“Did you have a nightmare” he asked.
I was fully awake and had forgotten who I was.
I just stared into his eyes as I touched his face.
What am I doing Realization that I was overstepping my bounds frightened me and I tried to jump out of the bed to get away from him.
He blocked me with his powerful hands, so all I could do was stand at the end and look at the dawn rising from the window.
The emperor rose and led me out of his chamber to a smaller one across the hall, painted blue and decorated tastefully.
“I’m sorry if I woke you,” he said, relaxing onto the new bed as if the rising sun had been a lie.
He was still captivating, lying languidly on the mattress with his strong, bare chest and messy hair.
My face bloomed red.
I could never get used to his looks, my heart feeling like it would explode every time I saw him.
I stepped back, but the emperor still had hold of my hand and pulled me back with a smirk.
“If you keep running away, I’ll have to tie you up next to me,” he said.
Would he really do something like that I thought.
I stopped trying to pull away.
“Come here,” he commanded.
I docilely let the emperor drag me towards him.
Even though he saved my life, there was still a chance I could die by his hand if he wanted me to.
He gave a tug and I fell onto the bed.
What is going on I thought as I looked up anxiously at him.
The emperor climbed on top of me. I know we sleep in the same bed, but if this is going to happen can you not be more passionate about it.
This isn’t the way I wanted it.
He looked down at me and wiped away the tears still on my face, with a soft caress.
The gentle touch was unfamiliar.
“Are you still scared” he asked.
I assumed he was talking about last night when the assassin almost killed me.
I shook my head in a hurry at his question.
I was uncomfortable and just wanted him off of me.
The attack had been scary, but I was more scared of this unfamiliar pressure on my body.
There was nothing but thin material between me and this solid, powerful man!
Help me! I screamed inside, my face turning red once again.
I wasn’t prepared for this, having never been in a relationship before.
I struggled to release myself but stopped from his sudden words.
“I’m sorry I couldn’t protect you.” He was serious.
His fingers trembled against my cheek.
Was he talking about me or Liliana again I hesitated for a moment, then patted him on the back to tell him it was all right.
I just wanted to run my hand through his hair but doing that would surely incur the wrath of the emperor.
I’m not Lily.
I tried to mentally instill this fact into his mind.
And you did save me.
He didn’t know that I could write, and though it was forbidden, I was sure he would forgive a letter to him, after reading how much I appreciated what he had done for me.
The emperor opened his eyes at my touch, then rolled off me to the side.
I couldn’t see his face, buried in the blanket, but I heard him release a long sigh.
Adjusting my clothes, I reminded myself to start wearing something thicker, despite the heat.
Looking over, he had turned back to me.
It was then, I realized his eyes had returned to the golden color they usually were.
The scarlet eyes I had seen last night, with their vertical pupils, were an aspect the emperor hated most about himself.
Whenever he got truly angry, his golden eyes turned crimson.
This was the same as the original story.
His eyes didn’t become red unless he was in serious danger or deeply offended.
I couldn’t fathom him becoming angry because someone wanted to harm a slave doll.
His true anger had been from him thinking about Liliana.
“Why don’t you question anything” he asked, suddenly.
I was shocked.
He had directed his words to me, not Liliana.
Perhaps he did know the difference between us.
“What’s wrong, Lily”
You can’t discern between the past, present, and future.
You aren’t sure who I am, are you I’m just a doll who lost my voice.
I couldn’t speak even if I was able too. My thoughts depressed me.
I couldn’t talk to him.
I couldn’t talk to anyone.
I couldn’t even sing.
The last thought was the worst.
Singing had been my passion.
I had been so consumed with adjusting to the imperial palace and the emperor, that it never bothered me it was gone.
I blatantly grabbed the emperor’s hand and brought it to my neck.
And, for the first time, I tried to speak.
“Ah…uh….” The sound came out like an evil spirit’s whisper.
It was frightening.
I felt a pain in my throat and the taste of blood, perhaps from forcing my vocal cords.
I began to cough.
The emperor’s face turned to ice.
I hurriedly let go of his hand and covered my mouth.
A final cough leaked through my fingers.
I shouldn’t have done this, I thought.
The emperor sat up.
He didn’t look at me and said harshly, “I understand.” Then he picked up his gown and left the room.