The Rebel's Heart: Part Five
295 rolled her eyes. “Yeah, like I really believe that. Her royal pain in the posterior is no doubt sitting and wallowing in her wealth and power.”
Amaretta rolled her eyes. “You don’t get my point. For all you know I am the Princess. Maybe she’s right here; training in this camp.”
295 shook her head with disgust. “You just don’t get it, do you? The royal family has been nothing but mean to my family. My father, Latfta, is the King’s servant. According to him, the King has a short temper and his daughter is even worse. He says that she is just like her father.”
Amaretta was barely able to hide her astonishment. Latfta was her father’s servant, but she had never been mean to him. Of course, Latfta usually only saw her at royal outings and the like, and that was when she had to act like she was better than everybody else. Amaretta hated acting that way, but she knew that if she didn’t, she or some of her instructors could be punished. Amaretta didn’t want anybody to get in trouble for her actions.
“Did you ever think that maybe your dad doesn’t know the whole story? Maybe he only knows what he sees? Ok, so maybe the King does have a temper, but if he’s the King’s servant, how much can he know about the Princess? Of course she acts proper when she’s the center of attention, but who knows how she acts when she’s alone.”
295 snorted, disgusted. “According to my dad, the only person in the royal family that isn’t a royal pain is the Queen.”
Amaretta growled, “Maybe he should check his facts before he speaks so flippantly of those that he serves. He doesn’t have to be the King’s servant.”
With that final remark, Amaretta turned and walked away from the JubJub.
“That annoying, clueless, sorry excuse for a fighter really has the audacity to attack the royal family based only on what she heard from her father!”
Darena attempted to calm her infuriated friend. “Yes, 295 was wrong. But can you really blame her? Why should she believe the people who allegedly took her family’s land? You and I know that those were thieves, but how could she? Her family was probably afraid that if they went to the authorities, they would get in trouble for rebelling! Most commoners don’t understand the intricacies of the royal family. They only know what they hear, and much of what they hear is tainted.”
Amaretta paced back and forth. “I know, I know. That doesn’t make it any less irritating. I just feel like I need to get along with this JubJub, but it’s awfully difficult when she’s insulting my family.”
Darena gave the Princess a knowing look. “But isn’t it true that you encouraged her by mocking yourself?”
Amaretta didn’t want to admit it, but she couldn’t lie to her dear friend. “Yes, but that was just to avoid suspicion. I guess I should be glad that she didn’t believe me when I blurted out that I was royal. In the moment I just couldn’t stop the words.”
“Perhaps we should go, Princess. As it is you will need a week or so to heal from your minor wounds. Imagine if you were hurt more badly. You know how your father is. He would never let you out of his sight again.”
“I know what you mean, Darena, but I will not leave. I cannot leave. I love this place. I belong here. I’ve wanted to be a knight for my whole life. Now I finally have the opportunity, and I’m stuck working with someone who despises the royal family!”
Darena tried yet again to comfort Amaretta, “It is only for a couple more days. Then we can train with whomever we please. Will you advance to the superior fighters?”
Amaretta had an embarrassed look on her face, and Darena knew the truth. “Not... exactly. It’s just that...”
Amaretta broke down and started crying. Between her tears, she managed to explain her feelings to Darena. “I’ve wanted this, but I’m horrible at it. I was never allowed to do anything physical at home, not even something that everybody else does, like running. I was barely even allowed to walk! Now I get tired too easily, and I’m weak. I’m not even that good with my sword or shield. I’m a horrible knight-in-training.”
Darena said nothing as she hugged her friend until Amaretta’s tears subsided.
Amaretta sniffled as she spoke, “I need to go be alone. I’ll see you at supper later.”
A look of fear crossed Darena’s face. “But it’s getting dark. Should you really go alone?”
Amaretta looked at Darena. In that small moment of time, Darena saw something that she had never before seen in the face of her friend. It was pure, unaltered determination. Never before had the Princess been so determined that nothing could stop her. In that tiny moment, Darena knew that Amaretta could become a fierce fighter. But Darena also understood that for Amaretta to realize this, she had to be alone, so she said nothing as she watched the royal Uni walk into the dark woods.
“I can be a knight. I can’t be a knight. I can be a knight. I can’t be a knight.”
Amaretta sat on a rock as she slowly picked the petals off of a Drabby Rose. Each one fell pathetically to the rocky ground as she left her fate in the hands of the rose.
When there was only one petal left on the rose, Amaretta couldn’t bear to speak the final phrase.
A few minutes later, she ripped the petal away from the stem and threw it to the ground. After using her hoof to grind it into the earth, she spoke softly. “I can’t be a knight.”
Amaretta then curled up into a ball and cried. For a half hour she did nothing but let the tears spill down her face. They were tears of misery and tears of sorrow. All of her bottled-up emotions spilled out as she allowed the tears to drain her of her emotions. As each tear splashed against the cold, hard ground, Amaretta heard the phrase repeat itself in her head.
Finally, Amaretta looked up to the sky and screamed at the top of her lungs, “I can’t be a knight!”
Amaretta slowly walked away from what was left of the Drabby Rose and what was left of her lifelong dream.
As she slowly dragged herself from the forest to the camp, Amaretta inexplicably felt compelled to take a long route that wound through the trees. About halfway back to the camp, a figure appeared before Amaretta.
“Dear Princess, what can I do for you?”
“How can you know who I am?”
The figure chuckled. “I am a light faerie. I’ve been watching you ever since you were little. I was assigned to keep you from harm. I come before you now because although I cannot keep you from mental suffering, I can comfort you.”
“I’m never going to be a knight. I’m not skilled enough. Unless... could you bless me? If you blessed me, then maybe I could fight!”
“Child, you do not need my blessing to become a fighter. You were born with the ability. You are far too easily dissuaded. For you to be a fighter, you will go through challenges. You must defend what you believe and endure physical hardship. I warn you because I was instructed to keep you from harm. If you want to become a knight, you will be harmed. I come to you now because you must make a decision. How badly do you wish to become a knight? If you keep me to my job, you will be as you are now. Nothing will change. If your desire to become a knight is strong enough, you can choose to endure those hardships and trials that come with becoming a fighter. Take all the time you need, but choose wisely. Once you make your decision, we are both bound to the consequences of that decision. I will return when you have made your decision. Nobody can help you with this decision, not even Darena. It is your choice and your choice alone.”
With those final words, the light faerie vanished in a burst of light.
“How can I be a fighter as bad as I’ve been. But she said I could be... Oh I don’t know. I do want to become a knight, but I don’t know if I could endure such physical toil. I don’t know what I want more. I want to be a knight, but I don’t know if it’s worth it.”
After hours of comparing the good and bad in each decision, Amaretta finally reached a decision.
“Well, child, what is your decision?”
Amaretta inhaled deeply. “I can’t believe I’m going to say this. Despite everything that I’ve ever wanted and everything I’ve ever been, I don’t think that I can change my mind.”
To be continued...