ConditionedMature

Later that night, Ruby sought Damian in the weapon's room. He was carefully examining his weapons, which usually meant he was deep in thought. He caught Ruby's eye and nodded in acknowledgment.

She twisted her hair and rung the water out of it, onto the floor. “Did you enjoy the show?”

Damian narrowed his eyes. He stared at the small puddle of rain water she had produced at his feet. “Aira has unwavering loyalty in her forces. None of what we're trying to achieve is going to happen peacefuly. You need to be prepared to fight.”

Ruby gritted her teeth. “I know how to fight.”

The corners of Damian's mouth curved upwards. “You know how to fight your enemies. What about alongside them?”

Ruby's heart quickened. “I don't want you to destroy the Kingdom. Its home to some of my friends.”

He turned his back to her, as he retrieved a sword from the wall. He retrieved a cloth from a hook on the wall and began cleaining it with brute force. “I assume you mean the Fae?” His voice was dry.

“You don't like them. Of course.”

“I told you, I don’t trust them. They are known to play mind games with people. Not to say I wouldn’t mind making allies with that kind of intelligence. Perhaps in time we'll make them pledge their allegiance to us.” He deliberated.

Ruby thought about it for a moment. The Fae were a stubborn bunch. They would be furious at her for even considering dragging them into this war. “What if nobody believes your story?”

He put the sword back on the wall and spun around to face her. “Thats what you're here for.” He paused to study her reaction. She remained quiet and solemn, absorbing information. “Once the Starborn King is wed to the princess her power and influence will increase dramatically. We will need to put an abrupt end to that. After we kill her-”

Ruby put her hand up to silence him. “Kill her?”

Damian shook his head. “Contain her. I meant after we contain her. Your Starborn King will be free of his responsibilities, and I will step up and lead Avelen to prosperity. We'll combine with Dragon Cross. The magic of the tome and dragons together, should be enough to open another porthole to send you back home.”

Back Home. The words resonated in Ruby's mind.

“When do I leave to get the tome.”

“Tonight?”

Ruby crossed her arms . “Too soon!”

“It has to be tonight. It is the coronation. Everyone will be distracted, or, even better drunk.”

Damian watched as Ruby's shoulder's fell and her disposition changed. He cursed under his breath. The whole situation was weakening her. He expected her to be furious, and ready to draw blood, but instead she was fragile and sad. “Pathetic,” he muttered.

Ruby looked up. “What?”

He shook his head. “Oh, sorry. I was just thinking out loud again.”

“What about? Not that I necessarily care...”

Damian let out a breath he didnt realize he had been holding. “Tell me you'll keep your emotions out of the plan? I'd hate to see this back fire, and for you to get hurt because of your feelings for-”

“I'll be fine.” She interrupted dishearteningly.

Damian groaned. Any fire that he had seen in Ruby earlier, was quickly put out by the subject of her affections for the Starborn King. His own doing. He needed to right this. He needed to downright piss her off. And so he grabbed her.

A surprised gasp escaped Ruby's lips as she fumbled with her proximity to the Dragon King. He crushed his mouth over hers before she could protest. Ruby sank against his kiss. His lips were rough and demanding,his tongue eager and probing. It took Ruby about three seconds, to remember just who she was kissing. His arms circled around her waist, drawing her in closer.

Ruby pushed on his chest with her fists to no avail. She opened her eyes. A pendant hung around his neck and disappeared under his lose tunic. She reached for the chain, twisting it mercilessly, until it pinched the skin around his neck, cutting off his airway. His eyes were wide and alert. “Just remember, I know where you sleep now. If you ever try a something like that again, I'll come after you with the most lethal knife I can find in this place. You'll be praying that its your airway I cut off. Capiche?”

He nodded eagerly in between raspy breaths. She loosened her grip on the chain,but pulled it out from under his tunic to examine it closer. On the end hung an ebony stone, mapped out with smooth gray lines. “What is this?”

He pulled away from her. “Never you mind. You remember the plan?”

Ruby nodded, but continued to freeze him with an icy stare.

He smiled, satisfied with himself for achieving what he had set out to do. “You're ready now.”

The End

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