I knew it was too good to be true. Lord Bancroft’s true face was bound to come to light sooner or later. He was a cruel man and couldn’t be kind for long. I did not understand why he even bothered trying. If he thought he could throw water over the fire of vengeance blazing in my heart with a few kind words, then he was wrong.
“Punish me, my Lord?” I was glad to know that my heart was no longer afraid of the man who did everything he could to make me miserable. Mayhap it was because Lord Bancroft had done the worst that he could when he used a knife on me, and I was no longer afraid of him.
“For fleeing to Pran, my beautiful rose.” He cupped the side of my face which had me jumping. It was so dark in this room, I couldn’t see anything; I could just feel and listen to his voice.
“You know why I did that. Your actions left me no choice,” I replied. I was afraid when I entered this room but now, the fear seemed to have frozen in place, giving way to courage and strength as they heated up my insides, getting me ready for battle.
“You had no right to flee when I had claimed you for myself, or did you forget that?” His question left me with no reasonable argument. It was true that I had no right to run when he had claimed me, but I was only trying to protect myself.
“You were only making me suffer. If claiming me meant that you could torture me for your own amusement, then, forgive me, my Lord but I could not allow you to do that.” I paused and took a deep breath. “I know, I have no right to tell you what to do but I value my life even if you don’t, and I did not wish to suffer until death finally took me away.”
Silence descended like a heavy cloak upon us as we stood in the cold, dark room. God knows what Lord Bancroft was thinking; I couldn’t even see his eyes, which could give me a glimpse of his thoughts.
“You have forgotten your place, it seems,” he remarked.
I bit my lip, glad to be surrounded by darkness as he couldn’t see me. “No, my Lord. I know my worth. I shall never forget it.”
“If you hadn’t forgotten it, then you wouldn’t have fled,” he stated.
“I just could not endure any more pain at your hands, my Lord. Wh—What you did to me…it was too much. I know I have no right to express my feelings but you brought me here to give me a new life…and I cannot have a new life if you keep talking about punishing me,” I said. Was he going to slap me for talking back to him?
I gasped when Lord Bancroft grabbed my upper arms and pushed me against the wall. His grip on my arms was relentless and I knew I would not be able to break free until and unless he wished so.
“You do not know what you speak of.” Was it just me or did Lord Bancroft seemed at a loss for words. I mean, he could’ve said something else to me but he only said that I was talking nonsense.
“Is it really me, or have you never had anyone give you a reasonable answer before?” I enquired, feeling my confidence return. Something told me that Lord Bancroft would no longer torture me like he did back in Quopia. If that was true, then I could focus on what to do about Lord Bancroft and how to live my life here.
“I order you stop talking,” he commanded, breathing heavily.
A small smile curved my lips. Mayhap I could turn things around in my favor. Something had obviously changed with Lord Bancroft. He was no longer threatening to kill me or shed my blood. And if he was really going to punish me, he would’ve done so by now.
“You must listen to me, my Lord. Please, you have to understand why I chose to flee,” I said.
“There is nothing you can say that will change my mind. Fleeing from under my nose was the worst mistake you could’ve made. You shall be punished,” he snarled. I could feel him stepping closer to me, as the heat of his body surrounded me in a warm embrace.
I shook my head, even though I knew he couldn’t see me. “You know why I did it. And somewhere in the back of your mind, you know why I fled…you understand my reasons.” I wasn’t sure if I had gone too far, but I couldn’t stop. “That is why you have not done anything to me yet. You have been kind to me since we arrived in Sodora. And even if you do punish me, it would be nothing severe.” I really needed to stop talking, or else he might use a knife against me once more.
“You don’t know anything,” he hissed.
“You may be right but I am fairly certain about this,” I responded, feeling confident in myself. He would not hurt me, not today.
“And what if I proved you wrong?” He queried.
“You have no reason to prove me wrong, my Lord. I do not understand why you brought me here, but despite what you claimed to do, you will not punish me.” I was afraid that if I kept saying this, then he really would do what I did not want him to do.
“I order you to stop talking, my fiery nymph,” he repeated his command. “Or else you will not like the consequences.”
“And what consequences are those, my Lord?” I wanted to see how much I could push him before he snapped and showed me the monster that he was keeping a tight hold on.
“I demand your silence, my rose,” he said.
“And I request a glimpse in your mind, my Lord,” I replied.
I gasped when he crushed his lips to mine. The kiss was intense and powerful. Lord Bancroft pushed me further into the wall, as his lips dominated me. It was as if he was trying to make me submit with his actions as he failed to do so with his words.
His grip on my arms tightened as he bit and nipped at my lips, extracting a moan from me. He pushed his tongue inside me, forcing me to open up for him as he reminded me how he ruled over me even if I failed to acknowledged that fact.
“You need to under—stand that I you belong to me,” he said before giving my lower lip a sharp bite causing me to cry out before plunging his tongue once again in my mouth. His tongue fought with mine, pushing past my defenses and claiming me once again.
Pleasure bloomed in my heart when his hand left my arm and captured my breast, gently kneading the mound even though my dress was in the way. I moaned and tried to think clearly through the fog of lust clouding my mind, but no matter what I did, I couldn’t ignore the pleasure spreading through my body as Lord Bancroft kissed and touched me.
