He was injured and bleeding. He had ditched his guards so he could do some exploring only to run into a group of bandits. He had been hit in the shoulder with an arrow. The arrow head was protruding from his back and he knew pulling it out would only cause more damage. He hated he had not listened to his father. He hated being followed around and felt like he couldn’t approach anyone when he had two armor clad guards following him around. He was in so much pain and there was blood running down his arm and dripping off his fingertip. Eos’ white hair was covered in a large crimson stain that he wished he could wash off. “We’re lost Eos, completely lost.” He said, hating himself for being so stupid. He felt himself getting tired and before he knew it he was laying along Eos’ back. “I’m so sorry girl, but at least you weren’t hurt.” He said weakly. “Sorry.” He slid off the back of his mount and hit the ground with a loud thud. He groaned as he fell unconscious, feeling cold and alone.
Gianna sat on the back of the large purple dragon as she dipped and weaved, sometimes falling quickly toward the ground then pulling back up to make Gianna laugh. Tethys began to act irritated and let out a rumble of displeasure. “What is it?” Gianna asked.
“Blood, I smell blood.” Tethys answered on their psychic link.
“If someone is injured we should find them.” She clung tighter to Tethys’ horns as she flew faster. When they found the injured person Tethys dropped quickly to earth, landing in front of the unicorn who was laying on the ground next to her rider. Tethys held up one clawed hand and lowered Gianna to the ground. The unicorn got to its feet and Gianna moved slowly towards it. “It’s okay, I just want to help. Is it okay if I help?” She held out her hand as she moved closer. The unicorn pressed its nose into her palm when she was close enough and she patted its neck. “See, I’m good. I’m going to check on him now.”
She dropped down next to the unconscious man, her eyes widening when she saw it was the prince. He had an arrow in his shoulder and was pale from blood loss. “What should we do Gianna?” Tethys asked.
“Our home is closer than the castle. We’ll take him and the unicorn there so I can get this arrow out and begin healing him. Come and lift him onto your back.” Tethys moved closer and gently lifted the prince then Gianna who held tightly to the bleeding, unconscious young man. “Tethys is going to carry you.” She said to the unicorn and it nodded its head in understanding.
Both Gianna and Tethy feared for the prince the entire flight. If he died the kingdom would be devastated and they would know it was them who didn’t aide him fast enough. It baffled Gianna that he was even alone for this to happen. He always had body guards at his sides so where were they today. It was somthing she planned on asking him once he recovered if she could get home fast enough to mend him.
Attis and Aetna bickered as they searched for their prince “well you are the trained assassin. You’re supposed to be far more observant than me! What had you distracted!”
“Shut up! Loseing him is no more my fault than yours. We’re both his guards and equals.” She groaned and they kept searching, worried about his safety. They finally decided they needed a real search party. Their king was a fair king but a loving father and would be rightfully angry with them if his son died because they didn’t want to admit they lost him.
The two didn’t need to apologize to eachother as they ran back. Fighting was a normal thing between them and silent apologies were all that was ever needed. Giana checked Mateos pulse as they landed, glad to see he was still living. She rushed him to her bed so she could begin mending his body.
“Tethys, get me some rags.” She ordered and Tethys hurried to grab what Gianna needed. Gianna moved Mateo onto his side and snapped the head off the arrow. She took some of the rags and slipped them inside Mateo’s shirt before laying him flat on his back and yanking the other end of the arrow out. She took more rags and put them in the front of his shirt and pressed down as hard as she could. “I need the tweezers to make sure no debris was left inside the wound.” Tethys got her the tweezers and she went to work removing the splinters left in his shoulder.
“He looks really pale Gianna and he’s sweating.” Tethys said.
Gianna handed her the tweezers. “I am going to close the wound now, please make me some birch bark tea then burn some aiteann incense.”
She moved the rags out of the way and pressed her hand against the wound in his shoulder she closed her eyes, calling on heat and light to close and purify his wound. The hole closed, the torn skin and muscle binding back together. When she pulled her hand away there wasn’t even a blemish on his fair skin. Tethys brought her the tea and then helped Gianna raise Mateo up. “Listen prince, I need you to drink this.” She said softly. “Come on, wake up for me.” He groaned and slowly opened his eyes. “There you go, now drink this.” She held the cup to his lips and helped him drink.
Mateo didn’t know if he was dreaming of the beautiful violet eyed woman and didn’t even really have time to contemplate whether or not she was real as he slipped back into unconsciousness. The only thing that stayed with him was the smell of something burning. It soothed him, lulling him further into sleep. “He still looks really pale.” Tethys said.
