Gem Girl & **AN**

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*AN: this is one of the only stories i've written in years where the main character isn't somewhat based off of me, and I like releasing the chains of sticking to my own personality, but if i mess up or make maria/amber seem confusing, let me know, because i don't want to confuse you, but just so you know im not used to writing this way or really a story like this one at all. i hope its not too crappy(:

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Chapter Two: Gem Girl

"She certainly is lovely," the old king croaked, tracing my arm with his elbow. I was rigid in my fear. "How much did you pay for her?"

"She wasn't a slave, your highness," the guard with the money replied. "But we paid the idiot that turned her in a lot less than she's worth."

The king chuckled. "It is not hard to tell that you grew up in my palace, Herado."

Herado gave a twisted smile. "I learned from the best."

The king slided closer to me, though I could have sworn he couldn't have gotten any closer than he was before. Our lips were almost touching when he pulled away--thank God!--and looked to Herado and Arthur. "I'm getting too old for this sort of thing," he told them. "Give her to my son. He will be the king soon enough."

"Yes, your highness!"

I fell limply against Arthur as he dragged me once again to a new place, but I was too afraid of what was going on to resist my new fate. He didn't seem to mind my leaning on him, though. In fact, he put an arm around me to stop me from my quivering. This was such a frightening experience. I could only hope that they had made a mistake and they didn't want me at all. Unfortunately, I didn't have that kind of luck. If luck existed at all. I'd read about it in books growing up, but I've never really experienced "luck". I'd pretty much spent most of my life within the walls of my house. I only had one friend, named Zeke, but he disappeared when we were about thirteen. We were neighbors throughout childhood, and he always came inside my house and we would pretend to be pirates, prince and princess, animals, vampires, and when we were older we shared deep thoughts on love, war, and politics. It made me forget that I rarely went outdoors. After he disappeared...I had nothing. I'd been waiting five years for something, but I was never satisfied.

This wasn't exactly the something I'd hoped for.

We entered an elegant room, in which the walls and floors were made of solid gold. Purple and ebony curtains draped the walls and large windows. The ceiling was painted with little angels playing music and some just flying through the air. How I longed to dance and sing around the room in its splendor and my pleasure! But I had to be respectful, as the prince was in the room.

There was a line of about seven girls about my age, and the prince was examining them. Wife choosing, I supposed. Arthur cleared his throat. The prince whipped his head in our direction.

This gorgeous man was over six foot, tan and muscular, with hair seeming to resemble night itself sloppily placed across his right eye. The eye I could see was bright green and striking. I gasped at the sight of it, almost falling over. This prince was absolutely beautiful.

"None of them," he murmured to the adviser standing nearby. "I do not wish to marry any of them. Though...bring me that girl," he said, gesturing towards me. My eyes widened. Why would this amazingly handsome prince want me?!? 

"Arthur," the adviser called. "Escort these women out of the prince's quarters."

Arthur nodded, leaving me with no support. I stumbled, but the prince caught me before I fell. I gulped, not knowing how to respond to such a royal beauty. I decided to curtsy, and lowered my head in respect. I'd heard stories of a prince named Ryder over the past couple years. My parents feared the day he came into power because of this cruelty. I couldn't help but think that if this was Ryder, how dare they think such a thing of this rare wonder...though what do I know of rare?

I suddenly felt cool, crisp air blow gently against my face, and it took me a moment for my eyes to focus and realize it was the prince's breath so close to me.

Still holding me, he commanded the adviser, "Leave us!"

"But, your highness, she is a stranger in the palace. She could be a spy or--"

"LEAVE US!!!"

The adviser groaned, then muttered, "Yes, your highness."

Once the door had slammed behind him, Ryder (I'll refer to him as that for now) led me to a golden door hidden away in the corner of the room, lined with rare stones. I couldn't resist, reaching out to touch the jewels, but Ryder pulled me past them before my fingers could brush them. I was violently tossed into a chair, and despite the fierce action, I was quite comfortable in the chair and this room was even better than the last! These walls were not gold, but rather blue and scenes were scattered across the wall, not paintings and tapestries, but just painted onto the wall. They reminded me of the imaginary games that Zeke and I played as children. Stars were painted across the ceiling, and for a second I was deceived into thinking they were real! The room was dimly lit by a single candle and a window--though outside the sun was setting and there was a curtain on the window anyway.

"Are you a mute?" the prince demanded suddenly. "I haven't heard a single word from your lips."

"I'm sorry!" I screeched suddenly. "I...I...I don't mean to disrespect you, your highness, I just, um...I...I..." I couldn't get out many words without getting lost in his eyes again. They were giving me deja vu now, though surely I'd never seen him before. Maybe there were tapestries of him around town, and they'd reached the corner of my eye on my short journey to the house market. I couldn't believe that was only this morning.

"You what?" he asked impatiently.

"I...I...er, you...I...um..."

I was prepared for him to strike me when he only laughed at my stammers. "You may remain quiet," he suggested.

I felt myself blushing, and turned my face away so that he wouldn't see. The beauty of his eyes alone was too much for me. The beauty him altogether...it was indescribable. I gasped quietly as he was brushing soft, warm fingers against my dress. I thought he was about to pull it off when he called for a servant. Arthur arrived within seconds, standing at attention. 

"Fetch a better garment than this one!" he postulated. "How dare you let her enter my presence in these rags?"

Oh.

"Yes, sir!" Arthur cried, and disappeared, leaving me alone with Ryder.

"I can't even look at a woman dressed like that," he sneered, turning his back to me.

What was so wrong with what I was wearing? I happened to have one of my best dresses on, but I guess a prince was used to the finest women not even being worthy of him. This thought carried me back to a dead end, though, because if I wasn't a fine woman as the girls he was about to select from, why would I be here right now. Wouldn't he not want me in his sight at all, no matter what clothes I was wearing? But since that obviously wasn't true, what good was a peasant in fancy clothes?

Arthur returned with five girls that looked a couple years younger than me, maybe fourteen, and immediately they surrounded me. They were staring at me as if I was some kind of prey, and for a second I feared that they were going to rip the flesh from my bones and devour me. Instead, they help up cloths of purple and gold, and two of them reached out and sized me. One of them, a younger one that I hadn't noticed before, took me by the hand and led me to a new room out a whole other door. They stripped me of my dark dress and replaced it with their cloths, which they sewed together at a surprisingly fast speed.

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This is an unfinished chapter and I'm not sure if it will ever be finished, because I'm taking a break from being a writer until I can learn to be better. I can't stand how corny my writing is, so I probably won't release any new stories or chapters for a long time. Sorry for like the two or three of you that care.

-redXsaM

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