Faded Memories #1: Forgotten Princess - Part Four
Navaleen thrived under Lydriel’s teaching. She loved everything about her secret lessons and she often surprised Lydriel with her ability to learn things quickly. She practiced whenever she could and she even found herself using two swords instead of one, much to her teacher’s joy. She began to skip more and more of her classes just so she could go and watch the guards practice. She would memorize moves she saw and practice them late at night with the swords Lydriel had given her to use. Though Thyora and her teachers took Navaleen’s absence as acts of rebelliousness, the princess forgot that her sister was not as inattentive as most were.
Navaleen was lounging in her rooms when Fyora stormed through the door. The young princess walked up to her older sister with a frustrated look on her face.
“You skipped history again today,” she commented. Navaleen looked up, all innocence.
“So what?” she questioned.
“So you never used to skip history and today is the fourth day in a row!” demanded Fyora. “I don’t blame you for skipping language and potions since you hate them so much but you never used to skip history.”
“Maybe I don’t like history anymore,” muttered Navaleen. Fyora glared at her sister.
Navaleen ignored Fyora as the princess went and sat on her own bed. Fyora was silent for a moment before speaking in a soft voice.
“Does this have anything to do with you sneaking off to the practice courts every afternoon?” Navaleen stared at her sister horrified.
“How...” she began.
“Don’t think you’re the only one who skips classes,” said Fyora. “I’ve seen you go there several times. I was hoping you would tell me why you were going there but you never did.”
Navaleen felt guilt rise in her throat. She could tell Fyora thought she didn’t trust her. Neither girl had ever kept something from the other. The truth was, Navaleen had been so caught up with her fencing lessons that she hadn’t thought to tell Fyora about them.
“Well, it does actually,” said Navaleen. “But, you have to promise you won’t tell. Mother would kill me if she found out.”
“What kind of sister do you think I am?” demanded Fyora. “Of course I won’t tell. Why would I?”
“I have been taking fencing lessons from one of the palace guards.” Navaleen waited for the cry of shock to come from Fyora. It didn’t. The princess looked up at her sister and was surprised to find that Fyora didn’t look alarmed in the least.
“Is that it?” questioned Fyora.
“I think that’s cool. You’ll have to take me to meet your teacher some time.” Navaleen looked at Fyora, startled.
“But I thought you would think it improper,” stuttered Navaleen.
“Why would I think that. And since when did you care if you did something improper?” cried Fyora in an exasperated voice. “Don’t think you’re the only one who takes lessons our dear mother would think improper for a princess.”
“I knew it!” cried Navaleen in triumph. “You got our spell casting teacher to give you lessons in advanced magic!”
“Let’s just say it was a good deal of persuasion.” Fyora paused. “And a tiny threat consisting of several hundred spyders in her rooms.”
At this, Navaleen and Fyora broke down into fits of laughter. Both girls knew that their teacher hated spyders and the thought of her waking up one morning to find herself covered in them was more than a little funny.
Navaleen had just finished her daily lesson with Lydriel. They stopped to talk with Anna when the door leading to the practice courts were thrust open and, to Navaleen’s surprise, Fyora ran into the courtyard.
Navaleen could tell her sister was upset. Fyora’s face was pale and tears streamed from her eyes. The instant she spotted Navaleen, she ran over. The guards had stopped whatever they were doing to watch their princess.
“Navaleen!” cried Fyora when she reached her sister. “Come quick!”
“Why?” asked Navaleen. She was thoroughly shaken by her sister’s strange behavior. “What’s wrong?”
“It’s Mother,” she cried. “She...” Her voice trailed off and Navaleen understood that Fyora did not want the other faeries to hear what she was about to say.
“I’ll see you tomorrow Lydriel. Bye, Anna.” Navaleen directed her weeping sister out of the room while the confused faerie guards watched them with suspicious eyes.
Once they were well out of earshot, Navaleen turned to face Fyora.
“What is it?” she demanded. “What’s wrong with Thyora.” Fyora looked up at Navaleen. Fear and grief had filled her eyes. The words she spoke caused Navaleen to freeze in total terror.
“We can’t find her,” Fyora whispered. “She’s gone.”
The next few hours saw Navaleen being taken to the council room, where the council members desperately tried to reassure the now hysterical Fyora and unresponsive Navaleen. The elder princess was deaf to their voices. All she could do was sit and stare as the light faerie Prilla told her what had happened.
That morning, when her mother’s maid had gone to awaken Thyora, the queen had not been there. The loyal maid had gone in search for her mistress, but Thyora was nowhere to be found. Returning to the queen’s rooms, the maid found Thyora’s crown placed next to a note on her desk.
It was not the fact that her mother had disappeared that truly scared Navaleen. It was what would happen if her mother was not found that caused her to tremble with fear. She watched as the council members discussed what to do. After what seemed like eternity, they turned toward the pale Navaleen.
“It is clear that Thyora left by her own will,” began the fire faerie Sira. “This note and the fact that she left her crown proves that she resigned her position as queen.”
“This means,” said the water faerie Sheila, “that the crown is now passed to you.” The light faerie stepped forward to present the crown to Navaleen, who stared at it blankly.
Navaleen’s mind raced. All the words of scorn that she had ever heard said about Thyora rushed through her head. She remembered the time she and Fyora had been attacked in the city. It was then that Navaleen felt the pressure her mother must of felt when she became queen. It was then that Navaleen realized she had a choice. She could become queen, or pass the crown down to Fyora. Navaleen glanced at her sister.
“I can’t do it,” she thought. “I will never be a good queen. But I don’t want Fyora to suffer the same fate our mother did.” In the next few seconds, Navaleen made the hardest decision she had ever made in her life.
“No!” she screamed aloud. The council stared at her dumbstruck. “I’ll never be queen! I can’t do it!”
Navaleen ran from the room. Never before had she felt so scared. She ran long and hard. She had no idea about where she was going and she didn’t care. She soon found herself in the gardens. Without hesitation, she sought out the hidden door she and Fyora had passed through nearly a month ago. She wretched it open and continued to run.
She ran until her lungs screamed for air and her legs buckled under her. Ignoring the pain in her chest she began to fly. She flew until she could fly no farther. She collapsed, gasping on the farthest edge of the Faerieland cloud. There was no one about. As she peered over the edge of the cloud, she could see the distant mountains and forests of Neopia below. She wanted to fly down into their world, where she could finally be free, but she had no strength left in her body. Instead, she curled up on the ground, wishing desperately that she had a cloak to keep herself warm with. As she lay there, she wept. She wept for her mother and sister, and because of fear and anger. She wept until she had no more tears to cry, and finally she fell asleep.
Lydriel found her there, curled up on the edge of the cloud. The air faerie felt pity and guilt whelm up within her as she flew toward her student. After her lesson with Navaleen, she and Anna had tried to find out what had made Fyora so distressed. They walked into the council room looking for the princesses only to find total chaos. It had taken several minutes for them to finally figure out that the queen had resigned and disappeared. Shortly after, Lydriel found out that, after having the crown presented to her by the council, Navaleen had refused, and fled. No one could find her.
Lydriel knew her student well and had correctly assumed that the young faerie was no longer in the castle. She had searched all night for Navaleen and had found her at last on the farthest reaches of Faerieland.
“Wake up, little one,” she whispered gently to Navaleen. The princess opened blurry eyes and looked up at her in confusion. “It’s time to go home.”
As Lydriel helped Navaleen fly back to the palace, she had a feeling that she was not leading Navaleen home, but toward what the princess would consider a prison. A place that kept the girl from having what she wanted most. Freedom.
To be continued...