I watched Aika abandon me, scampering out the door with a startling speed. My eyes skimmed to Prince Raiden before quickly snapping to my tray of food. I picked up a spoon and played with the aromatic chicken curry.
From the corner of my eye, I saw him approach. I glanced up at him from underneath my eyelashes.
“So, this is your room?” I questioned.
“You already know the answer.” He replied.
I pursed my lips, “Do you have a habit of appearing at the wrong time?”
The corner of his lip twitched. He moved to sit in the beautiful gold royal couch that was in front of me. My eyes scanned his body once more. He rested his elbows on his knees as he leaned forward. I truly think he should begin to wear a shirt or something. It is terribly distracting to see such magnificent nakedness. His upper body was precisely rock hard with muscles. The crimson and intimidating dragon tattoo that ran across his body and over his shoulder only served his authoritative figure in this world.
“If you have questions, you need only to ask. You don’t have to ask the servants.” He stated.
I sat my spoon down and looked at him curiously, “Why am I sleeping in your room?”
“As Aika have previously said, you are my chosen mate. You will sleep in my room.” He explained.
I gnawed at my bottom lip as I considered the term they were using-chosen mate. He said from earlier that it means I would be his in every way, but it seems a little barbaric. Shouldn’t he at least ask me if I wanted to be his chosen mate? You know, like how you would ask someone’s hand in marriage.
“I don’t like it when you label me as that.” I told him outright.
If he was displeased with my answer, he didn’t show it, but a flicker of light flew through his irises.
“That’s what you are to me.” He told me.
“It seems a little too intimate for me. It may seem easy for you as this is a cultural norm for you but for me, this is very hard for me to accept. I just need time.” I murmured quietly, still fiddling with my food.
He sighed and for the first time his composure broke, he ran a rough hand through his dark locks and closed his eyes tightly as if he was struggling for control.
“If that is what you want.” He reluctantly answered. I felt relief swarm through me but it was short lived because the next thing he said, sent millions of butterflies through my stomach.
“However, this can’t be avoided forever. You will be mine, Anna May. I won’t have it any other way. I will give you as much time as I can allow but I am a determine man. When I want something...” His eyes glowed again. “I will have it.”
I was momentarily distracted in thought that I was surprised when his hand came up and pinched my chin. His thumb coming up to release my bottom lip from my teeth. My eyes connected with his in surprise.
“What else do you want to know?” He asked.
“You said you are a Dragon Prince, does that mean you can change into a real dragon?” I questioned.
He nods, “All halfblooded Dragons are able to shift. Mine is a lot larger in size and I am a pure blooded Dragon. Therefore, I do not shift unless I can’t control it.”
“Why?” I prodded further.
“Why I don’t shift? halfblooded Dragons are able to shift on more occasions than pure blooded Dragons. Our Dragons are a lot more powerful than the halfblooded. Although our Dragons are a part of us, they have a mind of their own. When released, they tend to be the lead and can sometimes cause mass destruction.” He explained.
At this point, I am imagining a towering and terrifying Dragon that was breathing fire. A terrified shiver ran down my spine. I do not want to see that.
“When I spoke to Aika, she said this was your wing-how big is this place? Can I look around?”
“It’s big but you won’t be exploring until I can get a better handle on you.” He said casually.
I frowned, not pleased with how he said it. “Handle?”
He rubbed his chin with his hand, “Women here are not like you, Anna. You are strong willed and have a mind of your own. Others will take offense. I don’t know how else to put it. I want you to understand our customs and culture before I introduce you to more people.”
I snorted and realized what I did before covering my mouth with my hand, “Sorry.”
His lip twitched yet again before he turned his face away from me. I dropped my eating utensil down on the plate before turning fully to face him.
“What are women like here?” Now, I’m curious.
He glanced back at me, his face again masked in an undecipherable expression again.
“They are timid, less bold. Men rule, women follow.” He answered.
This time I can’t retain the loud snort of disgust rolling through me, “If that’s what you want me to be then you can keep dreaming.”
Finally, one corner of his lips lifted into a half grin.
“That’s not what I want you to be. I know how you are, Anna.” He replied, and I looked at him closely to see if he was just saying it to get me not to chomp off his head.
“How can a society live like that? Doesn’t women have a say in anything?” I asked, feeling frustrated with the lack of women empowerment in this world.
“This standard has been set in stone for centuries, Anna. It is a habit that is hard to break. It doesn’t mean we do not have women who are outspoken because I have seen a few but it isn’t viewed pleasantly. People here gossip. Women who are more vocal, are less desirable.” He pointed out.
