“Aika, does the Prince have powers?” I asked, tapping on the ceiling to floor length glass watching a black and gold striped fish swim up to the window where I was tapping. Its big fishy eyes staring back at me like I’m the strange creature on the other side of the glass.
Prince Raiden left shortly after I fell back asleep which was really quick. It felt sort of like how it felt when he caught me in the grand room trying to run away. Truthfully, I allowed him to hold me longer because the ache in my chest was still there and strangely, he provided a sense of comfort.
Aika was behind me dusting the towering bookshelves in the room. I sat on the floor of the library with my legs up and a book in my hands but my attention was not on the book. It kept flitting back to Prince Raiden.
“Of course. Prince Raiden has very strong powers.” Aika replied. “He wouldn’t be the Prince if he didn’t.”
I sighed and pressed my forehead against the glass window. A swordfish swam by uncaring. The black and gold striped fish swam around the glass window. I watched it go up and down.
Aika walked up to me and handed me a few books. I read the titles and it was about the ancient history of water Dragons as well as the Royal bloodlines. I placed the books down on top of my other books I wanted to read. If I am going to stay here, I might as well learn something.
“You should read these. It will help you understand.” Aika gave me a supportive smile.
She pushed forward again another tray of sweet desserts along with hot tea. The dessert that Aika brought me was actually delicious. It was the perfect combination of sweet and coconut flavor. I popped one in my mouth.
“Last night, all the fishes were gone-”
“Oh, the Prince was in a foul mood. These sea creatures always sense it before it happens. Smart little creatures. Running away instead of facing the havoc of a water Dragon.” Aika murmured, still dusting the shelves.
“So, it was because they knew Prince Raiden was angry? Are you saying they are connected somehow?” I asked.
“He’s the Prince.” Aika rolled her eyes at me. “Milady, I do not know how many times I am going to tell you this. He has very strong powers. These sea creatures know well enough who is on top of the food chain.
I nodded slowly in understanding before glancing back out the window. It was all I could see. Water that stretched for miles. Sea creatures high and low.
A ginormous shark swam by and I screeched, scrambling on hands and feet away from the window. Aika came running and grasped me by the arms to get my attention.
“What’s wrong?” She asked.
“Is that glass shatterproof?” I pointed at the window suspiciously.
She giggled again, “Of course, milady! This palace is controlled with ancient powers. No sea creatures can get in. You are safe.”
I nodded slowly before standing up. I picked up my books and adjusted my dress. The floor length sheer skirt falling to my feet. I moved away from the window for now and sat on a small two seated couch. I placed the books next to me. With my hands in my lap, I watched Aika continued cleaning.
“Are you the only maid who cleans this section?” I asked.
She shook her head, “There used to be a few more until you came. Prince Raiden placed a restriction on them and allowed only me to tend to you and this whole wing.”
I scrunched up my nose, “Sounds exhausting. I should help you.”
I moved to pick up another cloth similar to the one she was using. She gasped and her eyes turned into wide saucers.
“The Prince will kill me!” She tried to remove the cloth from my hands.
“Stop! He will not kill you!” I pulled it back. She pulled it away from me.
“He will never allow this. You have to stop this nonsense, milady.” Aika’s face paled in fear.
“Aika, listen to me.” I yanked the cloth out of her hands and hid it behind my back. She opened and then closed her mouth.
“I need to do something or else I will go crazy. This wing-this place is driving me insane. I need to do something normal, so I don’t go insane. Do you understand?” I eyed her carefully.
She looked like she was going to throw up, “I don’t know about this...”
“How about this, if he punishes you, you can tell him to come to talk to me.” I comforted her.
“I don’t think this is a good idea.” Aika sound torn.
“How about this. Either you let me clean or I venture out of his wing.”
I cocked an eyebrow.
She exhaled in defeat and a grin appeared on my face. I have never been this excited to clean. I got to working with her. I sang a little tune while I started on one end of the shelves while she started on the other end.
“Do you have any siblings, Aika?” I asked while dusting an old book that looks like it hasn’t been touched in ages.
“Just one, milady. He is a soldier here at the palace.” Aika replied with a smile on her face.
“How many people live at the palace?”
“Only the Royals, a few high rank soldiers and their family, and the rest of the servants who tend to the royal family,” Aika replied.
“So you sleep here?” I asked.
She nodded, “We have a servant’s quarter just below Prince Raiden’s wing.”
“That’s good. You must get to see your brother often.” I smiled.
