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"I can be ruler." I urged them. "I can be a great ruler. I can ensure that. I'm not a monster. So what if my parents were? No human, animal or any other living thing deserves death, no matter what their wrongs are. My sister is young, a child, she still doesn't know who she is. More or less... to die. I can be a great king. I an ensure that. My family doesn't deserve death. No one does. People can change. Plus, they will be out of their rule, no more then mere "peasants." I want my little sister to live and have a life." I eyes fell on Chad. "You can't make me pick between the two. If you leave me out now and be that great king then I'll even give you a spot on the royal members team. Were you to assist the king, me. We can make this a presidency, no more monarchy, like America. We could become that group to govern these people."

"Sorry, this is not a negotiation, this country runs on a monarchy, and it's not about to change because of your idealistic naivety," Shawna sneered.

"You have been living in that so-called Land of the Free for so long, you have no idea how this country works," Alex snorted. "This is England, not America. No one is going to bow down to a King who doesn't even want a monarchy. You want this country to be like America? Have you even SEEN what your so-called democracy has done to that country? Pfft! Dream on."

"We gave you an ultimatum, either abdicate or die. Now get your head together and choose!" Shawna growled.

"I appreciate the gesture, but I hate to admit it, bro, they're right," Chad whispered. "You can't be a King overnight without knowing the first thing about being King. Can you honestly tell me you were trained for this? You were born a royal, but you were not raised one. You don't know the first thing about running this country."

I wanted to retaliate but I knew Chad was right. My foster parent raised me just like any other American kid. I love fast food, dirt biking and roller coasters in summer theme parks. I love going to school, getting into friendly scuffles with the neighborhood kids. Hell, even my current job as a library assistant seemed more desirable than trying to decide the fate of the country. If I take the throne, it still will not wipe away my reputation as the son of the King who murdered thousands over a few bucks. I took a deep breath.

"OK, I will leave. I will leave and never turn back. But only if Stephanie comes with me, and that you will never pursue us again."

I grinned as Shawna agreed and ordered some guards to release my sister, me and Chad, leaving my parents to quietly weep. Once I could feel my hands, I quickly grabbed Stephanie and pulled her into my arms, then standing in front of Chad, protectively. Stephanie coughed and whined. "Mommy!!" 

"Stephanie, no. Let's go." I hugged her tightly before circling around the two and leaving with Chad by my side. "I can't do anything. I can't break a deal."

"Bu-but...." She whined and burst into tears.

"They're terrible people, sis. Both our parents and the Drake family. But we're going to ditch this place and actually live a good life, with no worries. It's OK, Steph."

Stephanie was still sobbing as we went, but her eyes told me that she knew I was right. She had lived with my royal parents longer than I ever did. She was privy to the workings of my parents and how they run the country. Deep down, she knows Shawna and Alex spoke the truth. But I understand her grief as well since she spent time longer with my parents than I did, so there is an inevitable bond between them. But at least now she will be free from the royal drama, and have a normal life, like I did, like I am going to now. All she could do was hold me tight and not let go the only family she had left. We were escorted to the Drake family jet where my foster family was already waiting, along with a very familiar face.

"Hello, Desmond Dunn."

"You!" I exclaimed, pointing at the man. "You're the guy who came to my house and started all this mess!"

"Richie~!" Stephanie squealed and rushed to hug the big man.

"Richie?" Chad raised a brow. "Am I missing something here?"

"He's the Benedict family head of security and my personal bodyguard!" Stephanie gushed over him. "I haven't heard from you since Mommy and Daddy sent you to America on a mission! Where have you been?"

"America? Wait..." My brain finally clicked. "You came to retrieve me, on my family's orders. Those guys at Earl's, they were also wearing the same suit as you. They're your guys?"

"Woah, that means that Claire bitch killed them AND Earl..." Chad seemed to have caught up too.

I groaned in frustration. "This would've been a much different story if I had let myself to taken by you." I immediately started to regret my decision. "Ugh..."

Richie laughed. "I shouldn't have been so "secretive" about it. C'mon, Stephanie, we are no longer welcome here." Stephanie looked up and me sadly, yet nodded in agreement. 

I looked over at Chad, yet still curious about the earlier topic i brought up. "So uhhh... about me liking you..."

"Yeah, that..." Chad scratched his chin a little awkwardly.

"It's OK if you don't have the same feelings for me," I said as I paid attention to my shoes. "I mean, I just needed to get it off my chest, not leave things unsaid if we didn't make it, like you said."

About a few seconds (which felt almost like eternity to me), I heard an exasperated groan and my collar suddenly get pulled.

"Fuck it."

Before I knew it, a pair of lips were against mine.

I blushed red. Stephanie looked up at us and giggled. "brother has a boyfriend~" She giggled and hugged my leg.

I pulled away and immediately the tension between us grew very awkward. It was very quiet, but my little sister broke it.

"Brother. I'm getting tired.." She raised her small arms in hopes of my picking her up, but before I could, Chad grabbed her and threw her on his shoulder. "Dude, you have an adorable little sister. Nothing like you!"

Stephanie giggled and playfully kicked about trying to get away but Chad held onto her so that he doesn't accidentally drop her.

"Haha, very funny," I rolled my eyes. "Now give her back, she wants me."

"Nuh-uh, you get to hog her forever. Let me hog her for once, since this is technically the first time we've met. Hi, I'm Chad. Nice to meet you."

"I know. I'm Stephanie. Nice to meet you too," she giggled, making me roll my eyes again.

"So what is this Richie guy doing here? I thought we dumped his ass back in America."

"Richie told me that he hacked the GPS system in the car you stole from him and tracked it to the junkyard where you dumped it to get it back. He figured from the location of the junkyard, he triangulated several places you might hide around the area and found one of your long distance friend Earl that you might go to. He sent some men to intercept you, but Drake's assassin had been secretly bugging their comms and got there first to kill them and Earl and wait for you. Then he did some sleuthing and figured out Alex was the mole who helped the assassin bug the comms and was going to come arrest him when he found out about the deal you made with them. He was offered to escort us back to America in exchange for him to leave the Drakes alone."

"So that explains that. Now for our next issue. Am I just going to go live in my old home alone with my sister, or should I move for safety reasons?" I asked, mainly myself.


"I'm tired of my fake name. Call me Sheridan."

"Ok, Dan." Chad teased. "I think you should move to a bigger house, you know? Taking care of a child is hard enough yet, you two need room for both. Plus, just to stay safe. I know just a house too and I can move in with you to help out with the girl." He smirked. "I bet you'd love that." He cooed and stuck his tongue out at me before running to the other side of the plane to avoid being tackled.

Stephanie was still in his arms as she squealed in delight, being carried along when Chad ran away. I blushed for a bit before chuckling and shouted after him, "Oh, you're such a fucking tease, bro! Get back here!"

As I chased after Chad and Stephanie with my foster family and Richie laughing in the background, the jet soon took off, on its way back to my home in America, and hopefully, to a new and better life ahead.

I stared at my royal father, looking hesitant and not meeting me in the eye.

"Tell them!!" Shawna screamed as she landed a hard whack behind his head with her switch, causing my mother and my sister to whimper. "Tell them what exactly did your family do to this country, to my family, to many other families who didn't follow your iron fists, huh?! TELL THEM!!!"

Shawna landed a few more blows onto him before my royal father finally spoke, "I'm... I'm sorry, son... They're... They're right... I have done things... Your grandfather had done things... But it was for the good of the country..."

"Good for the country my ass," Alex snorted. "Is eliminating an entire village just because they couldn't afford your taxes 'good for the country'? Take a good look and see what 'good' your family did for the country!"

So saying, he tossed a huge bunch of newspaper clippings towards my face. As I looked down at the headlines, there it was:





"No..." I could only breathed out.

I rose my head high and stared at Alex straight in the eye, accepting what I saw. "So. Just because my family were monsters, that makes me a monster? I love your logic, it's such nonsense. I would never murder a soul. Wha---"

Chad interrupted. "As so proven earlier. That poor guard."

Honestly, I was lost. Completely. So much was running through my head. Why did my father do that? What side am I even on anymore?...

"Your family has done nothing but cause harm to this country," Alex said. "We're just simply taking back what should be ours and make things right. That poor guard? His family opposed your father's choice to marry your mother because your mother is the daughter of Duchess Anastrovka."

"Duchess Anastrovka?" Chad gasped. "You mean the Russian duchess who's rumoured to have murdered her way up to the top of the ranks and secure her royal rank?"

"Not a rumour anymore. Like mother, like daughter. Your mother was one of the candidates to marry your father, but she didn't stand a chance against the other candidates who are higher rank than her, so she followed her mother's footsteps and sabotaged her competitors, causing the death of some of them. And when the guard's family tries to bring proof, your grandfather thinks her ruthlessness was a perfect match for his son and had them executed to shut them up."

"Is... Is it true, Mother?" I whispered. My royal mother didn't reply, but the lack of regret on her face as she looked at me told me enough.

