How long had I been waiting? Three? Four? No, it had to be more than that. No matter. As I stand here, in front of the damned Red Kingdom castle, hiding from the other brutes, I still continue to ask myself.
No more. No more waiting. This is my chance to serve her. My sister. My twin. My image. She will see me again. So will I.
I look down to the heart-shaped locket in my hand. Once I click it open, I could feel the world shift. There's me. And there's my sister. Making an oath to always be brother and sister. I haven't broken it, sister. No, I haven't. I am here now. The game "Princess and Servant" will always be a game. Like right now. I'm standing here to offer myself as a servant. Just to be close to you. Though, once I do, you won't recognize me. Even if there's some similarities. Like our black hair, or our red eyes. Or even other things. No matter what, you will always be my sister. My lady. I'm just your brother...and your servant. I'll do anything for you. I won't lose you. I won't.
With that, I walk up these steps. To my new future. To abandon the haunting past of when the dog of the so-called queen took you away from me. No more. I will be right beside you. Sister....
One year later.....
Again again again. The same routine. Wake up. Dress. Wake the princess. Dress her. Feed her. Obey her. All that. In all a year I have spent in this castle, I've certainly got used to the bossiness of Princess Lillian of the Red Kingdom. And she has gotten used to me being late, making mistakes, et cetera. In fact, I'm the only servant she's kind to. The other royals of the castle, well, they're hell. All they do is beat, scold, and terrify. Not Lillian. She's different. I know. She was never meant to be apart this damned kingdom. The kingdom with the name for blood.
"I'm here, my lady."
I bow, saluting myself in her presence. She stood in her nightgown sitting in the window seat of her room. From the distance I stood, it was rainy and cloudy.
"Yes, my lady." I bow again, then rush to her closets. Colors of dresses after dresses nearly blind me. "Which dress would you want, my lady?"
"Something casual. Nothing too fancy or modest." I could tell something was wrong. It was the way I am. Anyways, I found the right thing for her. It was a dress I would constantly see her in. A red and black dress. At least it had a bit of black. It would tell me that she was forever a part of the Black Kingdom and isn't as damned as this place. Once I came out with it, she agreed with it. I helped her with getting in the dress, tying it, and getting other accessories on her. Like her choker, her bracelet, and the one thing that'd make my hands shake. Her red headband. It was given to her by the dog queen as a sign she is red.
"Would you like to wear you headband today, my lady?" I knew what the answer would be, but I had to ask.
"Yes. Put it on me." She replied, her eyes in the mirror. I was right. So, I brushed her long black hair, and placed that thing in her beautiful head. I looked in the mirror in front of her.
How could you not see it, Lillian? We're twins. We were separated. What have they done to you? Please...come back.
* * *
"There she is!"
"My my. A pretty one, she is."
Damn them all. How dare they ogle my sister in such a foul way? No matter. They will get what they deserve.
Oh no. The dog.
"Lillian! Over here!"
Don't you dare!
"Lucas, come with me."
"Yes, my lady."
Of course, we walked to where the dog was. Beside her stood a man maybe our age. Yes, she knew how old I was. Same birthday's, yet somehow this kingdom still managed to brainwash me from her memories.
"This is my daughter, Lillian."
She curtsied to the man in front of her, then let him kiss her hand. Me being the servant, I bowed and saluted to all the royals.
"Lillian, darling, this is Prince Butch of the Green Kingdom. I want you and him to spend as much time with each other as you can."
Prince of the Green Kingdom?! The Green Kingdom's just as evil as the Red Kingdom! How dare they allow her alone with him!?
"Mother, with your permission, can my servant come along as well?"
"Then I won't do as you say."
What? Did she just-
"What did you say?"
"Let the girl have her servant." Butch seemed to have felt ignored, because he walked up to her. "I'll bring mine too." From behind, a servant that must be his shyly walked up. So, off we went. I was close to Lillian as I can while they talked. I had tried five times to convince Lillian to allow me to go take care of something. By the time I came back, I had lost Lillian and the prince. Not to mention, it was almost time for Lillian's piano recital. What I saw made me want to throw up. The brute had tricked Lillian into going to the balcony and was harassing her.
