I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t let him take me to Sodora in three days; it was too soon. I needed to find a way to stay here longer than that. I still didn’t know how I was going to kill him and until I knew that I refused to let King Bancroft take me anywhere.
However, those three days had turned into two and Lord Bancroft was determined to leave Sodora. I did not know why he’d come to Quopia in the first place but now he was thinking about departing and I had to do whatever it took to stop him.
When Lord Bancroft entered his chambers and locked his eyes with mine, it took everything in me not to cover myself up with the blanket. Lord Bancroft had ordered me to move my belongings to his chambers which was where I would be staying until we left, which was why I was here, locked up in his bed chambers, having nothing to do but wait for him.
I missed Ethel terribly. And not just her but all the other women of the harem. Those women might not have any worth in the eyes of a man but they were my family and I could not bear to part with them. Ethel was like my sister so being separated from her caused me more pain.
“What is brewing in that beautiful mind of yours, my dear rose?” I jumped at hearing Lord Bancroft’s voice. He always talked to me when I was deep in thought, I wondered why he did that.
“Nothing of importance, my Lord,” I answered, lowering my gaze. My answers were a lie because I could not tell King Bancroft that I was thinking about his impending demise and me running away from Sodora and building my own life. No, the truth would only ignite his fury and I could not take that risk. I’d done it in the past and it was the worst mistake of my life.
“I am sure it is important, otherwise you wouldn’t be thinking about it,” he argued, sitting down on the sofa beside me. He immediately took my hands in his and pulled me closer until my body was pressed to his side. Being this close to Lord Bancroft made me feel things I shouldn’t and I cursed my body for betraying me like this. However, betrayal or not I would punish Lord Bancroft. He would beg me for mercy.
I smiled softly and shook my head. “No, my Lord. You must not concern yourself with my trivial thoughts.” God knows what he would do if he actually knew what I was thinking.
“And why not, my fiery nymph? You belong to me; anything you do is my concern and I shall not ignore it,” he stated, stroking my face with his finger.
“You are a King, my Lord. You have more important things that require your concern,” I argued. Lord Bancroft no longer punished me for arguing with him, unless I said something which displeased him. But I was going to be careful now. I would bide my time and strike when the opportunity presented itself. The more Lord Bancroft trusted me the easier it would be to destroy him.
“Nothing is more important than you, my dear rose. Since you are in my possession now, you are now my priority,” he said, kissing me tenderly while his hands traveled the length of my body. “I find it hard to believe that I waited nine years to claim you. I should’ve done it earlier but you were not ready.”
“My Lord, if it’s alright with you, may I ask a question?” I enquired.
“Of course, rose, ask me.” His lips brushed my ear. “Give me a glimpse of your thoughts.”
I swallowed hard. “Wh—What made you claim me? Why did you pick me?” I hoped he would answer my question rather than changing the subject. I didn’t understand why he would choose me out of all the women in the harem.
“The answer to your question is not one I can give you at this particular time. You will have to wait until we are in Sodora. Once we are there you will have your answer,” he replied.
The thought of going to Sodora twisted my insides. No, I couldn’t go there so soon. Perhaps I could kill him with poison. However, I discarded the notion as soon as it had come. Poisoning Lord Bancroft would not be fair. He needed to suffer. Poison would grant him a swift, painless death and I would not stand for it. No, I had to punish him some other way.
“Why will you answer my questions when we are in Sodora? Why do you refuse to answer them now?” I asked, daring to look at the green eyes that had the power to incinerate me.
“Because Sodora is our home now. And I do not like to discuss private matters outside of my home.” He kissed me once more. “Besides, we will leave Quopia in two days; I am sure you can be patient for a little while longer.”
“My Lord, do you not think that we should stay in Quopia for a few more days? I would miss Ethel terribly once we leave. Can we not depart for Sodora some other day? I will like to spend some time with my dear friend,” I requested. Could Ethel help me think of a way to punish Lord Bancroft? No, Ethel was too kind and the idea of punishing a King would be abhorrent to her. I couldn’t ask her for help.
Lord Bancroft was silent for a couple of minutes and my heart pounded, praying that Lord Bancroft would agree and stay in Quopia for a few more days. The more time I had the more I could think about what to do with him.
“I suppose we can extend our stay here. Besides I do have some matters I need to discuss with Aboloft.” His words had relief flooding my body. Now I could go and talk to the guards around here, they would tell me how to make people suffer.
“Thank you, my Lord. You are very kind. I am extremely grateful.” I told him. If he hadn’t done all those things to me, I probably would be thinking about how to please him. But as it was, he’d done things to me no woman should suffer from and I could not forget about that.
“My dear rose, you will find I am kind and generous to those who are under my care and possession.” He smiled down at me and my heart was foolish enough to flutter at the sight. Not knowing what to say, I smiled and nodded.
“Thank you, my Lord.”
“Is there anything else you wish for, my fierce nymph?” Lord Bancroft asked.
“Actually, my Lord, I was thinking…if I may go and visit the market. There are some things I need to buy,” I said. I was looking to buy a sharp knife or a dagger that I would use against the King who was holding me in his arms.
“And prey tell me, what is it that you need to buy from the market?” His eyes glittered with amusement and something else I couldn’t identify.
