And They Never Lived Happily Ever After

By: Rizi213

And they never lived happily ever after - cover (1).jpg

Synopsis

Kara Hawkefire is a Banished--and the only one left in all of the Dark Kingdom. When she is caught and held for trial, she knows she has to escape from the Blood King and find freedom. But the Crystal Castle holds many secrets, and when Kara accidentally stumbles over one during her break out, all she has ever known about her parents' death turns out to be a lie. Now she is determined to find out the truth. But the truth turns out to be a greater evil than the Blood King himself. And it won't stop until what it is after is gone from the world--which turns out to be Kara herself. How can Kara save herself from the darkness that is after her when she was never able to escape it in the first place?

DISCLAIMER: This is an OC fanfic and will probably never happen. It was written purely for fun!

Prologue

"ENTER." THE BLOOD King's voice boomed around the throne room, a million echoes reverberating back and forth.

The trembling man scurried in and bowed down before the Blood King, his gaze downcast, for everyone was afraid of laying their eyes on the son of the man who ruined the lives of every species living on Earth. And oh was he a sight to see. Cold, icy eyes flecked with red. Black slicked back hair. A hardened expression that never changed. An ever-present sneer that never left.

"I h-have ne-news abo-about y-your son, Yo-your M-majesty," the man stuttered, cowering before the looming King.

"Oh?" The Blood King raised an eyebrow. "What mishap has he gotten into know?" The King wasn't really curious--his son had been causing trouble since the day he was born. It shamed him to call that no-good prince his son sometimes.

"H-he was cau-caught he-helping som-someone ranked b-below him."

"What?!" The Blood King bellowed, astonished that his own son, the crown prince of the entire Dark Kingdom, could stoop so low. "Bring him to me right this instance!" The King would show that idiot what punishment truly was.

But before the man could reply, one of the King's guards burst through the doors.

'Your Majesty!" The guard bent over to catch his breath. "There have been sightings of a Banished!"

"A Banished?" The Blood King asked. "In my kingdom?"

I thought I captured them all.

"Yes, Your Majesty." The guard said, nodding. "She was seen using her ability as a Telepath to invade a baker's mind."

"Send every troop to hunt down this Banished," The King barked. "She must be caught at all cost. Did you note her appearance?"

"Yes, Your Majesty. She has light brown hair that falls past her shoulder blades, but we couldn't catch her eyes. She is also tall, but not so much."

The Blood King's heart stopped. He tried to relax. They hadn't caught her eyes, so there was no way this girl could be her.

"I want her here, alive, as soon as possible." The King narrowed his eyes. "If you don't manage to capture her by the end of this week, you will wish you had never been born. Understood?"

The guard gulped. "Y-yes, Your Majesty. We will find her." He turned and ran out of the chamber as fast as he could.

The King turned to the shaking man. "And you. Not a word about this to anyone. Got it?"

"Y-yes, Your Majesty." Then he too sprinted out of the room.

The Blood King stood and walked over to a plain wall. Tapping one brick that was polished more than the rest, he stepped back and watched as the wall groaned and shifted, revealing a portrait of a young girl smiling, her midnight blue eyes flecked with gold sparkling with laughter. The King reached out to touch her but quickly withdrew his hand. His past would stay with him, no matter how hard he tried to forget it. He was the Blood King, famous for ruling with his bloody fist and no regrets. There was no point in changing now.

Yet as he stared at the young girl, the memories came back, washing over him faster than a rushing waterfall.

He watched helplessly as images filled his mind, taking him over one by one.

The Blood King was known for being able to withstand guilt, yet there it was. Guilt. Bouncing around his mind like an annoying ball he couldn't get rid of.

No matter what he did, he could never undo the night that ruined his life. The night that changed his view of the world. The night that caused everything he worked for to crumble beneath him like a falling palace.

He was the Blood King and, after centuries of committing crimes, he would finally pay for every single one.

Chapter One

THEY'VE CAUGHT ME.

The minute I saw the bystander's wide eyes staring at my wrist, I took off running, making my way through the dark and trash-filled alleys. The clouds hanging above create a haunting aura as they always do and the toxic air burned my lungs as I breathe it in. I still kept running.

I didn’t stop until I arrived at the other end of the city. I bent down, trying to catch my breath and mentally scolded myself. How could I be so forgetful? It was always my number one rule to cover up the glowing gold star on my wrist that identified me as a Banished. I glared at it. This mark ruined my life. Apparently, it was not done yet.

Concentrating on it, I used my ability as a Flasher to make the light emitting from it dull. Using my ability as a Telepath and combining it with my power to manipulate light, I could make the glowing star completely vanish from sight.

It was the reason I was a Banished.

A Banished is a descendant of the great Sophie Foster, and because she had many abilities, the gene passed down her line. A Banished is someone who has one main ability, but has another one running through their blood. In my case, I was a Telepath, but the ability of a Flasher ran through me as well.

We were feared because of this. Elves who are Banished are so powerful that, if they have the right abilities, can bring an entire kingdom to their knees. It's a terrifying thought, something I never dwelled on.

I, however, could only create illusions with the combination of mine. And sometimes make things disappear. Like my mark. How the Banished got the mark is a mystery that remains unsolved.

I squinted up at the sky. People said that there once was a sun up there. The sun was a giant ball of blazing fire that caused the Earth to heat up. What happened to the sun is a mystery that is also unsolved. Some predicted that the pollution caused it to disappear from the sky, but that it is still there. Others said that the original Blood King used a curse to banish it. The reason? No one knew.

I looked around, expecting to see the King's guard at my back. Fortunately, they were not. But it was only a matter of time before they were.

I started humming the tune of a lullaby my mother used to sing to me. It's a habit I couldn’t get rid of. I could still remember her beautiful voice that was so enchanting, elves would pay so much just to hear it.

"The whispered lies follow us through this dark land,

The shadows hunt us across this place no one understands,

No one has ever had the courage to say 'Enough',

But you, my darling, will be the one who does,

You will stand in front of them and show your might,

And tell them that ruling with a bloody fist is never right,

For we are all the same, nothing about this mark defines us,

Let them swallow their pride,

And tell you that you are right,

And save this world from a horrible fate,

You, my love, will tell the world,

That it is never right to be cruel"

I didn’t remember much about my parents, but the memory of my mother singing me my song and my father tucking me in while flashing his dazzling smile is too vivid to ignore. I sank back into the wall as the images came before my eyes.

