Throughout the course of the day, I lose consciousness at least four times. On the bright side, I start feeling slightly better each time I wake up. I’ve eventually grown used to the sound of the whistling wind. At one point I’d managed to drag myself to the wall and tried to pull myself up to the window, but the higher I got, the higher the window seemed to be. I’m not sure if it’s still effects from the dust or a magic Jack’s placed on the room to disorient me. What makes me mad is that it’s working.
As the sun sets, I hear the squeak of well-polished shoes against the stone floor. I sit up in the corner and adopt an unconcerned air. Being brought up in a palace has given me years to perfect my poker face.
“How are we feeling now, Princess?” Jack asks as he swings the door shut behind him.
“How long are you going to keep me here?” I return.
He smiles and reaches into the breast pocket of his suit jacket. “As long as it takes.”
“As long as it takes for what?” I prod, frustrated with the slight emotion in my voice.
“For your entire world to go to hell,” he replies simply and pulls another fat cigar out of the tin from his pocket.
“What do you mean?” I ask. I feel my composure slowly begin to slip, so I take a deep breath and reset my face as he snaps his fingers and lights his cigar.
“I’m a friend of Ithicara’s,” he answers after a few drags on the new cigar. “And your parents have something she wants.”
“Ithicara hates men. Why on earth would she ever work with you?”
He smiles again. “What does your kingdom stand to lose with you out of the way?”
“Nothing,” I reply quickly. “Our kingdom is set up so that if anything were to ever happen to me, there would be someone else to take my place.”
Jack nods thoughtfully and taps grey ashes on the ground. “So what would happen if something were to happen to your second? She is a lovely girl, that Serena.”
My blood turns cold.
“I hear she’s been learning everything it takes to run a kingdom. And when Jorgen couldn’t get his hands on you, he turned to her. I wonder what would happen if she were out of the picture…” His voice trails off suggestively.
“You leave her alone,” I hiss, ice-cold fury burning through my voice.
“No,” he replies just as coldly. “I don’t think I will. You see, Ithicara’s had her eye on your kingdom for quite some time now, and you were the only thing keeping her from attacking. There sure was a high bounty on your head, Princess Adeline. Bounty hunter business is always better whenever there’s a high price to be paid for a good catch.” He leans down and puts his face just in front of mine, his ebony eyes boring into mine. “You’d better get used to being here, because this is going to be your home for a very long time.”
He blows cigar smoke into my face and pushes me back with his foot.
“You can’t keep me here forever!” I yell at the door as it slams shut. “I will find a way out of here!”
His cold laughter is the only answer I get. When did I decide to start begging?