“I know, we’ll know tomorrow if our efforts were in vain or not. Help me get his shirt off, it’s covered in blood.” Tethys raised him up and Gianna pulled his shirt off. He was laid back down and Gianna covered him. “Sleep well prince.”
Once they made sure the gorgeous unicorn he had with him was alright Gianna finally sat down with Tethys “who do you think would dare attack the prince? I mean, we have nice rulers. Its not like our king or queen is unjust or he is a brat. Nerites is next in line for the throne as well so its not like they’d want him dead so another could take his place. I just dont see a reason to attack the royal family and risk that kind of punishment because if I understand how much the king and queen love their children they will see to it it’s figured out who attacked him.”
‘people are crazy” It was a brief answer form Tethys but truly was the explanation. Before bed that evening Giana checked Mateo again and made sure he was tucked in well before heading to bed. “goodnight Tethy”
“Night Gianna. Don’t worry about our prince. He’s survived this long. He’ll be good as new in the morning”
“Yeah” Gianna showered then changed into her night clothes before slipping into her guest bed and enjoying sleeps embrace. In the morning she got up and saw Mateo was still sleeping soundly. A small frown tugged at her lips but he was still breathing. She couldn’t know how much blood he had lost so his body was probably just exhausted from having to replace so much.
She decided apple muffins would be nice since she had heard both princess enjoyed muffins of any sort. Tethys came in strateching “can I help atall Gianna?”
“No, you know I enjoy cooking. Just keep an eye on Mateo for me so i know when he’s awake. He might feel afraid waking up here. I’m sure a girls bedroom is a nicer place to wake up than outside but still.”
Mateo felt sick and dizzy. He groaned, raising his hand and rubbing his temple. He opened his eyes, his vision blurry. He went to push himself up and found himself restrained. “Stay still young prince.” He rapidly blinked his eyes, trying to clear his vision. He was taken back by the woman standing over him. Strange tattoos covered her face and arms, her bright gold eyes watched him intently.
“Where am I?” He asked.
“Let me get Gianna.” She stepped away from him and he stared up at the ceiling until another face came into view.
“You’re the one who helped me.” He tried setting up and winced in pain.
“Easy, I healed the wound, but there will still be bruising so take it easy.”
“I really want to set up please, I feel so helpless laying here.”
“If you insist my prince.”
He frowned. “My name is Mateo, not prince.” Gianna gave him a warm smile as she helped him set up then put pillows behind him. “Thank you Gianna. Is this your home?”
“Yes it is.”
“It’s beautiful and it smells amazing.” He reached up and rubbed his shoulder. “Thank you for helping me, I would have died without you.”
Gianna sat down on the edge of the bed. “What happened?”
“I ditched my bodyguards for a little freedom and ended up running into some bandits. They attacked me, but Eos got me out of there.” His eyes widened. “Eos, is she okay?”
“Yes, she’s safe outside. I cleaned the blood from her coat and just let her roam.”
He relaxed. “Thank goodness. My father is going to kill me when I get home and I know Aetna and Attis are going to be disappointed. I feel so stupid for ditching them.”
“We all make mistakes Mateo, I’m sure they’ll forgive you and are probably hard at work trying to find you.” She grabbed his hand and gave it a reassuring squeeze. “Are you hungry?”
“I’ve made you apple muffins. Just relax and we’ll eat in here with you” He gave her a sweet smile ‘thank you” Gianna quickly went and put muffins on a platter for them all to share in her bedroom. When she came back Mateo took a long intake of the smell they were producing “They smell amazing”
“well eat one” she said as she sat down. He took one and quickly devoured it. She just smiled and ate, glad she had pleased him. When his second one was gone he ate the third a little more dignified. With full stomachs she took the plate back in the kitchen then returned with a drink for him and herself. “I should be getting home”
“I’m not sure you should get up yet”
“I’m tired but I know my parents and guards are worried”
‘I can fly us.” Tethy interjected. “I guess but allow me to hold onto you while we fly. I don’t want you to fall in your weakened state. If i cant keep you here atleast let me do that”
“I would appreciate it, thank you.” Gianna packed a small bag just in case she was gone for more that that day then helped Mateo out of bed. “Thank you, I can walk.” She smiled and allowed him to stand on his own. They walked out of her home and Mateo was immediately greeted bye Eos. “Hey beautiful girl, thank you for keeping me safe, I’m sorry I worried you.”
