The Royal Heritage
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Book two of “5 Princes and I” In response to the Nymphs' request, Rose and the princes set out on a journey to meet with Prince Frederick. They stopped by different kingdoms of the princes, where Rose got to know another side of them through their family. A side that only their family knows about. Along the way, they came across the ruins of Gija, the ancient kingdom of the tamers. Rose discovered a small spirit wolf in that location, who seemed determined to secretly accompany them on their journey and even help her when she needed it most. As their journey progressed, secrets began to unfold, and new mysteries about herself that she never knew began to surface. Along with it, new problems emerge, and truths will be revealed in the second installment of "5 Princes and I."
Chapter 1 Royal Family Problem
Someone shook me awake. "Rose, wake up. It's time to go." I didn't move. I was still so sleepy that my eyes would not cooperate. "Rose? Come on. We have to go." I mumbled in my sleep and turned away from the voice. Suddenly, I heard footsteps approaching me.
"Prince Ace, what are you doing?"
All of a sudden, I felt a thick material covering me - including my face. When I tried to breathe, I felt so suffocated that I immediately sat up. The fabric fell from my face. I breathed deeply in annoyance as I awoke and looked up at the person standing in front of me. I saw Ace with his arms crossed, giving me an aggravated look. His midnight blue eyes pierce through me. "Oh, you're still alive? For a second there, I thought you were dead. I was ready to bury you."
I looked at the fabric now on my lap before looking at him. My eyes narrowed in anger, and I got up and held the material to his face. "Were you the one who threw this on me?" I asked. Fuming in anger as I demanded.
Ace looked at the fabric, then at my face. He gave me a look as if I was stupid or just plain retarded. The typical Ace Feraden look that makes you feel like you are inferior to him. "Who else?" He said. His voice showed resentment towards me that I couldn't help, but mirror as my fist clenched at my sides.
Somewhere I heard one of the twins say, "Oh boy."
"Are you trying to kill me, you failed abortion prince?!" I fumed.
"Depends on what kind of stupid stunt are you gonna pull next."
"How about I cut your elf ears for you?"
Before things could get worse between Ace and I, Nate decided to intervene as he stood between us. "Okay, enough." He said uneasily. "As much as I'd like the delay, I'm afraid that you might kill each other sooner or later. Why don't we go and get a move on, now." Nate placed a hand at my back when none of us seemed to move and guided me away from Ace. But before I moved, I gave the said PRINCE one final glare before turning my back on him.
"Wow, in times like these, I badly wish Fred was here," Nate said, trying to lighten up the mood.
"Guess he's still pissed that we're stuck in this situation, which may or may not be my fault." I shrugged and continued to trudge forward. "If he's so mad, he doesn't have to act like a baby about it."
Nate chuckled. "Indeed." We stopped in front of Nate's horse as he bent down to pick up his saddle. He didn't even grumble as he effortlessly placed the saddle on his horse.
As Nate buckled the saddle on, I asked. "Are you guys mad at me too?"
"For what?" Nate didn't look as he patted his horse.
"For, you know, getting lured." Nate finally looked up from his horse. He studied my face that I had to fight the urge not to hide from his stare. Finally, his lips curved into a smile as he leaned on to his horse.
"What will you do if I tell you I am?" He said.
"Nothing really," I answered. I felt a hand suddenly being placed on top of my head and messing up my hair. "Hey!" I let out a protest and slapped Nate's hand away. "What gives? My hair is already a mess." I glared and tried to comb out my hair.
When I looked up, Nate was beaming at me. "I was kidding, Rose. Well, not really. You can say that I was a bit frustrated at first about the situation, but I know that it's not your fault." Then he jerked his thumb behind him towards the twins, where Ren was trying to wake Dan up. Then he threw the saddle on his brother's face. Dan woke up with a start and started strangling Ren.
"And I'm guessing the twins don't mind at all. They always wanted a little trip out of the palace, after all. Now, lighten up. We don't want Fred to see you with that face when we find him."
At his words, I managed to smile a little. "You really think he's the one that those nymphs are trying to help?"
He chuckled. "You make it sound like he was taken." He said. "And, of course, we'll find him. We have Ace with us. Although he is vulgar, he knows how to lead this group into finding Fred through that power of his." He assured me.
I grinned and started patting Nate's horse as I realized something. "He's pretty." I gestured towards his horse.
"Oh him?" Nate looked at his horse and smiled. "His name is Ryde. And if you are curious, Ace's horse is called Midnight."
"I didn't ask for his horse," I mumbled and petted Ryde. He let out a snort of delight as I rubbed his neck.
