LISE ARC: THE DEBT

When I was fifteen, I never expected much out of the ordinary. I was always taught that life would hand over the things that really mattered and I would be set for life. I wasn't aware of cost. I wasn't aware of price.

"Your Highness," A soldier approached the throne, a look of concern in his eyes, "You have an unexpected visitor waiting for you outside."

"Oh really? Do you know who he is?"

"Well, he said he was a representative from the Rockheim Bank…"

My father chuckled whole heartedly, "Anyone from that bank is a dear friend of the Royal Family! Send him in, right away!"

I lived here, in the kingdom of Randel, my entire life. I was the youngest daughter born to the throne, though I don't remember much about my sisters… Mom always told me they married and ruled in other kingdoms, though she won't tell me where… But anyway, I've always lived a comfortable life here. Most of our problems here were solved with our wallets. Dad took the time to make sure we enjoyed some of the finer things in life, so I never knew what it was like to desire.

"You must be from the Rockheim Bank!" My father greeted cheerfully as the man entered the room, "And what brings you here today, good sir?"

And that's when I learned the family secret…

"Your Majesty, I'm afraid I have a bit of bad news for you." My father's eyes, which were bright and joyful a minute ago, were calm by this point.

"Bad news?" He smiled uneasily, "What could possibly be wrong?"

The representative responded, "To put it bluntly, you have been borrowing large sums of money over the past few years. However, none of it has been paid back." He boldly approached us, "And I'm sorry to say this, but if you cannot repay us 870,004,800 cole back by the end of three years, we will have to foreclose on you."

"Foreclose?" I whispered to my mother, "What does he mean by that?"

My mother shushed me, "Don't worry about it, Lisette. Everything will be ok."

"Foreclose?" My father repeated, "I don't understand. Are you saying that the bank…will take my own kingdom from me?" He nodded solemnly, before leaving us awestruck.

Later that night, my parents were sitting around a small coffee table, talking about the possibilities of how to solve the debt. Both had suggested raising taxes, but knew that if they suddenly raised the taxes, the people would suspect a problem. It was quiet, and I was pretty sure my mother was crying. And that's when it hit me.

A princess must do her duty.

That morning during lessons, I remembered hearing my etiquette teacher scolding me for some silly mistake before delivering this phrase. I wasn't quite sure I'd ever believe it since I didn't really have a duty anyway. But maybe it was what I needed to solve this family crisis.

And I ended up doing the craziest thing ever. I cut my hair. My beautiful crimson, red locks were spilled all over the floor, and I teared up a bit. Mother always told me how proud she was that I got her beautiful hair, something I grew to have pride in as well. I retreated to my room for whatever clothing I could find: something not too fancy and wouldn't make me stand out from the norm. I instinctively grabbed a black skirt and a beige hat with a black feather. It wasn't exactly my taste in colors, but what was I supposed to do? I had taken a little longer, but I found a matching coat with it as well, the final piece being a red-black blouse. I threw it all on before barely falling out of my bedroom window. Good thing no one was around to hear me.

I stared back at the grand castle, my home. I wasn't sure where I was going or what I was supposed to do, and leaving my only home without any thoughts of where to go was definitely not helping. But without another moment's hesitation, I ran off into the forest that surrounded the castle.

Nothing comes without a price after all…

AHA! Well, I once again ended up re-writing this. I really liked how the second version came out, but I had a hard time following it up, so I chose this instead. It's a simple write, a simple read, and I can follow it up properly. I plan to break it down into as many small chapters as possible, so it might have more a vignette feel to it. Also, the tone might feel a little weird in this chapter. Basically, it's ALL in first-person, but in the italics are Liese's thoughts looking back, and the rest is the action. I probably won't do it again in this style.

But other than that, I'll try to update this as much as I can over breaks from now on. I just don't have any other time during the school year now that I'm actually doing things. I'm HOPING it will get better after February. I have a huge essay due in the middle of the month but I've made some decent progress. We'll see how it continues.