Aliana’s head rested on his chest and her arms were draped around his waist. He liked the way her eyelashes seemed to brush her cheeks and the way her blissfully plump lips were pouted in an ‘O’ as they let out soft snores while she slept. It was heaven having her this close, but hell knowing that this meant more to him than it did her. The inferno grew even hotter as he knew that he would have to leave.
He shifted to the left and took her arm from around him and got up out of the bed. She squirmed slightly but didn’t wake as he pulled the covers over her. He tugged on his trousers and gathered his shirt from off the floor. He walked out to the balcony and then climbed over the railing.
He called forth narrow slabs of earth that carried him down to one of the servants’ rooms on the first floor. He searched for the window he wanted and stood outside. The night patrol would come this way soon so he had to work fast. The metal latches were in place, but he easily opened it as he was beginning to find that he could access the energy of anything that came from the earth. He then slipped inside.
He stepped onto a night table and his feet pushed off a clay bowl perched on the edge. The bowl didn’t break but it did wake the disoriented lordling. The lamp came on as soon as Milos was on the floor.
“Who are you and what the hell are you doing in my room?” said Doranand holding a lamp like he was about to hurl it at him.
“It is only me.” said Milos. “And this room sits in my palace, it is more my possession than yours. Now do you mind putting down the lamp? You look like you want to hurt me with it and I have had more than my share of hurt in a night.” he said walking over to his usual chair and sat.
“That still doesn’t answer why you are here. By the gods it is the middle of the night and I am sure that you have better things to do with your time than visit me.” said Doranand who went back to his bed. “Then again maybe you are here to boast of your conquest.”
“Aliana means more than a conquest to me. The feeling isn’t mutual I know as I stand before the one she possibly loves. Yet I have been forced to come here to ask for his help.” said Milos swivelling to face him.
“Why would you want my help and what makes you think that I will be willing to give it?” said Doranand who was watching him like he thought that he had gone mad.
“Because you care for my wife, more than I would like to admit and I think I can trust you to keep her safe.”
“Isn’t that what you’re there for?” grunted Doranand.
“Yes, but I have to be unavoidably absent for a couple of days, so that would make it difficult.”
“If you haven’t noticed, I am a prisoner in your castle Your Highness. What could I possibly do to help the princess?”
“Prisoners are never given means of escape. If you wanted to leave you could have walked out of that door any time you wanted.”
“The door is always locked...”
“Is it?” said Milos.
Doranand got up and turned the lock on his door. He held it slightly ajar and then closed it. His face was contorted between amusement and bewilderment. “All this time?”
“You were the one that never checked.”
“Even I have them. Why do you think I came in through a window? ”
“Why are you telling me this now?” said Doranand who seemed to be studying Milos extra carefully as he tried to figure out what he was really up to.
“I already gave you the reason.”
“And if I chose to leave now?”
“Then I would be wrong about you. Aliana would have been wrong about you.”
“She already has the wrong impression of me.”
“We both know that isn’t true.” said Milos getting up. “It will be dawn soon and my absence will be noted. I am trusting you to do the right thing.”
“And what is the right thing? If you think that I am going to willingly commit treason, you are sorely mistaken! Heaven knows what kind of game you are playing Milos, but I will not be falling for the sick scheme you have hatched up.”
“This isn’t a game, but when you are lucid enough to think about what I am offering maybe you will even thank me.” he said disappearing through the window and putting the latch firmly in place.
Let him chew on that. He knew that Aliana didn’t love him, but she would. Their connection was too strong for the outcome to be otherwise. But for that to happen she would need time and he would do anything, including play matchmaker to give her time to figure it out for herself.
Going to Evan was risky, leaving Aliana here even more so. His family was not fully convinced when he told them that someone in the palace had a part to play in Genos’ death, but he could sense the snakes around him. They had struck at the crown once and could do it again. He had lost his brother, but god’s above he was not going to lose his wife.
Doranand was the one he could trust the most to keep her safe. He would leave her in his care for now. It was a gamble, but he was hedging his bets carefully. He hoped he wasn’t wrong. In the meantime, he needed to speak to Darrien.