BETRAYING A KING
The wind gusted beneath my wings, slowing my descent. I closed my eyes, enjoying the sharp sting of ice against my skin. It didn’t hurt my dragon hide. No, it made me feel alive. Arching my neck at the last second, I bent my knees as the earth reached out to catch me. Digging my claws into the frozen ground, I rumbled deep inside, the fire heating me.
In two steps I had shifted into another skin. I ran on two legs instead of four, the ground cold under my bare feet. I had been inside the castle walls too much and even Vadik’s presence could not stop my body from yearning for the freedom of my dragon skin. But I loved Vadik like I had never loved before, and he could never accept me as anything other than human. So I held on to these moments, knowing my elven legs would all to soon sneak me back inside the castle, back inside the cage I had created.
The fire roared in front of me. I had stoked it myself because my maid was asleep for the night. If I woke her, she would wonder where I had been. I would not have hesitated to wake my previous maid, but she was gone. Vadik had replaced her with this young girl who was an eery replica of me, from her thick raven hair to her cobalt colored eyes.
“Adalene.” His voice was too quiet.
Taking a deep breath, I turned. Just the sight of him made me smile. He towered over me, his broad shoulders blocking out the sun even in the dead of night. His eyes were a soft brown, always gentle when he looked at me. Tonight was different. He was looking at me as if I were any other person in the castle. It was the first time he had looked at me like this in a long time. Not since we had first met had he looked at me with such coldness in his eyes. But that first time, he immediately softened and I had felt a part of me soften in return.
It should have never happened. I should not have fallen in love because I was meant for other things. I was not meant to rule his kingdom beside him. I had my own I should be worried about. But there was one thing I would ever be grateful for and that was the fact that dragons would never force a leader to rule. To rule the dragons, you had to want to.
I reached out to touch his face, needing to feel his skin under mine. He grabbed my wrist and lowered my arm to my side.
“I was here just a few minutes ago, looking for you. I woke your maid. Even now, she is checking the kitchens for you,” he said.
I blinked slow and careful. It was a dragon habit, one I had yet to break. “I did not pass her in the halls.” It was a good thing I had come through the kitchen, making sure the boy who tended its fire, woke just enough to see me.
“It is a large castle,” he said.
“It is.” He knew. I knew he knew, but he could not prove it. Yet. I thought I had made my choice, living here with Vadik. I thought I was okay with losing my dragon self and becoming fully elf, so that I could spend my years loving him. I was wrong. He would never forgive me, not when he found out what I was.