I don't care what Elder Donne said. My month in the vampire realm was not going to be spent touring and getting to know the people. He wanted me to start learning what was expected as a queen. However, I felt like I would be more of a slave than a queen.
We woke shortly after dawn and I looked through the many dresses, hoping there was at least one green one. I was saddened to find there wasn't so I took up a blue one instead. I found some blue slippers and put them on. Even though there was a vanity, I had never worn makeup and I wasn't planning on doing it anytime soon.
Roan was waiting for me outside the door and I took his arm, feeling morose. I looked around, trying to find something to be happy about. The only thing I could think of was, even though I'd be here all the time, I had this large palace to explore.
"How many rooms do you have?" I asked Roan as we walked down the stairs.
"Over 300," he answered.
I nodded. "So plenty for me to explore once we've wed."
For some reason, his face hardened and I fell silent. Instead of going into the dining room, he took me to the throne room. I bit my lower lip.
"Um, Roan?" I whispered and he looked at me. "It's morning. I need to eat and-"
"No you don't."
We turned around. Elder Donne had arrived before the king and queen. His eyes were cold and I realized right away that everything he was before had been an act.
"If I don't eat I'll starve," I said.
He rolled his eyes. "Don't be dramatic. You'll survive just fine on one meal a day."
My jaw dropped.
"No she can't," Roan argued. "I've seen the way they nourish themselves, Elder Donne. She needs three."
He glared at me. "Two," he snapped.
"Three," Roan snarled.
"Two or none at all!" he shouted.
Roan's jaw tightened. "Fine."
Elder Donne went to sit in a chair by the thrones and I stared at my feet. What had been exciting now felt like a death wish. It didn't help that Roan was gripping my arm so tightly I was worried it'd break in half.
"You're hurting me," I whispered.
He loosened his hold just as the king and queen came in. They beamed and hugged me. I returned it reluctantly. Ever since we had been in the carriage, the queen never spoke one word. Was it because she didn't like me? Was she against this marriage, too? And what of the king? Would they even be able to speak openly with Elder Donne around?
"So, before we do anything else, let's get to know each other a little better," King Alec said and beckoned us to follow him.
He led us to a small sitting room and a servant cautiously came in with a small platter. My stomach growled when I smelled something sweet under the cloche.
"I know you are not a human, but this is the closest we have to what a woman eats when she is upset," the king said softly and I was passed something small and square. "It's called a brownie."
"King Alec," Elder Donne said but both he and Roan shot him a glare that silenced him.
I took a bite and my eyes widened. "This is wonderful. What's in it?"
"Mostly chocolate and sugar," he answered, smiling as I finished it.
"Thank you," I said and the servant took it from me, looking afraid. "I'm not going to hurt you."
She just smiled a little and left. I bit my lip and tugged my hair. The king's face had gone serious as he held the queen's hand.
"There's something you should know, Lillian," the king said, "about my dear wife." He glanced at her and she nodded, looking at her lap. "Faith was a human before she and I were wed. Our union is the outcome of the treaty the vampires signed with the humans so long ago."
"You never told me this," Roan said.
"And I apologize for that," the king said. "Until now, there was no need." He sighed and kissed Faith's hand. "Faith has been a mute since birth. That is why she was chosen. The humans who signed the treaty thought she was weak and unworthy." His voice was angry as Faith leaned into him. "They couldn't have been more wrong."
I didn't know what to say.
"We understand the pain you're going through right now, Lillian. I know it may not seem that way but we do. And we are going to do make your time here as comfortable as we can."
"All of us?" Roan asked, glaring at Elder Donne.
He smiled. "Yes, Prince Roan. I will do whatever I can to make sure Lillian Greentree is taken care of."
His words, though I'm sure were meant to make me feel better, only made me feel worse. I looked around but there was nothing familiar and I put my head in my hands. Roan sighed as he put his hand on my back.
"Is there anything at all, right now, that we can do?" the king asked in a since voice.
"C-Can I have something green?" I whispered, not looking up. "I don't care what it is. Gowns, a necklace, whatever. I need something green!"
I jumped to my feet and fled from the room. I looked around desperately for a leaf, a tree, a rose. They said they had a garden....
I ran to the back of the palace and looked through each window. When I saw what looked like the entrance to a greenhouse, I threw the door open. I fell to my knees and sobbed into my hands. A prison. I was in a prison.
Their plans were all dead. Every single one of them.
"Sh," a voice said and Roan picked me up. I was curled in a ball and sobbing. "Hush. Come on. I'll take you somewhere you'll feel better."
"Roan," I whimpered. "I can't do this."
"Hold on," he said. "Just wait."
I shut my eyes and faced his chest. He carried me up some stairs then down a few hallways. After going up another set of stairs, he set me on my feet. He opened a door in front of us.
It led to what looked like a storage room. He held my hand, our fingers laced, as we walked in and he looked inside the different boxes.
"Ah. Here we are," he said and pulled out a painting.
I nearly fainted. It was of a lush forest landscape. He helped me sit down and I leaned against the wall, putting the picture in my lap. I touched it with a shaking hand.
"It-It reminds me of home," I whispered.
He sat beside me. "Do all elves have the ability to heal plants?" he asked and I nodded. "My parents were taking you there to see if you could revive them. They had hoped to have the gardens ready for your arrival but they never got to it."
I wiped my tears away. "I'm sorry I ran away. It's just- There's no green!"
He put his arm around me. "I know. We'll find a way to get some in here, okay?" I felt him shake his head and I could almost feel the anger rolling off of him. "I don't care what it takes. I'll make sure he remembers where you've come from and who you truly are."
I put my head on his shoulder. I didn't need to ask who he was talking about. I pulled my knees up and wrapped my arms around the painting, holding onto it desperately.