Simple Servant

By Dragon_Dame All Rights Reserved ©

Romance / Other

Chapter 31 – Plans

Chapter 31 – Plans

It was late in the afternoon by the time a carriage pulled up to collect the Alminia Princess.

Phillip watched from the behind the curtains of the parlor window as Noah said goodbye outside. They couldn’t be seen together outside of the Terrafein Embassy.

Not yet.

He watched Noah help her into the carriage, and noticed that he held onto her hand slightly longer than what was socially appropriate. It was obvious that Noah didn’t want her to leave.

There seemed to be a secret language between the two of them, a way of understanding each other without speaking.

Philip remembered the day his father told him about the arrangement between Terrafeuw and Alminia. Philip turned seven that day.

He was twelve when the war finally ended, and Terrafeuw started rebuilding. The other Nobles pushed for his father to remarry. They argued that Philip needed a mother, that the King needed more sons, and that the Kingdom needed Queen.

His father had listened, rather patiently, to each of his Advisors before declaring that the next Terrafein Queen would be the woman that Phillip himself married.

Constance

He shoved the name from his mind and returned to watching Noah.

His brother seemed to be a walking contradiction to everything that Phillip knew. After everything that had happened to him, even after finding out who he actually was, Noah didn’t seem the least bit bitter.

Philip remembered how his stomach rolled at the sight of Noah’s scars. Each mark that had been etched into his skin was a punishment that he had taken for someone else. Philip thought about all of the pain that growing up as the Terrafein Prince had caused him. He wondered how scared he’d be if his were as transparent as his brother’s.

Who would have more scars then?

Did it even matter?

Phillip watched as an Alminia Guards sent Noah a concerned glare, and his brother forced himself to release her hand. Once the carriage door was shut the carriage took off. Noah kept his eyes on it until it had turned a corner, and was out of view.

As Noah and their father turned to head back inside Philip couldn’t help but notice worry dancing across Noah’s pale blue eyes.

Phillip had been shocked to learn that Princess Alexandria and Lady Annabell were in fact the same woman. His father appeared to have suspected it, and it was clear that the Princess’s escort knew, but he couldn’t have guessed.

He once applauded himself for his quick understanding, and impartial mindset.

A flash of pale skin and white hair crossed his vision reminding him of his follies.

Constance.

He silently cursed himself for thinking about her.

Had he always been so blind?

Had he only ever seen what he wanted to see?

The door opened and the voices of his father and brother pulled him from self-pity.

Phillip couldn’t help the chuckle that escaped him at his own ignorance, but he was able to stifle it by the time the others walked in. He managed to look up at them in a nonchalant manner, and couldn’t help but wonder what each of them was thinking about. Neither of their faces seemed to be focused on pleasant thoughts, and a moment ago neither had his.

“Do you believe that she’ll do her part?” Phillip found himself asking the silent room.

Noah’s eyes darted towards him coldly, but it was their father that spoke.

“We have no reason to mistrust the Princess.” He said flatly. “Everything we have come to know about her speaks of loyalty. Her actions and intentions with Noah have also attested loyalty.”

Phillip’s concern wasn’t eased by his father’s words. He turned his head and noticed that Noah had been watching him cautiously. He wondered if his newly discovered brother was able to see what others in the Terrafein court had been blind to. Did Noah know his secrets? Could someone he barely knew even fathom them?