If it was undesirable than why did he want me? Then a thought occurred, and my eyes light up.
“I’m very outspoken. I am not afraid to let my opinions known. You are a Prince and so that means that someday you will rule this kingdom. It is better if you get a mate that is less talkative, less opinionated. I’m a horrible talker. I talk all the time and I always speak my mind. A less talkative and more obedient mate is someone you should choose for your mate. It makes so much-”
“It’s not happening.” He snapped, and his tone dropped to an almost growl.
My mouth snapped shut and the small candle of hope that was lit inside of me doused in seconds. I slumped in my seat. My disappointment was evident along with my confusion. Why was he so adamant in keeping me here? Clearly, I am not like the women here. Wouldn’t it make sense to have someone who knows the culture?
“Don’t pout, Anna.” He scolded.
I glared up at him, “I just don’t understand. Why me?”
He stood up, ending the conversation. I wanted to stomp my feet. I wanted to scream with frustration.
“Because I chose you.” Was all he said, and he stepped out once again.
“Ugh!” I groaned and shoved my food away, appetite gone. I crossed my arms over my chest and glared at the door.
I stood up and walked over to the window, ripping the window curtains open, I looked outside to the sea. The sea creatures swam by leisurely unaffected to my mood. I pressed my forehead against the cold glass window and closed my eyes.
“What can you do, Anna? Run?” I scoffed as I chided to myself.
“As if you can swim up miles of water and not drown.” I snorted again.
“He wants me as his chosen mate, well, I would make myself as unbecoming as much as possible.” My eyes flew open and a slow smile crawled on my face.
“That’s it. If I make myself less desirable, he will send me up.” Hope rekindled inside of me and I began brewing up a plan. One that hopefully will allow me to go back to my family.
I opened the bedroom door and stuck my head out. The hallway was nearly empty except for Aika who was just passing by.
“Aika!” I waved my hand, a smile on my face.
She turned to face me, and she must have seen something on my face because her eyes narrowed suspiciously.
“Come here.” My smile grew.
She cautiously walked up to me, carrying nicely folded sheets in her hands.
“Is there something you need, Milady?” She asked.
I grabbed onto her wrist and yanked her inside my bedroom and closed it before anybody saw. She yelped in surprise before stumbling inside.
I turned around to face her.
“So, I want to know more about Prince Raiden.” I paced happily with my hands on my hips. My shoulders back with my chin up.
“If you want to know him than why don’t you just ask him.” She grumbled quietly as she fixed her arms to hold the sheets better in her hands.
I stopped in my pacing as I scrambled for an excuse.
“That’s because I want to be perfect for Prince Raiden.” I said with a nod.
She narrowed her eyes again on me and I turned away to pace once again.
“Not so long ago, you were crying to go back home.” Aika boldly mentioned.
I groaned, “Aika, can you just answer my question?”
She sighed, “Well, what would you like to know?”
“Tell me what Prince Raiden likes in a woman?” I grinned happily and began pacing again. The gold satin floor length skirt I had on, rustling as I walked. I wrapped my arms underneath my wrapped chest and the gold jewelry on my body clinked softly.
“I don’t know.” Aika answered.
I stopped and turned to prop my hands on my hips, giving her a scolding look that told her I was displeased with her answer. My mother always tried this with me and it always works.
Aika took one look at me and shrugged, “Prince Raiden never took any interest in women.”
I gasped, “You mean he’s gay?”
Aika broke into a smile before giggling, “Oh dear, do not let Prince Raiden hear that. He will for sure chop your head off.”
I grasped at my neck unconsciously, “Well what do you mean then?”
“What I mean is that Prince Raiden never hinted an interest in the women in this realm or in yours. You are the very first. So, if you are going to ask me what he likes in a woman, then I would look at you.” She pointed.
Warmth spread through my chest and up my neck to my cheeks. Feeling shy, I cast my eyes away from Aika. Is it true? Was I really the first woman that Prince Raiden ever took an interest in?
Aika gave me an apologetic smile, “I am sorry, milady, but this is getting pretty heavy. May I leave?”
I nodded and watched her go before I sighed and flopped onto the soft king size bed. If what Prince Raiden likes is me, how am I going to make him unlike me?
My thoughts found their way back to him again and I couldn’t stop the sudden pitch in my heart. It thumped faster and harder. My stomach fluttered with butterflies. The look in his eyes-every time I look at him, it was hard not to fall. It was like a trance, pulling me in. I couldn’t stop looking and I think that is another reason why I needed to leave. He was dangerous to my heart and mind.