A warning to the wise: I don't know why I wrote this story. I have an sneaky suspicion it is because I have been reading way too many trashy romance novels within the last few weeks, but who knows.

This is entirely PWP.


PART ONE

The dirt crunched beneath her as her feet pounded against the earth. Her nostrils burned from the chilly air and her lungs heaved in her chest with each breath she took.

Still, she ran.

For still something chased her.

There was only a moment's notice to react before she heard the growl directly behind her. Sliding to a stop, she twisted around, only to see the great beast rear before her. Stifling a scream, she dropped, and rolled to her right, knocking into a water trough. The water inside sloshed, soaking her, but she ignored the instant chill. Palming the ground beneath her, she pushed herself to her feet and scrambled for the narrow alley beside the trough.

The beast lunged for her as she slipped between buildings, just out of its reach. Unfortunately, the alley did not harbor another exit, and she found herself staring at a high wall connecting the two buildings with nothing more than a sturdy dumpster; one that she might be able to climb if she had more time.

Twisting around, she looked to see if she had just that. What she saw, however, was not more time, but the vicious determination of an animal during the hunt.

It locked eyes with her; the deep velvet of twilight violet staring into her own wide, trembling brown eyes. She found herself backing up, pressing herself as far back into the damp wood of the dumpster as possible. Its cruel gaze was intent, shiftless, boring into her almost painfully. Yet, she found it could not reach her, for its hulking size could not squeeze between the walls of alley.

Still, that did not ease her fear.

In one swift moment, the beast shifted and she barely had time to move as one, thick claw shot towards her.

Miranda woke with a start.

Her heartbeat pounded in her ears and she felt drenched in a cold sweat. Momentarily disoriented, she looked around the expanse of her small room, sidled at the back of the feed house. The smell of fresh hay tingled her nostrils as she took a deep breath.

It was only a dream.

The irony of that realization made her want to groan. If those were the kinds of dreams she was going be having from now on, it might be best she get her head checked.

Sitting up, she stretched, working the kinks from her shoulders and yawned, although her body rejected the desire to relax. It had, after all, been almost a week now that she had been seeing the same vision in her sleep.

Or, rather, it was a memory.

The thought sent a chill down her spine and Miranda ground her teeth. Throwing the blanket from her, she stood swiftly and moved towards her wash basin. Taking her nightgown off, she began to get ready, all the while, the memory still vivid in her mind.

It had been nearly a week ago that the incident occurred. She hadn't told anyone, of course, because who would believe her? But despite her assuredness that it was not, in fact, a dream, she kept silent. The silence caused her to think about it more, and each time she thought, the dreams became more vivid; each night she saw something else she hadn't initially noticed. Miranda wasn't sure what to do about it either. It all happened because of a simple mistake and a late night working.

She swallowed, attempting to push the memory away, but no matter how hard she tried not to think about it, in the end, she did just that.

As she finished washing and began dressing herself, the repetitiveness of the routine caused her to fall back into her reverie. As her eyes stared off, the room took on a new look. Miranda remembered the street, dark but for a few lampposts in which the torches weren't burned down. She had to work late to make up for mistakes that should not have been made. Two new girls in one week, and she was stuck looking after them, which simply translated to cleaning up after them while they flitted about like ninnies. The though irked Miranda, but she ignored it and simply did her job. That night, however, she could feel something else in the air; something that made her cautious.

Looking over her back every few minutes, she'd made it more than halfway home before the feeling of dread started to wash over her. The streets grew quiet, far quieter than should be during the midweek. Thinking back, it may have wiser to request an escort from the castle.

She had just turned the corner when she heard the wind change. A soft tinkling filled the air and ground shifted beneath her feet. Miranda stopped, stared before her, and suddenly heard a low growl. When she turned, she could barely behold the sight before her. A great beast, thrice her size stood on four powerfully clawed legs, staring at her. Its nostrils shifted, tasting the air, it big head cocking to one side and it listened with sharp ears. In the darkness she could not tell the color of its skin, but it glistened in the moonlight. She remembered holding her breath as she realized two grand wings extended from its back, and a long, sharp tail swayed softly behind it.

She could not scream, could not move at the time, for never had she believed such a beast existed. It's jaw opened and she watched as spittle dribbled off its tongue as it looked at her. That was when she remembered running.

Even a week later, the thought astounded her. Such beasts existed! When she was younger, her parents had told her stories of fantastical creatures that roamed the earth, and the daring knights and wanderers who encountered them. She had never not believed in them; rather, she simply did not think of it much once she grew and moved to the city. But to see one now in the capital city! Imagine the word that the papers would write, the stories told, the rumors spread…

But no such thing occurred.

Everything was just how it was the next morning. So much so, that Miranda had started to question if it was simply a hallucination dreamed up from over exerting herself and not getting enough sleep.

