This was supposed to be the happiest day of their lives.
This was supposed to be the day they photographed and kept carefully in albums, the pictures they framed and placed at strategic points around the house, the day that they would share with their children and grandchildren without being prompted to.
But everything had gone horribly wrong.
The morning had been bright and clear, a few clouds dotting the endless blue sky.
Estella was at the temporary house set up a few miles from the church, getting ready for her big day.
The day she would get married to the love of her life, and the day she would become Queen of Costoria.
Her black hair was gently straightened and softly curled towards the ends.
The hairstylist pulled it into a beautiful bun, removing some curls to frame her heart-shaped face.
A few pins with diamond caps were placed in her hair, along with a few freshly picked flowers.
She was already in her wedding gown, an off-shoulder V-necked dress with flower patterns and powdered glitter everywhere.
Now that hair was done, makeup was applied carefully, highlighting Estella’s most prominent features.
Her cheekbones were contoured, her eyebrows were plucked, her eyelashes were curled, her lips were filled with the colour of cotton candy, and her green eyes were lined with golden glitter and beige shadow and further accentuated by an emerald pendant resting on her collarbones.
The makeup artist was Estella’s childhood best friend Francesca, who was more thrilled than the to-be-queen herself, and she did her best to make Estella look more like a queen than a princess.
She was quite proud of the result.
Estella looked positively regal as she was fitted with her veil, the train stretching for a long distance.
Francesca wanted to hug her tight, but she held herself back in fear of ruining her look.
Estella hugged her anyway.
“I’m going to miss you so much Ella, don’t forget about little old Frances in your big palace.”
“I will never forget you, Frances, never. I wish you could come with me, but you know how Jack’s family is. I’ll be so lonely without you there.”
“You have your husband, you won’t be alone, don’t worry. Besides, I’ll write you a letter every day and give you updates about home.”
“I appreciate that, thank you.”
With a tight squeeze, the two friends had let go of each other.
“Time to get married.”
The sounds and lights were blinding.
Estella thanked her fates again at being in a closed car with darkened windows.
But that didn’t stop the citizens of Costoria from screaming with joy, and endlessly taking photographs like the paparazzi which was already becoming a pain.
But the people were happy.
Happy that Prince Jacques was getting such a beautiful and kind-hearted bride and the perfect queen for the kingdom.
Estella was filled with joy at the excitement and happiness of the Costorians, even though her stomach was hurting at the prospect of becoming their queen.
Her mind was filled with doubts about whether she would be a good queen or not.
But Jack’s words always came back to her, spoken when she had expressed this fear to him.
“To be a good queen, you need to be a good person. Since you are the best person I know, I think you’ll do wonderfully as my queen.”
She sometimes felt like she didn’t deserve someone as kind as Jack.
But that was her inferiority complex working all over the place.
She had grown up with the knowledge that her sister Elena was to become the queen of Wargonia.
But before this could even occur, she had met Jack.
Prince Jacques Kenneth Andrew, people’s beloved, heir to the throne of Costoria, had fallen in love with her.
And she with him.
They had first met when Jack and his family had come to visit them for a friendly discussion.
Late night conversations, sneaking out of their respective rooms to see each other, making excuses to dance with each other at every ball, sitting next to each other at the dining table during every meal.
Costoria and Wargonia were strong allies, and it came as no surprise to their families when they confessed their love for each other.
At hearing this, Jack’s father had voluntarily given up the throne so that his son could rule with his new bride.
King Andrew was confident that his son could handle anything, even the recent rebel attacks all over the kingdoms.
And because of this, she was to become queen before Elena.
She wasn’t trained for such a big responsibility.
Would she be able to pull it off?
The car halted next to the church, the towering structure looking beautiful and terrifying at the same time.
The red carpet had been rolled out from the top of the stairs, leading right up to the door of the car.
Princess Estella Grace Marques stepped out of the car, and a collective gasp was heard from the crowd, clearly in awe of her beauty.
Soon the cheering resumed, louder and sounding more desperate this time.
She walked up the stairs, feeling her veil being lifted by her bridesmaids.