“Come, lets get in the air.” Tethys said and shifted.
“You make a very beautiful dragon Tethys.” Mateo said as she lifted him and then Gianna onto her back.
Aetna and Attis were uncomfortable with the fact that the king and queen had both insisted on coming with search party as well as Nerites who refused to stay home in case something happened. It wasn’t that they doubted their abilities to protect themselves, it just made their jobs harder when they were watching out for one part of the royal family while searching for another. They followed the trail Eos had left, calling out for the young prince as they went along. “I have blood here.” Attis said. “And boot prints that don’t belong to Mateo.”
“He was attacked?” Pontos said angrily.
“It would seem so, the droplets head away from here, along with Eos’ hoof prints.”
“Someone attacked our baby?” Thalassa covered her mouth in shock.
“We’ll find him my love.”
Aetna and Attis both felt another pang of guilt for letting him out of their sight. Pregnant, the queen should be taking it easy but instead she was out looking for a son they were paid to keep safe. They were about to fly right over the royal family until Nerites noticed his brother. Dragons weren’t rare in their world so it wasn’t always cause to look but Nerites did and called out “Hes on that dragon!” Tethys had been flying low since they knew the royal family was probably out looking. She slowly descended while the family and their guards watched. Nobody tried attacking her since it was obvious the dragon was landing for them. It was also apparent Eos wasn’t afraid so they’d take a moment to see why Mateo was with them.
Thalassa, Pontos and Nerites ran over. Pontos took Mateo from Gianna and hugged him before setting him down for his wife and son to take a turn. Eos jumped off along with Gianna so Tethys could shift to human form. With so many people around she’d rather not be so large. “Oh, so you are a shifter then.” Pontos said and Tethys smiled. The kings attention turned to Gianna “why was my son with you?”
“Tethys was flying me around and we noticed him. He told us he was attacked by bandits. We took him to our home to mend him. He had lost a lot of blood so I didn’t even want to fly with him this morning but he insisted you all would be worried. He really should rest a little more sir” She gave a small bow nervously. He was a kind king but the fact he was worried about his son made her nervous in her answering.
“Please don’t bow, thank you so much for helping him. Who knows what may have happened if you two hadn’t come along. It might be easier on him if Tethys flew him the rest of the way home if you wouldn’t mind” he said now turning his attention to Tethys “Not atall your majesty. I can carry your family too if you’d like. Your guards can meet us back at the castle.”
“I am Pontos, my wife is Thalassa and my oldest son is Nerites. Women who took my son in and helped him when he was wounded should call us by our names. We’d love to accept your offer of flying. Eos can walk back with the guard” Eos made an approving noise so Mateo was returned to Giannas embrace after Tethys shifted. He was glad he had a reason to be a bit ill because being held by such a beautiful woman kept him in a blush. Pontos also took a tight grip of his wife before Tethys flew back up.
“They’re smiling now, but I guarantee you when we get back I will get the tongue lashing of my life.” Mateo said as he held tightly to the spikes protruding from Tethys’ head.
“Do you blame them for being upset?”
“Of course not, I deserve anything they have to say. It’s just, I hate being treated like I’m better than everyone else. I can’t go out without guards and people acting all nervous.”
“It’s clear your guardians love you just as much as your family, so let them do their jobs. You could have died.”
They rode the rest of the way in silence, Mateo not knowing how he was going to make up for his stupidity or how he was going to pay Gianna back for her kindness. Tethys landed at the front gates of the castle, startling the guards and making them reflexively pull their swords from their sheaths. When they saw Mateo being lowered to the ground they immediately apologized and put their weapons away. His family and guardians rode up behind them and the guards called for the gates to be opened. “Welcome to my home Gianna, Tethys, please feel free to explore.”
“Thank you.” They said in unison.
“Mateo, your mother and I need to speak with you.” Pontos said as he dropped down from his horse and lead it inside, handing it off to a stable boy.
“Yes sir, I understand.”
“I’ll give your new companions a tour brother.” Nerites said with a warm smile.
“Thank you.” He followed his parents, his head down in shame. They went into Pontos’ study and Thalassa closed the door.
“You know you nearly gave us a heart attack.” Pontos said. “What were you thinking?”
“I just wanted some freedom, I’m sorry.”
Pontos sighed and pulled his son into a hug. Thalassa joined them. “Never be sorry for wanting to do things, we want you to explore and get to know your homeland, but do not do that at the cost of your life. Do you have any idea what it would have done to us if you had died?”
