Charming looked down at Ella, “You're sure that's why they've been keeping me here?”
Ella drew lazy circles on his chest with her finger. “Yes, they believe the blood will keep them young. Your's will be especially strong because you are a prince.”
He flopped down on the pillow one hand covering his face, while the other squeezed her waist. Ella felt a twinge of guilt for bring this up after making love to him, but he needed to know. She'd known for a long time her aunt and uncle were monsters. Her aunt was a powerful sorceress, once a kind woman she had turned to the darker arts in an effort to save the man she loved. Yet like all things, blood magic had it's limits and it only postponed fate for so long.
Since he had arrived here Ella had grown attached to the prince, and she didn't want to see him bled like a pig. Propping herself up on an arm she looked down at Charming. “I'll help you escape, they can't perform the ritual until the solstice.”
“You'll come with me?” He flashed her those huge vivid blue eyes. “I mean you're a princess, and a sorceress your blood has to be doubly strong.”
She wiggled out of his arms, unnerved by his observations. “I'm their niece, family. They wouldn't use me.” She could hear the doubt in her own voice and knew Charming could too. “But I'll consider it. Now I need sleep if I'm to make the preparations.” Climbing out of the bed, she found her dressing gown and stole away through the secret passages. Charming had hit on one of her fears. Should Charming disappear her aunt and uncle could become desperate. While blood was thicker than water, love knew no limits, and she was uncertain how much her family loved her.
Leaving with Charming could also open a whole new world for her, one that she would never know in this castle. It went without saying that she would never marry, especially if her aunt and uncle kept killing her suitors. If she left with Charming nothing said she had stay with him, she could do what she liked once they were away. Yes she was warming up to the idea of being free of her monstrous family and traveling. In her chambers she lit a candle and sat at her desk penning a letter to a ship's captain she knew quite well. Surely no one would look for a runaway prince and princess on a pirate vessel.
“Wake up!” Ella hissed, poking Charming in the shoulder. They had to move quickly she wasn't sure how long the sleeping potion would last. His eyes popped open and he scrambled into a sitting positions rubbing sleep from his eyes. Ella tossed his pants and a shirt at him. “Get dressed we need to go. There is a horse waiting by the kitchen door to take us down to the dock. I've managed to procure us passages on a ship which will take us to Anvany.”
After tugging on his boots, Charming stood and she handed him a sword. Once it was buckled in place, she impatiently handed him a cloak and turned on her heel. Charming kept pace with her as they navigated the dark castle halls to the kitchen. The room was dark save the fire burning in the huge hearth. Ella quickly crossed the space to the door that lead out to the side of the castle, with Charming on her heels. A fidgety stable boy stood holding the reins of her horse. Taking the horse she dug a coin from the purse at her waist and gave it to the young man. Ella allowed Charming to help her into the saddle and take the reins. A sense of urgency flashed through her veins, as they galloped through the sleeping city. As they got closer to the docks the smell of salt water and dead fish accosted her nose.
“There.” She pointed to a ship with lanterns blazing. Sliding from the saddle as soon as the horse stopped Ella tugged the reins from Charming and handed them along with a coin to a man standing near the gangplank. He tipped his hat walking away as she and Charming rushed up to the boat. As soon as their feet hit the deck the ship pulled free of the dock.
Heart pounding she stood frozen for a moment, her mind reeling with what she had just done. Strong arms wrapped around her and she was suddenly being swung in the air.
“I knew you couldn't resist my wiles.” A booming voice said, still spinning her. Tipping her head back she let loose a freeing laugh. Her feet were set back on the deck and a hand tangled in her hair tipping her head as soft lips pressed hard against hers. Over the big man's shoulder she saw Charming turning an interesting shade of red and his hand wandering very close to his sword.
Pulling away she murmured, “Captain while that maybe the greeting in some countries here we are more formal.”He glanced over his shoulder at Charming, then tugged on his coat, eyes twinkling in the lantern light. With a wink he replied, “Right, sometimes I forget myself. Forgive me, Your Highness.”