“I kn—know this, my L—Lord,” I said when he pulled away only to attack my neck with his lips and teeth. I gasped as a carnal pleasure shot through my body when he bit at the skin of my neck, resulting in my body going limp as it surrendered to his touch. Fortunately, he released my other arm and wrapped his free hand around me, securing me to him as he continued to feast upon my neck.
“You shall always remember it, or else I will have no trouble reminding you of this fact every day for the rest of your life,” he stated before pulling away.
I nodded as I tried to catch my breath, not caring if he could see me or not. He’d kissed me hard enough to take my breath away, making it difficult for me to speak.
How in the world could he do something like this? How could he be so intense and not hurt me? I mean, he did bite my neck, but the pain was nothing like the one he inflicted on me in Quopia. This was different, this was something I had never experienced before. And for some reason I wanted more of it. However, I would not let Lord Bancroft know about this; he could use it as a weapon against me.
“I want you to know that there will be guards posted at every corner of this castle. And if you so much as think about escaping, they will know and will inform me immediately. So, if you want your life to be beautiful and peaceful, you would do well not to incur my wrath, my fiery nymph. Do you understand that?” He asked.
Him informing me about the guards was old news, however, I did not know that they were watching me so closely. It was evident that Lord Bancroft did not trust me, and if I actually stabbed him, then he really would never trust me.
But I had no choice. He couldn’t continue to do whatever it was that he desired. Yes, he was the King who was used to getting his way in every aspect, but he couldn’t keep treating me like an animal. And if I had to shed his blood in order to do it, then that was exactly what I would do. I wouldn’t let him harm anyone else.
“You cannot keep me prisoner here,” I said, even though I knew he could.
“You know that I can. And I am not keeping you imprisoned here. You are free to roam the castle, however, if you intend to flee that is when you will be punished,” he clarified, putting my heart at ease. Well at least I would not be confined to one place. I had only spent a month in Pran and it had changed me so much. I should be used to living in one room, but since I got the taste of freedom, I had completely forgotten my old life.
“My Lord…” I trailed off, not knowing what to say. And then, a question finally bloomed as I looked around the dark room. “Are you going to lock me in here?” Now that he was no longer kissing me, the cold had decided to creep back in.
“No,” he said, after a while. “Even though those were my initial intentions when I brought you here. I wanted to make you regret your decision about fleeing to Pran, but now I realize that you will never regret your decision, and there is nothing I can do to change that.”
Did I hear him right? Was King Bancroft—the cruel, powerful King—giving up? Was he admitting defeat? But how could that be possible. He never accepted defeated much less admit to it. He was the sort of man who could crush mountains just so he could win against his enemies.
But you are not the enemy. You are his chosen woman.
Yes, that’s what he thought. Lord Bancroft did not consider me to be the enemy. According to him, I was a powerless woman who could only beg for mercy and make silly mistakes without thinking of the consequences. He did not consider me to be a threat.
And that was exactly what would be his downfall.
“So, does that mean you are no longer in the favor of locking me in this cold room and punishing me?” I questioned, eager to get out of here as my hands grew cold and shivers begun to wrack my body.
“Oh I am still going to punish you, my beautiful rose; just not here and not in the way I initially decided.” He told me. I heard his footsteps towards what I assumed was the direction of the door.
“Then in what manner, my Lord?” A sudden thought occurred to me as I waited for him to open the door and get me out of here. Was it possible that he had decided not to punish me because he planned to do something else to me? I knew he would punish me, as he had said so himself, but mayhap there was something else he was planning, something much worse than I could have imagined. But what could it be? And was it even true? Mayhap it was just my fear talking and Lord Bancroft was not planning to do anything to me.
“That is something you will know in due time. For now—” He opened the door, and I had to squint my eyes as the golden rays of light hit me. “—We have to go to the gardens like I promised.”
I was only too eager to follow him out of the frigid room. Once we were out in the open, I took in a deep breath, enjoying the warmth of the castle. No matter what happened, I would never go back to that room again, even if I had to punish anyone, I still wouldn’t do it. That room did not deserve to be present in this castle. Mayhap, I could request Lord Bancroft to have it sealed.
“I had the gardeners plant a whole garden of roses when I got to know how much you prefer them. There are other flower gardens as well, but for now I shall take you to the one that is the most pleasing to your heart,” he informed me. Had he forgotten about punishing me? I mean, he was talking like he did earlier, before he took me in that room.
“Thank you, my Lord. I am glad to know that you planted a garden full of roses.” The only reason I fancied the roses was because I wanted to be just as deadly as one. The thorns hidden under the petals could prove to be fatal, and that would be the perfect way to seek vengeance.
“When the ball will take place, I shall bring you here for the final dance.” His words made me see something that I had failed to acknowledge all this time: an opportunity.
Of course, I could do this at the ball. The whole world will be there to witness the downfall of their mighty King, and Lord Bancroft would know the mistakes he made when he chose to torment me.
This was the it.
The end was near.
Lord Bancroft would die soon.