Christine head felt so heavy, her limps, her body, slumped in a chair. She was unaware of her surroundings, but she kept hearing distinct voices, and only clips of what they were saying. Nothing was definite in her head at the moment, not even her own thoughts. Words traveled through her mind but nothing that came out was prominent enough for her to recover from this weight.
"We…but…father…" Christine caught only those three words, fading for a moment, but the word father had struck her.
Who would call someone 'father'? Cecile was dead, there was no longer a… Erik… Where was he?
Her eyes struggled to pry themselves open and she peeped into the space before her. Christine saw through her lashes, a blurred figure of a man and woman. The man held the woman for a moment, at an arm's length, and then briskly gave her a kiss and walked away. Trying to lift her head to see where he was headed exactly, too blurred, she rolled her head to the right side. The sight was worst than she had anticipated.
"Erik." Christine's voice was low and horse even to her own ears.
"Ah, princess." The bitter-sweet voice of the woman caused her to look towards where she heard it come from and saw the woman saunter over to her. "So glad you could join us."
She wanted to speak, but found the task almost impossible, but the sight before her had clearly come into focus and she saw the terrible beauty that was Arabella.
"What?" Her snide voice was causing Christine to tear this woman apart. "For once is our princess speechless?"
"Borgia." Christine growled.
"You know, I'm actually surprised you never recognized him." Arabella chuckled. "I thought that he would be eternally in your head after what you did to him."
"I did nothing he didn't deserve." Licking her lips she felt blood seep through the small crack that was there. "In fact he deserved death."
A hand hitting the skin of a queen resounded throughout the room. Christine knew that the more abundant blood that was making its way into her mouth was because another cut had been made.
"I suppose you think you will be the new princess." Christine glared at Arabella's good posture and unstained clothing.
"Well since the brat is dead and the queen is about to go six feet under, I guess I may become queen instead." Christine was not sure if she could hate Arabella more than in this moment. "That's of course if Erik will take me."
"That's highly unlikely." A brow raised.
"He doesn't have a choice, princess." The smirk that drew Arabella's lips upward made Christine's body tighten. Arabella noticed and the smirk grew. "Don't fret we may give him a choice."
"Between you and I, of course." She shrugged. "We may let you live, or more likely wander the world, if he agrees to come quietly. If he refuses you will die." Perhaps she could… "Oh and fear not, princess, we will keep tabs on you."
Christine froze. She did not want to condemn Erik to a half-life. It would be completely cliché to think that life should not be like this, but Christine could not help herself. She thought that this rebellion would go under or would have taken more time and perhaps there would be a moment of peace that she and Erik could have. There were so many things that they needed to talk about, so many things that they still needed to find about the other, so many life rises and pitfalls that awaited them. They sill needed to have all those things.
"Benedict is your father." Christine mumbled. "Borgia is your father." A spark. "Amilia is your mother. Lord Jake is…"
"You could not possibly know my mother." Arabella stopped her before she could continue with her thought process. "And do not think…"
"I would not claim to know your mother." Her voice was calm. "Amilia died before I ever got a chance to know her, besides from what I hear your father kept her locked up, tightly."
"Do not take rumors as truth, princess."
"It is not just a rumor." Christine knew she treaded on dangerous territory but continued. "I know your grandfather, he is…"
"His name is Lord Jake, he is very loyal to the crown and is Amilia's father."
"What game are you playing?" Arabella's being began to shake. Everyone she had known to be family was her father.
"I play no games, Arabella." Her eyes yearned for the woman in front of her to listen to her. "Your father ruined your mother's life…"
"He shoved her…"
"He locked her up…
"He killed her."
A sound of a small dagger rang in Christine's ear. She stared at Arabella, who was breathing heavily glaring back at her. Arabella's hand had a small trickle of blood from throwing the dagger. Christine's breaths came out in short rasps, as she looked to the side of her and saw the dagger sticking out of the tall wooden chair right next to her head. No damage had been done, only Arabella's patience had snapped.
"I am not telling you any lies, Arabella." Christine began again, wanting to reach this woman. "Your mother died by your father's hand. Your grandfather knows nothing about you and he is the kindest man. He loves you, I know it."
"You know nothing!" Arabella backhanded the queen and again. Then, eyed her stomach and as she went for the strike there was a shout that made her stop.
"Wait!" Christine yelled. "Please, Arabella, you may hit me anywhere else you wish, but not there." Arabella eyed the spot she would have hit, Christine noticed. "Please I beg of you, anywhere but that spot."
A pause happened between the two women. Blood had stained a bit on Arabella's dress, only a couple dots. But the queen, the woman that continued to fight for her country, blood was now dripping down her usually pristine jaw. Bruises formed on her face. Her left eye was beginning to swell. Arabella eyed the powerful woman, who more looked like a street walker now. What secret was this woman hiding? After another moment of contemplation she understood.
"You're with child."
The two women looked at the other again. Neither could gauge the other's view. Christine prayed that Arabella would take some sort of sympathy. She would understand, somehow, that this was more about keeping the child alive than anything. However, with the stress and the trauma that Christine was currently and had been dealing with she was very unsure of the child's health and she knew that Arabella would be fully aware of that sooner or later. Now, Arabella was still processing the news.