“I know, I won’t run off again. If you wish Aetna and Attis to stay by my side when I go out then I will no longer object, but do they have to follow me into the market? I know they care about me, they’ve been here since before I was born, but please allow me to have that much independence. They can be intimidating to others and I can fight.”
Pontos pulled back and looked at Thalassa who nodded. “Very well, they don’t have to follow you to the market anymore, that doesn’t mean it will stop them from keeping an eye on you. They can both be very stealthy when the need arises.”
“As long as they aren’t seen then. I will abide by every other rule you have put in place, I swear.”
“Am I forgiven for running off?”
“There is no reason to be forgiven, I know what it feels like to want to be free. I gave your grandparents a hard time and your mother was captain of the guard so you can imagine becoming a queen was an adjustment.”
“can I return to Gianna now”
“Of course, have her stick around today.”
“are you sure you dont need to rest more son?” Thalassa asked. “I’m a little tired but I’ll be fine. Let me walk it off” Mateo waled out to find Gianna. Nerites tended to do tours in the same fashion everytime so he could guess where they were at this point. He found them going down one of their large halls. They paused to wait for him to catch up when they noticed him coming. “that was quick” Nerites said in a shocked tone. “Yeah, I’m surprised too” Mateo answered. “You don’t need to be resting?”
“Mom asked that too and no, I’m fine. I want to be in the company of Gianna and Tethys. Speaking of which, would you ladies stay for today? My parents asked you’d be guests”
“sure, we never have much going on” Gianna answered and Tethys nodded.
Nerites continued the tour and Mateo added extra details. When they finally made it back to the entrance way, Mateo dropped down on one of the benches, feeling exhausted. “You should be resting.” Gianna said.
“I’m fine, really.”
She bent down and pressed her forehead against his, making him blush. “You feel hot, maybe you got a fever anyway and you need to change this shirt.”
He had forgotten he still had blood on him. “I’ll go up right now and change then.”
“You’ll go upstairs and rest, you need it.”
“There’s no point in arguing with her prince, she’s very stubborn when it comes to the health of others. I would just do as you’re told and rest.” Tethys said.
“Will you come with me Gianna?”
“Sure.” She helped him to his feet and pulled his arm over her shoulders. “I can’t believe you wore yourself out.”
“I wanted to spend more time with you.” Gianna’s heart gave a little flutter as she helped him up the stairs and to his room. She took him to his bathroom and he leaned against the counter.
“You need a shower.”
“Do I smell that bad?”
She giggled. “No silly, it’s just the blood.” She switched on the water and turned back to him. “Want me to help you out of your clothes?”
“Uh, no I don’t think so.”
“Are you shy?”
She gave him her biggest, brightest smile. “You liar, you’ve never been naked around a girl before.”
“Does my mom count?” She started laughing. “Besides, it would be rude of me to ask you to do such a thing after you’ve already saved my life.”
“Oh hush and let me help you, you’re shaking for heaven’s sake. I would hate for you to fall taking off your pants.”
His blush was noticeable now and she couldn’t stop herself from giggling. “you’re a handsome man, just relax and let me help you” She started with his shirt since that would be the least embarrassing for him once that was off she went for his pants. He had to grip the sink so he wouldn’t stop her. She then quickly pulled down his underwear then helped him over to the shower. Just before she walked out to give him privacy she said ‘you have nothing to be embarrassed about Mateo. You should definitely be more confident about your body. I’ll be right outside the door if you need me”
Mateo washed himself off as his heart beat furiously in his chest. She was so beautiful and had now seen him naked. He didn’t know why but it made him even more nervous that she liked what she saw. He grew red again when he finished and realized there were no clothes for him in the bathroom. He would have to walk out in his towel and possibly be naked around Gianna again.
He grabbed a towel and put it around his waist then slowly pushed his door open. Gianna was sitting on his bed singing softly to herself and playing with her hair. He pushed the door a little further open and it creaked, catching her attention so she turned her head and smiled sweetly at him. He froze, trying to think of what to do. He knew he couldn’t just back up and slam the door because then he would look like a coward, but if he just kept standing there she might get suspicious or think he was creepy for staring. “Uh…” was all he said and her smile widened.
“You forgot your clothes.”
She pointed to the chest of drawers. “They might be in there.”
He was able to smile and relax at her teasing and walk across the room. “I would hope so or I might have to have a talk with the maids. It would really suck if I opened one and it was full of apples.” He grabbed a pair of pants and went back into the bathroom, her musical laughter following him. He quickly pulled them on then went back in the room and crawled into bed. Gianna laid down facing him, making his heart rate spike. “You’re not leaving?”