She had a bouquet of white lilies in her hand, and she could feel her heartbeat pick up speed with every step she climbed.
Her father was waiting at the top, ready to lead her down the aisle.
He had promised Estella that he wouldn’t cry but was slowly beginning to break that promise.
He was giving away one of his daughters for good.
On that day, he remembered his late wife, who would have been so thrilled at her daughter’s wedding.
As Estella clung to her father’s arm, they started walking down the aisle.
Right on cue, the wedding march began to play.
As the entirety of the church stood up, she elegantly walked down the aisle, having eyes only for the person standing at the end of it.
Jack was wearing his royal blue uniform, studded with medals of his own, hair perfectly slicked back.
He looked so happy to see her, that she almost couldn’t believe that this was real life.
She was to get married to the most wonderful man in the world, and she was to become the queen of the most famous kingdom in all of the seven kingdoms.
Trying not to think about the daunting part ahead of her, she focused on Jack’s eyes, and just smiled at him radiantly.
They were nearing the end of the aisle.
Estella’s father, King of Wargonia, kissed her on the cheek and holding both their hands, placed Estella’s hand in Jack’s.
Jack led her up the two steps and soon they were standing face to face, and the minister was ready to begin.
“I pronounce you husband and wife. You may kiss the bride.”
As Estella and Jacques kissed, flowers fell on them commemorating their union.
It was perfection.
Their intertwined bodies held everyone in wonder, and the guests prayed for their happy life together and a partner to hold them the way Estella and Jacques held each other.
Now was the moment.
The flowers were quickly cleaned up, and the place where the minister had stood, now was a golden throne, cushioned and layered with intricate patterns of rubies and sapphires.
Jacques’ father appeared, looking magnificent in his robes and jewellery, the crown resting on his head almost calling Jacques’ name.
Jack let go of Estella’s hand and walked towards his father.
King Andrew took off his crown, and as Jacques knelt in front of him, placed the crown on his head, offering the whispered words of advice only a king can give his successor.
As the newly crowned King Jacques stood up, the church and its occupants seemed to burst with joy.
Then the coloured windows broke.
As the black-masked individuals entered, the priority of the staff was to safeguard the king and queen.
But the king had already begun fighting, his sword gleaming in the sunlight entering from the broken windows.
The clang of steel against steel continued, until the king’s opponent was killed, a dark stain forming on his clothes.
Jacques turned and found Estella standing there, brandishing a knife of her own.
He had known that teaching her to fight would be a good idea.
Walking towards her, he saw her mouth open in horror, and scream his name.
Jacques fell to the ground before Estella could catch him.
He looked down and saw a cut in his uniform, blood slowly seeping through it.
Estella held her hands on his wound, trying to lessen its flow, but it only ended up hurting him.
“Somebody help! The king has been injured! Jack, Jack, listen to me, you’re going to be fine.”
Estella gazed lovingly at him through her tears, savouring the sound of her name on his lips.
“Ella, I won’t live much longer,” he croaked out, unable to breathe.
“Don’t say that you will. I won’t let you leave me,” she said, shaking her head and hugging him, ignoring the blood that was staining her white dress, like strawberries on snow.
“Ella, I love you, so much.”
Jacques let out his last breath, his eyes still open.
Estella closed his eyes with her right hand, holding on to him and shaking with sadness.
She had let down her guard for too long.
Her knife laid sprawled on the ground a few feet away from her.
If her husband hadn’t been dying, she would have noticed the man approaching behind her.
She would have defended herself.
But alas, she had let down her guard.
As the knife pierced her back, she cried out in pain, only to smile a second later.
She was to join her true love in heaven.
She would love nothing more than that.
The palace staff were on their knees, weeping and mourning the loss of their rulers.
The guests and citizens of Costoria and the visitors from Wargonia soon joined the staff once they realised what had happened.
King Andrew and King Marques sat down next to their children, silent tears rolling down their faces.
The church echoed with screams and yells at the Almighty, asking Him to return Estella and Jacques.
By then it was too late.