Authors: Eva Corona
The following morning the Royal Family was breakfasting together in the Royal Dining Hall. The usual austere silence reigned. All were present except for one. Prince Ines, who had still not returned from battle.
“Oh my darling boy, I am concerned for him.” The Queen said, her tone of voice reflecting her fear.
“Have no fear my dear, the boy has a good head on his shoulders. He will make the right decisions and know what to do. We must have faith in him. He has never failed us yet.”
“Yes, let’s hope no one chops that good head off his shoulders in the middle of battle.” Marco said playfully.
“Marco!” his mother said sharply.
“Come on Mother, I am only repeating your concern. It seems like all that ever happens around here is praise of Ines or concerns for his safety. I mean come on, haven’t we got a country to run, lives to lead, parties to have, balls, engagements, you know, that kind of thing.”
“Yes Marco, we do have a country to run” The King said sternly, frowning before he continued. “And that is exactly what Ines is doing by going into battle to help protect the villagers from the bandits…”
Just then the dining doors burst open, and the palace guards announced.
“His Highness, Prince Ines.”
“My dear boy!” Queen Elisabeth rose from the table to go and hug her youngest child.
The King smiled proudly.
“Son! I knew you would return. What news do you have of the battle?”
“The bandits have been banished and the villagers are safe. No crops were burnt, so they will be able to survive the winter.”
Ines headed to the table with scrolls in his hand, and proceeded to explain to his father what had happened and how the bandits had been defeated.
Marco rose from the table, muttering under his breath. The rest of the family ignored him. He headed to his palace quarters.
As he lay on his bed, he went over Annabelle’s plan in his head. He had to do something to wipe that smirk off his brother’s face, and to get his parents to see what a weak idiot Ines really was.
That evening Annabelle and Beatrice arrived alone at Prince Marco’s quarters. Marco was quite taken aback when he saw the girl. She really was absolutely stunning. And there was purity about her, almost an ethereal quality. If his brother Ines didn’t find her attractive then he really did not believe he was a man at all.
“Marco” Annabelle leant forward, kissing him lightly on the cheek.
Marco greeted her, signaling his approval with his eyes.
‘This is Beatrice.” Annabelle introduced the young girl to the Prince.
With his natural charm, Marco took Beatrice’s hand and kissed it lightly.
“My lady” he bowed. Beatrice blushed and averted her eyes. Marco was stunned at her natural shy charm. He never felt intimidated by anyone, and yet here this young girl had him speechless. They headed inside, Beatrice following Marco and Annabelle.
Together they sat around the table on the velvet colored chairs. The atmosphere was somewhat tense.
Marco rubbed his hands together.
“Right. We may as well get straight to it.”
“Of course Marco.” Annabelle smiled sincerely. Marco continued.
“Now, Beatrice, Annabelle has informed me of your somewhat, um…um unique situation, though has confirmed that you do offer some, um…particular, um…special services…” His voice trailed off, he was getting nervous. He continued.
“Now this is certainly a unique situation. Of utmost importance from both of you is your absolute discretion. This matter cannot be discussed with anyone outside of this table; it is one of utmost top secrecy. Is that understood?”
Both Annabelle and Beatrice nodded solemnly.
“Right.” Marco continued, gaining in confidence now he had asserted his authority. “Now the issue at hand is to make my brother Ines fall in love with you. He has never fallen in love before, and it seems that nothing will deter him from being a goody-two-shoes that does no wrong and fills his days with boring palace affairs. Now, anybody knows that once a man is in love, he will do anything for that woman and she can lead him anywhere. That woman is to be you Beatrice. You are to become the woman who will lead him anywhere. Once he is putty in your hands, then we will decide where it is you will be leading him to, and that is the part I am really looking forward to. At no point may my brother come to understand of this ploy. He must remain totally innocent till the end. Is this understood?”
Again, the girls nodded solemnly.
“Right, we have a plan. I shall not interfere in your techniques and ways, for this you understand, this matter of making a man fall in love Beatrice, is your expertise and not mine.”
