chapter one

Power is a beautiful thing. Just like jealousy, love, and hatred. They all have the ability to eliminate a person's mirage or amplify their truest form.

Power causes destruction, whether it be to those around you or to yourself. It is inevitable. There are no exceptions.

In my father's case, the destruction took place to those around him. To be more specific, his family.

We get along but it's straining and unnatural. I find it hard to form stable relationships, my brother feeds off attention, correction, it's his necessity. My mother gets sick at the thought of being overpowered, my half-sister drips of desperation to relive the past, and her mother is trapped in a never ending cycle of being pushed over. As for my father, he's consumed in what others think and because of that his family is second and the nation's people are first.

I experienced this first hand.

It was mesmerizing outside. Notably, at daybreak it always was. When I couldn't sleep I would leave the castle and sit on a hill overlooking the kingdom and watch the sunrise. Hues of color decorated the sky; it calmed me. The eerie way the air felt, accompanied by the bleak silence made me aware.

I was anxious but the reasoning behind it was hiding from me. There was just something about today that kept my stomach in knots.

I inhaled.

Exhaled.

I picked at the grass beneath me and pushed myself up. When I could hear the baby birds chirping was when I made my way back to the castle. I absentmindedly plaited my black hair and then picked a flower from the Mortemiala tree. It was ancient, a complete mystery, but the blood red and violent violet flowers and swamp green stems were pretty to look at.

By the time I was done getting ready for the day, the castle was up and bustling. The guards of night switched shifts with the daytime guards, the cooks and kitchen helpers made preparations for breakfast, a grand event in the castle, the maids assisted the castle guest.

Then there was me. The job bestowed upon me by my mother was to make sure my sex crazed-baby brother made it to breakfast on time. He had a tendency to blow it off for mind blowing sex, or so he called it. Whatever it was, was enough for him to go against our father's decree numerous times.

My father made a great skeptical of breakfast. He thought that it was the way to the hearts of the castle's esteemed guest and a way to make our family appear stronger than it actually was. There would be enough food to feed a small village, grand decorations, music, and every single guest from far and wide that stayed in the castle was welcome. With all the time and thought put into it and the fact that the King himself manifested the tradition, one would think that my brother would take a small break from his activities but no. He insists on breaking the rules. Which is why I found myself fetching him.

Upon reaching his door, I could hear the thump and the creaking of his bed being jostled about by two bodies... maybe more. The guards that stood on either side of the door had stoic expressions and stared straight ahead. I nodded to them before entering.

The site was...predictable and blasé. Moans bounced off of the walls and a mixture of bodies contorted and slithered under the sheets, over the sheets, and next to. I walked past the bed towards his windows and withdrew the curtains to let in sunlight, that was when they noticed me.

The girls shrieked before covering themselves in the sheets beneath them. From my peripheral vision, I could see that there was two of them. Both maids that I recognized from around the castle.

"Princess Genevieve," they greeted in unison. Their heads bowed in shame.

"Sister," Zale panted. He was out of breath, his dark brown skin glistened with sweat and his curly hair was a mess on top of his head.

"Brother," I acknowledged. I refused to remove my golden eyes from his, "Girls, I think it's time for this little soiree to end."

They nodded hastily before excusing themselves in a heap of blankets.

"Have you ever heard of knocking, it's this form of respect that—"

"Have you ever heard of keeping your penis in your pants till after breakfast?" I interrupted.

He had a way of making even the most innocent person seem guilty just get the blame placed anywhere but on it's rightful peddle stool. I wasn't going to let him turn the situation on me.

"It likes a little midnight snack," he mused. His molten gold eyes twinkled with humor.

I mentally gagged before throwing him a shirt that was lying at my feet, "Just get ready for breakfast."

The last thing I heard was the sound of him laughing at my discomfort.

His room wasn't far from the dining room so I got there in a minute or two. As usual, the smell of the delicious food had intercepted the air in the halls; but peculiarly the dining room wasn't as full as it usually would be at this time. By now every chair would have been filled with castle guest and the buzz of chatter at its highest.

"Morning Mother, Father," I greeted taking a seat in the middle of the grand table.

"Genevieve," Father smiled.

"Did you get your brother?" Mother implored.

I nodded in return.

Parents aren't supposed to have favorites but my mother did nothing to hide how much she favored Zale over me. He could do no harm in her eyes, at least not on purpose. She was a smart woman, she knew exactly what kept him from being on time in the mornings but she turned her head to it and let me deal with it.

"Why aren't there any guest?"

