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Fantasy Romance Drama

This is the second part of the collab I did with Abbie. Make sure to check out her POV when she posts her part! Part 3 will be out sometime in the future. And yes, you're welcome for putting this one up so quickly. I wouldn't want to kill y'all from suspense.


Abbie's Link:

https://blog.reedsy.com/creative-writing-prompts/author/edbcba/



The tunnel walls begin to crumble around us, shaking off loose dust. I hear small explosions go off in the distance, screaming followed by each one. I’m almost certain Rayla’s involved with this mini earthquake. Speaking of which...

“Where’s Ray?” I ask Jones with genuine concern.

“What did I tell you about calling her that?!”

“Rules don’t apply to me.”

“Hm, I have a code similar to that. You might be better than I thought, kid. Ray’s fine, now c’mon kid,” says Jones, grasping my hand and bringing us both into a run.

After only minutes of fast paced sprinting, side cramps attack me mercilessly and my breaths are shallow. I hadn't stretched my legs this much in a long, long time. In my exhausted state it’s easy for me to sink into visions I had every night.

That of a beautiful girl with long raven black hair in a luscious forest with charming amber eyes. She’s so close to me, I can feel her warm breath against my cheek.

A loud boom reverberates off the walls. Back in reality, I remind myself to place one foot in front of the other. Once that’s settled, I let my mind wander again. I want to sink back into that vision, though I know it'll only cause me pain. Before I delve back into my conscience, someone bumps into me.

“Rayla! What’s happening? Talk to me!” Rayla keeps up a steady running pace, but something’s off. Her eyes are glassy and filled with terror, her confidence’s broken and snarky attitude crushed.

Now that her toughness has betrayed her, she looks like a terrified little girl who only wants to be loved. I give her hand a squeeze of encouragement and drag her with me as best as I can. I hope Jones knows where he’s going because I sure don’t, I think.

Jones looks behind his shoulder, his nose tucked under his shirt.

“The exit is just ahead!” he shouts between coughs.

My eyes sting and water at the clouds of dust that patrol the air. With Rayla barely hanging onto reality, I need to be her eyes. She isn’t looking too good when, all of a sudden, she whispers my name.

“What is it? Talk to me!” The moment is lost when she traces that same long scar. She breaks free from my grasp; her cheeks flushed and her crystal blue eyes consumed with fear. She takes out a knife from her pocket and slashes it wildly through the air. After seconds of this behavior, her bulging eyes notice me and she jabs the sharp blade at me.

I dodge every attack, but just barely. She’s got me cornered against a wall, knife to my throat. Checkmate. I already see tiny droplets of my own blood forming, making me feel queasy.

“Jones! Help me!” I call, using all my strength to push her malicious knife away. My hero arrives in a blaze of panic and grabs Rayla away from me. I run and hide behind a barrel filled with pickaxes. When I peek my head outside the barrel I see Jones leaning against a wall, clutching his head. Wet crimson blood drips onto the parched ground; it’s a sickening sight. He catches me staring at him.

“Just go! I’ll be fine,” he says, waving for me to join the now calm and puzzled Rayla who’s standing nearby.

“No! Give me one good reason why I should leave a--a friend.” My upper lip begins to quiver.

His bright amber eyes stare into mine. I never noticed the color of his eyes before. They look just like the ones from my visions…

“Because I said so, kid. If I don’t make it out, promise me something.”

“Of course, but I don’t think it’ll come to--” Jones cuts me off with a wave of his hand. He slides against the tunnel wall and sits down on the ground. He groans in pain but manages to utter a few words to me.

“Take care of her for me. I know you’ll do it better than I ever could, Your Royal Highness.”

My voice catches in my throat. A sharp nod and small smile on my end and then, “See you later, Jones.” My voice cracks mid-sentence and without looking back, I advance toward Rayla.

Without hesitation, I grab her hand and drag her out of the crumbling tunnel where the blinding daylight is waiting. A stifled cry escapes Rayla’s lips as the tunnel behind us collapses. Jones, I think with regret. She drops to her knees and shoves rocks away in every direction, her hands covered in blood and scratches.

“Jones!” she calls, tears pouring from her eyes like a waterfall. I kneel next to her and lift up her chin to meet my eyes. Words are useless so I do what anyone else would do in my position. I embrace her in a tender hug.

