“I won’t,” she shuddered, turning away from the men. “I will never become your wife. I would rather die.”
“That could be arranged if necessary. Again, my queen, you seem to retain a sense of privilege. I thought these years would have broken it. I like my women with spirit, but not this much.”
“I will never be your woman.”
“So you say. But I think you’ll break sooner than expected. I have found that everyone has a price. Money or power, I offer both, and you’d be surprised how motivating greed can be. Even the ones you don’t expect. People are slowly finding out loyalty to you comes with a hefty price.”
“Regardless of what they need to do to survive, I won’t be bought. You have no power over me.”
“You tire me. How my nephew put up with this, I’ll never understand. Choose a gown. I will have someone come down to clean you before the proclamation.”
The doors slammed shut as he led the cart of gowns inside.
She pushed against the side of the cart until it crashed on its side, gowns splashed into the puddle. White brocade darkened as the muddy water stained. She picked it up quickly, responding to the softness, a reminder of her previous life. She grabbed each gown, pressing the luxury against her cheek, her arms, and legs and then doused each gown in the mud and her tears.
She could not be bought.
-Dreamscape: Saving Alex 2014 Kirstin Pulioff