Magical Evil: Part Three
The night was black, without a star in the sky, and the wind howling like one moaning in pain. The chilly air frightened Rosalene a great deal, as she ran through the countryside fields. She had never really run about before, but now that she was doing it, she actually felt ‘good’. Another thing King Hagan had kept her from. She had spent so much time being locked up that she wasn’t at all physically active.
As the wind died down slowly, she felt slightly more peaceful. This gave her some time to consider all that had happened.
Inside, she knew she was probably doing the wrong thing – betraying her father, and letting a malicious-sounding sorceress take over Brightvale, then running off. However, another part of her was fighting to defend this from herself.
Alarisca had been right. Her father wasn’t a good king. He’d locked her up, kept her in, and she had never left the castle to feel the fresh air, never felt the coolness of the wind as it swept against her hair, never seen the brilliance and the richness of the leaves up close, and never talked to anyone.
The sorceress – as Rosalene was now calling Alarisca in her mind – had been right. Or had she?
The night didn’t seem so scary now, but it calmed Rosalene a great deal.
A pretty Royal girl Acara smiled in greeting to a majestic Skeith. She looked tired, but happy. In her arms, a tiny Cybunny slept, eyes tightly shut, with a mellow expression on her face. The queen patted her head gently, while King Hagan walked over, looking proud, but also slightly concerned.
“Sienna, dear, you need to rest. For the last week, all you’ve been doing is looking after Rosalene.”
“I’m fine, Hagan, your Royal Majesty. She needs care and adoration. I’m sure she’ll be a magnificent queen and ruler of Brightvale one day.”
“Indeed, but are you sure you are alright?”
Sienna’s calm smile was all that Hagan needed to see. He left the room, with Sienna and Rosalene resting peacefully.
The motherly Korbat started to sing a lullaby, one which made the baby smile, despite being asleep.
“Sleeping so soundly, Rosalene dear,
May you sleep with dreams so sweet,
It makes me happy to know you’re here,
And may you be filled with Fyora’s song.
May you be filled with happiness,
And grow to be friends with all,
From faeries great did you get blessed,
And strong, you’ll grow to be.”
Rosalene rolled over, feeling ill. She rubbed her eyes. She had somehow fallen asleep. She was too weak to carry on – that came from the absence of exercise. There was something echoing in her head... a song... something... faeries great did you get blessed.
She’d had a dream. It had been a pleasant dream... there was a Royal girl Korbat in it... but as she tried desperately to remember it, the whole thing started to fade away. With each tug at her memory, another memory left her. Within a few minutes, she had forgotten everything. Except one line... where had it come from?
And strong, you’ll grow to be.
Rosalene was feeling sick. She closed her eyes. It took too much effort to open them, or even move a single muscle. Breathing was tiring, even. Pools swirling in the darkness...
King Hagan rushed in, looking beyond worried, and frustrated. “Have you found her?”
“Good sir, we did.”
Hagan relaxed. “Where is she?”
The royal advisor Lenny looked really uncomfortable. He looked up at the King sadly. “Your Royal Majesty, I am really sorry... she...”
That was all Hagan needed to hear. His eyes seemed to darken and lose all the life in them. His entire body drooped.
“This must not happen to Rosalene,” he said feverishly. “She must be kept safe. Have you announced her birth to the public yet?”
“No, sir,” the Lenny said. “But I thought it was going to happen today?”
“No, cancel it. I don’t want the world to know about her, or it will happen again. I will keep her safe. She will never be let out of the castle, and will spend most of her time in her room. She will be looked after properly, and taught strictly. That is the only way to stop something like that happening to her.”
“I understand.” The two of them exited from the room.
“No... no... don’t...” Rosalene’s voice was hoarse, and she rolled about it agitation.
“It’s alright, it’s alright!”
“It can’t... Sienna...”
“Wake up, it’s OK now!”
Rosalene opened her eyes. The first thing she noticed was the extremely uncomfortable feeling of illness. She had been sick before, but not like this. The second thing she noticed was a Blue Kacheek, looking down at her in concern. When she saw Rosalene’s eyes open, however, she smiled.
“You’re awake! Did you have a bad dream?”
Rosalene nodded slowly, but quickly stopped. Her neck was painfully sore. Again, she tried to remember what she’d seen, but it leaked away, slowly, drop by drop, little by little. It had been a simple dream, but an unpleasant one. It had left her worried, sad and disappointed. That was all she could feel. She looked back into the Kacheek’s eyes. “Who are you? Where am I?” She tried to get up, but it was too difficult.
The Kacheek patted her on the arm, gently. “Lie back down. It’s alright, you’re safe now. My name’s Libby and I live on this farm with my mother and brother. I was wandering in the fields late last night, trying to gather up all the Babaa, when I saw you!” She shook her head in wonder, as if she still could not believe what had happened. “You were lying there, looking so sick, all alone in the dark.” She cocked her head slightly, looking down at Rosalene’s clothing. “Where are you from, by the way? I thought the Duke only had one Draik daughter, and the King didn’t have any. But you certainly look to be of royal descent.”
Rosalene sighed. “That can wait.” She paused, then added, “Thank you for helping me. My name’s Rosalene. I’m not sure how I got sick – I was feeling mostly alright before.” As she finished her last sentence, a Red Ixi walked in.
“Ahh, you’ve awoken!” she smiled cheerfully, and Rosalene had to smile back. Trailing along behind her was a Baby Shoyru.
“Dearie, you must’ve been very unhealthy. You’ve never had enough fresh air, from what I can tell – maybe you’ve never been out to play at all. Your body couldn’t cope with the wind and temperatures outside, and so you fell sick.” She gave Rosalene a glass of fresh water, which she gulped down gratefully.
“You’re welcome. I’m Anita, by the way. This is Pancho.” She smiled down at the Baby Shoyru, who was chasing a rolling pin on the ground. “Life is hard for us, but we manage to get by, and you’ll be welcome to stay as long as you want.”
Libby picked up Pancho happily, and then looked towards Rosalene. “How old are you, by the way?”
“So am I!” Libby giggled. “Pancho’s two. Do you want us to leave you in peace now?”
Rosalene shook her head. “No, I like to have company. I never had enough of it before.”
Libby nodded. “I know! There aren’t many children in this part of Meri Acres Farm. Neopians come to dive in the dump and pick berries, but that’s it. They don’t pay attention to the small farms, like where we live. Pancho and my mother are my only friends.”
Libby asked Rosalene a lot more questions about herself, but fortunately, nothing touched upon her history. It was mostly things like her favourite colour, hobbies, games she knew, whether or not she had siblings, how much Tyrannian she could speak, etc. The two of them chatted to each other for a long time, and Rosalene was happy. She felt as if she’d made her first friend.
Libby’s life differed from hers significantly. For one thing, she could leave home and come back whenever she liked, because her mother knew she was capable of much. However, her family was also quite poor.
“The Kings and Dukes do nothing,” she said sadly. “They won’t help us at all, and yet they gloat in their fortune. They don’t care about us.”
Rosalene had never thought about this before. All in all, though, she thought she liked Libby’s life much better than hers. All the... freedom. Nobody controlling your life, and Libby seemed to enjoy her job of taking care of the Babaa and rounding them up.
“Once a wild Lupe actually came! I was really scared, but rounded them all up in time, and hurried back to the house. Then I got sticks to scare it and chase it away.”
Rosalene had no memories of her own to share – none at all. She was starting to feel like she had no identity. Libby, too, seemed to notice how... different she was. And then she asked Rosalene the question.
“So what was your life like before?”
To be continued...