replying, "It's quite the day we're having." Honestly, I never had a fondness for Matthew. There was something about him that rubbed me the wrong way. After speaking briefly with the soldier, Matthew turned his attention to the crowd gathered around us. In a stern voice, he reprimanded them, reminding them not to stare and to return to their duties. The sudden outburst seemed to snap everyone back to reality as they responded with "Yes, sir," scattering to resume their tasks. Feeling overwhelmed, I retreated to my room, sinking onto the bed and gazing up at the ceiling.
As I lay there, my wolf instinctively longed for a run. However, with the current circumstances, we were confined indoors until further notice. Boredom soon consumed me, and I found myself venturing to the kitchen in search of an apple. The atmosphere among the staff was gloomy, understandably so given the horrifying news that had shaken them to their core. While scared myself, I refused to let it fully engulf me. Ignoring their somber demeanor, I retrieved an apple and returned to my room, shedding my gown and corset for more comfortable attire. I slipped into a black nightgown and laid back on the bed, succumbing to exhaustion. Today had been emotionally draining, and it was evening now. With a whispered prayer for the lives lost, I closed my eyes and drifted into sleep.
Suddenly, there was a knock at my door. I yawned, rubbing the sleep from my eyes, and called for the person to enter. It was Helen, my childhood friend, and her face wore a sad expression. I sat up on the bed, instantly concerned. "What's wrong?" I inquired. She let out a small laugh, filled with bitterness, and replied, "He's gone." My heart sank as it hit me hard that James, Helen's lover, had perished in the attack. He had been among the soldiers stationed at the borders. Without hesitation, I stood up, went to where Helen stood, and embraced her tightly. Tears streamed down both our faces as we lay on the bed, mourning in silence. I looked at Helen and tried my best to offer comfort, saying, "It's going to be alright, dear." I gently patted her head and attempted to tell a lighthearted joke, hoping to bring a small smile to her face. As I looked at her, I couldn't help but notice her beauty—her sun-kissed skin, her unique green eyes, her slender figure. Helen was truly a vision of perfection.
Helen broke the somber silence, needing to share something with me. She made me promise not to disclose it to anyone. I nodded, and she revealed, "I am with child." My eyes widened in surprise. "What? I thought you and James were going to wait," I uttered, shocked. Helen shook her head, her hand instinctively touching her growing belly. "I love him too much to wait any longer," she confessed. Looking at her, I could see how her servant clothes were becoming tighter, and her stomach had started to show signs of pregnancy. Helen, the girl I had known since childhood, was now becoming a woman. Overwhelmed with emotions, I stood up and hugged her tightly before wiping away my own tears. Whispering in her ear, I reassured her, "You're going to be an incredible mother." Helen released a sound between a sob and a laugh, and we both settled back onto the bed, finding solace in each other's presence.
Then, Helen suddenly remembered something important. "Oh Amelia, we need to get you ready. The king has summoned you," she said urgently. Shocked, I couldn't understand why she hadn't informed me sooner. Helen noticed my expression and gave me a knowing side-eye, acknowledging that we had both been caught up in the emotional turmoil. Helen stood up from the bed and made her way to the wooden closet where my clothes were stored, while I began removing my corset. As I picked up the discarded garment from the floor, I cursed its discomfort. I fitted it back on and Helen returned, helping me tighten the corset tightly. Gasping for air, I marveled at Helen's strength. She then placed the gown I was to wear on the bed and approached me, ready to assist with getting dressed. I sat in front of the vanity mirror, staring at my reflection. The enormity of the situation weighed heavily on my shoulders. Helen picked up a brush and began tidying my hair, preparing me for the inevitable meeting with the king. As I gazed at my reflection, I could only wonder what the future would hold and how drastically my life was about to change.
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