The After Effects

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Memorization's and Snotty Princes

Two weeks passed with little excitement. Locke, Harper, and I fell into the same routine. Something that we all seemed to enjoy. The prince kept up with his goose chase, though after that meeting, he was never late for another meeting.

I never missed a chance to verbally spar with him either, something that Locke and the King always seemed to like watching on a daily basis.

The Prince's birthday party and coronation happened weeks ago, though nothing too eventful happened. In fact, I didn't even attend, though Locke had too since he was on guard duty for the night. Instead, Harper and I turned in early for the night, opting to get a good nights sleep over watching the snotty prince dance with harlots.

The King had gotten word back from his spies that the Vikings were continuing with their usual behavior. Which was a good and bad thing.

Bad thing because people were dying and the Vikings were getting more and more supplies as time passed.

Good thing because they didn't seem to be bracing for war yet.

Today, the King and Locke called off the daily meeting, instead, they went to talk to their forces.

That didn't stop me from sneaking into the meeting room though. Sitting in the King's comfy seat and studying the map of our continent, I compared it with the map I had drawn of the Black Forest.

The King had been grateful for the map I'd drawn. Every creek, valley, and fallen tree were drawn on it, perfectly from my memory.

My eyes drifted between my map and the King's giant map, putting them together so I had a whole complete map in my head.

The door creaked open to the meeting room, figuring it was Locke I didn't bother looking up as I spoke.

"What do you want for supper tonight?" I asked Locke as I focused on the Eastern and Western parts of the continent as though were my weaker memory maps.

"I'm not your boy toy." A deep voice rumbled. I looked up, glaring at the Prince until my mind processed what he had just said.

Boy toy? My brother?

Laughter bubbled out my chest as I fell into a laughing fit, almost falling out of the King's chair.

"Locke... my..boy... toy..." I wheezed. "You think.." I stared into blue eyes as I took a deep breath, steadying myself. "You think that Locke is my lover?" I asked managing to calm myself enough to stare into livid eyes.

"Why is that so funny?" Soren crossed his arms, grumpiness rolling off him in waves.

"Locke is my brother. Captain Bjerke is my brother." I enunciated my words clearly for the Prince. "Geez, I love him, but not like that." A shiver ran through me to prove my point.

I could've sworn a slight blush stung Soren's cheeks as he looked away from me... Interesting...

"My apologies," Soren said as he took a seat on the other side of the round table, opposite of me.

"Why do you do that?" I asked, not being able to help myself.

"Do what?" Soren asked, his arms resting on the table as he leaned forward to see what I was studying.

"Apologize," I said.

"Why wouldn't I?" Soren asked, confusion creasing his eyebrows.

"You're a snotty Prince that hates women... You just don't seem like the apologizing type." I shrugged.

Soren sighed, a dragged out sigh. "I don't hate women. And just because I'm a prince doesn't mean I'm excused from basic human manners."

"You don't hate women.... shocking," I said, sarcasm dripping from my every word.

"I hate smart asses." Soren glared at me from across the room.

"So the fact that the first time I ever talked to you, you were completely rude and horrible to me, had nothing to do with me being of the female gender?" I felt as if I was poking a sleeping bear, waiting for him to snap so we could get into another verbal battle.

"No. I have no problem with women. In fact, I respect them... You.. you on the other hand." Soren snorted, something that seemed so normal coming from him, the perfect prince of the south. "You, I have a problem with." He sighed as he sat back in his chair, tipping it to two legs.

"Because I'm just so pretty and out of your league that it's intimidating?" I smirked.

Most girls my age would put themselves down for the attention of a man. Try to reel some pity from the male. Not me... If a male can't handle me and my personality, then I Don't Want It.

I nearly dropped dead as a smirk pulled at the corner of Soren's mouth. "You and your smart mouth." He shook his head as he laced his fingers together. Which drew my attention to his hands. His huge, calloused hands that screamed masculinity. My eyes flicked to see his Royal Ring, only to see no ring. no ring.. interesting.

I immediately remembered the Royal Ring I had found a couple of weeks ago in the local stable... What do you want to bet that that is his ring...

"It's a gift really." I smiled and flicked my eyes back to his, before going back to study the map in front of me.

"How do you know the Black Forest so well?" Soren asked, watching as I traced major roads and villages.

I shrugged, not an answer but an acknowledgment. My lack of answer made Soren grind his teeth, biting back whatever comment he was going to make.

"And you wonder why you irritate me," Soren said, leaning back in his chair, agitation evident in his voice.

"I was just trying to prove how easy it is to make you angry." I looked up to see his icy blue eyes glaring at me. "Point proven." I shot him a smirk as I spoke.

"Whatever, just answer my question. You seem to know every anthill and leaf on the ground in that forest... How? Most men won't even set foot in that forest." Soren said.

"I spent time in it when I was scavenging around the areas." I shrugged, trying to play off my reasoning as not to raise further questions.

"You're a scavenger?" Soren asked, an eyebrow raised. His eyes ran over my attire. A flowery blouse tucked into skinny jeans, paired with white lace-up stiletto heels.

Staying in the castle for close to three weeks has really changed me. At least my sense of fashion.. No more dirty old man jeans and ripped jackets for Ivy. No, now I'm spoiled with jeans and leggings that go with the many tops that fill my magical closet.

Speaking of my magical closet, I've started calling it that because after two days of refusing to wear the dresses filling it, I opened it one day to see it filled with beautiful tops and bottoms and heels that brought a huge smile to my face.

"Was."

"You.." Soren pointed at me. "Miss Drama Queen and Tell All were a scavenger."

"Yes." I sighed, rubbing a hand over my face before running that same hand through my red hair.

"I don't buy that." Soren declared as he leaned back in his seat again.

"Well, I don't need to prove myself to you." I sighed, growing tired of this conversation.

"Cause you're lying," Soren said with a smirk dancing on his lips.

Suddenly I realized... He was baiting me. Trying to get me riled up just as I did to him. The bastard.

"Yes, Soren. I'm lying to you. Now could you please leave me alone so I can return to these maps." I waved my hand to the door, dismissing him without looking up.

"No." Soren huffed, insulted.

"Wonderful." I huffed in return.

"You are something else," Soren muttered, whether he intended me to hear it or not, I did.

"And you're a prick," I muttered back. I knew he heard me from the slight flare of his nostrils that I saw in my peripheral vision.

"What's with the girl?" Soren asked, referring to Harper, I realized with a start.

"What about her?" I shot back. Why does he want to know about her?

"You seem too young to have a daughter... So what is she to you?" Soren studied my reaction as I glared at him.. Why is he so nosy today? This is definitely a different side I've never seen of his.

"I saved her from an abusive home life," I told him the bare bones, revealing too much about her could reveal too much about me.

"Why?"

"Why are you Mr. Questions today?" I furrowed my brows in question.

"I'm bored. Indulge me." The Prince said, almost playfully.

"She had a traumatic experience a couple of years ago, she stopped speaking for years after that, until she met me and I took her on because I can relate to what she went through," I explained, leaving out anything about the Vikings. "My turn."

"Your turn for what?" Soren asked.

"A question," I said. "Why do you want to find the Acer so badly?"


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