Here's a little teaser:
“Alright,” she said slowly and placed her hands on the table before her. “Let’s set that aside for a minute. Who are you? What role do you play in this twisted little tale you’re telling me?”
“I’m a loyal knight of Valedrun. Sworn to defend and serve the Royal family until I breathe my last breath. I brought you to this world and made sure you were safe over the years.”
“Then why did you leave me in that house with those people? If they aren’t really my family and you knew they treated me so bad why didn’t you rescue me?” She felt a sudden simultaneous sorrow and anger. All those years her mother, no her false mother, had been correct. She felt sad for the woman who’d pined for her real daughter and angry that she’d been left in that situation.
“I admit it wasn’t ideal but by the time I realized the situation it was too late. You were already enmeshed with the family and you weren’t in any danger.”
“Not physical.” The waitress reappeared with their food but she continued anyway. “But emotionally it was toxic. You should have done something.”
Wolf waited for the waitress to leave before responding. “I did, Princess. I numbed those bad feelings for you. I helped you not to mind that you didn’t fit in with the family.”
“Stop calling me Princess!” Several patrons lifted their gazes toward them and she realized she had shouted at him.
“I’m sorry, your majesty.” There was no hint of teasing in his tone merely a respectful acquiescence proper for a noble knight.
“No, not that either. Call me Johanna. That is my name isn’t it?
“That is the one thing you have in common with your long deceased counterpart. It would’ve been too confusing for you to change your name. You were already two years old when I brought you here. I was lucky enough to find a family that happened to lose a daughter the same age and with the same name. I used a simple glam to make you appear to look like her. Then you were brought to them, a replacement they were meant to believe was really her. For some reason it worked for everyone except the mother.”
He shrugged. “I don’t know why she saw through it. Perhaps her deep love for her true daughter prevented the glam from working on her.”
“No, I mean why was I brought here? Away from my birth parents?”
“The kingdom was under siege and you were in grave danger. Joachim, the General of the Royal Army turned against the throne leading a rebellion against your parents. He swore to kill the entire royal family. Your parents loved you enough to send you away to safety. They had me hide you and refused to allow me to tell them where. I’m one of two to know the location of the hidden Princess. Not long afterward Joachim conquered the land and executed your parents.”
She quit picking at her sandwich and pushed it away in disgust. The sordid tale he told took away any small appetite she may have had to begin with. “Then why are you here, Wolf? Why bother my quiet, happy little life?”
“Are you happy?” He tilted his head and leveled his gaze at her.
Tears pricked at her eyes but she refused to answer his question. “Why are you here, Wolf?”
“The other person who knew your whereabouts revealed your location to the rebels while under torture. They’ve infiltrated this world and are actively seeking you out.”
“Another knight like you?”
“No, he was the caretaker of the gallery of the gods. Sadly he succumbed to his injuries and is with us no more. Now what’s important is the danger you are facing.”
“Why do they bother looking for me? It’s not like I plan to take the throne back.” Did she actually just speak about this as if it was a fact and not this man’s sick fantasy?
“Your people need you. They lament the demise of their King and Queen and wish to see you ascend to your rightful place. Whether or not this is something you desire your very existence is a threat to Joachim. He will not feel at ease until the threat is extinguished.”
“So you’re telling me I’ve got a bunch of otherworld assassins after me?”
“I’m here to protect you. Even if you don’t wish to return to your royal responsibilities I will give my life for you.”
“Great.” She rolled her eyes. “Do you realize how crazy this all sounds? If it wasn’t for the fact that you haven’t aged and you can travel at impossible speeds I’d say you belong in one of those hospitals my mother frequented.”
“I do age.” He sighed. “I know it’s hard to take all this in but it’s true. The world we come from has a different time stream than this place. In our world it’s only been four years since you left. Three years since your parents lost their lives. I was twenty and one years old when I brought you here, so with the time differences I guess we’re the same age now.”
“So… you’re two decades older than me but we’re the same age?” She rubbed her forehead and tried to wrap her mind around what he told her.
“Believe it or not, Princess.” He smiled sadly. “Some things are weird to me as well. That is one of those things I find hard to swallow. I left you as a darling little girl and in just a few years you’re an attractive woman.”