His question had me struggling for words. I needed to give him a proper answer or else he would not let me go anywhere and I needed to buy the supplies before we left for Sodora. It just did not feel right to buy things from there.
“My Lord—“ but I did not know what to say. “It’s just…” He would never let me go to the market.
Lord Bancroft chuckled, a sound that washed over my body like fresh water. “It looks to me like you are eager to go outside. Maybe keeping you here all alone, without the company of your friend is not the right decision. So I give you permission to go to the market and buy whatever your heart desires. But you must return within two hours. And—“ he stood up and walked over to a chest of drawers. He rummaged inside for a few seconds and then shut the drawer before walking back over to me. “You must wear this.” Taking my wrist, he slipped a jewel encrusted bracelet on my wrist which was tied to a ring which Lord Bancroft slipped on my finger.
“What is this, my Lord?” I asked, unable to tear my gaze from the sparkling jewels. The jewels were a dark blue, they looked almost black, encrusted in bronze.
“When I claim someone as my own, they are required to wear this so that people will know that you belong to someone. This way no one will harm you when you go out. I would send you out with a few guards but I know you will not like that. You have hardly ventured outside the walls of the castle which is why I know going alone will please you. So wear this and no one will dare touch you or speak to you,” he answered.
His words touched something deep inside of me, something I never expected to exist after what he’d done to me. And something which I found difficult to name. What was it? Why was it making me feel such strange emotions?
Alas, I couldn’t understand what Lord Bancroft’s words were making me feel. “Thank you, my Lord. I will make sure this stays on my wrist.”
Lord Bancroft smiled. “Good. Your response pleases me. You can go to the market now but make sure to return within two hours.”
I nodded. “Yes, my Lord. I will make sure to return as soon as I have everything I need.”
My eyes widened when he placed a silk pouch in my hands. The jingling sound could only be that of the gold coins. “Here are some coins you can use to purchase your items.”
“No, no, my Lord. I have coins of my own. You do not need to give me any.” I told him.
“Yes, I do. I have claimed you for myself therefore your needs are mine and I shall fulfill them. Now you must not waste your time arguing with me. Go to the market,” he ordered.
Not knowing what else to do, I nodded and stood up. “Thank you, my Lord. I will go now.” I hurried over to the cupboard and pulled out my hood. I draped it around me and pulled the hood over my head until it partly obscured my face. I slipped the pouch of gold coins in the pocket of my hood before walking out of Lord Bancroft’s chambers.
The market was busy at this time of the day. I could see people walking around; women standing in front of stalls with baskets hanging on their arms, purchasing fruits and vegetables. There were a few girls standing in front of a man selling dolls and it made me realize how I never had a doll to play with when I was little.
Just standing there and watching people lightened my heart and had me smiling for no reason. It was strange how Lord Bancroft knew what I wanted and was kind enough to give it to me. How did he know? And if he was so kind then why did he injure me?
Not wanting to waste my time standing and thinking about one thing or the other, I walked around, looking at what the different stalls were selling. The people were mostly selling fresh produce and little trinkets that could charm girls. Was there anyone who was selling knives or weapons?
It was while I was looking around that my eyes fell on a brooch. It was made of silver and looked as if a long, silver thread had been turned and twisted. A large blue stone, much like the one Lord Bancroft had given me sat atop it. I didn’t know why the brooch reminded me of Lord Bancroft but I had the strongest urge to buy it for him.
Would he like it?
I decided I was not going to think too much about it. I walked over to the stall and stood in front of a man who looked to be about twenty years old with blue eyes and messy brown hair. He smiled upon seeing me.
“See anything you like?” He asked me.
“Yes. How much for the brooch?” I picked up the silver brooch, ready to pay whatever he asked for.
“Five gold coins for the brooch,” he answered. If Lord Bancroft hadn’t given me the pouch of gold, I would’ve asked him to reduce the price, but as it was I had enough to buy a hundred brooches if not more and so I took out five gold coins from my silk pouch and gave it to him.
“Would you be so kind as to put it in a box instead of a pouch?” I requested. I did not understand why I was purchasing this brooch for a man who nearly killed me but I felt like I needed to pay him back for his kindness.
“Of course but the box costs an additional gold coin,” he said. I nodded and he set about finding the perfect box for the brooch. While he looked around for the box, I glanced at the other items sitting on the stall. There were a few necklaces and rings at one side and a bunch of framed mirrors on the other.
It was then that I spotted a knife sitting in the corner. It was not too big nor too small, just the right size for my hand. The hilt was bronze with small red jewels embedded in it and the blade was smooth and looked sharp enough to kill.
The knife awakened sinister thoughts in my mind. I could see Lord Bancroft on the ground, blood dripping from a terrible stab wound as I stood over him, the knife in my hand dripping with his blood. This was the perfect weapon. I would destroy Lord Bancroft with this knife. I would not forgive him until his blood dripped from this very knife.
“I found the box. Now I will just put the brooch in it and you can have it,” the man said, breaking me out of my dark train of thoughts.
“How much for the knife?” I asked, unable to look away from the mesmerizing blade.
“This knife? Twelve gold coins,” he stated.
Twelve gold coins for a knife. Twelve gold coins for Lord Bancroft’s death. It was not an expensive trade. He needed to suffer. He reduced me to nothing, it was only fair I did the same to him.
With a smile I looked at the knife and said…
“I’ll take it.”