***

My parents had just tucked me into my small cot beside my bed. They said I had to wake up early tomorrow, for I had my first shift as a servant in the Blood King's castle. I was very excited, as people said that the King's castle was the most magnificent thing ever built since the Great War centuries before. I've wanted to see it since I first heard of it.

Dad smiled one of his famous smiles at me and he and Mom walked out of my tiny room and into their own.

That was when I heard the screaming.

I silently crept out of my room, but before I could find the source of the screaming, I saw a flash of white light.

Then heard a gasp.

Then felt a sudden wave of cold.

A cruel laughter filled the house. It was the kind of laughter that made your heart beat faster, your pulse scream louder, and send shivers up your spine.

I cautiously make my way to the top of the staircase and what I saw stopped my heart.

My parents were lying in a pool of blood, and a man wearing a cloak stood over them.

Chapter Two

THE MAN TURNED and I saw that his face was hooded, his features hidden in the shadows.

Except for his eyes.

They weren't an elf's usual blue. They glowed red. Blood red. And they seemed to glitter with a secret only known to him. It was the symbol of many wise years that had been lived with great knowledge.

Yet at that moment, they looked haunted, misted with something cold and furious. In that instant, I blamed him for what happened to my parents. I had no evidence besides the look in his eyes, but that was enough for me.

I stared at him the way he stared at me. Nothing moved except the howling wind that blew outside and the occasional squeaking of a moving mouse. Our eyes reflected the instant hatred we had for each other. Whatever his reason was, I did not know. But the minute I stepped onto one of the stairs, the cloaked man vanished. Poof, just like that. No warning whatsoever. No apology for what I presumed he had done. What had I expected, anyway? Him, a grown elf, bowing down at my feet, crying for mercy? Besides the fact that I was a Banished, there was nothing scary about me. Not even my combined powers were terrifying.

For a while, I just gaped at the spot at where the man had once been, then turned my attention to my dead parents. I didn't do what any normal child would do when they saw their loved ones floating in blood. I didn't scream, or cry, or shout that the world was so cruel and unfair. Instead, I walked over to them and closed their lifeless eyes that were staring at the sky above. I held both of their cold hands and sat beside them until an elf passing by saw our opened door and noticed me holding my dead parents' hands.

The rest of my memories are blurred.

I remember being yelled over, then shipped into some poor orphanage. Like so many of the buildings in the Dark Kingdom, the walls were peeling and it smelled faintly of rotting food.

I ran away the first night.

And the very next day, there were signs demanding that every Banished was to report straight to the Crystal Castle.

The ones who went never returned.

The ones who dared to take their chances with the outside world were eventually caught and their beheading was public for every noble family to see.

Because of my combined abilities, I was able to hide my glowing star and hide from the Blood King's forces.

Yet every night I went to sleep, the cloaked man's face haunted my nightmares.

He was the silhouette in the back of my mind when I was awake.

He never left me alone.

And he was never going to stop.

***

I groaned as I stood up, the memories still fresh in my mind.

Get a hold of yourself, Kara, I mentally scolded myself. There will soon be the Blood King's guards on your back, and unless you do something about it, you will be the dead by the next sunrise.

If there ever was a sunrise.

So, I did the only thing I knew how to do since I was young.

I ran.

Faster than the wind pushing me forward, the imaginary stray wolves that sprinted behind me.

My brown hair whipped in front of my face and I pushed it away. I should've cut it, but my mother always brushed it right before she sang me my song. I've taken care of it just for her.

I stopped at the Golden Willow. Its glittering leaves swayed back and forth gently. I sat by its thick trunk and beside the glowing flowers that whispered with unspoken promises and closed my eyes, resting my head against the tree's trunk. Nobody ever came here anymore, as they were to busy trying to live under the rule of our cruel King, so I was safe. For now.

I immediately began to think of a plan. It was too dangerous to be out in the open right now, so I would have to go into hiding for a little while. At least until the assumption of me being a Banished turned out to be false. The hunt would go on for some weeks, and then when they couldn't find me they would realize that I wasn't a Banished. I could use my abilities to hide in plain sight. I don't usually use my abilities combined together unless it was an emergency. And this definitely counted as an emergency.

Feeling better now that I had a plan, I began walking away from the tree. I was so engrossed in finding someplace to hide out for the night that I didn't notice the elf standing a few feet away from me until I bumped into him.

I quickly mumbled an apology and intended to make a quick escape to avoid being caught when the elf grabbed my arm and forced me to look up at him. I recognized his uniform - it was of the King's Blood Guard. The elf's eyes widened as he identified me as the girl on the wanted paper swinging in his other hand.

I panicked. "Si-sir, I'm not--"

"Save it for the King, girl," he interrupted and smirked down at me.

"Looks like we've finally caught the Last Banished."

Chapter Three

GREAT, I THOUGHT as the guard and I trudged through the destroyed land of the Dark Kingdom. I've only been hunted for an hour, and those stupid Nobles have already come up with a name for me.

The Nobles, with their twisted smiles and fancy attire, looked and me with scorn, their whispers haunting me all the way to the Crystal Castle.

The Last Banished is a disgrace to this kingdom.

Look at her - she is lucky to even be alive. The Blood King is too merciful to still give that piece of scum a trial.

I feel safer now that the Last Banished has been caught.

I looked at them and gave them my fiercest scowl. They backed off immediately.

Before I knew it, we had arrived at our destination.

The Crystal Castle is the only building still standing without any damage since the Great War. Even the Nobles had some sort of destruction to their fine mansions.

The palace's magnificent pillars rose high into the sky, glittering even more than glass during the rare times the sun hits it. It sparkled and shined, screaming with elegance and power. Lush gardens accompanied the palace, scattering its beauty all around the castle's humongous structure. I stared at it with awe; my jaw dropping down to the hard cobblestone.

My oh-so-kind escort pulled out an Imparter, which I glanced at with surprise. Imparters were very rare to come across, and only a few select Nobles and the royal family were able to afford it. This guy must've been super rich to have one.

"I'm outside the gates with the Banished girl. Hurry up and open them! I don't have all day!" the guard said.

"On it, sir," a cracked voice answered. Then the iron gates opened, and the guard pushed me forward.

