“My King has already pledged fidelity to Prince Royce, why am I still a prisoner?’
Princess Lucienne was pacing her quarters in her Flower Fortress, tightly squeezing a pillow in her arms. She was imagining the royal advisor, Fox Reed’s neck in her grasp and him gasping for breath as she choked the life out of him.
Fox regarded the princess’ rant with a languid smirk. Sprawled in one of only two cushioned chairs in her receiving room, Fox inspected his manicure, admiring his reflection in the high-gloss buff on his nails.
“It’s not your father’s allegiance Royce wants,” Fox turned a lascivious glance toward the princess. “It’s your troth that he desires.”
Lucienne pulled at the corners of her pillow, ripping it apart and scattering down feathers around the room in a blizzard of white.
“My troth!” she waved the ruined cloth remnants at Fox. “You take me for a fool? The prince has no more interest in a marriage contract with me than you have in bedding a pig. No, wait… I forget who I’m speaking to.”
In a single fluid motion, Fox rose from his seat and moved to within inches of the princess.
“You do forget who you are speaking to,” Fox reached up and tucked behind her ear a lock of hair that escaped from her escoffion. “Your wry wit is endearing.”
“And you forget your station,” she said, slapping his hand away. “You are aptly named, counselor. You are a cunning yaldson.”
“Oh, you knew my mother?” Fox spun away chuckling. “You are correct. Prince Royce’s interest in you is purely a matter of convenience. He needs your father’s army, his land, and his wealth. Your union would be a political consortium, not a marriage of passion.”
“And if I refuse?” Lucienne released her white-knuckle grip on the pillow halves, dropping them to the floor. Her voice sounded small and weak.
“Then these lovely accommodations will be yours for a very long while,” Fox said, gesturing wide at Lucienne’s floral rooms.
“There is something else you’ve forgotten,” Lucienne said, her voice sounding strangely far away. “I know Royce was the one who insisted I be treated with respect, and that it is you who are the one demanding my subjugation, not the Prince.”
“You are too clever for your own good, “ Fox said. “I still have the prince’s ear, and you would do well to stay in my good graces. It is not too late to have you secreted away in the castle’s dungeon.”
“No,” Lucienne said, the air around her beginning to shimmer. “I’m quite done with this cloister.”
Fox frowned, shaking his head like a dog hearing a high-pitched whistle.
“You see, my enchantresses are much more powerful than your wizards.” The light around the princess began to intensify. “Your saccharine citadel cannot hold me.”
The tightly closed bud began to unfold, its glamour falling away. As Lucienne transmuted into her natural form, Fox remained infinitesimal, and easy prey for the hungry weevils that feasted on magnolia blooms.
“Enough of this nonsense,” Lucienne said, peering into the open blossom which was quickly filling with beetles. “I should have brokered this alliance between Prince Royce and my father by myself in the first place.”