My three sisters and I stood lined neatly in a row in the throne room. We were patiently waiting for Father to bring in King Cainen and his son Prince Deimos. Prince Deimos had reached the point in his life in which he was ready to start the process of becoming King. The first step of that was finding someone to be his Queen.
Typically a large ball would be held where all available Princesses would be invited. An entire night would be spent dancing, mingling, and drinking enchanted alcohols. However, demons weren’t known for doing things the typical way. Especially those from Xavaria.
“Today might be your day,” Tinley said to me with a giant smile.
Tinley was the oldest of us and therefore guaranteed a husband and our Kingdom Freyborne. She wasn’t on the list of eligible Princesses, but she was here for support and out of respect. Father would be in charge of finding her prince charming which she hated. She was a hopeless romantic meaning she hated the idea of someone being chosen for her based on pedigree and training. Unfortunately, marriage in the royal world had nothing to do with love. You didn’t have to love each other, you simply had to rule together. My sisters and I though were spoiled with parents who truly were in love.
Father was still in love with her even though she passed years ago. He refuses to remarry and spends a lot of time at her grave talking with her. He loved giving her updates on Freyborne and us. I always thought it was sweet.
“And it might be by the most eligible bachelor in the whole country!” Skye squealed. Her face dropped into a pout a second later, “I wish I stood a chance.”
“Oh, we’ll both get our chances soon enough.” Ferrah grinned.
Skye and Ferrah. They were twins but complete opposites of each other. Skye was energetic and bubbly while Ferrah was relaxed and quiet. Neither stood much of a chance here though. They had just turned sixteen and still had two more years of royalty training. While it wasn’t unheard of for someone to choose a younger wife and take up their training, it wasn’t common. It took a special someone to make that decision and something told me that a demon wouldn’t be a special someone.
I, on the other hand, was nineteen. I’d only been out of training for a year so all my lessons were still burned into my brain and since I was young it would be easy to mold me into the perfect wife. At least those were the beliefs that everyone held. I liked to believe that I wouldn’t be one to roll over and do as I was told, but if I was chosen I don’t know if I’d want to be the one to upset a demon.
“I don’t know guys. I don’t have a good feeling about this one.” I said.
Tinley shook her head, “Well I do. I think this will be your chance.
There was a light knock on the throne room doors which got us all to immediately cease talking. A second later father peeked his head in.
“Are you all ready?” He asked.
“Yes, father.” We all said in unison.
A moment later, the doors were pushed open completely to reveal two men that looked nearly identical. The only real difference was their age. You could easily tell one was older than the other. They had the same blacker than black hair with matching eyes, long curved horns atop their heads, and the same tall muscular build.
“King Cainen, Prince Deimos I present to you my three lovely daughters: Tinley, Nesryn, Ferrah, and Skye.”
Once again, we spoke in unison, “It’s an honor to meet you King Cainen and Prince Deimos.” We even curtsied in unison.
We all had kind, soft smiles and stood with perfect posture. As expected, they didn’t give Tinley much attention. Shockingly though, they instantly went to inspect Skye. I didn’t blame them since the twins were stunning with striking blue eyes and blond hair that was almost white. While the twins took after mother, Tinley and I took after our father with dark brown hair. She had his brown eyes while I was the odd one out with pale pink eyes.
“Skye, was it?” Deimos asked.
“Yes, your highness.” She answered quietly.
I noticed that she couldn’t hold eye contact with him. Her eyes kept darting between him and the floor. That was odd for her. Typically she was the most confident out of the four of us. It was about this time that Prince Deimos looked over and caught me studying them. His dark eyes met my pale pink ones and I was met with the same curious gaze everyone had when they saw my eyes. He stepped over to me giving me a once over as he did so.
“Nesryn, right?” He asked.
I nodded, “Yes, your highness.”
He continued to stare directly into my eyes and I made sure to keep his gaze. It felt like he was trying to stare into my soul.
His head snapped over to my father, “I’d like to discuss her.”
I felt my eyes widen in shock. I shouldn’t be shocked seeing as I was the only logical choice here, but I couldn’t help it. He hadn’t asked me any questions or attempted to speak with me at all yet he wanted to start discussing a deal. Why?
“Very well,” Father replied. “Come along Nesryn.”
