Disclaimer & Notices

Copyright: Disney owns the Sleeping Beauty franchise, not me.

Notices: This story contains violence and possible sexual content. Additionally, this story will contain grammatical or other errors. If you would like, feel free to privately message me about what you find and help me improve.

 

Summary: Aurora has been the dual queen for both kingdoms for over three years now since her coronation. She has verbally sparred with the nobles over the future of the Moors. After much time, the nobles no longer wish to take on the Moors, but instead a neighboring kingdom is looking to the wealth of the Moors. Queen Aurora desperately attempts to halt the pending war and resolve the conflict between herself, King Hubert, and the Moors. However, her last attempt is silenced when she is taken prisoner. Maleficent quickly acts and uses any powers necessary to protect her true love, Queen Aurora, even if it means becoming a monster again.

 

Feedback: redhope@redhope.net

Homepage: http://www.redhope.net

 

Started: November 30, 2014

Series: One Shot

 


 

In Love and Into War

By Red Hope

 

 

Chapter 4

Diaval flew swiftly across the lands that separated the Moors and the castle. He cawed at the rising sun, glad to feel its warmth today. He was due to see Queen Aurora last night, but he had been weary from his scouting mission in the Cadalerd Kingdom. At first light, he bid goodbye to Maleficent then headed to the castle.

Diaval approached the heavy walls of the castle, and he flew around it then climbed upwards to the balcony of the queen. He neatly landed on the rail and gave a caw of greeting because he hoped not to surprise the queen. Diaval had heard the tale about Maleficent's attempted surprise that went wrong.

"Aurora?" the man raven called after he transformed into human. He carefully slipped through the drawn curtain. "Aurora?" Diaval hesitantly scanned the interior of the chambers, but it was quiet. Typically Aurora was still in her bed chambers in the wee morning.

Diaval considered whether his friend was having breakfast. He returned to the balcony and transformed into a raven. From his mental map, Diaval located the dining hall and only found it empty. Next he tried the queen's office and had the same results.

Worry climbed higher into Diaval's chest. He glided around to the front of the castle, scanning for Aurora. His attention was drawn to the clamor coming from the open windows of the throne room. Diaval swooped down and landed in an open window. He tilted his head and hopped at seeing the throne empty.

The High Constable, Ulric, stood at the top of the dais. He glowered at the noble's uproar so he yelled, "Silence, all!" His heavy voice boomed through the throne room.

Finally the nobles went quiet and listened to what the High Constable had to say to them.

Ulric rolled up a scroll while he spoke to the nobles. "Queen Aurora has left me in charge of the city. We are to be ready for war in a fortnight from today." He recalled the queen's promise that she would deter King Hubert so that Ulric could have more time to ready the army. Ulric intended to utilize every minute of it.

"When will she return?" a noble questioned.

"I do not know," Ulric replied. He clenched the rolled scroll tightly when the nobles hollered their displeasure. He let them get it out before he demanded them to be silent again. After it grew quiet again, he ordered, "Wystan is in charge of organizing the nobles' troops."

Wystan straightened his back at this news. He realized how much trust the queen placed on him. "It will be done," Wystan promised to the High Constable.

Ulric nodded then he announced, "I have been given full authority to carry out the queen's orders. Anybody that neglects their duties will have a one way trip to the dungeon." The High Constable let his words hang in the air. After a moment, he continued the discussion for the pending war.

Diaval ignored the rest of the talks. He had heard enough so he jumped off the ledge to take to the skies again. He flew as fast as possible back to the Moors. It seemed like the longest flight and as if the winds were against him. He had a sense of déjà vu that took him back to his hurried ride, as a horse, to help Maleficent fight King Stefan and save Aurora.

Diaval was relieved once he saw the tall stones that marked the border line. From this morning, Diaval had an idea where Maleficent may be at the moment. He headed south then banked to the left once he found the gigantic oak tree that was the largest tree in the Moors. He spiraled downwards and landed beside a Doru. Diaval transformed into a human.

"Where is Maleficent?" Diaval demanded in haste.

