✍️✍️✍️✍️ The Forgotten Princess Chapter 61 || 62....65✍️✍️✍️✍️


 The story so far

The fourteen years of my life was mundane. I was born between the king of Alvannia and a palace maid.

My king father had an affair with my mother. The queen was jealous of my mother and kicked her out of the palace. My mother knew not long after that she was pregnant with me.

We lived an ordinary life with the commoners but we were happy. Living with my mother was my best years. I felt her love for me was unmeasurable.

But it didn't last long. My mother got sick and it just got worse rapidly. Then one day the king of Alvannia visited us incognito. He introduced himself as my father. My mother, who was in her deathbed that time requested my king father to take me and keep me safe. It was her dying wish. So then and there my mother died, knowing that my father agreed to take care of me.

After that I lived my days inside the palace of Alvannia. I learned that I had two elder sisters and a younger brother from my stepmother the queen. I thought I was fortunate to have a stepmother and step siblings, a family, but I was wrong.

My stepmother the queen and step sisters were cruel. They didn't accept me and also bullied me every time. My own father just batted his eyes from the things the queen and his daughters have done to me. I accepted everything they threw at me quietly, knowing that I was only an outcast, a bastard in their eyes.

It was fortunate that my younger brother, the heir to the throne of Alvannia, accepted me as his sister. Even his grandfather, the queen's father, who doesn't have any blood relations with me, accepted me as his granddaughter.

Years passed by with the normal routine inside the palace. Then came my fourteenth birthday. My grandfather fought for me to have my grand ball, to present me to the people of Alvannia as their third princess.

After that my mundane life greatly changed. I met many people, ones that I never imagined to meet. I met the kind William, the son of Duke Cunningham and the heir to their dukedom. I was able to dance with the crown prince of Grandcrest, Prince Regaleon, who I believe has a very strong character but also charismatic. Then I met my own personal knight that my grandfather enlisted to me, Leon Fitzgerald.

Leon was the most notable person that have touched my life so far and he has been with me ever since. He had taught me many things. And also, my heart has fallen for him. Yes I know now that I love him. The man that had helped me improve myself, the man that has been protecting me, I have fallen in love with this man.

After some events in my life, I knew of my hidden lineage. I knew that my mother was a princess of the fallen kingdom of Atlantia. It was a kingdom where magic was present. Its citizens can use and harness magic and they know the ways of magic arts.

My magic abilities blew out of proportion one day. The faithful day that I was abducted by a young Atlantian man. He told me that they were rebuilding the fallen kingdom and needed me for its future. Leon came to my rescue but the young Atlantian proved his magic abilities are more superior. Leon was trapped in a water bubble and was losing his life. The thought of losing him was the key to awaken my slumbering magic abilities. I didn't really remember what happened but with Leon's story, he said that my magic was out of control and nearly cost me my own life.

Not long after the abduction incident, I saw a vision. It was a vision that I was afraid of happening and I was also afraid of telling anyone. Afraid that if I tell anyone, it might come true. In the vision, I was surrounded in the sea of fire. Leon was dueling a man covered with black robes. Leon was winning the sword fight, pushing back the man. But then an arrow out of nowhere pierced his chest. Leon was able to pierce his sword in the body of the man he was dueling with. But the flames grew menacing and engulfed both of them.

I didn't know if ever this vision was really a premonition or only a nightmare my mind made. But I knew I need to get stronger and better. I will do anything and everything to prevent this from happening. Leon became a very special existense in my life. And I do not know what to do if I lose him.

And so two years have passed. In these two years I have tried so hard to improve myself. I was granted to live outside the palace, with an excuse that my health was weak and needed to recuperate in the countryside to rehabilitate. My king father agreed and so me and Leon were relocated in the countryside that was far from the capital.

Leon and I lived at a small villa surrounded by a thick and dense forest. We weren't alone, my grandpa handpicked trusted maids to accompany us and also he made sure to visit once a month with Richard.

In the countryside, my education continued. I have excelled in all of my studies. My sword skills improved as well. My training with the magic arts was made in secret. Me and Leon are studying together, using the books that Dr. Andrew got in his expeditions around the continent.

