“Why do you want me to be this girl so bad?” I asked Cole, deciding that I might as well give him a starter question since he didn’t seem particularly inclined to begin the conversation himself.
Cole kept studying my face, mumbling, “I don’t understand,” like he had been for the last five minutes.
The chair I had found opposite Cole’s wasn’t as comfortable as I’d have liked and I had other business to attend to, as I kept reminding him.
Finally, Alexia came to my rescue.
“Cole, either I’m going to drag her out of here or you’re going to give her what she wants,” She said, her voice hard. “I don’t think my patience can take the look in her eyes any longer.”
Cole’s focus shifted to my eyes. At first, I’d thought that it was because of the height difference, but he didn’t seem to enjoy looking people in the eye that much.
“She has Emma’s eyes,” He told Alexia. “She’s almost completely Ellie, but she has Emma’s eyes.” That seemed to unsettle him.
I growled. “You were going to give me information.” I rose slowly. “Either I get it, or I’m leaving.”
Alexia’s gaze shifted to me. “You have to tell him what you did to the guards first,” She said firmly.
Cole blinked, “What did you do to the guards?”
I tapped my finger on my arm after crossing them, looking down at him. “I’ll tell you that once I get my information. You’ve been staring at me like I’m a science experiment for ages and I’ve had just about enough.”
I don’t know if he sensed I was moments away from disappearing on him or if he heard the edge in my voice, but he let out a long sigh.
“I’ll tell you,” He said, “Just please, sit down.”
I didn’t move. “You said that last time,” I told him. “This time, you begin, and then I’ll sit down.”
Cole glanced back at Alexia, who was still standing in the back of the room. “She sounds like Ellie,” He said roughly.
Alexia blinked rapidly, “Stop reminding me of stuff and tell her already. You’re the one who wanted her to be our symbol.”
I glanced between them. “Symbol?” I focused on Cole. “I said I would let you try to use me to reclaim the white throne.” My lip curled. “Don’t tell me you want me to be a princess.” I took a step back.
When Cole had told me I must have some sort of royal blood in me, I’d never believed him. When he said he wanted to use me to reclaim the white throne, I thought he was being selfish. Not once did I think that someone would want to use me to give me the throne.
Sometimes, people were very thick-headed.
“Why on earth would you even begin to think that I’d be a good leader?” I asked Cole incredulously. For some reason, I took it as an insult.
I stalked forward, leaning towards him. “I don’t care what you do. You can use me to steal the throne for yourself. You can ship me back to where I came from afterwards or just pretend that I betrayed you, but you will never hand me an authoritative role.”
Cole looked back at Alexia. “See, that sounds like Ellie, too. She never wanted to be queen.”
Alexia nodded, staring at me with a distant look in her eyes. “She wanted Emma to be queen because she wanted to be and would’ve been better at it. I never did figure out why her parents were so insistent.”
The only reason my blood wasn’t boiling was because it was physically impossible for it to do so without outside sources of heat, but if it could’ve, it would’ve.
“Will you both stop it with the analyzing and say something useful for once?” I exclaimed loudly, my eyes narrowing on them.
Alexia’s eyes brightened in amusement. “Nah, that’s not in my DNA. It might be in his though,” She said, nodding towards Cole.
I wasn’t in the mood to tell her that her telling me that contradicted her words.
I glared at Cole. “You’d better choose fast because I’m not one to wait.”
“Aww,” Alexia pouted, “But you waited so well for the first couple minutes.”
I hissed at her, “You need to shut your mouth before I do something I seriously regret.”
Alexia glanced at Cole, “Does she usually have a conscience or is this a one-time thing?”
I yelled and ran at her, my hand reaching for my knife. Cole quickly stood up and grabbed me, holding my hand far away from my knife belt.
“I don’t think so,” He said, his eyes glinting dangerously.
I sneered at him. “Oh, so now you stop acting like a deranged imbecile.”
Cole put his face closer to mine so that I had no choice but to look in his eyes. He almost smothered the pain in time, but I saw it flash across his face like lightning. “Don’t challenge me,” He said in a low voice.
“Oh, I won’t,” I said evenly, noticing how he was only holding one arm and had his hand braced on my other shoulder, not entirely restraining it.
I waited for him to relax slightly, because staring at someone with a resigned look on your face tended to make them think that they’ve won, and then I attacked again.
I lifted my leg and pushed Cole with all my might, moving forward for a moment because he didn’t let go until after my foot had slipped off of him. As he fell backwards into the desk, I hopped on the chair, flipped the knifes out of my belt, and jumped for a support beam, digging them in as deep as I could.
I pulled myself up, finding only a tiny space above the support beams. It wasn’t much, but it was enough to hook my foot around and hold myself.
Alexia looked up at me in disgust before turning to Cole. “Now look what you’ve done,” She said as though I wasn’t above them listening in on their conversation.
“Me?” Cole asked her incredulously. “You’re the one who just tried to get her to attack her.”
Alexia brushed him off. “I would’ve been fine,” She said easily.
“She’s from the mainland,” He hissed, “Don’t be an idiot.”
Alexia raised an eyebrow at him. “You almost sound like you have some information, Cole.”
Cole gritted his teeth, his eyes flitting up at me. After a moment, his face smoothed. “You’re right,” He said. “She’s harmless.”
I bristled. Or, I got as close to it as I could. My hands were wrapped tightly around the hilts of my knives and my leg was hooked around the beam, making it hard to stiffen when you’re in a tight space that you need to bend to fit into.
Alexia’s face darkened noticeably. “Cole,” She growled warningly.
Cole put on a halfway decent innocent face. “What? It’s not like she knows anything.”
Alexia glanced up at me warily. “No, but she’s hanging from the rafters with two knives and looks so angry I’d be dead if her eyes had any sort of deadly powers.”
Cole smiled slightly. “I thought you said she wasn’t dangerous.”
Alexia flushed. “Don’t be stupid,” She snapped. “I’m not saying that she’s dangerous, I’m just saying,” She gestured up towards me. “She’s got two knives and the high ground.”
Cole crossed his arms. “So, you’re not saying that she’s dangerous, but you think she’s dangerous?”
Alexia’s ears turned red along with the rest of her face. “Stop being and absolute imbecile and listen to what I’m saying!” She shrieked.
I pulled one knife out of the beam experimentally and leaned on the second one. Getting down would require perfect timing. Otherwise, I’d end up either losing a knife or twisting an ankle.
In the grand scheme of things, they could both be equally fatal. Or, they could both get me captured and I’d end up wishing that it was fatal.
“Now, am I an imbecile because I’m misunderstanding you, or am I am imbecile because I’m contradicting what you’re saying and I’m the one who’s closer to being right?” Cole asked her, pulling one arm behind him. His hand pointed to the floor roughly.
I frowned, glancing at it and pausing, wondering if he was trying to order me to get down.
Alexia growled, creeping towards him. “You’re an imbecile because...” She stopped, not having an answer other than the ones Cole had named. She darkened another shade. “Just because,” She hissed.
Cole chuckled, glancing up at me and frowning. He turned back to Alexia, but his hand started gesturing towards the ground much more insistently.
I sighed to myself, figuring I could rough him up for it later. At the same time, I slid my foot out of its spot and yanked my knife out of the beam, falling to the floor. As I landed, I bent my knees, careful not to let myself fall all the way to the floor.
“You,” Alexia hissed at me, lunging towards Cole because I was behind him.
Cole stepped aside and I grinned, gripping my knives.
This girl was going to get what she asked for.