I pushed my horse to gallop forth with all my might, but an arrow had struck the horse’s leg, forcing me crash to my side. Without thinking, I ran ahead, only to land right at someone’s feet.
“Why, what do we have here? My dear sister.”
I gulped upon hearing that voice. My eyes scrolled upwards, but it was not before long that he had lowered to my level, staring at my soil ridden face. He placed his hand on my head, squeezing it too firmly.

“Naughty.”
He looked at me with much condescension, yet with no disappointment. In fact, he added in a teasing tone, “I was almost worried about you. I thought there would be an ambush. I am sorry to have frightened you with the arrows, but the King must be protected.”
My eyes lit up. How was I going to free myself from this situation, especially when Morganne was involved? She was a fugitive and I was travelling with her.
“I can—“
“You need not explain, my dear sister.” Cael’s puckish grin heightened. “You were kidnapped by Desiderium. In fact, we have her in our possession now. You have been brave.”
His squeeze had turned into a pat on my head. Then, he held his palm out, which I had to accept.
“Does the King—“
He shook his head and then chuckled. “No, he has not a clue that you are here. Fear not, my sister. You shall not be harmed. Unfortunately for Desiderium, she will be executed here. In fact . . .”
His voice was broken when he turned to examine her condition. I saw what she had become. There were multiple arrows stuck to her back. There was even one close to the artery of her neck. From her mouth oozed blood, choking her breath. She was struggling to even keep her eyes open. Even blinking caused more blood to spill from her body.
One of the guards who secured Morganne’s arms tried to say, “Your Highness—“
“Did I not instruct you to kill her?” Cael’s voice deepened while approaching them.
The other guard explained, “Yes, Your Highness, but—“
“I do not care if she will curse you. She is only human. Once she is dead, there is nothing she can do to you,” Cael remarked.
Subsequently, he unsheathed the sword hanging from a guard’s belt. Knowing what he would do, I uttered, “She rescued—“
It was too late. He had jammed the weapon into Morganne’s heart. I could hear the cracking of the ribs and I could see droplets of the blood flowing down his sword. She had gasped once, but I thought she had also cried. After he drew the sword from her body, he returned it to the stunned guard.
“Burn her. I don’t want her blood tainting Urcise soil,” Cael instructed.
He now walked towards me. This time, he had an even grander smile. I did not understand how he could smile after murdering someone. When he placed his hand behind my back to urge me to ascend the carriage, I felt my energy being drained.
“Hurry, my sister,” he commanded.
My eyes were still fixated on the bloody scene. Some guards were gathering wood, while a few began to light a fire. When the first flame was lit, I believed I had screamed, but there was no sound from my voice.
          “Another mistress?” the maids whispered in each other’s ears.
          “Yes, this time, it is Desiderium,” one of the younger maids confirmed.
          “No, no, we mustn’t refer to her as such anymore,” a mid-wife corrected. “We must call her Lady Morganne.”
          I had been hiding behind a pillar, absorbing the latest information about the King’s new mistress. Men, I scoffed to myself, were always the same. The King was known for his many scandals, and his many purchases. Scanning the area, I realized that he was the one that had built the numerous lavish rooms in the Palace for the grand library was in the midst of a construction.
          “Here she comes,” another maid squealed.
          Lady Morganne walked with much dignity, so much that she could be said to resemble a goddess. With one glance, I recognized why the King adored her. She was beautiful with her golden locks bunched into an extravagant, towering bun, complementinig her dashing aquamarine eyes. It was clear, though, that she was unhappy. There was no smile. There was not even a morsel of emotion. She looked lifeless and even hopeless. With her head hung high, she marched forward with a few attendants trailing behind.
          She suddenly halted while passing by the pillar where I hid.  “Who hides there?” she insisted
          Instead of running away, I gulped and announced, “It is only I, the Princess.”
          “Your Highness.” She showed her courtesy with a gentle bow. “Forgive me for my intrusion. I was too enchanted by the Palace that I did not foresee you.”
          Without any hesitation, I lifted her chin up and warned, “I suggest that you begin to become aware of your surroundings, Lady Morganne. One wrong move . . . could mean death.”
          I sensed that she knew what I meant for she answered, “I understand, Your Highness. I will be prudent of my behaviour if I choose to live.”
          I chuckled to myself, thinking that I had won. Ghislaine did not know, but I now perceived what she meant. If she chose to live . . .
I had disregarded all of the King’s mistresses before, but I could not ignore Desiderium. Ironically, I had visited her more than the King had. At first, she would ignore me. I would ask her senseless questions while the maids dressed her and she would respond in a desolate tone, but from the reflection of her mirror, I could see her smiling. After she dressed, we would have breakfast in the garden. I always prompted the servants to bring in the latest sweets. Both of us enjoyed our desserts wholeheartedly for they had to be the only treats in our lives.
