I stopped, allowing him to keep hold of my hand but unsure as to why. “What?”
He turned to me and lifted a thumb to brush beneath my lower lip. “You had grass there.”
“That whole time?” I plucked my hand from his. “And you didn’t think to tell me?” I’d thought perhaps he was going to try to give me some pointers on how we’d walk inside the throne room. On how we’d handle my father after arriving so late, and together at that.
I thought wrong.
His top lip rose into a sneer. “It will likely take a considerable length of time to get over the way I first saw my wife. On her back.” His long lashes dipped, then fanned high, almost meeting his thick brows. “With another male.” Then he was jogging down the hillside, leaving me behind to wonder how much he’d seen back in that field before making his presence known.
Quiet blanketed the dungeon.
Ghosts, the whistle of the wind through the cracks in the stone, and the beating of our hearts the only sound.
Then, finally, Raiden’s jaw snapped shut, and he began circling his cell, laughter falling out of him. “You scheming royal witch.”
Funny, how one was always so quick to curse a kind that was not their own. Or, at least, so he thought was not his own. “It’s true, husband.”
He was at the bars immediately, their clang surprising us both as they shook the stone walls and ceiling. Dust crumbled in a nearly imperceptible falling rain. “You lot are all the same. Power-hungry animals that do little more than mate and scheme for more power and then mate some more. I would never want a thing to do with the likes of you.” A quick survey of my body had his teeth gnashing. “Especially you.”
“Perhaps you never did.” It was something that became obvious and had made me feel even more the fool, but it was all too little, too late. “Perhaps, even if you never cared, you still enjoyed playing your games. I suppose we might never know.”
His brows knitted. “What in the darkness are you talking about?”
“You know.” A low sound escaped me, a struggling thrum of laughter. “Deep down, you know exactly what I’m talking about.”
“No,” he said, sounding slightly crazed. “I really don’t.” He gave his head a vicious shake. “I grew up in The Edges, raised by my grandparents.”
“And who told you this?” The potion forced down his throat, alongside the incantation, was meant to suppress, to give him a generic backstory formed by dreams of his own and little else.
He looked at me as if I were crazy for asking such a thing. “No one. It’s just the truth.”
I hummed, then slid down the table until my burgundy suede heels met the floor. Their click over the stone dragged his attention to my exposed legs as I stalked closer to his cage, my wits about me but my smile lazy. “You want to know what I think, Prince?”
His head snapped back at the word. “I’m no prince, you fucking psychotic—”
A flick of my fingers had his lips slamming closed. “As I was saying.” I wrapped my hands around the bars. His nostrils flared, and his green eyes danced—wild, untamed, and filled with something I’d never seen on this male before. Fear. “I think you’ve concocted a nice little tale from nothing. All the better to help warm your bed with that almost wife of yours.” My fingers neared his as he grabbed the bars, and I licked my crimson-painted upper lip. “I wonder what she’d make of it. Discovering that her betrothed was not a common worker from The Edges, but a prince.” A hand met my breasts as I gasped, my lashes fluttering. “But wait, she already knew you weren’t a prince. All along, she’s known you were a king. My king” I grinned. “Naughty, naughty.”
The tendons and veins in his neck bulged, and then he lunged.
His hand was steel around my wrist, but I just laughed before I sent him sailing back into the wall. His back greeted it with a booming thud, and dirt sailed through the small square space as he slumped to the floor, groaning.
“We’ll resume tomorrow. Or not. The choice is yours.” I left before he could answer, before he could inflict any more damage to what remained inside me.
He’d already murdered my heart, but I wouldn’t put it past him to find something else to attack. My shadowed soul would surely suffice.
Upstairs in my rooms, I ran a brush through my hair, ignoring the way my hands shook as I walked circles around the gray and white Ergin hide rug. Then I braided it, something I didn’t bother with unless, as I’d told Raiden, I was fighting, training, or had long days of riding.