***

Really, I have no idea what happened next. One minute I was walking with a guard to the throne room and the next, my companion is out cold. I glanced back with surprise but wasted no time undoing the knots of the rope. Then, as soon as my hands were free, I was pushed against the wall with a knife at my throat. I looked up to find piercing blue-green eyes that belonged to a girl looking at me. She stared into my eyes, then let out a sigh of relief. "Good, it's you."

"Um, excuse me?" I asked. I was grateful to this person for saving me, but at least have some manners and introduce yourself!

"You're excused," the elf replied. "Hurry, there is no time to explain right now. Just trust me, okay?"

"Hold it there," I said. People take trust for granted. I wasn't going to take my chances. "How can I trust someone I just met?"

"You can't," she told me. "But please, for your own sake, follow me. I'll get you out of here."

I took a good look at her. Cinnamon skin that clashed with her odd blue-green eyes. Jet-black hair that was cut up to her chin. But the look she gave me was genuine. I felt myself trusting her. I just hoped this wouldn't be a mistake. "Alright."

"Good." She turned and motioned for me to trail behind.

"Wait!" I called out. "The name is Kara. Kara Hawkefire."

The elf looked back at me. "I know. And I'm Maya Dawnslayer."

"Where are you taking me?" I asked as we navigated through the twists and turns of the Crystal Castle.

Maya grinned. "To the dungeons."

Chapter Four

I FELT MY blood go cold. "B-but you said--"

"Relax, I'm not taking you to the dungeons," Maya reassured me. "We have to meet some people there."

'Okay . . ." I was starting to regret my decision to trust this elf.

***

The dungeons were a horrible place.

As Maya and I descended down a long stairwell to get to the prison cells, a horrible stench of rotten fish and stale blood hit my nose and I gagged.

Maya looked at me and smiled. "Guess I forgot to warn you about the smell."

"You just realized that?" I asked, covering my poor nose.

"To my understanding, yes. I just realized that." She continued down the stairs without another glance back at me.

I was really regretting my decision of trusting her.

We finally arrived at the bottom. And it was not pleasant.

Mold covered every inch of the place and the smell down here was stronger. Dust lined the bars of the cells from top to bottom and the torches barely reached the corners of the dungeons, casting everything in dark shadows.

The hosts of the cells weren't any better.

They glowered and sneered at us as we passed their prisons. Each and every one of them had at least one scar covering parts of their bodies.

I shuddered and began walking faster.

Maya led me deep into the dungeons and we stopped at the heart of the place.

There were no prison cells here, just a door. Maya pulled out a key and opened it, and we entered the room. It wasn't much to look at, just a large circular chamber with vines hugging every part of the wall.

I was about to ask Maya what we were doing here when a voice said, "Took you long enough."

From the shadows emerged a young male elf with sandy hair and sky-blue eyes. He crossed his muscular arms and regarded me curiously. "This is the Last Banished? She isn't much to look at."

"Well, I'll have you know that I'm so much more than what I seem," I snapped back and turned to leave. What was I thinking, coming here? "I'm leaving."

"Kara, wait!" Maya grabbed my arm and glared at the boy. "He didn't mean anything by it." She kept glaring at him. "Don't scare her off with your insults yet. We need her." Need me? But for what?

The other elf sighed. "Fine." He turned to look at me. "I'm Mason Frostcliff. It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance, Kara Hawkefire."

"How do you know my--" I was interrupted by the sound of footsteps falling on the hard stone. "So this is the famous Last Banished, huh?"

Another elf came out of the shadows, and I hate to admit it, but I stared. His tousled dark hair was messy, and he shared Maya's exact eyes. Beautiful sapphires dotted with emeralds. A half-smirk played on his lips as he crossed his lean arms and studied me. "Are you sure you have the right elf, sis?" he asked.

Sis?

"I can assure you, big brother, that I do," Maya said. "Since when am I ever wrong?"

"Can someone please explain why I'm here and what you want from me?" My tone displayed my irritation and confusion.

All three of the elves eyes snapped to me as if they'd forgotten I was still present. I pointed at the dark-haired boy. "And you. Please introduce yourself and give me one good reason for why I should trust you."

The boy my finger was pointing at said, "I'm Jackson Dawnslayer. And yes, I'm also Maya's older brother. As for why you should trust us . . ." Jackson glanced at Mason. "I'll let him tell you."

I looked at Mason impatiently, waiting for an answer. "Well?"

He hesitated, then said, "In exchange for your freedom, we want you to do something for us."

I scowled. “Of course you do. What do you want me to do?"

"It's better if we show you," Maya told me.

I stared at them. "And what guarantee do I have that you aren't those stupid Nobles who will turn me over to the Blood King the minute I agree to do what you ask?"

"Do we look like those snobby Nobles?" Jackson asked, looking pointedly at me.

"You have a point. But I need to make sure you aren't fooling me."

Mason solemnly placed his hand on his chest. "Cross my heart." He nudged the others and they followed his lead. "Cross our hearts," Jackson and Maya echoed.

I looked at them carefully, but there was no feeling of any illusions here. They were telling the truth. "Okay. I'll do what you ask. And then you help me get out of here."

"Deal," said Maya and motioned for us to follow her. "Let's go to the place."

"Where is it we're going this time?" I asked Jackson, matching his pace with my own.

"To the Blood King's throne room."

Chapter Five

ON THE WAY to the throne room, I trailed behind the other three elves.

Mason said something to Jackson, which Maya overheard and it caused Mason to earn a glare from her. Mason made puppy dog eyes at Maya and she playfully shoved him. Jackson, meanwhile, watched them with an amused expression.

I caught myself staring at them and felt something weird in my stomach. Was it longing or jealousy? I couldn't tell. It was just that they seemed so relaxed and carefree with each other. They seemed like a family.

I swallowed hard and looked away.

***

We were there within five minutes.

As we neared the cursed chamber, I crossed my arms and gave them my hardest stare.

"Now that we're almost there, would you care to tell what you want from me?" I didn't regret my harsh tone.

"Well," began Maya. "We--" She was interrupted by Jackson pushing me against the wall. "Not a word," he hissed.

I was about to ask why when I noticed a guard running towards us. Instinctively, I pulled the light around me away and willed them to cover me in shadows. Jackson looked at the place where I was once visible with wide eyes but said nothing.

The guard neared us and gave Maya and Jackson a glare.

