I woke up the next morning feeling extremely comfortable. The mattress below me was like it’s very own heater. Signing I turned my face into the mattress but my nose and lips brushed up against skin instead.
My eyes snapped open. I became startling aware that I was not sleeping on a mattress but on top of Prince Raiden. Grimacing in humiliation, I eased myself back but a pair of arms tightened around me, pressing my face back onto him.
I found myself in a silent dilemma because although an inkling inside of me told me to pull back there was an even louder voice blossoming with content. I didn’t know what to do and so I stayed on top of him for a minute longer until his arms slowly released me.
I pulled back to see him staring down at me. I chewed my bottom lip. I opened my mouth to say something but then remembered morning breath. I flipped away from him and agilely checked my breath before turning back to him.
I couldn’t stop the heated blush crawling on my cheeks in the chance that he might have known what I was doing.
Why did I suddenly care if I have stinky breath?
“Good morning, did you sleep well?” He asked. I watched him stretch lazily. His arms above his head and his muscles flexed underneath my eyes. Gulping I couldn’t help how sexy he looked in the morning. He stopped after his stretching, pushing himself up into a sitting position. He propped one hand behind him and the other in his lap. His eyebrows furrowing as he looked me over.
“Are you okay?” He questioned.
I was ogling him again. I groaned internally before awkwardly moving to stand up from the bedding. I fixed my dress and my top.
“Good morning,” I whispered. My fingers tugged on the hem of the wrap but my eyes dropped past the tugging and towards the mark on my belly. It grew.
I let out a small gasp and clutched at my stomach. The jagged mark covered the bottom half of my stomach, just right below my belly button. Luckily my back was turned to Prince Raiden. I started to panic.
“Anna?” He knew something was off.
I bent down slightly. My arms covering my mid-section. I heard him shuffling behind me and knew he was standing up.
“What’s wrong?” He was closer now.
“Just cramps. Where’s the bathroom?” I quickly answered.
“It’s outside the bedroom door to your left.” He replied. “What- ”
I dashed towards the door and followed his direction to the bathroom. Slamming the door shut, I took a better look at my stomach. It looked so ugly like a big blob of black, almost like a birthmark just so much darker.
I can’t walk out like this. People will notice.
My fingers gingerly brushed up against the mark and an enticing tremble course through my muscles and nerves. I gasped slightly and realized how sensitive it was. I’m scrambling through my brain to see if there was some kind of disease that I could think of that could do this, but nothing came up. At least nothing that came up with an abnormal fast appearance like this.
After cowering with embarrassment in the bathroom long enough and ensuring that Prince Raiden had left the bedroom. I stepped out of the bathroom cautiously. I skimmed Nainai’s place and saw that no one was sitting in the living area. Breathing out a sigh of relief, my shoulders relaxed and I started walking but my relief was short lived when the front door swung open and Nainai walked in.
Her eyes dropped down to the mark on my belly almost immediately. I covered it with one hand but I’m pretty sure she can still see it as the blob was huge.
She smirked before shaking her head, “You do not need to worry yourself too much, Anna. That mark is supposed to appear.”
I frowned. She knows what this is. I quickly made it to her side, grasping onto her arm in an act of desperation.
“What is this? I have never seen it before? This is not a birthmark. It started appearing when I arrived here.” I started.
She sat me down before walking slowly to the small kitchen space. A small pot was boiling some herbal tea. She poured two cups before carrying them over on a tray. She handed me one before taking one for herself.
“Sip,” Nainai ordered.
I sipped slowly on the hot tea. It was earthy but had a sweet undertone. I started to relax a little in my seat. Nainai glanced at my mark and then back at me.
“Do you know why you are here? Did my idiot of grandson tell you?” She asked.
“He said he has chosen me.” I gave an honest reply.
She nodded with a smile appearing behind the teacup she was sipping.
“As you might have already guessed, this world is completely different from the world you came from. It is traditions for Dragons to take on mates to reproduce. Most stick within their realm but some venture out further.” She explained.
