The warmth of the morning sun filtered its way through the fabric of the curtains, illuminating your face and warming your cheeks. A content yawn escaped your lips as you stretched, feeling your chest rise and fall. You lay tangled in the silk sheets, your eyes glued to the ceiling, nothing crossing your mind. It was just blissful nothing, something that your over-worked, stressed body needed more of.
A knock on the door interrupted you from your thoughts. You called out for the person to enter and quickly pushed the stray hairs from your face, sitting up to meet the guest. Kristina entered the bedroom with a confident smile, her brown eyes glowing along with her hair from the morning sun.
“You must be hungry. Breakfast?” she smirked, taking a stand next to your over-sized bed. You nodded, pulling the sheets off your body. The sound of skin meeting wood as you stood was interrupted by Kristina’s rant about what was on the menu for breakfast. She turned her back to you and crossed her arms over her large breasts as you changed into your day clothes. You brushed through your hair with your gloved hands before standing next to Kristina.
“That all sounds delicious, but I’d rather just have bread and some fruit, thank you,” you stated politely. She side glared at you, raising an eyebrow. You continued to brush through your hair with your finger, trying your hardest to remove the unruly tangles.
“Do I look okay, Kristina?” you asked. You bit your lip and turned to her, your brows arched in worry. Kristina snorted and wrapped her arm around your shoulder, guiding you towards the large doors at the end of the hall.
“You look fine, ______. Who you trying to impress anyway?” she remarked. You snorted.
“No one! I just want to look at least half decent. I’m with royalty after all,” you sighed. You so were not trying to impress anyone, right? Of course not! You bit your lip even harder, a small tinge in your gut yelling at you to stop lying to yourself.
The large doors flung open without a crack. Two maids smiled at you as they held their side of the door. You couldn’t help but feel nervous as Kristina removed her arm from your shoulder, leaving you to stand dead center of the doorway. You looked down at your feet, trying your hardest not to make eye contact with the King. You did not know why you felt so nervous and you tried you with everything you had to get rid of the piercing feeling, but it fought back fiercely, staying put inside your chest.
“______ is hungry as a reindeer! She told me she wants everything you have to offer!” Kristina giggled as she took a seat next to Prince Andrew. They exchanged a lazy morning kiss as the maids rushed you to your seat. They began to fill your plate with everything on the table. Eggs, various meats and breads, and many colourful fruits that you did not know existed. You licked your lips and traded a glare to Kristina, before grabbing an apple and taking a big bite from its red side. Your nostrils fleered as the sweet juice and crunchy flesh touched your tongue. You hadn’t had an apple in a while as your grandmother could ill afford it, but you thanked God that you were able to taste its sweet juicy extract again.
You dared to take a glimpse up at the King. You quickly wiped the sticky apple juice from your lips as your eyes met. King Elias’ lips tugged up into a pleasant smile, his fingers giving a small wave. You couldn’t help but bite your lip as he tilted his head, his eyes half lidded as his lips mouthed a drowsy good morning . He looked so sleepy, and you thought it was adorable to see the King of the country in such a state. You returned the smile from halfway across the table.
You ate a piece of bread, the creamy yellow butter making you sigh in satisfaction. The fluffy bread and chewy crust were as delightful. You hadn’t eaten unstale bread in what seemed like a life time, and don’t even get started on how often you got to eat butter.
“So ______,” Prince Andrew said as he swallowed his mouthful of fresh buttered bread. “Where are you from?” He flashed you a friendly smile, his pink freckled cheeks dimpling. He had the same sort of facial structure as his royal brother, but his vibrant red hair and flushed red skin made it easy to tell the two brothers apart.
“Uh,” you said feebly, “My family is from the north face of the mountain. I live up there with my Grandmother. I decided to, well, move away.”
“If you don’t mind me asking,” Prince Andrew began to speak with caution. “What happened to you yesterday?”
Your gaze dropped immediately to your lap. King Elias cleared his throat, shooting his brother a look before standing.
“_____? If you have finished your meal I would like to begin our training.” King Elias voice was strong, but his face still was warm. You pursed your lips, giving the King a sharp nod. You followed behind Elias as he led you from the dining room to the huge doors that led into the courtyard.
“I apologize for my brother. He is quite nosy at times,” the King snorted, a reminisce smile upon his lips. You couldn’t help but feel a slight tinge of envy at Elias; he seemed to always have no trouble smiling. He seemed so happy all the time, and that was something you struggled with.
“No it’s okay. I-I could tell you if you want,” you whispered as you both took your seats in the center of the courtyard. King Elias turned to you and placed a gentle hand on your shoulder, his smile reassuring.
“Only if you feel comfortable.”
You rhythmically tapped your fingers on your thighs, not daring to make eye contact with the King as you began your story.
“I grew up with my grandmother on the North face of the mountain. She was, well, she was a bit abusive. She didn’t like my curse-“
“Gift,” Elias interrupted. You lifted your gaze to the king as he continued. “You have a gift, remember? It is no curse.” You nodded shyly, your look dropping back to your feet, away from his electric ice-blue eyes.
“We had an argument about my... gift. She hated it with everything she had. She made me hate it!” your voice was beginning to turn sour. You gritted your teeth and crinkled your nose at the thought that she was the cause of all your stress. It was because of her that you live everyday in fear. “She tried to slap me but I raised my hands to protect myself. It just happened. She caught fire and-“
You lifted your tear-brimming eyes to meet Elias’ worried stare, “I didn’t mean to! I didn’t want to do it! It wasn’t my fault...”
You slouched over, a mess of tears and pain. Elias’ reacted quick; he lifted your chin and stared straight into your watery orbs. His jaw was tense as he spoke.