And also Snow was always with me. Where ever I go, Snow was always beside me like she was guarding me. Not long, Snow and I leveled up our connection. I can now understand her, it was like we were talking with each other in our minds. There were some texts about familiars in Dr. Andrew's books. It is said that when the master's magic grew, so does their familiars. So far the improvment between Snow and I was getting to understand each other.

Now I am sixteen years old. I am proud to say that I can now stand my ground. I won't be pushed over by others and I am sure to protect myself and the ones I love.

"Princes Alicia." Tricia called my attention. "A letter has arrived from the palace."

I was sitting in the veranda of the villa, having a break from my studies. Tricia handed me the letter.

"Thank you Tricia, you may go." I waved my hand to dismiss her.

"Just call me if you need anything princess." Tricia lightly bowed and walked away.

'What is it?' Snow was curled on my lap but stirred when she saw the envelope handed to me. She took a peek in the envelope I was holding.

"I am not sure." I replied. Then I saw the crest of the king. "It's from king father."

'Oh really?' Snow seems uninterested and resumed her curled pose. 'After two years and he just remembers you now?'

I opened the envelope and pulled the letter out. I read the letter carefully.

"It seems that I am summoned back to the palace for Veronica's debut." I said.

Snow lifted her little head and looked at me.

'And are you going back there?' Snow said sarcastically. 'You know that place is nothing but a snakes lair.'

"I know what you mean Snow. But this is a royal summon. I cannot reject this." I sighed.

'Then what are you planning?' Snow asked.

"There is only one option but to go back." I said. "Do not worry Snow, I am not the weak girl like before. But I have to play the weak princess for a while when I get back." I smiled intently.

'Oh I'm gonna love this.' Snow got up and stretched her body. She jumped towards the table and looked at the letter I was holding. 'I would like to see how your two step sisters bully you when you get back.'

"Haha." I giggled. "Tricia." I called.

After a moment Tricia came.

"Yes princess?" Tricia bowed.

"Prepare our things. I am being summoned back to the palace for Veronica's debut." I ordered.

"Yes princess." Tricia bowed. "How long will we be there?"

"I am not so sure." I said. "Just pack things for about a week I suppose."

Tricia bowed and was about to walk away when she stopped and looked back at me.

"If I may speak freely princess, are you sure you want to go back?" Tricia asked. "Well I mean we are living quite comfortably here away from those snakes.

'Told you, snakes.' Snow inserted and I smiled internally.

"Well it is a royal summon, so I cannot do anything but to accept." I smiled.

"I understand." She sighed. "I will pack your things then. Will you take all the maids with you or is it just me and sir Leon that will accompany you back to the capital?"

I thought for a while. "It's better if it will be only the both of you to accompany me. The journey is long and it will be much faster for a small group to travel and less conspicuous."

"I understand." Tricia bowed and left.

"Going back to the palace huh?" I thought. I was rubbing Snow's fur and she was purring.

What will await me after two years away from the capital and the palace?

The Journey Back

The journey back to the capital and to the palace will take at least a week at most. The mansion we have stayed for these last two years was found at the edge of the country, by the boundary of Alvannia and Grandcrest.

We are now at day four of our journey. And by the looks of it, we will arrive in the capital by tomorrow night.

Because our party was small, containing only three people, one coachman and my cat, we used a small carriage in our journey.

It was nearing evening when we arrive in a small town. The carriage came into a halt.

"We will spend the night here." Leon said while peeking at the carriage window from the outside. "It is best to stay indoors at night because there are thieves and bandits lurking around in the woods."

"Okay." I nodded.

"I will find a suitable inn for us to stay in." Leon said. "Stay inside the carriage until I get back." Then Leon left.

Tricia closed the window curtains of the carriage once Leon had left. We made our journey incognito to make it safer for us. But Leon was really strict pertaining our safety that I was cooped up in this small carriage the whole time.

"I really want to stretch a bit." I said after a while. We were still waiting for Leon to come back.

'Patience is a virtue.' Snow said. She was curled up on my lap for a while now.

"Princess, sir Leon specifically said to not leave the carriage. It is not safe outside." Tricia said.