"Princess Maya and Prince Jackson, you two are supposed to be in your rooms right now! Imagine your punishment if your father found out that you were wandering out here!"

Princess Maya and Prince Jackson. I covered my mouth and inwardly gasped. They were the Dark Prince and the Lightning Princess. The children of the Blood King.

Maya - or should I say, Princess Maya - rolled her eyes. "Thomas, you know perfectly well that the Blood King is our adoptive father, not our biological father!"

My mind had a hard time processing this. Weren't they the Blood King's biological children?

"To be honest, we're not even adoptive! The King is just our trainer because he is the only one powerful enough to train Imperiums!" Prince Jackson added. "And the only reason he refers to us as his children is that own is dead!"

The Blood King's real children are dead? And Jackson and Maya are Imperiums? What is an Imperium?

Thomas scowled. "That still doesn't justify you two being out here!"

Maya's expression suddenly became very sweet and innocent. "Oh, Thomas! You know how much we hate being held prisoners in our own rooms! Please let us off, just this once!"

The guard's stern demeanor faltered, and he finally relented under Maya's pleading gaze. "Just this once," he muttered. "Just this once."

The princess threw her arms around Thomas. "Oh, thank you thank you thank you!" she cried.

Thomas simply huffed. "This is the last time, you hear me? Next time I won't be so lenient."

Jackson smiled his signature half-smile. "We wouldn't doubt it for a second."

The second the guard was gone, I reappeared and whispered, "I'm guessing that wasn't meant for my ears."

Jackson glowered at me. "If you dare say anything to anyone . . ."

"Don't worry, I won't." I was too busy trying to escape this wretched place than to give away others' secrets.

I caught Mason's eyes and saw resentment in them. Why? I didn't know. Maybe it was a bit of envy at his friends' formidable power.

We continued on our way, pretending that the confrontation with the guard didn't happen.

***

We reached the doors to the Blood King's throne room.

Maya let out a soft breath that I think she had been holding for quite a while and said to me, "There is a picture of a younger version of you there. However, what is behind the picture is something only you can find out. So, we're offering you freedom if you help us see what is behind there."

"Wait, there is a picture of me there?" The question slipped out of my mouth before I could consider asking it. "Why would there be a picture of me there?"

Jackson shrugged. "That's what we're trying to find out. Come on, before the King returns from his scheduled walks."

Mason pushed open the giant doors with much effort. We stepped in and I gasped.

The floor was polished marble, shining as if it had never seen a speck of dirt since the moment it had been implanted into the room. The stone walls were polished smooth and the thrones at the end of the long chamber shimmered with gold and jewels.

Jackson led us to the right wall and touched a stone that seemed to be more polished than the rest. That section of the wall groaned and pushed itself back, revealing a picture of...

Me. Well, a younger me, to be exact.

I walked up to the portrait and marveled at how the artist had managed to capture younger me perfectly. It was absolutely flawless. The same hints of gold in my eyes that elves said once twinkled in Sophie Foster's. The same brilliant smile that once used to light up my whole face. It was beautiful.

"Now that you're done admiring yourself, you have to sing the lullaby your mother sang to you."

I whipped my head around and stared at Mason, shocked. "H-how do you know that my mother sang a lullaby to me?"

Mason dismissed my question with an uninterested wave of his hand. "That doesn't matter. Now sing."

I vowed to get more information later, but for now, I did as I was told.

I sang.

My voice wasn't as beautiful as my mother's, but I considered myself pretty good. I was quiet, but at the same time loud enough that the words of the song were echoed around the room.

When I was done, I turned to see Maya furiously wiping tears from her eyes and Mason staring off into the distance with a sad smile on his face. I swore that even Jackson's eyes had welled up.

The silence that followed was broken by the barely audible click that came from the portrait of me. I stepped around it to find that it had been open just a tiny bit. I pulled it and the picture moved to uncover a long, narrow hallway. 

Maya moved up beside me and said, "Well, what are we waiting for? Let's go!"

We all followed her down the mysterious passageway.

***

It smelled of dirty water and salt, for some reason. At the end was a wooden door. Jackson pushed it open, and we all stepped into a room similar to the one down in the dungeons. Except for one small difference.

The room's walls were covered with weapons of all shapes and sizes, from the longest of javelins to the shortest of knives. In the center was a pedestal which supported a ton of what seemed to be letters.

I sprinted towards the huge pack of papers and picked a random one at the bottom and began reading it. The other three elves studied the weapons.

Master,

The deed is done. I have successfully killed Layla and George Hawkefire. But why you need to get rid of my wife's sister and brother-in-law remains a mystery to me. But I trust your judgment and also hope that in the future you will trust me with your secrets. I know that I am in no position to demand anything for you, so instead, I beg that you remember your part of the deal. Please do your part. I have served you since the beginning of my reign. Please give me the satisfaction of having the deed done. On another note, I am prepared for the next part of the assignment. I request that you send me the instructions on what to do. Until we meet again.

Sincerely, The Blood King

The letter slipped from my hand and fell to the floor with a soft thud. 

The Blood King had killed my parents.

My mother had been the Grave Queen's sister.

My father had been the Grave Queen's brother-in-law.

The Grave Queen was my aunt.

Which meant that the Blood King was my uncle.

I was related to the royal family.

Jackson noticed the fallen letter and picked up to read it. I heard his sharp intake of breath.

My mind whirled with this newfound realization.

I was... I was...

"The Blood King and the Grave Queen's niece." Jackson finished my thought. "You're their niece."

Maya and Mason overheard and they both gasped. 

"But . . . but that's not possible!" Maya said. "There isn't a record of you in the books! And that would mean that the Queen is a Banished!"

"Ah, yes it would." The voice came from the doorway.

All four of us froze and slowly turned around.

Smiling lazily was a man with icy eyes and a sword at his hips.

I recognized him. He was the cloaked man from all those years ago. 

I stood, paralyzed with fear as the Blood King - my uncle - advanced towards me with a wicked sneer.

"I was wondering when you would return, my dear niece. Welcome back to the family." 

Chapter Six

"YOU KNOW, I spent a lot of my time looking for you after your parents died," the Blood King said. "But you have your father's ability to hide very well, no?"

Suddenly, I couldn't take it anymore. He had killed my parents and had no regret. He talked with me as if I could love him. As if we could be a family.

Rage clouded my mind and I couldn't think properly, which explains my behavior with the cruelest elf alive.

