Chapter Twenty-Two

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My breath catches in my throat as I walk on to the large, field beside Noah. Behind us stands one hundred of our best men, ready to defend their kingdom. We may not be large in numbers, but Noah assures me they are more than prepared for harsh situations. When speaking of preparation though, I couldn't be farther from it. I look to Noah and I see he stands strong, without fear, like a king. I try to feed from his courage and bring my head up and summon all the strength I can.

Noah grabs my head and we start walking out to the middle of the field, along with a guard member for protection, to meet with the same people we met a few days ago. Which included Devina.

We stand only feet from each other, allowing me to see Dev perfectly in the light. She looks so hard in cold on the outside, but I know my sister is still under there somewhere. The same girl that held me as I cried after Fathers death.

"The Kingdom of Ostium is giving you one more chance to stand down and join the kingdom for the greater good," Noah states.

"I'd rather die than give people like you control over my life again. I stand strong with my cause," the man standing beside Devina says.

"Then you have made your choice and may God be with you," Noah says with venom dripping with each word.

The two men nod their head and turn their backs to us, ready to walk to their army. But Dev still stands looking at me, "Seraphina, you can join us. You have suffered just the same as us, so we will accept you to join us. Come stand with us."

I look over and see Noah staring at me with fear in his eyes. Does he believe that I would leave him for my sister? I have missed Devina for years and now is my chance to finally reconnect with her, but that would cost me losing Noah and everything else I believe in. As much as I love my sister, I stand with my beliefs. I stand with Noah.

"I love you Dev, but I will not see you destroy this kingdom," I say while gripping Noahs hand for strength. I turn away from her, scared I will not be able to hold my head against her. 

Noah and I walk away from them and back to our people. It is time. Time for me to stand in a situation I never believed I would find myself in. 

We make it back to our people and Noah turns to me, "It is time for you to go, my dear."

My jaw drops, I can't believe he would suggest such a thing, "What are you talking about? I'm not going anywhere. I want to stand beside you through this."

"Darling, as much as I want you to be here with me, you have no battle experience. I won't have you in danger where you won't be able to defend yourself if things are to go wrong. I have arranged for one of the guards to take you back home and if something bad is to happen, it gives me plenty of time to warn you so you're able to escape to safety."

"Noah, please no," I say as a guard walks over to us and grabs my arm gently. Noah is looking at me with sad eyes, as though it pains him to do this to me. I know it's for my own safety, but what about his safety, or Dev's? How am I suppose to be sure they are okay if I am at home, waiting to hear some type of news.

"I love you, my dear."

All I could feel is dread wash over me as I felt the arms of the guard wrap around me and start to pull me away. I could no longer hear my own voice calling out to Noah, but I could see him commanding orders to his army. He looked so strong, so confident in his decisions. I couldn't stand the thought of not standing by his side through this. Through life.

I feel myself being thrown on a horse and then galloping away from the war. At this point I can't even control my actions. I feel myself struggling against the guard, but his grip is like lead, not allowing me to fall off the horse. We may have been riding just for a few minutes, but I could already feel the echoes of the war slowly fading away.

*Noah's POV*

"Together we all stand for our kingdom and our rights. We fight for our freedom and our better tomorrow. Stand strong men and women. Across this field stands the enemy, waiting with no mercy. We must match that and more. If that means giving our life for the freedom of our families at home, then that is what must be done. I could choose no better soldiers to stand along side with. Now together, we fight!"

I turn away from the soldiers, starring across the wide field. I take a deep breath, wiping away any last standing fear that may be welling inside me. I am doing this for the safety of the kingdom. For the safety of Sera.

The thought of Sera brings tears to my eyes, knowing there's a chance I may never see her again. May never be able to see her walk down the aisle. May never be able to start a family with her. The short time that I have got to know her has been wonderful, and in that time I have fallen in love with her. I only hope she is still able to live a long and happy life if I am not able to return to her.

I send her a silent final message, "Seraphina, I love you."

I take a deep breath, wiping away all emotion from my face so not to show any weakness, "Charge!"

**Seraphina's POV**

The noise of screams and metal against metal echoes become further and further away. I will not allow myself to be taken away from a battle that I deserve to stand in. I have to think of a way to turn around. 

I take deep breath knowing what it is I have to do. I hunch forward clutching my stomach, attempting to make myself seem as sick as possible. I turn my head so the guard can hear me, "Please, we must stop. I am going to throw up."

The guard simply sighs and then slows the horse down so we can get off. I run to a nearby bush, pretending I am about to be sick. I do my best to make my most convincing puking noises and hunch over. The guard stays behind with the horse to give me my space.

I stand and give an dramatic gasp as I stare out into the empty forest, "Sir, I think someone is out here!"

He quickly runs to me, but I meet him to where he wouldn't be able to properly see in the forest. "Your Majesty, please keep your distance as I investigate. Try to stay as quiet as possible." I nod my head vigorously, surprising myself that this is actually working.

He slowly makes his way closer to the forest as I shuffle back closer to the horse. Now is the time to go. 

I jump on the horse as fast as I can and turn to take off in the direction we came. I can hear the guard yelling behind me, but I drown him out as I get closer and closer to the battle. Tears already seem to be making there way to my eyes, knowing I have no clue as to what I may see in the next few minutes.



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