I was enjoying petting Ryde when a pest suddenly spoke. "Get on your horses! We are leaving!!" Ace ordered as he sat on top of his black horse, Midnight, impatiently.
I hope you fall and break your neck in the process.
As if reading my mind, Ace fixed me a look that said, 'you were saying something?' I started to gulp and figured that it was my cue to get a move on. I waved at Nate and Ryde as I made my way towards the twins, specifically Ren and Garius.
Ren just finished putting the saddle on Garius when he looked up. Garius saw me coming and immediately trudged towards me, leaving Ren. "Uh.....hey, Ren."
When he saw me, he grinned. "Hey, Rose." I patted Garius, who was now snuggling me with his snout. His tails flicked back and forth and let out a soft noise. Ren laughed and patted Garius's neck. "Seems like Garius really likes you."
"Uhhh....yeah." I nodded and moved my head back when Garius licked me. "Say, Ren. Mind if I ride with you guys?"
"Absolutely!!' Ren and I looked at Dan, who answered. He was now riding Wyren with a stupid smile on his face. When he noticed us looking, he smiled sheepishly. "Uh....sorry. Carry on."
Ren and I exchanged glances. He smiled and nodded his head. "Of course, you can." He said. "Besides, I still need to teach you how to ride a horse."
Ren helped me up on Garius first before he hopped on himself. As soon as we were all settled, Ace made his way in front of all of us. "We'll stick with the plan." Said Ace. "First off, we'll head to the Kingdom of Vertez to get supplies. Then, we'll find Fred. Understood?" For some reason, Ace looked at me as he said it. We nodded.
Ace looked satisfied at our reply. "Good." Then he looked at Nate. "Prince Nathaniel, can you lead the way?" Nate nodded. Ace motioned for him to lead, and Nate automatically took place ahead of us. Without a word, we followed him. Our horses marched a few steps behind him.
After a few minutes - or hours, I don't really know - of riding in boredom. Ren let me take the reins as he taught me how to ride. He gave me instructions over and over again as I made mistakes that the horse kept running off. Ace found it annoying that he kept giving us looks of annoyance whenever Garius ran off. Nate doesn't seem to mind, but Dan certainly enjoys my failures as he keeps slapping his thigh and laughing his butt off. It was pretty annoying.
Eventually, I got the hang of it and was now riding - or keeping Garius - at a steady pace and in the same path as them.
After a while, my hip and back started to ache from riding one-sided because I was wearing a stupid dress. Well, you can't blame me for wearing the dress, I was lured. Speaking of Thalia, I wonder if we are still within its borders. If not, where are we?
I gave the reins to Ren as I stretched my back. Hating the feeling of riding already. "Back hurts?" Asked Ren.
"What? Nooo!!" I said sarcastically. "Try riding the horse on one side. Let's see how you'll like that." I huffed and started to slump when Ren poked my side to make me sit up straight again. I gave him an annoyed look. "Quit it!" I snapped at him.
"Well, you can lean on my arm if it hurts that much." He offered. I looked up at him with a doubtful look. "What?" He looked flabbergasted. "I swear I'm not up to anything. Just trying to help."
"Uh-huh," I said. Unconvinced. If I knew, he'd just drop me so he and Dan can joke about it.
I looked beside us to see Nate with a stone expression. It was the first time since the whole ride that I've seen his face. Somehow, he was worried. "Nate?" I called out to him, but he didn't seem to notice. "Hey, Nate!" I called him again - this time, louder. It seems to have piqued his interest as he began to shake his head as if in a trance before turning to face me.
"Are you okay?" I asked.
He smiled at me - tried - for I could tell that it was a bit forced. "I'm fine." He said. But I was unconvinced. He looked anything but fine to me.
"Are you sure?" Nate nodded and gave me that forced smile again. Whatever his problem was, I could tell it was bothering him, but he didn’t want to talk about it.
I sighed and stretched my back again. I was getting tired, and I felt my eyes dropping. "Ren, I'll take you on your offer. Be sure not to drop me, okay?" I gave him a warning look that says he's going to die if he drops me. When I saw him nod, I leaned my back against his arms feeling my back relax a bit. It wasn't that comfortable, but it was better than not learning at all.
"Wow, you're pretty heavy." Said Ren, laughing as I elbowed him.
"You offered numbskull," I told him as I let out a huff. "Man, I can't wait to go to this Vertez place and sleep on a bed." I yawned. As soon as I said it, I saw Ren looking at Nate.
"Um, Rose- We aren't staying a-" Before Ren could finish what he was about to say, Nate cut him off.
