The Absence of Her
By Nicole Marcina
Date: June 2, 2022
Ch. 6Chapter Five

"I returned to my quarters after that. I just created an excuse towards my fellow servant. And I kept my lips sealed about that matter. Nobody in this castle - not even the duchess - knew what I knew," the servant ended the story.

Eyes wide opened, I stared at the floor. My mind froze but my heart raced. My hatred towards Benjamin burned more than what it was before.

I knew it! I was right! Everything was a trap!

I tried everything that I got to convince my family that Benjamin was the true suspect. I argued with them, even went against the manners and conduct they taught me. But they never believed me. We had to have numerous debates. James even had to risk his very life just to obtain this confirmation that we needed.

As my world swirled out of control, James' hand held onto my shoulder. Slowly, he pulled me away from the servant. James sat in front of me and said, "Thank you for telling us the truth. I'm certain that by doing this, you risked your freedom and your life. Rest assured, I won't let this admission cost you your life."

"At this point, it doesn't matter if I'll be persecuted for my actions. I was raised to stay on the side of the truth. And though the duchess has been nothing but kind and generous towards me, I will never tolerate such horrific actions," the servant replied.

"Still, I bestow upon you my full protection," James replied. He then turned to me and moved closer. He whispered, "Robert?"

Slowly, I looked at him with wild eyes. I was still in a state of shock. My mind struggled to process everything. My anger arose, as well as my hatred. And I didn't know how to keep myself under control.

"Will you be able to keep your emotions to yourself until we reach the throne room?" James asked with caution.

With all honesty, I was ready to explode at any moment. I knew all too well that it was a promise I wouldn't be able to keep. I was mad at Benjamin because he had the courage to lie in our faces and lead us down a wrong path. I was furious because James didn't want to believe me. And I was disgusted at myself because I allowed others to put my guard down. I allowed Benjamin to walk away, unscathed, all for the sake of keeping the peace. All for the sake of avoiding a bigger conflict, especially towards his family.

James gripped onto my hands. He continued, "Robert, please. Keep yourself under control until we get there. You don't want to cause a scene here. Especially not in front of the royal guards and prisoners."

I looked at the servant and he was visibly concerned about my current state. I returned to James and replied with a shaky whisper, "I will do my best, James. But I can't promise anything."

He nodded. "I'll assist you." Slowly, he helped me stand up. He gave his quick thanks to the servant and we went on our way. James held me by my shoulders as we headed back. With one step at a time, James made sure that I wasn't triggered in any way shape or form back to the throne room.

The rage in me, however, boiled continuously. It was ready to explode at any moment. The only thing that kept me from being overtaken by my emotions was that there were eyes everywhere. At the same time, James would squeeze my shoulders every now and then. Probably, it was his attempt to calm me down.


When we arrived, James allowed me to walk further into the room. From behind, I heard him mumble instructions to the guards who accompanied us.

As soon as I heard the doors shut, "AAAAAAAHHHHHHH!"

I fell on all fours as every ounce of pain and suffering exploded. I screamed without any signs of stopping. Every corner of this room shook as my voice echoed. My screams grew louder as my powers slowly accompanied my rage. I didn't care if people outside the door heard my bellows. Not even the ones within the grounds.

I continued screaming whilst in the same position. The next thing I knew, wind whirled around me. Lightning appeared around my arms. I turned to the window and the skies grew darker by the second. I raised my arms to me and stared at them, horrified.

I never had this power before. Why is it happening? What's going on?

In a panic, I turned to James and shouted, "James?!" I instantly covered my mouth as I heard my voice. I wasn't even sure if it was still my voice. It was deep and somehow accompanied by a range of other voices.

James' eyes widened as well. He was frozen still in where he stood.

The lightning that surrounded my arms has spreaded across my entire body. And the skies grew even darker. Thunder and lightning had made their presence known. I screamed once again, "James, help me!"

James snapped out of his own trance. With one movement of his hand, he sucked the lightning from my body.

I was suddenly engulfed in an unimaginable amount of pain. My arms and legs froze. My whole being stiffened as it fought against James' interference.

But James didn't back down. Instead, he doubled his powers to quicken the process.

My groans turned to shrieks of pain as every ounce of lightning power was sucked from my veins. "AAAHHH!" With one final scream, James retreated his power. I was left limp on the cold floor.

I rolled onto my stomach and coughed blood. Too much of it.

"Robert!" James rushed towards me. He slowly tried to raise me up. "Are you all right?" he asked.

I ignored his question and turned to the window. The dark skies slowly dissipate. The thunder and lightning slowly faded as the sun reappeared once again. I let out a comforted smile before I coughed more.

"We must bring you to your room," he added, panicked.

I shook my head. "No," I replied as I stopped the blood from coming out. "I don't need rest."

"Yes, you do. You're putting out too much blood. What happened was too much for your body to handle. You need to lie down," he argued. Finally, he was able to turn me around and held me in his arms.

I coughed even more. The blood dripped from my mouth to my neck and clothes.

"Guards! Guards!" James screamed.

The doors burst open as the guards rushed into the room. "Your Majesty?!" they called out as they approached us.

"One of you, call for the healer! The rest of you, help me bring the prince to his quarters!" he instructed. Words shot out of his mouth as he urged the guards to hurry.

As the guards carried me in their arms, my eyes slowly closed. I was then put into a trance. A calm darkness.


Slowly, I gained consciousness. I grabbed hold of my head, groaning as it pulsed. It was as if a boulder was put on top of my head. Gradually, I opened my eyes and the healer was right beside me. I looked around the room and James was on my left. The guards and servants stood from afar. Their faces were full of anticipation.

"Robert?" James gently called. Slowly, I turned to his direction. "How are you feeling?" he asked as he sat on my bed.

I closed my eyes for a brief moment and sighed. I groaned again as my head pulsed even harder. "What happened?"

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