“Your health is my responsibility, I want to make sure you’re okay.” She reached out and laced her fingers through his. “Rest, I’ll be here watching over you in case you need anything.”
“What about Tethys?”
“She won’t mind, I promise.”
“You know, you’re incredibly stubborn. It’s actually pretty cute so I guess I can live with it.” He teased then yawned.
He had exhausted himself so much with traveling and then touring the castle with Gianna it took merely minuets for him to fade. Gianna kept his hand, loving how it made her feel to have contact with this man she barely knew. Of course she knew a lot about him because he was the prince but this was her first time meeting him in person. He seemed so incredibly sweet, just as she had heard. She wondered if they would be friends after this, it was somthing she wanted. Being around him felt good. Just his presence made her feel amazing inside so she truly hoped he would consider her a friend when he felt better and she had no other reason to be around.
Not even realizing it Gianna fell asleep still clutching his hand. They slept peacefully until Tethys came to get them for lunch. Nerites attempted to get a maid to do it but Tethys insisted. Their eyes fluttered open at relatively the same time. He got sucked into her violet eyes and she his blue eyes until Tethys knocked again “Gianna? Prince Mateo?”
Gianna let his hand go and sat up “Yes Tethys?”
“Lunch has been served. Does he need it brought?”
“That may be best”
“I will let them know. Food will be here shortly.”
“Thank you Tethys” Gianna turned her gaze back to Mateo “feel any better?”
“still tired. Its hell loseing so much blood”
“I hope I never have to know”
“were you comfortable here with me?” he asked shyly. She smiled ‘very, why do you think I fell asleep aswell?”
“Just thought I’d ask.”
She laid back down, scooting a little closer and taking his hand again. Mateo had never felt so taken with someone in his life. Gianna’s smile and gentle affection made him into a shy idiot. “You’re blushing again Mateo, what’s on your mind?”
“Just thinking about you.” He answered honestly.
She smiled. “What about me?”
“Well uh…it’s just you know you’re very…very beautiful.”
“Yeah and your eyes, I love them.”
He cleared his throat. “I don’t know, maybe because of how you look at me or maybe because they reflect so perfectly how you feel and they look like two beautiful amethysts that I could absolutely lost in.”
She moved a little closer and pressed her lips against his, taking him completely by surprise. His heart slammed against his chest and his whole body grew hot. With his eyes open he could see that her cheeks had turned red and it made him feel a little better about his shyness. They only broke away from each other when someone knocked on the door and Gianna smiled and got up to answer it. It was one of the maids with food and drinks. Gianna let her in and she sat the tray down on the chest of drawers then quickly left. Mateo started to get up and Gianna said, “Stay there, I’ll bring you your plate.”
“I feel so lazy.”
“Well don’t, I enjoy fussing over you so let me.” He propped himself up against the headboard and she brought his plate and glass of orange juice. “Eat and drink everything, it’ll help get your strength back up.”
He nodded then began eating. He just wanted to be finished so they could cuddle, hold hands or even kiss again. He had a gorgeous woman in his bedroom, the first women aside from staff to ever be in there with him. It was exciting and terrifying at the same time. He was glad she was braver than him and initiated that kiss. There was no telling when he would have gotten up the nerve for it. When they finished Gianna took both of their plates “I’m going to take these to the kitchen”
“a maid will do it”
“I’ll be right back mr eager.” she winked then said “there will be more kissing before you know it but only if you’re good and stay in that bed” He turned cheery red causing Gianna to make that melodious laughter again. She walked out, making his room feel empty. He just stared at the door until she came back in “see, I didn’t take long”
“If you say so.” He opened his arms and she crawled onto the bed with an adoring smile. He held her tightly against him and she pressed her lips against his, making him feel weak with wanting her. “You’re so amazing Gianna.” He said breathlessly.
“So are you, I love your kisses. You’re pretty good at it for someone who doesn’t spend a lot of time with girls.”
He blushed. “Well, I’ve kissed other people before, just not like that.” He felt a little embarrassed that he wasn’t more experienced. He had never spent a lot of time worrying about women. Most of them acted fake when they were around him because he was a prince so instead of worrying about girls he had focused on archery.
“Why are you making such a weird face?” She asked softly.
“It’s…I’m not…I’ve never been with anyone before. I’ve kissed girls, but nothing else.”