"You killed my parents and have the nerve to talk about them as if they were your close friends?" I snapped. "You have absolutely no respect for the dead at all! And don't think I will come running to you to with open arms. I hate you! You took everything from me! Everything!" My hands were clenched and I was breathing hard. "I hate you!"

Maya stared at me with wide eyes. "Take it back! He'll - he'll kill you for saying all that!" Her voice was quiet, yet somehow the KIng overheard. He threw his head back and laughed.

"So naive, you youngsters are. Maya, dear, do you really think I would lay a hand someone part of my family? Someone with royal blood in her veins?"

"I don't have any royal blood!" I said. The Queen was only my aunt, and she was just a Banished. That revelation still shocked me.

The Blood King tilted his head at me. "Kara, do you really think I would marry a petty commoner? And a Banished one at that?"

"Cut the bluff," Jackson growled. "Stop stalling already!"

"Oh, but Jackson, you of all people should understand the need to reveal someone's past," The King told him. "Especially someone like Kara's."

"What's so special about my past?" I asked. "I'm a Banished, you killed my parents, and now I'm the most hunted elf in the kingdom. What more could there be to it?"

The Blood King chuckled. "You're not just the most hunted elf in the kingdom, Kara. You're the most hunted elf in the realm."

"T-the realm?" I stammered. "You mean, I'm hunted in the other kingdoms as well? But-but I haven't set a foot out of the Dark Kingdom! How-how would they know me? And what would they want with me?"

"Yeah, she's just a Banished!" Mason said. "Nothing more!"

"Oh, but she is. She is so much more than just that."

"What do you mean?" This was getting more confusing by the second.

The King simply smiled. Even his smiles were horrifying. "It would be better if I showed you."

Then he transmitted memories to me, and I fell into a land of dark secrets.

Chapter Seven - The Memories (Pt. 1)

"DIANA ORLANDO, PRINCESS of the Banished Kingdom, how may I be of service to you today?"

Princess Diana turned to see Jay Hawk bowing down to her with a smirk on his handsome face. She rolled her eyes. "Quit the etiquette, Jay. You know I hate it."

Jay, in return, just glanced up at her, his blue-brown eyes sparkling with amusement. "I know. It's fun to see your reaction every time I do it."

Diana huffed. "Well, now's not the time. Do you have it or not?"

Jay spread his arms with mock offense. "No hug? No kiss? Tsk tsk, always straight to the point."

The princess bit her lip. "Jay, you know perfectly well that you're not supposed to be here right now. Imagine the punishment if Mother or Father found out you were here."

The servant sighed. "Oh well. It was worth a shot. And to answer your question, yes, I did bring it." He dug into the pocket of his tunic and took out a beautiful cache made of gold and diamonds.

Diana's smile was even more dazzling than the object Jay held in his hand. "Jay, you're the best. I love you."

Jay winked. "I know you do."

She reached over and took the ring and walked over to her vanity. Diana, with the help of Jay, managed to push it over and opened the hidden compartment that rested behind the furniture. From the safe came another cache that was the same as the one the princess held in her hand. Only instead of diamonds and gold, it was made of silver and obsidian.

Princess Diana's smile grew wider as she turned to her beloved. "Jay, we did it. We have the twin caches of the Banished." Her excitement caused the Golden Star of the Banished to glow brighter.

Jay returned her smile with a grin of his own. "Yes, we did. Now we can finally--" He was cut off by the sound of footsteps racing towards Diana's room.

The two stared at each other with fear in their eyes. Diana threw the caches inside the safe, prayed that they wouldn't break, shut the safe, pushed the vanity back, and hissed at Jay, "Hide! Now!"

Jay quickly dove under the bed and Diana sat on top of it, pretending to be interested in her mirror, staring intently into her own blue-gold eyes.

The door to her room slammed open and at the doorway stood Diana's older sister, Alyssa. She was breathing hard.

"Mother told me to tell you that--" The rest of her sentence was lost in her struggle to get air into her lungs.

"Mother told you to tell me what, Aly?" Diana stood up and gave her sister a bottle of Youth.

Alyssa took the drink gratefully, taking a long sip before putting it back on Diana's nightstand and staring at the younger princess with hard eyes. "We have secured the alliance with the Dark Kingdom."

Diana gasped with delight. "Aly, that's great news - why are you so unhappy about this?"

"Because," she whispered, taking a deep breath.

"To make the alliance official, you have to marry the future Blood King."

Chapter Eight - The Memories (Pt. 2)

DIANA NEVER UNDERSTOOD the meaning of being frozen with shock. Until that moment.

Her jaw hit the floor. She couldn't speak a single word. Couldn't breathe a single breath. Couldn't blink a single eye.

Diana had been raised to believe that family was the most important thing to an elf. They should always be your number one priority - along with everyone else you love dearly. Her parents strongly enforced this rule whenever possible.

So why were the breaking their own rule? Why would they just . . . just hand her over like that?

The shattered childhood wasn't the only thing that was stopping Diana from believing that this arrangement could happen, though. Her hand automatically went to the ring made of sapphires and gold on her ring finger of her right hand. The thing marking her as Jay's fiancee. She couldn't imagine marrying anyone else but him.

Diana had meant to bring this proposal to her parents sometime during the week. They would be very surprised, of course, but she had no doubt that they wouldn't send the two of them away without their blessing. They could never turn her down. After all, she was their darling young girl.

But now . . . now she wasn't so sure.

"W-why?" Diana finally managed to choke out. "Why would they give me over so freely?"

Alyssa shook her head. "I don't know, Di. I honestly don't." She grabbed the younger princess by the shoulder. "Whatever happens, you cannot marry him, you hear me? You cannot! No matter what the circumstances may be. I have not a clue about what possessed Mother and Father to agree to this arrangement, but you cannot follow in their footsteps and agree as well."

"You're right she doesn't." Diana and Alyssa startled, then looked towards the source of the voice.

It was Jay.

He stalked towards Diana like a man with a purpose and put an arm around her, holding her close. "She is mine, you got it? Mine. I am not about to hand her over that easily."

Alyssa studied him for a while before giving Diana a teasing smile. "So, this is the guy you kept gushing to me about?" she asked. "I must say, he certainly lived up to my expectations."

"Aly . . ." Diana pleaded. "Now's not the time."