I glared at both of them. "Just let me go please... I'm not going to be as horrible as they were. You have to remember, I was raised with a different family, different parents. Full of kindness, respect, trust, as mercy. I'm not going to murder someone. I'm nothing like my parents, and if you seem to think I do, then that's just pretty sad. You killed many to try to take the throne. Pathetic. How you come here and insult the way they rule when you do just the same. Funny. Very funny. Stupid hypocrites."

"We only kill those who deserve it," Shawna said. "Compared to the kill count your family had done, ours seem pretty miniscule. Call it however you want. Hypocrite or whatever. It's not gonna be any different than what you're about to do."

"What are you talking about...?" I glared at them.

"We're gonna cut you some slack. Like she said, we only kill those who deserve it. We're not that dumb to include you. We know you've been raised better than these monsters. So we will give you a choice. You can walk out of here, home free with your boyfriend, and go back to your old life with your foster parents, or you can join us and be a Drake, but you will still give up your right to rule to Shawna, OR you can join your precious family over there and die by sunrise tomorrow. Your choice."

I hesitated, looking at my royal family (especially my sobbing sister) that I have finally been able to reunite with after so many years apart, and at Chad whom I finally realized my feelings for. I was at a loss. What should I do...?

My eyes fluttered open, blinking to adjust to the light. "The princess finally woke up." I heard Chad's voice beside me, frowning. I lay on the cold floor. "Where's Alex?" I asked before turning to face Chad who was tied up. My eyes widened in horror. I tried to move my arms and legs, but i couldn't either. "Please explain" I cried.

I heard another voice behind me and a slight chuckle. "I can."

My eyes finally adjusted to the light as I looked up to see Alex and Shawna standing side by side. My brain clicked as I glared at the both of them.

"Alex! How could you? You're in on this too?"

"Sorry, Your Highness," Alex shrugged dismissively. "Hate to let you find out this way."

"Why? Why did you do it? Why are you in league with the enemy?!" Chad demanded.

"I'm not in league with anyone. I'm just taking my lover's side and supporting her," Alex said as he wrap an arm around Shawna's waist, earning a kiss on the cheek from her. "I'm on the winning team, buddy."

"How... How could you...?"

"How could I? Why don't you ask your parents why?"

So saying, he increased the brightness of the room with a remote, and it revealed my royal family sitting at the far end of the room.

"Father..... Mother..." I glared at Alex. "Stupid faggot. Always knew you were going to end up nothing more than a peice of cow manure. Hah. Nice to know you're dating someone that looks as if she's in her 80's, so caught up in her hopeless dreams that she aged quicker than she should've. Tell me, darling, how did that feel?" I smiled sweetly yet devilishly.

Alex walked up to me and smacked me before sending me flying with a harsh kick to the stomach. My sister whined and rolled over to me. "You listen here, you're the faggot, Mister I'm-in-love-with-my-guy-best-friend. Don't ever insult my love. Or..." He made his face towards Chad and gently rubbed a knife again his cheek. "You can see him get brutally murdered."

I stiffened and looked away speechless. "Not much of a talker now huh?" Alex smirked.

I glared up at him. "Power hungry people never win. Oh, you just wait," I faced my parents. "Father. What are they talking about?"

"Yeah, Your Majesty," Alex said mockingly. "Why don't you tell them what your family really does while they're running the country?"

We made our way towards the end of the hallway  and made a left into a room. There tied up to a chair, was a man, he looked fairly old, around 40? He has to have a family by now.

"Dude, are you sure you wanna do this? Threaten death and everything?" Chad whispered to my ear. "What if he doesn't care if he lives or dies? What if he doesn't have a family? What if he has nothing to lose?"

"Then I have nothing to lose as well if I kill him, wouldn't I?" I glared at Chad. "He betrayed my family and sold them out to the enemy. That is considered treason."

"Yes, but you are not the King, you don't get to decide who lives and who dies. And you're the last person I would think to have blood on their hands. That is not the King, or the Prince, I expected you to be. You're better than that."

I hesitated, lowering the gun, not sure what to do.

"I'll just threaten him... Chad. Not actually kill him.. you know.. give him a good scare? Maybe we will.. plus.. how else will I get my family back? Or my sister?"

Chad sighed. "You're the prince, you decide, I'm not gonna choose for you." He disapproved sadly.

"Erm..." Now I was really uncertain of what to decide to do. I gripped onto the gun and tossed it over to Alex.

"Pah! Bloody weak prince who don't have the guts to get his hands dirty," the man sneered as he spat at the floor. "No wonder this country is in shambles. The king can't even raise his son right, let a bunch of pansy commoners turn him into a big ol' softy."

Before I could say anything, Chad suddenly pushed past me and grabbed the old man by the collar. "You listen here, you old fogey! He may not have been raised the royal way, but he is a way better fucking human being than you who probably sold off the royal family to the enemy for probably a bit of cash! He could've ignored my advice and exercise his right as a royal and killed you, right here and now! It takes guts to look someone who sent their whole family to their death straight in the eye and not put a bullet between them! You practically sentenced his family to death and he is considering to spare your life, which is way more than I can do if I were in his shoes, so DON'T you DARE call him weak!"

"Wow, your mate is a spitfire, I'll give him that," Alex whispered to me. I was speechless. I've seen Chad pissed, but never THAT pissed before.

"Alex shushh..." It was kinda awkward for me to see him this mad. I approached the tied up man. "You know you are really pathetic. How would you like it if I imprisoned you for life. You'll be ditching your family forever and honestly if i do it in secret, they won't even know and think you were some d*ckhead that left them for another. Now no, wouldn't that be lovely."

"I ain't got no family! Your family killed mine when I was just a kid because they didn't like the way they tried to speak their mind! I ain't got anything to lose! So throw me anywhere you want! Throw me in the gulag for all I care! Your family is not fit to rule this country! I'd rather take my chances with your cousin!"

"Oh yeah? And how can you be sure you won't be treated fairly when my cousin takes over the throne? Do you think she'll let you live once the crown is on her head?" I crossed my arms.

"Like I said, I'd rather take my chances than serve your family. My parents never stood a chance against your grandfather when he was in rule, and your father is starting to become a chip off the old block as well! Good riddance to bad rubbish!" He spat onto my face this time

I was pissed, but I held back at trying to smack him right then and there. Instead, I broke out into a creepy laughter, where as even Alex and Chad aeemed confused and weirded out. "You don't know them! Ahahah. Most of the people they used that i encountered were killed after! We're practically giving you that chance to love and here you are, perfering to die in their hands. Says a lot about you. You disgust me. That's probably why your family was killed!"

"Don't you DARE talk about my family like that! Don't you DARE!!" The man struggled against his binds. "They spoke the truth, and your grandfather couldn't handle the truth and killed them for it. Go ask your precious father what exactly happened! I'm not saying another word!!"

"Why you..." I lost my cool and was ready to give the guy a good sock on the face when Alex grabbed my wrist and shook his head.

"Forget it. It's not worth it. It's clear where his allegiance lies. We're going nowhere with him," Alex said as he led me out of the room, leaving the guy to laugh maniacally at us.

"Ask your precious Daddy! See what he has to say about his father killing my family just because they didn't agree with who your father married! Go ask him! Hahahahahahahaha!!!"

Alex glared at the man one last time before slamming the door, locking it, his muffled laughter still can be heard behind the door.

I was absolutely furious, i wanted to go back at smack that guy so hard, he'll regret everything he had said. Chad oatted my back realizing so. "Ey bro, you a'ight?"

I nodded and was simply dragged back to Chad's room by both of them. "I have to find my family... guys... cmon let's go.."

The shook their head. "You ain't going anywhere, princess." Chad chuckled. Always with the jokes. Alex looked at Chad dead straight in the eyes. "You aren't either."

"Wait, what?" Chad was taken by surprise.

"Both of your safety are my concerns," Alex said, hands on his hips. "Shawna is after you, Your Highness, and you, Chad, are her means to an end, a collateral that Shawna will see fit to use to gain leverage. I'll go look for leads and bring your family back. You stay here and be safe."

"Now wait just a minute--"

Before I could say something, I felt a sharp thwack on my forehead, and before everything went black, I could hear Chad's cry at my name and then his groan as well...

I must've overslept because when I woke up, the moon was high in the sky and the time on my phone read 7.30pm. Holy shit, was I asleep that long? Why didn't anyone wake me up? Did I miss dinner? I got off the bed as quickly as my body could catch up with the adrenaline and stepped out of my room.

"Hello? Hello~! Anyone?"

Silence. Complete silence. And not the comfortable kind. This was not right. I have a bad feeling about this...

"Alex! Father! Guards!" My eyes slowly adjusted to the drakness of the castle. I walked along the hallway, stumbling over something i could not recall. I reached up to grab onto someting and felt a doorknob. I knocked furiously at the door. "Excuse me??!!"

I swung open the door, immediately, i recognized, this was Chad's room.

I looked around frantically. Chad was not in his bed, nor was he hooked onto the hospital equipment. Where could he be? Shit, has someone from Drake family gotten to him? "Chad? Chad?! Chad, where are you?!" Suddenly my hand was yanked and I was pulled into the en-suite bathroom of Chad's room.

