Chapter 3

1544 Words
-Mefan- “Is that really all you got?” I inquired. Carter was lying on the floor, rubbing his stomach where I kicked him. He looked at me with anger in his eyes. This was good. He needed to get his anger out, and what better way than to make sure the prince stayed strong in his skills with the sword? Yet he had not fought an assassin before, and I needed no sword to have him rolling on the ground, nor did I need to use my powers. Carter, while skilled, still had a lot to learn. His dark eye almost seemed to swirl with power as he got up from the ground. I just smiled a little as he came for me, the sword cutting the air, before I held a small blade to his rib. “Dead,” I whispered close to his ear. He pushed away, groaning irritatedly, which made me laugh. It was fun to play around with the prince. He wasn’t so easily broken, not like the others I had played with. They so easily submitted, but Carter had a strong need to never surrender when it came to anything. It was why I had been able to bring him back. Even if he hated to admit it himself, he wasn’t done with life. “You are cheating,” he accused, pointing the sword at me. “Do not insult my honor,” I retorted, running the blade through the air and making a whooshing sound. “What honor?” he challenged. I just smiled as he came at me again. I dodged as the sword went through the air above my head and then saw my opening, standing up and holding the blade against his throat. “Dead,” I declared, for what felt like the umpteenth time. He pushed me back, and I laughed as he paced around the room, needing to get the frustration and anger out in some way. “You assassins,” he sneered. “You want me to trade my dagger out for a sword?” I teased. “I want you to stop being so damn fast,” he grumbled. “It is one of the skills of an assassin. Speed is our friend. Strike fast and quietly, and before they notice anything, they are dead.” “Why this life?” he questioned, holding his arms out and gesturing to the room. It was too hot to train outside, at least for him, so we were fighting and circling each other in a spacious room with no furniture and only one balcony where the doors stood wide open, ensuring air could flow inside, cooling off our bodies. We both had no shirts on, only loose black pants. Sweat ran down both our bare chests and stomachs. “Who said I chose it?” I countered. “Didn’t you?” he pressed. “Did I?” He sighed, irritated. “Why always with the mystery? Can you never just answer one question?” he demanded. “Can I?” He groaned in frustration, leaning his head back and looking at the ceiling. “Since I am stuck with you, it would be nice,” he remarked. “It would, wouldn’t it?” He looked at me, shaking his head, and then tried to come for me again, which only made me move to the side. But he was quicker this time, moving back before my blade could touch his skin. However, when he swung the sword toward me again, I parried once more before moving up again, pressing the tip of the blade against the skin right over his heart. “Dead, Your Highness,” I said tauntingly, close to his ear once again. He sneered and pushed me back, eliciting another laugh from me. “You are too impatient.” “I have fought with swords since I was three, even if it was just games with my brothers,” he informed me. “I am not impatient when it comes to fighting.” “Of course you are. You are just an impatient person,” I teased. “Go screw yourself,” he said wearily. I laughed again, not allowing his words to affect me. “You are impatient, and you let your emotions control you,” I observed, walking over to where we had placed a jug of water on the floor and two cups. I crouched down, poured water into the cup, and drank a little before I heard the sound of a sword cutting through the air. I disappeared into darkness, the cup unable to transform with me, dropping to the floor and spilling water everywhere. I was behind the prince in the blink of an eye, holding the blade against his throat once again. “Trying to kill me now? Is that your solution to freeing yourself from me?” I inquired. “Worth a try,” he admitted, swallowing hard as I pressed the blade a little harder against his throat while feeling the heat emanating from his powerful body. I studied him for a while, attempting to read the emotions running through him, but all I sensed was anger, perhaps a hint of defeat, but no fear. I typically brought fear out in everyone around me. Even though Carter had grown calmer in my presence before his resurrection, I had initially sensed a trace of fear in him, but now it was gone, and I found that unsettling. I stepped back, and he slowly turned around, his eyes devoid of emotion. “Want me to kill you?” I proposed. He didn’t respond. He remained silent, his chest heaving and his abs contracting and relaxing as he drew air into his lungs. “Yes?” I challenged. “Maybe.” “Maybe?” I pressed. “I don’t know what I want anymore,” he confessed. “I never envisioned much of a future for myself, but certainly not this.” “A prince not foreseeing much in his future? I find that hard to believe.” “I am not like my brothers. I may have projected a façade of arrogance, but it was because I lacked what they possessed—passion, drive, perhaps just the ability to enjoy life as it is. In a twisted way, I even felt a bit less adrift when Ashes compelled us to kneel before him, to become part of his loyal soldiers, because at least then I didn’t have to contemplate the future,” he admitted. I finally glimpsed what lay behind those green eyes. Or what was left of them. “Now you have the freedom to choose,” I informed him. “I had the freedom to choose before as well.” “Did you truly?” I questioned. “Even a prince has constraints. I don’t see you forging swords or peddling garments. Those tasks are beneath a prince. Nor do I envision you becoming a knight. You have always borne the title of prince, so tell me, does it make you feel ensnared?” I probed. He slowly sheathed his sword before crossing his arms over his chest. “You’re different, Carter. I noticed it the first time I encountered you. The North is too confining for you. Perhaps even the entire Arcadia is too restricting. You crave more. You could never find contentment in the life laid out for you: the life of a prince, likely marrying a princess or a lady, having children, and spending your days in the North surrounded by family.” “You don’t think that would be sufficient for me?” he challenged. “I’m posing the question to you,” I replied with a smile. “Why don’t you tell me what I desire, then?” “Why don’t you?” I countered. His gaze narrowed, but I found it amusing to toy with him because he wouldn’t simply storm off in annoyance. No, he would confront me in return. Few individuals had ever done that. My mind games typically wore them down, causing them to capitulate in order to escape. “I want you to tell me. You brought me back after all,” he asserted. “And now I am expected to give you a purpose as well?” He nodded, and I chuckled, shaking my head. “I am not here to mend everyone,” I asserted. “Then why rescue me?” he pressed once more. “Yes, why did I do it?” I shot back. “Just tell me.” “Why don’t you ask yourself why you wished to return?” I suggested. “I didn’t! You brought me here!” “Those who genuinely desire death always find a way...” He appeared somewhat taken aback by my words, prompting me to call an end to the training session. “Go. Clean up and rest. I will see you later,” I dismissed. He didn’t argue with me but lingered a moment longer before I gestured subtly toward the door. Finally, he departed without looking back, leaving me in the vast empty room alone. It suddenly seemed even more expansive without him and emptier than usual.
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