A faint smirk developed on Noah’s face, but he didn’t say anything. He looked away a moment later and kept whatever he had deduced to himself.

~~~ Change Character Focus, Earlier

Noah held out his hand to help Alexandria to her feet. He wasn’t sure how long they had sat in the hallway, but he knew that it was time for them to head back.

She looked at his hand and then up at him. “Together?” She asked.

He knew her well enough to know what the single word meant. She wasn’t asking him to never leave her side, nor was she asking him to stay. Alexandria’s one word question meant precisely what she had said.

Together?

Every moment that they had shared together had also been a moment of solitude. Sure, they may have danced together at the masked ball, but their identities hadn’t been known. He assisted her to her feet and couldn’t help but grin at how close she now stood next to him.

Together?

Noah wasn’t sure what the future held for them. He wasn’t sure what would happen by keeping his new lineage a secret. He wasn’t sure he’d ever be ready for the moment that it wasn’t. But he was certain of one thing.

Together?

He intertwined their fingers, looked into her amazingly colored eyes, and answered, “Always.”

They were still holding hands when they walked into the parlor and saw that his father and brother were waiting. Noah noticed that Tilly was also in the room. He nodded in her direction, and she sent him a reassuring smile.

King Freddrick acknowledged their return, while Phillip looked at him in confusion. It was time to set things straight.

“Phillip, Father” he said still trying to get use to it, “I’d like to personally introduce you to Princess Alexandria Maxine Georgiana Bell. Annabell,” He stated turning towards her, “This is my family.”

He noticed Tilly, shoot him a small look of confusion mixed slightly with betrayal, but he couldn’t apologized for not telling her sooner.

“Annabell?” Phillip questioned. He glanced towards Noah as if to double check that he had said the correct name. Then his, eyes lit with understanding and he chuckled softly to himself. “It is nice to officially meet you.” He greeted as he held out a hand towards her.

King Freddrick invited everyone, including Tilly, to take a seat. “It pleases me to learn that you are not two different people Princess.” He stated with a smile once each had made himself or herself comfortable.

She looked at him questionably and then at King Freddrick, “Two people? I don’t believe I understand.”

Noah saw his father chuckle at her inquiry. “King Heralf was convinced that Noah and Phillip were one in the same. Just as he was wrong, so to were we.” Freddrick explained. “Phillip and I falsely assumed that Princess Alexandria and Lady Annabell were two different people.”

“You didn’t tell them my secret?” She asked him with wide eyes.

“It wasn’t mine to tell.” Noah informed easily, and it wasn’t. He had said those same words to King Freddrick the night before in the study.

“When Noah and I first met I was claiming to be Lady Annabell Tompson.” She began. Noah noticed how her hand that was closest to him fiddled slightly with her skirt. He grasped onto it and felt her relax next to him.

“The same Lade Annabell Tompson Noah met at the market while pretending to be a Nobleman himself?” Phillip questioned. Noah couldn’t stop the smile from appearing on his face at Phillip’s inquiry. Although his brother had accepted his words earlier, he now seemed unconvinced.

Noah nodded towards Phillip.

He then asked. “At the Masked Ball, did you know that Lady Annabell was Princess Alexandria?”

“I did not.” He answered, realizing that since Phillip hadn’t been in the study the other night and he’d have to repeat some information that he had already told his father. “I didn’t find out until two days later, when she told me.”

“August 20th.” King Freddrick stated. He spoke the words to himself, but Noah nodded anyway.

“It is pointless to replay the events for my benefit.” Phillip stated, realizing that everyone else in the room, including Tilly who sat quietly, already knew the details. “Instead of reliving the past the five of us need to focus our thoughts elsewhere.”

“Am I included in this?” Tilly asked, speaking for the first time. She seemed alarmed to be noticed by the other four in the room. All of whom, including her friend, could have ignored her completely.

And yet, they didn’t.

“You know as much as we do about this situation.” Phillip stated unaffected by her question. “It would be pointless to exclude you now.” Phillip looked towards his father and said. “We need to get off of Jodan without King Heralf noticing that there are two of us. We need a plan.”

All eyes’ turned towards King Freddrick.

He thought for a moment. “We could attempt to ask King Wyant for assistance in departing, but I doubt that he’ll do anything. Jodan is notoriously neutral.”