She placed her tea cup on the small tray that was on the table before us before slowly standing up. I watched her walked to the kitchen and bring back a plate of tea sweets. It’s breakfast time but what I know so far about Prince Raiden’s grandma is that she doesn’t really care. She picked up a delicate piece of coconut delight and popped it in her mouth.
“Raiden grew up without his mother by his side. It has always been hard on him. His father isn’t the very fatherly kind too. He trained Raiden like a soldier but even when Raiden went all his life without a mother’s touch. There isn’t a bone in his body that is like his father.” She continued.
“Isn’t his mother the Queen?” I asked.
She shook her head, “Prince Raiden is the firstborn son of King Akeno but his mother isn’t the Queen. His mother is the concubine of King Akeno.”
I wasn’t sure if I was completely following her. Why was she talking about Raiden and mates when all I wanted to know was what was the mark on my stomach?
“Raiden chose you and that boy’s decision won’t waver.” There she goes again not completely answering my question.
I cleared my throat, “But what does that have to do with my mark?”
She smirked, “Before I give you the answer. You have to answer one of my own.”
“Okay.” I shrugged.
“How do you feel about him?” She asked.
My heart skipped a beat. My stomach tightened, and emotions began obstructing my thoughts. It was confusing, to say the least.
“He’s okay.” I nodded indifferently.
“Have you accepted him for who he is?”
I thought it was only one question. I nodded, giving her a silent response.
“He’s a Dragon.” I shrugged once again, and her smile broadened at my reaction.
What? What does she know that I don’t know?
“A Dragon Prince whom you have accepted along with the fact that he has chosen you to be his mate.” She leisurely added.
“Yes. What are you trying to say?” I asked in an impatient tone.
“Not too long ago, you didn’t believe in Dragons but that changed. You have learned to accept the fact that he is a Dragon and that you will be his mate. The most important thing out of all this is that you accept this life.” She reworded it.
My eyes widened, and I realized I did. I just openly admitted that I was his mate. I brought in my bottom lips between my teeth as realization hits.
She chuckled, “Again, don’t worry, child. Do you want to know what that mark is?”
I nodded. Finally!
“Dragons can only have one chosen mate. This chosen mate is what we can call sacred. Don’t get me wrong, Dragons can have multiple mates on the side. Example-Prince Raiden’s father.” She indicated with a slight distaste. “That’s another story that we will have to save for another time. In Prince Raiden and your case, the mark on your body right now is a mark that only appears when both people involved are heading in the same direction.”
“Direction?” I whispered.
“Your hearts have to be in the same place, Anna.” She pushed my tea back to me. “Drink up.”
The old woman was demanding but I didn’t argue with her. I gulped the hot liquid substance down quickly, feeling suddenly parched. I grimaced when it burned my throat.
“A mark only appears on mates when their hearts and mind are together. First, it is acceptance and acknowledgment your mate. Second, it is the first beat of the hearts together. When that mark is at its complete stage, you will be fully his and only then you will bear his complete mark. The mark of his Dragon.” She nodded wisely.
“Can I get rid of it?” I asked but my chest tightened just as the words came out of my mouth. It hurt to think that I could lose the mark.
“Do you want it to?” She raised an eyebrow, but I knew she already knew the answer.
How do I answer her? Unable to develop a straight answer. I told her what was exactly on my mind.
“I want to go back home. I want to see my family. I miss them terribly. If I knew that my life will take a turn like this, I would have come home faster. Done something to appease my love for them.” I told her. She nodded in understanding.
“A lot of humans that come live down here are resistant to our ways but they learn to live with it. Most of them are now living happily.” I didn’t look completely convinced and she must have noticed because she chuckled.
“Sweetie, I’ve lived and met my share of humans. I will not lie to you. It is a hard transition but we can’t live trying to go back. We could only live by going forward.” She responded.
“It’s weird. How can I feel this way towards a man who kidnapped me?” I asked the very question that plagues me from day one.
“Because the heart is not bias, child.” She replied immediately. A small smile playing on her face.
Prince Raiden chose that moment to walk in. His indecipherable eyes found his grandma first before connecting with mine. My heart was thumping in the cage in my chest just upon seeing him. His eyes dropped to the blob on my stomach and the gold around his irises flickered to life.