Allure – Chapter Three
by Dreams in Pink
|← Chapter Two||Chapter Four →|
The column lined corridor echoed with the sound of the man’s boots clicking against the brocatel floor. The towering windows watched his every move as he darted down the hallway, constantly checking over his shoulder to ensure he was not being followed. Reaching the end, he stopped before a stout, timeworn door and pulling out a tiny iron key from his pocket, he forced it open seemingly against its will. His steely eyes did one last sweep of his surroundings before he ducked his head and continued down a damp, brick lain passage.
“Did you complete your task?” The woman asked, hearing him approach the spacious alcove.
“I did, my Queen,” he replied, bowing deeply.
“Were you spotted?” She remained focused on the bubbling cauldron before her; sanguine hair cascading down her back.
“I can guarantee that I was not,” the man said, with the utmost confidence.
“Excellent. In due time, you shall be well rewarded for your efforts,” she turned to him, her mouth curving into a provocative smile.
“Your Majesty, if I may…” he began, curiosity brimming.
“What is it?” She eyed him sharply, warning him not to overstep his boundaries.
“Who is she?” He had to know; he had gone on the errand so willingly, but even a moment’s glance at the girl filled him with lust and intrigue.
“Her identity is currently none of your concern,” she bit harshly, his head dropping in acquiesce. “Now, hurry back before they realize you’re missing. Take this,” she handed him a folded paper which he tucked in his pocket, “You know what to do. And be sure to keep an eye on him, I’m relying on you.” The man knelt, bowing once again, taking his Queen’s hand and bringing it to his lips as a sign of respect and complete submission. “If you dare follow me tomorrow night, I’ll kill you,” she added, pulling her hand from his mild grasp, her pointed face void of emotion.
“I understand,” he nodded, and without turning his back, made his retreat.
Endymion stood in the back quad of the palace fastening his sack to his horse’s saddle. He stopped momentarily to inhale the warm afternoon breeze, stretching his arms in preparation for the journey ahead. Growing impatient, Ryoma stomped his foot on the ground, huffing as his master tightened the girth. The prince smiled, patting the animal’s muscular shoulder as a sign of affection.
“I don’t see why you don’t let the stable boys do that.” His body tensed as her shrill tone echoed against the stone walls that lined the courtyard.
“Beryl,” he addressed her, feeling her emerald eyes pinned on his every move.
“A prince shouldn’t be readying his own horse,” she remarked, unwilling to let the subject go.
“He’d likely kill someone else,” Endymion explained, knowing well that the only one who encountered few difficulties handling his stubborn stallion, was him.
“I doubt that,” the woman muttered, rolling her eyes; men and their egos.
“Why don’t you come over here and find out?” He challenged, his piercing sapphire eyes shooting daggers in her direction, hoping she would take him up on the offer.
“Are you ready?” A silver haired man asked, trotting up to the pair, perched on top of a chestnut steed.
“Almost.” Endymion replied, checking that all buckles and belongings were safely in place. “Where’s Jadeite?” He looked around to find no sign of his subordinate.
“He left before me…” the man replied with a hint of suspicion in his sonorous voice. “He should be here soon.”
“Kunzite! What a lovely surprise,” Beryl interrupted, greeting him with an overdramatic curtsy. “Where are you off to?” She wondered, sauntering closer, resting a boney hand on his horse’s velvet nose. The animal shook his head in response forcing the woman to drop her hand.
“The lakefront cottage.” He didn’t give her a second’s glance.
“Oh? For how long?” She pushed, and Endymion glared at the general to signal he was not about to answer her prying questions.
“A week or so, perhaps,” Kunzite shrugged.
“Are you just taking two of your generals?” She focused her attention back to the Prince, whose jaw clenched at what felt like an inquisition.
“I don’t need to be taken care of,” Endymion spat, growing increasingly aggravated by her mere presence. He was tired of people assuming that where he went his four generals would follow.