“Would he still remain neutral if he knew how ruthlessly King Heralf treated me while I was here?” Alexandria asked. Noah felt her stiffen in anger. “He drugged and held a crowned royal against her will.” She reminded.

“That may be so, but he did so while you were at the Rramnon Embassy, and thus on Rramnon land.” King Freddrick informed. “If we try to appeal to the Jodayen King he’ll be less likely to help once he realizes that you went there on your own accord.”

Alexandria leaned closer and Noah felt his arm draping around her protectively. He hadn’t known that Heralf had drugged her. The information didn’t sit well with him, but he forced himself not to react to her words. Now was the time to plan, not the time to act. “Then what do we do?” He asked, not daring to remove his arm from around Alexandria.

“I’ll send someone to prepare the boat.” Freddrick decided. He stood, and called for Wallace. “Phillip is right, we must leave Jodan as soon as we are able.”

“But how?” Phillip wondered. “I’m sure he has spies watching both ships.”

“What will happen if Heralf confront us on the sea?” Noah asked, as Wallace walked in.

Freddrick dismissed the butler with a wave of his hand, folded his arms and leaned on against the doorframe in contemplation. “Jodan may be consistently neutral territory, but the waters one mile away from the main land are unclaimed. Heralf may try something, but the Kettu is twice the size any other ship in the harbor at the moment. He may try to overtake us, but it would be unwise. Even unprepared we’d win.”

“Could he have something else planned?” Alexandria asked.

“It’s possible that he will attempt to sneak spies on board the Kettu.” Phillip stated. “If he can’t fight, he might try to gather information.”

“Would he try to go after the Alminian ship?” Noah asked worried, but Phillip shook his head.

“His youngest is in Alminia.” He explained. “King Heralf isn’t desperate enough put Prince Anton at risk so that he can attack the Princess in open water.”

Noah tried to be reassured by Phillip’s words, but they offered little comfort.

“Whichever ship King Heralf tries to follow, we can be sure of one thing.” His father offered.

“What can we be sure of?” Alexandria asked.

King Freddrick studied his two sons then cleared his throat and said, “Phillip and Noah won’t be on the same ship.”

Noah wasn’t sure what Freddrick meant, but Phillip nodded in agreement. Phillip seemed to notice Noah’s unease and went on to explain the risk of having both of them on the same ship. If King Heralf’s spies managed to remain elusive during the trek, then it was highly possible for him to learn of the existence of a second son.

Even after Phillip’s explanation, Noah still felt perplexed. He never saw the purpose of committing plans based off of probably or possibility. Facts and knowns suited him just fine, or they once did, before Annabell came into his life.

Eventually they all agreed that it would be better if Phillip disguised himself as an Alminian guard and returned on the Alminian merchant ship. While Noah kept up his new persona as a dishonored royal guard and boarded the Kettu.

The Kettu would head north towards Terrafeuw while Princess Alexandria and Phillip would head east towards Alminia. The Terrafein ship would make the loop around Jodan and head towards Alminia. It would arrive approximately one week later. King Freddrick was quiet certain that the Rramnon King’s ship would head towards Alminia to retrieve Prince Anton before then returning back towards Rramnon.

If all went well, the Rramnon ship would depart Alminia before the Kettu ever docked at the Kingston Harbor.

If all went well.

Noah tried to calm his nerves as he helped Alexandria into her carriage. He knew he wouldn’t be seeing her again for quiet some time. Tilly would drop of the Alminian uniform the next morning, and then that afternoon they would depart.

If all went well.

The words repeated in Noah’s head, and they only managed to agitate him further.

His father tried to offer him some words of reassurance when they reentered the Terrafein Embassy, and Noah tried his best to respond in kind. ‘It is not the time to worry.’ He told himself as he and his father walked into the parlor.

A look on Phillip’s face caught his attention, but his brother hid it so quickly that Noah wasn’t quiet sure what it was that he had seen. Silence enveloped all three of them, and Noah made a point to flatly ignore any doubts that tried to whisper within his subconscious.

“Do you believe that she’ll do her part?” Phillip asked after the silence in the room had become tangible.

Noah felt his eyes dart towards Phillip, and he was sure they held and ice cold stare. He wanted to say something, but it was their father that spoke.