"Right." Her sister nodded. "Back to the matter at hand. We can't let our parents marry Diana off. The Blood King's son is almost as bad as the Blood King himself. Not to mention the fact that he is due to become the next Blood King in just a few months. And as the Grave Queen, it would be your duty to attend everything the King holds." She turned back to Diana. "And by everything, I mean everything."

Diana knew what Alyssa meant. She shuddered at the thought of the beheadings. The mere mentioning of blood was enough to send her halfway across the realm, fear trailing her every step.

"What do we do?" asked Jay. "Any minute now, a guard will be coming up and demanding Di's presence at court and the King and Queen will make her agree to this arrangement."

"We have to do the only thing we can do," Alyssa said.

"Which is . . ." prompted Diana.

"We have to call off the arrangement with you and the Dark Prince."

"But--"

"And." Alyssa raised a hand to cut Jay off.

"And I'll make Mother and Father change it to me marrying the Dark Prince."

Chapter Nine - The Memories (Pt. 3)

"WHAT?!" DIANA CRIED at the same time Jay remarked, "You're pretty selfless."

"No, she's irrational and stupid!" Diana snapped before turning back to glare at Alyssa. "Are you crazy? Just a minute ago you were telling me that it was way too dangerous to marry the Dark Prince, and now you're saying that you'll marry him yourself?"

Alyssa rolled her eyes. "Sister, do you think I don't already have a plan? Besides, most of my ploy is already in place. It's just convincing Mother and Father to agree, and that's the easy part."

That relaxed Diana out of her tense posture, but she was still not persuaded that this was the best course of action. When it came to coming up with schemes, Alyssa was a master. And because she was a Beguiler and a Telepath, like Diana, she could use her voice to charm anyone into doing her bidding. It was also known as mind manipulation.

But still, Diana felt that there was more danger to what Alyssa was going to do than what she knew.

"Aly, please see this logically," the princess tried again. "To marry the Dark Prince is the worst thing you can do. You-you'll get killed! Please, don't do this."

Alyssa snorted. "Do you really think I'm going to marry him? Of course, I'm not! Like I said, I have a plan." She pulled a wad of paper from the pocket of her dress and handed them to Diana. "Here. I already got your identities ready. Go to the Dark Kingdom and start a new life there. If you stay here, the Blood King and his son will never let you live in peace. After all, they were the ones who offered this engagement."

Diana stared at the pages in awe. There were new identities for her and Jay as well. Her sister had thought of everything. She glanced up and threw her arms around Alyssa. "Come with us," Diana whispered. "Please, Aly, don't leave me alone."

"Hey, I'm here too," Jay said, but neither paid him any heed.

Alyssa's eyes softened and she hugged her younger sister back. "Don't worry, I'll be in touch. Did you really think that you could get rid of me so easily?"

That earned Alyssa a weak laugh. "That would be impossible," Diana said. "What about Mother and Father and the citizens?

Alyssa winked. "Go get your bags packed. I'll sneak you out at midnight and tell Mother and Father about this. As for the people of our kingdom . . ." Alyssa considered that. "I'll think of something. Don't you worry Di; this won't be the last time we see each other."

Diana hugged her sister again. "It better not."

***

At a minute before midnight, Diana stood in front of the vault which held the twin caches of the Banished with a note in her hand, which she placed inside. All she could do was hope someone would finish the mission she and Jay started. Right now, Diana had more pressing matters to handle.

Wrapping her black cloak around her tightly, she picked up her bags and crept out of the beautiful castle which had been her home for as long as she could remember. Diana was going to miss it, but at the same time, she felt excited about the new life she was headed to.

Alyssa was waiting by the magnificent water fountain smack-dab in the middle of the courtyard. Jay stood beside her with his own bag and he smiled when he saw Diana. "Ready to do this?" he asked as she drew near. "As I'll ever be," was her soft reply.

Alyssa gestured to the small opening that was barely visible right underneath the fountain. "That's a portal to the Dark Kingdome," she explained. "Go through it and you'll arrive just a little over a mile away from the main gates to Sacorlia." Sacorlia was the capital city of the Dark Kingdom.

Diana stared at the portal, then turned to Alyssa with tears brimming in her eyes. "Promise that you'll write every day?"

Alyssa hugged her. "Of course I will! Like I said, this isn't the last time we'll be seeing each other. You have all your identification papers, right?" Diana nodded.

"Good," Alyssa said. "All that's left is a see you later. Not a goodbye, a see you later." She kissed the top of Diana's head. "Have fun in the Dark Kingdom," she told her.

Diana gave Alyssa a grin. "Oh, I will."

Alyssa laughed, then turned to Jay. "Take care of her, all right? And yourself too." Jay smirked. "We'll be fine, Your Highness."

Alyssa pushed them to the portal. "Now shoo. I have things to do." She gave the two of them a wave. "Be good, children!"

Diana laughed and waved back. "Don't get into too much trouble without me!" she called.

Was it just her imagination, or was Alyssa's smile a little too relieved? As if she just got rid of a huge burden? Diana pushed the thought away. It was probably just the dark that was messing with her mind.

She turned to see Jay grinning at her. "Let's go start a new life, shall we?"

Diana smiled back. "Let's do it."

She glanced down one last time at their new names, just for reference. She was ready for this more than ever.

***

What were their new names, you might be asking?

They were this:

Layla and George Hawkefire.

In the future, they were also to be known as Kara Hawkefire's parents.

Chapter Ten

SHARDS OF BROKEN sentences floated through my mind as I collapsed to my knees, unable to speak.

Please no, not her! Anything! I'll do anything!

Anything, you say?

Yes, anything! Please, she's innocent! It's me you want! I was the one who forced her to do it! Please, don't hurt her. She means everything to me.

A soft, cold chuckle. Be careful of what you say, Alyssa. Because your words will always be used against you.

Another conversation came up.

How . . . how could you?

It had to be done.

A scream.

I HATE YOU WITH EVERYTHING I HAVE! YOU HEAR ME? I. HATE. YOU. I CAN'T BELIEVE YOU WOULD DO THIS TO ME!

Does it look like I care?

I can't believe it . . . You meant everything to me . . . I loved you . . .You were my sister . . .

I could hear the silent tears of the person as they replied, It's time to face reality, Diana. Because the one person you would take a bullet for usually ends up being the one behind the gun.

"You . . . you monster," I hissed, raising my eyes to meet the Blood King's. "How could you do something like that?"

