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“If he doesn’t return then we shall bring him back”, they swore and rode away, leaving behind a hope of freedom, of peace.
“Do not be scared. I shall never harm you”.
No matter how much he assured her that she was safe, she wouldn’t believe him and it hurt him to see fear in her face. He wanted her to smile…smile for him, but he did not know how to make her happy.
“He shall return one day and that day, you would be asked to answer for everything that you have done. You would be made to pay for every sin that you have committed”, she cried but nobody heard her because they were running for their lives…running away from the men on horses, who brutally killed everybody within their sword’s reach. They killed to amuse their king...a king not from their land…a king who was a monster in the name of the king.
She repeated, “He shall return…” but before she could complete the sentence, a sword that came from nowhere, chopped off her head and her words died along with her.
“Gran, are you sure that you heard her right? It’s been ages since that prophecy was made but I don’t see anyone coming to rescue us”, Saki mocked her grandmother but no matter what Saki said she would never stop reciting the prophecy that her mother had made before she had died. It was pitiful enough to have watched her mother being killed by a merciless monster; she did not have to recount that event every day…every moment and deepen her wounds. It was better for her if she stopped suffering by recalling the past if she wasn’t going to do anything about it.
Saki asked, “Was your mother a prophetess, Gran?”
“She might have been”.
Saki, like everyone else, wished that a savior would come to rescue them from the inhumane king and his army but nobody came and she was tired of waiting. After the old vicious king’s death when it was his young prince’s turn to take over the thrown, people hoped, hoped that he would make a better king, if not better then at least kinder than his forefathers and finally when he became king, they were to be disappointed.
“If you find me so annoying then kill me already”, she challenged him but nothing seemed to anger him. He was always patient with her and treated her kindly. She doubted whether it was the same person who killed his subjects to amuse himself.
She remarked, “You are a very good actor“, but her taunts hardly affected him.
She knew that the king loved her immensely because if he hadn’t then he would have taken her to bed by force but he hadn’t and that was proof enough that he loved her.
He asked, “You wanted to talk?”
“Yes, I wanted to ask something” she said and when he didn’t reply she continued, “I wanted to…want to know…” looking into his eyes, she asked, “Do you really love me?” and before he did answer, she knew he did.
“I shall ask my men to never lay a finger on any of the citizens, shall I? Would that prove my love for you?” he asked.
“Hasn’t he kept his promise? His men have stopped butchering our people, haven’t they?” she argued but he wouldn’t listen and asked her to go on with the plan.
“I shall definitely do my bit” Saki muttered to herself.
Finally, it was her turn tonight.
“Do your best, Saki”, she encouraged herself and proceeded, hiding the weapon inside her dress.
She wondered, “Is it right to kill him now?” but she decided to proceed with the plan anyway.
“Saki, be careful” her grandmother had warned her. She couldn’t afford to make mistakes because if she missed this opportunity then there wouldn’t be another chance. It was either freedom or death. She wondered which one it would be.
She could hear him breathe. She gripped the weapon, seeking strength from it and advanced towards him. She had to do it.
She couldn’t stick the dagger into his heart because he was alert. Somebody had already warned him. Without another thought she stabbed herself instead.
It was death, after all.
“I saved you because I believe that you have truly changed”.
Gran always believed that one day our king shall return to save us but everyone failed to recognize him when he returned”
Yes, my king. Finally, I truly acknowledge you as my…our king”
I understand what transformed you from a cruel to a kind man. Now, with that trigger gone I fear that you might go back to the old ways. However, my lord, I request you to show mercy on our people. I request you to consider your people’s feelings”.
The king didn’t respond. He was dumbstruck. However, he was listening to her because if it weren’t for the girl then he would be dead instead of his queen.
He asked her, “Who was she?”
Men, who had gone in search of the royal bloodline of the land, had found the last prince and princess. The princess was assigned the task of luring the king and then killing him. However, the king fell for the princess and his love for her changed his heart. He became a true king…a kind and a just king.
Saki, who had overheard prince and princess’s conversation by chance, decided to save the king. She even had her grandmother’s consent because her grandmother, unlike others, had recognized the king who had returned.
"My lord, nobody can return her to you. However, please do not take away what she had returned to us", Saki requested.