“I have the power to control people’s thoughts and actions...What am I, if not a Goddess?”
In a world where all those in power have power the Princess must play a dangerous game with a dangerous man.
Who will win? What will the consequences be?


9. Chapter Nine

Chapter Nine


“Well….that was interesting.” Max stated slowly as we exited the room.


He had seen everything. I knew that he had some suspicions about why Alexander was suddenly much kinder and why he had screamed in agony. I expected him to ask, to badger me until I finally broke. I knew what he would do with the information, Max would go back into that room and beat the old fool dead.


“However…”Max started, stopping in the middle of the hallway with an odd look on his face.


Turning towards him I smoothed down the folds of my dress with my hands. My head was still spinning, the faces in the photos of Alexander’s mind, the spider from this morning. None of it made sense. I just wanted to sit down and try to figure out what was going on.


“If you consider that a date, you have a lot to learn.” Max winked conspicuously and I had to smile. Of course he was still thinking about trying to make me fall for him, while I was thinking of how to nullify the deal we had made.


“Do I? And what would you know?” I scoffed, rolling my eyes.


“I’m so glad you asked.” Max stated taking my arms and pulling me along.


We went through the castle, I swear I could feel the staff’s eyes lingering on us. I could hear their thoughts, the words they would whisper to one another when they thought we were out of earshot. My cheeks flushed red and Max’s smile seemed to grow; he knew what they would think and say, but still he demanded we put on this show.


“Where are you taking me?” I whined, forcing him to stop and answer me.


He was giddy, like a little boy who was waiting for a surprise. He entwined his fingers in mine giving my hand a squeeze. His smile was infectious, and I could feel myself smiling in response.


“Come on Princess.” Max urged, trying to pull me along with him. In response to this I planted my feet firmly, figuring he wouldn’t dare try to drag me.


“Tell me where we are going!” I stated firmly, narrowing my eyes.


Instead of answering me Max stepped close to me, a mischievous twinkle in his eyes that I distrusted immediately. Max bent at the knee, and before I could react he threw me over his shoulder. I screamed, the sound a mixture of excitement and fear. In my entire life no-one had refused to answer my question in such a manner.


“Let me down!” I ordered, but Max continued to move through the halls.


The stares increased, I could tell that a few of the staff who were particularly close to me, such as my maid were itching to come over and confront Max. Though at the last moment they decided not to. They giggled stupidly and I didn’t really understand why. Why did they assume it was alright for him to treat me this way?


After what felt like a life time Max finally placed me down, the soft blades of grass tickling my feet. He had brought me to the gardens near the back of the castle, a very private place that I enjoyed visiting every now and again. I ached to slap him for what he had just done. All the work I had just put in to further my cause he just ruined with his little show of masculinity. Max smiled ruefully and stepped to the side.


Under one of the largest trees in my private garden Max had set up a picnic. The traditional chequered blanket lay flat on the grass, and a series of sandwiches and other snacks had been provided. There was even a bottle of champagne sitting off to one side. I rolled my eyes, quietly taking my place on the blanket, figuring it was better to get this so called ‘date’ over and done with.


“What’s your favourite colour?” Max asked, as he pushed the plate of sandwiches in my direction.


I considered the plate and the question for a moment before deciding to ignore the food in front of me. I had been restricted to exactly three meals a day (except for Sundays which were fasting) with no allowances for snacks.  


“I guess I should say pink or purple.” I shrugged, pretty girly colours were appropriate for a princess and generally made up most of my wardrobe.


“What is it really though?’ Max asked persistently.


“Red, or blue. Yourself?” I replied automatically.


There was a type of freedom in honesty that I was rarely able to enjoy. Max considered the answer before stuffing one of the sandwiches in his mouth. I giggled under my breath, wishing I had a camera to capture the sight.


“Mine’s blue. Dark blue.” Max shrugged before laying back on the blanket, staring up at the leaves and the sky beyond.


“You know, when we’re married -”


“Ugh.” I responded automatically, dropping to the blanket and throwing an arm over my head.


I could feel Max moving, until he finally shifted my hand, staring down at me curiously. He stayed that way for a moment, considering something. An emotion crossed his features and he leaned back.


“Why do you say that?” Max asked, an almost dejected look on his face.


“I don’t want to get married.” I said firmly.


“I know. But it wouldn’t be so bad. At least we get along right?” Max said, shrugging.


This was the first time I had ever seen him so vulnerable. There was a real person behind the mask of confidence, someone who actually felt emotions. I considered him for a moment before sitting up slowly.


“I just don’t want a marriage like my parents had.” I suggested. The possibility that I would end up like my mother, or my husband like my father - it was far too much to think about.


“I can understand that…” Max hedged.


Sometimes I forgot that Max had his own childhood problems. While I was being abused by my father, his father was trying to convince him that one day he could rule by my side. Or better, that he could rule without me.  


“Well, I could ask the same of you. Why do you want to get married so badly?” I questioned, realising for the first time I had no real idea as to why Max had decided to come back into my life.  


“I don’t really know either…” Max stumbled.


He went quiet after that. I had a feeling that both of us were remembering the last time we saw one another. It was in church, the Sunday after my father died. I was content to stay there all day, alone with my guilt. But Max had other ideas. He sat by my side,without saying a word for the longest time. Even when I wanted them to, the tears over my father’s death didn’t come. At the end of the day, just before the sun set beyond the horizon Max told me that he was moving to the South.


I cried, and begged him to stay. I needed him. He was the only person I could trust. I was young and foolish. As he stepped down the aisle, Max told me the truth. He revealed that his own parents death the year before was not due to the fire everyone thought. The King had tied down his mother and father and burned the house around them. Max knew what my father was like, and he had suspicions about his death.


In the last moments before the closed the door behind him, Max smiled. The tears were finally streaming down my face, for totally different reasons than I had expected. How was I meant to survive in this world without anyone to turn to?


“I can’t wait to see how well you grow. I wonder how you’ll use that power of yours? Will you be the hero or the villain Mia?”


I tried to shake off the memory. I was sick and tired of being manipulated by this man. Even without looking into his mind I could tell he was lying. At every turn in my life he would find a way to test me. He advanced his troops just that little bit too far, sent assassins into my court and killed random people. Now he lay here, acting as innocent as an angel. I wasn’t going to put up with this any longer. This is my life and I am going to take control of it.


“Is it my turn now?” I asked, smiling down at Max.


“What for?” He asked inquisitively.


“To take you on a date” I said. Max fell silent.


“Where to?” He asked, eyes gleaming with mischief.


“You’ll see when we get there.”  

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