The Prisoner of Peace

Chapter Eleven: Wicked, Wicked Games

The rest of the day was spent in nearly complete silence. And it was not the sort of stony and uncomfortable silence where everyone is wracking there brain for something appropriate to say. No, it was almost a sort of comfortable silence where everyone is too wrapped up in their own thoughts to be bothered to say something aloud. Yet they were both extremely grateful when they were finally permitted to retire for the evening so that they might have peace and quiet during the night. And so, they stayed awake nearly all night, trying to comprehend the events of the day.

Alexandra was trying to figure out what on Earth she had been thinking. Why, in the name of God, had she kissed that man? She couldn't possibly be starting to have feelings for him, after all he was an incorrigible scoundrel of a man who had yelled at her, insulted her, and nearly struck her! No, feelings for him were entirely out of the question. This of course left her right back at the all important question of 'Why, in the name of God, had she kissed that man?'

Perhaps it was just that he did happen to be rather physically attractive. In fact, he was downright handsome. Hector really was a perfect specimen of a man, he was tall and strong and his gray eyes just screamed of warmth and caring and he was a rather good kiss – (Alexandra had to stop herself here, as she felt she was getting carried away thinking about Hector's physical attributes and that really wasn't the matter at hand, now, was it?) And he had been trying to get her to kiss him…that's it! He was trying to seduce her and she fell for it! Oh dear, she had never known she could be so weak!

However, she had never been so weak, why would she start now, now when strength meant more than anything? And besides, it wasn't like men had tried to seduce her before; why, Gregory had tried to seduce her nearly every day and she always resisted that. (Not that it was particularly challenging; Gregory, while a very nice young man, was not particularly gifted when it came to the female sex.) So, if she could withstand the advances of a former suitor there was no reason why she could not withstand the advances of her husband.

But then why else did she kiss him? And then, in a moment that pioneered psychoanalysis in Lorgia, it dawned on Alexandra. Subconsciously, she was trying to make Hector fall for her, so that when she ran away it would be all the more painful for him. That had to be it! Of course, that would make her subconscious completely evil, but it could be worse! And besides, Hector deserved every ounce of pain he felt after he killed her brother!

Except for the fact that he tracked down Kaden's stallion and gave it to her. That made things quite a bit more difficult. However, she decided she could ignore it, and now she would have a horse to travel on for her escape!

And so, Alexandra decided that she was definitely, most assuredly trying to make Hector fall for her so that she might cause him some sort of great pain. Of course, it took a great deal of arguing with herself to convince herself of that, but she did an excellent job and there was certainly no doubt about it – her subconscious really had it in for Hector.

A few feet away, Hector was debating the very same issue. Why, in the name of God, had he kissed that woman? He didn't like her; she wasn't nice. So what on Earth was he thinking? Feelings for her were completely out of the question; he had kissed the idea of loving her goodbye when she barged into the throne room. She was just a scrawny little wench, why would he even want to kiss her?

Of course, that's not to say that he wouldn't be lying if he said he wasn't attracted to her. She was pretty…okay, she was more than pretty; she was beautiful. What with those soft curls and those bright and sparkling green eyes and her soft lips and – Hector stopped himself here, as he realized he was not focusing on the matter at hand. Okay, she was pretty and he could leave it at that. Besides, there were countless pretty girls around the Caer and he had never felt the need to kiss any of them.

Hector decided to backtrack to the beginning. Why had they kissed? Because he tracked down that horse. But why had he even gotten that damn horse for her in the first place? Yes, he had wanted to make a nice gesture, but not so she would like him! All he wanted was a bearable existence, that really wasn't too much to ask, now, was it? That's all he was looking for – a wife who didn't hate him with every fiber of her being.

Which of course makes sense: the more she liked him the happier he would be. And so, it would follow that he was trying to make her fall for him so that his life would be easier. That's all. Nothing more. Really. Nothing more.

