The following morning you waited patiently at the stalls for your horse to be arranged, every noise sounding so much louder and the scents in the air smelling so much more pungent as every fibre of your being remained on edge.
Every second moment you were wondering if this was such a good idea after all, and wondering if you could back out of it, but King Kageyama was very set on making sure you got to say your final piece to your dad and wouldn’t allow you to back down.
With the finishing touches all done to your steed, you climbed aboard while King Kageyama (in plain clothes) hoped onto his one then you were off and away.
It was a journey that you had done thrice now. And over the two days trip you were getting closer to your homeland, and the dread was starting to really set in.
King Kageyama was leading the way and was a pace ahead of you so you didn’t have the luxury of talking to him on the trip there, unable to use him as sounding board to work out what you wanted to say to your estranged father.
Over the rise, your previous kingdom loomed and your heart sat cold in your chest as you skirted around it, heading for the other side where the unclean and deranged lived.
Your eyes scanned the horizon as you made your way in an arch around the walls of Nekoma, with King Kageyama raising up a small white sheet on a bamboo stick to signify that you were not coming to war as you passed around.
Once on the northern side of the walls, you looked ahead, past the cantering pair in front of you and across the wind swept sands.
Although the bright sun was blinding, you could see ahead to where they buried the dead amongst the rocks and desert palms and you swallowed heavily as you pulled on the reins to slow your steed.
King Kageyama, ahead of you, pulled his horse to a stop and your horse slowly walked up alongside him so you were sitting side by side on your puffing horses.
“I will let you lead,” he said, “I will not accompany you to your father so that you can say your piece without my interruption.”
“I would like for you to come?” you inquired, hoping he would change his mind, but he shook his head.
“No,” he replied firmly, “you are royalty now. Hold your head high and speak your truth.”
You nodded and urged your horse forwards with a grim look on your face.
The closer you got the the rocky outcrop, the more you could see people scurrying around and you cleared your throat and kept your head up as you got closer, your horse walking slowly but proudly as well as it flicked its high tail back and forth and threw its head up a few times.
Now within range, and able to see the humans that lived there, you dismounted from your steed and walked ahead, noting how many there were amongst the tombs.
You knew Kagayama was behind you and would defend you if need be, but you hoped it wouldn’t come to that.
Two of the men were chained to the tombstones that guarded the area and you called out to them as they frothed at the mouth and growled out in a strange manner.
“I come to speak with my father,” you shouted to them.
“Who is he? That we may call him out,” one called in a demonic voice, his head swiveling and twisting in a very inhuman like way.
The hair on the back of your neck stood up as the other man cried out, the anguish in his tone making you want to run as far away as you could.
“A woman calls for her father!” the frothing, demonic one called back to others who were hidden behind the rocks.
“I was a father!” One voice called back, “but not to a woman.”
“Who were you a father to?” the demonic one asked again.
“I bore the devil himself,” the voice shouted back and all of a sudden it hit you – that voice pulling up all of your childhood and adolescent trauma.
“Show yourself!” you suddenly bellowed, your angry voice echoing off the rock faces as you scrunched your fists to your side.
Your father must have recognized your voice and appeared between the two deranged men, his appearance looking a lot more disheveled and gaunt that you ever remembered him being.
He stared at you, either unwilling to acknowledge that you still existed, or shocked that you had come back to face him.
“Look at you!” you shouted at him, trembling with rage, “unkept and living with the deranged while I prosper with the King of Karasuno.”
He blinked at you, unable to say anything.
“Have you nothing to say now? When you had many opinions of me before. But look how I have grown… I have lived true to myself and have prospered, while you have met your demise.”
The adrenaline charged your soul and you continued to speak out.
“I bet you thought you were finally free of me, but it is me who is free of you,” you cried with euphoric delight. “I am not here to ask for forgiveness. I have done nothing wrong. If anything, you should be asking my forgiveness, as your decrepit soul needs an advocate to save it from the pits of hell.”
Your father couldn’t believe his ears.
You had always just meekly taken his wrath. But here you were, looking well and healthy, and speaking your mind.
“Goodbye,” you then shouted, “if you call for me, you will refer to me Sovereign. For I am royalty!”
With your left hand high you showed off your wedding ring and royal signet then turned and beamed at King Kageyama, who had a proud smirk on his face from the short distance away.
“Come, Sovereign,” he called to you, “let us make our departure.”
“Coming, King Kageyama, my consort, my lover,” you called happily, loud enough for your father to hear as you turned and walked back to your horse, mounted, then trotted back to your man.
Your father still offered no words as you took your horse back to the King of Karasuno and then left with him.
You didn’t look back, the whole trip home, a giant smile on your face as sand whipped up around your horses legs.
You felt lighter.
Nothing could stop you.
You were headed home with the man you loved.
You were free.
…And you were you.
– END –
And there ends yet another book. This one was a little different from my usual but I hope you enjoyed the AU anyway.
Thank you again for reading and I’ll see you in the next book!
Much love, Author.