The Doru, a tree warrior, canted his head. He was unsure what the strange man raven asked him.

Diaval sighed and tried the question in Doru tongue. His attempted to learn the language was difficult, but he was able to get his point across.

The Doru nodded and ordered Diaval to remain there. He turned to the oak tree, which stood high on top of a large rock mound. The oak tree parted its roots and allowed the Doru to enter.

Diaval waited outside, and he paced in circles. He tried thinking through what he had learned at the castle. He blew out a breath once he realized how badly Maleficent would take the news. Diaval bit his lip when the tree's roots parted again.

Maleficent strode out with the Doru behind her. She had a strange look at seeing Diaval back so soon. "What has happened?" She sensed something was amiss.

"She is gone," Diaval blurted out. "Aurora has gone to King Hubert."

Maleficent faltered and stared at Diaval as if she waited for him to laugh from the bad joke. She tightened her grip on the staff in her right hand. "What?"

"I heard the news from the High Constable, who was left in charge. She-"

Maleficent listened to enough and already took to the skies in a rush.

Diaval was surprised by Maleficent's sudden flight. He turned into a raven and hastened after his friend. He cawed to her, barely able to keep up.

Maleficent slowed enough for Diaval's sake. She waited until he was in earshot before she barked out, "Find her!"

Diaval banked to the right and headed towards the Cadalerd Kingdom. He flapped his wings hard and hoped the winds were with him.

Maleficent cut through the air at a chilling speed. Her target was the castle in the distance. As every heartbeat passed, both her fear and ire rose higher up. Her mind went in many directions as to why Aurora went to King Hubert. It was extremely dangerous and foolish, no matter what Aurora hoped to accomplish with the greedy king.

Once near the castle, Maleficent went over the walls and landed by the main entrance to the throne room. Many humans called out to her, but she ignored them all. She approached the heavy, seal doors of the throne room, which were magically thrown open with a loud boom. Maleficent quickly entered with several soldiers charging after her.

The throne room and court had been repaired after Aurora took over power. Maleficent remembered the last time she was here; it was engulfed in flames thanks to Diaval. Today, it had a lighter air and colors that were Aurora's touch. Maleficent still connected ugly memories with the throne room. She started towards the crowd of nobles, the same location she and King Stefan had fought before she regained her wings.

Nobles gasped and called out when Maleficent entered the court. Everybody hastily parted like a wave.

Maleficent recalled the last time she had made such an entrance. However, she now sought out Aurora rather than to curse her. Her wide gait quickly brought her to the dais where the High Constable resided over the nobles. Maleficent slammed her staff against the stone floor, which echoed through the entire throne room. She turned her head sidelong, green eyes glowing at the soldiers about to touch her. Her wings twitched in agitation.

"Stop," the High Constable ordered the guards.

Maleficent revealed a wide smile, her fangs brightly showing against her red lips. She turned her head forward again and centered her attention on the tall, stocky man before her. "Are you the High Constable?"

"Yes, I am Ulric." The High Constable waved the guards away. He held his ground against the Protector of the Moors.

Maleficent lost her smile and suddenly yelled, "Leave us!"

All the nobles chattered and whispered about Maleficent's arrival. None of them left though and wished to hear what Maleficent wanted from the High Constable. They knew it had to do with their queen.

"I said leave us!" Maleficent's rage pulsed from her body in a bright green wave. "Now!" Another powerful waved rolled off of her and forced the nobles to hurry from the throne room. She patiently waited until the last one was gone and the doors shut behind them.

Ulric stepped off the dais and came toe to toe with Maleficent. "Our queen left to confront King Hubert herself." He realized that Maleficent had no knowledge about the queen's plans. Nobody knew about the plans beside the Captain of the Guards.

Maleficent swallowed hard against the spike in her throat. Her voice developed a dark tone to it. "Why?"

Ulric held up the scroll. "She only told me that I would have my extra week to ready the army." He released the scroll when Maleficent took it.

Maleficent hastily unrolled the scroll and recognized Aurora's handwriting. She read over it, which only caused her temper to rise further. There was nothing personal in the scroll and nothing revealing about Aurora's plans with King Hubert. She let out a heavy breath that caused a flare in her eyes.