She shook her head sadly, “I rarely see him. He is so busy training and protecting us. I haven’t left the Palace in ages. I miss my mom and dad.”
Instantly, I felt her pain. She must feel as trapped like me.
“I am sorry to hear,” I said softly.
She gave me a sad smile, “It is okay. My hard work gives them a chance to live without working so hard. Its the least I could do.”
“When do you think I will be able to leave the Prince’s wing?” I turned to face her.
She shrugged, “You will have to ask him.”
I made a mental note to ask him and possibly persuade him in allowing me to go somewhere besides his wing.
I dusted a few more shelves and continued my tune. Pretty soon I started doing a silly dance while dusting the shelves. Aika was giggling at me while I performed in front of her. I climbed up a ladder and started dusting the higher shelves, shaking my booty. My voice dipped lower into a manly voice as I winged a completely ridiculous tune about the man asking the woman for a dance.
Aika answered back in a high pitched voice and I burst out laughing. She caught my act and ruefully joined in. It was the perfect moment too. I shook my booty and returned my response in my manly voice.
“What the hell is going on?” Prince Raiden’s voice pierced our fun.
“Shit.” My feet slid from the ladder in surprise and I lost my balance. My hold on the ladder loosened and I felt myself dropping to my death. A scream started forming in my throat but was immediately silenced when I found myself dropping straight into a pair of strong arms.
I opened my eyes to see Prince Raiden look at me like I am insane. I gave him a half grin.
“Hi.” I squeaked.
He blinked in disbelief. I shifted so he would let me down. Instead, he held on tight before turning to face Aika.
“Explain.” He did not sound happy. The dark look on his face was cold enough to freeze fire.
Aika stumbled over words. Struggling to coherently speak in front of Prince Raiden.
“We were just cleaning.” I helped Aika. Aika looked about ready to faint.
“Cleaning? Why were you cleaning?” He said the words as if it was foreign to him. Prince Raiden narrowed his eyes on me before pinning them threateningly on Aika. Without thinking, I cupped one side of his cheek and directed his attention back at me. Not letting him breathe fire to Aika.
“Cause I threatened her.”
He looked incredulous, “What?”
“I told her if she didn’t let me clean, I would leave this wing.” I cocked an eyebrow at him.
I watched the emotions of disbelief play on his face. His mouth opening and closing as if he was out of words and I couldn’t stop the smile from appearing on my face. He looked like the little black and goldfish I’ve seen earlier outside.
“You want to clean?” He looked at me in confusion. Disbelief apparent in his voice.
“Is that hard to believe?” I replied.
He waved a dismissal hand at Aika. She didn’t need to be told twice. She left without a glance. She tends to do that often around him. My attention flew back to him.
“You are my chosen mate.” He said. “You shouldn’t have to do all this. This is why we have servants. To do the things we can’t.”
“I’m sorry. I am missing something here. I believe that in order to be a good leader you have to know your people.” My irritation growing. I propped my hands on my waist.
“I do know my people.” He responded.
I scoffed, “Just a second ago, you looked like I have grown another head when I wanted to clean. Have you ever done anything with your hands Prince Raiden or do you wait on your people for everything?”
He didn’t reply.
I got my answer.
Shaking my head, I turned away from him but his hands came out to grab my elbow. He turned me around. My angry eyes met his indecipherable ones.
“You are judging me without letting me explain.” He pointed out.
I didn’t waver.
“I am not stopping you too. If at any point I was wrong, you could have stopped me.”
“I am a Prince. I have bigger matters to take care of. Cleaning is less of my worries.” He excused.
I shook my head yet again, “It isn’t cleaning I am referring to. A leader should not be afraid to get his or her hands dirty regardless what it is. I understand you have bigger matters but without your people, you can’t lead.”
“And what do you suppose I should do?” He inquired, his eyes still its dark brooding look.
“It isn’t my place-”
“I beg to differ. It is your place. Tell me, Anna May, what should I do?”
I glanced down at his hand still wrapped around my elbow and then back at him.
“When was the last time you have spoken to your people?” I asked.
His perfectly shaped lips pursed and his eyebrows wrinkled.
“A few days ago.” He told me. “I made an announcement-”
I laughed, shaking my head again.
“I meant, have you talked to them? Do you know that Aika has a family just like me? She is so busy working here she doesn’t have time to see them.” I moved to take hold of his grip and removed his hands. He didn’t say a word but I knew his answer already.
I grabbed my books and left the room. I can feel his eyes on me but he made no move to stop me.