Beatrice nodded, not smiling, yet still with a somewhat disarming sense of confidence. Again, Marco found himself taken aback by her. What was that?
He shook his head, confused.
“That is all, you may leave.” Marco gestured to the door. “I will send the date and time for your next visit on horseback to your quarters. Thank you Beatrice.”
The girls rose from the table.
“Annabelle, no wait, you stay.” Annabelle looked relieved and smiled at the Prince. She nodded to Beatrice to continue on without her.
As Beatrice closed the door behind her, Marco turned to Annabelle.
“You are right my darling, she really is quite something.”
Annabelle walked over to him, placing his head in her bosom.
“I am always right my darling.”
Marco snuggled his head into her breasts.
“Oh God how I love this woman.”
When Marco awoke the next morning he was excited about his plan. He and Annabelle had stayed up into the early hours of the morning discussing the best way to proceed. Though Marco had not been sure at first, upon meeting Beatrice, he was convinced his brother would fall in love with her. Even he, Marco, who had had numerous women, and rarely felt anything but lust, had felt disarmed by her. She was utterly perfect, but still not his type, she was not adventurous enough. That was why he adored Annabelle, for she had fighting spirit, was adventurous and terribly daring.
The plan of action was to proceed thus. At the Spring Pageant, which was held every year, and which all the members of the Royal Family were duly obliged to attend, Beatrice would make her entrance alone. Annabelle would not be accompanying her, as it would arise suspicion, as Annabelle was a known courtesan. However Annabelle had assured Marco that Beatrice was so new to the game, that the villagers would be entirely unaware of her profession. She was to arrive, pure as the driven snow.
During the pageant, Marco, by pretending interest in Beatrice, would bring her to where the Royal Family were seating and there he would leave her to do her magic. She would ignore Marco, and begin to engage Ines. Marco liked the idea, and not only that; he actually thought it would work. He knew he had to do something to ensure that his younger brother would not take the throne away from him.
Once Ines was well and truly smitten by the young girl that would be when the plan would become truly devious, with Beatrice ensuring he stayed out late nights and neglected his palace duties. Then finally, his parents would see him to be the spineless twat he really was, and Marco would be King. Marco smiled to himself and jumped out of bed.
Ines sat alone in his room at his desk, stenciling, one of his favorite past-times. He gazed out of the windows watching the birds and their delicate flight, such beauty and grace.
He sadly thought of his elder brother Marco. He could not understand why his brother detested him so. It seemed that it had always been that way, ever since they were children. They were only two years apart in age, and yet Marco had always treated Ines with such contempt. For years Ines had tried to show Marco his adoration for him, yet lately he had stopped trying, for it hurt him to much to experience his brother’s constant rejection of him. Ines had always admired his brother’s courageous spirit when they were children, and aspired to be like him, though when Marco had begun all his womanizing and wayward ways, Ines had seen that he no longer really wished to be like him, wasting his life away. Especially with women. Ines believed that women were magical, and to be respected and adored, not played with. It is true, he had not yet found love, something that Marco constantly made fun of him for, but he saw their beauty and admired it from afar. Ines did not want to go with a woman just for sex. He wanted love, marriage and a family. Marco said that that was nonsense, that that was the boring side of a woman, and that they should be enjoyed sexually as often as possible, but Ines could not see things that way.
So he past his time reading, and stenciling, and attending to the palace affairs as best he could. He tried to not let the way Marco treated him, hurt his feelings any longer, but sometimes he just couldn’t help it, and he would come to his room and sit sadly by himself, wondering what fuelled his brother’s hatred of him so.
As Ines stared out of the window, he saw Marco sauntering up the palace courtyard, blowing a kiss to another of his courtesan’s. Ines shook his head and looked back down at his stenciling.
Annabelle and Beatrice sat together upstairs in Annabelle’s large, elaborately decorated bedroom.
“So be sure to be graceful. You have a natural grace anyway my dear girl.” Said Annabelle, preparing Beatrice’s hair and lightly stroking her face.