Ulric had gone several steps away and put his back to Maleficent. He seemed to consider many things. "He will take her prisoner," Ulric softly declared.

Maleficent grinded her teeth and rolled up the scroll. "Aurora knows this," she coldly stated.

Ulric noted how Maleficent failed to use the queen's honorific. He turned on his boot heels and received the scroll back from Maleficent. "So why go?"

Maleficent was furious and no answers were apparent to her. "I do not know, but I will find out." She dug her nails into the staff. "And I will kill King Hubert." Like the High Constable, she knew King Hubert would imprison Aurora, potentially torture her, and hold her for ransom over Merawin and the Moors.

Ulric felt the magic brimming from the fairy. He nodded once, seeming to make a decision with himself. "Then I leave this matter in your hands." Ulric wanted to focus on the army as the queen requested him. He knew there was little he could do for Queen Aurora, but Maleficent had more power, much more.

Maleficent slotted her eyes at the High Constable, surprised that he would leave it to her.

Ulric sensed it, and he smiled at Maleficent. "After all, she is your queen too." He left it there and started out of the throne room, towards a side door. "If I can be of assistance, let me know." He paused beside the door and looked at the fairy. "However, I doubt you would require any." He left the throne room.

Maleficent was breathing hard, and she looked up at the two throne chairs. She recalled when King Stefan and Queen Leila sat there so many years ago. Somehow it seemed like a lifetime ago and so did Aurora's birth. However, the rage from back then was hardly old as Maleficent felt it again. She quickly exited the throne room with her wings gradually opening up as she approached the sealed doors. The doors magically opened with a loud boom again, and Maleficent went outside to the beautiful day. She immediately took to the sky before any soldiers or nobles could bother her. She flew higher until she entered the headwinds above the puffy clouds. She used the faster winds to take her to the Moors. There was still much to prepare for the war, especially now that King Hubert would have Aurora either today or tomorrow, perhaps the day after that. Maleficent had no idea, and it thickened her fear and anger.

An hour before sunset, Maleficent retired to the grassy ledge that overlooked much of the Moors. She often sat here when she was younger, before her wings were taken by Stefan. She had only returned to spot after she had regained her wings because there was no other way to access the ledge other than by air.

As she sat there, Maleficent considered why Aurora had not told her about the plans. It was suicide in Maleficent's mind. No good could come from seeing King Hubert. Yet, Aurora staked her life on it. At the moment, there was very little Maleficent could do to protect Aurora from it. If Maleficent entered the Cadalerd Kingdom at daytime, she would be spotted, and it would be considered an act of war by trespassing. They still needed the war to be delayed as long as possible. However, by night she could fly into the kingdom unnoticed and find Aurora.

The sun kissed the western horizon. A beautiful symphony of soft reds, bright oranges, and golden yellows reached across the blue skies like long fingers of the gods. The world started to darken, much like Maleficent's emotions. A low caw tickled Maleficent's ears, and she knew it was Diaval seeking her out in the Moors. She acknowledge him by raising her scepter, a green light pulsed from the gem.

Diaval caught the signal and immediately flew to the fairy. He landed on the ledge, hopped twice, and transformed beside Maleficent. He knelt down beside her, not really getting comfortable but at least close to his friend.

Maleficent knew what Diaval was about to tell her. She clenched her teeth and hotly whispered, "I will find her."

Diaval trembled at the dark edge under Maleficent's voice. He dared to say what was true. "Perhaps she does not wish to be found." He cringed when dark green eyes cut to him.

"She is playing an extremely dangerous game," Maleficent hissed.

Diaval canted his head. "She is not a fledgling anymore, and she is not a peasant." He placed his hand against the soft moss to hold his balance. "She understands the risks."

Maleficent was surprised by Diaval's opinion. "You agree with her method?" She rose up, her wings unfurling behind her.

Diaval stood as well, but he was shorter and certainly had no wings as a human. "What I am saying is that I don't think we are giving her enough credit." He looked over his shoulder, towards the Cadalerd Kingdom. "She has a plan and is not going into this blindly."

