To all who had seen her, she shone beauty and grace in her every move. In all she was, she represented the good and kind of this world. She was the hope of the country, the innocence, the peace that would hold it together, she was the future; she was a lie.
Sila paced her modest room impatiently, urging her mind to think of something to prevent what was about to happen. She drew a blank; there was nothing in her left to give. She thought she had it, she thought she had created the perfect plan, almost 16 years ago she had created a curse that should have been fool proof, now she doubted it would ever work.
Those damned women! They had her well trained, they had the world well fooled, Sila was the only one that saw through them and their monstrous creation and tonight was the only open window she had to save the lives of everyone she protected.
Her eyes fell on the needle in front of her, the needle that could change everything and all it would do was put her to sleep. The perfect princess; the mortal who couldn’t die. Angrily she turned and cursed loudly, how could no one find it strange? A normal innocent princess who was unable to die, whose biggest threat was to sleep for a long period of time. Why had no one picked up on that? Then again those witches were powerful, they had made it seem like it was their doing that had kept her from death tonight, that Sila had intended on killing her and they had saved her life. If Sila could kill her, she would have done in that cradle at her birth, why could no one see that their sweet little princess was too powerful for that?
A chime sounded through the trees followed by another. Sila turned and counted them, eleven. She had an hour, panic rose in her as she carefully wrapped the needle in her enchanted cloth and placed it delicately in the pocket of her coat. Bracing herself for the outside cold she opened her front door and stepped outside into the wind of the upcoming storm. Grimly she smiled to herself, no doubt the villagers would think she was responsible for this, those women knew how set the right scene.
She walked in silence through the thick of the trees, making sure she kept herself hidden as she made her way towards their house. Her heart thumping, she turned the last corner and saw the beautiful enchanted cottage sitting undisturbed by the weather in front of her. The lights were off and the place was silent, they were expecting her. She hated that they were so smug in all of this, as if they knew that this was all a technicality and inconvenience they had to muddle through until their plans could really unfurl.
If they thought she was going in that house though, they were grossly mistaken; Sila had a few tricks up her sleeve as well. Taking out a pouch from her other pocket she muttered strong curses under her breath, drawing on magic she swore to herself she would never use, drawing on their kind of magic. She emptied out the contents of the pouch and gold powder lightly fell into her hand, and with the summon of further curses the tiny granules lifted into the air and floated towards the cottage.
Sila waited anxiously as the granules took their target, suddenly she heard screams inside the house, screams of sheer pain, she felt the wall of power as they tried to fight back, but she was ready for them, she drew on even more power and quietened their strength. Soon she felt them grow weak and then turn to nothing. With a sigh of relief she moved forward into the clearing where the cottage stood, they would be unable to do anything now for at least 48 hours. Their smug confidence had left them unprepared for just how powerful Sila had grown, she had counted on that and felt empowered that something had gone right tonight.
Sila waited in the clearing for the front door to open, the hardest part was yet to come, her highness would not respond well to her protector’s sudden incapability. She smiled at herself then as she thought of how they would be punished for being so weak when needed, one small and dim silver lining should all this fail.
Slowly the cottage door opened and out she stepped. A beautiful teenage girl with eyes of innocence and a face that held everyone’s gaze. She stood in the doorway and turned her large amber eyes onto Sila, the corners of her mouth turned up into a smile.
“I can’t believe you’re still going to go through with this Sila.”
“I have to try Bella, this is my only chance.”
Bella’s smile widened as she took in Sila’s small and insignificant stance. She stayed rooted to the spot and let out a small chuckle.
“Well then, I made sure I didn’t sleep last night in preparation for this, bring it on.”
Sila felt her anger boil as she took a step forward, this was the moment she had left, the moment that would ban her from this world forever, but she could handle that if it meant keeping Bella away. She walked at a steady pace and stopped short four feet away from the princess.
“Get away from the door frame,” she snarled, “Who knows what kind of magic you have in that archway.”
Bella flashed Sila a stunning smile and happily skipped up to where she stood.
“Would you like me to shut the door as well on my way out?”
Sila winced; she could smell the magic in Bella. It flowed out of her with such a foul stench it made her nose crumple. She wasn’t going to let Bella drag this out, she said nothing in response to her sarcasm and instead held her gaze waiting for her moment.
Bella laughed again, “Are you going to stare me to death?”
Then the moment came, the bells chimed; one… two… three… Sila could feel her blood rising in anticipation as she reached into her coat pocket, four… five… six… keeping her hand hidden in her coat she started to unwrap the material, seven… eight… nine… she took and deep breath and took her turn to smile at Bella, ten… eleven… twelve…
Sila acted so quickly that even Bella couldn’t catch up with her movements, in one foul swoop she took the needle out of her pocket and drummed it straight into Bella’s heart, muttering deep curses as she did.
