The Abduction of Her
By Nicole Marcina
Date: March 25, 2022
Ch. 5Chapter Four

I immediately rushed down the stairs. Gonzalo was just the person I needed when James’ away. “Thank goodness you’re here, Gonzalo.”

Gonzalo bowed as I arrived before him. “What can I do for you, young prince?” he slowly stood up, putting both of his hands in front of him.

“Is His Majesty home?” I questioned, still trying to catch my breath.

“His Majesty was summoned to the Crystal Palace for a meeting with the Elderen Council,” he explained. “According to the invitation, they wanted our king to create a plan regarding proper ways of gaining new territories. It seems that there have been bandits in other kingdoms who have been trying to exploit other monarchies.”

“And my mother?”

“She accompanied him, Your Highness.”

I groaned as my hands landed on my face. I let out a desperate sigh as I slowly ran my hands down across my face. Why does it always happen that whenever I need them, they’re not here?

“Do you need anything from them, young prince?” Gonzalo asked as he stepped closer. “Maybe I could be of assistance.”

“I appreciate your concern, Gonzalo, however this matter must be discussed with the king,” I replied. “Only he can help with my crisis.”

“May I ask what it is?” an imposing look appeared on his face.

There are advantages and disadvantages in telling Gonzalo about my plan to rescue Laura. He’s the assistant strategist of James and third-in-command with the palace guards. He’s more than capable to help with such matters. But in spite of all that, I know very well where his loyalties lie and it’s to the king and to the laws of the Immortals. Even if I command him as his master, he will obey no one but James and the proper order of things.

“Your Highness?” Gonzalo called my attention.

I cleared my throat and replied, “I need to help someone. A rescue mission, to be specific.” I could feel my inner self giving me a slap behind my head. It’s a risk that I have to take for Laura’s sake.

Gonzalo tilted his face as his brows met in the middle. “A rescue operation? I didn’t receive any rumours or news that another monarch or immortal is in need of help.”

"It's not for another royal or immortal, Gonzalo but for... a mortal," I replied, hesitating. I proceeded with caution, "A close friend of mine has been abducted and I need to prepare a rescue mission for her."

After I explained, Gonzalo didn't say anything. He simply stood before me with eyes that I couldn't read. I prepared myself for whatever outburst he'd have about this matter.

To have associated myself with a mortal being was already a good reason for punishment. But for an Immortal -- a royal, to be specific -- was too much. Every single immortal abided by the rules in regards to the association between us and the people below us. For a prince to disobey that rule was highly unacceptable.

Gonzalo blinked and let out a long sigh, slowly shaking his head. "Is this the mortal girl you've been secretly seeing?" he asked, putting his hands behind his back.

My eyes widened as I was caught off-guard. He knew who Laura was. He knew she's mortal. Has he been spying on me all this time?

As a list of questions ran inside my mind, Gonzalo smirked and continued, "Did I surprise you, Your Highness?"

I looked back to him, confused and admittedly horrified.

The side of his mouth curled into a grin. "Young prince, the king and queen might be oblivious to your actions but I'm not. I'm well-aware that you've been visiting this peasant for the longest time now. I've been following you ever since you kept returning to their realm."

My heart raced as anger slowly built inside of me. How dare he regarded her in such a lowly manner. "For a man of honour, I expected that you'd see her as another living being, not just some peasant." I added, "And didn't I tell you not to meddle with my affairs?"

He quickly bowed his head, humbling himself, "Forgive me, Your Highness but I had no choice." He stood once more and added, "I'm doing this for the crown and for the greater good."

I chuckled, turning my face away from him for a moment. "I know that your loyalty is to our king. But when I give you specific instructions, I expect that it will be followed to a tee without hesitation."

"Young prince, please do not question my loyalty," he immediately stepped forward. His eyes changed from unapologetic to frantic. "My loyalty is to you and to you alone."

"Now, you're contradicting yourself," I raised a brow as I turned to face him. "You just said your allegiance is to the crown. You simply admitted you only comply with the king's rules."

He shook his head in a panic. He swallowed a big lump, trying to explain himself and pass his reasons as acceptable, justification for his disobedience. "I am loyal to the crown that you will be wearing, to the kingdom that you will be ruling. I only want what's best for your reign and that means for me to protect our tradition and your reputation."

"Gonzalo, if your allegiance is to me, you should never interfere with my plans," I stepped closer to him, lowering my voice. Our warm breaths landed on each other's faces. Our distance was almost diminished by my nearness. "As a servant who has been with us for the longest time, you should know that."

"But Your Highness, the rules--"

"I don't give a damn about the rules!" I shouted, taking a step back. "Change is inevitable and at times like this, the solution is to do what is right despite what traditions have been placed."

His brows furrowed and eyes widened with my reply. I simply told him that Laura's safety was much more important than my reputation, my dignity as future king. "How could a mortal corrupt your mind? She's nothing--"

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