"Shh! Dude! Keep it down!"

"Um.... Chad? What are you doing out bed and what the hell is go---" He interrupted me. "Bro, I said shut up!" He hissed quietly at me and covered my mouth. "They're here. Be as quiet as you can be. Do you want to die?!"

I shook my head, glad he was OK, but now worried for both our lives. "So where is everyone else? When did they come? My parents? Alex?"

"I dunno about Alex," Chad admitted. "I just heard a bunch of loud shouting and gunshots and I quickly unplugged myself and hid under the bed first. I barely managed to dodge the search, but I was lucky they gave up quickly and left the room. I was about to go find you when I heard you come in. Of course I thought whoever it is has doubled back to check here again, but I was relieved it was you."

"I knew it. Alex was right; Shawna is behind this. She's still at large and still after the throne..."

"Woah, dude, wait, who's Shawna? Who's Alex? What's going on here?"

I sighed and finally told him everything that had happened since I took that plane Claire sent me into. It wasn't the ideal time, but it was better than nothing, and Chad needed to be up to speed. "....yeah so that's the gist of it."

"Bro... you put yourself in so much danger to come bring me here... why? Why did you do it. You're a prince, man, you could've died. You're crazy, man! But why?"

I shrugged and lost my eye contact with him. "You're a close friend and I thought they'd get to you..." It was true, but not completely.

I felt Chad's stern stare on me. 5 minutes passed and he broke the silence. "Bro, I know you. You were always great at holding eye contact. I know you. When you look away, it's like your way of admitting it's a lie or partly true, which is why you can't maintain eye contact. It's like you feel guilty for doing so. Bro... tell me."

"I... I'm not lying, not... really..." I shook my head, trying to get rid of the thoughts that plagued my mind. "Anyway is this really the time? We need to go find both my real parents and my foster parents, and my sister, and Alex. Oh god, I wonder what happened--"

A pair of strong hands grabbed my face and made me face Chad's. I gasped. I've never seen Chad so serious before.

"No, you are not getting out of this. I know you have something to say, and if you don't say it now and one of us don't make it out of this alive, we are going to regret it for the rest of our lives, maybe even in the afterlife if BOTH of us don't make it. So spit it out!"

"I LOVE YOU, OK?!" I finally blurted it out. "I did this all for you because I am fucking in love with you and I didn't even realize I actually HAVE feelings for you until I knew you were hurt or you were gonna die or that I'm gonna die! I love you more than a friend, more than a bro! And it makes me sick inside that you might not feel the same way for me, so I don't want to admit it! You happy now?!"

Chad stiffened, but soon his grip on me grew weak. His face was expressionless, too hard to tell if he loved me back or not, and it was killing me. I heard him sigh. Was it relief? Happiness? Sadness? Regret? "Chad.."

"Bro, Shut up."

"E-errr... I-I'm sorry, I didn't think that yo---"

He placed his finger on my lips, interrupting me. "No, seriously, shut up! I'll get back to that later, but I think I hear something and I need you to be quiet."

I stiffened up at his finger on my lip and perked my ears, trying to listen. There was definitely footsteps coming in, slow and deliberate ones, as if the person is trying to be cautious and quiet.

"Arm yourself," Chad whispered so silently I almost couldn't hear him. "On the count of three, we pounce."

I nodded and looked around. There was a broom right to my left. It wasn't the best, but it'll have to do. Chad armed himself with a toilet plunger, then used his fingers to do the countdown. Once he hit one, we both let out a battle cry and ran out of the bathroom, tackling whoever it was that entered the room, piling onto him and whack him for all its worth with our lame-ass "weapons".

Before I smacked the man's face with my amazing and creative broom, i stopped and pushed Chad off of him. "Alex?"

"Sup bro~" He said somewhat weakly. I grabbed his arms and pulled him into the bathroom. "Alex please, you seem to know everything. What exactly is going on?"

"By the way, nice to finally meet you, heard so much about you," Alex grinned at Chad before turning to me. "As I feared, it was Shawna. One of the hired help betrayed us. He was a mole for her and disabled all the security in this castle and paved the way for Shawna to attack. I barely managed to get your foster parents to safety in one of our safe houses, but they've got your royal parents and your sister."

"Shit! We really gotta save them! Where are they headed?" I said worriedly.

"I'm trying to crack the mole into telling us right now. So far, he's not budging."

"Fine, then we kill him if he doesn't. I bet he has a family to get to now? Right? Imma go march in there myself." I reached her his gun.

"Huh, I didn't want to seem too mean but why not? Here, follow me, guys." Alex said before walking out the room.

I tried to control myself as he lay down on the hospital bed, but i couldn't. I ran over and gave him a huge hug. "Bro... You had me so worried." I said as I enjoyed the embrace before pulled back and gently slapping him. "Don't do that again! Crazy my bro!"

Chad chuckled lightly, you could tell his energy and health was getting better. "Geez bro, calm down!"

"I was really worried about you. I almost thought you... You died..."

"Heh, ain't no one's keeping this bad boy down. I've got lives like a cat," Chad grinned proudly.

"I'm serious, bro. If you died, I don't know what I'd do... I... I..." I couldn't control the tears of fear and relief as they rolled down my cheeks, dripping off my chin and onto Chad's hand. The thought of him being dead, gone out of my life was too much for me to bear. I've never felt so vulnerable.

"Hey, hey, dude. It's OK," I felt Chad's hand on my sopping wet cheek. "I'm here, aren't I?"

I nodded but I couldn't stop crying. I laid my head on the head. I felt Chad rest his hand on my head and rub my hair. "Cmon bro don't cry! Are you ok? Bro you can't cry. You need to tell be about what happened to you!"

"I-I'm fine..." I looked up at him, my eyes red and puffy from crying. "Bro, there's so much that went on... could we wait till you're out of the hospital first?"

"Yeah, I'm still feeling a little pooped out," Chad admitted. "I feel like I could sleep for a week."

"Sure, go ahead. Rest up. I promise I'll tell you everything when you're better," I said as I dried my eyes.

"Cool," Chad yawned. "See ya when I see ya, bro."

I smiled and stayed next to him, watching him until he finally drifted off to sleep.

No one was around the hospital room when I looked around. I saw Chad fast asleep so I leaned over and seeked kissed on his cheek, before getting up to leave.

"I saw that." I jumped, thinking it was Chad.

"I-it's not what you think!" I said quickly only to find out it was Alex.

Alex was laughing. I rolled my eyes. "Alex bro! Shut up! He's trying to sleep. And no speaking of this!"

Alex patted his back. "Whatever you say so... Your Highness." He chuckled and closed the door after i walked out with him.

"I'm serious! Shut up~!" I pouted as I walked alongside him.

"You're going to have to tell him sooner or later."

"I will, when the time is right."

"Well that time better be quick, coz you're not gonna be able to get your happily ever after when you're dead."

"What do you mean?" I looked at him confusedly.

"Shawna escaped. When our paramilitary troops got to the Drake Manor, we've caught and killed everyone. Everyone except Shawna and her immediate family."

"She would never come here! That's ridiculous! She'd be killed immediately! And how are you sure that she is going to kill me! For god's sake, Alex don't joke like that."

Alex sighed. "They were unable to find her, or where she went... you'll be put on high security."

I looked at him like if he was crazy. "What about Chad though! What if they get to him! Or my parents or my sister!!"

"Which is why everything in this castle will be highly fortified and double the security. We cannot underestimate the willingness of Shawna to achieve the throne. She's just as stubborn as her old man. Rumour has it she had undergone various trainings, including stealth and infiltration. We can't afford to take any chances."

I frowned at the thought of Shawna still walking on this Earth, still plotting to take over the throne. "She's determined, I'll give her that," I muttered as I absentmindedly touched the welt on my cheek where she bitch-slapped me with her switch.

"So meanwhile that happens... how and when do you think said coronation will be? Like... do you think.. if I became king, she would be unable to achieve the throne?" I asked him hopefully thinking she would give up after.

Alex looked at me and half smiled. "I don't know... they could easily kill you and your sister. Who else would be left?"

"I don't know. I mean... Daddy only has one sister, who is Shawna's mom and my aunt. He was supposed to have another brother, but my grandmother died giving birth due to complications, and the baby was born stillborn. There's no other contender for the throne," I said. "And if there is no one from mine or Drake's family to take the throne, the next in line is probably the Duke of Nottingham, but that is worse case scenario only..."

"Well, I don't think Shawna would aim for the Duke, a person as conceited as her wouldn't even think a low level royal like him as a threat," Alex replied. "Besides your coronation won't happen until your father officially abdicates or pass away, so you're still a free man for now. Right now, your safety is the highest priority until we get rid of Shawna, so the coronation will have to take the backseat for now."

I nodded in agreement. "Honestly... I wanna go rest now, but what if they attack me while so?"

Alex chuckled. "You're getting paranoid now. Security will be on you at all times, bro!"