"Don't worry, Rose. It's just a little further ahead." Nate said, this time, a kind, genuine smile was playing on his lips. "And tonight, we'll clean up and sleep on warm beds." He said. The sound of it all sent relief over me, but as I looked at the faces of the other princes, they looked anything but happy.
"Are you sure about this, Prince Nathaniel?" Ace asked, riding his horse until he was on the other side of Nate. His expression was stern as he looked at Nate.
"Of course." Nate grinned, and he started to laugh as he faced the road ahead of us. "It's not like I can run away from them forever. Besides, I've gotten used to it. It doesn’t bother me anymore." Ace studied Nate for a bit before he finally gave him a curt nod.
Listening to their conversations, I became confused. What are they talking about? Runaway from who? It seems to me that there is something here that I do not know of. They were keeping something from me, and I wanted to know what. I looked up to Ren for an explanation, but he just smiled as if it was nothing. Because of that, I figured that it must be a prince thing or something.
We were finally on the borders of Vertez - as Nate had announced. Up ahead, I could just make out the figure of their castle surrounded by a village made out of cottages. As we started to pass by, you could see that the ground was evenly placed by bricks so that you could hear the footsteps of the horses. You could quickly tell that the city was rich and well-governed seeing as how the people were well dressed....and fed - if you know what I mean.
I quickly straightened up as the people of the Vertez stared at us as we passed. Once they saw Nate riding with us, they started to wave, and a group of girls began to scream as they looked at Nate in awe. I watched as Nate grinned that flirty grin of his and waved back at the girls and winked. The girls went nuts.
Wow, he's not that picky with girls, isn't he?
Averting my gaze from Nate, I started to look around the village and spotted the market area. There were meats and bread on several stalls. Farther from it is a clothing section. I saw a man not far from us drinking on a wooden cup. He must have sensed me looking because he then looked up from his cup—the liquid that he was drinking began to drip from his lips. I gasped and edged closer to Ren when I realized that it was blood that he was drinking.
‘Look away.’ Ren spoke to me in my mind when our eyes met. He didn't have to say it twice as I was more than happy as he averted my gaze from the man. My stomach churned at the site. ‘It was animal blood, Rose. But you must not look at them when they drink.’ Ren told me.
"If they need animal blood to live, why do they eat regular food in the first place?" I asked, remembering what Nate had told me.
"Well, they do need animal blood to help them live, but the regular food helps keep their body in shape and keeps their cravings at bay." He explained and looked around nervously. "Um...let's not talk about this right now. Vampires have a sensitive hearing, you know."
I nodded in agreement. "Good idea. Let’s not talk about it at all."
We finally arrived at the palace. It was huge but not as huge as Thalia. A bridge connected the village to the other side, where the castle is surrounded by water. It was a castle in the middle of a lake. Nate must have seen me gaping as we crossed the bridge because he started to look at me with a huge smile on his face.
"What do you think?" Nate asked.
"It's beautiful." I heard Nate chuckle as we finally reached the entrance of the castle. A couple of guards opened the gate as soon as they saw Nate. Once we were inside, we descended from our horses and followed Nate as he led us in. The interior of the castle was as big as the exterior. The place room was humongous, with a bunch of different intricate designs decorating the walls and posts. Most of the colors were red, white, and gold. Dangling on the ceiling is an expensive-looking chandelier with red crystals hanging from golden-colored metals.
Nate stood in front of us. "I'll have servants lead you to your rooms so you can rest and bring you something to ea-"
"NATHANIEL!!" A voice boomed from the second floor. We all looked up to see a man wearing an expensive-looking suit, much like Nate's but a little too flashy and official-looking. He was beaming and waving at him while Nate let out a sigh as he facepalmed.
"Oh, dear." I heard Nate say. I watched as the man climbed leaped from the rails. I screamed and covered my eyes - well, not really since I peeked a little - only to see that the man landed safely on the ground and made his way to us. Once he stood beside Nate, I saw that he was an inch or two taller than him. "Show off," muttered Nate while the man just laughed and started to greet Ren, Dan, and Ace. When his gaze landed on mine, his smile widened.
"Well, who is this?" He asked Nate.
Nate let out an exasperated sigh as he introduced us. "Adam, this is Princess Rosalie from Thalia. Rose, this is my older brother Prince Adam." Brother? Well, now that I've gotten a closer look at him, I could see the resemblance. Although Adam's hair is blonde, his eyes are green like Nate's. They share the same jawline, angular nose, and dimples when they smile.
"Call me Adam."