“He was the only one who trusted me,” she whispers. “He stood by my side no matter what, even after my parents died…”

“Shh,” I say, stroking her black hair. I’m tempted to say ‘it’s alright’ but that would be a lie. We would’ve stayed interlocked in that embrace for much longer if not for the rumbling reminder of the nearing destruction.

Her pupils shrink and her vulnerability sheds off like a snake skin. Gone, but with the inevitable chance of returning. For the most part, she’s back but still in fragile condition.

“So, where to?” I ask, getting to my feet. I offer my hand to help her get up and she takes it.

“Follow me,” she says briskly as if nothing happened, brushing the dust off her shabby pants. She wipes the remaining tears from her eyes and together we walk out of the tunnel. This time, she leads us towards the light.

***

We walk through the forest and away from the prison as Rayla explains the details of the plan.

“Inside that prison are some very important people who were visiting for their annual security check. They are now trapped with no way out, and the food rations can only survive a few days since they were supposed to get supplies as well. We wait a few days until they call out more guards to contain the damage and attempt to free the trapped people. While they do that, the palace will be exposed, where I will go in and kill the advisor.”

She turns to me. “You don’t have a problem with that, right?

“Well, um,” I start. “It’s not a foolproof plan, but it’s better than nothing. And the whole point of this is to eliminate the advisor which, in turn, eliminates fear, correct?” I kick a stray pinecone off the path.

She opens her mouth to answer when I interrupt her. “Wait, why do you need me then?”

“I didn’t need you at first,”she explains. “But now that I have the prince himself involved in my plan…” She gives a hint of a smile, then stops. She turns away as she continues talking, most likely to hide any sign of happiness.

The bird’s occasional chirp is too peaceful to fit the internal struggle that’s happening inside me. This forest--it reminds me too much of what I’d tried hard to forget yet so hard to remember. It was messing with my thoughts so I try to focus on Rayla’s rundown of the plan.

“I previously planned to simply trap the… important person… in the prison, then kill the advisor and get the queen on my side. That last task would be a bit difficult, but now that she sees that I rescued her son from the prison… it might work.”

“You’re gonna use me as bait, great,” I say. I knew this girl was never to be trusted.

“Oh, and how do you know I’m actually the prince, hm? I could be lying about that, too, for all you know.”

She opens my mouth to answer, but I raise my hand at her, not finished with my rant. “And one more small detail you left out. If all this goes to plan, how’ll you convince my mother to believe I’m her son? If you haven’t heard the news, the prince is supposed to have died by the clutches of robbers.”

My own words touch a sensitive point. I try not to sink back into the pain Rachael had left me to toil in alone, but I can't help it. It was because of her that I was supposedly dead. Gone. Forgotten. Inside, my heart cracks and it’s not just because of this realization.

“I-I need to tell you something.”

There’s silence on her end. If I didn’t tell her now, I never would.

“I was best friends with the royal advisor’s daughter, Rachael. I’m sure you’ve heard of her at some point?"

“I have…” she say hesitantly. “Why?"

“Well, um, I began to feel something more for her, and I think she felt the same way. We’d been friends since forever and the entire kingdom knew of our friendship. But that all changed on my last birthday.

“I invited Rachael to this very forest where I would tell her my feelings. Things went well at first and she was actually the first one to profess her love for me. I, um, believed that her love for me was true. I know, I know; I was an ignorant fool,” I say, covering my face with my hands. I don’t want to see her reaction.

“Seconds later the love of my life turned on me, stole anything of value, and left me to fend for myself. We were deep in the forest and the sun had already set. They took my carriage that brought us here, and I was left to struggle to survive for days.

“When I returned to the palace, the advisor and Rachael said I’d died on our outing by the hands of robbers. My father and mother believed the lie and let their fear take over.” Before I finish my story, I add one last thing.

“I still kinda love her though,” I say in a tone barely audible. It was the plain hard truth.

I pull my hand off my face, ready to confront her. She’s not laughing or smiling at all.

“So, you thought she loved you, and she betrayed you…” She nods her head knowingly, in a way that conveys she’d experienced betrayal herself. My hands dangle beside my legs as I draw a heart in the dirt with my toe. Noticing that Rayla’s studying me, I quickly change it into a circle.

“Does she know that you’re still alive?” she asks.

“Not sure, but my guess is that she thinks I met my doom in the forest long ago.” I tousle my matted hair as our eyes meet, unspoken words floating in the air around us. 