The wind created a whirlwind around them as Bella’s eyes widened into shock, Sila could feel the princess desperately struggling for magic of her own but she stood her ground and chanted the curses louder and louder pushing the needle further into her heart.
Bella’s eyes glazed over as she let go of the last of the magic around her, a white cloud settled over her pupils before she closed her lids and fell to the ground. Sila stood over her body stunned, it had worked, Bella was forced into unconsciousness and Sila had complete control over her body.
With a sudden jolt at the thought of the sisters in the house she picked up the sleeping princess and ran deep into the forest. Now all she had to do was to hide her somewhere no one would find her. She had spent the last 16 years debating where this place would be and had settled for the caves at the edge of the border. She ran to that place now, slowing down only when she could hear the thundering sound of the waterfall falling off the caves behind it. She ran out into the clearing and lifted herself up and over the water heading straight for the gushing waterfall.
“Wait!” A voice cried behind her, “I won’t let you hurt her!”
Sila stopped dead in her tracks, floating a few feet above the flowing river; she turned to identify the new voice and found a tall young man dressed in rich clothing and mounted on a steed. She let out a groan as she recognised the ‘noble’ young prince.
“Luke, leave, you don’t know what you’re doing.”
“I’m saving the woman I love.”
“No, your not, because you’ll never find her to save her!”
Sila turned her back to him and started forward, suddenly she felt a jerk around her mid rift and found herself being thrown backwards. Clutching onto Bella with all her might she built a hedge of fire around her and surged forward breaking the hold Luke had temporarily held over her. She flew head on into the waterfall and landed softly on the other side. Panic rising in her over being seen, she started down the cave relying on her extensive memory of the place to guide her deeper into the mountain.
Once she had been running for half an hour she stopped and leaned against the cave wall, taking in deep breaths and allowing the cold wall to cool her back and arms. After a minute she could hear footsteps following the way she came.
“Impossible!” she muttered to herself, there was no way anyone would have been able to follow her in here. She would have to hide and let Luke overtake her. She moved a couple more paces in the direction she was heading, keeping her body pressed up against the wall until she found the groove she was looking for. Without a sound she gave the wall around it a small push and slipped into the passageway she had created. Closing the wall behind her she turned to find a small still pool lit up by the moonlight shining through the cracks above her. She moved to the edge of the pool and placed Bella down beside her. Placing her head in her hands she stifled overwhelming sobs that escaped her all at once. She was exhausted, she had done what she had set out to do 16 years ago but now she had to keep Bella there.
With a jolt Sila turned around suddenly as she heard the wall move behind her. She watched the doorway open and Luke walk through, his eye’s burning holes into hers.
“Her aunts warned me you’d try this,” he scowled, “they made sure I’d be prepared for tracking you down.”
“I beg you Luke,” Sila cried at the simple young prince, “leave here, pretend you never saw me! I really don’t want to have to kill you!”
“And leave you with Bella? Never!”
“Luke, you don’t understand! You can’t have her, not if you want this world to carry on the way it is! She has to stay here with me now, please understand she’s too dangerous to be out there!”
Luke let out a deep bellow that reverberated off the cave walls, “Bella? Dangerous? She is the sweetest girl I have ever met; the only difference she’ll make by being alive is to make this world better!”
Sila could feel the panic rising at this inconvenience in front of her, normally she would have just tossed him to one side, one death to save many, but she could feel the witches power set in him. They had tooled him up to kill her and save his princess and Sila knew they wouldn’t have done it half heartedly.
With an almighty resolution, she held out her hands and shot forward all her strength in one big force, knocking Luke off his feet and smashing him into the wall. Letting out a groan he slid down and landed in a crumpled heap. Sila felt herself fall backwards with exhaustion and landed next to Bella, her head light and black spots forming in front of her eyes. Why she had used all her power she didn’t know, now she was weak and in essence defenceless. She scowled at herself and prayed deeply that Luke was at least rendered unconscious by that blow.
No such luck; Luke groaned again and forced himself up into a stand, using the wall behind him as an aid. Ridden with frustration Sila turned to the young prince, herself to weak to stand. Desperation was her only tool now.
“Luke, you have to understand what’s going on,” she muttered weakly, “If you let her go tonight then you will regret it, I guarantee you that. If she were to marry you, she would be the most powerful woman in the world and she will use that. She will hurt and terrorise and there will be no stopping her.”
Luke said nothing, instead he moved towards her slowly, turning only to spit a mouthful of blood onto the floor beside him. His face was set as thunder and his eyes screamed bloody murder at the frail witch.
“Please Luke! Listen to me, you have it all wrong! Please understand you can’t set this girl free!”
Luke reached Sila and drew his sword out of its sheath; he crouched down in front of her and placed the sword at her neck.
“From the moment Bella was born, you have been overtaken with jealousy Sila, you have been spreading lies to slander her name but we’ve just ignored you, why on earth would you think I’d believe you now?”
