Hi, everyone! Ready for more of Rosa? Well, here’s Chapter Four of the tale. Haven’t read the previous chapters yet? Here’s the link to Chapter Three. Now, on with the tale!
Several years later. . .
By the time of Rosa’s sixteenth birthday, things had gotten very bad in the castle. Queen Leila would punish people for the slightest thing, and Mandy, Rosa, and the other servants feared for their lives. Mandy was especially afraid, for she knew that if her secret got out, Rosa’s life would be worth nothing.
Rosa, however, had no idea of how much danger she was in. She had blossomed into a beautiful young lady with long, golden-brown hair and laughing blue-green eyes. She was still lighthearted, but in a more cautious way. She had grown kinder and sweeter than ever, and many of the servant boys looked at her longingly. What neither she nor Mandy knew was that Rosa’s beauty put her in almost as much danger as if Mandy’s secret had gotten out.
Queen Leila hurried to her chamber, which no longer had the curtain. There was no fear of intruders now. Her secret was safe. She slipped into her room and forced herself to walk over to the table where the mirror now lay. Picking it up, she softly called “Cullen! Cullen! I need you!”
The man’s face appeared and he hissed “What may I do for you, my queen?”
“Cullen, tell me,” ordered the queen, “are any more beautiful than I?”
Cullen frowned. “There is only one, my queen.” A picture of Rosa flashed across the surface of the mirror. “This girl is a threat to your otherwise unassailable beauty.”
Queen Leila scowled. “Who is she?” she cried. “Where does she live?”
Cullen’s face reappeared. “That is Rosa, a kitchen maid in your castle, your ladyship.” He told her, still hissing.
A wicked smile slowly replaced the scowl on Queen Leila’s face. “I know exactly what to do.” She set the mirror down and hurried away, intent of getting rid of Rosa forever.
Later that day. . .
Rosa skipped merrily into the little room she and Mandy shared. “Mama Mandy!” she called. “I’m in from the garden!” She stopped suddenly when she saw the tall stranger talking to Mandy. Rosa recognized him as one of the castle huntsmen. “Hello, sir,” she said, politely. “What brings you here?”
Mandy turned and rushed over to Rosa. “Quickly, Rosa, pack some things. You must leave the castle.”
Rosa looked astonished, but slowly moved to do as she was told. “Why? What do you mean? Aren’t you coming too?” she asked, frightened.
“Rosa, dear, your life is in danger. You need to leave the castle or you’ll be killed. And, I can’t come with you. It would just make things worse.” Mandy told Rosa as she helped her pack a small bag.
“The queen commanded my brother to kill you and make it look like an accident” added the huntsman. “He told me, and I came to warn you and help you get away. I’m going to guide you to somewhere safe, where Queen Leila won’t find you. I have a few ideas of where to go. I will warn you, we’ll have to go through the forest to get to any of them.”
Mandy gestured for the huntsman to leave. “We’ll be there in a moment.” she told him. Turning to Rosa, she said “I think I know why Queen Leila wants you killed, Rosa. She’s found out the secret.”
“What secret?” Rosa asked, puzzled.
Mandy looked at her and sighed. “Rosa, I haven’t told you everything I know about your mother. First, your mother wasn’t human. She was an elf-maiden, as pretty as you could wish. Second, her name was Ellen.”
“Like the first queen?” asked Rosa.
Mandy looked sadly at Rosa. “Rosa, your mother was the first queen. She fell in love with the king and they married, but he fell out of love with her a little before you were born, and sent her away. If he hadn’t, she’d still be alive today.” Mandy wiped her eyes, and then continued. “By right, you’re a princess. And, you’re half elf too, I daresay. That’s why the queen wants you dead. Someone must’ve found out and told her.”
Rosa felt tears gathering and struggled not to cry. “How do you know?” she choked out.
Mandy sighed and said “I was your mother’s lady in waiting. She was the only one I ever loved as much as you. Oh child,” she burst out, “I wish that fool of a king hadn’t turned your mother away. None of this would’ve happened if he hadn’t. Ah well,” she sighed, “What’s done is done. Now you need to be on your way, Rosa dear. We don’t have forever.” Mandy and Rosa walked out of their room to the kitchen where the waiting huntsman anxiously paced. “Ready?” he asked as soon as he saw them.
Rosa looked at Mandy, and then said “As ready as I’ll ever be.”
“Then let’s be on our way.” the huntsman replied. We need to be out of the forest before dark.”
What will happen to Rosa? Will she safely escape? To find out, check back Thursday for Chapter Five! In the meantime, please comment! I’d love to hear what you think! Also, please vote on my polls. I need your opinions!
Update: Chapter Five is up!
Update: Chapter Five is up!