"But I'm not dressed as a princess now." I said.

"But still, having a carriage means you are from a wealthy family. Bandits and thieves always eye those who are rich." Tricia explained.

'Your knight and maid are doing there best to keep you safe princess. Best if you just seat back and wait for the handsome fella.' Snow said. She stood up and stretched her body.

I sighed. I know that they are being strict for my own safety. Not long we hear a knock at the carriage door.

"I have found a suitable inn." Leon said from outside the carriage. "Get the princess ready."

"Yes sir Leon." Tricia said. "Princess please wearing your cape and hood."

I take my long dark blue cape that Tricia handed to me and put it on. I take the hood of the cape from my back and placed it on my head. Now I am concealed.

After the incident of my abduction, Leon was always careful when I am going out. If it was only the two of us, he casts a spell to change the color of my hair and eyes. But now that Tricia is here with us, we can't use our magic.

Tricia still doesn't know about our magical abilities. I have debated if I will tell her about it or not and I opted that I will tell her about my secret once the event in the palace is over. I have known Tricia for a long time and I trust her. Leon also gave his approval, saying that he also trusts Tricia with my safety.

Leon opened the carriage door and extended his hand to me. I take it with my hand and on the other hand I carry Snow in my arms. Leon helped me out of the carriage and we walked in the dark streets of the town lit only by street lamps.

"It was difficult to find an inn where pets are allowed." Leon said, answering my inner question why he was so long finding an inn. This made me giggle.

"Are you laughing at me princess?" Leon asked sarcastically with one eyebrow arched up.

"It's just that you know what to answer before I even ask you the question. It's like you can read my thoughts." I said. "Well, can you?"

"As much as I want to read your thoughts, no that is something even magic can't do. The mind is a very complex thing and going inside another's head can be very dangerous." Leon said. "As to me knowing your questions before you ask them, well I might just guess it because of our connection. We are meant to be." Leon chuckled.

"Hahaha, how cheesy of you kind sir." I teased. But thinking about it, what he said might be true.

It is not only him that can understand me even without words, but also I can do the same for him. There may really be a connection between us that can't be explained.

After a while of walking we come to a small but beautiful inn.

"Good evening sir." A middle aged man that was standing in the reception area said. "Glad to have you back with your sister. Two rooms have been prepared for you. The coachman can take the service rooms here in the inn."

"Thank you." Leon said while getting some gold coins in his pouch and giving it to the receptionist.

"Happy to be of service." The receptionist said. "Here are the keys to your rooms. Dinner will be prepared at the pantry at eight sharp. Hot bath is available upon request."

"Good, please prepare a hot bath for my sister." Leon said.

"Very well sir." The receptionist replied. "Anything else?"

"None for the time being." Leon said.

"Then please enjoy your stay." The receptionist gave us a wide smile.

"Tricia you can take Alicia to her room now. The two of you will occupy one room while I will take the other one." Leon instructed.

"Yes sir." Tricia said.

"The hot bath will be ready after thirty minutes so you can relax while waiting." The receptionist said.

"Thank you." I said.

"Oh my, you have a beautiful voice miss." The receptionist said. Then Leon looked at him with sharp eyes like daggers flying. The receptionist felt awkward instantly. "Well then I will be off to prepare the hot bath, hohoho."

"We will be going upstairs now sir." Tricia said.

"Okay." Leon said. "Have a rest first. I'm sure you had a tiring day."

Leon caressed my face gently under my hood and smiled sweetly. His gesture made me blush. Good thing my face is covered under the hood.

"W-we will be going then." I stuttered with my sentence because of embarrassment. I caught Tricia's hand and pulled her with me going up stairs. "Come, let's go to our room." I walked hastily.

"Princes, slow down. You might trip." And just as Tricia said that I really tripped. But fortunately I caught myself before falling. My reflex have improved so much after training these past two years and thanks to that it lessened my embarrassment tonight.

Snow jumped out of my arms before I was about to fall.

'Sheesh, just tell that beautiful young man you love him. You can save yourself from this embarrassment.' She gracefully jumped up the stairs.

It was early in the morning as we were preparing to depart.

