67 A King and a Fox
Smiles, that was all they showed me. When the prince had left the room, leaving me behind with his family, he had seemed nervous but happy at the same time, but it was slightly different for his sister and mother who had followed him soon after. They had lacked his anxiety, revealing nothing but glee instead. It was obvious they knew something they weren't willing to reveal to me.
Laurin's sister was younger than him by three years, making her almost seem like a child, though she did her best to appear like a lady instead. Contrary to her brother, she had the brown hair and eyes of their father, which was rather unlucky considering how angelic she might have looked with blonde hair instead.
Despite being that young, or rather exactly because she was in that age, Janna was very interested in the non-existing romance between me and her brother. She was always asking about it, not directly but rather subtle instead.
I somehow had managed to fend off all of Janna's attacks while staying polite and friendly, but it was a whole different story for their mother, Queen Arienne. She was far more directly in her questions, turning our conversations into nothing short of an interrogation.
While playing with her long, pale blonde hair, she stared at me with her sapphire eyes, as if trying to interpret each change happening in my expression. It went without saying that I went nervously almost immediately with this angelic beauty looking at me like that.
Somehow, I had avoided all of her attacks so far. When asked what I think about her son, I just told her that he is friendly and polite while carefully avoiding any mention of him being the hunk he was without a question. Laurin was attractive, that one went without saying, but I would never start liking guys just because of that!
Now that all of them were gone, leaving me alone with their husband or father, I was feeling more trapped than ever before. He was the most influential man in this country, maybe even in this whole world. I knew way too little about him or anything as if I could judge how powerful he really was.
There was only one fact I was sure of: he could do whatever he liked to me, and me being a saint or fox didn't change a thing about this. Sure, the citizens would probably revolt upon finding out he had harmed me, but here in the palace, they had no eyes. He could just order his men to kill me, to toss me into a dark and damp prison or to beat me up. Nobody would hinder him.
Until now, he had never even hinted at abusing his power like that. He had been both open-hearted and frank to me, which made me feel awkward and nervous around him rather than comfortable, as I was a total stranger to him. If he was that friendly to a stranger and commoner, he obviously was benefiting from it in some way. And I didn't know how yet.
"Have you managed to settle in yet," Hensin asked after the others had left the room.
"More or less."
"What is it that troubles you?"
"I barely ever get to leave those rooms..."
"You are bored?"
How could I not feel bored? I had gone from having adventures to being confined in an oversized cage within days! I couldn't read any of the books in the study room, nor could I go out and do sports or at least take a stroll in the gardens Laurin had told me about. They would never let me train my magic or learn how to wield a sword or use a bow.
There was nothing I could do. And Laurin? He had everything he wanted. Sure, he couldn't just go into the city and waste money in random shops, as he would be in constant danger, but he at least had something like hobbies that were fun enough for him to spend hours talking about them.
I was envious and depressed. Envious of anybody out there, living their lives with all their struggles, the freedom and the burdens that came with it. And depressed because I had been one of them, at least for those few days.
"If it wasn't for him visiting me, I would go crazy..."
"Him? You mean Laurin?"
"That is what I wanted to talk about."
He took a sip from his cup, placed it down and pushed it away before finally asking his question. Seeing him like this, I couldn't help but gulp my salvia.
«What is this about? I don't like this!»
"I wish for you to become part of our family."
I stared at him in disbelief. "You want to adopt me?"
I knew he wasn't talking about this. He was talking about something far more threatening, something I couldn't even accept thinking about. But no matter how much I wished to deny the possibility of it happening, Hensin just brought it up regardless.
"So hasn't told you yet. I should have known." He sighed. "Laurin fancies you."
Something inside of me crumbled to dust. I was ok with him being a friend, I was even ok with him falling in love with me, but him even telling his father? This could only mean the worst!
"I want you to be his queen, should the time arrive for the gods to call me to their side."
⊱————- Extra ————-⊰
Janna: Is she soft?
Laurin: So- soft?!
Janna: She didn't let you touch her yet?
Laurin: No- no! I would never dare!
Janna: But she looks so fluffy.
Janna: I can't wait to play with her!
Laurin: Pl- PLAY?!
Janna: You don't want to?
Laurin: I- that- I want, but...
Janna: If only she would wake up...
Laurin: ... wake up?