"Christine." A whisper from the right, made Christine look at her husband who seemed fully awake and shocked. Another emotion came over him. "How long have you known?"
"I knew in Liren." She told him quietly. "How are…"
"Why did not you not say anything?"
"I was unsure…"
"How could you be unsure?" Erik seemed very taken aback. "This is amazing."
"I would have rejoiced still."
The removal of the dagger from Christine's side made them both silent. Arabella stood menacingly over Christine, dagger poised.
"Arabella, I am begging you." Christine's heart raced. "Please do not do this."
"The child would be a nuisance to us." She shrugged.
"I order you to not kill them." Erik growled.
"Why?" Arabella questioned. "So you can choose them to live and the child will take over after my father dies?"
"Ah yes." Arabella smiled, slowly. "My dear king, there was going to be a choice to be made between you giving up the princess and marrying me, putting my father in power and letting the princess go and explore new lands, cutting out all communication with you. Of course, we would make sure she wouldn't be planning anything or going behind our backs, otherwise she would die. Or the other choice would be to skip the whole waiting period and just killing her, as you resume the throne abiding to our rules and ridding of the princess's ideals. Oh, did I mention taking over Liren."
"Let her live." Erik said.
"I knew you would say that." She sighed. "My father can be quite dull sometimes. However, I feel with this new addition, he may feel a bit differently."
"The children that you have will have the rights." Erik negotiated, and Christine looked at him. "Although I do not know who will be the father."
"That would mean I would have to touch you." A look of distaste came upon his face. "Quite frankly the very thought of touching you and even looking at you presently utterly disgusts me now."
"I'm sure you would get over that." She shrugged. "Men have needs and you seemed to fill them quite well before the princess arrived."
"At that time, you were just means to an end." His crude statement, made Christine smile at the personal victory on the inside, but Arabella became furious.
"Fine." Taking the dagger to Christine's neck, Erik felt fear rise up in him, which was very unneeded right now because he was still woozy from the news and waking up.
"Arabella, stop." Erik told her firmly. "This is not a game any more."
"This was never a game Erik." She informed him. "In fact, my father put me in the position I was at to get close to you so he would have the upper hand against all the other lords. I was nothing more than a tool for him to use and I fear I was the right tool for your ends. Now, we just want our power back, quite frankly and she is just messing with it. Besides the child won't do us any good."
"Let her live." He said. Christine watched as he shifted in his chair, she had never seen him so anxious that he fretted so much in his chair.
"Aren't you going to at least offer me something?" Arabella questioned. "Jewels, a dog, a country, something?"
"Your grandfather would not approve of this." Christine said quietly.
"Shut up, you." The dagger came closer to her neck. "Now, your Majesty, tell me what is it you have to offer?"
Without saying anything, Erik stood up and yanked Arabella away from Christine, causing the dagger to drop beside Christine. Christine only felt a scratch of the dagger, but was shocked that Erik had managed to get out of his restraints. He stood, holding the woman that he had once used for his own pleasure and she had used him just as equally for hers but had convinced herself she cared something for him because he was king and it was convenient enough.
"You will not kill the queen, understood?" He felt her hands grasp at his that held her neck. "You will leave and never return again. In all preference you will kill yourself so that I know I will never have to look at you again and if I do I will happily do the job."
A great commotion came from outside the door and before anyone could move, knights came pouring into the room. These were not rebellion knights, everyone noticed as they lined up on either side of the room, letting the one man that had led them back to their home came striding into the great room.
"I knew you would need my help one day, Majesty." The foreigner smiled as he approached the king.
"My friend," Erik carelessly dropped Arabella and shook the man's hand, "Nadir, you always have impeccable timing."
"I do my best." He smiled and bowed at Christine, as Erik hurried over and undid her bounds. "Your Majesty, fear not your wounds will heal with time."
"Wounds and scars do not frighten me." She gave Erik a sharp look as he checked her over, helping her stand up. "I fear to ask what has become of the rebellion and of Benedict."
"There are a few brawls left, but all the main heads are captured, save for one." He nodded, and motioned for a few knights to bind the struggling Arabella. "And Liren arrived very quickly, considering how far their post was, defeating the majority of rebellion."
"The one?" Christine knew, but needed to hear it.
"Lord Benedict, Your Majesty."
Yes, I am a horrible updater. It is this thing called life that keeps me from my computer. However, I was reminiscing a bit and remembered that I had to finish this story. I promise you it is ALMOST done, in fact I think next chapter will be the last and final chapter of this story. Honestly, it is a bit sad because I have come back to these characters so many times and have seen so many styles of my writing with this story that I am reluctant to let it go. But most importantly, I will finish this because of you all that are rooting for me both privately and by reviews. You, my readers, are the main reason I am going to finish. I am sorry that this chapter and a few of the earlier ones may not be up to par with the rest of it and sorrier for the fact it took me this long! The final one should go up sometime next week, and that is a promise I will not break!