Narcissa collapsed in her armchair, feeling rather defeated. She hadn’t been able to get any information out of her prisoner. The Princess was stronger than Narcissa had expected, holding on until Narcissa had to stop because there was a risk of seriously damaging her captive. A damaged Princess is no use to anyone.
‘You shouldn’t have been so harsh on her Mum,’ Vincent said quietly from a corner of the room.
‘What on earth do you mean, not so harsh?’ Narcissa’s eyes snapped round to focus on her only son. She’d thought he held such promise as a child, but now he was becoming weak and beginning to develop a conscience. Maybe putting him in charge of looking after the Princess hadn’t been such a good idea after all.
‘I only meant use a truth spell on her. It would have made the process a lot quicker, you’d have your information and Rowena could have been spared that level of pain.’
‘And why would I chose to do that? I’m meant to be the bad guy here so why should I spare the precious Princess’s feelings?’ There was silence as Vincent sat in silence, to nervous to reply. ‘You said I would get my information quicker by using a truth spell didn’t you?’ Narcissa asked, sitting upright, a thought suddenly coming into her head.
‘Well, yes, I did. But I know nothing about mag-‘
‘But you implied there was something to know.’ She stood up and strode across the room to where her son was hiding in the corner. ‘Rowena trusts you, doesn’t she. Has she spoken to you at all about anything?’ Vincent shook his head, not wanting to open his mouth in case he said the wrong thing. ‘Nothing at all?’ Another shake of the head. Narcissa growled loudly, clenching her fists together like she was about to hit something.
‘But I get the impression that she’s quite close to her maid,’ Vincent said hurriedly, scared his mother would lash out in her frustration. Narcissa paused, letting the thought sink into her brain. ‘Why do you need to know what was in those letters anyway? If the King was going to give you money for the release of his daughter then surely he would send a messenger to you.’
‘That is assuming that the King is controlling this whole charade,’ Narcissa said cagily. ‘And I need to know what’s in this for me. There is no point me holding the Crown Princess if I’m not going to get something in return, no matter what Phedio says.’ There was a long pause where Vincent didn’t dare speak. ‘Go and get her.’
‘Get who?’ Vincent said, not sure what his mother was thinking, as to him, her thoughts seemed to be jumping all over the place.
‘The maid!’ Narcissa threw her hands up in despair as Vincent went scurrying from the room. ‘Must I always work with such idiots?’ She began pacing the room, her hands smoothing down the front of her deep purple gown, a nervous habit of hers.
A few minutes later and Vincent had returned, this time with Damia at his side. ‘Ah my dear girl,’ Narcissa said charmingly. ‘Take a seat.’ Damia obeyed, taking the chair opposite the one belonging to Narcissa. ‘Thank you Vincent, you may go now.’ There was a frostiness to the look the mother gave her son as she dismissed him from their company. In her mind, he could no longer be trusted. He was beginning to sympathize with the enemy, and that could be very dangerous.
Turning back to her new guest, Narcissa put on her best fake smile, preparing to charm the maid into telling her the Crown Princess’s secrets. Little did she know how easy it would be. ‘So, Miss….’
‘Damia,’ the maid said plainly, clearly not intimidated by the fairy’s power or appearance.
‘Damia, of course. I’d like to have a little chat with you about our mutual friend, Crown Princess Rowena.’
‘I wouldn’t call her a mutual friend,’ Damia said.
‘And why would that be my dear?’ Narcissa leaned in, curious as to what this surprising girl would say next.
‘She is my mistress, not my friend.’
‘But you are loyal to her?’
‘Yes,’ Damia said, a questioning look appearing in her eyes.
‘You don’t sound very sure,’ Narcissa probed, sensing a weakness. ‘I can assure you that everything said in this room will be between the two of us. The Princess will never know.’ She saw something flicker in Damia’s eyes and a smile pull at the corners of her mouth. ‘I can help you Damia,’ she pushed. ‘I know how hard it can be to live in someone else’s shadow. I can get you out of Rowena’s shadow.’
‘Why would you want to do that?’ Damia asked, still suspicious of the fairy.
‘Because by letting me help you, you would be helping me. We can both benefit from the Princess being locked away, I’m sure you understand why.’
‘What is it you’re proposing?’ Damia said, Narcissa now confident she had the maid’s full attention.