I’m the first to break the moment, my cheeks feeling unexpectedly warm, “Let’s get on with the plan. I’m over her and it’s about time I fall for the right person sooner or later.”

She seems slightly annoyed at my quickness to change topics, but manages to keep pushing the uncomfortable conversation.

“Fall for the right person?” she asks, a small smile on her face. I feel her eyes bore into my skull, willing me to make contact with her blue ones. Hard pass. If I look into them again, I fear that I’ll do something I’ll later regret.

“Interesting… and how do you know who’s the right person?”

I think carefully before answering while staring at the ground.

“I don’t know who that person will be or when I’ll find them, if at all. I trust that time will lead me to an answer. Have you found your special someone? Or better yet, do you think you ever will?”

I think I already found that special someone. So why did I lie to her? My palms feel clammy, and I find that the butterflies I thought I’d killed long ago with heartbreak, re-surface stronger than ever. No pesticide could kill them. But why was I able to tell Rachael that so easily but for this girl--seemingly impossible.

I finally lift my head, looking straight into her eyes. This time, it’s her turn for her face to grow a shade of scarlet.

“Love is stupid,” she responds harshly, breaking away from my gaze. Those three words send stabs to my heart and butterflies. Then why are they still fluttering? I think, almost annoyed. I missed my chance to tell her and love never gave second chances.

We stand in awkward silence, our silent thoughts clouding the air. The stroll through the forest gives my legs something to do to ease my troubled mind.

“We’re almost at the castle,” she finally says. “Understand the plan, prince boy?”

I couldn’t let my heartbreak get in the way of things. I’d just push it aside for now and get back to it later when we’d gone our separate ways.

“I sure do. Now let’s do this, Miss Rayla with no last name."

May 22, 2021 03:42

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12 comments

Emma Bates
05:58 May 30, 2021

:>>>>>>>>, The story was great as usual, but oh please tell me there's a happy ending *inserts puppy eyes* Orrr, even better part three please??

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Valerie June
04:33 May 31, 2021

I solemnly swear I am up to no good-- Ok, sorry about that Harry Potter reference. I've just always wanted to say it. XD We haven't even started to write part 3 yet, but we'll try to get a move on it! And about that happy ending... we'll see, we'll see. ;)

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Emma Bates
04:36 May 31, 2021

You- Okay, I am just going to go bring my tissues just in case. No, Thank you for the Harry Potter reference, I love Harry Potter :))

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Valerie June
04:38 May 31, 2021

I think bringing your tissues along is a very smart idea. I do have a way with tragic endings... Yay, Another Harry Potter fan! I'm not an avid fan, but I did enjoy reading the series. Do you have a favorite character? Mine is Hermione Granger because of her intelligence and witty catchphrases.

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Valerie June
06:17 May 23, 2021

Yay, me too!

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man, this...this...no words kjbvcxdfhbvcdfghjnbvcxdftghjmnbvcdfghvccdfghjhvfcdfghjnbvcdfghbvcdfghbvcdfg reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee I liked how you conveyed their emotions flawlessly and I like how I was able to feel the butterflies (okay, maybe not like, but still) A couple thingys... "The tunnel walls begin to shake as if having a violent seizure, shaking off loose dust." reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee this hits very close to home for me (flashbacks, can you stop?) "This entrance into Jones" wat does this mean? I think it's not finished or something. s...

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Valerie June
06:24 May 23, 2021

Yesh! You and your keyboard randomness is the highest honor to receive on one's story. XD Yeeeeeeeeeee I think I'm safe to say that my writing of -butterflies- has improved a smidgen since my last story with it. I can see how that would touch a sensitive point with you and maybe others. I re-worded it a bit just to be on the safe side. :) I have no idea why that was there or what I was trying to say there. It's wiped out from the story now. XD Thanks for the help!

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XDD it's a pleasure lol that's good. yeah XD you're very welcome :)

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Philia S
13:44 May 22, 2021

Ooooooooooooooooooooh, loved this!!!! bUTTerFLieS, ah how I missed them... LOVED THE STORY!!! Ping me when you get the next part out!!!

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Valerie June
06:09 May 23, 2021

Thaaaaaaaaaaaaaank you! (My excessive amount of a's remind me of the whale shark in "Finding Dory." XD) It's been so long since I tried my hand at writing butterflies. I missed them, too. Roger that Queen!

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Philia S
06:25 May 23, 2021

XD Good 'ol butterflies, what would we do without them :p *Salute*

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