"I thought we talked about this, Xenia! You know very well that Her Highness has to stay inside!" Jereco said to Xenia. A desk was the only thing that stood between them.
Jereco wasn't old nor young. He wasn't very handsome either with his scraggily beard and bald head. He was tall with a muscular build. He always wore a sword on his belt and had cold dark eyes. Xenia had always wondered how he'd become the leader of The Resistance when he was obviously the wrong choice. Jereco was nothing but a self centered man who had absolutely no care for anyone else's problems.
"What would happen if some outsider were to find out who she really was?" he continued. Xenia could feel the disappointment eminating from him.
"I can protect her!" Xenia slammed her hands down on the desk as she stood up from the chair she'd been sitting in. "She's completely safe with me!"
"Xenia, I don't doubt your ability, I'm just being careful." Jereco said with less force. He walked around the desk, grabbed her chin gently and turned her toward him. "She's a very-" he didn't get to finish.
"That's the thing! Naomi isn't delicate or fragile or in need of much protection! She can fight! You haven't see it but she is a master with a sword! If it wasn't for her we wouldn't have..." she paused for a moment as if deciding something. "... We wouldn't have made it here alive." This made Jereco laugh.
"A princess that can fight? Absurd!"
"Jereco you're forgetting that these are different times. Because The Resistance was formed, many women learned to fight, hoping to help win their freedom. You won't give them the time of day! If I'm allowed to fight-"
"That's enough!" Jereco yelled silencing whatever it was that Xenia was going to say. "The reason I allow you to fight doesn't belong in this conversation. You're a special case."
"Oh, I see how it is..." Xenia said sarcastically. "Just because I can make anything do my will you decide to tolerate me in the ranks? Strangely enough that's not making me feel better about this discussion." Xenia folded her arms and sat back in the chair behind her. "It's nice to know I'm welcomed here."
"You know I didn't mean it like that." Jereco said, putting on his special smile.
"Don't I?" Xenia asked, standing up so fast her hood fell off her head revealing a single white feather pinned in her raven hair. "Don't think I don't know what you really thing of me. Everyone knows the only reason you haven't tried to have me killed yet is because you're scared!"
"Preposterous!" Jereco exclaimed, not looking her in the eye.
"Don't lie to me, Jereco." Xenia said darkly, taking a single step closer to him.
"The princess stays in her room!" Jereco was trying his best to stay in control of the situation but he knew as well as Xenia that his attempt wasn't working.
"You can't keep her locked up forever! She's going to just keep escaping and you know it." Xenia paused "We joined The Resistance for three things. Sanctuary, revenge and freedom. That's what you promised us when we walked through those doors twenty eight risings ago!" She pointed harshly at the doors. "So far we haven't gotten that. How can I do what you ask if I can't trust you?"
There was a really long moment of silence as Jereco thought this over. He finally decided to speak.
"Alright... I'll make you a deal." he said with a sigh. "I'll let Princess Naomi out of her room if..." he gave her a hard look "If you will stay with her at all times and..." he made sure she was looking at him in the eye. "You tell me how you really landed in that desert. None of this our village burned to the ground garbage you keep telling me." Xenia froze, but only for a second. She thought this over for a minute.
"I'll tell you but I want Naomi to be with me." Xenia said. Jereco nodded to one of the guards at the door. While he left to get Naomi, Jereco and Xenia sat in an awkward silence until the door opened. Naomi ran over to her friend and flung her arms around Xenia.
"Thank you so much!" She exclaimed. She stepped back. "What's the catch?" she asked so Jereco couldn't hear. Xenia told her the deal they'd made.
"Are we going to tell him about..?" she trailed off as Xenia shook her head.
"No, not yet."
"I'm waiting." Jereco said impaitently.
"The truth is we were supposed to die out in that desert as a punishment." Naomi said.
"What did you do?"
"We were slaves. We'd tried to run away but he caught us." Xenia answered. Both were very hesitant to relive the moment. "Who?" Jereco asked.
"The slave master. He wasn't much older than we were at the time but he was the big man's right hand man." Naomi spoke taking a seat in a chair. "Never saw the boy's face. 'Always had it covered by a hood."
"Who was the 'big man'?" There was a pause. "You promised to tell me the truth!" Jereco reminded them. Xenia took a step towards Jereco before speaking.
"We worked as slaves in Akai's court."