6.Bargains for Brothers.6
Hell bent on getting out of my cell so that I could rescue my brother, I demanded for Kai to get someone to free me. His loyalty shone through as I heard loud, shaking footsteps, and ten minutes later Crown Prince Elijah came waltzing into my cell block.
"Kai told me to come check on you," the Prince blurted, ignoring any formalities. I frowned, sizing him up.
"How do you two communicate?"
Elijah shrugged, waving his hands around his face as he talked as if the subject was boring and useless. "I replicate his Darkblood telepathy and use it to speak with him. Kai is one of my two dragons. He is a pet, my dragon Kyra is a mount."
I nodded, crossing my arms in front of my chest. Knowing that I had power, that I wasn't some fluke, had given me a new confidence. It didn't even stem from me being able to wield any magic -- it was just the knowledge of something running through my veins that gave me the confidence I needed.
My mother was right. I was partially a Darkblood. One of them. But I was also a Lightblood, and that fact alone had allowed me to survive.
My chin tilted upward. I would prove to my family that I was still their Cloud.
"I want you to release me," I blurted, "I need to save my brother."
Elijah winced. "That could be dangerous, Cloud. You don't even have magic."
"Correction," I said, cutting him off, "I can't wield my magic. Yet. But I still have it."
The Prince sighed, running a hand through his golden hair. He looked tired, as if he'd already spent hours thinking this over. Silence, much like the dreadful one in my home, took over, and I fought the urge to scream and cover my ears.
"I'll pledge loyalty to your mother afterward," I blurted again, pressing against the bars so I was as close to him as possible. That caught his attention, and his blue eyes traveled back to meet mine. "What?" He breathed, frowing in disbelief.
"You said you thought the Darkbloods attacked so that they could take me. That means I have worth. If you let me find my brother, I'll pledge loyalty to the Queen," I repeated, eyes wide as I focused on making the deal. Elijah bit his lip in thought, chewing on it as he paced back and forth in front of my cell. I didn't even know why they'd thrown me in one.
For a moment, the Prince stared at me. A memory flashed through my mind, of a pale creature and a screaming boy, but it was gone before I could focus on it. Immediately after, he seemed to make up his mind, and pulled a rusted key from his pocket. Yet I still wasn't allowed to run free, and as I stepped out of the cell, guards standing a little ways down appeared at my side.
I prefer the dragon to you, I thought at the guards, but of course it wasn't heard by them. Instead, there was a deep chuckle echoing through my brain. It brought a smile to my face as I followed the Prince in uncomfortable silence broken only by our footsteps. The guards remained with us as Elijah led us through the door at the end of the hall, and I finally glanced at the sign marking it.
I scowled as the door led into a massive stairwell, which we began to ascend. The door out of the stairwell was located underneath the grand staircase in the foyer, to my surprise. The guards scoffed as I looked around in amazement, as if we'd teleported. Ignoring them, I made sure to keep up with Elijah while admiring the castle's grandeur and beauty. We were once again approaching the throne room when a serving girl stepped into our path. She curtsied, smiling shyly.
"Your Highness, Her Grace would like you to meet her for tea in the sitting room," the servant told the Prince, oblivious to myself and the guards behind him.
Elijah sighed, running a hand over his face. "Could you get Miss Rose something cleaner to wear, please? You can choose anything from any spare closets."
Following his motion toward me, the maid gave my dirty clothing and tangled hair a once over and shuddered. She curtsied once again and then brushed past the Prince, taking me by the hand. I swung my head around to look back at the Prince, but Elijah was staring at the floor as I was dragged back to the staircase, and he disappeared out of my line of sight.
Kai? I reached out, allowing myself to focus as the maid guided me.
Sighing in relief, I rubbed my freehand across my forehead, a headache brewing. Did I make the right decision?
Well what decision did you make?
Frowning, I tried to push the feeling of exasperation through the bond. I felt a wave of pain, and immediately stopped my efforts.
A little gentler, dear. You're a strong telepath already. And yes, I know about what you told the Prince.
Sheepishly, I fell silent as the maid pulled me into a bedroom. It branched off of the main hallway on the second floor, and I could hardly believe that something so luxurious was a guest room. Besides the vanity, ridculously large bed and separate bathroom, there was a large closet and an entire area for eating, with a glass table and several cushioned chairs. A chaise lounge was placed in the corner with the most left over space, and looked like the perfect spot to rest right about now. I stared at it, wondering if I could nap, while the maid bustled about.
"Miss Rose," the girl said to get my attention. I looked at her, eyebrows raised. She motioned to the bed where three dresses were laid out. "Please choose one while I prepare warm water for you to bathe in."
I watched her walk toward the bathroom before approaching the dresses, scrutinizing each one.
Kai. I don't care for any of these, I thought, waiting to see if he would recieve it. A laugh answered me, as if he found it funny that I was struggling with high class fashion.
Why don't you pick one that you could imagine the Queen wearing? Kai prodded. I exhaled sharply, unsure of what to do, and stared down at the dresses. One was a red silk dress with a tight bodice that flared out into a full skirt at the waist. A swirl of inlaid crystals began over the heart, and fell around the dress like a waterfall. The next was a tighter dress overall, with a turtle neck but no sleeves. It was a light, soft green. A slit in the skirt allowed some breathing room for my legs, and the curves of my body were defined by gems placed randomly along the dress. Then, there was the third. It had a full skirt, but not a large poofy one. It was navy blue, with a silky fabric. The sleeves sat around my upper arms instead of my shoulders, and the bodice had little patterns of blue roses sewn in. Tiny gems glittered on the hem of the dress, and it fit the best out of the three.
Pretty. May not clash against my scales, Kai echoed in my mind.
It matches your scales, goofball, I joked as I peeled the dress off, standing in my undergarments, waiting for the maid. She came in minutes later and offered me a warm smile.
"Time to get you cleaned up."