The Perfect Prince

By: Michelle M. Pillow

Dragon Lords: Book Two


Chapter One



Nadja Aleksander inhaled a troubled breath as she took one last look around her room aboard the medic ship. Silk draped the walls, rich and luxurious. Every modern convenience known to space was at her disposal. She had a beauty bed, maid service, and a personal medic unit that checked her blood levels every morning and automatically wrote out her diet for the day.

Nadja had grown up in spacious rooms just like this one, traveling the galaxy with her surgeon father as he moved from medic assignment to medic assignment. She had seen many things, discovered many cultures and places. She had been accepted into the most royal of homes. She had been given everything she could ever want, except her freedom. It was a prison of gilded bars, but a prison nonetheless.

She wrapped her light brown hair into a bun at the nape of her neck and whipped a cape around her shoulders. Her heart thudded nervously as she contemplated what she was going to do. She had never been on her own before, never been without family close by.

She set a letter on her dresser for her mother and hoped the woman would forgive her, even if Nadja knew she would never understand her need to leave. The thick folds of the cloak enveloped her completely with its fur lining. Going to the metal door, she slid it open with the push of a button, and then paused to listen.

Below her deck level she could hear the celebration that would last late into the morning hours. It was her engagement party and no one had noticed that the bride-to-be had been missing for nearly two hours. It wasn’t about her anyway. It was about the joining of two men--her father and Hank, his Medical Alliance associate.

She grabbed her bags, flung them over her shoulders and made her way across the ship’s hall to the elevator shaft that led down to the docks.

With a press of a button, she was whizzed down to the docks. No one seemed to notice her as she rushed from the medic spacecraft, through the hanger darkened with night. When she crawled under the pilot’s window, she heard a woman giggling within the cockpit. Irvette would be keeping the pilot occupied for the rest of the night, so Nadja had nothing to worry about. She hurried past the small luxury crafts and the personal units waiting in line for their maintenance the next morning.

Nadja came to a corner but just kept walking, not knowing where she would go. A guard smiled kindly at her as she passed. He glanced at her bags and motioned her to move further down the corridor to a carpeted docking plank reserved for first class. She followed his direction curiously and saw a bunch of women loading into a nearby craft. Above them was a banner that read Galaxy Brides in curving script. She took a deep breath and pulled down the hood of the cape.

A uniformed man with a clipboard looked her over and smiled.

"Are you here for a last minute replacement?" he asked.

Nadja nodded.

"Sign here," he said, handing over the clipboard. "We are several short so they will take care of your health screenings in flight. You’ll have room 206 on platform two. It’s the room all the way to the back. Ship orientation is tomorrow at 9:00 AM."

Nadja signed her name and handed the clipboard back. Her fingers shook nervously.

"Galactic identification?" he asked. Nadja gave him the card and he barely glanced at it. "Perfect, Miss--ah--Aleksander. Welcome aboard the flight to your future!"

"Excuse me." Nadja’s voice was soft and low. The man turned to look at her. "Do I owe you anything for the flight?"

"No, Miss. Galaxy Brides Corporation owes you." He smiled happily.

"I wish to evoke the right of privacy law. If anyone asks, I’m not here," she said. Her voice was soft and demure.

"Police?" the man questioned in surprise, though the idea didn’t seem to concern him. He had a quota to fill.

"Stalker," she whispered. The man nodded in understanding. Nadja glanced around and saw a red headed woman standing in line behind her. She lowered her voice, and said, "He won’t leave me alone, so I am leaving."

"I’ll make a note, Miss. That won’t be a problem." He began writing on her file.

"And, by the way, where are we going?" she asked, her voice again mild and unwavering.

The man laughed. "Most women ask before they come down here. It must be some maniac you are trying to get away from."

Nadja gulped but said nothing.

The man reigned in his humor, and answered, "You’re heading to Qurilixen, Miss."

Nadja nodded and the man left to check in the redheaded latecomer. She hesitated, looking again at the banner. A droid came forward to grab her bags and began leading them up the plank. This was it. This was her ticket to freedom.

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