Here’s part 2! As always, remember… it’s unedited.
The taxi stopped at the palace complex, she was still a long walk from home. The lights from each of the lamp shone ominously over her head. Swinging to and fro as the winds blew stronger and faster; tucking her dress between her legs, she continued to walk slowly on the sidewalk. Her shoes’ heels clicked on the hard rock, as her steps quickened. It wasn’t long till she heard something peculiar: footsteps synchronized with her own. Swallowing hard, she took a left turn around the conference room, looking behind for anybody suspicious. Nobody appeared.
“Was it all in my head?” She whispered.
Suddenly, something cold grabbed her hand. She let out a scream as a familiar voice tried to calm her down.
“Adelaide! Calm down, it’s me: Anthony!”
She sighed, placing her hand on her chest, “Jesus Christ, Anthony. You scared the living hell out of me.”
Placing his arms around her, he kissed her cheek, “what are you doing so late in the street? Why are you so jumpy?”
“I felt like someone was following me. I guess it was just you… thank God for that,” she said, holding on to his arm. “Could you walk me home, please?”
“I’d be ashamed of myself if I didn’t.” They both made their way down St. Charles’ Cathedral.
Tall angels made of stone with golden spears and silvery eyes watched over them as they walked right below them; their shadows overwhelming their bodies. Anthony would look back, from time to time, much to Adelaide’s fear.
“Anthony, is something the matter?” She whispered into his ear. “You’ve been uneasy for the last ten minutes and awfully silent. This is unlike you.”
“I don’t mean to startle you but it looks like we have company. Someone has been tailing us and a minute ago, I saw someone hiding behind the angel’s feet.”
“What do we do?” She held on to Anthony, tightly. “Maybe we should go inside the cathedral? They wouldn’t dare do something inside a holy place.”
“It’s worth a try. Come on.” They both ran to the side of the stairs, running to the inside of the cathedral.
The inside was well lit with candle light dissipating the shadows; flickering as they walked down the aisle. Large arcs adorned the ceiling, as chandeliers and hung over their heads. Mahogany pews and golden candle holders at the altar; dotting its marble walls and floor – votive candles bellow a statue of the Virgin Mary and St. Joseph, illuminating their faces with the constant glow of a candle flame. Anthony held on to Adelaide’s hand, walking her to the first pew, just below the altar, watching for any movement.
A door opened, as a priest walked in. They both let out a deep sigh, as Adelaide smiled at Anthony’s worried face. There were three people kneeling, deep in prayer and a priest lighting a few candles whose flame had flickered beyond existence.
The priest walked down the altar, gently swinging open a small metal door, and stood next to where they sat.
“My children, must I ask why are you not praying? Is something the matter?” His eyes were deep blue, like the ocean, but lifeless and still. Unfazed by human emotion, that’s what Adelaide saw as he sucked the living daylights out of her. “Is something wrong, Your Royal Highness?”
“Who are you?” She slowly slid closer to Anthony, “I come to this church every Thursday and Sunday. Not once have I seen you here. There is only one priest and he’s a family friend…”
Searching through his garments, he took out a gun with a silence attached to it. He smiled as he signalled someone on the distance. Immediately, everyone stood and took out their guns, “pretty damn smart for a Crownie.”
“What do you want from us?” Anthony replied, shielding Adelaide from view, “you have no shame… even going as far as doing something this low before the eyes of God!”
“God? Son, where I come from there is no God. There is only me, you, them and us… No God to step on our dreams and today: no God to save you, boy.”
No sooner had he said this than a bullet grazed the right side of his neck, as he fired back. Anthony and Adelaide fell to the floor, hiding beneath the pew. Several gunshots were heard, as the fire fight seemed to move away from them. No sooner had it all started than it suddenly finished. Silence ensued.
