Rowena was still in her defeated mood when Vincent arrived again that evening. She didn’t even turn around when she heard the door opening. Vincent was determined, he was going to make her pay attention and stop acting in this placid manner.
‘Mother had a visitor today,’ he said, trying to provoke a reaction. ‘She didn’t know I knew he was there, so she doesn’t know I overheard their conversation.’
‘I’m sure that in your little world, Vincent, this is a very interesting conversation, but unfortunately, it bores me to death, so either get to the point or get out.’ Vincent flinched at the harshness of her words, but made him tell himself that it wasn’t Rowena speaking, it was her hurt, anger and grief.
‘He came from Fersere.’
‘There are lots of people who live in Fersere; it’s perfectly plausible that one of them can end up in your mother’s house.’
‘But I don’t think this was just anyone. He knew you were locked up here.’
‘There are also plenty of people who know that their Crown Princess is locked up in a tower somewhere.’
Vincent hesitated, knowing that if he said what he was going to say next, there was no going back. ‘He was talking about Damia. How she’s got as much to lose as my mother if she were to say that you were still alive.’
‘This is where Damia has disappeared to.’ Rowena leaned in, suddenly interested in what he was saying. ‘What is she doing?’
‘She’s gone back with your Prince. I don’t know exactly what she’s meant to be doing once she gets back to Fersere but I think it’s something to do with the strange man in my house, my mother, the throne and you.’ He took a deep breath and prepared himself to disclose the biggest shock. ‘But that’s not everything. The man was talking about something else, something he was more worried about than Damia.’
‘He’s worried you’ll escape and make your way back to the royal palace in Geneta. He was talking about killing you.’ He knew he’d got Rowena’s attention because she was on her feet, her back pressed against the wall, her eyes wide with fear.
‘Is that why you’re here? I’m of no use to you any more so you’re going to get rid of me?’
‘No,’ Vincent insisted, walking towards the Princess. ‘I want to help you. This is my chance to escape too.’ Rowena flinched as he approached, now deeply suspicious and untrusting of him, unsure what side he was on. ‘I’ve been living with my mother forcing me to follow her into the family business all my life.’
‘The family business being, kidnapping, murder, fraud…’
‘Yes, that pretty much sums it up. But since you arrived, I’ve started to realize that I don’t have to do exactly what my mother says. I don’t want to be the bad guy, I want to do something worthwhile with my life, something honest.’
Rowena didn’t quite know how to react to the secret Vincent had just told her. ‘But I don’t understand how you can help me. There is no way for me to get out of here without the key to the door at the bottom of the tower and how would me escaping help you anyway. It’s not like I can send an army to take you away from your mother.’
‘But I’ve come up with a plan,’ Vincent said, excitedly, pleased with himself that he’s managed to plant the seed of thought on the Princess’s mind.
‘Tell me more,’ Rowena said, taking a step away from the wall, closer to Vincent.
‘OK then, first we…’