I should just kill him and be done with it!
Sanguine stared at Prince Collin dispassionately. If he died, there would be no way for the King and Queen to force her to marry him. She'd had him moved to the same room the the King and Queen had confessed his crimes in. It was small, but they would be guaranteed not to be overheard if the Prince started shouting indignantly.
It didn't matter if her apprentices figured out who he was, and even the dungeon guards were trusted to be loyal, but if any of the other prisoners found out who he was, rumors could be spread. Sanguine wanted to avoid rumors, both out of consideration to their Majesties and because she was supposed to be his wife someday. If he lived...
The Prince was currently staring at her in confusion. He didn't know her and he didn't know where he was. All he knew was that he was highly uncomfortable... and naked!
“My parents will reward you handsomely if you let me go,” he said, trying to bargain with her.
“I'm sorry, my Prince, but they are the ones who brought you to me. My name is Sanguine and I am the Countess of Clan Blood.”
“Do you think you will get special treatment because of who you are?” Sanguine wondered.
“... Yes...” Collin replied uncertainly.
“Think again!” Sanguine informed him with a chilling laugh. “Your crime is forcing an unwilling boy to have sex with you. That means –”
“No!” Collin protested. “I mean it's true we had sex, and it's also true that he was reluctant at first, but he wasn't unwilling. I made sure of that!”
“His father says otherwise,” Sanguine stated coldly.
“He caught me alone in the garden one day and insulted me thoroughly. Rather than be offended, I was intrigued by him. I wanted to get to know him and find out what made him so fascinating. I threatened him with charges of treason for his insults and then had guards take him into custody and bring him to my chambers. From there, I simply talked to him, and had him play chess with me.
“After he had calmed down a bit – my threat had worked a little too well – and we had gotten to know each other a little, I told him what I wanted to do to him and he refused... at first. He started asking me how it would feel and little things that let me know he was interested despite his protests. I ordered a tasty dinner, and slowly he started to sound more than just curious.
“He kissed me when I dared him to, and I'll confess that I nearly pounced on him in my eagerness and lust. But I made it absolutely clear that I would stop the moment he didn't like what was happening. He did not stop me! By every indication, he thoroughly enjoyed what happened. It took half the night, and then we slept in each other's arms.”
“I understand,” Collin murmured.
“Say 'yes Mistress,'” Sanguine commanded.
“... Yes Mistress.”
“Oh, the usual,” Sanguine stated dismissively. They were playing chess of all things while Gavin read through some documents and the girls played a card game. They were in Sanguine's private study, seated around the 6 foot long table that she often used as a desk.
“Why are there so many laws?!” Gavin asked in frustration. He had been studying them for a whole week and it seemed like the laws would never end!
“What do you mean?” Sanguine wondered.
“No one knows that I am your son, and now you are supposed to marry the Crown Prince. What if the King and Queen decide that they would rather give your lands to someone else rather than let you admit that you have a son and Heir,” Gavin pointed out.
“That's a good question,” Sanguine admitted. “For now, we're all just going to assume that they have no reason to strip me of my lands. Besides, I may not have shouted about it, but it is well known that I've had children. No one will question it when I finally announce who you are.”
“You need to learn to beat them to death without actually beating them to death,” Sang-Soif added as she entered the room. Behind her was a man that was mostly hidden by her dress. This was so the girls wouldn't see his nudity, sheltered as they were. She addressed a maid. “Bring my dog for a walk, give him a little bit to eat, and then chain him to my bedroom wall.”
“Yes Mistress!” The maid exclaimed as she rushed to obey. She accepted the chain leash from Sang-Soif and led the human dog away.
Sang-Soif stepped more fully into the room followed by Glacèe. Glacèe also sighed in frustration, and then chose a seat as far away from Ardent as possible. “At least your prisoner did something. Mine is stubbornly refusing to reform!”
“You seem to like him,” Sang-Soif remarked in observation. “You're holding back and that's why he's not breaking to your will as he should.”
“How am I holding back?!” Glacèe demanded. “If I leave him on ice any longer, he'll start loosing his limbs!”
“You're not doing him any favors,” Sanguine reminded her middle adopted daughter. She nodded her head as she decided where to move her chess piece. “If you truly want him to suffer as little as possible, then you will do whatever it takes to break him as quickly as you can. Trying to be nice just makes the whole process take that much longer.”
Glacèe groaned and rested her head against the table. “I know!”
“Frayeur!” Sanguine cried happily, leaping to her feet. She raced to throw her arms around him. “What brings you to my castle?”
“I'm here too, you know!” Fureur stated grumpily.
“Don't you believe him for a second!” Fureur stated with a laugh. “We've been bored with not much to do lately, and we thought we come help out around your dungeon.”
Frayeur nodded to confirm her statement. “Besides, I'm sure that both Glacèe and Ardent could use a little more training.”
“Oh great!” Glacèe muttered sarcastically. “Now we'll have to deal with the smell of burning flesh.”
“Sure thing,” Frayeur agreed. “What do you say, Ardent? Want to accompany your uncle to the dungeon for a few lessons?”
“How can you possibly think you'll make it out of here alive?! You're clearly out numbered!”
“Right!” Glacèe agreed and threw a bolt of lightning at the leader. Her specialty was using ice, but she'd also learned to use the electrical device that Panique had given her. It worked well with the water created as the ice melted.
“He has crossed my Lord, that's all you need to know,” the leader stated, still shaking his hand but otherwise trying his best to seem in control of the situation. He noticed that Danny had taken the opportunity to gather up his children and somewhat hide them behind him.
“Don't try to escape! Those children are my hostages and I will hurt them if I have to. However, if everyone cooperates, then I promise that they shall not be harmed.” The leader gestured for his men to take control of the situation.
Meanwhile, Fureur had subtly pulled a candle out of a pocket and lit it from an ember she kept in a container at her waist. She took a swig from her flask and blew fire at two of the men as they tried to run towards Danny and the children. Frayeur promptly jabbed the leader until he couldn't move, then held him by the throat as Glacèe and Sang-Soif incapacitated the rest of the intruders. Ardent helped by punching the men unconscious.
Sanguine watched Frayeur lead the others out of the room, each one carried an unconscious body, even Ardent, who was stronger than she looked. Good thing I have the Prince locked up in a separate area of the dungeon. Deciding that she needed to inform the King and Queen of this event in case it was an attack on the Prince, she pulled a sheet of paper from a drawer, completely unconcerned that she left bloody fingerprints all over it. She sat down and started to write.
“Gavin, please finish up your studies for tonight,” she murmured when she realized that her children were still cowering behind their father.
“Oh, my babies...” Sanguine purred, fighting tears herself now.
“Please tell me that this doesn't happen often,” Danny begged. He was reconsidering the wisdom of letting his children live in the castle with their mother.
“Never,” Sanguine answered with a shake of her head. “If it was a frequent occurrence, I'd have better guards.”
“But my Lady! The intruders!” He protested. He hadn't heard anything except that one of them had died.
“They've been apprehended and taken to my dungeon,” Sanguine assured him.
“Sleep...” he murmured. “I may never sleep again.”
“Me either!” His sisters both exclaimed at the same time.
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