“We have no reason to mistrust the Princess.” He said flatly. “Everything we have come to know about her speaks of loyalty. Her actions and intentions with Noah have also attested loyalty.”

Anxiety crossed Phillip’s brow at the mention of loyalty. Noah watched him with a newfound curiosity and wondered what had happened in Phillip’s past that caused such a strong reaction. Phillip turned his head and noticed that Noah had been watching him.

He visibly paled at Noah’s scrutiny.

A faint smirk developed on Noah’s face, but he didn’t say anything. He couldn’t be positive, but something told him that his brother’s reaction had to do with a girl.

But perhaps not.

He looked away a moment later and kept his thoughts to himself.

“Are you ready for tomorrow?” Freddrick asked a short time later.

Noah looked towards his father and replied honestly. “I’m ready for it to be finished.”

It was late in the afternoon by the time a carriage pulled up to collect the Alminia Princess.

Phillip watched from the behind the curtains of the parlor window as Noah said goodbye outside. They couldn’t be seen together outside of the Terrafein Embassy.

Not yet.

He watched Noah help her into the carriage, and noticed that he held onto her hand slightly longer than what was socially appropriate. It was obvious that Noah didn’t want her to leave.

There seemed to be a secret language between the two of them, a way of understanding each other without speaking.

Philip remembered the day his father told him about the arrangement between Terrafeuw and Alminia. Philip turned seven that day.

He was twelve when the war finally ended, and Terrafeuw started rebuilding. The other Nobles pushed for his father to remarry. They argued that Philip needed a mother, that the King needed more sons, and that the Kingdom needed Queen.

His father had listened, rather patiently, to each of his Advisors before declaring that the next Terrafein Queen would be the woman that Phillip himself married.

Constance

He shoved the name from his mind and returned to watching Noah.

His brother seemed to be a walking contradiction to everything that Phillip knew. After everything that had happened to him, even after finding out who he actually was, Noah didn’t seem the least bit bitter.

Philip remembered how his stomach rolled at the sight of Noah’s scars. Each mark that had been etched into his skin was a punishment that he had taken for someone else. Philip thought about all of the pain that growing up as the Terrafein Prince had caused him. He wondered how scared he’d be if his were as transparent as his brother’s.

Who would have more scars then?

Did it even matter?

Phillip watched as an Alminia Guards sent Noah a concerned glare, and his brother forced himself to release her hand. Once the carriage door was shut the carriage took off. Noah kept his eyes on it until it had turned a corner, and was out of view.

As Noah and their father turned to head back inside Philip couldn’t help but notice worry dancing across Noah’s pale blue eyes.

Phillip had been shocked to learn that Princess Alexandria and Lady Annabell were in fact the same woman. His father appeared to have suspected it, and it was clear that the Princess’s escort knew, but he couldn’t have guessed.

He once applauded himself for his quick understanding, and impartial mindset.

A flash of pale skin and white hair crossed his vision reminding him of his follies.

Constance.

He silently cursed himself for thinking about her.

Had he always been so blind?

Had he only ever seen what he wanted to see?

The door opened and the voices of his father and brother pulled him from self-pity.

Phillip couldn’t help the chuckle that escaped him at his own ignorance, but he was able to stifle it by the time the others walked in. He managed to look up at them in a nonchalant manner, and couldn’t help but wonder what each of them was thinking about. Neither of their faces seemed to be focused on pleasant thoughts, and a moment ago neither had his.

“Do you believe that she’ll do her part?” Phillip found himself asking the silent room.

Noah’s eyes darted towards him coldly, but it was their father that spoke.

“We have no reason to mistrust the Princess.” He said flatly. “Everything we have come to know about her speaks of loyalty. Her actions and intentions with Noah have also attested loyalty.”

Phillip’s concern wasn’t eased by his father’s words. He turned his head and noticed that Noah had been watching him cautiously. He wondered if his newly discovered brother was able to see what others in the Terrafein court had been blind to. Did Noah know his secrets? Could someone he barely knew even fathom them?

A faint smirk developed on Noah’s face, but he didn’t say anything. He looked away a moment later and kept whatever he had deduced to himself.

