Read Ashborne (The Ashborne Trilogy: Book 1) Online

Authors: Kat Lilynette

Tags: #coming of age, #princess, #teen, #sword sorcery

Ashborne (The Ashborne Trilogy: Book 1) (10 page)

BOOK: Ashborne (The Ashborne Trilogy: Book 1)
7.44Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

As I left the room, I was already
beginning to wonder how I was going to see Emoren, and how long
Gentry would be gone. I wasn't really eager to begin training, but
I was eager to see Gentry. I was going to have to do the one thing
I was absolutely terrible at – be patient.

 

Chapter Eight

A Surprise Visit

 

This morning marked the third day
since I've seen Emoren. I sat there, staring at the meat and
cheeses Penelope had brought me for breakfast, while she went about
the room, cleaning and organizing. Since my return to Ashborne, I
woke every morning, thinking of Emoren, and I went to bed the same
way. After what he did to my heart at the spring, being away from
him was torture. I missed his face. I missed his eyes. I missed
him.

But even despite the way I felt about
him and everything he had said to me, my own insecurities were
trying to take root in my heart. I started to wonder if Emoren was
even still here. I mean, after the way he acted in front of my
father, there was a part of me that wondered if maybe it was all
just an act to try and get a gold reward out of my father for
bringing me back safely.

Or maybe, even if he did like me, that
he decided I wasn’t worth having his life threatened over. Maybe I
just wasn’t really worthy of his affections, after all.


What's wrong?” Penelope
asked. The girl knew me too well. It was becoming difficult to hide
the emotions I was feeling and how much I missed him. I guess my
face couldn't help but give me away.


Is something wrong with
your breakfast? Do you want me to get something else?”


No. It's not that. I'm
fine, Penelope,” I managed to force a smile to the surface, but all
the uncertainty in my heart was making me feel awful.

Penelope wasn't buying it for a
minute. She sat down across the table from me, staring at me with a
puzzled look on her face. “You've been different since you've come
back. I just haven't been able to put my finger on what it
is.”


What? What are you
talking about? I'm the same as always, I just miss Gentry. That's
all,” I said, trying desperately to lead her away from the
truth.


No. That's not it. I've
seen you when Gentry's been gone before,” As she continued to stare
at me, I could see the wheels turning in her head.


Oh my God!,” she finally
said as she stood up from the table. “You're in love!”


What?! No I'm not! You
don't know what you're talking about, Penelope.” Listening to
myself, even I could see how obvious a lie that statement was. It
didn't help that I could feel my cheeks tingling with
embarrassment.


Oh my God! Look at you!
You're turning red! You're in love!” she exclaimed, pointing at me
while a surprised and happy smile stretched across her
face.


Penelope, stop.” I
pleaded.

She just laughed as she took her seat
again. “Who would have thought there was a man alive that could
make the Flame of the White Torch blush like that!”

She seemed happy, maybe even a little
relieved, seeing this side of me. I had always been the
Princess-Soldier of Ashborne, forced to maintain an image of
stability and strength, and I guess it made her feel good to know
that, deep down, I was really just like her – that I was really
just a girl.


So, who is it? Is it that
Prince Alexander?” She leaned toward me as she whispered, her face
brimming with excitement.

I hesitated. I didn't want Penelope to
get involved. I was so nervous about anyone finding out about
Emoren. But I knew that if I didn't satisfy her curiosity, she'd
run through the whole kingdom, proclaiming my love for that
scumbag.


It- It's not that
disgusting Alexander,” I said.

She leaned back in her chair,
surprised by my answer. I could tell she was confused. She hadn't
even considered Emoren because he wasn't royalty, but it only took
a few moments before her face lit up and her mouth dropped open as
she put all the pieces together.


It's that Emoren guy! The
one who came with you from Saberfell!”


Shhh! Penelope!” I said,
looking nervously around the room.