“I don’t for one moment think you’ll believe me Luke,” Sila said softly, tears forming in her eyes, “But I had to try something, I will never stop trying, it would kill me if I saw this proved right.”
Luke let out a soft chuckle, “Oh I wouldn’t worry about that, you won’t be alive for much longer to see anything.”
Sila reached into her body to find any more magic she may have left in her, she had two choices left ahead of her, she could somehow find a way to convince Luke of Bella’s evil nature and break this spell of ‘love’ she had over him or if she could find the magic, she could shield Bella from any touch but hers, rendering him useless to her wake.
Searching desperately Sila found the little magic she had left and began the necessary spells to manipulate it to how it should be done. Suddenly she felt a resistance and Luke’s hand shot out around her neck, choking her menacingly.
“Bella’s aunts warned me you may try this,” He snarled, “They equipped me very well to deal with it. You won’t be able to use your magic Sila, so don’t even try.”
Sila’s hope failed in her, she let go of the magic and in return felt Luke’s grip loosen. She had nothing left to give and she was too tired to do anything to fight Luke off. Instead she grabbed Luke’s shirt and pulled herself up to his ear.
“I tried,” She whispered, “When everything fails around you, when she takes control, at least you will know that I tried to stop it.”
Letting go of Luke’s shirt she took the remainder of her strength and grabbed hold of the hand he had gripped to the sword near her neck. She pulled the sword towards her and sliced it through her throat. Pain washed over her as she gasped for air and tried to find a way to go back on what she had done, but there wasn’t a way, instead, she fell limp in Luke’s hold, no life left in her.
Luke stared dazed and confused at the lifeless body in front of him, what had just happened? In all of the ways he had imagined this fight going, he had never assumed she would take her own life. She must have truly convinced herself of the lies about Bella.
Suddenly his mind sharpened, “Bella” He muttered. Dropping Sila to the floor he turned to the beautiful enchantress sleeping so peacefully in front of him. How could anyone think a single bad word against that face? Her every deed had been good and pure. Deep love washed over him and he stared at his angel, slowly he leaned over her so his face hovered over hers. Her aunts had explained everything so simply should this happen; all he had to do was kiss her with all the love he had inside of him for her. Then she would awake and they would live happily ever after.
He bent down further and touched his lips softly against hers, pouring his love into her with all of his heart. At first there was nothing, but then he could feel magic forming over their kiss, he could feel life flowing from him into her. All the magic that he had been given by her aunts drained from him into her. Something didn’t seem right; it felt too painful for this to be as he thought it would. He tried to pull away but the magic had hold of him, she had hold of him. Panic forming inside of him, he pushed against her with all his strength, finally the magic ceased its hold and he was released.
Luke fell backwards with the momentum and stared, confused at the now stirring body. Bella’s eyes fluttered open and daintily she sat up rubbing the sleep out of her eyes. She looked at him and her sweet smile started to form around her lips.
“Oh my love, you saved me from the wretched witch,” she almost sang, “How can I ever repay you?”
At the sound of her voice all uncertainty drained out of Luke and he reached out for her hand, love and devotion replacing all the places doubt had been.
“My sweet,” he said softly, “All I want from you is your hand in marriage, your love and to forever be yours.”
Bella’s eyes sparkled with excitement and she threw her arms around him, “Oh my darling, I accept! With all my heart, I accept!”
Luke placed his arms around Bella and, holding her firmly, carried her to the cave door. He scolded himself for ever doubting his love, how could he have been so untrusting?
“My love,” Bella murmured sweetly into Luke’s ear, “I should like to say goodbye to the evil witch who tried to kill me.”
Luke looked at her in confusion, “Why would you want to do that?”
“I could never forgive myself if I didn’t make things right with her before we leave, and although her body maybe lifeless, I believe that somehow she will hear me.”
Luke gazed in loving amazement at this perfect creature in his arms. Was there no end to her goodness? “Of course you shall say goodbye,” he declared, “if it will help you, though she does not deserve it!”
He placed her on her feet and began to lead her back towards the pool, though he felt resistance from her, he turned to face his fiancée who had placed her huge amber eyes at full force on him.
“I must do this alone my darling,” She whispered. Concern flowed over Luke’s features, “I will be ok, she can do me no harm now.”
Reluctantly, Luke let go of Bella’s hand and kissed her lightly on the cheek, “If you’re sure,” he whispered in her ear hoping for her to change her mind.
“I am,” she answered, and with that he walked to the door and closed it lightly behind him.
Bella turned to the lifeless body of Sila by the pool, every part of her turned rigid with rage, she flew down to where she lay and landed in a crouch over her, one leg on each side.
“You bitch,” She sneered, “You really thought you could stop me?” With boiling anger she picked up Sila’s body and grabbed hold of her head. In one foul swoop she tore the head clear off her body and threw the remains against the wall at the other side of the pool. Composing herself she turned and headed back towards the door. Sila’s body, now in two halves, slid their way into the pool and sank down to the bottom, lost forever.