The Dragon King(2)

By: Candace Blevins


“And I’ll miss you, but you’re a Princess and one day you’ll be Queen, so this is the way it has to be. I’ll be back to review the important stuff, but there are some things I’ve taught you that I won’t be able to review with you out loud. I’ll try to write it in a notebook and let you read it, so you’ll remember, but there is some danger in that so I won’t do it every time.”

“Why take the risk? If I’ll never rule, never make a difference, why put yourself in danger?”

“Because I’m grooming you for power, Princess. No one knows for sure what the future holds, and to fully do my job I can’t just teach you the palatable parts of your history. I understand your father wishes to shield you and protect you, but I can see the strength in you.”

Sophia sighed. “I’ll still see you at social occasions? Not just the four times a year you’re allowed to come for review?”

“Yes, and I may or may not be allowed a dance with you. I will certainly not be able to take you outside for a conversation.”

She nodded, and I carefully said, “Sophia, if ever you find yourself in need of a protector, get a message to me. Your father and Cyrano will look after you, but if you find yourself without their protection I hope you’ll feel comfortable letting me keep you safe.”

Shaking her head, Sophia said, “Cyrano scares me. My latest governess tells me when I’m a woman I’ll appreciate him for his strength and resolve, and I must remain meek and quiet around him while I’m a child.”

I wanted to wring Cyrano’s neck for frightening her, as well as the governess’s for giving crap advice, but I had to walk a fine line. “I’m sorry he scares you, Princess. I would advise you to speak to your father about it, see if he can intercede on your behalf.”

“You always do that.”

I tilted my head and let my eyebrows rise, and Sophia explained. “When we’re just talking, I’m Soph or Sophia, but when you’re thinking politically, you call me Princess.”

“Yes, because this is the way an elder speaks to someone of royalty. I’m your teacher, I know more than you, but I must also show respect. It’s a balance, Sophia.”

She shook her head. “I don’t know what you are, and my father either doesn’t know or won’t tell me, but I’m positive you’re royalty, too. I’ve learned to tell the difference between someone with their own power who addresses me and my father as an equal while using all the right words, and someone with no power who addresses us with the same words but a completely different energy.”

I hoped my smile showed how pleased I was with her insight. “You make me proud, Sophia. I hope you’ll keep your suppositions to yourself, though.”

She nodded. “Of course, and I hope someday you’ll trust me enough to tell me what and who you really are.”

I needed to be sure she understood my offer, so I repeated it. “Do you understand what I’m saying, Soph? If you ever need help, a protector, a friend, an advisor…If you’re ever in trouble I hope you’ll find a way to get a message to me.”





Chapter One





Sophia





I’d been planning my escape for eleven years, and tonight I’d either fly to my freedom or die trying.

I was to be married to Cyrano on my twenty-fifth birthday, in seventeen days. However, I was determined it was never going to happen.

Tomorrow, my governess was meeting with people in Charleston on my behalf to assure the wedding would go off without a hitch. Since I was never allowed off my father’s property, if someone couldn’t come to me then I had to send my people to them, and the caterers had decided they couldn’t make yet another trip to go over last minute details.

I knew they wouldn’t, it was part of my plan.

I’d sent my governess away earlier this evening so she could stay in a hotel and be present for the seven o’clock meeting tomorrow morning, and then make surprise visits to check in with the florist and a few other vendors.

I’d brought books up from the library to my bedroom, asked for my tea service a little early, and told everyone I wasn’t to be disturbed.

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