The Blood King laughed. "I really don't care what I do as long as I get what I want. You should know that by now."

"Kara, what did you see?" I heard Maya ask.

I didn't want to relive the memories so I kept my mouth shut. But, alongside the fragments of conversations, I heard, the other revelation was also another thing that made my head spin.

"My-my mother was a princess," I choked out. "I'm-I'm-"

"The heir to the Banished Kingdom's throne." Jackson finished my sentence for the second time. My eyes snapped to his. "How did you-"

"That's not important," Jackson said, cutting me off. He glared at the Blood King. "Any other secrets you want to share?" Was it just my imagination, or did the King's eyes flicker to Mason's for a second? Before I could dwell on that, the King sighed. "Even if I did, what makes you think I would tell you?"

"This." Everyone looked to Maya as she gazed at the Blood King with an expression made of ice. Her hands rose up and suddenly, lightning exploded through the roof of the room and charged at the Blood King.

My eyes widened as I waited for him to be electrocuted, but the King simply snapped his fingers and the lightning turned towards Maya.

"Maya, watch out!" I yelled, then pushed her to the ground. The electricity scorched my arm, but I gritted my teeth against the pain.

"Anyone else?" the Blood King asked, eyeing us with bored eyes. "Or is that the end of your pathetic show?"

"No, it's not," I heard Mason growl, then a curved sword flung towards the King, faster than light, and stabbed him right in the arm.

The Blood King actually seemed shocked.

"All right, that's enough!" he said, wiping the crimson blood off his sleeve. "I am your King. You do not try to harm me in any sort of way!"

"You brought this upon yourself." Jackson snorted.

The King smiled darkly. "Is that so? Then I guess two can play this game, Jackson." Suddenly, fifteen guards appeared behind him.

My heart stopped as I realized what it meant.

The Blood King pointed a sharp finger at the four of us and hissed,

"Get them."

Chapter Eleven

CHAOS BROKE LOOSE.

Literal chaos.

Lightning surged from the sky and thunder crackled dangerously above us all. I turned and saw Maya and Jackson's hands raised and the thunderstorm obeying their commands.

Well, I guess I finally knew what an Imperium was.

Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed Mason grab two duel-wielding swords and fighting at least five guards at once.

To say that he was good was a total understatement.

He was a monster.

Before I could even snap my fingers, all five guards were on the ground, unconscious, and Mason moved on to fight other guards without even batting a single eye.

That was when I realized: I should probably be helping too.

I sprinted towards the wall and grabbed the first thing my hands curled around: a long dagger.

Its blade glinted with a murderous death wish to all villains and the hilt fitted perfectly in my palm. At that moment, I knew that I had found my soulmate.

When I whirled back, I came face-to-face with the Blood King. And my temper flew through the roof.

Without thinking, I threw a hard blow right at his chest.

The consequence?

Me getting thrown back against the wall.

"You think you can defeat me?" I groaned and raised my bruised head which was on fire with pain. Spots of sheer black blanketed my vision and I was feeling awfully disorientated.

Well, one thing was for certain. I needed more training because I was stupid when it came to dealing with weapons.

The sad truth of life. Oh well. By the looks of it, I wouldn't be living mine for much longer.

Dang it, getting killed at such a young age was definitely not on my bucket list of Things To Do When You Find Out Many Truths That Have Been Hidden From You For Your Entire Life (And Very Unfairly, If I May Add).

Wow, it was crazy how sarcastic I could be when I got hit in the head.

Elves should do it more often. I actually liked this side of me.

"Well, at least I'm not a two-faced arrogant idiot who-" (A/N Due to the fact that Kara has become awfully sarcastic and totally like Maya, she has obtained quite a sailor's mouth and because of the fact that this is a kid-friendly wiki, I am editing out the rest of her sentence. Huh, I actually like Kara better this way. I should get her hit in the head more often...)

The other three elves who were currently on my side heard what I said and dare I say it, they seemed quite impressed. Mason had to clamp a hand over his mouth to stop from laughing, Jackson had a smirk plastered over his lips, and Maya had a proud glint in her eyes as she turned to wink at me. The wink which said, I taught you well, my young apprentice.

I was really debating on whether I should just smash a brick on my head and stay this way forever.

The Blood King, however, didn't seem too happy with my sudden change in attitude.

Well, wasn't he just a big, fat party-pooper who had no idea what the meaning of fun was?

"You-you dare call me those things?" he hissed, and I just shook my head and gave him a sweet smile.

"Darling, not everyone here is ready to bow at your feet and declare you the master of the universe, so it's now time to get your-"-beep-"-head out of the clouds and stop whining to mommy that you didn't get the latest toy because newsflash, I ain't-" (A/N Yeah, she's still like that. Raise your hand if I should keep her this way because I for one am enjoying this show.)

The Blood King's eyes flashed with such hatred that would have had the other me cowering away, but the new me who seriously needed to get herself checked just stood her ground, staring right back with such fierceness it would have put fire to shame.

Oh heck yes, in your face, ya moron! There was a new queen in town and she just dissed the- (A/N Kara, Kara, Kara, what are we going to do with you? There are kids in the room, for goodness sake! But to be honest, it's very fun writing this...) -out of you! Ha! Bet your ego that was way too big for this world couldn't take that!

The other battles stopped and everybody just stared at me as if I had just said the things I told myself in my head out loud.

Oh god.

From the looks Mason, Jackson, and Maya were giving me, I think I actually did.

Welp, there went my dream of finding my happily ever after with my dagger soulmate (A/N What up, title reference?). They were right (who exactly were they, though?) when they said that you never always get everything you want in life.

The Blood King's nostrils flared more than the stupid dragon that was said to live up in heaven and he, in a tone o angry it would have put foulmouthed me to shame, said, "And just who are you to declare yourself a queen? Especially in front of me?"

"Um, hello, ever heard of joking and bragging, Mister I-Have-No-Idea-What-Goes-On-In-The-Real-World-Because-I'm-Too-Caught-Up-Praising-Myself-With-Worthless-Compliments?" I asked incredulously.

Maya faked wiping a tear away and both Mason and Jackson howled with laughter.

But before the Blood King could throw insults that would probably have had me cowering under my covers for the rest of my life, a very musical voice replied, "I don't think he has, dear."

We all turned to look at the source of the voice.

