For the first, and probably last time, I wake up in complete warmth. A tan chest breathing steadily beneath me, and my fingers curled around a strong waist.
My eyes are open in a flash. This isn't my fate, I need to get to lunch with Prince Hemorrhoid. Ignis grunts when I use his stomach as a leverage to stand up.
"That look in your eye. I can't tell if it's good or bad." Ignis seems unconcerned at my frantic gaze.
He merely watches from the floor as I pace the cell, "How long was I out?"
He shrugs, "An hour?"
I roll my shoulders, hoisting the gloves higher up my arms, "I'll only be a few minutes late then."
I step out of the cell and head in the opposite direction of the door that leads to the outside. If the slight rattle of chains is anything to go by, Ignis wants to watch my transformation.
On my way to the back corner of the cells, I conjure small fires toward the bottom edge of the metal bars. The smoke thickens until a dark curtain of smoke is shielding me from view. Hopefully matching the color of the dungeon walls behind me so the nature-wielding Ignis doesn’t frighten. Though I hardly think anything would phase the runaway man.
When the smoke finally surrounds me, I allow the flames to lightly lick up my dress. Damaging the hem only slightly as the white color of the dress begins to darken with black smoke.
The smoke slowly dies out along with the fire, which allows me to walk past Ignis toward the exit of the dungeon.
A wolf-whistle follows me out the door.
The clattering of silverware was the second sound to echo into the dining hall. The first sound was the sharp clack of my heels as I march straight up to Prince Hennel.
My father stands from the dining table, "Princess Annabel. Change your attire."
"I did. Now it's black."
"Address those of importance by their titles Princess Annabel. Or you will lose yours," my father's voice is strained.
My voice is light and airy as I reply, "Yes, my King."
Prince Hennel stiffens when I 'accidentally' rub the edge of my dress against the pant-leg of his white suit. The grey smear that is left behind won't come out easily, that much I know for sure.
It isn't until I feel the cold ice travelling up my legs that I realize my father has returned to his seat, and all of my sisters have continued eating their lunch. Prince Hennel clears his throat suddenly, standing from his chair and pulling my chair outwards since my legs are now painstakingly frozen to the wood.
He gets down on one knee, the prominent grey smear on his pant leg put into the spotlight.
Prince Hennel clears his throat again, retrieving the wedding ring from his suit pocket, "Will you, Princess Annabel Alwater, do me the honor, of becoming my Queen?"
I give my sisters a sideways glance when a few of them gasp. This is an arranged marriage.
My answer must've taken too long, because the ice around my legs became colder, "I will, Prince Hennel." The ice thickens and I gasp, "I will, King Hennel."
Right. Once the marriage is set, the Prince becomes the acting-King until the ceremony.
Prince Hennel grabs my gloved hand and squishes the ring on my finger. A silver band that reflects the white color of my glove, and a huge diamond balancing on top.
My father stands at the same time Prince Hennel does, clapping my husband on the shoulder and leading him toward the door. King Henry follows behind them after giving me a stern look.
My sisters remain quiet as I use flames to melt the ice under my dress. I look like a mess; a hungry mess. Princess Naia tries to stop me from leaving after I've gathered two plates worth of food.
"Princess Annabel... let's just- talk."
"I can't, Princess Naia," I whisper with my back facing her, "I am not happy, and none of you will ever understand that."
They let me leave after that. Giving me peace and solitude on my walk to the dungeon.
Ignis lurches forward when I place the plate of food on the dungeon floor by his feet, “Come on Princess,” he all but whines, making me grin at the full grown man, “I’m starving here.”
I teasingly feed him one small spoonful of pudding, his eyes never leaving mine as he licks the utensil clean, “Another.” He demands, his eyes flicking to my lips in such a quick movement that I wonder if I blinked and imagined the eye movement altogether.
After his second spoonful, he leans forward, crowding my personal space as I refuse to lean back toward the three feet of the space between myself and the cell bars.
His eyes flick to my lips, and I did not just imagine the pure hunger in his gaze. When he speaks, his mouth is tilted into the tiniest of smirks, “I think I am craving something else Annabel.”
My voice is a mere breath, “Like what?”
“A fiery woman.” The hint in his voice is enough to cool my raging desire. I had been careful enough when smothering my dress in smoke. He wouldn’t have been able to see the flames.
Unless he is still flirting… “Is this about that woman you’re looking for?” I question him and his smirk immediately falls, like I’d just told him he’d never be leaving this dungeon again.
His chains rattle behind his back as he readjusts himself against the wall, “Something like that.” Of course, just like this morning, he was using his flirtatious body language to try to find this woman of his.
His eyes trail toward the dungeon exit and then back to the plate of food by his feet. I pick up the spoon, fully loaded, and lift it to his lips.
When our eyes meet, the passion that was once there is gone completely.
The mischievous grin at being here with Ignis begins to fall. A sudden envy blooms in my chest, whoever this woman is, she’s got one hell of a man pining for her.
If only I weren’t born with the ability to control fire, maybe someone like Ignis would want me. Would cross over Kingdoms in an attempt to find me.
My only question? Who the hell is this woman?
Looking at Ignis’s closed eyes and empty plate, I slowly begin to feed myself. Knowing that by the time I am married off and heading toward the Kingdom of Ice, Ignis will be free. Finding his woman and heading back to his own Kingdom.