And so, when the sun's rays crept into the large bay window of the couple's bed room, they brought the start of a new sort of game. The new king and queen would be trying as hard as they possibly could to make the other fall in love without falling in love themselves. That wouldn't be hard, that wouldn't be too hard at all.

Or at least, that's what they were counting on.

Alexandra was not, however, counting on being forcibly sent to the disgustingly pink room to sew with her ladies-in-waiting. She had been successful at dodging it for quite a while, but after a nearly two weeks of hiding, Lord Wellington literally dragged her there and forced a needle and thread into her hands.

"Well, I heard that she snuck off with him during the ball and well, I would hate to be presumptuous, but she was neither seen nor heard from until nearly ten o'clock the next morning." The pink-powder-puff's "non-presumptuous" assertions were met by a chorus of "tsk's" and even a few appalled gasps. Such behavior was nearly the most appalling thing the sophisticated ladies of Caer Mendyll had ever heard!

For her part, Alexandra was equally appalled; in fact, she might have been the most appalled of all. However, a young woman's social mishap was hardly worth her attention. She was appalled at how petty and trivial her ladies-in-waiting were. She was appalled at how the only things that mattered to these women were so-called social faux-pas. She was appalled at how boring sewing was. And she was by far most appalled by the fact that all these women did was sit around and sew and gossip and that they all wore pink! It was disgusting. She would have liked to go to the throne room anyway, but irritating Hector did not fit in with her evil little plan.

"It's a wonder she isn't banished from court for acting like that!" added another pink bimbo. The rest of them looked at Alexandra expectantly, as if she should exile the young lady on the spot. Alexandra, for her part, had had enough.

"I'm afraid I don't quite understand what the problem is," she replied very diplomatically. She would have liked to slap them all across the face, however, that did not seem like a very good idea.

They all stared at her with their mouths hanging open too flabbergasted to speak.

"Well, I just don't think that her spending time with her brother that she has not seen in quite a few months constitutes as grounds for banishment!"

She was met with more blank stares. She wondered if she should have spoken more slowly and made hand gestures to help them better understand.

"Honestly, I think we've all more important things to worry about, like war and trade!" Alexandra continued in vain, "A young woman's familial affairs certainly pale in comparison!"

"Oh, well, your 'majesty,'" the ring-leader began, "I can see that your 'values' do not coincide with our own. Perhaps your time is better spent elsewhere."

Alexandra was shocked; how dare that little wench talk to her that way!

She rose, letting her sewing fall to the floor and spoke in a very steady and cold voice (she had found earlier that it was much less terrifying when she yelled), "If I thought you knew any better, I would have you severely punished for such disrespect for your queen. However, since you are obviously too dense to understand the actual ways of the world, I will let you slide with this warning: You really, really do not want to get on my bad side because I will feel very few qualms about banishing you from court."

Alexandra would probably never banish anyone, but her threat had the desired effect and she was able to walk from the room with her head held high, leaving the bimbos still staring with their mouths hanging open.

Furious with the world in general, Alexandra stormed through the halls in the general direction of her apartments as she fumed at the moronic ladies. She was so caught up in her fury that she did not even notice where she was going until –

"Ow!" came the cry of a young woman. Alexandra had rounded a corner right into someone else, knocking her to the ground.

"Oh my goodness," Alexandra cried, bending down to help her up, "I am so sorry." She could not believe she had been so clumsy! She felt rather stupid until she realized exactly who she had knocked over. "Isabel! Oh dear, I'm so sorry!"

Isabel smiled as she dusted off her dress, "Oh, Alexandra! Really, don't worry about it. We've all done something similar."

"Still," Alexandra said, very embarrassed, "I'm so sorry, it was all my fault – I wasn't watching where I was going, those awful women just made me so mad and-

"Oh who? The Powder-Puff Queens? Did they 'dismiss' you?" Isabel interrupted.

"Ha! That's exactly what I was calling them! How did you know?"

"Oh please," Isabel said with a dismissive wave of her hand, "They threw me out ages ago because, if I remember correctly, I said 'politics.'"