"Let's go catch something to eat. I remember my parents prefer to eat as a family at dinner. When is that?"

Alex looked at his phone. "Should be around 6pm, that gives you 4 hours. You should take a rest. It's been a super long day."

I nodded, fatigue finally settling in after days and days of high octane action and death riding on my back. Alex informed one of the butlers to escort me to my room to rest. As I entered, I realized that it was my childhood room, the room I spent the first few years of my life as a royal Prince. Everything was kept clean and pristine, even the toys I played when I was a toddler. It was as if I've never left.

I chuckled as I picked up a teddy bear. "You're coming with me Sheriff!" I jumped into my bed and cuddled the fluffy toy. I wish I had spent more time here, but honestly my foster parents' home was fun too.

I lay on the bed for a while, sleepiness and my tiredness finally catching up to me as I slowly fell asleep.

The familiar castle soon came into view as the jet slowly approaches it, making its way to the large air strip behind and landed. As everyone waited for the jet to slow down to a halt, I could see my real parents and Stephanie waiting to greet us at the waiting area of the air strip. Taking a deep breath, I removed my seatbelt once the jet grinded to a halt.

"Time to face the music."

I was about to help the doctor escort Chad out but Alex took my place and flicked his head towards my real father and mouthed. "Tell him."

I gulped and took a deep breathe before nodding my head and made my way towards my real father and mother. They looked happy and were crying, pulling me into a big hug. I hughed them back, it was so good to see them again. I pulled back despite the fact i wanted to be in their arms a little longer. "King. Queen. We have to talk about something."

"Of course, let's head to the main study lounge. Let the others help to manage your guests," the King replied. "And please, you can call me Daddy like old times. I truly miss it."

"OK... Daddy," I smiled as I held Stephanie's hand and followed my royal parents to the said lounge. I couldn't help but look around and taking in the sights while we were making our way there. So much memories, so much familiarity, it definitely feels like home again, for real.

Stephanie whined and jumped, holding onto my stomach to try and stay off the floor. I rolled my and lifted her up, placing her on my shoulders. "So iu have a sister, huh, father? Why didnt you tell me before?"

"Technically we did tell your foster parents, but that itself was a big risk, and your foster parents probably thought it's best you think it was a rumour," he replied.

"I guess with Drake on our tail, it's understandable," I said as I tickled Stephanie's ankle, in which she giggled. "But why didn't you tell her about me?"

"The same reason it was risky for us to tell your foster parents about her," my mom the Queen replied. "We really wanted to tell you though, believe us."

"I do, Mommy, I do."

"Here we are, the main study lounge," my royal dad said as he opened the big redwood door, revealing something that can be comparable to the study in the Beast's castle in the Beauty and the Beast movie.

I stared at it astonished by the sight of it. "Wow..." Alex tapped my shoulder and cleared his throat. I rolled my eyes and pulled my real parents away from the crowd. "Mother.... Father... I have something to say." I took a deep breath, hesitating to tell him.... "I... I know I'm going to be the next ruler and as ruler I need to create an heir but.... what if my preference is not necessarily.... girls."

The exchanged a glance with each other and burst out laughing. It was my mother whi finally spoke. "Oh sweetie, we knew this whole time, you're not so good at hiding it, Mister went-through-all-that-trouble-to-bring-his-"friend"-here." They both simultaneously winked at me.

"Wait... Huh?" I was caught off guard by that.

"We knew it even before we sent you to hiding. When we got you your favourite action figures, you always said you wanna marry them when you grow up. When you celebrated your 4th birthday, and you met your cousin from Scotland, you said you wanted to make him your Queen when you grow up," my father chuckled. "We knew then getting you a Queen in the future was out of the question."

"Besides, we still keep tabs on you when you were in hiding with your foster family Ted and Brenda Dunn," my mother said. "We knew of the company you keep. Chad is a nice guy. A little bit rough around the edges, but still a good kid at heart. Anyone who risked their lives to save our son and his family is good in our book."

"So... You're not mad that I'm...umm..."

"Gay? No, of course not. We may be royal, but we're not in the bloody 50s. It's the 21st century."

Happiness burst inside me as i jped into their atms and hugged them tightly. "Oh thank you!" I smiled widely at them before walking back to Alex.

"How'd it go? My guess it went well by your actions" His face full of curiosity. I nodded and he smiled at me, "That's one problem solved."

I gazed around the room. "Um... where is Chad?"

"Oh you didn't notice? They rook him away to the castle hospital room to be seen and treated by our other doctors."

"Is he gonna be OK?" I asked. "Can I see him now?"

"The docs had just finished, so I don't see why not," Alex shrugged. "Go get him, lover boy."

With a wink and a light shove on my back, he sent me off my way before going to my royal parents to give his report. With the help of one of the butlers, I was led to the castle hospital wing and escorted into the room he was in. Taking a deep breath, I entered the room, and was greeted with a soft familiar voice.

"Yo, bro... You're still alive..."

I nodded gratefully as I followed Dr Orville and his nurses along with Alex covering my back as we wheeled Chad out of his ward and made our way to the elevator to get to the roof where the jet is waiting. An odd place to park the jet since it's technically a helipad for emergency helicopters but it was the best Alex could do at short notice. As we reached the roof and was about to get into the jet, we were flanked with a couple of combat helicopters that bear Drake's insignia on it, and was soon fired at with a hail of bullets

"F*ck!" I cursed as Alex covered both me and Chad with his body,  luckily under the attendant's suit, he was wearing one of our castle's bullet protector vests.

"Watch out, Lovebirds, this is gonna be a hell of a fight." Alex grinned, he seemed so positive about winning and making it out alive, it gave me a burst of confidence. I groaned as one of the gunshots flee past him and pierced into my shoulder.

Alex pulled out his guns and threw one at me. "Now don't be useless!"

"Wait, what??" I fumbled, almost dropping the gun. "I never shot a gun before! I only do that on FPS games!"

"Then just pretend it's an FPS game and shoot!" Alex shouted as he covered us, shooting back at the helicopters while walking backwards to guide us into our jet. "Or do you want you lovebirds to live happily ever after?!"

"Ugh, fine! And stop calling us that!" I groaned as I tried to ignore the searing pain on my shoulder and hoisted my weapon, trying my best to aim at the shooters in the helicopters. "It's fine. It's fine. Just pretend you're Solid Snake... Pretend you learned something from Call of Duty and Counter Strikes..."

I fired a few warning shots at one of the helicopters before trying my best to pinpoint the best angle to shoot at the shooter inside. As luck would have it, I saw an opening and took it. I fired the shot, and the bullet ricochet onto the door and into one of the shooters' skull, sending him plummeting down and out of the helicopter.

"Oh dear.. I did it!" I squealed in accomplishment.

"Hey girly, no time for that now, that was one out of many, you and the doctor get Chad inside." Alex grunted as we drew closer to the jet's entrance.

I nodded and turned around, quickly pushing Chad into the plane with the help of the doctor. I saw Mom and Dad, oh thank god they were OK. "Go tell the pilot to prepare for take off!" I hissed at the doctor, who did as was told. "Alex, cmon get in!" Alex shot one last bullet before running into the jet, still on high alert.

"Close the door, Imma scout out the plane." He ordered me and crept off, holding his gun up. I pressed and held the button that closed the doors.

The jet soon took off into the air as fast as it could, though it barely even stayed in the air for 5 minutes before I could hear gunshots again, this time much louder and much powerful than plain old firearms.

"Shit! More incoming!" Alex shouted as he showed up and made his way to the cockpit of the jet, asking loudly whether there are weapons equipped on the jet, then him closing the cockpit door and what I assumed took over the flying.

"Hang on tight, people. It's gonna be a bumpy flight." I hear Alex made the announcement before the plane started spinning and weaving in and out, doing figure 8's and stuff to avoid the shots and missiles launched at us. I fastened my seatbelt and held onto Chad to keep him in place, praying that we would make it

Honestly, this ride was making me want to barf but I held it in because I was holding on to Chad and I didn't want to get vomit all over him. I looked over at my foster mother who was gripping onto the seat as if she was about to die, she was always so delicate.

Alex looked at everyone carefully. "Thankfully there is no one else on board with us, or so, no one I saw. But is everyone on?" Everyone looked around and nodded simultaneously. "At this point, it'll only be a few till we are out of there reach and on our way to the castle. I'll inform the king and queen about your arrival." He said turning to me, the gun still in hand.

"Just get us there in one piece, Alex," I hollered as I continued holding onto Chad. I hear Alex walking back to the cockpit and pressed a few buttons and heard some whirring underneath my feet. Then I felt the jet jerked a bit as a loud hissing sound was heard before another loud explosion and the jet shuddered from the shockwave. I looked out the window and saw one of Drake's helicopters go up in flames and plummeted down to Earth. Another few more of those, we would probably be breaking so many air laws. Now I get what Alex meant by asking the pilot if this plane had more guns...

I don't feel any pity for them. How many times have they tried to kill me? Oh yeah... Too many to count. I rolled my eyes and looked at the smoke in that air and cringed my nose.

