I know exactly who you are.” I took a step forward, and another, until I was standing right in front of him. Then my words turned to ice. “You are the selfish, spineless son of a king who is too afraid to be his own man. You would rather hide behind your status than fight for something that could actually mean something.” There, that felt good. “And it’s a shame, really it is, because, according to you, I was the one true friend you had.
I told you not to trust a wolf,” he continued. His words dripped like honeyed venom. “Because it would only ever want to break you.” Darren let out a small, harsh laugh. “Haven’t you figured it out yet? I’m the wolf, Ryiah. I guess what I really should have told you was to never trust a prince, but that’s not quite as memorable.
I’m not that pitiful little girl you bullied last year.
People make mistakes all the time – some of us just are in more of a position to leave an impact when we do.
I don’t need another ‘adversity builds character’ speech, Darren. That man is a chauvinistic pig. Where’s your adversity?” Darren raised a brow. “I’m looking at it.
That somehow, this insufferable girl would become the one person I am forever, hopelessly, madly drawn to against my will and possibly even my better judgment.
All of sudden I cared what someone thought of me. Because we are friends. And making you miserable and angry makes me miserable and angry. I don’t want to be the person to make you mad or cry, Ryiah. I want to make you laugh. I want you to make me laugh, because gods know you are the only one who can. So, yes, I am sorry, I am sorry because even if I was right, I was also wrong. And I’d rather lose a silly battle than your friendship.
We couldn’t be friends. We couldn’t be enemies. So what were we?
Someday, Ry, you are going to realize who Darren really is. He’s a prince, and he’s only going to break your heart.
Anything for Byron’s least favorite apprentice. It’s the least I can do since you took over my torch.
You can be a great man and still be a fool. Many of our country’s leaders can attest to that. Were they still living.
Three. I had just made my first, second, and third kill. Before I had even obtained my mage’s robes. I bent over and vomited into the grass. There was no pride, no justice, just the appalling sense that I had lost my innocence. That I was a monster.
He was a prince. There was no hope in saying yes to the boy with the garnet eyes who left me reckless and confused at every turn. There was no future with him. None. Darren had duty. To the Crown. Gods only knew Priscilla and Blayne had spent enough time reminding me of that.
Love Darren? Of course not. Love is for fools not smart enough to see the path in front of them. That’s the difference between you and I, Ryiah. I see the truth and accept Darren for what he is. You just see what you want to see. It’s why I will wear the crown and bear his children while you are left wondering why you were never good enough.
I’m not like you. I’ve never cared about keeping relationships or sparing people’s feelings. All I’ve ever cared about is power: how to get it, and how to keep it. I told you as much when we met.
Well done, Darren!” Master Byron was full of praise for the prince. “What did you use to cast it?” Darren’s eyes found mine. “Something I don’t regret.
So how did you do it? What makes the cold-hearted princeling mortal like the rest of us?
The irony was that my real enemy had been there all along right in front of me. Smiling crookedly and convincing me we were friends. Trying to seduce me for the thrill of the chase. Chastising me for not trusting him that first year in the tower stairs at the Academy… Telling me he loved me. And then tossing me aside the second I jeopardized his dreams. I wasn’t what he had wanted all these years. I’d merely been a diversion in his pursuit of the crown. I never should have trusted a prince.