“Do you really think I care? I enjoy being with you because it’s you.” She stroked his cheek. “Being a virgin doesn’t matter Mateo, loving, listening to, and respecting each other does.”
“So, have you ever had a boyfriend?”
“Yeah, a couple. I found out the first one was sleeping with other girls. He wasn’t a bad guy other than that and I don’t share so we parted ways. Then the other one was scared of Tethys and didn’t like coming to the house. At one point he told me it was him or Tethys and I told him to leave.”
“That’s horrible, I’m sorry. I hope you know I’d never do something like that to you, ever.” He ran his fingers through her hair. “I’ll work hard to be whatever you want.”
“Just be yourself Mateo.”
“So, you’ll be mine then?”
“After all the kissing I thought I was.”
His face turned a deeper shade of red. “Sorry, I guess I should have thought of that. That means you’ll have to teach me to be a good lover because I have absolutely no idea what to do.”
She smiled. “I look forward to it.”
He almost burned to the touch at this point “calm down, you’re giving yourself a fever” Mateo pulled her close “thank you for saving me and staying here.”
“Just get better for me” They relaxed happily in eachothers arms. Just enjoying the bliss they inspired in one another. The next day he felt well and announced over breakfast that he and Gianna were dating. Tethys and Mateos family were thrilled “what better choice for you?” Thalassa said with an approving smile. She was glad he hadn’t chosen and of those ditzy gold diggers nor the rich spoiled brats that seemed to flock to her boys. He had chosen a strong woman with her own mind as Thalassa was so she couldn’t be happier.
“I’m glad you approve ma’am.”
“Well he needs someone to watch over him when his guards aren’t around.”
Gianna smiled warmly at the queen. “I think I’m up to the task.”
“Great my mom and girlfriend are going to gang up on me, I can see it already.”
Gianna grabbed his hand. “Is that so bad?”
He blushed. “Of course not.” He cleared his throat when he noticed his family and guards staring at him. “So, we need to find the bandits that attacked me. I don’t want anyone else getting hurt.”
“Perhaps Nerites and I could travel along the same stretch of road you were on when you were attacked.” Tethys said as she ate her breakfast.
“They attacked me on the road you found me on. There were some waiting in the trees and others laying in wait on the side of the road. They jumped out and tried to pull me off of Eos, but Eos refused to let them. She kicked one guy and that’s when one of them shot me. Eos is faster than any man or horse out there, that’s the only reason you found me alive, Eos refused to let them take me.”
“Do you remember how many?” Nerites asked.
“It all happened so fast, but I think there were at least ten. Their leader was a woman. She kept calling me a little boy, it was incredibly aggravating.”
“Do you think they will still be there Tethys?” Nerites asked.
“People like them don’t just move on because they’ve had one mishap. Most of the people they’ve been attacking were probably regular citizens that wouldn’t say a word out of fear and they most likely believe the prince is dead. I would say send his guardians, but I am sure they would be easily recognizable.”
“Perhaps Aetna and I can stay out of sight and be your back up just in case.” Attis suggested.
“sounds good to me. What about you Nerites”
“Of course, lets go after we finish our food” They ate their fill then all headed out. Mateo seemed a bit worried so Gianna gave his hand a reassuring squeeze. “Tethys is a dragon. If she needs to she can shift and kick their asses. Ten men will be a lot against her but with your brother, an ex assassin and firestarter at her side they will all be fine. I’ve heard your brother is more than capable of defending himself even though he has guards at times too”
“I can’t help it, he’s my brother. I’ll worry over my new sibling the same” Gianna turned her attention to the queen “How is your pregnancy by the way?”
“Going fine. Its the easiest one I’ve had honestly”
“Thats good to hear. Everyones excited for you and Pontos.”
“I hear it very frequently when I go out. If you are to be my sons girlfriend will the two of you spend time with us today so we can get to know you and you us. I know the people gossip but I’m sure you even know thats no way to truly know someone. It will keep our minds busy regardless as we wait”
“I’d love that”
Nerites and Tethys walked along the long stretch of road, both of them exuding a relaxed air. Attis and Aetna slunk through the woods on silent feet, looking like quickly darting shadows. “How far out should we go?”
“I’ll know the place when we get there. Since his blood was spilled, I’ll be able to smell it no matter how small the drops.”
He smiled. “I keep forgetting you’re a dragon. You look more like a priestess of the wilds.”
“We dragons are always wild.”
“The few I have seen in my life usually look so…”
“I guess you could say that, but I like that you’re different. You definitely look like you belong out here.” They walked on, both of them keeping alert, Tethys completely opening her senses so nothing could hide from her.