Mother broke the silence. "Erm... So are you gonna tell us where you have been and what's going on, son?"

"You wanna know now? While there's a bunch of killer choppers chasing behind us?"

"No time like the present, son," my foster dad agreed, cringing at another blast. "Besides it'll keep our minds off being chased by killer choppers."

Trust him to pull out a dad joke in a middle of a crisis. Sighing, I told them everything, from the man who showed up at my house that fateful morning up till now.

"You met Stephanie? That's wonderful! How is she?" Mom exclaimed happily.

"She's great, took her a while to believe that I'm her big brother, but hey, better late than never."

"Well I can't wait to catch up with Henry and Jessica," Dad said in the midst of another blast. "It's been too long since we met face to face."

"I'm sure they'll be glad to meet you guys. You practically helped raise me after all."

The doctor came over an began to do a check up on Chad. I stood up and trotted over to Alex. "Hey, when till we land?"

He looked out the window, busy with all the chaos. "We lost them, I believe so.. and soon. I believe the rest will retreat because they know, one step on our country is immediate execution."

"U-um...... ok...." I awkwardly walked away and left him to his job. "Well, how is he doctor."

"It seems as if you boyfr-- I mean, Chad is doing pretty well after all know... this."

"Yeah, he's a tough one, I'll give him that," I smiled as I sat next to him.

"You do realize that you are the first born, and your... preference most likely wouldn't benefit the throne when it comes to heirs, you know that, right?" Dr Orville said cautiously. "And besides, does the King and Queen know about your choice of partner?"

My breath hitched. I hadn't thought about that. I am Prince Sheridan Benedict, first born of the Benedict family and rightful heir to the throne. There would be royal duties, and duty as a King to produce future heirs, but with Chad... And I still don't know if Chad felt the same way for me as I do.

"I'll... I'll cross that bridge when I get there..." I said, my gaze trailed off towards the window, looking out at the setting sun. "Well...." I thought to myself. "My sister can always make an heir.. it does state if the ruler in unable to create a heir, then anyone else from the family blood can do so, will become the knew heir, but.... would father approve?"

Alex came back. "Everyone seatbelts on, we're about to land!"

I placed my on and grabbed ahold of Chad. Honestly, it felt great to finally be home, where it's safe.

Right when he left, a doctor came in with his clipboard. "Hey Doc.. is there anyway possibly to move in onto an airplane to make aay in a different hospital?"

The doctor nodded, reading from his clipboard. "I assume you'd want to take him to your castle hospital. I'll get the nurses prepared, you highness." A huge grin appeared upon his face.

I blinked in surprise. "How did you...?"

"I was already briefed by the situation with your guard Alex while you were on your way here. Besides I used to be your family doctor, remember? I've got all your medical records here with me."

It took me a while before I recognize him. "Dr. Orville! Yes, I remember now. You're not just our family doctor, you're our castle family physician before you helped me escape! It's been so long! You haven't aged a day!"

I shook his hand happily and he chuckled, "I'm surprised you still remember, given that you haven't seen me since you went to high school."

"Guess I'm just too old for lollipops now," I chuckled as well.

"Do you plan on coming back with us, Doctor?" I asked.

"Well what kind of question is that?! You want to take this boy here to your castle, I couldn't just let you take him without a proper doctor on board." The doctor playfully rolled his eyes. "Now let's get going! You need to be at the castle as fast as possible!" The said just as the nurses came in disconnecting cables and connecting them to a portable one, however having the same attributes.

I smiled happily as we carried Chad out and called Alex over. "Mom and dad are in the plane" Alex nodded. "Safely, now for you three."

While landing, Alex radioed in for a car to pick us up. The car was there waiting as soon as we have landed. I couldn't get down the plane fast enough to get to the car, Alex following me close behind.

"To Eclis Hospital, and gun it, George," Alex said to the driver, who in turn nodded and hit the accelerator.

The driver weaved in and out of traffic expertly and we were soon at the hospital in 10 minutes flat. I practically flew out of the car and made a run for the hospital building, and as luck would have it, I saw my foster parents coming out from the hospital cafeteria into the hospital lounge.

"Mom! Dad!" I exclaimed as I ran towards them. My folks greeted me with a bear hug.

"Oh Des, I was so worried," Mom cried as she hugged me tight. "Thank God you're OK."

"What happened, son? Where have you been?" Dad asked frantically.

"I promise I'll tell you everything. I need to know: Where's Chad? What happened to him?"

"Oh poor Chad... He tried so hard to protect us..." Mom sobbed.

This spread panic throughout my body. "Wait he's dead?!?" I assumed by her words and sprinted towards the hospital rooms, not knowing the room number, but hell ill look for him if i have too. He can't be... he's strong... please don't be... Chad...

I heard the talking of Alex with my foster parents behind me and some chuckling. "Hey genius! Room 45!" He called after me and soon followed after me. I found the room I was looking for and burst in.

The moment I burst in, I was met with the sight of Chad being covered in bandages and a rather big cast around his left arm. He was hooked up with a breathing tube, and the sound of his breathing and the beep of the heart monitor showed that he was alive, though unconscious.

"He... He's alive...?"

"Of course he's alive," Alex popped up behind me. "If you didn't go all gung ho about this, you would've stayed long enough to hear your folks tell you he's OK. A bit shaken up, but OK."

"What... What happened?" I asked, feeling both relieved and stupid at the same time.

"Turns out that Claire was one of Drake's best assassins. She tricked Chad into taking her to your foster parents' home instead of dropping him off at the nearest train station as promised. Then once they got there, she immediately assaulted him and your folks. Chad took the brunt of the hits, even got shot a few times trying to protect them. He played dead while Claire tried to lock your folks in the basement and wait for backup to finish the job, then leapt onto her and rolled down the basement stairs with her. He broke his arm doing it, but she broke her neck and died from the fall. The rest is history."

"Wow.." I looked done at Chad quite impressed. "Hey Alex, go tell my parents that they are coming with me too. I can't leave them here."

Alex nodded. "Of course. I'll leave you two love birds alone." He winked before exiting the door.

I ended the call. Oh god.... he's not ok... not ok at all... I need to do something. If I move him to a hospital in the castle, he would be on high surveillance and treated with the finest doctors in England. Yeah, that's what I'll do, and possibly bring my foster parents. No, the Irish family doesn't know about them, since they starting looking for me 3 years after I moved out, they're fine, but first. I looked at Stephanie who noticed my pale face and sudden change in attitude. I have to drop her off safely first. 

"B-Brother... are you ok?"

I simply nodded and beheld the view of the castle. Beautiful.... "Hey Stephanie. I want you to run into the palace, find mom and dad and tell them I'm on my way, and keep it a secret. After that, dont leave their sight, for your own safety. You understand?"

My heart ached when I see her face drop to a sad frown. "But... But where are you going? We just met, and I've got so many questions to ask about you..."

"I know, sis, but right now, my friend needs help. I need to get to him before the Drakes do, and bring him here to protect him. I'll be back before you know it, OK?"

"Is... Is he your boyfriend...?"

I blushed. Chad is my BFF, my bro...isn't he...?

"Umm, no... Well, not really. It's... complicated. Just go back to Mommy and Daddy and be safe. Don't tell them I was with you, OK? Just say we met a while and then traveled separately to avoid being chased, and I'll be back as soon as I get my friend. Promise?"

"Only if you promise to come back," she replied, holding up her pinkie.

I smiled, she was so adorable. I wraped my pinky around hers. "Promise." Now I have a promise to keep, if I mess up, this will all be bad. The plane landed and I waved goodbye to my little sister and watched her as a guard ran up to her and escorted her into the castle, before facing the male flight attendent.

"Take me to the Eclis Hospital, where my friend was admitted."

The male nodded, "Your Highness, you can call me Alexander."

I stared at him in shock. "Alex?!" My childhood friend before I had to go into hiding. "I didnt recognize you!!"

"Yes, it's been like 17 years. Guess what, buddy? I became a S class guard here at the castle, yet also in charge of the planes."

I didnt question why he was being the attendant with such a high rank.

"Nice meeting ya again also, we will have to insert gas into the plane so...." He said before walking into the front of the pilot to inform their new route.

"S class... Wow, who'd have thunk..." I muttered to myself in awe as I returned to my seat, fastening my seatbelt. As the jet turned to its new destination, my hand slowly moved to gently caress the pinkie I used to make that pinkie promise. Huh, pinkie promise. It's something I always did with my real mom, and something my foster mom did as well to help me bond with her. I couldn't help smiling at that memory.

"So how're you holding up?"

I looked up to see Alex coming over and sat on a seat opposite mine. Looking up to see the seatbelt sign off, I undid it and gave him a bro hug.

"Man, Alex. It's been forever. How did you end up being a guard? How's your life? Tell me everything."

"Oh you know after you left, I become intrested in combat and serving my country so I decided why now try out as a guard? I trained hard, proved my loyalty and even your father was proud of me when I was appointed S class. My life has been great, how about you, bro?" He smiled.

