My eyes slowly opened and Annika was lying on my shoulder. I then remembered we had made love last night. She was still asleep so I stroked her cheek, moving her hair which had been released during our night together. She took a deep breath and opened her eyes.

“Good morning, Derek.” She said.

            I kissed her as she pulled the blankets closer to her. Her smooth skin rubbed against mine and I smoothed her hair out. Valerio had been out all night, giving us time alone. He was now on the balcony sleeping. He must have been out late, so I gave him his rest.

"Was I...good?" she asked.

"Good?" I asked, rolling on top of her.

"Was I better than most women you've had?"

"Do not laugh, but you were the first woman I've ever bedded."

"I was? I expected that the prince would had plenty of women."

"You are forgetting that I have a dragon that sleeps outside my bedroom."

“I think we should get dressed and go tell your parents about my heritage.” Annika said.

“I think so too.” I agreed.

            We got out of my bed and got dressed. She headed for the door, but I stopped her.

“Derek, what is it now?”

“I need to ask you something before we go.”

“What?”

“Will you be my queen?”

            Her jaw slightly dropped and her brown eyes went wide.

“I want to give you a life here and I want it to be better than your last. I know that you may not be of royal blood, but you are born to James.”

“Derek, I already decided. Yes, I’ll be your queen.”

            We then hugged and kissed. Grasping hands, we made our way to the Dining Hall. I went over to Mother and Father and told them to meet me in the Throne Room. When they came and saw me with Annika, they looked confused.

“Derek, what is this about?” Father asked.

“I’ve decided on my bride.”

            I saw Mother’s face bright up and she asked. “Who?”

“I’ve chosen Annika.” I said, putting my arm around her waist.

“Her? She is not even royalty.” Mother exclaimed.

“Yes, she is.”

“How?”

“She is my daughter!” a thunderous voice boomed through the room.

            We turned to the door and saw James. He held a sword in one hand and a dagger in the other. Three other men came from behind him.

“What are you doing here, James?” Father asked.

“What I’ve been trying to do for the last four months: kill you and your son.”

“What do you mean by Annika is your daughter?” Mother asked.

“Her mother was my mistress. When I found out she was pregnant, she was already born.”

“So you beat her and took away her innocence.” Father concluded.

“She failed at the training and she was my mistress’s daughter.”

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