We reached the jail cell in a minute and the Regals pulled me in. I winced and cursed as they bound my wrists onto the bar with thick rope.
“That’ll hold ya.” The guard said, tightening the knot. I almost spat at him but I took a deep breath, trying to calm down. The Regals walked out the door.
I looked at Zayden, who was already leaving. “You’re very obedient to your father aren’t you? Letting him tell you what to do?” I said sharply.
The prince stopped in his tracks, and before he moved, the soldiers beside him unsheated their swords, pointing them at me.
“Dismissed.” Zayden said, annoyance ringing in his voice. The Regals sheathed their swords and stepped back. Zayden then turned to look at me. He looked displeased. “What did you say to me?” his long dark hair fell over his eyes. They bore into mine, and I could faintly detect their green color.
“I said that you’re very respectful to your father. Oh, you are someone to look up to, a very obedient son.” I said, sarcasm ringing in my voice.
“Get out.” Zayden said to the guards. They left, leaving my hands bound. Zayden put his hands in his pockets. “You’re mocking me, aren’t you?”
“Am I?” I asked.
“What is your name, girl from the Village of Oberon?” he asked, spitting his last words. He stepped forward, coming closer.
I wasn’t sure whether to lie or not. “Azria.”
“Azria.” He said, my name sounding funny coming from his mouth. “You have a way with words that can be so…cruel.”
“It’s called sarcasm.” I informed him. “Of course you wouldn’t know what it means, I mean, you are the great Prince of the North, are you not? You have brought this wonderful war to our country and have helped destroy many people. You would never use sarcasm against your great and holy father, now would you?”
He actually grinned. “You mock me. This is hilarious.”
“You seem to be the only one to find it funny.” My voice was flat.
“You are angry, no?” Zayden asked. He sounded amused and angry at the same time.
“Angry? Hah!” I laughed. “Such an understatement.”
“Who turned you so malicious?” Zayden asked.
“Would you be surprised to know it’s you?” I replied in the same tone.
“What have I done?” Zayden asked, his angry tone rising over his amused one. “It is you who has done wrong. It is you who broke the law of the country, it is you who has lied to the sworn men defending the country, it is you, Azria, who has brought yourself into this mess. Why must your anger reflect on me?”
I leaned forward, meeting his gaze with an intent look. “Because the only reason I’m here is because of you, Prince Zayden.” I spat his name at his face. He didn’t wince. “Why did I hunt illegally you ask? Because my family starves every day as we try to feed ourselves. It was fine when I had my father. Then your people came and took my father away. You took my mother away, you took everyone away!” I was desperately fighting against my bindings. The rope cut into my wrists. “Your war has brought everyone to misery and disgust. Does it feel good, Prince, to know you’ve destroyed my whole family? And the families of many others as well?”
Zayden reached out to touch my cheek. I flinched as his fingers brushed my skin. He caught my chin in his hands and violently brought my face towards his. “Why are you so mistrustful?”
I shut my eyes, trying to block out the image of the losses I’ve suffered that burned in my mind.
“You think I did this?” he asked, laughing almost painfully. He let me go. “I am merely a prince. I have nothing to do with your family. I have nothing to do with the war. I want nothing to do with you.”
“There is no such thing as merely a prince. As prince, you have to the power to do anything.” I looked up at him, my grey eyes meeting his green ones. His hand moved away from my face and to his belt. My eyes widened when he reached for his knife.
“No!” I shouted, as he came forward in one swift movement.
I winced, waiting for the pain, but I felt nothing except relief around my wrists.
He had cut my bindings.
I rubbed my wrists and looked up at him, confused.
“Get out.” He said. “I really don’t ever want to see you again.”