"Leave the princess alone, you brute!" I gave him a swing square in the jaw, sending him stumbling. Lillian stood behind me for cover, and she was shaking. Butch stood up, wiping the blood off his face.
"Brute, huh? You should be careful who you speak to, servant. You're talking to your princess's future husband."
"What? She's only fifteen!"
"Tsk tsk tsk. A shame. A pity." With that, he left the balcony. I turned around to try to comfort Lillian, but she just slapped me.
"How could you be an idiot!"
"My lady, you were in danger."
"How could you abandon me like that!"
That's right. I had gone to take care of an errand, and that gave him the chance to assault her. How could I have been so selfish? I should be ashamed.
"No matter. At least you came." She walked past me, dragging me along. That's right. It's her piano recital. And I will be beside her. I won't leave her alone.
* * *
"Eeeah! Get it off! Get it off!"
When Lillian and I got back inside, the dog was screaming her head off because of a caterpillar. Actually, a servant gave her a box which seemed to be a present from someone, and it was a caterpillar. Knowing the queen, she was petrified of caterpillars.
Lillian looked at me with big eyes, and I did my trademark. Making the shush sign. She smiled. Well, of course I did it! Just a little taste of hatred to her.
"Well...I believe we can get on with my daughter's recital. Where is she?"
"Right here, mother."
"Oh there you are. Are you ready to play your piece?"
She leaned down her ear. I couldn't hear what they were speaking of, but I saw a smirk on Lillian and a scowl on the dog. Go Lillian.
She sat down on the piano chair, readjusted the sheets, and played.
Her fingers were a blur to the song. I remembered she was writing a piece like this. I believe she called it "Matryoshka." Anyways, the music was fast, and kind of a scary tone. All the audience was silent as she played. She had her eyes closed as she played the whole time. The timing for every note was perfect, and her fingers seemed to create such a fine melody. I caught a glance at the queen. She wasn't too happy about this piece her "daughter" made. Whatever. It was entertaining. She seemed to enjoy herself as well, because she slightly smiled. A pause, and she continued again. Oh my! Now she's really going fast. I can't even see her fingers anymore! Faster. Faster. Faster. Faster. Faster. And finish.
Wow. I didn't think Lillian was that good on the piano. I can barely even name the note on it!
There were few applauds, but none came from the dog. Of course there wouldn't. She didn't approve of this song Lillian played. Well, I did.
* * *
"You summoned me, my lady?"
Lillian had been distraught for the past month due to the knowledge of her betrothal. Not to mention the threats from the queen of revoking her royalty as princess. That, Lillian isn't willing to give up. She inherits her defiance from our mother.
"I want to go into town."
"But you are grounded, my lady."
"Are you defying me?"
"No, my lady."
"Ready the carriage."
There we are. The defiant sister of mine is coming back. She won't listen to the Red Kingdom. Long live Black Crusaders!
As I waited outside, Lillian stepped out of the light. I looked up from the castle windows. She was watching. Let her watch.
The steps remind me of when I was ready to reunite with my sister. Ready to protect her. Like I said and swore: I'll do anything for her.
* * *
"Lucas...can you sing?"
"Why do you ask, my lady?"
She sat behind me in the carriage while I drove and lead the horses.
"I feel tired. Sing to me."
"Yes, my lady." Curses! I don't know any songs! Wait! Maybe one. Oh, I hope it satisfies her.
Deai ni iro wa nakute
Itami goto kimi yudanemashou
Kizu ato tsuyoku nazoru
Yousha nai aki ga kite
Suzushii yubi temaneku mama ni
Toketa ato no yakkai na koori mitai na watashi wo
Uwakuchibiru de asobu
Sore demo hitotsu no ai no katachi wo sagasu
Tooku yori mo ima wo musunda kareta hitomi wa
Dekireba kono mama tsutsumarete owaritai
Futari de himeta awai hada tsuki mo kakureteru
Are kara ikura ka yoru
Suki ni mo narimashita
Izon no umi iki mo wasurete
Muchuu no sono temae de nama nurusa dake wo nokoshite
Hiki kiwa no bigaku
Tokuige na kisu kirau
Hitori ni shinai de mou sasshite ayamete
Dono kotoba mo kimi no heya de wa surinukete iku no
Midarete nemutte sore ijyou wo oshiete?
