Chapter Twenty One: Mistress

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The first thing I saw when I came to was his eyes

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The first thing I saw when I came to was his eyes. I quickly sat up and looked around the training room. "What happened?"

"You fainted," he reminded me. "Don't worry, you weren't even out for a minute. Shall we try again?"

"Again?" I asked, incredulously. "That was torturous. I won't do it again."

"Do you want to get stronger?"

"That's not making me stronger! It's making me weaker!"

"It's building your resistance against anything that may be more powerful than you. Therefore, it's making you stronger. Let's try again."

I scooted away from him. "Certainly not."

His eyes were challenging. "As your prince, I command you."

I didn't care. I quickly stood and started walking away before he could stop me. I didn't even make it to the door before I felt his arms wrap around my waist, pulling me back. I struggled against him, but it was no hope.

"You've directly disobeyed an order," he said in a low growl, one that sent my heart racing.

"Your majesty, I fainted and you think I'm being unreasonable for walking away? I certainly am
not! Now please, remove your hands. You're crushing me."

"If you promise to do as I say."

"No! You really are cold! My life was almost sucked out of me. I felt like I was going to die."

"The first time is always the hardest. Each time, you'll get better and better." He let go off of me and turned me around so that I faced him. His beauty was almost distracting. "I went through the same process. My grandfather was not a white fire wielder, but with the winter stone, he was able to. He taught me everything I knew, and because you asked, I'll teach you the way he taught me.

"It's going to hurt and this won't be the last time that you run from me. In those moments, I won't be your prince, I'll just be someone causing you pain. I'll even be expecting you to reach out and smack me a few times. You'll want to give up, but the difference between the toughest warriors and those below them is their willingness to fight through the pain to become great. So, do you want to learn or not?"

I sighed, made my way back to the spot we'd been sitting at and flopped down. It wasn't a graceful move at all, but I did not care.

Prince Sebastian returned to his spot and held out his hands. I took a deep breath and placed my hands in his. A ball of white fire flickered into existence.

And then the pulling feeling began. Prince Sebastian was quickly depleting me of my energy. I wanted to scream but I couldn't. I could only watch as the white fire began to dim.

"Fight it," he shouted through my pain. "I'm stealing your energy, now take it back!"

I gritted my teeth as I fought against his pull. It felt like he was robbing me of everything and I hated it. I hated him. I channeled all of my hatred and used it to fight against him.

I didn't realize that I was about to pass out again until the room began to tilt. It felt like I was falling over in slow motion, and I could see the Prince's arm shoot out to break my fall.

My breathing slowed, as did my surroundings, and my numb body was scooped into the Prince's arms. He said something to me but his voice sounded far away. I felt him shake my limp body which began to bring feeling back to my limbs. I took a deep breath and the air began to clear away the fogginess of my brain.

A few seconds later and everything returned to normal. I looked up and found Prince Sebastian peering down at me with concerned eyes.

"That was awful," I told him, and quickly moved away from him. I didn't like how many times our personal boundaries had been crossed in one day. His closeness was too overwhelming. "How did I do that time?"

"I actually felt you resist a little. It's improvement." Prince Sebastian stood and held out his hand. I grabbed it and allowed him to pull me up. I thought standing would make me light headed but I surprisingly felt good. "We'll leave off right here, for now. You may go rest now."

"Thank you, your majesty," I bowed once and turned to leave.

"Oh, and Lady Anya. I expect you to win the captain title tomorrow during practice."

"I will, your majesty." I nodded once and left his training room.

To my surprise, as I rounded the corner, I saw Lady Esmeralda pacing by his bedroom door. I paused, hoping I could turn around and take the long route back to my room so that I could avoid talking to her.

Unfortunately, that wasn't an option. She turned toward me the moment I took a step back.

"Lady Anya, how nice to see you," she began, filling the passageway with her sharp voice. It definitely was not nice to see her.

Before I could respond, she began walking toward me. "Have you seen my future betrothed?"

I wanted to say yes, but I knew that our training classes were private, and certainly not any of her business. The only choice was to smile and shake my head.

"Maybe he's in the stables."

"Ugh," she moaned. "He'll smell like those stupid hounds when he returns."

"Actually, they're wolves, Lady Esmeralda."

"Wolves, hounds, they all smell the same," she retorted and then her eyes burned into mine. "Peasants all smell the same too. Like you, for instance. Your stench is clouding the passageway. You smell like you've sweated out your entire existence."

I sniffed my underarm. She was right.

"Well then, I shall return to my room to bathe," I began walking past her, but she reached out and grabbed my arm.

"I'm not done with you yet," she said, her voice deadly low. "I hope you still remember your place around here."

I turned toward her. "I know my place. You seem to be the one confused as to were you stand."

Her eyes lowered. "What do you mean?"

"Future betrothed? Try mistress. The last I heard, there's never been an announcement about the Prince's future engagement. He's more worried about his father's affairs than marrying the likes of you. I'd suggest you stop telling others that he is your future betrothed. The lies you spew will turn around and knock you flat on your back...exactly where you belong." I snatched my arm from her hand and continued walking away.

" I snatched my arm from her hand and continued walking away

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