However, one look at the bodice she wore that evening told her differently. She glanced at the poor thing that lay in large heaps at the foot of her bed. Since that night, she hadn't brought herself to throw it away; it served as a symbol of what she survived.

Thinking of it that way make her shudder.

Finishing with her skirts, she grabbed the comb beside her bed and began combing throw the tangles in her long red hair. The feeling made her groan, sigh, finally huff as she began to pile it on top of her head. One or two well places pins and she was good. After wrapping it in a kerchief, she pulled her boots on and grabbed her work bag and headed towards the door. Sparing one last glance at her tattered bodice, she sighed, and swung the door shut.

He had to get out.

This place was suffocating.

The stench inside the palace walls reeked of pomp and splendor, of vanity and ignorance, of everything that was wrong with the monarchy. Yet here he was, forced to sit in a stuffy conference room and delegate with a bunch of fat, balding buffoons who all imagined they held some sort of sway over him and his impending reign.

"Do you agree, Your Highness?" A voice gurgled towards him, pulling him away from his gloomy thoughts. He stared at the man who directed the question towards him. He was fat, just like the rest of them, rotund to a point where each button strained to keep his uniform together. In a vain attempt to show off, it was bedazzled with tokens and medals from wars and battles that he'd probably only shrieked in, rather than actually fought. The look on his face as he looked on held so much conceit in his fat, sweaty self, that it only made him look like just that: a bulbous, sweaty nobleman.

"I'm not sure I see your point."

The look disappeared from the man's face in an instant, and was replaced with a look of discomfort

"Prince Dantes, I, uh, apologize if I have insufficiently explained myself and the workings of my theories. If you would allow me to, er, begin again-"

"No."

The nobleman's mouth snapped shut and it almost appeared that he began to sweat more. He looked to his comrades for a moment, but none of the men around the table offered him any support, their gazes downcast.

"Your Highness?" He swallowed.

Dantes gave him a bored look.

"As sure of yourself as you are, Lord Bastille, it has nothing crucial to offer the crown."

"Ah…see-"

"Therefore," he snapped, "I will not employ my subjects in a hair-brained scheme such as yours."

Bastille's jaw dropped, then snapped just and he stared down at the table before him indignantly. Dantes sighed and sat forward, placing his palms flat on the cool marble surface. "Now gentlemen, it has been a pleasure conversing with you, but I must take my leave, for more pressing matters call to me." As he stood, and moved around the table, the rest of the men stood and bowed as he walked past them. The guards opened the door and he walked out, into the open corridor. Once the door closed behind him, he sighed, exasperated.

Why in god's name were all of the advisors such idiots? He wasn't sure what his father saw in them, but nevertheless, they served him no purpose. He would have to make sure to do something about that when he was crowned king.

That, however, was a whole two years away…

Running his fingers through his shaggy hair, he turned and started down the corridor towards his bedroom. He wanted to be alone with his own thoughts. As he moved past guards, butlers, and maids, they bowed and curtsied, bobbing their heads in the ridiculous fashion called for by etiquette. Though as each little maid passed him, he couldn't help but scan their face, their hair, their scent.

Ah, their scent.

Most of it was sweet, light, faintly tinged with flowery soaps and fragrant powders that was common of ladies of any social class. It tickled his nostrils and made his fingers itch. But no matter how sweet tasting any one of them seemed, nothing compared to hers.

So saccharine and luscious, he couldn't help drifting back into the memory of it. It was a scent that called to him, stirred something within him; made his body respond with a need so lustful, the blood coursed through his veins at an alarming rate. It made him want to run, to chase.

It made him want to hunt.

Never had he encountered something so delicious, it drew such a response from him.

As he moved from corridor after corridor towards his chambers, he felt his steps become more purposeful; felt his body respond to the memory of his thoughts. Moving quicker, he came to the great doors and swiftly pushed through them. As he shut the door behind him, he closed his eyes and took a breath, forcing his nerves to calm.

Another scent brushed against him. Opening his eyes, he scanned the dim room, quickly focusing on the large four poster bed. A slender figure lay across it, with green eyes almost glowing in the dark.

"Welcome back, Your Highness," came a sultry voice.

Ah, yes. Her.

Dantes sighed and straightened, then moved towards the bed. Looking down at the figure, he saw she was clad in a translucent gown that slit up the thigh and hung loosely about the breasts. She had figured that could make the goddess of love weep with joy. Her golden hair was splayed around her and she wore a look so sinful, it could bring a man to his knees.

But Dantes was tired. And he wanted to be alone.

"Lady Giselle, I believe I spoke with you before about coming into my quarters without permission," he said coolly.

Giselle smiled, showing white teeth stark against ruby red lips. She tilted her hand, and sat up slowly, letting her hair cascade around her. Reaching an arm out, she trailed her fingers down the buttons of his surcoat, stopping to toy with bottom-most button just before his trousers.