"Miss, I bought these buns from a bakery near by. They are newly baked and still hot." Tricia said presenting to me a bag full of buns.

"Hmm, they smell delicious." I said why smelling the steam.

"I know. You can snack on them in the carriage later." Tricia said.

"Thank you Tricia." I smiled.

"You are most welcome miss." Tricia replied.

"Are you ready?" Leon asked.

"Yes." I answered.

Spending the night in the inn was refreshing. I had a hot bath and was able to sleep on a bed. In the journey these past few nights, we were camping out in safe places. So having a nice bed to sleep in last night was heaven.

"If we keep up our pace, we will be in the capital before nightfall." Leon said.

"That's good." I said.

Not long, our carriage came with the coachman driving. Leon opened the carriage door and ushered me inside while Tricia followed behind me.

"Just call me when you need anything." Leon said before closing the door.

Leon has been sitting beside the coachman in front the whole journey, even though he can sit with us here inside. He said it is much safer for him to sit in front so that he can watch the surroundings.

We were back in the road in no time. Time passed by fast and it was nearing noon when our carriage came into a halt abruptly.

"What is it? What happened?" I asked a little shaken.

"Don't go outside. Stay inside the carriage." Leon said from the outside.

Tricia lifted the curtain a little to take a peek. But she suddenly closed them. She looked at me frightened.

"What is it Tricia?" I asked concerned.

"P-Princess, we are surrounded." Tricia whispered.

I looked surprised and took a peek outside. I saw that our carriage were surrounded by bandits with swords and bows.

'One, two, three, four...' I count the bandits in my head.

"A dozen bandits, maybe more." I said. For sure there are some bandits hiding in the woods as well.

'Snow, can you scout the area?' I telepathically talked to Snow.

'Of course. Leave it to me.' Snow said. She stood up and then like the wind, she jumped outside the window and vanished.

One of Snow's specialty right now is her swift movements. It is very helpful scouting areas and do reconnaissance missions. I can keep a link with her telepathically in a certain range.

I see Leon standing guard outside our carriage with his sword unsheathed.

"I suggest you turn back if you do not want to get hurt." Leon gave a warning.

"Did you hear that? This young nobleman tells us to retreat or we would get hurt." A young man with auburn red hair mockingly said.

"Hahahaha!" The bandits laugh in unison.

"I am sorry sir. But I am afraid we won't be going anywhere. You are the one that entered our territory so you must pay a suitable amount of travel tax to continue on this road." The red haired guy said.

Looking at it, it looks like the red haired man is their leader. I scan the bandits one by one. They seem to be old and middle aged, they only have a few young men.

'This seems a little off.' I wondered.

"If that is what you only need, then here." Leon took his pouch full of gold coins and tossed it to the red haired guy's face.

The red haired guy caught the pouch before it hit his face. He opened it and looked at its contents.

"You are very generous sir." The red hair smiled mockingly. "Then I will leave you to your journey. I wish you safe travels." The guy bowed like a jester.

I saw Leon sheath his sword but he was still holding it tight with his one hand. When he was about to walk back to the carriage one of the bandits whispered something to the red haired guy.

"Wait a minute." The red haired guy said. "I heard you are traveling with your beautiful sister."

Leon's muscles tensed up. Anger was traced on his face. It was like he was about to kill someone.

"You can leave her here." The red haired guy said. "Don't worry, we will take care of her."

"Princess, how did they know you were beautiful?" Tricia said. "No, no. That's not important."

Tricia was rummaging my bag looking for something.

"What are you doing?" I asked her. But I have a guess on what she was thinking.

"I am sure someone from the inn saw us. But you were covered the whole time so for sure they don't know what you look like. They just guessed you are beautiful because sir Leon is good looking." Tricia said.

Then she found what she was looking for, my long cape with a hood. She hastily put it on.

"I will take your place princess. I won't let you be in danger. If they will let you leave here safely with me as hostage, then I would risk my life for you." Tricia said.

My heart squeezed with Tricia's actions. She would face danger just to keep me safe. I wouldn't want her to be in danger as well.

