"Do you know how long its been since I've had a woman in my bed? I'll try not to take it personally that the name you were moaning in your sleep was that of another man."
Ruby jolted at the voice; clearly not Cole's. Her eyes darted open. The Dragon King sat on the foot of her, no his bed, staring down at her with an odd expression. A barely tamed mixture of contempt and... Lust? No, couldn't be.
It took no time at all for Ruby to shake the effects of sleep, and become completely alert and on guard. She hugged her knees to her chest and became aware of how scantly dressed she was. The nightgown was merely a slip of silk, that showed far too much skin. She prayed it was a servant who had dressed her yesterday when she had fainted upon her arrival. Portholes were a harsh means of travel; leaving their passenger weak and disoriented. For all she knew it could have been the Dragon King himself who had dressed her, she wouldn't have even known.
The back of her throat was dry and scratchy. As if suspecting she might be thirsty, the Dragon King walked over to a dressing table that held a ceramic picture full of water. He reached for the accompanying goblet and poured her a drink. He handed it to her hesitantly.
Without thanking him, she downed most of the water in less than a minute, glowering at him the whole time. He sat there with a smug look on his face. A look that reminded her that she was indeed at his mercy.
Rubby poured the remaining water into her mouth, but did not swallow it. She held it in her cheeks for a split second, before spitting it in the King's face. She slammed the glass down on a small bedside table. "Thank you. I needed that."
Outraged, the Dragon King lunged for the girl. Capturing her small wrists in his large hands, he leaned in close to scold her. "How dare you insult me in my own home!"
Ruby wriggled underneath him, trying to gain the upper hand. If only she could free her leg and bring up her knee fast enough to-
"Don't even think about it." His voice was ice cold as he pressed her even harder into the mattress. Ruby jerked beneath him, which warranted a tortured growl from her enemy. His body meshed with hers, and even the feathered quilt didn't spare her from feeling the hard contours of it. She blushed with embarrassment of their proximity, and compromising position. She stopped moving beneath him. "Get off me you oversized Groaf!"
He paused for a curious moment. "What is a Groaf?"
"Goddamn, it's a made up word!"
"You make words up when you're angry?"
"Apparently!" She huffed.
He smiled before rolling off of her, but it quickly vanished, and was replaced with the usual scowl. What was that about?
"Let me tell you how our little arrangements is going to work." His eyes were now void of any humor. They returned to their natural state of cold blue slate. "Since you are not of royal descent, I'm sure Avelen will keep its army at bay. The risk of saving you would be far too great to even consider."
Ruby glared at him. She was torn between selfishly hoping Cole would come to her rescue, and hoping he'd stay put and not risk his or anyone else's life for her sake.
"You are to do as I say, when I say, lest you want to see your King's head on a sphere outside my bedroom window. Are we clear?"
She glared at him in response. He wiped the recycled water off of his face with the sleeve of his tunic, never taking his eyes off of her.
"If you don't want to kill Cole, what do you want with us? Why antagonize Avelen, why send a dragon after us?"
" I never said I didn't want to kill your friend, make no mistake of that. My business with Avelen came about long before you intruders intervened with my plan to-"
Ruby stood up. "Your plan to what?"
The Dragon King shook his head dismissively. "The information I tell you is on a need to know basis. In the meantime just stay out of my way."
"Oh, how very cavalier of you. Tell me, do you share a bedroom with all your prisoners or am I special? A deep cackle escaped his throat. "Let me guess, nobody puts baby in the corner?"
Ruby blinked. Did the scary Dragon King really just quote Dirty Dancing? How?
"Your from our world?" She concluded. "What brought you here?"
He cursed under his breath. "Like I said, need to know basis." He stormed out of the room. The door closed just in time, and was met with the goblin, which Ruby threw and aimed at his head. It shattered into a million little pieces that she had to sidestep as she tried the door.
Sure enough it was locked.
She made her way to the window. It was barred with wrought iron poles. She peaked through them to see the happenings outdoors. A group of vicious, blood thirsty- looking warriors, appeared to be in a combative drill. She remembered these ironclad, dragon warriors from her dream. It was still hard to fathom their existence. What triggered their anger and fueled their uncanny strength? Well, besides the fact that they were half beast.
Ruby shivered as she watched them drive spears into practice targets; made from materials that imitated flesh and bone. Images of these men grabbing Pen, and The Dragon King ordering them to let her go; just so she could nearly fall to her death anyway, flashed through her mind. Ruby recalled that he'd also threatened to take an innocent life each and every time she disobeyed him.
One thing was certain, she needed to devise a plan and escape this hell. Until then she needed to keep Cole, and everyone else safe, the only way she could; Oblige the Dragon King. Even if it meant keeping her hands curled into fists at her side, and biting her tongue until it bled.