“Oh, I know. You’re perfectly capable of taking care of yourself,” Beryl smirked, licking her lips in a dire effort to appear seductive.
“Finish your business and leave,” he ordered, “I don’t want you near my father.”
“Well I’m afraid your father likes having me around,” she retorted, winding a strand of ruby hair around her finger.
“You better not be here when I return,” the prince warned.
“Or what?” She raised an eyebrow, “Don’t make idle threats, Your Highness,” she said, cocking her head to the side with a slight bow of mockery.
In a fluid motion Endymion unsheathed his sword, pressing the cool blade against her throat, “Don’t tempt me,” he growled, eyes dark with fury. Her breath shortened, and although she stared back with defiance, the raw strength he emitted caused unrest to settle in her stomach.
“Endymion, that’s no way to treat a lady,” Jadeite chided, approaching the scene on horseback, his brow dripping with sweat. Lowering his sword, the prince simply snorted in reply.
“We should get going,” Kunzite stated, shaking his head with disapproval of the prince’s actions. He knew that Endymion never let things get to him, but something about Beryl seemed to rack him with suspicion and cause him to react to even the most subtle of her actions and remarks. With a slight nod, Endymion mounted his horse and the three men took off through the archways, leaving Beryl behind, hand protectively clamped over her throat.
As soon as they were out of sight, her expression turned into a wicked sneer; no one would deny her what she truly wanted. Not even the Prince of Earth. With that thought lingering in her mind, she spun on her heel and set off to find the King.
After an early morning filled with fitful sleep, Serenity arose knowing there was nothing more she could do to put her mind at ease. She had entertained every possibility, and in the end knew that she would give in to her curiosity. Hours passed as the young princess waited for the sun to fade from the sky, and tried everything possible to keep herself busy. By the time night had fallen there were seven books strewn at her feet, all abandoned just a few pages in, four sheets of paper with journal entries half scribbled across them, and ten empty cups which had once been filled with tea.
For the countless time that day, her gaze flickered to the window, and this time she knew it was time to leave. She had been ready since noon, boots laced and silver hair tied back from her face. Anxiously padding across the wooden floor towards the front door, her eye caught the metal dagger lying beside the entrance. She looked at it hesitantly, and with fear as the foremost emotion lingering in her thoughts, she quickly grabbed it and slipped it into her boot. Throwing a violet cloak over her petite frame, she gently pushed the door open, straining in the darkness to investigate her surroundings. Finding no signs of danger, the girl moved ahead, navigating through the dense trees of the Northern woods.
As she approached the clearing, a thick fog rolled across the ground. Her heart raced and her breathing grew shallow. Her eyes were constantly on the prowl, searching to find the origin of every sound she heard. A slight gasp escaped her pale lips, as her gaze caught a hooded figure, adorned in luscious, emerald robes standing in the clearing.
“You came.” A woman’s metallic voice greeted her, as she felt the girl’s presence.
“Who are you?” Serenity demanded, her legs trembling as she moved closer.
“Are you alone?” Ignoring the question, the woman turned to face her guest.
“Yes,” she whispered, “What do you want from me?” She squinted, trying to make out the woman’s face, which was partially shadowed from her hooded cape.
“I’ve heard that you have quite the… talent,” her lips curved into a sneer and Serenity felt her stomach flip.
“Talent?” She repeated, meekly.
“You’re quite the little enchantress, aren’t you.” The women stated with a hint of envy in her voice. When she received no reply, she continued. “I’ll take your silence as a yes. It seems you’ve put a good number of men under your spell,” she paused, as a cruel smile moved across her face, “I’ve heard a rumour that one man even ended his marriage for you.” As she spoke, she slowly moved closer towards the baffled princess.
“What?” Serenity gaped, earnestly trying to convince herself it could not possibly be true.