"Aurora will be captured," Maleficent coldly stated. "She may be tortured by him." She revealed her fangs to the man raven. "All for what? To attempt a peace that does not exist?" She pointed her scepter towards the kingdom. "He is just like King Stefan."

Diaval was amazed that Maleficent was still speaking to him about this. Years ago he would have been turned into a raven with the argument left dead between them. Today, their relationship had developed deeper, and Maleficent bared herself to Diaval out of trust.

Maleficent lowered her scepter and stated, "Aurora thought she could go home to her father… change him." She shook her head. "History is repeating itself." With no other words, she left the ledge and took flight for the Cadalerd Kingdom.

Diaval turned and watched the fairy leave him. He shook his head and whispered, "Anger might win battles, but love wins the wars." He knew that Aurora viewed King Hubert as an enemy, not as a King Stefan or a second chance to make the past right. Diaval wondered if Maleficent would realize that sooner than later.

Maleficent was angry at Diaval for standing beside Aurora's decision and plans. Aurora should have informed her about the plans to see King Hubert, at the very least. Instead, Aurora withheld the information from Maleficent, and it drove her mad. After so many years, Maleficent thought they had developed an unbreakable relationship. But, it seemed as if Maleficent made the mistake of forgetting that Aurora was still human. Maleficent knew humans should never be completely trusted.

Once near the borders, Maleficent slowed until she was able to hover in midair with her great wings. She raised her right hand, her green eyes honed in on the golden bracelet. She smiled when the green gem pulsed brightly like her eyes. She would find Aurora tonight.

Maleficent took off into the Cadalerd Kingdom. Her mind focused on the magic of the bracelets, and she harnessed her bracelet's power to find Aurora. She smiled as she was guided further west into the kingdom. Maleficent could feel her connection with Aurora increasing as her wings ate away at the distance.

Deep in the Cadalerd Kingdom, a band of thirteen men and one female were traveling on a quiet road towards the ruling castle. They had hours to go before they would arrive at the castle. The Captain of the Guards suspected they would arrive at King Hubert's castle by midmorning tomorrow if they continued their trek by first light.

Queen Aurora ordered another few candlemarks of travel after sunset. Everybody was worn from the constant walking and hoped for a quiet night. A scout had gone ahead of them and only recently rejoined to point the group to a private glade. Queen Aurora indicated for the soldiers to follow the scout.

Within a candlemark, the travelers found their camp for the night. After a few nights, the soldiers had their duties down pat and easily made camp in the dark. Even Aurora assisted with setting up the camp, and she promised to make dinner as soon as Captain Cynewear returned with a fresh catch of rabbit.

Aurora was knelt beside the unlit campfire. She had two flint stones in her hand, prepared to start the camp fire. However, her eyes traveled to the green glow within the folds of her cloak. Aurora extended her arm past the cloak's sleeve and studied the excited green gem in the gold bracelet.

"I can do that, my queen." A soldier offered to take the flint stones.

Aurora was jarred from her worried thoughts. She smiled at the soldier and replied, "I will do it but thank you." She waited until he was gone then she set the stones down. If she lit the fire now then she might draw unnecessary attention. Aurora knew that Maleficent was growing closer to her. She could feel it, even stronger than in the past, and she suspected it was due to the bracelets. Aurora quickly grabbed the bracelet and drew it to her hand. The bracelet widened until it was able to slide off Aurora's hand.

"I am so sorry," Aurora whispered to the bracelet as it left her hand. Instantly, the green gem faded until it was nearly black. Aurora bowed her head and tried stilling her upset emotions at what she had done to Maleficent. She clenched the bracelet hard. "Please forgive me."

Distantly, Aurora thought she heard a cry. Perhaps it was her imagination and sorrow for Maleficent. She was never sure.

About a half a league from Aurora's camp, Maleficent hovered in the air with her eyes hastily scanning the dark, quiet lands. Her throat was raw from an earlier scream. There was nothing except the low firelight from a village far to the north-west. Slowly, Maleficent settled down onto a tall tree's thick branch, and she barred her teeth to the quiet night. Another stolen glance at the bracelet confirmed that Aurora had taken hers off.

