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Zach watched in horror and disbelief as the woman he knew to be unstoppable, stopped cold. He watched emotions of despair flash across her face. She was becoming pale, but he still had no idea what was wrong. "Nico?" he asked, his voice wavering. She didn't reply, or even look up at him. Something was obviously, horribly wrong, but he had no idea what was wrong. Then slowly, Nico closed her eyes and began to sink. She was losing consciousness! He reached for her, but it was too late. She had already fainted and begun tumbling down into the darker depths of the ocean. He quickly dove to catch her. When he had her safely in his arms, he noticed she was trembling and becoming increasingly colder. He turned back towards the castle and swam faster than he ever had before. He had no idea what was happening to her, but he knew that it couldn't be good. He came flying into the palace and was met by a stern look from Wendell, the palace steward.
"I've told you time and time again, when the princess is busy with royal duties, do NOT distract her! Do you have any idea..." Wendell trailed off from his lecture once he got a good look at Nico. He immediately gained a look of terror. "What did you DO to her?!" Wendell shouted, taking the princess from Zach's arms.
"I didn't do anything!" He shot back, defensively.
"Guards! Take him away!"
"What? No!" Zach attempted to fight against the guards. "I didn't do anything wrong! You can't take me away from her!"
"You didn't do anything wrong?! EVERYTHING YOU'VE DONE HAS BEEN WRONG! I warned the princess to stay away from a monster like you, but she just couldn't leave you alone. She always believed you were a good person, but clearly she was wrong. I'm taking the only action I can to ensure her safety!"
Zach stopped fighting. Nothing he could do would ever convince Wendell that he wasn't some evil spy from another kingdom here to kill the princess or whatever other nonsense he spat out. It was useless to argue, they'd just get nowhere, and the longer they argued, the longer Nico had to suffer. He talked in a low, cool voice, "If I find out that you've poisoned her or something just to get rid of me, I will personally kill you." He turned towards the guards and held his hands up to be cuffed, listening to the sound of Wendell huffing angrily and exiting. Zach followed the guards slowly to the dungeon.

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