Egao no toi ni mayou toiki tsuki dake ga miteru
Tsugi no nagai hari ga tenjyou ni todoku koro ni wa
Kimi wa mou inai
Watashi wa mou iranai
Sore de mo tashika ni ai no katachi wo sagashita
Tooku yori mo ima wo musunda nureta hitomi wa
Dekireba kono mama tsutsumarete owaritai
Sono negai wa yoru wa munashiku asa wo tsurete kuru
Yasashikute atsukute hikyou na KISU de
Irodotte yo saigo no yoru tsuki ga terashiteru
By the time I finished singing, Lillian was already asleep. I guess mother's lullaby did work.
When we arrived to the town square, people were everywhere. In the stands, in the sidewalks, just everywhere. I got a red cheek for trying to awaken the princess. Oh well. At least she's outside. Out of that dreaded castle. That's the one thing that makes me relieved.
"Anything you'd like to buy, my lady? I brought your purse because you left it in the carriage."
"How do I know you didn't steal anything?"
"You don't trust me, my lady?"
She laughed. It was the first I heard her laugh, and it reminded me of mother. How I miss her. I had to leave everything behind just to find Lillian. How pleased mother will be to see Lillian!
"Yes, my lady?"
"Call me Lillian."
"I want you to call me Lillian."
She beamed when I said her name. It fitted perfectly for her. Lillian. Just like Lucas fitted for me. We're twins. Lillian and Lucas.
* * *
Already Lillian bought six items. I had to make three trips to load them in the carriage. I didn't complain. Nor did I complain when we had an argument and she won. I didn't complain.
There were a group of jesters near the fountain dancing wildly and creating ridiculous acts. Lillian seemed entranced, because she was laughing the whole time during the act. Until....
"Oh Lillian! What a surprise!"
Lillian turned to whoever called her, then her face fixed into a glare. A glare maybe her age or older walked up to up. She must've been in a kingdom, because her dress had sequins and extravagant embroidery.
"Hello, Anya." I heard a hint of disgust when she said the name.
"Diaten! Come! It's my old friend!"
Ah, now I rememeber who she is! Princess Anya of the Gray Kingdom. She seemed younger than I imagined.
"This is Lilian of the Red Kingdom. Also, an old friend of mine." A man maybe two years older walked up next to her, planting a kiss in her lips. He kissed Lilian's hand, and, again, me being the servant, I bowed.
"What brings you here?" Anya asked.
"Nothing of your concern."
"Oh, don't be like that, my dear."
I didn't see it before, but it appears that this Anya is blind. No sign of life in them whatsoever.
"I best leave. Diaten and I have a banquet to attend to. Ta ta!" With a single flick of her wrist and a smile, I felt as if the sun's rays were looking down on her and only her. She was beautiful, and how could I forget to mention it! She wasn't just beautiful. No, she was more than that. She was innocent. Her skin was pale as snow. Not even Snow White could beat her.
"Lucas, take me home."
"Don't call me Lillian. You know your place."
"Um..yes, my lady."
What's gotten into her? Just an hour ago, she was laughing and smiling. She even allowed me to call her Lillian. What had happened?
* * *
Once we got back, Lillian stomped out of the carriage and into the castle. Without me to escort her. Once I entered, I could hear yelling in the queens study. There was cursing, then a loud smack. Lillian huffed, slamming the door from her room and isolating herself. Not even letting me in. I didn't know what to do. I just stayed and loitered near her room.
After an hour, she opened the door and let me in. Actually, she pulled me in and was pacing around in her room. Not only that, snack time had arrived.
"The little witch! How I want her dead!"
She was mad. The reason, I did not know.
"How I hate her!"
"Who, my lady?" My voice was shaking because of Lillian's outbursts.