I hold her hand and looked right into her eyes. I shook my head, sending her a message that I wouldn't want her to risk her own life for me.

"B-but princess..." Tricia tried to reason out but I hold her lips with my fingers.

"I wouldn't want you to risk your life for me Tricia." I said. "You are like a family to me. You are the most near to a sister for me. I wouldn't want any harm to befall you."

Tricia looked touched, she was trying to hold back her tears.

'Alicia.' Snow talked to me telepathically.

'What is it?' I asked.

'This looks weird.' Snow said. And she told me what she saw in her reconnaissance.

I wore my cape and hood and went out of the carriage. Leon heard me and looked around with a serious face.

"Go back inside." Leon said with authority. If I were still the weak old Alicia, I would have listened obediently. But I know something that Leon does not know.

"Please believe in me." I calmly said to Leon. He looked at me seriously then sighed.

"I understand." Leon said but he didn't let his guard down.

I know that I will always be safe with Leon around. He might not know but I already knew about the men in the shadows working for him, thanks to Snow. The men working for him are strong and I am sure they are not far from us.

I haven't told Leon of my knowledge about his men. I am sure he has his reasons for not telling me. I just wish that he will explain it to me soon.

"Oh, is this the beautiful sister?" The young man with red hair said. "Let us see your beautiful face."

"I am not here to fulfill your wish mister." I said. "I am here to negotiate."

"What will you negotiate about?" The young man laughed. "You are not in the position to negotiate. As you can see, you are surrounded."

"I am afraid you are mistaken." I said. "You are the ones that are surrounded."

Not long men in black suits with their face covered came out from hiding. Arrows are all aimed at the bandits.

"Jack, we are surrounded!" A young lad who looks like the youngest in the group shouted.

"Don't you think I can see that?! Tsk!" The young man with red hair said.

"So your name is Jack." I said. "Now, Jack. Are you willing to negotiate?" I asked.

"You think I will let you win without a fight?" Jack said.

"Oh, I am sure you and the young men here are capable of fighting. But what about the old ones? They are not fighters as I look at it."

I have deduced this information the time I saw the bandits. Half of the bandits are old and looked like farmers rather than bandits.

And Snow has confirmed my suspicion. Not far from here is a small village. As Snow has described, the village was of farmers but it was in a poor condition. Only women and children are on the village now, meaning all the men they have are now here.

"How did you..." Jack was surprised with my deduction.

"It is not important how I knew. The important thing now is for you to hear me out." I said. "I suspect that the old ones here came from a farming village near by. I am not sure why you are resorting to thievery, but I would like to help. So please hear me out. I am sure these men would also want to go back to their families."

"I guess we have no other choice." Jack said in defeat.

"Put your weapons down first." Leon ordered.

"Tsk." Jack gestured to his men to put down their weapons.

"Let's meet at the center." Leon said.

Jack brought the young lad with him and Leon accompanied me.

When we were face to face I took my hood off to reveal my face. The two men in front of us were looking at me in awe.

"James she's really beautiful." I heard the young lad whisper to Jack.

"Shh." Jack whispered to him.

"I am Alicia and this here is Leon." I gestured.

"I am Jack and this here is Brad." Jack introduced.

"Then let us begin our negotiations." I started. "I know that these people are in a dire situation for them to engage in thievery. But as I can see you young people here are not farmers."

"You have good perception for a girl." Jack praised but with a sarcastic tone. "We are really bandits in these part of the forest, the 'Crimson Bandits' to be precise. The old ones with us here are farmers raising crops and vegetables. They have been good to us Crimson Bandits, giving us food every after harvest. But then two years ago the dry season started. It has gone to be a minor drought that can still be remedied if the officials did the proper action. We don't know what has happened these past two years that led them to forget the people who are waiting for their help. The farmers had poor harvest these past two years that led them to get hungry and starve. Without crops and vegetables to sell of eat there will be no income for them and they can starve to death."

"So these farmers asked you for help?" I asked. "And you thought them what you knew best." I said sarcastically.

"Hey lady, we might be bandits but we also have our own ethics." James said.

"Jack's right." Brad seconded. "We only steal from those filthy reach nobles that are always having feasts in their mansions while we common folks suffer from the drought and hunger."