Maleficent was breathing hard and struggled with herself. She could continue her search, as she preferred to do. Even if she found Aurora, what would it truly accomplish? It was coldly obvious that Aurora had made her decision, without Maleficent. Diaval's words about Aurora not wanting to be found rang in her ears.

"Very well, beastie," Maleficent hotly whispered. Years ago she had sworn no harm would come to Aurora so long as Maleficent was alive. She had not expected Aurora to walk into the harm, purposefully. However, Maleficent's promise to protect Aurora was unwavering even though she was furious with Aurora.

Maleficent rose from the tree and started back towards the Moors. As she took flight, a heavy pang of regret, not her own, filled her chest. She deciphered it as Aurora's guilt. Maleficent pushed through the soft winds, but she heard Aurora's voice whispering an apology to her. For a second, Maleficent blinked the sting away from her eyes. Slowly, she felt the draw to Aurora bleed away.

Hidden far off in an unlit camp, Aurora sat heavy hearted on a fallen tree trunk. She held the golden bracelet in her right hand. She was bent forward with her freehand against her forehead. Aurora held down her tears for what she had done. She felt the last of Maleficent's anger draw off her like a dark veil. Aurora took in a shaky breath and tried not imagining their next meeting. She had to focus on the mission to save the kingdoms, lives, and especially to protect Maleficent.

"My queen," Captain Cynewear greeted. He placed a strong hand on the queen's downcast shoulder.

Aurora straightened up but failed to meet the captain's gaze. "You have returned." She stood up as she tucked the bracelet deeper in the palm of her hand.

"I caught several rabbits." The captain studied the queen's unusually hard features. "I can have one of the men skin them."

"I will take care of it." Aurora needed a few minutes out of the camp. "Can you start the campfire before it gets any cooler tonight?" After the captain's nod, she left him and went into the forest. She hated to skin wildlife, but she would manage this one time. Aurora needed to be alone and gather herself. As she slipped into the forest, she tucked her golden bracelet into a pouch on her hip. She pulled it snug and silently promised to put it on again, at the right time.

As the night wore on, the soldiers settled in for the night, except for the ones on guard rotation. Aurora slept restlessly and worried about what tomorrow would bring to her. She had expectations of King Hubert, and she hoped she was right. Aurora had to be careful if she were to keep her guards alive, especially Captain Cynewear. She cared for him a great deal.

By first light, the captain ordered everybody back on their feet. He sympathized with the soldiers' weariness, but they still had leagues to go. Normally the soldiers chatted amongst themselves but not this morning. The air was thick with stress. Queen Aurora barely spoke and kept her attention on the road ahead of them. Captain Cynewear painfully withheld from asking the queen about the plans once they entered the city and especially the castle.

By mid morning, the castle loomed from its dark position within a surrounding forest. The walls climbed nearly as tall as the trees. The castle's towers jutted past the tree tops and allowed for a bird's eye view over the farmland on front of it. Yet, the farmlands no longer yielded crops but instead grew soldiers, tents, weapons, and horses. All the noise of metal and men's yells filled the air.

Aurora was leading the group, her position since this morning. She normally walked on one side, but today she led her soldiers. On her right side, Captain Cynewear kept at the ready for trouble. His hand remained on his hilt the entire time. As they drew near the army's camp, Aurora quickly unbuckled her sword and handed the sheathed weapon to the captain.

"My queen?"

"See that it returns with you to Merawin." Aurora released it to his care.

Captain Cynewear was unsure what to say. He instead buckled the sword so that the sheath was on his right hip.

Aurora decided to keep her dagger even though she suspected it would be taken from her. She had little interest in the simple bronze dagger. She fisted her left hand but reached up with her right hand. She drew the cloak's hood off her face to reveal her beautiful, distinct features.

Immediately, Queen Aurora's arrival drew the attention of Cadalerd soldiers in the camp. She remained on the road and close to Captain Cynewear. She noted how the Cadalerd soldiers allowed them to pass. It was obvious that King Hubert expected her.