The spring pageant would begin in a number of hours, and Beatrice could feel her stomach a bag of nerves. She had seen Prince Ines, and found him to be a remarkably handsome man. He looked kind also, and she had heard he was a great warrior. She felt somewhat guilty about plotting against him with Marco, and in fact she could also be done for high treason, yet she had little choice. It was either do as she was told, or face the stark reality of being homeless. She drew in a deep breath and sighed, looking at her face in the mirror.
Prince Ines did indeed fall in love with Beatrice, yet Marco’s plan did not succeed. For in all the hours of the days that the young Prince Ines spent with Beatrice, they did not stay out late, or party, or indeed engage in sexual activity. For try as she might, Beatrice could not deter Prince Ines from the love for his people, despite the pressure from Marco on her to do so.
In truth perhaps Beatrice did not try so hard, for she found herself falling in love with Ines, and admiring him for his ways.
Many a restless night she spent tossing and turning, from fear of what was to happen to her if their plan was ever discovered. She also knew that Ines loved her, but did not know how he would feel about her profession. Yet she had remained pure, an unadulterated virgin.
In fact, it was Marco who told Ines the truth. After months of frustration with his plan not working, and seeing the mutual love developing between Ines and Beatrice, he had told Ines that in fact Marco had hired Beatrice to seduce him. He told Ines in rage and vengeance, purely to hurt him.
Ines had confronted Beatrice, who burst into tears, and admitted it was the truth. They had talked late into the evening and she told him how it had begun. Ines was shocked that she, a lady of such charm and grace was a prostitute. She told him that she had had no choice, but that she had still remained pure, waiting for marriage. The relief on Ines’ face was evident, and at that moment he had got down on one knee and proposed to Beatrice. She could not believe it, and said yes immediately.
Marco was sent away to the Navy, as the family had truly tired of his way ward ways.
And yes, Ines and Beatrice lived happily ever after.
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The funeral procession marched onward amidst crowds of paparazzi. His highness Prince Jacob VI of Denmark struggled to keep the tears falling from his eyes as his mother’s coffin was carried before him. The only way he could do it was by imagining he was not here, he was somewhere else, somewhere afar, and somewhere his mother still lived and loved.
Every step he took he felt he was carrying such a heavy weight. The people all around him swarmed into some kind of blur. He turned to face his fiancé Natasha who stared solemnly ahead, her face as cold as stone. He needed to be held. He felt his heart breaking. He stared ahead, detaching from his feelings, wishing he were dead.
Back in the palace quarters, Jacob stared blankly at the wall, as Natasha bathed and talked to him. Her words drifted across the room, yet he couldn’t understand what she was saying. She didn’t seem to care. His mother was dead and she didn’t seem to care.
Jacob took off his tie, and unbuttoned the top few buttons of his shirt. He felt like screaming, breaking something, jumping out of the window. He stood up slowly.
“I’m going out.’ He said gravely.
“What darling? Where?” replied Natasha.
“I don’t know.” Said Jacob, and slammed the door behind him.
As he exited through the bedroom door, his guard bowed.
The Prince nodded.
“Oh dear.” He thought. “The palace guards. How am I going to avoid them?”
He entered the library quickly and went over to the bookshelves at the back. He took “The History of Mankind” off the bookshelf and slowly turned the knob behind it. The bookshelves slid open to reveal a large iron door. The prince opened the door and looked down the long dusty tunnels, so dark.
“Oh God.” He muttered. No one ever used these tunnels now. They had been escape routes from the palace used centuries ago.
He thought to himself.
He then rummaged around in the desk draws and found what he was looking for. A torch.
He exited through the tunnel, closing the door behind him, and hesitatingly turning the knob on the other side to close the bookshelf. He would not be able to get back in now unless he made it out the other side. God he prayed he did. He was not thinking straight. Now his life depended on making it out of a tunnel, which had not been used for so long. Who knew what he would find. He had not taken his mobile because he did not want to be located. He did not know where he was going. All he knew was that he had to get away escape; somehow break free from this agony that was breaking his heart.