There were a million places I could’ve found myself in when I finally opened my eyes.
The same red sex room I’d blacked out in. The towers, prepped and ready for torture. The dungeons. The gallows. Elysium. To name just a few.
I never once thought I’d wake peacefully in my room as if nothing had ever happened.
Sunlight streamed in through my big arched windows, warming my face. I sat up, glancing curiously about the space. The plum-colored silken sheets were tucked perfectly all around me, as if I hadn’t moved at all in my sleep. The sitting room was tidy; all evidence of the sweet treats I’d snacked on before the ball had been removed, and a fresh bouquet of flowers had been positioned on the glass table in their stead.
What the fuck was going on?
The last thing I remembered was fighting the Storm King—all of us falling, one by one. He’d taken us down with such sickening ease, making me absolutely certain there’d been magic involved somehow. I didn’t know if he’d been actively trying to kill us, or if he’d just been teaching us a lesson, but either way, the fact that we’d lived meant... Crissen had saved our lives. Again.
But had he survived? Or had we drained him dry in our attempt to cling to life? Would the bond even allow that? For some reason, I had a feeling it was an all-or-nothing sort of thing, and if one of us survived, then all of us did. Or at least, I hoped that was the case.
I pulled the white cotton nightgown out from my chest, realizing two things at once. One, someone had cleaned and redressed me. And two, the strange stab wound the Storm King had given me was completely gone.
Flinging my sheets from my body, I stood up and walked to my window, peering down at the massive fountain of the Greek gods below. It was strange how things could seem exactly the same but feel so irrevocably different.
The first time I saw that fountain, I’d been arriving at Blackwood Palace to meet the princes. The only thing I hated then was poverty; the only thing I feared was losing my pet sloth. I’d marveled at its magnificence and beauty.
Now, it just looked dull. The water spewing from the mouths, hands, and breasts of the gods seemed stagnant and slightly green. Now, I hated all sorts of things—especially the Storm King—but poverty was the farthest thing from my mind. Now, my greatest worry was losing anyone I ever loved at the hands of the wicked king.
He’d already taken so much....
A knock sounded at my door, and as I spun around, I saw a young servant girl standing in the open frame.
"Good morning, Your Highness. I’m here to prepare you for breakfast."
My brows furrowed in sarcastic surprise. Breakfast? The Storm King had damn near killed us, and now we were going to eat breakfast and chat about the weather as if nothing had happened? The man was fucking insane.