Footsteps echoed on the distance. Clenching her fists, Adelaide dared not peak but if this was going to be her end, she would face it with honour. Looking out into the aisle, a tall man stood before them. A silvery well-trimmed bear, black eyes as dark as the deepest trench and as cold as the loneliest night; a black coat covered everything with the exception of his shoes.
“I don’t know what you want but I won’t give in to terrorist threats. Do you worst!” Adelaide said.
Anthony looked back at the man, both now sitting on the pew.
The man smiled, “God is definitely with you two. Had I been a minute later, you’d both be dead.”
“Who are you?” Anthony replied.
“General Ignatius Solt at your services, Your Royal Highness,” as he bowed before her, she saw the royal guards step in, armed and ready. “Let me take you to your father, he’s worried about you.”
“Thank you,” she whispered.
Adelaide tapped her fingers on the table; her father had been gone for half an hour now. He had told her to wait but was not informed why. She had narrowly escaped an assassination attempt and the ring leader had vanished. It was reckless of her to walk home with no escort and even endangering the life of another royal.
“Crownies, huh?” She whispered. Looking at her half-empty bottle of water, she realized that God was on her side.
The door opened behind her as a young man stepped in, followed by her father and the general. They were all discussing something but the young man just stood nearby, firm and unfazed, he was probably a soldier or a bodyguard.
They both grew silent and sat opposite to her, with the solider standing near the door.
“Adelaide, you already know General Solt,” he pointed at the same man that had saved her a few hours ago. “He is a war hero, the man who singlehandedly crushed the southern rebellion and now: your saviour,” taking a sip from a glass of wine he continued “I have a great deal of enemies both outside and inside our family. You are the youngest and with that a lack of experience. Your mother and I have tried shielding you from the reality of the outside world, to save you from the hardships that your siblings have endured.”
“They are all experts at what they do best,” she replied.
“Experience does not shield them from the unforeseeable; your mother had taught me that.” Motioning for the young soldier to come closer, he looked at the general, expecting him to take over the conversation.
“Your Royal Highness, your father believes that you need to be taken care off by having a watchful eye following you wherever you go,” he cleared his throat, “This is Second Lieutenant William Solt, my son, and your bodyguard.”
“Bodyguard? I don’t need a bodyguard. I am not some porcelain ornament to protect, I can manage on my -,”
“-and yet here you are, shaken and sacred. I almost brought you back in a body bag!” Her father interrupted. “I am not asking for you permission, Adelaide, I’m telling you that from now on, you won’t even go the kitchen without Mr. Solt.”
“-Your Royal Highness to you. I am still higher than you’ll ever be, don’t disgrace me before a hero,” he got up and walked over to the general. Tapping his shoulder, they both walked out of the room, leaving only Adelaide and William.
Fifteen minutes had passed as silence ensued.
Adelaide tapped her fingers on the table, looking back, from time to time, only to meet William’s watchful stare. Turning around quickly, he continued on for the next ten minutes.
“I’m not sure what someone like you is supposed to do rather than harassing me with that filthy stare,” she said.
William didn’t answer.
“At the very least, they could have afforded someone with more experience and higher ranking than you.”
Again, he didn’t respond.
Annoyed, she got up and hastily made her way through the opposite door, with William right behind her. She sped up her pace but William still managed to keep up with her. Around corridors and halls covered in fine paintings and beautiful flowers, she soon got tired.
Upon reaching the door to her room, she grabbed the handle and stood still. William was right behind her. “I won’t allow you to enter my room; I am not fond of strange men watching me sleep.” She didn’t even turn around.
“I am your bodyguard not your stalker. I will stand guard outside your door till morning breaks,” he replied. His voice was soft, softer than what she had imagined.
“And what if someone breaks into my room?”
“Your room is safe, I have seen the design, and there is no way anybody is getting in without going through the royal guards bellow.”
She scoffed, “smartass.” Adelaide slowly opened the door, looking back at her bodyguard as the light slowly dissipated into the darkness of the room. His blue eyes were the same as those of the priest: cold.