Chapter Twelve: Private Lessons

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Two uneventful days passed by, almost like the blur of the world as a child spins round and round. Training continued at 5am and the lessons were still dreadful, although the Prince no longer singled me out. I liked our silent truce, it would be soon that his kindness preceded him taking his frustrations out on me. Soon, as in, possibly years from now.

I still had killed a man, and I placed some of that blame on him.

Cora, Luca, Titus and I still sat in our own dining hall becoming even more acquainted with each passing day. It was hard for me to keep the truth from them when I had grown to care for them as much as I had.

I wondered if they'd hate me once they learned why they were really here. I'd hate me. No one deserves to have the truth hidden from them. But I was bound to my lie and I could not speak a word of what the Prince had admitted to me.

I wanted to also tell them where I was about to sneak off to, but the Prince had forbidden me to speak about that as well. It was as if I was living in a castle of lies.

Even with everything constantly dampening my mood, I was still excited for my first private lesson with Prince Sebastian. I had spent most of my childhood watching many men lay on their deathbeds because of a war their own King started. Those men bled for lies and knew not. If I'd known how to use my gifts to heal, I could've saved a lot of them from death.

"Are you alright, Lady Anya?" Titus asked, surprising me that he'd been the first to notice. "You've been acting strange, ever since you fainted two days ago."

"No, I'm well, more than well. I'm terrific, honestly."

"Stop Titus, or Luca will jump down our throats again," Cora joked, causing Titus to laugh.

"How about you Titus? Are you well? Cora? Have you learned anything new about this new stone I've been wearing?"

Cora's eyes were alight with excitement. "I almost forgot to tell you. So, I grew anxious last night, sitting in that awful room all day with my maid staring at me. Once she left, I made my way back to the Witch's Closet and spent some time looking through those books in hopes that one of them were written in our language."

"And?" The anticipation was killing me. I could almost feel the jewel coming to life against my chest.

"Well, the books were all written in a different language. But, I still found something interesting within the pages. There were a list of different stones with magical properties...at least fifty different types. There happened to be one on there that looked very similar to the what we found. So you see, it's not even jewelry, it's something more. I just...can't read the book."

"How did you get so skilled with sneaking around and taking things?" I asked Cora, remembering what the Prince had told me about her devilish ways. I watched her eyes narrow in confusion.

"What do you mean? If it wasn't for me, we wouldn't have gotten this far. Whatever 'skills' I've acquired have come in handy," Cora retorted, clearly bothered by my question. I wasn't sure why I had said it. Was I angry at them for having past lives? Why did it matter if Cora stole, or if Titus had killed a man? They may have had good reason to do so.

I looked over at Luca and wondered what he'd done wrong. The Prince failed to mention his ways. Maybe he was the good one. I sure hoped so. A gentleman was my favorite sort.

I turned back to Cora. "You're right, Lady Cora, and I do apologize. My mind has been everywhere today and I've been under a lot of stress. You are doing well and I thank you for finding this book. May I take it?"

Cora laughed, but it wasn't due to humor. I sensed agitation. "You have the necklace and now you want the book? Is there anything else you'd like? Maybe the rags off of my back?"

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