“The man you were with yesterday,” she explained offhandedly, flicking her wrist as a display of apathy towards the situation. “Anyways, it doesn’t matter. I’m not here to chastise or harm you.” She placed a hand on the girl’s shoulder, as if to comfort her erratic heartbeat.
“Then what do you want from me?” Despite all efforts, Serenity could not force herself to move.
“I need your help.” She was being completely sincere, yet the princess could not help but feel unnerved at the caustic celadon eyes that seemed to stare right through her.
“My help? There’s nothing I can –” she finally managed to take a step back, feeling somewhat relived when the woman’s icy touch fell from her shoulder.
“I need you to seduce a man,” the woman cut her off, voice sharp with growing impatience.
“I beg your pardon?” Serenity stared at her with an incredulous look of shock.
“Make him want you. Make him fall in love with you ” she reworded, speaking slowly in a demeaning manner, “and then I want you to break him.” Her eyes clouded with darkness.
“Because I can’t get to him,” she seethed, her rigid expression filled with frustration, “And my motives have nothing to do with you,” she snapped.
“No?” She was in utter disbelief that someone, especially this tiny woman, would dare oppose her.
“I won’t do it,” Serenity crossed her arms in defiance.
“Now, now Princess, that’s not the correct answer,” she hissed, shaking a finger as if she were scolding a young child.
“What did you just call me?” Her face blanched; maybe she was merely mocking her.
“That’s your secret, isn’t it, Serenity?” The woman grinned as she watched the expressions play across the girl’s pale face.
“Who are you?” She felt sick; no one was supposed to know her true identity.
“I’m someone who’s not to be meddled with.”
The princess stood silent as panic washed over her; heart echoing through her ears. With the realization that she had to play this woman’s game, she asked, “Who is he?”
The woman handed her folded paper, “here.” Not knowing what to expect, Serenity opened it to reveal the portrait of an appallingly attractive man. Given her reputation, she instantly understood why this woman had asked for her assistance. He must be that unattainable man; the one the heroine always ends up with in the love stories. Serenity struggled to keep herself in check, constantly using the reminder that this was reality; this was her life, and it wasn’t a fairy tale. Although her mind screamed not to delve further into this mess, she couldn’t help but feel a minute tingle of excitement.
“And how am I supposed to find him?” A nagging feeling in the back of her mind told her that his face was familiar, yet she could not place from where.
“He’ll find you,” she said with a pleased grin; everything was falling perfectly into place. “You can’t tell a soul about our arrangement. Especially him. Do you understand?”
“What if I do?” She ventured, genuinely curious as to how far this woman would go.
The woman was somewhat surprised at the girl’s daring question, “Do you know what they would do with the Princess of the Moon?” She started, her tone lowering to appear intimidating, “Do you know what they did to the last Moon creature that wandered down to our lowly planet?” Serenity shook her head nervously, all colour draining from her face as she wished that she hadn’t asked. “They killed him,” she paused dramatically, “They tortured him and killed him. They plucked every gorgeous golden strand of hair from his sweet head.” She took extra care to articulate her words, ensuring that her point was well delivered.
“Why would they believe you over me?” Immediately Serenity regretted the question which spewed from her lips.
“Do you really think they’re going to trust someone who’s ruined their husbands? Their fathers? Their brothers? Their family?” Her words were so accusing, causing guilt to take control of the girl’s mind, her stature sinking. “Now, my dear, do we have an understanding?”
“Yes,” the words slipped from her mouth, barely audible.
“I’ll be watching you. Don’t think you can escape, and don’t you dare try to deceive me,” she warned, before turning to leave. The princess nodded mutely, watching the woman’s retreating form. She paused momentarily, calling over her shoulder, “And don’t fall in love.”
Serenity’s brow furrowed, the mysterious woman’s final words loitering on the surface of her mind. Suddenly she was plagued by a thousand questions, all of which would likely go unanswered, and for once since her arrival, she desperately wanted to return home.
|← Chapter Two||Chapter Four →|