Chapter 22: Exercitatione
“So Anita, how did you meet my brother?” Prince Maximus asks me. “I didn’t even know he knew what a girl was until we got word that he was bringing a girl along with him on his visit.” Alpha Kaine falls in step with us and sends a glare to his brother, his teeth clenching together to give his jaw a more defined look.
“I think you have the wrong idea...” I start to explain. “I’m his prisoner,” I tell him respectfully. “I’m just repaying my debts with servitude to Alpha Kaine. When I’m done with that I’m hoping to leave peacefully and try to live a normal life back home.” Alpha Kaine blinks and continues looking ahead.
“Prisoner, eh?” Prince Maximus asks. “How kinky of you, brother.” He attempts to nudge Alpha Kaine but he moves before his elbow can make contact with him.
Alpha Kaine sighs and turns on his heel, jabbing his finger at his brother to emphasize every single word he says. “You know it isn’t like that,” he tells his brother. Prince Maximus steps back slightly, before attempting to hold his ground. Alpha Kaine stands only a few inches taller than his brother. His face holds a bit of stubble while Prince Maximus has somewhat of a beard filling in.
Without knowing the two you would think they were rivals based on the way Alpha Kaine spoke to his own brother. But Prince Maximus held his face in an awkward expression. He looked like a child who was caught doing something ridiculously funny who couldn’t keep a straight face while being reprimanded by his mother.
“She explained our circumstances to you. I suggest you leave it at that and stop sticking your nose into other people’s business,” Alpha Kaine fumes to his brother, who in turn raises his hands in face surrender, my hand still caught in his elbow. Prince Maximus chuckles a bit after Alpha Kaine turns back around and continues walking.
"Okay, sure," he replies sarcastically, narrowing his eyes at me and jerking his thumb at his brother with a derpy expression. He didn’t realize that Alpha Kaine had once again stopped walking until his chest rammed into his back.
Alpha Kaine separated Prince Maximus and I, pulling his brother to eye level by the collar of his shirt before he practically in his face as he spoke to him. “Shut up,” he said. “Shut the fuck up, Max.”
Prince Maximus never faltered, he sighed and put his hands around his brother’s wrist, creating enough resistance to keep real harm from coming to himself.
“I’ve seen the letters, Kaine. Mom gushed about them over dinner. Her second oldest son was bringing a pretty little girl over to meet her. A brilliant young woman who isn’t afraid to speak her mind, even when it can get her in trouble she said. How could she have known that if you didn’t say that to her? She didn’t. You told her those things,” he justifies. He looked smug as Alpha Kaine stood in front of him, stark raving mad. Then suddenly, the smug look left Prince Maximus’s face as understanding washed over him in a single moment.
“She doesn’t know why she’s here,” he says. “This is rich," he continues. “You didn’t tell her why you came at all. You just brought her along and let her guess for herself what the real story was.”
Alpha Kaine shoved him to the ground and spit on the ground beside him. “You. Don’t. Know. Shit,” he replies, pulling on my hand and leading me to the castle. Prince Maximus sat up in the grass and leaned on his elbows with a smile, throwing a handful of ripped grass in the air like confetti as he chuckled.
Even members of the royal family are no strangers to sibling rivalry, apparently.
“Ignore him. I’m afraid my brother is still very immature,” Alpha Kaine tells me. “He can’t control himself around members of the opposite sex. We’re going to get him checked out one of these days.” I don’t know if he’s serious or not but I laugh nervously anyways. “Our bags should be in our room for us so when we get there we won’t have to worry about finding them and unpacking. We can just settle in.” I nod, awkwardly looking over my shoulder at Prince Maximus, who sends me a playful wink.
Three more servants are stationed closer to the castle. The man from before is not one of them, he is long gone with the suitcases that we brought along with us. “Who is that?” I ask Alpha Kaine, trying not to point at the new face that is stationed by the doorway.
“That’s my mother,” he tells me. My eyes widen as I take in her appearance. She does not look like the Queen’s that were in children’s novels. She is beautiful with long dark tresses of naturally curled hair. She waits for her son with an obnoxiously large smile on her face. It was only then that I saw any sort of wrinkles on her face. The woman was relatively untouched by age.
No fucking shit, Anita. She’s literally a goddess how stupid can you be?
“My son,” she says, opening her arms for her son just like Prince Maximus had before her. “I do so miss seeing your handsome face, Kaine. You must visit me more often,” she admonishes. Alpha Kaine huffs as she buries her nose in the crook of his shoulder, holding her child as tightly as she can.
At this moment I can’t help but feel like I’m intruding on a precious family moment. Obviously, I would have no knowledge of the last time Alpha Kaine made the trip to see his mother and father but based on the way she tightly embraced him it had clearly been a long time.