"That damned Anya! I hate her! She will pay for all she's done!" She kicked a trunk, but didn't make a move to show she hurt her foot.
"What did she-"
"She made me suffer!" She was close to my face. I could feel her breath on my nose, and I saw the anger in those deep red eyes. They reminded me of father's after scolding me. "All the time she came to "play," she only had me beaten by that witch I have to call mother!" She was screaming now. Lillian wouldn't have a voicein the morning.
She was pacing in her room again. Back and forth. Again ang again. Until she finally stopped. An evil smirk I only saw at times when she had won something appeared. She turned to me, then came closer like I was her prey and she was predator.
"Lucas...dear Lucas. You were always loyal to me. You swore to me your undying loyalty." Her voice sent shivers down my spine. Her face was close again, and I began to feel heat on my face. "I have a request that you must do." Her smirk never died down. "I want you...to kill Princess Anya."
My eyes were ready to fall out of my face. Kill a royal? Is she out of her mind!?
"But my lady! It's high treason!" Her smirk finally went into a dull look. She walked away from me, to the mirror.
"Lucas, I'm no princess. I never was. I only am a princess because this kingdom wants to think I am. I always felt...different. Like I was never meant to be here."
So she did know.
"The only reason I stayed being a princess was because I had hoped someone would tell me the truth instead of lies."
Now's my chance. "Lillian, there's something I want to tell you."
"Don't, Lucas. If you only wish to comfort me, I don't want it. If it takes my fall to be treason...let it be."
"But, you can't! You won't!"
"Why not?" She was looking at me. Why did she have to look like mother?
"Because you...and I..." Why was I hesitating? Just tell her! Tell her she's your twin and she was born in the Black Kingdom! TELL HER!!! "Nothing."
"Lucas...will you fulfill my request...and run away with me?"
I was shocked at the request, but...if it's running away, I'll run with her.
"Yes...my lady." I bowed to her, lower than usual, until I authorized to stand. She walked up to me, then placed her hands on her my shoulders.
"What a loyal servant you are." Her face got closer and closer...until I felt her lips. She was the first to let go, then let me pass to the weaponary.
Like I said: I'd do anything for her. Because she's my sister. And my love.
* * *
Lillian gave me a horse and directions a secret route to the Gray Kingdom. I had all that I needed. A dagger, the scroll she gave me, and the horse ready for our escape.
"And you are?"
"A servant for Princess Lillian of the Red Kingdom. I have a very urgent message for Princess Anya."
"She's upstairs. Let me escort you."
With that, I climbed the stairs to the girls room. When I knocked, I got a high "come in." She sat on her stool combing her hair. I made extra sure she couldn't see, because the blindness could be an act.
"Lucas. Princess Lillian's servant."
"Oh! Lillian?" She stood up, and tried to look for something. When I saw it before she did, I took it away so she wouldn't have to look for it. "Oh silly me! I must've lost my walker."
"So, what does Lillian wish me?"
"I shall read what she wrote." I cleared my throat, acting like I was going to read off the scroll. I wasn't. I took out the dagger. The blade was clean and spotless. Not for long.
"'Long live the princess. A pity for her death." Once I finished, I dug the blade in her chest. She made choking noises, and her blood stained my face and clothes. There goes my chance to escape from the old way. I took the dagger out, letting her fall with a thud. I could feel my face stained with blood. On my cheeks, on my forehead, and on my hands.
Quiet as a mouse, I jumped out of the room through the window, leaving the scroll near her body. I tried to cover myself because Lillian had also requested that I come to her window with her blood. So, as I ran through the bushes looking for the horse I hid, I got on, and returned to my lady's room.
* * *
I made sure to tie the horse to the carriage that would be used for escape, then climbed up to Lillian's room where she was waiting for me. Once I made it inside, she was there waiting. One look, and she was smiling.
"Bathe quickly. We don't have much time."
I discarded the bloody clothes and cleaned my face for any excess. Now I stood in new servant clothes. Lillian wore the dress she always wore. The one with the black and red. I didn't why she still wore that red headband, but she still wore it.