“So how far along are you?” Gianna asked the queen as they watched Mateo and Pontos shooting arrows, the former having wanted to show off his skill.
“Five months, I’m excited for the baby to get here.”
“May I feel?”
Thalassa smiled. “Of course.” Gianna rested her hand on Thalassa’s abdomen.
“Wow, it must be amazing growing a life. Some day, I would love to have children. Sometimes I wish I’d have all girls so their father wouldn’t know what to do with himself.”
Thalassa laughed and both men looked their way. “What’s so funny my love?” Pontos asked.
“Just discussing babies.” Thalassa answered with a smile.
“I want lots of them.” Gianna added and Mateo blushed.
Pontos laughed and hit his son on the back “I’d love grandchildren so whenever you two are ready” Mateo turned absolute beet red which had everyone laughing. When the men had resumed practicing with their bows Thalassa smiled again “My Mateo is so sweet. Has always been on the more innocent side of things.”
“I can tell”
“I think my older son is taking a liking to Tethys. Can’t tell if its in a friendship or romantic sort of way yet though”
“Tethys is even more wild than I could ever be. He’d have his hands full but she is a wonderful person”
“If she is your friend I don’t doubt it. How far do you two live from here?”
“Riding Tethys not too far. It wont be a problem to come here for us to see everyone. Occasionally we’ll stay a few days if you don’t mind”
“You two are welcome as long as you want anytime. We have many rooms and if you and my son want to share his room you can. He is an adult after all”
Mateo stayed in a blush until he had fired his last arrow into the target. Gianna clapped and ran to him, her arms going around his neck as she pressed her lips against his. “That was amazing, you hit the center every time.” She said with a joyous smile.
“Thank you.” Her smile was contagious and he found himself smiling warmly back.
“Perhaps you two should spend some alone time together.” Thalassa said.
“It’s fine, we’re sorry for uh getting distracted.” Mateo replied.
Pontos waved them off. “Go, I’ll put away the bows and arrows.”
“Okay.” Gianna grabbed his hand and he pulled her away, heading for the large garden near the back of the castle grounds. He loved it back there and knew she would too. “This is one of my favorite places on the grounds.”
“It’s beautiful.” She let go of his hand and moved to smell the flowers. There were so many bright colors that had her turning in circles to take them all in. She stopped when she saw Mateo smiling adoringly at her and crossed over to him, grabbing his shirt and pulling him close. “You’re wonderful you know that?” She said softly.
“Am I?” He felt his heart give that excited little flutter as he rested his hands on her hips. “You’re an absolute dream Gianna.” He leaned in and pressed his lips against hers, his heart beating quickly in his chest. He moaned at how sweet her lips tasted and found himself embarrassed. He tried to pull away, but she tangled her fingers in his hair and deepened the kiss.
Tethys froze for a moment when the smell of blood and people hit her nose. She cleared her throat. “They’re here.” She whispered.
She inhaled. “About ten or so, all men except for the leader. There are some in the trees, we’ll have to count on Attis and Aetna to take them out. We’ll deal with those on the ground.” She cocked her head to the side. “Get ready, they’re moving.”
The woman and her thugs Tethys had been talking about surrounded them. She laughed haughtily, as if she had already robbed them of all their goods. First we’re lucky enough to target the prince and now look at this, the future king and some crazy looking bitch. Hand over what valuables you have and we’ll let you live.” Pain yowls rung from the trees, signalling the bodyguards had started. Tethys shifted, sure Nerites was fast enough to dodge her growing form.
Once in transformation she whipped the lot of them with her tail, making sure not to his Nerites as he expertly fought. She was completely impressed that a man of such birth was actually this good at fighting. Only the leader was left alive so she could face punishment. Both Aetna and Attis held her painfully tight as they rode back on Tethys back.
Thalassa and Pontos greeted them upon their arrival and hugged their son. “Come on guys, do you think I’d actually let anyone get close enough to hurt me.”
“We know, but it doesn’t stop us from worrying.” Thalassa replied. “So did you stop them?”
“Yeah, Aetna and Attis are taking the bandit leader to the dungeon. I don’t think they were expecting a dragon, Tethys was pretty amazing.” He rubbed his neck.
“I wasn’t that amazing, I only did what comes naturally.” Tethys added. “Your son is extremely skilled with a blade, I don’t think I’ve seen anyone so graceful.”
“You have to watch Attis fight then, he moves like a dancer and never misses a mark. He taught me some things that come in handy.”