"Really, Highness, I'm only trying to give a little surprise. I know how fond you are of…surprises."

Dantes stared down at her. Her scent was not of a woman in heat, but rather, simply a woman looking for a good lay and Dantes had had his share of good tumbles with her. Now, however, he was not interested. No matter how seductive she could be, or coy, and no matter how strong her scent was, she was not was he desired. Not anymore.

Besides, even as she lay there, attempting to seduce him in his own bed, he could smell the other male scents that drenched her.

No, he would not succumb to her womanly wiles, for he did not take lovers like she. He may be the crown prince, and he may be able to take more than one lover, but if he demanded anything, it was that those lovers take no one else but he. He was not one to share, ever.

Taking her hand as it trailed from his surcoat onto the front of his pants, he brought it slowly away and pulled her gently from the bed. She smiled again, and moved to step towards him once she was standing. Taking a step back, he dropped her hand and turned away from her. He moved towards the chaises-lounge near he window and took handfuls of the dress that lay draped over it. When he turned back to her, a look of confusion crossed her face and he handed the fabric back to her.

"Dress quickly and be gone from my chambers. I wish to be alone."

The look of confusion was quickly replaced by a look of fury and she angrily dropped her gown to the floor.

"You dare turn me away? Me?" She snapped.

Dantes looked at her evenly.

"To be alone?" Her voice tipped toward the end, sounding shrill. Still he only stared at her. She frowned, her eyes glowing with rage and she stomped her foot.

"You fop! I lay before you, offering myself to you and you tell me leave!"

At that Dantes rolled his eyes.

"Madam, I believe we have had a similar discussion in which I informed you that our liaisons were no longer suited to my likings, and that they would end as of then."

Giselle's faced contorted as she began to shove the fabrics of her dress around her.

"You think you can do whatever you like because you're the crown prince, don't you?"

"Actually, Lady Giselle, I don't think so. I know so."

"Oh shut up!" She turned and glared at him. "You insolent, spoiled, ungrateful brat! You will be sorry you turned me away, that I promise you!"

Dantes nodded. "That is well and fine, Madam. As I have informed you plenty a time, I demand my courtiers remain monogamous to myself and myself only. So if you'll excuse me, I would like to find one that actually listens to me, in that respect."

Meeting her hateful gaze, he watched as color mottled her fair complexion. Fist balled at her sides, she bared her teeth and stomped a foot. "You accuse me of being unfaithful to you!"

Dantes responded smoothly, "I accuse you of disobedience."

At that, Giselle threw her head back and laughed. "How noble of you to come up with such a pathetic excuse."

Taking a breath, he cooled his nerves. He was tired on this and wanted her out. Now. Walking up to her slowly, he stared into her smug face. "I care not of your opinion on my level of nobility. I only care that you leave my sight as quickly as possible."

"Oh yes, so you can be alone? And do what?" Giselle smirked.

Dantes pursed his lips and clenched his fists. His eyes felt glassy.

A look of realization blossomed on Giselle's face. "Oh…my! Now I see. You already had me replaced. How expected of you." He features softened and she moved away from him, adjusting the stays of her bodice, and the petticoats under her dress. Standing in front of a full length mirror, she adjusted her hair into a simple coiffure of curls atop her head.

"So tell me…who is she? Is she a lady?" she glanced at Dantes in the mirror. When he looked at her with no response, she continued, "No? Is she foreign? One of the lovely Arabian maidens I hear so much about?"

Turning she looked at Dantes and smiled wickedly. "Certainly, she can't a maid. I know you, you would never stoop so low…"

Dantes face remained immobile. He simply watched at she moved about the large bedroom, towards the rest of her articles strewn about he chaises-lounge. Picking up her fan, she popped it open and eyed him above the feathers. Closing it quickly, a look of feigned horror crossed her face. She dropped into the chaise-lounge and put her hand to her heart.

"Oh, dear me! You have taken a maid!"

"For God's sake, Giselle, get out!" He felt like throwing her through the doors himself.

"No, no, no! What is she? A scullery maid? A ladies' maid? Oh, heaven's, not one of the goose girls!" her voice trilled as her false worry turned to laughter. Standing quickly, her expression condescending, she moved towards the doors, stopping briefly at Dantes side.

"So you've stooped to rutting with pigs, have you? Very well, Your Highness. But mark me, you will regret casting me aside." Stepping softly, she reached the door. As she grasped the handle, Dantes turned.

"With all do respect, Lady Giselle, I hope that was not a threat. You should know it is treason to threaten a prince." He spoke softly, knowingly.

Turning to her head to glance at him, she smiled. "No, Your Highness. That was not a threat. It was a promise." With that she opened the door and stepped out, closing it with a soft 'click.'


Give it time. I'm not so pathetic I would simply write a page of smut. This is coming in three parts.

-AC