"Yeah I guess mine was too. My foster parents are amazing and I met a really cool dude... who we're going to pick up right now."

"Ooh~ Is he your boyfriend~?" Alex asked teasing. I could tell he meant it as a joke, but I couldn't help blushing, which made him gasp. "Omigod, he IS your boyfriend!"

"No! No, he's not!" I defensively denied it, my red face betraying me.

"Nuh-uh, look at your cheeks! They're redder than a baboon's arse!"

"No, it's not!" I tried to hide my red cheeks that were burning up. "It's... It's complicated, OK?"

"How complicated can it be? You like him, don't you?"

"Y-Yeah, I mean, he's my bro since we first met at school."

"Uh-huh, and instead of asking how is he, you decided to redirect a freaking jet plane back to America where you might be captured at a moment's notice by Drake's goons to save him and bring him here. No one does that just for a 'bro', mate."

I was at a loss of words. Was he right? Was I really...falling for my BFF?

It was awkward and silent in the ride for what seems like 10 minutes until Alex broke the silence. "Now worries, bro, I'll help you save the love of your life and hey! Maybe I could even play Cupid! Oh how much I wanted to play the role of Cupid, it sounds fun! And now I can! You little lovebirds." He joked teasingly. "Wait... is he even... you know... into boys?"

"That's why I said... It's complicated..." I looked away sadly. He was known to flirt with girls; he's done it with Claire when we were at Earl's, but he also had done things that made me suspect, although it wasn't enough for me to be sure that he swings that way. "Anyway, you're my guard, how are you gonna have the time to play Cupid?"

"Who says I can't? I'm already a flight attendant as well, aren't I?" He grinned proudly. "Anyways I can help you poke him around to figure out whether he swings that way or not."

"Thanks..." I gave him an appreciative smile. "Just don't embarrass me in the process."

"No promises," he grinned. "I think we're almost there. Prolly 15 minutes give or take."

I sighed and smiled at the thought of me and Chad together.

"No way bro! You really do like him huh?" Alex said studying my face.

I flushed a tomato red, he was always so great at knowing how I feel. "Bro shut up about that!!" I said, just as the seatbelt sign lit up. We were about to land. I put on my seatbelt and waited impatiently for the plane to land.

"Good to see you, Your Highnesses," a male flight attendant helped us to our seats. "Your parents are sending paramilitary troops right now to the Drake Manor to weed out the usurpers as we speak. Fasten your seatbelts. We'll be leaving shortly."

I nodded a thank you and sat down, fastening my seatbelt. Stephanie followed suite. As soon as the jet was in the air, she finally spoke to me.

"Why did Mommy and Daddy never told me about you? Why have I never heard of having a big brother? They didn't even have any pictures of you at home."

"They probably did it to hide the fact that i was in hiding. You could've easily spit it out or something, then i would be in danger. How old are you, girl?" I said, grabbing a chocolate off the candy shelf

"8 years old," she replied, looking longingly at it. I smiled and helped her take one.

"Guess Shawna was right about one thing: Mommy and Daddy had you 10 years after I left."

Stephanie did a mental calculation. "You're 23?"

"Yeah, old enough to drive and drink, preferably not at the same time."

"Do you have a girlfriend?"

"Haha, no, I don't, but... To be honest, I prefer a boyfriend."

The girl stared at me awkwardly and just nodded in approval and understandence. Kids, always the best to come out too. I called over the male flight attendant. "May I borrow a phone?"

He nodded and handed me his. "Of course Your Highness, no need to ask."

I grabbed the phone and began to dial  Chad's phone

My heart skipped a beat when I hear the ringing tone, though when the phone was answered, it was not Chad's voice.


"Dad?" It was my foster father. "Dad, why are you on Chad's phone? Where's Chad?"

"Desmond? Desmond, thank God it's you. Are you OK? Where are you?"

"I'm on the family jet back to England. It's a long story but I'm all good. I'm even with Stephanie. Where's Chad? Is he OK?"

"Oh, son... We... We're at the hospital right now... Chad... Chad's hurt real bad..."

"Hold on tight, sis. And buckle up, it's gonna be a bumpy ride."

Hitting the accelerator, I soon got the car racing out of the garage gate and out into the compound. I could hear exclaims and shouts, followed by a lot of gunshots. We both screamed and ducked the incoming bullets as I picked up the pace and made my way to the front gate. It was about to close and there were a few men waiting there to grab me once I hit the brakes.

"Come on, come on, come on..." I mumbled as I accelerated even more, hoping to clear the gap that was getting smaller and smaller...

I cursed to myself, either way we're dead. I closed my eyes as i hit the accelerator, my speed going up faster... 90... 100... 115... The car scratched against the doors, breaking on the outside mirrors, yet making it through, I sighed in relief, slowly breaking to lower my speed, yet being safe. Once my speed lowered, to 40, I kept it constant. I turned to face the girl who was pale faced, tightly grabbing onto the seat, looking as if she'd about to cry.

"It's OK, sis. Let it all out. I won't judge," I said as I made my way down into the highway, trying to slowly weave in and out of traffic so I can get lost in it and shake off any potential pursuers. The girl soon started sobbing as she covered her face with her tiny hands, letting it all out. I didn't know where I was going, and I didn't care, as long as it was far away from the Drake Manor territory. By the time I realized the girl had stopped crying, I was out of the highway and into the big Irish city.

"So... What's your name?" I tried to break the ice.

"S-Stephanie..." She replied timidly.

"Stephanie? Like Nana's name?"

"Yes. How did you know?"

"Like I said, I'm your big brother Sheridan. Sheridan Benedict. But in America, I go by Desmond Dunn."

She looked at me, a tiny bit confused, but she also seemed as if she was starting to believe me. I found a phone in the car and handed it to her. "Call *249*, it seemed like it's not phone number, but that was the code for a jet from our place if we ever needed one, something you should know, also input the stars. We're heading out towards the country."

She looked a little skeptical, but nodded anyways and dialed the phone as instructed.

"They're asking for the password," Stephanie said. "Mommy and Daddy never really taught me any passwords yet."

"Say 'Boris Meets Doris'. Mommy and I came up with that name," I chuckled at the memory. Stephanie looked at me incredulously before repeating what I said, then hung up.

"They said they'll be at the airport in 15 minutes. Can we get there in time? Do you know the way?"

"GPS." I said. She quickly understood and looked up the nearest airport. "Alright. About 20 minutes away."

I nodded and looked at the phone screen, going a bit beyond the speed limit but eventually we arrived at the airport. I caught a sight of the Blue and white jet, the memories flooded in. Finally going home. I parked near the plane and hurried myself and Stephanie in.

I put my brain in motion. If my sister was held captive like me, she would probably be in two possible places: the same area where I was held prisoner, or in one of the rooms of the manor. I had to make sure which first. I scouted the area, checking for anything that would give me a way back in without being detected. As I kept to the shadows, I searched the perimeter, and soon noticed there was some kind of grating covered in vines that led all the way up to a window which I assumed could be the attic. That would have to be my best bet and work my way down from there. Rubbing my hands together, I started climbing up the grating, praying to the gods of all religion that I don't slip and fall, or get seen by anyone

I held on tight just as I made it to the window and poked my head into it. Seeing three figures, luckily the window was pretty high up so i had a low chance of being seen.

"Where do you want us to put  this brat?" He said as he shoved the girl onto the floor.

'So she lied! They just barely got her!' I thought assuming that was her.

A woman responded with, "One of the rooms in the manor, I want her as far away from the boy as long as possible." Just as she said that I lost my grip and fell down, catching myself on a vine before serioisly hurting myself. I youched the floor and ran towards the manor, hopefully, they heard nothing.

"What was that?"

I held my breath, hugging the walls as I pressed against a dark corner of the manor so that they couldn't see me. I could hear the window open and one of them looking out to scan the area. As luck would have it, a random cat just so happen to walk past the area I almost fell, then I heard a snort.

"It's just Fluffers, the chef's cat. Now where we're we..." I couldn't hear anything anymore as whoever it was has closed the window.

"Thanks, Fluffers," I whispered at the cat, who gave me an unconcerned look before walking off.

I sighed to myself just as i found the entrance, oddly enough, it wasn't even guarded, it seemed like a ghost house. So empty. I stuck in and hide behind a large statue of a bear. It hid my whole body from head to toe and stayed quiet, just as a man walked in, gripping the wrist of a weak and fragile looking girl. He walked past all the door and then made a right at the end of the little hallway, but even so, I decided to wait and see when this guard would leave to make my rescue.

I could hear the girl whimper in protest and my heart ached for her, but I couldn't risk getting caught, not when I'm this close to saving her. I hear the sound of the door locked and the guard stepping away from the door, then heard him talking to another man in a thick Irish dialect before leaving. I peeked out from behind the bear to see the man being spoken to planted a chair opposite the door of the room my sister was locked in and sat his ass down, then took out his phone to play as he guarded the door. "Ugh, just great," I groaned to myself. "Now what am I supposed to do?"

