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I stormed into my father's chambers, doing my best not to conjure white fire, although I felt like blasting him to pieces. Why did I even care enough to defend Lady Anya? I couldn't stand any of the new trainees. I didn't want to fight along the side of them, definitely not the women. They didn't even belong in battle, but my father didn't care. He'd use babies if he knew they possessed the gift.

My father's smile was mocking as he watched me approach. I didn't give him a chance to speak before I cut into him.

"Leave the girl alone," I spat, watching his smile fade.

"Lady Anya? Why, you should be telling her to keep her hands off of me."

I sneered...

"Do you actually believe that I think that girl approached you first? How indecent that would be for a lady!"

"She's not a lady. Lady's don't train to become warriors. She's property! And the other warriors will take advantage of this property as well...without her consent! What type of world do you think we live in? Why do you care about that girl's fate? You care about nothing!

Absolutely nothing!" The King was fuming, and he reached over to take a sip from his goblet. He grunted as he sat it back down. "I've sent you to slaughter men and you've returned without a single trace of guilt. I've watched you break the hearts of many women and not care! But you stand here today to defy me over a peasant? When did you become a hero?"

"I'm no hero," I growled.

"Then why do you care? Is it that you like the girl? Huh? Is that it? Oh yes, I see it. Well son, she hates you. That's clear as day. The girl came here and accused you of a great deal today. I could have you punished! Foolish boy." The King sat up. "You let them fight trained warriors from the Fire Clan on the second day? They could've been killed! You allowed my most valuable assets in this war to fight prematurely! I could have you flogged for that.

"And now you've come here to tell me that I am wrong? Have you forgotten your place? I wonder what our people would think if they learned what you did. It's not as if your reputation isn't going downhill at a rapid rate. You should hear the things they whisper about you.

"Listen here boy. I'll put you to shame. Have you forgotten your place? If you tell me what I should and shouldn't do, next time, I'll be sure to remind you." My father sat back in his seat with a smug expression. "You are dismissed."

I balled my fist and turned on my heels. One day...One day I'll destroy him and take his kingdom. One day, I'll make him pay for turning me into his monster.

He said the people of the Ice Clan spoke ill of me; I had a bad reputation for the things I'd done. I didn't blame them. I was far from a hero. I killed men, but only at my father's request. I'd made myself look like a villain, just how my father wanted it. And at the time, I obeyed, not realizing what he was doing.

I was his weapon. He wanted people all over to fear me. He wanted me to rule with total control. I was his monster...but he made it so that I was a monster alone.

These people didn't know that he was behind my every move. They didn't know that I was only his puppet. They thought the King to be a joyous and merciful ruler, and yet he had me sneaking into the homes of innocent men to kill them...all because they may had offended him in some way. But the people thought that he who only wanted peace in the land by ending the war that he started!

The Fire Clan didn't want this war, they were retaliating for the men my father had sent there to steal and destroy their land! He wanted the dragon stone...and something else. I just didn't know what.

I continued walking down a dark and dreary corridor, silently fuming. To others passing by, I'd look absolutely crazy. Mad. Cold...

I was.

Who would blame me?

I entered into my room and felt her presence. It did nothing to lessen my anger, but I would allow her to distract for some time. I turned toward Esmerelda and beheld her beauty.

She was the most beautiful woman I'd ever seen, but she was cold inside, perhaps colder than myself. She was poisonous to most, and could always outsmart the average man, but I knew how to handle her.

Maybe she only allowed me to handle her because she wanted something from me. Possibly my mother's tiara. She wanted power, and I could give it to her. My looks? I was sure my face was just an added benefit. I didn't mind how we used each other.

"Sebastian," she bowed, purposefully forgetting to address me with respect. I smirked.

"Lady Esmeralda." I watched as she rose from her graceful position and moved toward me. She wore a brilliant gray dress with lovely rhinestones embedded in the material. As she neared, I inhaled the scent of wild flowers and pheromones. She was definitely a good distraction.

"How have you been, my lord?" she asked, cupping her hand on my cheek while studying my face. "I heard about your new warriors, the ones who can wield white fire. Are they troubling you?"

She could sense my frustration. "No, it's my father." I pulled away from her and made my way to my work desk. I had many letters to send to various military stations throughout the land, but those could wait. "He's being his usual self."

"When will you take his throne?"

I turned to Esmeralda and watched her beautifully poised figure as she stared at me with faked concern. I knew she wasn't concerned. She had her own agenda.

"No time soon," I told her. "I'm not interested in ruling his people."

"Then what do you want?" She asked, and for some reason, Lady Anya's face appeared. I shook my head.

"I want for you to stay out of royal politics and know your place," I told her. "What did you even come here for?"

Lady Esmerelda sighed. "I came for the same reason I always come, to make you feel like a king. I'm sorry if my words offend you. I shall show you why I'm here with my actions instead."

I watched as she slowly crept toward me with her eyes locked with mine. She had a stare so impenetrable that any sensible man would cave. One that made my heart speed up. I took in her gaze as she allowed a hand to slowly trail down my chest. Esmeralda smiled as she leaned in for a kiss. "Only the best for my future king."

And then she led me to my bed...

And then she led me to my bed

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