The Alien Prince’s Bride

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Chapter 2

Gander tittered a little at Angela’s outburst, but for her part, Angela was too upset to decide if she’d offended him or he was laughing. She was trying to figure out what was happening, because it was impossible that the future leader of Axion was going to marry a human.

“Miss Winslow,” Gander said gently, “I understand that this must come as a bit of a shock. However-”. Angela raised her hand, causing Gander to fall silent.

“Let me see if I understand you correctly: my match is the Crown Prince of Axion?” Angela phrased it as a question, but it was more of a statement. Gander inclined his head to agree.

“He spent quite a bit of money to have me as his match, but his family doesn’t know about me?”

“Yes,” Gander concurred. “However, as you’ll soon see, money is rather a useless commodity on Axion. At least for the titled and especially for the royal family.”

Angela tried to absorb this. All her life, money had been the driving factor needed to survive. Money meant food, safety, and a chance to better oneself. The idea that the concept of money didn’t exist for these people completely flummoxed Angela, as well as made her angry. She hadn’t had a choice when she entered the ABA, but clearly Prince Whatever had every opportunity available to him and was playing around with Angela.

“Gander, I’m just going to be straight with you,” Angela said bluntly. “Proper Axion protocols were drilled into my head at the ABA, but I feel like we’re way outside any expected scenario I could have been trained for. What’s really going on?”

Gander looked surprised at Angela’s frankness, then he broke into a grin, the first time Angela had truly seen him smile.

“Goodness,” Gander said with admiration. “He’s not going to see you coming at all.”

“I’m sorry?” Angela asked.

“His Royal Highness picked a human match for two reasons. One, he knew how utterly horrified everyone would be and yet they would have to hide it. And two, the perception of humans is that they are weak-willed and pliable. I believe he thought he’d be able to continue life as normal without your interference.”

“So this is some twisted game to him?” Angela was furious. “I entered into this arrangement in good faith and he’s just some rich idiot playing games with other peoples’ lives because he can?”

“It’s more complicated than that,” Gander said, sighing.

“Try me.”

“I’m afraid I cannot break His Royal Highness’s confidence. Please know that while I’m sure he’s going to enjoy the mayhem he’s created, he has no intention of hurting or abandoning you,” Gander said sincerely.

Angela flopped back against the soft seats, glaring out the window. Nothing about this made sense. She could tell she was upsetting Gander, but she really didn’t have time to think about his feelings when her whole life had yet again been upended. Suddenly, Angela sat straight up, piercing Gander with a highly intelligent stare.

“He’s using the trial period, isn’t he?” asked Angela. Gander’s eyes widened in shock, betraying even his prejudice against human intelligence. “The six month trial period is legally binding and your Prince needs that time. He has no intention of marrying me, just using my convenient and hilarious presence to accomplish something during that time.”

“He’s not going to see you coming at all,” Gander said, staring at Angela in open admiration. “I think I’m rather going to enjoy the mess he’s gotten himself in.”

“Don’t think I didn’t notice you neither confirming nor denying my theory,” Angela said. “And considering what’s happened so far, you’ve basically confirmed it.”

“My dear Miss Winslow, you might be better at these games than any of us ever anticipated,” Gander said approvingly. Angela just rolled her eyes, a wry smile curving the side of her mouth.

“Politics might be games to all of you, but do you really think people survive in colony cities without knowing and understanding people’s fundamental nature?” Angela asked. “Humans, Axions, it doesn’t matter. At the core, we’re all the same and we all have to learn your so-called games or we won’t survive.”

Gander just stared at Angela before giving a slight shake of his head and muttering, yet again: “He won’t see you coming at all.”

Angela spent the remainder of the ride staring outside in wonder. Most of the people walking the streets were clearly Axions, but few seemed full-blooded. Humans and Axions looked remarkably similar, with only the Axions’ height and subtly shining skin and eyes as giveaways. Few Axions were shorter than six feet, with most men seven feet tall or higher. While the women were slender and willowy, the men had broad shoulders that tapered to athletic physiques.

All Axions had golden eyes and their skin seemed to shimmer with subtle golden flakes. Species on other planets liked to joke that Axions were so rich, they could afford to waste gold for showers and lotions. There were other, considerably cruder, jokes about Axions breeding with gold so they would always have some in their family.

Angela had a darker complexion than some humans, but her skin obviously didn’t shimmer, and her eyes were a pale grey that drew a lot of attention. However, she was naturally five feet, eleven inches tall, so, with heels, her height wouldn’t be much different than any Axion woman. Her naturally jet black hair wouldn’t look out of place, as hair colors across the color spectrum were the norm for titled and those with money.

The streets were lined with tasteful shops and restaurants and there were trees planted in intervals along the edge of the sidewalk. There was few vegetation on Triford, so the trees and flowers were welcome bursts of color. As the limo began to slow down, Angela glanced around, seeing shining high rises touching the pale orange sky. She looked over at Gander, confused, and he gave her a reassuring smile.

“His Royal Highness keeps an apartment here when he wishes to avoid the palace,” Gander explained. “He’s actually very invested in real estate, owning dozens of high end apartment buildings and low rent housing for our miners.”

Angela lifted an eyebrow in surprise before schooling her face back into a mask of polite indifference, but Gander caught the expression and gave her a soft smile.

“His Royal Highness is much more progressive than most of the other titled families. He believes in protecting and providing for the workers that make our…overly extravagant lifestyles possible. It’s one of the things he’s been crusading for at the Galactic Union, better rights for so-called ‘lower species’.”

“That’s very impressive,” Angela said, not bothering to hide her admiration this time. “I wouldn’t have guessed that a titled would care about the rest of us.”

“Times need to change, my dear,” Gander said in his gentle voice. “If the titled families across the galaxy cling too tightly to power, they’ll start a revolution no one can stop. His Royal Highness would prefer to avoid war at all costs.”

Angela was silent, absorbing what Gander had said. Her respect for the prince rose quite a bit after hearing all of that. She was actually quite curious to meet the man now, despite his deception regarding the ABA.
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