An idea popped in my head and i grinned. I quietly made my way back outside, spotting the other man, who was currently wearing a head guard suit, making his way along the bushes. I silently followed, remembering what Chad had thought me during the times he learned all about combat. A spot in the neck, if squished hard enough, could knock him out.

I ran up behind the man and as quickly as I could, gripped his neck, wrapping my other hand over his mouth and pressed down on said spot and surprisingly it worked! I sighed in relief as i striped him from his uniform and put it over my clothes. A perfect fint. Finally, I grabbed his hat and adjusted it to my head, just barely hiding the top part of my face.

"Can't believe that worked. Thanks, Chad, for your obsession with military movies," I whispered to myself as I made my way back upstairs to where my sister was held captive. Taking a deep breath, I mustered as much confidence as I could and walked towards the door. The man guarding the door looked up to see me.

"Stay put, lady's got some questions for this lass," I put on my best Irish accent that I picked up from the guy and from the plane crew before and unlocked the door with the keys he kept in his pocket. Thankfully the guard bought it and went back to his phone. Internally sighing in relief, I entered the room as calmly as I could and closed the door behind me.

The girl began to whimper and cry, slowly moving back at each step i tool to get closer to her. 'What the hell did they do to her?!' I thought, but I figured, I might as well act like that man.

"Stop your whining, brat!" I grabbed her arm and lifted her up. "We have more questions for you and if you don't answer them! I'll kill you right now!"

She whined as i dragged her outside, acting like i thought the man would. The guard nodded and waved goodbye just as i made the corner. I should tell her who i truely am... but to avoid bringing attention to us, I'll tell her once we're a good distance from here.

She tried to struggle free but I held onto her tight, though hopefully not too tight that I might hurt her. I made a show of making my way to the leader, but instead of turning upstairs, I made a sharp turn to the garage area. Making sure that there was no one around, I quickly rushed in and locked the garage door, barricading it for good measure.

"What...? What are you doing...?" The girl asked, confused at my actions. I quickly turned to her and took off my hat to show her my face.

"It's OK. Don't worry. You may not know me, but I'm your big brother Sheridan, and I'm getting you out of here." Though I couldn't help but smile. It's been so long since I used my real name.

The girl stared up at me weirdly. "I don't? Have a brother?" She said, throwing me off. Her features were so similar to mother's... she had to be.. unless they never told her about me... I cleared my throat in embarrassment, before putting my hat back on and dragging her back outside. I reared my way towards the entrance and found a car, with the engine on. I turned to the girl and pushed her into the passenger seat, making my own way to the driver's seat. I'm getting out of this place, and going back to my country.

My mind was fuming with thoughts and ideas. I had to escape at all cost and save this sister. I looked around the room, which was pretty much like a jail cell. There was one window, but of course enclosed with metal poles. I groaned and thought, looking at the cell. If this is the jail cell in the home of the Drake Manor, then there is an escape. They made it as so, just in case family gets stuck in one but only the family knows, until I eavesdropped when I was smaller that is.... I'll just have to figure it out!

Closing my eyes, I tried to remember the days when I was here for summer, during the days when the feud, the civil war didn't exist. I tried to remember my 3-year-old self running around the manor halls, playing hide and seek with my cousins. I remember coming down to the basement that used to be a bunch of dungeons in the old days before my uncle repurposed it for storing items like wine. Then I remember seeing one of the butlers giving a lecture to his protege about precautions if they get locked inside one of the rooms...

Remember, York. Should you ever get trapped in there, go to the far end of the room, count the bricks from the bottom right, up 23, then left 25. Then press down and it will open a secret passageway that leads you straight out to the backyard. Understand?

Opening my eyes, I smiled deviously. I'm getting outta here

I turned around and locked at the bottom right bricks. "1... 2... 3.." Then I remembered about my sister. 'Crap, I'll just have to come back for her...' He said now on the 23rd block, beginning to count 25 left. Once he did, he pushed the brick inside the wall and it didn't work. "Wait what." I pushed it again, nothing. I began to freak out, until i punched the wall, the secret passage way opened, apparently, I was 1 block off

I nursed my throbbing hand as the secret passageway opened big enough for me to get through. As soon as I step through, the passageway closed by itself, as if on a timer. Taking a deep breath, I put my hands on the walls, letting it guide me as I walked down the dark hallway, hoping that my memories served me right and that this passageway really leads to the backyard as the butler had said

I walked for what seemed like hours, but really, it was only 5 minutes. Eventually I saw this faint white light, an exit! I ran for it, I didn't want to be here, not at all, the smell of this passage way in general, smelled mossy, wet, and old.

The faint white light grew slightly brighter as I got nearer, and soon I saw the light form an outline of a door. Testing the door handle, I sighed in relief as it wasn't locked and I pulled it open with all my might, and another sigh of relief escaped my lips as I breath in the fresh air of nature out back, though I had to make sure the coast was clear before I step out fully to the open

I slowly poked my head out, looking left, then to the right. I grabbed a big stick and flung it, cracking it on a tree. Nothing seems to react to it. I took a step out and inhaled the air. "Oh geez, now to save my sister... and I've got just the plan." I grinned.

I woke up, gasping for air. It was all a dream, it had to be! My eyes slowly fluttered open to find myself in a room, that did not belong to me. I cursed, angrily, Claire had lied and who knows what she had done to Chad!! I looked up as the door slid open and the air stewardess came in, an innocent smile spread on her face. I wanted to get up and wipe that smile off her face, but I soon felt my hands have been tied together.

"Ooh, looks like someone's awake," the so-called air stewardess said with a cheerful tone. "Welcome to Northern Ireland, or should I say, the Drake Manor!"

"You! You work for the Drake family?! I should've known!" I shouted, struggling against my binds. "Lemme outta here, you bitch, or I swear to God..."


I was suddenly taken by surprise as a sharp pain hit across my cheek. Throbbing in pain, blood slowly ran down my cheek and down my neck onto my shirt. All the while, the air stewardess's smile was still plastered on her face.

"Such manners. I guess living the life of a commoner seemed to have made you pretty uncouth. That throne is as good as ours."

"Ours...?" I managed to breathed out the word from my shock.

"Oh, you don't recognize me? I don't blame you, really. We've only met once or twice when you were barely 3. It's me, Shawna, your cousin and rightful heir to the crown."

I gave a small laugh. "My father is still King, he would never give you the throne. Additionally, rumor has it, I might have a baby sister, it's not confirmed, but hey, always wanted a little sister."

"Oh, it's not a rumour. Your mother gave birth to a princess 10 years after you left. But we've remedied that. We have both you and your sister hostage, and if he doesn't abdicate and give us the throne, we are going to execute you two by sunrise the day after tomorrow, and that's us being generous."

"He would never give in to your demands!" I growled. "He will keep the throne at all costs! He will choose his duty over his family! That's the way of the Benedict family!"

"Then he will be a fool, because we will do the execution publicly for all to see, and his people will hate him for sacrificing his own family for the sake of the crown. By then, he will be begging us to take the crown from him. Either way, win-win. But I put my money on him meeting our demands. After all, he went through all that trouble hiding you. He'll do anything to keep his precious children alive. You hang tight now."

She gave me a cheeky wink before she left the room that I'm held captive in, locking the door behind her.

Chad was begining to fall asleep when we arrived to the private airplane. Claire quickly dragged be out of the car and into the plane, throwing pairs of clothes in after. Chad waved goodbye from the car and shouted. "GOOD LUCK BRO" Before getting smacked and being told to shut up and be quiet from Claire.

I cringed at Chad being smacked but part of me thought he deserved it; his yell would've alerted someone about me and the whole thing would've been screwed. I just waved goodbye back at him before picking up all the clothes that Claire tossed in to fold them in a bundle.

"Maybe this will help?"

I looked up to see an air stewardess smiling down at me and holding a big suitcase at me.

I politely smiled back and looked around the airplane, my eyes stopping at a couch. I carried the pile of clothes over there and sat down, begining to fold each one and placing it in the suitcase

"Maybe you might want to put that aside later and fasten your seatbelt," the air stewardess said. "We're about to take off." So saying, she helped me to move the suitcase and the clothes to one side so it doesn't slide away when the plane is taking off

I fastened my seatbelt and looked at the time and sighed. "Excuse me miss, but how long till we... you know, land?"

The air stewardess smiled and check the time as well, "Hmm, I think it would about roughly 8 hours. Would you like anything to drink while we're up in the air?"

"Umm, maybe some apple juice, and something light to snack on?" I asked tentatively.

"Juice and snack coming right up," the air stewardess replied cheerfully. "You just sit tight and wait for the seatbelt sign to turn off then you can continue packing your clothes." So saying, she went off to prepare my order, leaving me alone to my thoughts

I waited, observing the plane, and everything i could do in it. It looked like a pretty expensive plane. The seatbelt sign turned off and i took off my seatbelt to finish packing, it qas a pain in the ass, but i finished. "Here's you snack sir." I jumped a bit, not noticing her before and  nodded. "Thank you." She smiled and walked away. Now that i had nothing to do, ill just sleep and text mah dude Chad

Yo, Chad, I'm on the plane right now. Looks pretty swanky inside and out. I'll be reaching Northern Ireland within 8 hours. I'm gonna nod off. Text me when you get to my folks, OK?