It took a few pounding heartbeats to get my feet to move, but I was able to follow them out. As I stepped out of the throne room I quickly glanced at my sisters. They all had exciting grins on their faces. I did my best to return the grin, but I didn’t feel anywhere near excited. I felt like I was going to be sick.
We stepped into father’s office where they all took a seat while I silently stood off to the side of the room. Allowing me to be here was simply a courtesy. I was to be seen, not heard.
“Son, are you sure you wish to make a deal about her?” King Cainen asked Prince Deimos. “The second born is never the best choice. They’re always a bit awkward, I mean look at those half-elf ears. You’d be better off with one of the younger ones.”
It took a lot of self-control to not reach up and touch my ears. I was sure they’d be warm to the touch from embarrassment. It was a small difference between my sisters and me, but it was one that none of us ever put much thought into. They had beautiful long, pointy full elf ears. Mine were more human-like but came to a point at the top. No one could ever figure out why they never grew, it never bothered me though. I loved them all the same.
“She seemed different. I like it.” Deimos responded. “Her aura seems like a perfect fit for mine.”
Aura? That wasn’t a word you heard often nowadays. I didn’t know a lot about demons, no one really did, so it was interesting to find out that they choose partners based on auras.
“There’s something that you need to know about Nesryn before you commit to anything. She isn’t a typical Princess which I’m sure is why your auras go together.” Father stated.
There was nothing on this planet that could have prepared me for this conversation. This was our dark family secret that every family has and no one speaks of. It had always been tightly locked away in a box and put into the deepest, darkest pit that we could find so no one would ever find it. No one could know because there was no telling what sort of backlash it would create. It would taint my Mother’s reputation and no one wanted that. Yet here we were finally about to speak about it with outsiders.
“Nesryn had demon blood. We’re unsure of how it affects her because we didn’t want to take any chances awakening that side of her, but it is there.”
“See father,” Deimos smiled. “She’s already more like us than you think.”
Cainen remained unconvinced, “Where does this blood come from?”
“Her mother’s side,” Father answered. “Her ancestors were powerful demons, but as time went on the blood got pickier about who it chose. While my wife wasn’t a demon, it was still locked away in her somewhere and for some reason, it chose Nesryn and only Nesryn. None of my other daughters have any sign of it.”
“Demon blood only chooses those it deems powerful enough to handle it.” Deimos said; it sounded like he was reciting something from a book.
“She might be worthy of the title Queen of Xavaria. We will need to run tests of our own though.” Cainen mused.
“I’d like to make a deal with you King Torryn,” Deimos said. “I would like to bring Nesryn to Xavaria with us for a week. We’ll get to know one another to see if we’ll get along well and we’ll also run tests of our own to see if she’s worthy. If everything goes well after that, we’ll move forward with our relationship and she will move into our palace in Xavaria. If for some reason it doesn’t go well, she will be returned at the end of that week and she may continue on with her life like none of this ever happened.”
Father appeared to think for a moment, but I could already tell he was going to agree. He had no reason to reject this deal; it was perfectly sound and logical.
Now, if it were up to me, I wouldn’t go. Nothing good ever comes out of going to Xavaria. It was nothing but chaos, darkness, and dangerous magic.
“Very well. She’s yours for the week. All I ask is that you take good care of her.” Father said.
“She’ll be treated like the Queen I hope to make her.”
For the first time during this whole conversation, all eyes were on me. They all wanted to catch a glimpse at my reaction to see if there were any concerns. I quickly masked the scowl that I was sure had formed on my face with a small smile to reassure them that everything was fine.
“It will be an honor to spend the week with you Prince Deimos, I too hope that everything will go accordingly,” I said relying heavily on my years of training.
“Please, call me Deimos now.” He smiled.
“Deimos,” I said giving it a try. It didn’t sound right, but if it’s what he wanted then I’d have to get used to it. He seemed pleased already.
“Nesryn, I’ll send a few maids up to help you pack,” Father said.
That was my cue to leave so the papers could be drawn up. I curtsied to the three men before I stepped out of the office. The fake happiness I was exuding immediately vanished. Anyone that saw me now would see nothing but dread plastered across my face.
This was no doubt going to be the longest week of my life, and I’m sorry to say his Deimos, but I hope nothing about this week goes accordingly.