Ella grinned. “Tasim does have a strange sense of humor.”
Luna rolled her eyes. “I hate to break it to you, Ella, but your brother doesn’t have a sense of humor at all.”
“Oh, he does,” she argued, standing up and…looked sharply towards the bed. “What’s that?”
“What’s what?” Luna asked, peering in the direction where Ella pointed.
“That! There’s something under your…!” She backed away, shaking her head. “Luna, don’t make any sudden moves!”
Luna caught a hint of movement under her bed.
Quickly, she pulled Ella behind her. “Stay very still!” she hissed.
A snake peered out from under the bed. The ladies jumped back, startled by the sudden appearance of the serpent. Their alarm caused the snake to coil up, ready to spring. What happened next…well, everything quickly became a bit chaotic.
“Get out!” Luna hissed, grabbing her shoe and throwing it at the snake. Given two targets, the snake leapt towards the smaller, more easily obtainable target. “Get out of here Ella! Get out and–”
Tasim had heard the yelling and his temper flared! He’d just started to soften towards the beautiful princess, thinking that he’d misjudged her, that he’d allowed the rumors of her spoiled nature influence how he perceived her.
But as he walked by her suite, the yelling, “Get out!” halted his progress. He eyed the door, which stood slightly ajar, and heard, “Get out of here, Ella!”
What was Luna doing to his sister? She’d gone through too much over the years and he wasn’t going to allow some self-righteous, self-centered brat, regardless of her rank, to hurt his little sister! Granted, he’d piled Luna’s plate with broccoli last night, but that was no excuse to yell at Ella like that!
Bursting into the room, his eyes scanned the situation, taking it all in quickly. As Tasim watched, he saw Luna pushing his little sister behind her. Luna was protecting Ella? That appeared to be the case but…why was she telling Ella to get out of the room? Whatever issue Luna had with his sister, he wasn’t going to stand for his baby sister to be insulted.
Another shoe went flying towards the bed. “Are you seriously having a temper tantrum…?”
“Get out! Now!” she hissed, slowly inching backwards, her arms spread wide to ensure Ella stayed behind her.
He was livid at being ignored, but before he could respond, he registered the fear in his sister’s eyes. “Ella, come here!” he snapped, ready to scoop her up and carry her away. He wouldn’t stop in the hallway either. Ella had gone through enough in her life and he wouldn’t let her stay in this palace a moment longer if Luna, her future sister-in-law, was going to insult Ella. Not a chance!
Unfortunately, before he could get any sort of answer, another shoe went flying. Tasim finally realized that both women were looking down at ground level. The awkwardness of their body language finally clicked. This wasn’t a spoiled brat kicking someone out of her room. Something was wrong! A threat?
His blood went cold at the idea of his sister, or even Luna, being in danger. In the blink of an eye, he shifted from protective older brother into battle mode.
“No! Keep them out!” Luna whispered harshly, her arms still wide as she stood between Ella and whatever was on the floor near their feet. When the guards stepped into the room, quickly followed by Elon, every one of them took in the scene, assessing the situation, and coming to the same conclusion.
“What’s going on?” Elon demanded with a lethally calm voice, carefully stepping forward. But Tasim put a hand to his chest, stopping his momentum.
“That’s my sister!” Tasim growled in a low, nasty tone of voice.
“That’s my future wife!” Elon hissed right back. “Get out of my way!”
“Both of you stop right where you are!” Luna ordered, and the only reason she got through to her brother, Tasim, and the guards is because she whispered.
Both women were still staring at the floor near her bed, backing slowly away, inch by measured inch. “Just keep on slowly backing up and get out of the room,” she whispered to everyone, keeping her gaze on the floor.
“Luna?” Elon prompted.
“Just…go…now,” she repeated with a voice that seemed calm, but Tasim realized that she was terrified. He could see it in her eyes, sense it in the way she was backing up. And in the way she was protecting Ella.
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