“It is not your fault, _____. You take my word on that. Even though she was your Grandmother, and I’m sure you loved her, you need toxic people like that out of your life. She was not doing you any good, in fact, from what I hear she was making you worse.”
You sniffled, wiping the fat tears that tattooed your cheeks, but they kept coming in a steady, salty stream.
“I’m sorry,” you cried. Without another word, King Elias took you in his arms, allowing you to weep into his chest. The embrace had no awkwardness to it; it was just reassurance. He ran his fingers tenderly through your straggled hair, gently whispering happy thoughts to you. You felt so safe and secure in his arms. His skin was so soft and delicate as it brushed past your wet cheeks. He had a crisp sent to his skin that made your fingers curl.
When the tears had finally receded Elias carefully gripped your chin and raised you to eye level. His piercing eyes met yours, sending a pleasant cold chill down your spine. The two of you remained completely still, boring into each other’s eyes. You stole a peek at his pine pink lips. They were slightly parted and soft looking. You couldn’t help but imagine what they would taste like against yours.
“Do not be sorry, ______. We all cry sometimes; it’s good to cry,” he said, his pink lips moving with each word he pronounced. Elias cleared his throat and sat up straight.
“Shall we begin?” he asked firmly, but his voice wobbled in the slightest.
“Yeah okay,” you tried to say professionally. Had he been in the same state as you? Was he hypnotized as you were? Was he trying his hardest not to lean forward and press his silk-like lips against your quivering skin?
You shook of the thought and listened to Elias as he gave the next instruction of your training.
Throughout the day the two of you practiced the breathing technique. You had learned many different things on how to control your fear, which gave you a small push of confident closer to removing your glove. But despite all this though, you still were not ready to remove it.
“I’m sorry,” you mumbled as the two of you made your way towards the castle again. The orange sun was beginning to fall behind the distance hills, illuminating the clouds a glowing red.
“For what?” Elias questioned, giving the guards a gentle nod as they opened the courtyard door to the castle.
“I’m taking so long to remove my glove,” you said, lifted your hand and flexed your metal-gloved fingers.
“You apologize too much,” Elias snorted with a grin.
“Sorry,” you said quickly.
“Ah!” Elias chuckled, playfully poking your ribs. You shrieked with laughter and smacked his relentless finger away.
“I see you two have warmed up to each other quite nicely!” Prince Andrew called from behind the two of you. You spun around and smiled awkwardly at the freckle faced Prince.
“Dinner is ready. Come get it while you can! Kristina’s hungry!” Andrew laughed, motioning you both to follow.
“We better move then!” Elias chuckled, taking your gloved hand in his larger hand and guiding you to the dining room.
There you were, you palms pointed at your fragile Grandmother. Fire spewed out of your ungloved palms and licked at your Grandmother’s face. You watched her face graphically melt, her jaw falling to the floor, her eyeballs melting into white goo at her feet. Her scream was blood-curdling as she screamed for you to stop. You couldn’t move your hands away as they continued to let out a steady line of inferno. You could only scream.
Your eyes snapped open, a scream echoing from your throat. You gripped the sheets in the dark as the scream died down, the tears returning to your eyes. You felt ill, afraid and disturbed. You couldn’t stop the disgusting acid that pushed past your lips onto the sheets that covered your shivering body. You sobbed as your dinner continued to leave your stomach in painful heaves.
Elias. You wanted Elias.
You felt intoxicated stepping up from your bed. You wobbled towards the door, opening it with a pathetic pull and stepping into the lit corridor. Guards were scattered down the edge of the corridor, staring straight ahead into some sort of abyss. The closest guard to you was the only one to turn his head towards your shivering frame.
“What is it you need, My Lady?” the guard inquired. You rubbed your forehead, the taste of sick in your mouth making you feel queasy again.
“King Elias. I want to see the King,” you murmured, your voice just above a whisper. The guard shook his head.
“My apologies, My Lady, but the King is resting and must be left at peace,” he stated. With a whimper, the tears began wet your cheeks again. Prince Andrew’s sleepy head appeared from his room next to yours. His tired eyes met yours with a gasp.
“______! Are you alright!?” Andrew cried, running to your wobbly frame. You sniffed and shook your head, feeling rather pathetic, much like a child.
“I-I want to see Elias, but they said I can’t,” you groaned.
“Get the King,” Andrew said sharply to one of the guards. The guard nodded quickly and left quickly, disappearing into a room down the hall. Within an instant the king was following behind the guard, his usual sleeked back hair messy in parts over his forehead. He wore an ice coloured robe that covered his bare chest and long woolen pants.
“______?” he called, kneeling down before you. You couldn’t help but feel embarrassed when Andrew peeked into your room.
“She’s been sick. Could I get some maids up here to clean this, please?” Andrew called out. Elias gave you a worried look.
“I dreamed of my grandmother, and i-it was bad,” your voice trembled on each word, “I’m sorry I didn’t mean to be sick.” Elias’ smiled warmly, giving your ribs a gentle but cheeky poke.
“You apologize too much. There is nothing to be sorry about,” the King joked. He helped you to a stand. “Would you like to sleep in my chambers tonight?”
“Yes, that would be nice,” you swallowed. There was no flirting involved, Elias was worried for you and you were terrified. You both could not be more relieved when you climbed into his massive bed next to him. There was no awkwardness, just friendliness, warmth and security.
You just couldn’t get the disturbed feeling out of your gut, but when Elias began to tell you the story about the brave little girl with the fire power; you began to feel safe, the disturbance leaving your body with each breath. You lost consciousness just at the end of the story,just when the fire girl finds her true love.