~~~ Change Character Focus, Earlier

Noah held out his hand to help Alexandria to her feet. He wasn’t sure how long they had sat in the hallway, but he knew that it was time for them to head back.

She looked at his hand and then up at him. “Together?” She asked.

He knew her well enough to know what the single word meant. She wasn’t asking him to never leave her side, nor was she asking him to stay. Alexandria’s one word question meant precisely what she had said.

Together?

Every moment that they had shared together had also been a moment of solitude. Sure, they may have danced together at the masked ball, but their identities hadn’t been known. He assisted her to her feet and couldn’t help but grin at how close she now stood next to him.

Together?

Noah wasn’t sure what the future held for them. He wasn’t sure what would happen by keeping his new lineage a secret. He wasn’t sure he’d ever be ready for the moment that it wasn’t. But he was certain of one thing.

Together?

He intertwined their fingers, looked into her amazingly colored eyes, and answered, “Always.”

They were still holding hands when they walked into the parlor and saw that his father and brother were waiting. Noah noticed that Tilly was also in the room. He nodded in her direction, and she sent him a reassuring smile.

King Freddrick acknowledged their return, while Phillip looked at him in confusion. It was time to set things straight.

“Phillip, Father” he said still trying to get use to it, “I’d like to personally introduce you to Princess Alexandria Maxine Georgiana Bell. Annabell,” He stated turning towards her, “This is my family.”

He noticed Tilly, shoot him a small look of confusion mixed slightly with betrayal, but he couldn’t apologized for not telling her sooner.

“Annabell?” Phillip questioned. He glanced towards Noah as if to double check that he had said the correct name. Then his, eyes lit with understanding and he chuckled softly to himself. “It is nice to officially meet you.” He greeted as he held out a hand towards her.

King Freddrick invited everyone, including Tilly, to take a seat. “It pleases me to learn that you are not two different people Princess.” He stated with a smile once each had made himself or herself comfortable.

She looked at him questionably and then at King Freddrick, “Two people? I don’t believe I understand.”

Noah saw his father chuckle at her inquiry. “King Heralf was convinced that Noah and Phillip were one in the same. Just as he was wrong, so to were we.” Freddrick explained. “Phillip and I falsely assumed that Princess Alexandria and Lady Annabell were two different people.”

“You didn’t tell them my secret?” She asked him with wide eyes.

“It wasn’t mine to tell.” Noah informed easily, and it wasn’t. He had said those same words to King Freddrick the night before in the study.

“When Noah and I first met I was claiming to be Lady Annabell Tompson.” She began. Noah noticed how her hand that was closest to him fiddled slightly with her skirt. He grasped onto it and felt her relax next to him.

“The same Lade Annabell Tompson Noah met at the market while pretending to be a Nobleman himself?” Phillip questioned. Noah couldn’t stop the smile from appearing on his face at Phillip’s inquiry. Although his brother had accepted his words earlier, he now seemed unconvinced.

Noah nodded towards Phillip.

He then asked. “At the Masked Ball, did you know that Lady Annabell was Princess Alexandria?”

“I did not.” He answered, realizing that since Phillip hadn’t been in the study the other night and he’d have to repeat some information that he had already told his father. “I didn’t find out until two days later, when she told me.”

“August 20th.” King Freddrick stated. He spoke the words to himself, but Noah nodded anyway.

“It is pointless to replay the events for my benefit.” Phillip stated, realizing that everyone else in the room, including Tilly who sat quietly, already knew the details. “Instead of reliving the past the five of us need to focus our thoughts elsewhere.”

“Am I included in this?” Tilly asked, speaking for the first time. She seemed alarmed to be noticed by the other four in the room. All of whom, including her friend, could have ignored her completely.

And yet, they didn’t.

“You know as much as we do about this situation.” Phillip stated unaffected by her question. “It would be pointless to exclude you now.” Phillip looked towards his father and said. “We need to get off of Jodan without King Heralf noticing that there are two of us. We need a plan.”

All eyes’ turned towards King Freddrick.

He thought for a moment. “We could attempt to ask King Wyant for assistance in departing, but I doubt that he’ll do anything. Jodan is notoriously neutral.”

“Would he still remain neutral if he knew how ruthlessly King Heralf treated me while I was here?” Alexandria asked. Noah felt her stiffen in anger. “He drugged and held a crowned royal against her will.” She reminded.

“That may be so, but he did so while you were at the Rramnon Embassy, and thus on Rramnon land.” King Freddrick informed. “If we try to appeal to the Jodayen King he’ll be less likely to help once he realizes that you went there on your own accord.”

Alexandria leaned closer and Noah felt his arm draping around her protectively. He hadn’t known that Heralf had drugged her. The information didn’t sit well with him, but he forced himself not to react to her words. Now was the time to plan, not the time to act. “Then what do we do?” He asked, not daring to remove his arm from around Alexandria.

“I’ll send someone to prepare the boat.” Freddrick decided. He stood, and called for Wallace. “Phillip is right, we must leave Jodan as soon as we are able.”

