Steel Queen

**WINNER OF 2016 RED QUEEN WRITING COMP**

Princess Thalia is betrothed to an unfamiliar prince in a foreign land. When it turns out that the prince is a cruel and harsh dictator, who seeks to dominate Thalia- or do away with her- she has to make a desperate plan in order to save her own life.


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23. Chapter 23

    Ferrel was in his study when Thalia stormed in, flanked by two of the wolves. He looked up, and his eyes widened in shock.

    “Ferrel,” Thalia said smoothly. “We need to talk.” He opened his mouth to speak, and she  held up her hand, silencing him. “Yes, I know you planned to kill me. But I’m much harder to dispose of. So now, you are done controlling me. This kingdom will be ruled fairly and wisely. I am not of this kingdom by blood, but I am by marriage.”

    Ferrel raised his eyebrows. “The Wolves,” he said simply. “They will never stop hunting you.”

    “Incorrect,” Thalia replied. She placed the Alpha’s mask on the desk before her, and was gratified to see the look of utter shock cross Ferrel’s face once again.

    “My brother…”

    “Is dead,” she said carelessly. “And if you continue to rule your people this way, you will be too. I am the Alpha of the Wolves now,” she pushed her sleeve up, revealing the wolf-shaped brand. “And I will tolerate none of your tricks. Do we have an understanding?”

    Ferrel sighed. “I see I underestimated you. Very well. But don’t think you’ve won.”

    Thalia, who had been turning to go, turned back with a small smirk. “Oh yes. Yes I have.”

 

    Chrissy stood anxiously at the castle gate, watching the carriage grow nearer. Ever since Thalia had sent her a letter promising that she was all right and coming home, Chrissy had waited impatiently for her. But now, as the carriage drew closer, she was afraid. What if her sister had been changed by her time at the castle?

    The carriage pulled to a stop, and a servant went to the door, opening it and offering his hand to the occupant. Chrissy was practically holding her breath.

    Then a dark-skinned hand reached from the interior, swatting the offered hand away. Chrissy began to smile, as Thalia leapt down from the carriage unassisted.

    She was wearing a man’s clothes again, and a jacket over them. her hear was ratty and tangled, and she appeared to have been bruised along the side of her face. But standing there, alive and safe, Chrissy had never thought she looked more beautiful.

    “THALIA!” she ran forwards, Beatrice following close behind. Thalia grinned, and held out her arms for a hug. Chrissy practically leapt into her arms, and Thalia held her tightly. To her surprise, up close Chrissy saw tears slipping down her sister’s face.

    “Thalia! What’s wrong?”

    “Nothing now,” she said quietly. “I just never thought I’d see you again.”

    “And neither did I!” Chrissy pulled back. “What happened with you.”

    Thalia sighed, glancing up to the sky. “I suppose this is going to be a bit of a long story, isn’t it…”

 

THE END

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