Pressing the SEND button, I let out a yawn. This whole ordeal is more taxing to me than I thought. I lay on the couch and drifted off into a dreamless sleep...

When I woke up, surprisingly we were just about to land soon. My stomach tangled into a twist, knowing that we would be landing in enemy territory very soon.

My guess was confirmed from the announcement from the captain that they were landing, although the Irish accent kinda threw me off.

"Had a nice flight?" I turned to see the air stewardess smiling at me as I undid my seatbelt.

"Yeah, had a great meal and a good sleep. Thanks for the hospitality."

"My pleasure. Coz this is gonna be the last moment of peace you'll ever have."


I suddenly felt a hard jab on my neck and an overwhelming sense of drowsiness. The last thing before I lost consciousness was the unwavering smile of the air stewardess...

"He's dead," Claire replied. "He somehow knew you were coming and ratted you out to the Drake family, which brought these two goons here. They killed him coz he's served his purpose. I came here too late to save him, but at least I took care of them. Now you ready to go or not?"

I stared at her shocked. "No way! Earl ratted me out!" I rubbed my forehead, so many thing flashing and going on in my mind, as if there was a hurricane up in there. "I should leave now and let you be... well... more safe".

"What are you talking about, dude? Are you still trying to ditch me?" Chad was obviously annoyed at me. "Or are you worried that I might rat on you like Earl did?"

"No, Chad. I'm serious right now. I really cannot let you get more involved in this! This is a matter of life and death! If you die, I... I..." I took a deep breath and sighed. "Look, if you really want to help me, then please go to my folks. My adopted folks, and give them the heads-up. Protect them anyway you can. Keep an eye on them. I'll contact you as soon as the coast is clear."

Chad looked like he wanted to protest, but he knew better than to push me when my mind was made up. He just sighed wordlessly and nodded, making his way to the kitchen to raid Earl's fridge for something to munch on

I trodded back to the door and grabbed the chips and soda. "Also, Miss Claire, we brought these and you can have them. When and how should i get to irleand?"

Claire looked at my stash and took the chips. "Can't have soda. I'm diabetic. And to answer your question, we will have to take our private plane. We've got it park on a secluded area and ready to go at a moment's notice. What would you like to do about your friend?"

"Just drop me off at the nearest train station and I'll take it from there, lady!" Chad replied for me, obviously eavesdropping on us.

"Yeah, what he said," I shrugged.

"I suppose that's as good as a plan as any. We'll get out of here as soon as you're ready, but it'll be better if we travel at night. Less conspicuous that way."

"Got it," I nodded. I looked at the soda in my hand, sighed and shrugged. "Waste not, want not," I muttered as I opened the soda and chugged it.

I stopped until it was about half and closed it up, tossing it to Chad.

"So I get the 'scrapings', huh"? He laughed and opened the soda, drinking from it and not even bothering to clean it

I noticed it but didn't say anything; Chad can be such a slob sometimes, although I couldn't help but blushed at it as well. Shaking my head, I went upstairs to check the area, to see if there was anything that I could bring along to Northern Ireland since all I had were the clothes on my back. That was when I passed by the bathroom and saw Earl's body

The smell and the blood oh god.. I gagged and ran back downstairs, growing dizzy. I really wanted to barf. Chad ran up. "Hey are you ok bro?!" All I did was point upstairs, while clenching my stomach. He creeped up there. It was silent and then his faint voice could be heard. "Ew, man! That's disgusting! And that vile smell!! Geez!"

I made my way to the kitchen sink and barfed, gagging and coughing as I could feel the soda and bile coming out of my mouth into the ivory sink. I could hear Chad bickering with Claire, something to do about bodies and cleaning up and stuff, but I was too preoccupied with emptying my guts out to pay attention. Soon I felt Chad's hand rubbing my back as I spat the last of my vomit out. "Yo, dude. You OK?"

I sighed heavily. "I'm fine... I need me something sweet to eat or a toothbrush or something, this taste and smell is disgusting."

"Here, maybe this juice I found in the fridge might help," Chad passed me a juice box and I took, nodding in thanks and sipped it slowly. "What were you doing going upstairs anyways?"

"I thought maybe I could, I dunno, 'borrow' some of Earl's stuff coz I only got the clothes on my back and I probably need some important stuff to bring with me if I'm gonna need to travel..."

"Say no more, bro. I'll get it for you. I've got a stronger stomach than you anyways. Brb."

Before I could protest, he already made his way upstairs probably raiding Earl's rooms and stuff to get what I needed, with the occasional complaints he had with Claire. I chuckled quietly to myself as I continued sipping my drink slowly.

When he came back down, there were bunches of clothes in his hands, which he sent down on the sofa, "Let's just hope they fit me..." I looked at the time, 6:43 pm. "It's gonna start getting late soon, hey Chad, if I make it out of this alive, I'm totally bringing you to go visit my real parents and..." I walked over to a charger connected to the light. "Imma need this haha."

"You better make it out alive, or I'm gonna dig out your corpse and kill you again myself," Chad clapped my back, gentler this time. "And I expect to be knighted by the time all this shit is over!"

We both laugh at his outrageous request before Claire signalled us to get ready. She looked out the window to make sure no one was around before she ushered us to her car which was parked just a couple of blocks away from Earl's home. The moment she got in the car, she fished out her phone from her pocket and called someone. I could hear her talking in some sort of Irish dialect but it sounded like she telling whoever is on the other line that they were on their way. She then started the car and we were soon leaving the house and whatever was left inside far behind us

His jaw dropped wide and then was immediately shut. "Ay man, no lies. C'mon, I'm serious."

"And so am I. The Drake family is after me for two reasons. They want to give the throne to my cousin, their first child and if they get me and get rid of me... they can do that. Secondly, I am worth a lot and my parents would do anything and everything for me, meaning, they can ruin their lives. And other more reasons... I tried to forget about it and it worked but..."

"Hold up, hold up," Chad held his hands. "You mean to say that you're actually a Prince and your family is having some kind of civil war, and you never told me?? Dude, not cool!"

"It was for your own good!" I cried. "The less people know about me, the better. It kept me safe from the Drake family all these years! I had to be separated from my parents, not knowing if they're alive or dead. The parents I live with right now are not even my real parents, but they were paid well to look after me and keep me safe. They were right... I shouldn't have moved out... It was a matter of time before my past catches up to me..."

Chad smacked my back, hard. "Cheer up, brah! You made it is far, oh and don't forget, you owe me big time!" I rubbed my back, wincing at the pain. "And bro, like, you gotta win! No friend of mine is gonna lose to anyone!" Chad said excitedly. Man, I swear, this kid is always in good spirits.

"Thanks, bro, you're the best," I smiled at him gratefully.

"But I still get to sock you in the face if anything terrible happens to me."

"Aaaaand the cheeky Chad is back," I rolled my eyes, laughing at his silliness.

"So since the Drake family send these goons over to get you, suffice to say they know where you are and where you're hiding. What do we do now?"

"One thing's for sure," the lady returned, interrupting our conversation. "You can't stay here. We will have to get you to a safe house."

"Well.... What if I go back to my real father, to my kingdom, back at central England? I mean, there I can be protected by multiple guards, and keep it a secret, cause after all, the last place they'd expect me to go is back to my dangerous zone? Right?"

"No, that's the first place they'll look, and will keep looking again," the lady replied as she scanned the area through the blinds. "And they've been expecting you to go back coz all eyes are on your real family right now."

"Well, bummer then," Chad scratched his chin awkwardly. "So where is the safe house?"

"Well, Desmond is right about one thing. The last place they'd expect you to go is back to the danger zone, so we are going to the place they'll look the least: Northern Ireland."

"Northern Ireland? You... You mean... Drake family territory?"

"Duuude~~" Chad exclaimed. "That's crazy~~ Right into the lion's den? You're insane, lady!"

"The name's Claire, by the way," the lady raised a brow at Chad's outburst.

I began to slowly shiver with fear. What if they see or catch me there? Crap... we'll both be dead. "If it's the only safe place.... then... Let's do it!"

Chad stared at me wide eyes, his jaw dropped. "Bro, you're crazy, man! You can get killed there!!"

"You dont have to come, Chad."

"I never said I wouldn't go!!" He exclaimed

"Is there going to be a problem between you two?" Claire crossed her arms. "Because this situation is critical as it is, I don't want to have to babysit someone else who can't hold their own."

"Bro, seriously, this is above and beyond what we're gonna do now," I turned to Chad pleadingly. "If you wanna back out, now's the time."

"I told you, Bros for life, remember?" Chad frowned. "I'm already deep to my knees in this mess, I am not going to be left behind on a cliffhanger. I'm seeing it through till the end. So stop trying to ditch me, OK? Which reminds me," he turned to Claire. "You never answered his question: Where's Earl?"

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