“I’m just glad everyone came back with no injuries.” Thalassa said with a warm smile.
Mateo’s heart was beating so fast he thought it might explode and his face was embarrassingly hot. “You okay?” Gianna asked as they walked slowly out of the garden.
“I’m fine, perfectly fine.”
She giggled and rested her head on his shoulder. “I’m sorry, was kissing you like that too much?”
“Not at all, it just seemed more uh…”
“Yeah, I guess.” He gave a small laugh. “You have very little modesty about such things and it’s going to take some getting used to. I mean it’s not like I have a family of prudes, my mother will talk about anything, but she was the Captain of the Guard before she got married and had Nerites so she’s not shy at all. I guess I’m just the odd man out.”
“I already told you to be who you are. Besides, I’ll have you out of that shyness before you know it.”
He smiled happily “I truly feel lucky you’re mine. Its nice to be around someone who really likes me and wants to be with me and isn’t just interested because of who I am” They walked inside and were glad to find his assailants were either dead or going to face trial for their actions. Thieves were lowly bottom feeders, especially ones that ganged up on people like that. Now they didn’t have to worry about the same thing happening to anybody else and Mateo could just enjoy the new love he had found with Gianna.
That night at dinner they got to know each other better, Gianna keeping Mateo in almost a constant blush as she teased him and Nerites sticking to Tethys’ side, having becoming extremely fond of her in the short time they had been together. That night both Gianna and Tethys decided to stay in the castle, the former heading to bed with Mateo who was even more shy to be sleeping next to such a beautiful woman. “Is everything okay?” Gianna asked as she tugged her clothes off and grabbed her nightgown out of her bag.
“You have no modesty.” He had his back turned and she started laughing. She tossed her nightgown aside and approached him from behind, her hands turning him around.
“Shouldn’t we get used to being naked around each other?” She had her arms around his neck and he could feel every inch of her pressed against him.
“I suppose that’s true.”
She slipped her hands down his chest and over his abdomen then beneath his shirt. Goosebumps covered his skin as her cool hands slid over him. “Let me undress you.”
“Okay.” He swallowed nervously, but let her push his shirt off. She kissed his chest and his heart leaped in excitement. She pushed him back onto the bed and tugged his boots off then hooked her fingers in the waist of his pants and pulled them off. She crawled onto the bed next to him and rested her head on his chest.
“See, it’s not so bad.”
He turned onto his side and brushed his knuckles over her cheek. “You’re so beautiful, I promise to get over this nervousness no matter what it takes.”
She smiled, grabbed his hand and pressed a kiss against his fingers. “Do you want to touch me?” She asked softly as she pressed his hand against her cheek.
“Y…yes.” She smiled and kissed his palm before pushing him onto his back and straddling him. She took his hands and pushed them against her breasts, making him grow hot and excited. He gently squeezed and she let out a little moan, giving him confidence so he squeezed a little harder and tugged at her nipples until they were hard. He slid his hands down her sides and around to her bottom, giving her cheeks and squeeze. “Is this okay?” He asked.
“I would tell you if it wasn’t.” He swallowed and moved so he was on top of her and she smiled lovingly up at him. “Do you want to make love to me Mateo?”
“I do but…”
She slid her hand down him and wrapped her hand around his hard shaft, stroking him so he was moaning. “You won’t disappoint me, I promise. I love you so anything you do will make me happy.”
It was sweet to Gianna how nervously he began to kiss her. She kept stroking him as their lips moved until he broke the kiss and began letting his mouth travel her body. She felt heat from her arousal and from his self doubting blush. Gianna concentrated on the pleasure so she wouldn’t smile at his adorableness and make him more self conscious. When he finally slid into her Gianna released an ecstasy filled moan. He felt amazing as his hard shaft pumped inside of her. His nervousness faded as he felt her liquid envelope him and her moans consumed his mind.
His pace kept changing but he kept going and driving her wild until he released inside of her. He blushed “oh god, I’m sorry. We didn’t”
“Its alright” she interrupted. “You wouldn’t mind getting pregnant?”
“No, of course not. You heard me outside right?” He smiled then laid next to Gianna. She pulled him close and he inturn wrapped his arms around her. “I love you my sweet prince”
“I love you too Gianna”
“That really was amazing”
“I’m glad, I was so worried”
“Now you know not to next time” Next time, that was a happy thought he took with him as they faded. His whole body proclaimed his love and need for her and so did hers for him.
~ The End ~