At the gates, the guard greeted the Merawin Queen. He gave a weak bow and then informed, "King Hubert is expecting you. I will escort you."

Queen Aurora only nodded and allowed the guard to take the lead. She and her soldiers followed the gate guard through the city. Aurora moved closer to Captain Cynewear and softly ordered, "Do not attempt any heroics."

Captain Cynewear was about to reply until he distinctly heard the heavy gates shut with a low boom. He gazed over his shoulder, like his men, and worry rose in his chest.

Queen Aurora did not look back. She kept marching forward with determination to match King Hubert. If he was anything like her father, then Aurora was already steps ahead of him.

The gate guard paused at the base of wide, long steps up to a pair of grand, wood doors. He turned to Queen Aurora. "Wait here, Queen Aurora." He climbed the steps and entered the doors that were guarded by two other soldiers. He vanished past the doors that were parted for him.

Aurora bit her lip and tried slowing her heart. Her racing thoughts were cut sharply by a low but familiar caw. Hastily her blue eyes followed her ears until she found the raven perched on a nearby building's thatched roof. Aurora watched the raven hop across the roof, but she turned her head away from him. She blocked out his next demanding caw. Aurora then reached to her hip and drew open the pouched tied to her side.

A wood door crept open wide enough to allow the gate guard through it. The door was left ajar as he descended the steps to the waiting group.

"You are welcomed to enter, Queen Aurora." The gate guard stepped aside and allowed more room.

The queen heard him, but she watched the two guards at the top draw the doors open wider. As she waited, she slipped on the magical bracelet that tied her closer to Maleficent. She felt the bracelet shrink to the appropriate size. A quick glance at it told her the magic was even strong here in the Cadalerd Kingdom, the stone a bright green again. She lowered her right arm and started up the steps to the dark mouth of the open doorway.

Captain Cynewear tightened his grip on the sword hilt, but he kept his weapon sheathed at his side. He stayed close to the queen's side as they entered the impressive throne room.

Queen Aurora's boot steps echoed across the shiny marble floor. It was a much larger throne room than hers back in Merawin. However, she was barely impressed because she was raised as a peasant. Perhaps if she were raised as a princess, she would have been moved by all the coin and labor wasted on the lavish space. Hanging from the windows, Aurora noticed the kingdom's token icon of dragons. It rather humored Aurora because her favored raven landed in an open window with the dragon flag.

Aurora cut her eyes to the throne that she approached and mentally prepared for King Hubert's next move. Aurora ordered her men to stay several paces behind her. She continued towards the throne and nearly started her greeting until King Hubert beat her to it.

"Welcome, Queen Aurora to the Cadalerd Kingdom." King Hubert stood up and filled his tall stature. He was well built even though he was a man in his late fifties. He seemed to not indulge in sweets or the like. "You are timely… not a day early or a day late."

"Thank you, King Hubert." Aurora suddenly revealed a gentle smile. "I am honored you allowed us here despite our differences."

King Hubert returned to his seat. "I am optimistic that we can work something out." He carefully considered the young queen's features. He had heard much about her. She was more beautiful than the spies and stories told him. However, he felt her leather attire was rather unbecoming for a queen.

Queen Aurora noted that the other throne seat was empty. She had learned that King Hubert's wife died in childbirth years ago, and it was a sheer miracle that the child survived it too. "Yes, I am very hopeful that we can set our differences aside and come to a peaceful agreement." She still kept her sweet, almost naive smile.

Captain Cynewear was trying to regulate his breathing, but his senses were focused on everything around him. He disliked how it was only the king, queen, and the thirteen of them. He caught a glance at the queen, and he realized she acted like a teenager, not the woman he knew and grew fond of like a younger sister. A slight furrow pulled at his brow.

"Peaceful agreement?" King Hubert echoed. He followed it with a chuckle. "We will come to an arrangement, Queen Aurora."

Captain Cynewear inched his sword out a tiny bit after the king's words. He then saw slight movements in the shadows of the throne room. "No," he whispered in panic.