"And as much as possible we don't like violence." Jack added. "We just scare people to get their money with no harm done."

"Then let's make a deal then." I offered. "I will help the villagers so that they can get what they need from the officials. I will see to it that they can make it through out this drought."

"You sure you can do that lady?" Jack asked. "I mean, no offense but you are just a young girl."

"Looks can be deceiving Mr. Jack. I give you my word." I said. "And please don't call me lady. I have a name."

"Okay, if you say so Alicia. But what do you want in return?" Jack asked. "As I can see, we are the ones with the short straw here." He gestured to the men in black that are still aiming their arrows at his men.

"I would like to form a partnership, or rather a friendship with you." I smiled wittingly.

"Hah?!" Jack looked confused and Brad surprised.

"What?!" Leon was looking at me questioningly.

Gaining an ally

"I would like to form a partnership, or rather a friendship with you." I smiled wittingly.

"Hah?!" Jack looked confused and Brad surprised.

"What?!" Leon was looking at me questioningly.

"Don't worry Leon. I know what I am doing, please trust me." I said. I hold his hand and squeezed it gently. He looked tense at first but became calm after. He nodded slightly.

"I have heard about your 'Crimson Bandits' from my grandfather." I said. "You are not just a small group of bandits like you just said. I am sure you are included in a big organization."

"Well, your information is a little correct." Jack said. "But I am correct that my group of bandits only lurks in this certain area. We are just a small group included in a big organization."

"If my hunch is correct, you maybe a relative of the head of this 'organization'." I said with a smile.

"How did you..." Brad said with a fierce voice but Jack gestured him to stop.

"It's just a hunch as I have said." I said calmly. "The word 'Crimson' must have came from something. So I thought maybe it came from their auburn hair, making them the creator or head of the organization. Am I correct?"

"You have great deduction skills Alicia. You are correct, the head of the organization is my father." Jack praised me. "I might agree with this 'friendship' of yours but I also want to know who you really are. It's just fair, knowing that you have learned about my identity in a fair deduction."

"If you agree to form a friendship with me then I will be glad to tell you who I am." I said.

"Wait." Leon whispered. "Are you sure about this?"

"I am sure about this." I replied seriously. "I can't seem to explain it but I have a feeling that this person Jack will be a good ally in the future."

"Okay." Leon nodded.

"You believe me?" I asked surprised.

"I trust your judgement Alicia." Leon said. I felt happy that Leon trusts me. Our relationship in the past two years have been stagnant as a princess and her knight. I also want to tell him my feelings, it's just that I am too shy to do so.

I look at Jack with an aura of royalty.

"I am the third princess of Alvannia, Alicia Von Heist." I introduce myself with dignity as a princess.

The two young men has surprised expressions. But after just a moment, Jack came back to his composed cocky self.

"Princess Alicia huh?" Jack said. "So you're the forgotten princess."

"Mind your tongue, bandit." Leon hissed. He was still holding the hilt of his sword.

"Relax, sheesh." Jack said jokingly. "I just said the things the common folks talks about. But I never imagined that the third princess was this smart. Well yes I have heard that she was a beauty that can sail a thousand ships. A beauty that even the crown prince of Grandcrest became infatuated with."

"The crown prince of Grandcrest?" I asked curiously. I recall only met him once on my birthday ball.

"Well those are just hearsay. I have heard the news that the crown prince has sent a formal letter of engagement to the place not long ago." Jack said.

"I haven't heard of this yet." I said. "Well I have been secluded for a long time now."

'The moment I return, I must ask grandpa of this news.' I thought.

I looked unconsciously at Leon who was just beside me. He seemed like he was blushing and looked rather shy. Looking at this seemed odd so I rubbed my eyes and looked again. I saw his serious expression from a while ago.

'Maybe I was only seeing things.' I thought and shrugged it off.

"Well anyways let us go back to our original discussion." I said. "Do you accept my 'friendship' then?"

"I cannot see anything wrong with accepting." Jack had a huge grin. "Friends then."

I extended my hand and Jack took it. We shake our hands to show our mutual agreement.