When I was ready to go down for our escape, I saw a horizon of a mob. From the Gray Kingdom. Lillian saw it too. Her face went pale and she looked ready to faint. We could hear the footsteps approaching her room. We were trapped.
Lillian was using the banister as support. Her arms were shaking. She looked at me as I saw tears in her eyes. She ran to my arms.
"I don't want to die, Lucas!"
Before, she seemed strong and willing to except her fate. Now, it seemed she had grown weak. I had to something.
I pulled her away from me and ran to the dresser. The scissors were there.
"Take off that dress." I began to take off my uniform and I undid my ponytail.
"What are you doing?"
"No questions. Just do it."
She took off her dress and I gave her my servant clothes.
"Put them on. Hurry."
She didn't hesitate. By the time she was done, I was in her dress. I pushed her down to sit and began to cut her gorgeously long hair. When I found that it was the right length, I pulled it into a ponytail. When she turned to me, I felt like I was looking at myself. She began to cry again when she saw me. I hugged her, and secretly gave her my locket. Along with a small bottle.
"Lucas..what are you doing?"
I answered that with kissing her. I had to end it because the guard came in. Without any of them knowing, I gave Lillian my trademark. The shush sign.
"Are you willing to let us take you?"
"Go ahead. Drag me if you want." I hiphened my voice to make sound more feminie. They bought it.
"Your servant was your accomplice."
"Leave him. He only did my bidding. I was the one who ordered the murder."
They began to take me away, and Lillan just stood there. The guards didn't even care.
* * *
I was positioned ready for the giliteen. The guards were surprised by how coopertive I was. They still tied my hands, but not my feet. The dress was already dirty and tattered. A crowd of both gray and red shouted and made curses at me. I focused hard on the croad, and saw Lillian in the crowd. Still dressed in the uniform.
"Any last words?"
I chuckled. "My servant may be waiting for me right now. I'm quite picky for the snacks I eat." I used similar words to what that dog of a queen used to my father. When she threatened him she'd take my sister. At least she's fine.
"Lillian Night. You are accused for treason, and for disgracing the Red Kingdom."
"Let the execution begin!"
Cheers and cheers in the crowd. The clock rang for noon.
"Oh dear. It's already snack time."
The blade came down. I smiled as a tear went down. At least my sister is fine.
* * *
I couldn't believe my eyes. He actually did it. He sacrificed himself for me. Not only that, they believed he was me. They even believed I was a servant. Why did he do it? Why did he let me live? I don't deserve to live. I deserve to be up there, not him. He's not supposed to die. I'm supposed. How could I let this happen?
I stayed in a roomy hotal after a week later. I had to sell my dresses, jewelry, shoes, and other belongings for money. Being a peasent, I learned, is much more better than being a princess. I completely forgot I still had the things Lucas gave me.
A heart-shaped locket, and a message in a bottle. What should I look at first? The bottle.
My heart sank.
I apologize for my lack of courage to tell you this. I truely apologize. In truth, I'm your twin brother. And you're my twin sister. You see, you weren't born in the Red Kingdom. You and I were born in the Black Kingdom. Except the Red Queen wanted you to herself. As a daughter and princess. She took you away, and I couldn't help it. I wanted you back. I had looked for you forever, Lillian. Please, if you think ill will of me, I'll except it. You're my sister, and know that I will always be your brother. I had never broke the promise.
Lucas, your brother and twin
It's all starting to come back to me. That day. When I was taken against my will and into the Red Kingdom. Forced to throw away my old family. My brother. How could I not have known? How could I be so stupid?! How could I let him die!
I looked to the mirror. I stood in a raggy dress, my hair cut short and naked without the headband, and I saw Lucas in a dress. No, I didn't see him. I only saw me. I didn't see him. I couldn't.
I thought I lost it because when I closed my eyes and opened them, the mirror was broken and my hands were bleeding.
I lost my reflection.
Once I cleaned my wounds, I tried to gather the courage to open the locket.
It was heart breaking. The photo of him and me pinky swearing. I forgot what we swore about, but it made me cry.
How could I let my reflection be broken?