Although I was a little apprehensive
about her finding out about Emoren, in this moment, gossiping with
her like this, I felt like a normal girl for the first time in my
life. I was embarrassed as hell and blushing like like an idiot,
but God, it felt great.

Penelope quickly covered her mouth and
brought her voice back to a whisper. “Oops! But it's him though,
isn't it?”

I just looked at her without
answering. The uncontrollable smile on my face and sparkle in my
eye would tell her all she needed to know. With her hands still
covering her mouth, she giggled in delight at learning who my
secret love was. She was so happy for me, it seemed hard for her to
contain herself.


He's beautiful! But,
wait. He isn't royalty though, is he?”

My cheek-hurting smile quickly turned
somber as Penelope brought me crashing back to reality. I looked
down at my food dejectedly. I just wanted so badly to keep
pretending with her, but she was right. My expression made it
pretty clear to Penelope that he wasn't of royal blood, and her
face filled with sympathy as we sat quietly for a
moment.


H- Hey. I'm sorry,” she
said.


It's all
right,”


What are you going to
do?”


I don't know. I don't
even know if he's still here. My father gave him a room in the
Servant's Wing, but I haven't seen him in days.”


Well, Ashborne is a big
place,” she said, trying to console me.


No. Father threatened his
life should he be found in the royal wing. Seeing what he was going
to have to deal with, he probably already went back
home.”


Hey...” Penelope placed
her hand on my arm comfortingly. “I'm sure he's still here. I'll
check with the other servants and see what I can find out,” she
said.


No, Penelope. It's too
dangerous. If Father finds out-.”


Relax,” Penelope
interrupted. “I know how how your father is. I can be very sneaky
when I want to, ya know?”

She flashed a sly smile as she rose
from the table and turned to leave, determined to see what she
could learn for me. I wanted so badly to continue objecting to her
help, but at the same time, I was desperate to find out about
Emoren. My heart hurt without him.


Just, please, be
careful.” I urged.

She raised her hand without turning
around, letting me know that I worry too much as she continued
walking for the door. I heard her open the door as I turned back to
my plate of food. If I wasn't anxious before, I certainly would be
as I waited for her to return.


Oh. Hey, Gentry,”
Penelope said happily as she left the room.

My face brightened immediately as I
turned back toward the door. There, as if I hadn't seen him in
ages, stood a smiling Gentry. I shot up and raced over to him and
jumped into his arms.


Haha!” He twirled me
around once as he caught me and embraced me like a father. “I knew
it would take more than some Kaliborians to get the better of the
Princess of Ashborne!” He held me by the shoulders and pushed me
back a bit so he could get a better look at me.


You're all right? You're
not hurt?” he asked as he looked me over, turning me this way and
that.


No,” I laughed. “I'm
fine. I'm fine.”


Thank goodness,” he said.
“When I came to, everyone was dead and you were gone. I was so
worried. I raced back here to form a search party, but your father
sent the Royal Guard instead.”


Do you know why?” I
asked.

Gentry shook his head. “After I gave
him the news of the attack, he mobilized the Royal Guard and sent
me off on a scouting mission. When I heard that you had returned to
Ashborne, I raced back as fast as I could. I heard there was a man
from Saberfell with you?”


Yes. He's the one who
bandaged your wounds and helped me make it back safely.” I chose my
words carefully. I wasn’t trying to lie to Gentry, I just wasn’t
telling him the whole truth.


Well, I'll have to thank
him properly. Is he still here?”


I don't know. I haven't
seen him since we arrived,” I replied, trying to hide my
disappointment.


Hmm. Well, next time you
see him, you be sure to tell him I owe him some ale. In the
meantime, are you ready to get back to training? These knights have
been on vacation for too long in our absence,” he said with a
smile.

I nodded my head and smiled in
agreement. Truthfully, I couldn't stop thinking about Emoren, and
the last thing I wanted to do was train, but this was how Gentry
and I bonded, and I knew I had to keep up appearances.


All right then!” Gentry
said. “I'll see you on the field in an hour.”

