Preyuna took a breath and exhaled.
I’m glad I’m not human. Otherwise, I’d be shaking right now.
She knocked on the door.
She entered Mark Caten’s room.
“Oh. You.” He resumed drawing. “What do you want? I didn’t call for you.”
“I know you didn’t.” Preyuna walked over to him.
She looked down at his drawing. “It’s very good.”
“It’s junk. I can’t get Olessa’s eyes right.” Her furiously erased the eyes and started again on them. “No matter how hard I try, I just can’t get them right.”
“Could you draw me?”
He stopped. “For what?”
“They say a true artist reveals his thoughts and feelings in every piece he creates. You can look at any one of his creations and know exactly how he felt about the person posing for him.” She wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed his ear. “I would love to see how you see me.”
“You have no ulterior motives?”
“Nothing more than what I said.”
He swept the erasings off the page. “Sit.”
She tried to sit next to him.
“Tch! Not next to me. On the floor.”
Hatred surged through her veins, but she obeyed.
“Not so straight. A little more slumped. Lower. Lower than that. Like you’re groveling. Perfect. Hold your head a little lower. Eyes just peeking upwards. Perfect. Stay like that and don’t move. Don’t even talk.”
It was the longest four hours of her life.
Preyuna stood to survey the damage to her pride. She gasped softy.
He frowned at the paper. “It’s not my best. I did it too fast.”
Preyuna crouched on the paper in shades of penciled gray. He had not drawn her as a queen with regal bearing.
But he had not drawn her as a slave or a victim.
He had drawn her as something primitive and savage. She was barely dressed in animal skins. She clutched a spear in her right hand. Her left hand stretched flat on the ground. Her wings flared out in an aggressive display.
Her eyes stared upwards with a savage beauty.
And this is how he sees me.
Mark Caten watched the shock and awe happen on her face.
And I win this round.
She stroked the paper as if it were something alive.
“I can do even better than that.”
She blinked quickly and moved her hand away. “What are you planning to do with Isellta?”
The subject jump confused him, but he decided to just roll with it. “You mean Olessa’s little fey?” He shrugged. “I have his memories. I don’t know what to do with him.”
“Give him to me.”
“I have uses for him.”
He laughed. “Starting a harem here, Preyuna?”
She shrugged. “I might as well, since you will never let me return home.”
“How cute.” He rose to his feet and crowded into her personal space. “But don’t forget, my dear, I come first. Every day. Every night. I say come, you come. No matter what.”
She regarded him with the dangerous calm of an iceberg. “I won’t forget.”