As I stood at the entrance, I stole a glimpse at the clock tower and smiled. Only twenty more minutes until midnight. A shiver of anticipation electrified my nerves, making my fingertips tingle and my heart pound out of my chest. I started to get a bit restless, and the empty bottle sitting next to me on the stone bench didn’t help. The bitter, fruity flavour still lingered on my lips. The wine had tasted a little bit off, but since I was inexperienced, I didn’t mind. I didn’t usually indulge in alcohol, but tonight was a particular case. Besides, I felt the need for little extra courage, the kind that can only be found at the bottom of the bottle.
Alone in the courtyard, the words of my stepmother played over and over again in my head like classical music escaping from the ballroom windows. “You must complete your mission by midnight. If you don’t, you will become one of the headless.”
Yes, the headless who now lined the palace gates of the royal family. My eyes started prickling with tears, but I couldn’t break down now. I had to be strong! I would give up everything for the freedom of my kind, from the human population who hunted us for sport and displayed our headless bodies like trophies.
Moonlight spilled into the courtyard, reflecting in the flowing water of a large fountain positioned behind the bench. Three tiers of stone caught the glittering streams pooling into a circular basin where the water turned dark and bottomless. If I was going to complete the mission by midnight, I had to leave soon.
Thinking through the plan for a final time I gently fiddled with the fabric of my gown. It was a far cry from my usual attire. The dirty rag, covered in the patch and spotted with ash, seemed like a distant memory. I gently traced the pink flower petal that twisted their way to the hemline like delicate vines against white chiffon layers. I lifted a foot and admired the glass-like slippers that encased my feet. The shoes were the most crucial piece of the whole operation.
The swing door opened, sending a blast of noise into the courtyard. My heart was beating so fast it felt as though it would burst straight through my chest….The prince had arrived.
Across the courtyard, I saw Victor, my partner in this mission. He walked over to me slowly and whispered in an irritated tone. “What took you so long? I was beginning to think you weren’t coming.” He wore a perfect disguise for a human masquerade ball. His mask was shaped like a fox’s face and had blue flames etched around the eyes. His suit was navy blue, sharp-looking, and well fitted. Precisely the sort of thing that a human male would wear to an event like this.
“I shall introduce to you at the court.” He said, “You will soon see his Highness, who is being honoured at the ball.” Victor rolled his eyes as he spoke, his tone somewhere between bitterness and incredulity. “But I am sure you will enchant him with your charm.”
All of a sudden Victor grew very serious. He said anxiously: “But Remember! You must leave the ball before midnight and come home before anyone realises you are gone. Which is when the spell will wear off, your appearance and dress will go back how it was. Do you understand, Violet? As his voice trailed off; the conclusions were inescapable. His eyes were staring blankly waiting for my answer.
“Yes, I understand!” I said in a calm voice, laced with a bit of annoyance
We were already entering the big hallway and following the path of dimmed light. I was so nervous, like my stomach will drop any minute now. Suddenly, Victor announced to the room
“I love to introduce to you Lady Annabeth III from Babar’s kingdom.” In the ‘real-ist’ British accent that made every word, he uttered seem to command the attention of the people.
A beat of silence stretched around the ballroom like an infectious disease, nobody was willing to make a sound. The wine churned in my stomach, as I struggled to descend down the stairs. Hearing people whisper ‘who is she?’or ‘where did she come from?’as I walked closer to the target.
When the prince finally noticed me, he started to walk toward me. As he came closer, I slowly began to take in his features. His blonde hair was a mess of waves falling on his face, casting a shadow over his emerald green eyes. His cheekbones were broad and well defined. As he approached, I thought to myself, why do the most beautiful looking people always have the ugliest hearts? Slowly the smell of liquor overwhelmed my senses, growing stronger and stronger the closer he came….
“May I have this dance, M’lady?” a whiskey-soaked voice asked with his right arm outstretched invitingly. I started to feel my face heat up, thank god I’m wearing a mask, so he doesn’t see me turn a deep shade of red.
I nodded and smiled. His Highness smiled back. Taking my hand, he guided me toward the dance floor. I felt his hands slowly touch my waist. His touch was soft and gentle. I placed my hand on his broad shoulders, making my hand feel small. Our bodies started to move in sync, as we waltzed around the dance floor.
Suddley, in one swift movement, he pulls me toward him. Making me lose balance and falling flat against his chest. I was taken back by his dominant action. However he didn’t seem to care; instead, his hand start roaming from my hip down toward the lower part of my body . I felt his awful breath against my forehead, as I struggled to push myself away from his chest.
That was the last straw. I didn’t care about the stupid mission anymore, I just had to get away and fast. I curled my hand into a fist and aimed for the face. I hit the bridge of his nose. As he stumbled back, he nearly fell over, freeing me from his grasp. As blood splattered all over the floor.
His rage held all the power of a wildfire, you could practically see the flames roaring in he eyes, ready to ignite anything that he came in contact with.
Prince Ralph Of Aralux Kingdom
“Do you want to get yourself arrest– ?” I asked an irritated tone. However before I could finish, Lady Annabeth rudely started running away from me. How dare she walk away from the crown prince, after what she did.
Burning rage rushed through my body like deathly poison demanding release in the form of unwanted violence. It was like a volcano erupting; rage sweeping off me like wild waves.
Red. Everything went red. My vision blurred as a flame curled in the pit of my stomach. My brain went into overdrive as it picked her every movement.
I followed her, all the way toward the royal garden. However, when I arrived, there was no-one in the garden. I paused at the entrance, the greenery was already charcoal, and two dimensional and the grey path was melting into the night. I shivered. I tried to figure at where the noble lady went.
I jogged through the garden, I saw something sparkle in the moonlight. Once I came closer, I begin to recognise it the countess’ slipper.
I picked the damn thing up, using it as leverage against her. Because everyone knows the shoe is girls best friend, right?
I froze in shock. If from the shadows, a tall figure emerged. When I could get a better look at the woman, I held in my breath. Her pale skin sparkled in the moonlight, her dark red eyes match the roses perfectly. She was wearing regular peasant clothes, which were covered by her long flowing silver hair. She walked over to me, her feet barely touching the ground.
“Nice to see you again, your Highness” Her voice was smoother than butter and made my heart stop momentarily.
“Lady Annabeth” my tone stiff and as my blood turned cold.
“I prefer to be called Violet” she smirks.
“You’re a vampire” I yelled, slowly taking a step backward.
I lost balance, landing on my back in a pile of dead leaves. As I tried to get away from the freak. Suddenly my body went into shock, crouse pain all over my body. My head rolled to the direction of my hand. The gold slipper was now covered in a strange green substance. I used the last for my strength to lift my hand to my face. Slowly I started to recognise the material, it was poison… I was tricked by a vile, disgusting vampire.
I tried to yell for help, but nothing came out. I was forced to watch that monstrous creature get away, disappear into the night. The pain that once burned had faded away to an icy numbness. My vision started to blur, and the only thing I could hear was my own heartbeat. My breath came in ragged, shallow gasps. The hour passed as I lay on the cold, dirty ground.
Then, I heard voices. My People swarmed all over me, trying to help me. I realised they wanted to save me. If I could have, I would have laughed. Surely they were smart enough to know its too late to save me, yet they were like children, naive to the darkness that just awakens. The despair and suffering that they will face in the future. All of them hopefully, won’t be joining me soon. I closed my eyes. Started to prepare for what awaits me on the other side. My fragile, heartbeat one last time.
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