3: Protection From More Than Radicals

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Next, Biana stated that everything she owned, with a few exceptions, would be left to Phillip, easy, and her dresses and jewelry would be left to her mother, Amartia, Linh, and Sophie. Biana also wrote that she wished for Sophie to become Fitz's assistant, worried that Sophie would be lowered ranks if something were to happen to her, and Biana knew Fitz would protect Sophie. After writing down a few more things, Biana felt satisfied with her work and went to go tell Fitz what her will contained, even though Dex was in a meeting and Sophie was on her break watching over the triplets, because Biana knew she'd be safe walking quickly such a short distance to someone who could protect her in case anything happened. Besides, everyone was a little paranoid after the attack on the palace, so security was on high alert, so even though she was breaking the rules, it was not as if she would be totally unprotected.

Oh how wrong she was. While guards could protect her from rebels, they couldn't protect her from nobility.

"OH MY!" Lady Stina gasped jovially, her eyes flashing like a lioness's. "Your highness, what are you doing roaming the halls alone?"

"I'm just off to see my brother, Lady Stina, he's just down the hall," replied Biana, instinctively resting her hand over her growing stomach.

"You shouldn't be out here alone nonetheless," the other woman sneered sweetly, her eyes drifting down the the paper in Biana's hand. Before Biana could hide it, Lady Stina snatched it out of her hand, "And what do we have here?" Lady Stina read it over for a moment before laughing, "Planning on killing yourself already? Will that be before or after you have the baby?"

"It's just in case something happens to me, Lady Stina. These are the things I must think about in these dangerous times. Do not forget that I live for my son," Biana took the papers back harshly, a cold sliver of doubt slithering down the back of her throat into the pit of her stomach as he mind quickly questioned if this was a disrespect to Tam's memory, all common sense drowned out by fear for the moment.

"My, my, no need to be so hasty, I was only asking," laughed Lady Stina. "Though I must say, I am quite surprised. No one really believed you actually loved him. We all thought you married him to please your brother."

Biana bit her tongue so hard that her mouth began to taste like metal. She was about to say something when a voice from behind her asked, "Lady Stina, I beg your pardon?"

Biana turned to see Dex standing behind her, frowning in horror, and a wave of relief washed over her. Thank the gnome.

"You heard me, knight," Lady Stina scoffed, "it's the truth-"

Only milliseconds passed before Dex stormed over to Biana's side, his unsheathed sword a new barrier between Biana and Lady Stina. "How dare you disrespect the princess, little girl," he growled.

Lady Stina was so surprised that instead of protesting to the blade directed at her throat, she defended, "I am a woman, not a young girl."

"You have suffered no real hardships, you have made no real accomplishments in life. You are not a true woman. You are a cruel fiend spitting lies at a newly single mother - the princess no less. She is your superior in far more than just title and social standing, so in order to inch closer to her high standing, try building yourself up to her instead of tearing her down. Greatness can be achieved by all in little ways if one leads a righteous life," Dex's words cut deeper than his blade ever could, and Lady Stina was visibly mortified.

"How dare you, a peasant, speak to me in such a way! I shall have your head for this!" Lady Stina threatened as her lip quivered in fear of Sir Dexter Alvin Dizznee's iron gaze.

"You shall have no such thing," Biana stood a little taller, "Sir Dizznee is my personal guard, therefore he is under my protection and has the liberty to speak his mind when he wishes, especially if in my defense. If you have an issue with the matter, take it up with my father, or better yet, my brother, who I know you've been drooling over since we were fifteen."

"You wouldn't dare-" Lady Stina took a step forward, reaching out for Biana's neck with an angry scowl on her face, but the point of Dex's sword touched her throat until a thin stream of blood began to trickle down to her collar bone.

"If I ever catch you within two feet of the princess once more at any given moment, my sword will not be so gracious to your neck," threatened Dex. Lady Stina stood there for a moment, agape, until Dex ordered, "Now, leave." and she scurried off, hand clamped over her throat.

When Lady Stina was gone, Biana sighed quietly in relief, "I can't thank you enough."

Dex sheathed his sword, "It is my duty. Has this been going on for long?"

Biana didn't meet his eyes, "It is worst when they all swarm about me as if I'm a wounded animal."

He scowled, "Nobles, what vile creatures they are." He then glanced up at Biana, "Well, it is lucky that not all of them are so wretched. The world is in dire need of higher powers with hearts like yours."

She chuckled lightly at the praise, "I have done very little to earn such compliments."

"I remember you sewing the holes of my shirts when you volunteered your skills to help the knights. I remember you handing me lemonade and scones after morning training with my guard-unit. I remember the kind words you give to servants who fumble in front of you. I remember you taking Sophie under your wing. I remember you looking out for my siblings - and supporting my family while I was away. I remember you as a woman with a soul spun from diamonds and gold," Dex said determinedly. "Please, your modesty is unnecessary. Your acts of kindness - even the small ones - have forever left the impression on me that you are pure of heart, even before I went to war."

"Really?" she asked in surprise, "I was always under the impression that you despise me alongside my family."

"I may have a long history of disgruntled feelings towards your family, princess, but I never have towards you. You have always held my respect."

Biana couldn't help but smile, "Your words are very soothing, Sir Dizznee. I do hope you intend to stick around."

Dex bowed for her, "As long as you may have me, your highness."

"Would you be so kind as to escort me to my brother's office please?"

"Of course, your highness, it would be my pleasure," he nodded, and together they set off to Fitz's office.

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