Chapter Eighteen: The King's Lair

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Prince Sebastian



"Where is it?" I growled, rummaging through my father's drawers in search of the winter stone. I knew he wouldn't have hidden it plain sight, but I still searched through every single drawer, hoping I'd find it.

When I was unsuccessful, I moved to the middle of the room, scanning everything once again. His lair was large and bright due to sun that shined through the windows, reflecting off of the ice pillars. Even the paintings were bright and full of his faked joy.

The paintings...

What if the stone and books were hidden in a safe behind the paintings? It was a hiding place my father would have. The question was, would he be stupid enough to leave it there? I moved toward the closest painting, hoping I was right.

"Fancy seeing you here, my son." I grated my teeth at the sound of his voice but quickly turned toward him. My smile was carefree.

"I've been waiting for you to return," I casually stated, watching him nod once and accept my presence without question. He moved into the room and took a seat at his desk.

"You usually don't come to me unless I beckon you," the King laughed. He opened the desk's drawer and pulled out a quill pen, ink and parchment to write on. "What is the cause?"

"Well, it's not easy to say, but it needs to be said."

"Get on with it, I have work to do," my father grunted, dipping his pen in ink. I watched as his handwriting began to cover the page. After three lines, my father looked up at me. "Well?"

"I..." Why was I so nervous? My heart was nearly beating out of my chest. I needed to just say it! "I've taken Lady Anya as my mistress."

My father stopped writing and looked up. His icy gaze was cold enough to freeze me to the floor. "You've done what?"

"I've slept with her, father. She's now my mistress."

"Don't you have ten others?" His voice was high pitched as he strained to keep his anger under control. The veins protruding from his neck was a giveaway. My father wanted to kill me.

"I've tired of them. Lady Anya has managed to keep my attention."

My father slammed his hands against the dark oak wood. "Have you fallen in love with the girl?"

"And if I have?"

"You could never marry the whore!" my father spat, rising out of his seat. "She's not royal, nor is she close enough to royalty to sit on the ice throne!"

"Why does it matter so much?" I asked him. "Perhaps you wanted her for a mistress."
My father laughed. "She would've been good enough to pass time, but you can take the girl! Have at her." My father sat down and continued writing. "Is that all then, boy?"

"Yes, father." I watched him several seconds longer before turning to leave.

"Sebastian," he called, stopping me midway.  "You didn't close this drawer all the way. Make sure next time to leave no traces of snooping around. What were you after?"

I slowly turned around, shunning myself for being clumsy. If I thought I was in trouble before, I really was at that point. The only way I could get out of trouble was to cleverly tell the truth.

"Grandfather's things are missing. Have you taken them?"

"Exactly what went missing?"

"Don't play games, father. You took the stone and the books."

"Books?" the King looked baffled. "I thought your grandfather told you not to go looking for those things until you became king."

"How did you know he told me? Oh, wait. I forgot. You probably spied. Well, father, I decided to keep an eye on them, and I'm glad I had. Where is the stone?"

"I've put it somewhere safe," he assured me.
"I don't trust you."

My father stood. "I'm not your enemy, boy."
"You're slowly becoming one," I said, taking a step toward him with clenched fist.

"Is this because you resent me for the people I've made you slaughter? Or possibly for the one's I'll make your lady friend slaughter? Yes, I believe that's it. You fail to realize that those slaughtered were our enemies!"

"They were our enemies because you made them enemies! You want to scare people into submission by killing whoever voices their opinion. You've made me kill innocent men, and I have to live with the blood on my hands. You..." I took deep breath, needing to pace myself before my rage took control. "You've made me a monster, and then you tell others that I stand alone in the killings and the massacres."

"Your people need to know that you can be a ruthless  king so that they will follow you in the event that I die! We have a war brewing, and it's headed north."

"It's a war you can stop!"

"Oh, but you're wrong." His voice was low as he spoke. "The damage has already been done. When the Fire Clan and their dragons come to burn us down, we'll need more than one monster. But don't worry, I have plans to make sure your pretty mistress and her friends become the most lethal beasts we have, and I'll use the winter stone to do it."

I turned white.

"You could kill them," I said. "If they aren't ready for more power, it'll overload their brain. Whatever you are thinking, you can't do it."

"That's why you'll continue making them into the beasts I desire," the King simply stated. "You have three more weeks to do so."

"Three."

It wasn't enough time. He would surely fry their brains. What he wanted to do was something my grandfather had once explained to me. He wanted to drain the winter stone of its energy and place it into each of the trainees. What he failed to realize was, the stone was too powerful and would freeze them within seconds.

I had to find a way to stop my father from his monstrous plans before Lady Anya found out about it. She already had enough to worry about. No, this one, I'd keep to myself. I truly hoped that in three weeks, I'd have the answer to save them. Their fate now rested in my hands, a fact I'd been afraid of since the very beginning...

 Their fate now rested in my hands, a fact I'd been afraid of since the very beginning

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