"You're kidding," Alexandra said. It was one thing for them to send away a Pryantian, but their own princess? "Didn't that bother you? I mean, you surely outrank every single one of them."

"Well, sure, but it's not really worth it. I didn't exactly enjoy spending time with them. I like to think of it as a blessing disguised as an insult," the younger girl replied with a smile. "Say, I was just headed to my apartments for tea with a few friends, would you like to come?"

Alexandra was surprised, and half-wondered if it was some sort of trick. Someone was actually being nice, and not just pretending to be nice, genuinely being nice? "Sure, she replied, "I'd love to."

The two young women walked through the cavernous halls chatting aimlessly about the audacity of the Powder Puff Queens. When they arrived at Isabel's apartments, Alexandra was surprised to find Mabel and her other, more skittish maid who, she found out was named Clara. And, once she finally convinced them that they did not need to call her "your majesty" they all had a very enjoyable tea. Best of all, they even discussed politics and the wars.

Unfortunately, Clara and Mabel couldn't stay long as they had many duties to attend to, but Alexandra and Isabel stayed and chatted for several hours until there was a rather loud and semi-frantic knock on the door.

"Hmmm, I wonder who that could be, I'm not expecting anyone," Isabel said as she went to the door.

"I don't care as long as it's not Lord Wellington or Their Royal Majesties, The Queens of Pink," Alexandra joked as she bit into another cookie.

"Oh Hector! I wasn't expecting you!" Isabel exclaimed, opening the door for her frazzled brother. "What ever is the matter?"

"IsabelhaveyouseenmywifeIcannotfindheranywhereandIdon'tknowwhereshecouldavegottenoffto!" he said entirely too quickly for anyone to make any sense.

"Hector, slow down," his sister said putting a loving hand on his shoulder.

He took a deep breath, "Have you seen my wife? I can't find her anywhere."

Isabel snickered a bit to herself. "That wife over there?" she asked pointing to Alexandra, who waved.

"Hello, darling, how are you?" she asked with a smile.

"Oh, thank God," he said with a sigh of relief, "I haven't seen you all day and I was wondering if you were alright." Actually, he was concerned that she had run away already – something that would certainly create countless problems for him and for his country. But mostly his country, which would be worse. Yes, his country.

"Oh, I'm sorry," Isabel said apologetically, "I've kept her all afternoon. She came for tea and we just lost track of time. Would you like a cup?"

"Oh, wow, well, I'm glad you two made friends," Hector replied, "But I'm afraid we have to get going. General Veague has invited us for dinner."

Alexandra groaned and batted her eyelashes at her husband. "I completely forgot," she said in her perfectly innocent voice, "Do we have to?"

Hector chuckled, "Yes, I'm afraid so."

Alexandra cursed under her breath causing everyone to laugh. "Oh well, I suppose I should go get ready." She rose and said her goodbyes to Isabel, of course, not before promising to return the next day for tea.

Later, in the carriage on the way to the general's estate, Hector asked her if she had had a nice day.

"Actually, I did, I had a really nice day, and your sister is just lovely," Alexandra replied with a smile.

"Good," Hector said softly, "I'm glad."

They sat there looking into each other's eyes for a moment. Strangely enough, they felt drawn to one another, as if there was some sort of magnetic attracting between their lips.

Hector leaned in, tucking a strand of hair behind Alexandra's ear and was just about to kiss her when the carriage door opened. In their private moment, they had not even realized the carriage stopped.

"Your majesties," said the General Veague's doorman, "Welcome to the estate."

And with that, the King and Queen of Verlynn disembarked the carriage for the large mansion and proceeded to have a lovely evening.

A/N: Well, there you have it, Chapter Eleven! A special thanks to horsegurl770, Single-And-Lovin-It, and The Breakdancing Ninja for their lovely reviews since the last update.

Chapter Twelve should be up relatively shortly, but don't shoot me if it takes a few days. :)

Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed it, and as always reviews are greatly appreciated.