Without Penelope to help me, it took
me quite a bit longer than usual to suit up, and I headed down to
the field a little late. As I approached, I could see Gentry and
the recruits standing around and socializing, as they tended to do
before training. With armor still dangling from my limbs, I took a
seat on one of the hay blocks surrounding the field and began to
fasten the loose pieces.


Um, Your Highness?” a
voice said.

I looked up to see who was addressing
me, and to my surprise, it was the same recruit I had made an
example of before being sent to Benethil; the one who probably
still had my boot imprinted in his chest. He stood in front of me,
looking a bit nervous as I eyed him and continued trying to fasten
my armor.


Yes?” I asked.


I- Um… Well, we heard
what happened,” he said. “I just wanted to tell you that we're all
happy to see you back safely.”

I leaned back and smiled, truly
surprised by what he had just said. After having been so hard on
him, I was sure he would hate me. But I guess I was wrong. Gentry
had always told me how these men had respect and admiration for me
as their princess-in-arms, but it was rare that they ever expressed
it. I suppose my usual, aggressive demeanor, combined with my
position and title, didn't make me the easiest superior to
approach.


What's your name?” I
asked.


J- Johnathan, Your
Highness,” he replied, bowing his head and keeping it
lowered.

I stood up, placed my arm on his
shoulder and smiled at him. “Well, Johnathan, thank you. I
appreciate that very much. Really,” I said as he raised his head
and smiled, seemingly relieved that he survived the encounter. And
with that, we began our training.

Since we had started later than usual,
Gentry and I decided it would be a good time to get in some night
training. We sparred late into the evening before finally calling
it a day. I tried to use the training to distract my mind from
thinking about Emoren, but once we were done, I couldn't help but
race back to my room to see if Penelope had heard
anything.

# # #


Penelope?!” I said as I
burst through the door to my room.

It was empty. There was a
plate of supper sitting on the table, but Penelope was no where to
be found. I hurried over to the table, looking for a note, or
anything, but there was nothing. I knew she had been here because
only she would have thought to bring me supper.
I guess she didn't find anything. Or, he's already gone and
she just didn't have the heart to tell me.

I let out a depressed sigh and began
undressing. My insecurities started running wild again, and I began
to think that maybe I should just accept that being alone was my
fate. That because of what I've done in my life and who I was, that
this was the Gods' punishment for me. I guess it was silly for me
to think that Emoren would endure my father just to be close to me.
After having his life threatened, I couldn’t blame him for walking
away. And then, just as I was about to remove my shirt, I heard a
voice from inside my room.


You're a hard women to
get close to, you know?” Emoren said.

My eyes lit up as I turned around.
There, leaning against the wall in the shadow of the room and
wearing a confident, almost arrogant smile, was Emoren.


Emoren!” I gasped as I
ran over to meet him and threw myself into his arms.

He chuckled a bit as he caught me. I'm
sure he was laughing because I was acting like a lovesick girl who
hadn't seen him in years, but I didn't care. With his arms around
me and my face buried in his neck, I breathed in his intoxicating
scent and rejoiced over my stupid insecurities being wrong. I was
right where I wanted to be.


You didn't really think a
death threat was going to keep me away from you, did you?” he
smiled.

I wasn’t about to ruin this moment by
telling him all the crazy thoughts that had been running through my
mind. I just held him, wishing this would never end and trying to
enjoy it for as long as I could. “I missed you. I thought you had
gone back to Shadowbark.”

BOOK: Ashborne (The Ashborne Trilogy: Book 1)
7.44Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Other books

Ivory and the Horn by Charles de Lint
Some Trees: Poems by John Ashbery
A Match Made in Texas by Arlene James
Back on Blossom Street by Debbie Macomber
A Gallant Gamble by Jackie Williams
When The Right Door Opens by Catherine Micqu
Guarded for Pleasure by Lacey Thorn
Cameron's Contract by Vanessa Fewings