“Say,” she had asked one day, “are you not of age?”
After nibbling my cinnamon filled cracker, I muttered and pointed to my red ribbon, “I am of age.”
“Then, why do you not have a suitor?”
“I am to wed a Koseian Prince, as dictated by the King.”
“So you have not loved?”
I was about to shrug my shoulders while taking another bite from the green tea mochi in my other hand when I suddenly remembered that man. That Koseian prince. I could almost hear his voice echoing in my mind.
“So you blush!” Desiderium giggled, almost spilling her cup of tea onto her lap. “You are just like me.” She sighed.
“I-I-I do not love any man like that,” I stammered and stuffed the candy in my mouth.
She laughed again, but this time almost falling off of her chair. “Oh, you will love that man. At least . . . there is some hope of your being with him. As for myself . . .”
She never explained her situation and she did not need to because I eventually discovered what she was concealing. I had decided to follow her after teatime one day. She always left at a specific time, right when the sun set. Surprisingly, she had visited the Prison Tower and even more surprisingly, the King was waiting for her there. I could not hear what they were saying for I had to keep my distance. I also had to bribe the guards to allow me to follow them.
Desiderium rushed to a ragged, beaten man’s side. Although the prison bars obstructed their embrace, it was obvious that they were in love. She had called out, “Orion—“
“I thought I said you could only see him, not touch him,” the King reminded her in a brutal tone.
“Please,” she was sobbing while falling on her knees, “please, I already became your mistress. What more do you want from us?”
The King disputed, “If you are my lover, then you would not want to be this man’s side.”
“You were the one who lied!” Desiderium roared. “You said you would free him once I agreed to your terms!”
The King cackled. “Blame your own greed. You could have stopped interfering with the court, but you chose to—“
“Your Highness . . . may I speak?”
The man had lifted his head and I could see his cool, metallic blue eyes. His dark, shaggy hair had accentuated the tint of his eyes and the paleness of his skin. It seemed like he was malnourished for his collar bones were prominent and his wrists were too bony for the chains that locked him in place. He had been held here and tortured for too long.
“Speak Postremo,” the King demanded. “You will have no other days to speak.”
Desiderium’s hands clasped together to pray. “Please do not kill him,” she begged. “I promise not to see him again. Please, please—“
The man, though, spat at the King, and stated, “I curse you, King Klaus II. You will live in fear because of me. You will be unable to sleep, knowing that I will be plotting to depose you. You will die in my hands, King. I will be the cause of your death. I am sure—“
The King grabbed a sword from a guard and aimed to pierce Orion’s heart, but instead had pierced Desiderium’s chest.
“Ah!” Desiderium screamed.
Immediately, she collapsed to the ground and the King was too stunned to react. Orion leapt to the ground and reached for her fallen body. He could only touch her hair. Exploding in tears, he harked, “I will haunt you. I will bring you to your demise with my own hands. Remember that.”
The King ordered, “Cut this man’s tongue!”
Orion continued to curse even while the guards were restraining him and aiming to slit his tongue, “King Klaus II, I will avenge her death and there is nothing you can do to—“
I awakened, panting and sweating. Pulling myself up from . . .
My eyes shifted to recognize whose lap I had rested my head on and to my horror, it was Cael’s.
“You fainted after seeing Desiderium’s body burn to ashes,” Cael told me.
Looking around me, I realized that we were in a carriage. We were probably on our way to the palace.
          “Why . . . why must you kill her?” I asked.
          Cael’s eyes were glued outside as he said, “It was the King’s wish.”
          “You and I both understand that the Scientians mean no harm.”
          “Do you even know why Desiderium was excommunicated?” He turned his head just to glare at me.
          “No.”
          He cleared his throat before explaining, “She exposed the King’s greatest desire and fear.”
          “Which is?”
          “Me.”
          “You?”
          Cael used his infamous scoff, just to show my silliness. “Have you not heard of the rumour? The Crown Prince will dispose of the King?”
          I had heard the servants and ladies whispering this piece of information from time to time, but I always thought it was gossip, the sort of gossip that only meant to tarnish one’s reputation.
          “I have, but  . . . rumours are . . . rumours,” I argued.
          “Then, do you understand why the Queen had always showed contempt for me?”
          “No.”
          “If I were favoured, then the King would find ways to shame me.”
          “Brother, I still do not understand why you would pose as a threat for the King. According to the lines of succession—“
          “He does not intend for a line of succession. He wants to bask in glory, to be known as the greatest King of Urcis. Do you even know how some of the royal funds are allocated?”
          “That I am not sure.”