"Uhh.....nice to meet you...., Adam. Please call me Rose." Putting my lessons on, I curtsied. Adam chuckled and elbowed his little brother.
"She's so formal, ain't she? Well then." Adam took my hand and brought it to his lips. "The pleasure is all mine, princess. I've heard so much about you." He asked.
I looked at Nate for support, and he only nodded at me. "Er...I suppose." I answered. "And what...what kind of things have you heard about me?" I asked nervously. I hope it was nothing terrible or anything.
Adam shrugged. "Nothing much. Just that you were pretty and well mannered." At the last part, the twins started to cough loudly - which I assume is their way of covering their laughs. Luckily, Ace shut them up by glaring at them. "That reminds me." Adam snapped his fingers as he fished something out of his pocket.
Nate must have guessed what his brother was about to do because his eyes suddenly narrowed at his brother warningly. "Adam, don't you dare!!" He sneered.
Adam rolled his eyes at Nate. "Oh, come one, little brother. It's not like she's yours, to begin with." With that, Adam started to get down on one knee while I just looked at him confusedly. He brought out a small box and said, "Will you marry me?"
At the corner of my eyes, I saw Dan rolling up his sleeves and trying to charge Adam, but Ace and Ren were there to stop him as he punched the air. "Oh no, you won't!!" Dan screamed.
Meanwhile, I gave Adam a deadpanned look as I said in a dead flat tone, "No."
Adam chuckled. "You haven't seen the ring yet." He said as he opened the box. Inside the box was a praying mantis with the ring tied to its body. It hoped on my shoulder near my face, eyeing me with those yellow bug eyes. In disgust, I started to scream and run.
"AHH! GET IT OFF!! GET IT OFF!! GET THE !@#$%^&*( OFF OF ME!! HOLY ^&*()!!" All my lessons about proper manners and princess conduct were thrown out of the window when I ran around, slapping my shoulder and dusting my hair.
"ADAM!" I heard Nate scream at his brother. I heard him run. Suddenly, I was being lifted off of the ground as solid hands wrapped around my waist.
"It's gone already, idiot. Stop it." Ace said in annoyance. I stopped struggling as Ace set me back down, but I was still holding my shoulder as if the bug was still there. I turned to face Ace to see that the mantis was perched on his hand. By the looks of it, he seemed amused. "Sacred of a little bug?" he smirked.
"Shut up. Santa’s helper!" I snapped at him.
Just then, Nate came running to me. "Are you alright?" asked Nate. I nodded, and he let out a sigh of relief before looking at his brother, who decided to join us furiously. "What the heck, Adam!?" He grabbed his brother's collar while Adam simply laughed.
"Sorry, little brother." Adam shrugged. "You know how mother and father pressure me to look for a bride."
"Yeah, but proposing on the spot and tying a ring to a bug? Are you nuts!?"
"It's a pretty good trick to me. Besides, I'll know if she's the one when she won't scream at the sight of bugs."
"If she refuses?" Nate looked unconvinced.
"Then I will kidnap her and charm her with my looks." He grinned.
"Uh-huh." Said Nate. "I'm guessing you still haven't found a girl. Which would lead to me to ask you....how many girls have you.....proposed to?"
Adam looked up as if he was counting. Then he started to rub his chin. "Hmmm...including Rose? 23."
Nate snorted and released his brother from his grip. "Loser." He told him. Adam grinned at his brother before his expression became grim.
"Are you staying for the night?"
Nate nodded. "Yeah. And tomorrow morning, we'll head off after we get supplies for our trip." I tensed a bit when I thought Adam would ask us where we were going, but luckily he didn't ask. Adam averted his gaze from Nate, his expression losing all humor in it.
"Mom and dad will be back for dinner. Are you sure about this?"
"I'm sure." Said Nate.
Chapter 2 Table Etiquette of the Denver Family
I moved to Dan to whisper something to him. "What is this all about?" I asked. Dan seemed nervous when he looked at me. I thought for sure that he would shake his head and move away while not answering my question, but he didn't, which I was thankful for.
Dan leaned down and whispered lowly in my ears. "Nate and his parents...they don't get along well."
Don't get along? I guess that’s what all the awkward tension is about. But is it really that bad?
I wanted to ask Dan more but servants came and ushered us away to our rooms. I looked hesitant at Dan, but he nodded at me to go. "What about you guys?" I asked.
"We'll stay here and talk with them for a while." Ren gestured at Adan and Nate. They were probably gonna talk about something and they don't want me around to hear it. This must be their way of telling me without hurting my feelings - either way, I don't really mind.
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