"An arrangement that you will so kindly facilitate," King Hubert announced. He stood up, which triggered a chain reaction.

"Queen Aurora!" Captain Cynewear grabbed the queen by her arm and hauled her backwards. "Protect the queen!" he commanded his men.

Aurora was suddenly enclosed by her men. She turned in a circle and took in all the Cadalerd archers that surrounded them in the throne room. There were far more than she could count, and her eyes snapped up to King Hubert. "We came here under an understanding of truce!" In the background, she heard a raven's cutting caw.

"Yes you did," King Hubert hollered back at her. He had two soldiers beside him. "However, I did not agree to such a truce." He stood at the top of the dais, overlooking the young queen in the middle of her soldiers. "You are so foolish to come here." He waved at the archer officer and ordered, "Kill them all."

Chaos ensued as arrows spun through the air. Merawin soldiers cried out and attempted to fight back with no advantage. Captain Cynewear sprang for the queen and drove her to the marble floor. His silver armor protected the queen from any arrows.

King Hubert gave the ceasefire signal. He counted only seven Merawin soldiers left and most standing ones were injured too.

Queen Aurora gritted her teeth, tears on her cheeks. She had hoped for less cruelty, but she miscalculated that of King Hubert. "Do not shoot them further!" she pleaded. Aurora was on her feet and saw her men hurt and also scared for their lives.

Captain Cynewear had his sword out and was visually scanning his men. It was impossible for them to survive another rain of arrows.

"If I give myself over to you, will you let my men go?" Aurora pleaded. "I beg you." She felt the captain grab her wrist, a silent request for her to take back her plea. Aurora swallowed hard and continued with her efforts to sway the king. "I will not resist." She felt her men's eyes on her.

"Very well," King Hubert accepted after a tense moment. "They will die in the coming war. It matters not." He gave the order to escort the Merawin soldiers out of the throne room.

Captain Cynewear had yet to budge or release the queen. He held his ground when two Cadalerd soldiers came to get the queen. "My queen," he softly begged.

Aurora half turned to the captain. "No heroics." She gripped his forearm and softly swore, "I will see you again." She moved away from the captain, and he finally released her.

"Escort the Merawin soldiers out of the city," King Hubert ordered several archers. He watched the Merawin soldiers be guided out of the throne room. He remained at the top of the dais, but he signaled his two guards to go to the young queen.

Queen Aurora held her ground even though she had nothing to fight with besides a dagger. This was a part of her plan after all. "Merawin will not stand for this."

King Hubert laughed and hooked his golden belt buckle with his thumbs. "No, I imagine not. I suspect they will kneel for this, actually."

The two guards edged closer, but they expected the final capture to be easy.

Queen Aurora eyed the two guards and noted the right one was closer to her. "We do not kneel," she proudly claimed. Aurora counted the guard's next two steps then she suddenly performed a high kick to the right guard's face. She sent him on his back, but she sensed the other guard on her. She allowed it.

The standing guard had his blade out, but the pummel was coming forward the queen's face. He struck a hard blow to her temple.

Aurora fell to her knees, before King Hubert.

"Then you will fall," King Hubert declared.

Aurora groaned and her hazy blue eyes swam from the hard blow. She heard a raven's frantic caw, and she wished Diaval and Maleficent were at her side. Aurora could only pray that Maleficent would come for her. Aurora knew the Protector of the Moors would throw everything away to protect her true love. Aurora was counting on it.

Surprised by the queen's strength, the guard struck the queen again but only with his fist. He smirked when Queen Aurora finally collapsed to the marble floor.

"Maaal…," Aurora moaned. Her eyes drew shut.

The lone raven at the window frantically took off in a rush. He left a small feather, which floated downward to the throne room's floor.

King Hubert had watched the raven take off. He smirked in satisfaction before his grin grew in magnitude at the sight of the unconscious queen. "Foolish girl," he muttered. He ordered the guards to take the queen away. King Hubert was another step closer to taking the Merawin Kingdom and seizing the power hidden deep within the Moors.

Greatness was upon King Hubert.

 

To be continued.


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