I looked to where the voice came from to find my half sister, Adeline and her mother Valencia entering the room and taking seats.

From behind me I could hear my mother scoff in distaste. She didn't conceal her contempt for my father's ex-wife and their daughter. She didn't like coming in second place and the one thing Valencia beat my mother to was marrying my father first.

"No, it's just family today. I have news to share with you all," Father answered.

"News?" Mother asked agitatedly. It was rare that my father ever refrained from telling her anything first. She hated surprises and preferred being aware of everything concerning her or the people around her. Whatever the news is, it must be important.

"Yes, dear. News," Father replied.

His crown sat on his curly black hair and matched the gold in his eyes, yet contrasted against his dark skin. My brother and I received most of our traits from him. The only thing I didn't have in common was their curls. I had long black hair that I received from my mother.

Mother had light skin and hazel eyes, that were often covered by the bangs of her dark brown pixie cut.

She gave Father a menacing look before turning to me, "Are you sure you got Zale?"

Her tone annoyed.

"Yes," I answered. In the same breath, Zale walked in nonchalantly and took a seat by her.

"Good morning everyone," he beamed.

He had cleaned up and looked more like a respectable prince now.

"You're late, Zale," my father replied.

"I don't understand why you're all surprised. He does this every day," I joked. The mood was getting a bit too dark.

"Zale, please try to be on time next time," Valencia gently whispered.

Everyone around the table instantly winced. There was no way my mother was going to let her talk to any of us.

"Valerie, please keep that overused mouth of yours closed. You have no right to tell a prince what to do. Know your place," Mother warned through a smile and then proceeded to drink some wine.

"Father, you couldn't possibly allow her to talk to my mother that way," Adeline wined.

"Not now..." He looked completely uncomfortable. Adeline put him in a tough spot.

Adeline muttered something under her breath that I didn't catch but Zale must have because he burst into a fit of laughter.

The clinking of a wine glass quieted everyone down, but the tension was still evident.

"Now that everyone is situated," my father snapped his finger, signaling for the food to be brought out, "We can get to business."

"It is known that as King when I reach a certain age I am behooved to uncover the name of who shall reign over Bristtol when I am gone, and although I am a little late, I can finally, with confidence, uncover the name of who will take my place."

Chatter erupted around the table, no one could comprehend what he was saying quick enough before the next wave of information was dropped on to our plates...

He stood from his chair at the head of the table and raised his cup of wine before continuing, "However, not only am I uncovering the name but I will be abdicating my throne to them in six short months. Genevieve Anais Holtier, will be this nation's future Queen."

Before he could finish my full name I blanked...

beat, gif, and heart image

I didn't fancy the idea of power and the damage that came with it. Yet, perversely, my father was the only person in that castle I trust and I have no desire to jeopardize it. Becoming queen was a gift, one I could without but a gift nonetheless.

I could hear my heart thump thump thumping in my ears and my blood surging through my veins. Almost like in the wake of my panic I was more aware of not my surroundings but myself.

Genevieve.

Genevieve.

"Genevieve!"

I snapped out of the abyss of my thoughts. Every single eye was on me, eager to know what I had to say but what I had to say wasn't going to benefit anyone. I didn't lack confidence but anyone from a mile away knew I had problems that needed to be solved before I took in the problems of anyone else. But who was I to be selfish? I couldn't disappoint, I didn't want to disappoint so instead I did the most princessly thing I could think of because that was what everyone needed me to be.

"Thank you father, I'll try to rule over Bristtol to the best of my ability. I am truly—" My voiced cracked, —honoured."

If anyone noticed my voice crack they dismissed it because after my acceptance they toasted to me and clapped. The applause didn't deceive me. I knew that no one but my father was genuinely content with me becoming the next queen.

Adeline no doubt found the whole ordeal despicable. She hated Zale and me, and she made it easy for us to hate her as well. She was a class A bitter bitch and truthfully, she had every right to be. At a young age, she had her future snatched away from her. This should've been her but it wasn't. It was me.

As for my mother, she wanted nothing more than for her baby boy to be King. After all, it was a tradition for the first born male to become heir to the throne and she adored tradition. Due to my mother's belief that my father would go according to tradition she'd been grooming Zale to become King his whole life so there was no ambiguity about how disappointed he must be.

Valencia was presumably more exasperated that she now had to hear Adeline complain about this for years rather than me being the future Queen.

It made me ponder. If my own family was riled up about the mere announcement of my future reign then how would the people react?

The thought frightened me.