The Betrayer Was Betrayed


Cassandra Bush 6, Writer

Running, running, running.

Alicia was running. She had had it all. Next in line for the throne, pampered princess, she could choose any prince she wanted. And she threw it all away. She ran off into the woods in stable boy’s clothes, therefore running her country’s future into the ground. Her father had just died, he was sleeping peacefully, and nobody had seen his last breath. But Alicia knew the truth. That was why she was running.

After what felt like hours, she collapsed onto the ground, legs burning. She was in a clearing, surrounded by tall pine trees. She had run through the northern forest, towards the mountains and the walled city of Pilaya. There was a trail leading to the town ahead. She slowly, slowly walked it to the gate.

The guard said, “State your business.”

After a moment, Alicia said, “I am a traveler seeking refuge, and I would like to investigate a mysterious liquid, I heard you have very good alchemists.”

The gate slowly opened, and she stumbled into the bustling city. The road was cobble, and there were tall buildings of every build up and down the street. She went into the first inn she saw, then booked a week’s stay. Nobody batted an eye about a traveler in average clothes booking a stay, but everyone would have looked if she had worn her gowns or corsets.

She tiredly collapsed onto the bed, it felt like wood compared to what she was used to, , But it would be home for the next few days, or until she found her father’s killer. For she knew a cook always fed unfinished drinks to the hogs, and that morning, she had found them all dead.

Alicia had taken the hog blood and a coin purse, then ran into the woods, only pausing to change. After sleep, glorious sleep, she set off to the science sector, a\where all buildings were of quartz and marble, and she went into the shop saying, “Dr. Leomina, Toxicologist.”

A bubbly woman about Alicia’s age flounced up to the counter when she heard the tinkling bell at the door.
“Hello! What can I help you with today,” she asked.

Alicia said, “I need you to analyze a poison. I don’t have a sample of it, but I have some blood that may be contaminated with it.”

The woman furrowed her brow, “A challenge, but come on back to my lab.”

The lady, who Alicia now realized was Dr. Leomina, opened a door at the back of the shop, and the two ventured in. There were exotic plants everywhere and beakers full of mysterious liquids. The first thing the Doctor did was sniff the blood, and when she did, her eyes lit up.

“Definitely poison, it smells of acid, so it is probably Sycia, you know, I sell that, do you want me to check my log,” Leomina said this with a thoughtful expression, and Alicia nodded her head. There was a thick book filled with dates and names of people and what they bought.

Dr. Leomina pointed to a recent log, “Ah, a week ago I had a Lord Houndison buying two doses of it. Do you know him?”

Alicia’s face paled, he was her most insistent suitor, the leader of the army, and made it no secret that he wanted the seat of power. After a moment, she said, “Y-Yes. He has been trying to marry me, and looks to have poisoned my father, King Almirtan. I-I’m the heir. I think he wants to marry, and then- then off me.”

“Quite a pickle, I take it once you found out he was poisoned you ran off here, so nobody could poison or marry you? I could help you out, though. Oh, just so you know, you can call me Melanie, Dr. Leomina is the name I use to seem respected, I’m a doctor of mathematics, so I’m not technically lying,” the Toxicologist said this with a glint in her, one that suggested secrets darker than she had let on already.

“I- Uh- Sure, I would like some help, and it would not be good for there to be blood on my hands. How about I meet you here in an hour, as I must get my things from my current inn,” the princess said.

Alicia hurried to her lodge, and picked up the few belongings she had unpacked before seeing Melanie. At the door of the shop, a temporarily closed sign greeted her at the door, followed soon after by Melanie, with a backpack that had the tinkling sounds of glass bottles.

The two set off back to Alicia’s kingdom, this time taking the less rough, and faster, main road. After about an hour, the princess saw the steeple of her castle, outside, was Lord Houndison, with a fake mask of worry.

“Men, it may be time to give up searching for her- Oh! Alicia, I am so glad you are safe! Where were you, and who is this woman beside you,” he changed gears entirely when she came back.

“I apologize. I went into Pilaya to find an expert in royal burial, as I myself don’t know the rules. I guess I forgot to tell anyone,” Alicia made the lie up on the spot, giving a meaningful glance to Melanie.

That night, Almiritan was buried, Melanie using instructions from an old book in the library, and Lord Houndison was all flattery to the soon to be queen.

The first thing the next morning, Alicia was crowned, as she had asked to do it quickly, “In order to organize a day of remembrance for my father.”

Melanie and Alicia had cooked up a plan during the night, after hearing the other suitors whispering over dinner about how Lord Houndison planned to propose after breakfast that day.

He was indeed waiting in the courtyard, holding something behind his back.

He got down on one knee when he saw her, and said, “Alicia, dear Queen Alicia. I have loved you since I first laid eyes on you, and I will love you always still. Will you, Queen Alicia, marry me?”

One hour later

Alicia was bawling, fake, obviously, courtesy of the kitchen onions, “I- He- He had got- gotten dow-wn on one knee and- and asked to marry me. Then a- an assassin th- threw a dagger at him, and the- there was b- bl- blood. I- I couldn’t handle it, I- I fainted.”

She was talking to the other lords and nobles outside her castle, which she had closed to the public, to, “Be alone at such a sad time.”

The suitors had been hard to get rid of but, “I cannot think of love again for some time after such a tragic loss.”
The castle was blissfully quiet, and though mourning the loss of her father, Alicia felt freer than she had in months. She contemplated her plans and how she would run a country, but eventually decided to melt into the sunset, leaning on Melanie’s shoulder. Funny, she thought, the killer was killed. The betrayer was betrayed.