“I write to you all the time. You and father,” Alpha Kaine tells her, looking over her shoulder. “Do you not get my letters?” Queen Elara pats his cheek fondly and pulls away.
“Of course I do. There’s just nothing like a little face to face meeting,” she reminds him. “Your father wanted to greet you when you came but his last meeting with the council ran a bit long. You know how that is,” Alpha Kaine nods in apparent understanding.
“Where did your brother go?” she asks, frowning at Alpha Kaine. “Did he not greet you?” Alpha Kaine shrugs.
“He did. I left him back there. He wasn’t really being the best host. You ought to have known he wouldn’t be able to handle himself around our guest,” he says. Queen Elara’s eyes flick to meet mine as soon as the word guest passes his lips.
“Oh!” she exclaims. “You must be Anita!” I smile kindly and bow slightly, unsure of how exactly to address her. “When my son told us that he would be bringing you along with him I was a bit shocked, to say the least, but I am glad you are here. I have been told that you have a lot of ideas for the kingdom regarding inclusion that could be useful to me and my husband. We both look forward to hearing what amazing new ideas you have for us.” I raise an eyebrow at her. Prince Maximus had told me much of the same thing when I met him on the dock. If they had both read the letters did this mean that Alpha Kaine truly said all of those kind things about me or did they just not want to hurt my feelings by telling me the truth about my criminal life that I was imprisoned for originally?
“I wasn’t aware that I would be presenting any ideas...” I mumble. If they would have been humans my mumbling would have gone right over their heads but since they were supernaturals Queen Elara turned to her son with a sinister scowl.
“She doesn’t know why she’s here, does she?” she asks him. Alpha Kaine does another half shrug and stuffs his hands into his pockets.
“She knows she’s here to be my assistant through this whole thing. That and moral support. I wasn’t aware that you were under the impression she was here for something, mother. I apolgize if I mislead you in anyway.” Queen Elara frowns but beckons us inside anyway, piching her sons elbow as he passes her.
“Hurry up, Maximus,” she calls over her shoulder to the grassy expanse in front of us. “No one wants to wait for you to catch up to us. I’m sure Kaine and Anita are anxious to get up to their rooms and rest after their journey,” she looks at me with a small smile as Prince Maximus peaks up over the top of the hill., pretending to be on the verge of death as he reaches the doorway. Queen Elara rolls her eyes and walks away, not caring to witness her sons childish antics.
“I don’t think I need any rest. We’ve only just got here and I was asleep the whole time,” I whisper to Alpha Kaine as one of the servants lead us up the steps, the other two following Queen Elara and Prince Maximus down the hallway.
“You may think you are rested up but you will appreicate a little lie down more than you think you will. The journey was hard on your body.” I nod, not willing to fight with him over yet another thing that has happened since we met. I certainly don’t want to find with th potential King of Slethia in the royal palace. I’m not a fool. “My room is just down the hallway,” he tells me.
“Is it the same room you stayed in as a boy?” I ask, immediately regretting it as I imagine the storm of rage he might hit with with for asking about his childhood when it wasn’t my place.
“I’m sorry,” I apologize instantly, bowing my head in submission. “I should not have asked.” Alpha Kaine waves his hand and blows a puff of air out.
“Why shouldn’t you ask? You’re just curious about my life. The news doesn’t show you everything you know,” he tells me with a nudge and a wink. “You don’t need to be so afraid, Anita. You could never make me angry.” I fight the eye roll with all my might, knowing full well we were in an argument less than two days ago about something silly.
Deep down I think Alpha Kaine enjoyed the banter. He seemed to think he was the cheekiest bastard around and that everything he had to say was right. He probably gets that from his father. His mother seemed too kind and nurturing to pass on a trait like that.
“My room is right here. I stayed here when I was growing up. Every couple years they reodel it for me. We always have a place here at the castle, Anita. My mother would chain me to the bed and never let me leave the castle if she truly could. I’m very blessed to have grown up around such a loving family,” he says to me. He opens the door and only then do I get to see the true life of luxury that Alpha Kaine had grown up in all of his life.
The walls were a deep gray, decorated with deep red trim around the edges. The bed centered in the room was huge, way bigger than his King sized one back at his residence in his District.
“Where will I be staying?” I ask. He scrunches up his nose and cocks his head slightly at me.
“What do you mean where will you be staying?” he sounds offended and I quickly try to backtrack. I don’t want to stop getting along with Alpha kaine. Especially after he already told Queen Elara such nice things about me in his letters.
“This is your room. Where is the room I will be staying in?” He laughs at that.
“In here with me of course,” he smirks.