animewhitewolf t1_izzqbo7 wrote

TW; mild gore and topic of sexual assault (not explicit)

I walked down the gravel path to the lake. It was almost twilight and the leaves were golden. I'd normally enjoy it, but not while I carried this box.

At the end of the trail, I saw the princess standing along the shore. She was smartly dressed in a long, green, velvet dress and a matching shawl draped over her shoulders. As I approached, she turned to look at me. She was still slightly pale and stoic. She gave a nod, motioning me to place the box on the ground.

"Is it in there, then?" she asked.

"It is, my lady," I said. The princess turned back to face the lake.

"Now that it's here, I'm scared to look inside. After everything that's happened. It's silly, isn't it?" She reached for her arm.

"Not at all, my lady," I said comfortingly. "If you wish, I can dispose of this myself. You can be done with this forever."

"No." Her voice had more strength in it this time. "I will see this through. Open it."

I obeyed. I inserted an iron key, turned it, and the steel box opened with a loud thunk. The princess looked inside, and let out a deep breath.

It was the prince, to whom she was betrothed. Or more accurately, his head. His face long since drained of blood and his eyes completely blank and empty. But there was no mistake; it was him.

The princess fell to her knees. "It's done! I'm finally free of you!" she whispered to the head. She turned to me. "It is truly over?"

"Yes, my lady. Everything went according to plan. As far as the princes army thinks, he's still captured by the enemy. Even if they find the rest of him, they'll never recognize him without this." I gestured to the box. It hadn't been as difficult as you'd think. After I told the Captain what he did, he was on the hunt like a wolf from hell. All it took were some disguises and the right moment to steal the prince away. Now, the prince will never return from war.

The princess let out a shaky breath. "Did you know, this was where he... the first time he took advantage of me?" She said. "He told me I was to be his bride. That if I refused, our kingdoms alliance would fall." She began to cry. I forgot my place, and embraced her.

"He'll never touch you again. No one will ever touch you again, I promise," I consoled her. She returned my hug. I know shouldn't think such things, but I could have held her for years.

She finally composed herself. She wiped off her tears, and I was happy to finally see some color in her cheeks. "Thank you. I'll need to thank the Captain when we're alone. But first," she turned to the box. Her strength returned as she stared into the pale eyes of the prince.

"I want my face to be the last those eyes see for eternity."

She shut the box and locked it. She then threw the iron key into the lake. "Please take this to the blacksmith. Have them seal box and the lock. Then bring it back here and throw it into the bottom of the lake."

"Yes, my lady." I picked up the box and began my way back up the path.

"And Millicent," the princess called out.

"Yes, my lady?" I asked.

She smiled. "You don't need to call me 'my lady.' I've already told you that."

"Sorry, my lady." I gave her a friendly wink, and carried the box back up the path. It never felt lighter.

> A bit darker than I usually go to in my writing. But at least there's a sort-of happy ending.