          I had never thought of the financial aspects of governing a kingdom. Nestor had never mentioned anything about funds or complained about the King’s decisions.
          Cael sighed, “Immortality. Research on immortality.”
          All of this did not connect with each other. If Cael had a shadow, then why was the King focusing on immortality?
          “Then, why would the King summon a shadow for you?” I asked.
          “He did not.” Cael interlocked his fingers. “The Queen found my twin brother, Beau.”
          I had suspected that the Queen was not the twins’ birth mother, but I had to confirm. I needed to understand for once, and so I wondered aloud, “The Queen . . . is not . . . your mother by birth? Why would she even . . .”
          “Because we have the same goal, the same purpose.” His eyes had widened and now he angled his head to gaze at me. “It is time for a new era, my dear sister.”
          For a while, we both stared at each other. I was in awe, not sure what to say, but a question had slipped from my mouth. “Cael . . . do you . . . perhaps believe in your past?” I posed.
          “No, I do not believe in myths. I believe in my own actions.”
          “Then . . . why did you have to kill Desiderium?”
          He had his palm pressed against his mouth, muffling his voice. “It was the King’s wish.”
          His eyes sulked to the passing countryside. This had to be a lie. There was more to a King’s wish. Death meant the end. The end of what? I was shocked when I felt for a second that I had seen Orion’s reflection from the window. I now understood his intention. Just like Nestor had said, this was Cael’s destiny. He was born to impose the King’s downfall. The King then must have been . . .
          Knowing all this, would I let fate overtake me or deny fate itself?
          “Why are you . . . informing me this?”
          “Because I believe that you have the desire for change,” he remarked. “So . . . will you join me?”
          Again, he had offered his hand. If I were to accept it, then I would have to listen to him. I would be his pawn.
          I will avenge her death.
          And if I were to refuse? Would he kill me too? Would all the deaths that had occurred be meaningless? They all said they had died for a better cause, that they were helping me, but would I let them help me?
          I sulked, knowing that no matter what I did, nothing would ever seem right. Then, what seemed less wrong? I closed my eyes and I could see their faces. I could even hear their desperate voices. For you, they said. It was all for you. They had causes and purposes that they centered on me. Would that be not as wrong . . . to do what others wished for me to accomplish?
          For Morganne, Desiderium, for the Queen, my mother, for Nestor, my father, for Beau, for Hendrick, and for myself, I shook his hand.
          “I support you, my brother,” I vowed. “I pledge my loyalty to you.”
          “Very well, then we shall commence with our proceedings.” Cael nodded. “First, we shall wait.” The carriage had stopped just at the end of his phrase. “You will be driven to Beau’s living quarters. From there, you must return to your chamber. I must depart now, but I will notify you when the time comes.”
          Docilely, I remained in my seat and the carriage proceeded to its destination. I peered from the window at the winter scenery. The first snowfall had commenced, yet I could not appreciate its beauty. My heart was lost in the snow, perhaps iced to frostbites. I was still attached to Slianvwi’s deathly slumber, the right winter that reminded me of a little boy.
          I felt the edges of my lips part to a disintegrating smile. We were happy then. I had been happy for a moment. Yes, a moment ago, I had had an adoring lover, a set of caring friends, and a loving family too. 
          Timing.

          It had to have been timing, and possibly fate. Fate led me here, and it seemed like I would have to abide by Fate’s rules. I would have to act my role accordingly, and surely, everything would play out nicely. 
Chapter 46
Author's Note 
Hello to whoever has been reading this story! Thank you for following it. I really appreciate it. 
So, I thought I'd say a few words to conclude the first book. This is the end of the revised version of Rebirth, and I actually enjoyed editing it. I hope that my edits have been worthwhile. I'm sure you have noticed that the beginning has changed a lot. There have been new characters, and more flashbacks. The reason is that when I first started writing this story, I had a different plot in mind. After I finished everything, I realized that I wanted to make a few changes, and I wanted to add a few things here and there to help reach my different idea.

I'm actually not sure which websites I will be sharing the sequel. I'm leaning towards simply posting on my blog for various reasons, but that might change. Also, you might be wondering when I will be starting the sequel. All I can say is that it's soon, very soon. I'm expecting within a few days, or even, if I'm very efficient, tomorrow. I will be sharing the first chapter on Rebirth's thread on Soompi, and on fictionpress. I actually intended on releasing the first chapter of Legacy on the day that I started to upload Rebirth as an anniversary gift, but circumstances prevented me from doing so. Still, please treat it as an anniversary gift. I will be PMing users on Soompi and Fictionpress about the end of this revision, and about the start of the sequel.
Thank you so much! I truly hope you've enjoyed everything! Comments are always welcome. :)


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