“But how?” Phillip wondered. “I’m sure he has spies watching both ships.”

“What will happen if Heralf confront us on the sea?” Noah asked, as Wallace walked in.

Freddrick dismissed the butler with a wave of his hand, folded his arms and leaned on against the doorframe in contemplation. “Jodan may be consistently neutral territory, but the waters one mile away from the main land are unclaimed. Heralf may try something, but the Kettu is twice the size any other ship in the harbor at the moment. He may try to overtake us, but it would be unwise. Even unprepared we’d win.”

“Could he have something else planned?” Alexandria asked.

“It’s possible that he will attempt to sneak spies on board the Kettu.” Phillip stated. “If he can’t fight, he might try to gather information.”

“Would he try to go after the Alminian ship?” Noah asked worried, but Phillip shook his head.

“His youngest is in Alminia.” He explained. “King Heralf isn’t desperate enough put Prince Anton at risk so that he can attack the Princess in open water.”

Noah tried to be reassured by Phillip’s words, but they offered little comfort.

“Whichever ship King Heralf tries to follow, we can be sure of one thing.” His father offered.

“What can we be sure of?” Alexandria asked.

King Freddrick studied his two sons then cleared his throat and said, “Phillip and Noah won’t be on the same ship.”

Noah wasn’t sure what Freddrick meant, but Phillip nodded in agreement. Phillip seemed to notice Noah’s unease and went on to explain the risk of having both of them on the same ship. If King Heralf’s spies managed to remain elusive during the trek, then it was highly possible for him to learn of the existence of a second son.

Even after Phillip’s explanation, Noah still felt perplexed. He never saw the purpose of committing plans based off of probably or possibility. Facts and knowns suited him just fine, or they once did, before Annabell came into his life.

Eventually they all agreed that it would be better if Phillip disguised himself as an Alminian guard and returned on the Alminian merchant ship. While Noah kept up his new persona as a dishonored royal guard and boarded the Kettu.

The Kettu would head north towards Terrafeuw while Princess Alexandria and Phillip would head east towards Alminia. The Terrafein ship would make the loop around Jodan and head towards Alminia. It would arrive approximately one week later. King Freddrick was quiet certain that the Rramnon King’s ship would head towards Alminia to retrieve Prince Anton before then returning back towards Rramnon.

If all went well, the Rramnon ship would depart Alminia before the Kettu ever docked at the Kingston Harbor.

If all went well.

Noah tried to calm his nerves as he helped Alexandria into her carriage. He knew he wouldn’t be seeing her again for quiet some time. Tilly would drop of the Alminian uniform the next morning, and then that afternoon they would depart.

If all went well.

The words repeated in Noah’s head, and they only managed to agitate him further.

His father tried to offer him some words of reassurance when they reentered the Terrafein Embassy, and Noah tried his best to respond in kind. ‘It is not the time to worry.’ He told himself as he and his father walked into the parlor.

A look on Phillip’s face caught his attention, but his brother hid it so quickly that Noah wasn’t quiet sure what it was that he had seen. Silence enveloped all three of them, and Noah made a point to flatly ignore any doubts that tried to whisper within his subconscious.

“Do you believe that she’ll do her part?” Phillip asked after the silence in the room had become tangible.

Noah felt his eyes dart towards Phillip, and he was sure they held and ice cold stare. He wanted to say something, but it was their father that spoke.

“We have no reason to mistrust the Princess.” He said flatly. “Everything we have come to know about her speaks of loyalty. Her actions and intentions with Noah have also attested loyalty.”

Anxiety crossed Phillip’s brow at the mention of loyalty. Noah watched him with a newfound curiosity and wondered what had happened in Phillip’s past that caused such a strong reaction. Phillip turned his head and noticed that Noah had been watching him.

He visibly paled at Noah’s scrutiny.

A faint smirk developed on Noah’s face, but he didn’t say anything. He couldn’t be positive, but something told him that his brother’s reaction had to do with a girl.

But perhaps not.

He looked away a moment later and kept his thoughts to himself.

“Are you ready for tomorrow?” Freddrick asked a short time later.

Noah looked towards his father and replied honestly. “I’m ready for it to be finished.”

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