And I swear, I nearly dropped dead right then and there.

Because the women at the door?

She looked exactly like my- BEEP -mother.

"Who the-" beep "-are you and what do you think gives you the right to barge in during my fun? And have the nerve to look exactly like my dead mother?" I demanded with a glare that would have made death proud.

The blonde women with sky-blue eyes gave me a dazzling smile that reminded me very much of someone - no, not my mother. She's dead, in case you idiots have forgotten already - but I couldn't place my finger on you. (Yup, definitely keeping her like this.)

"Why, my darling, it's me. Your dear Aunt Alyssa."

A/N GUYS, WHO WANTS ME TO KEEP KARA LIKE THIS? BECAUSE SHE IS SO MUCH BETTER AND SUCH A- BEEP - (yes, unfortunately, I have a foul mouth too.) AND I LOVE HER LIKE THIS. WHOSE WITH ME?

Chapter Twelve

FOR A WHOLE minute, I just stared at the Grave Queen, astonished.

This lady was my aunt? She looked as if she had never seen a speck of dirt in her entire life!

Not cool, woman. Not cool.

And then, out of the blue, I started laughing.

"Oh gosh, you're funny! You, me, related? That's just not possible."

Queen Alyssa's face morphed into one of disbelief for just a moment but quickly transformed back into the smug one from before. "What makes you say that? I am your only living relative related by pure blood left."

"Not my problem," I snapped, then something dawned on me. "I still have my grandparents."

The Queen let out a peal of laughter. "They're dead, honey. Died just a few months ago. The Banished Kingdom is in shambles, waiting for their rightful Queen to return."

I stumbled back, shocked. "What? I'm a . . . I'm a Queen?"

She gave me a smirk. "Yes, dear, you're a Queen. Not just any Queen, but the Queen of one of the most powerful kingdoms in the realm." Then, suddenly, her eyes glowed green.

"And that is why you cannot live. Prepare to die, Kara Hawkefire."

Chapter Thirteen

LET ME JUST clear up one thing: having your aunt want to kill you is not a nice feeling.

Um, hello? What happened to the I'm your only living relative related by pure blood left, huh? Elves these days, I tell you. They change their minds way too fast.

But before I could tell her that, a musical yet haunting voice filled my mind.

That should buy you some time. While the King and his guards are occupied with my rant on why you should be killed, take your friends and run. Escape to the Banished Kingdom. Mason knows the way there. Find the caches your mother hid. They hold the secrets that will put the realm's favor in your hands. You'll understand what I mean when the time comes.

But remember, the journey ahead of you is not going to be a walk in the park.

It will break you.

Destroy your soul.

Turn your world upside down.

Shatter your heart into a million pieces, never to be whole again.

Loyalties will be broken. Secrets will be revealed. Friendships you thought will last forever will become something you'll wish you had never pursued.

Elves you'll grow to trust with everything you have will become deadly traitors that will keep you awake all night, wondering when they'll attack next.

A betrayal from someone you never expected will scar your heart forever.

The sun will mock you for being so oblivious to a plan that will tear apart the universe.

A death will make you afraid to hold anyone close again, for the fear that no one who has a special place in your heart stays in the world for long.

You'll be the reason for the death of someone you never thought you would see smile at you again.

But despite everything, this is a journey you must go through because it is the destiny you have been running away from for far too long.

Save the world, Kara, because you are the only one that can.

I stood there, shocked, staring at the person who had told me all that in my head.

The Grave Queen.

She raised her glowing eyes to meet mine and at that moment, I knew.

I knew that everything she had said was true.

For the first time in my life, I wished that I didn't have the power to tell whether someone was lying or not.

Because she wasn't. She wasn't.

Everything she had told me would come true. All the torture, heartbreak, everything.

It was all true.

And that in itself was more than enough to let part of my mind shatter.

***

After everything Aunt Alyssa told Kara came true.

LIFE ISN'T A grand fairytale in which all your dreams will come true.

Take it from me, someone who has experienced pain. Not just any pain, though.

True pain.

The pain the breaks your heart, destroys your soul, makes you wish that you had never been born.

Sometimes, I wonder to myself.

What would have happened if I had never followed Maya to the dungeons?

No, wait, scratch that.

If I had never been caught invading someone's mind. That was the start of my doom.

Heh, funny how you regret the simplest things you thought would never make a difference in your life.

There is no such thing as a happily ever after because no matter how hard you try, you never get everything you want in life.

But, what you can get is an ending that you fought for because, at the end of the day, that's the ending you're most proud of.

Because it is the ending that reminds you of the fact that even after everything you've gone through, even after all the loss you lived through, even after they've torn apart your world, bit by bit, you're still standing. Still breathing. Still have a beating heart.

You can build up the universe that has been broken. You can recreate the life you have been dreaming about. You can light up the world with a single smile that is the reminder that even though you're broken, damaged, beaten up to the core, you still have the ability to smile.

And the best part yet the worst part?

You're doing all of that with the memories of the people who have gone through it all as well and still chose to stand by your side.

Like the boy who makes you want to scream at him for everything he has done to you, but with a single smile, makes your world so much brighter.

Like the girl who is damaged too far to ever return, yet still puts up a wall of sass and confidence just so that you will laugh.

And like the boy who shattered all the promises he never kept, yet knew the true meaning of sacrifice and took the blade just so that you can have the end you have been hoping for ever since the journey began.

They are the people that are worth every tear, every heartbreak, and all the pain.

They are the people that make it all worth it.

And they are the people that make the ending you fought for so much better.

Because in the end?

No one lives happily ever after.

Yet everyone can make a happily ever after.

And those are the types of endings worth everything and more.

***

END OF BOOK 1

BOOK 2, AND THE LIES YOU NEVER TOLD, COMING AUGUST 30TH, 2018

***

A/N:

And this, guys, in only the start of the beginning of the true story. The story that will make you cry, make you scream out in frustration, make you curse my name with everything you have.

And I'm sorry about that. But, like Kara told us all, no one ever gets a happily ever after. It's the title of the series, after all.

But there are also moments of happiness that will make you smile like a creep and make your family wonder what the heck is wrong with you.

So before you run away for the fear of what will happen, remember that this isn't a fairytale.

This is a tale of true life.

And let's find out the ending of it together.

xoxo

Rida

- Rizi213 - 23:01, October 11, 2018 (UTC)

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