Author's Notes: I do not own Hallowmere or any of the characters. I am not Trent and I am not making any money off of this story. I was merely curious as to what would have happened if Ilona had been forced to join the Prince in Maiden of the Wolves and so for fun I decided to explore it. This is the result.
NOTICE: There are probably spoilers if you haven't read as far as Maiden of the Wolves. I really can't help it. Sorry
"Well, if it isn't my favorite pupil," Ilona lifted her gaze to match the Prince's and was more shocked than she should have been to see that he had Euan's face. He was smirking. She lowered her eyes before sliding them over to Varco who was still besides her. There was an unknown emotion in his brown eyes. He was staring at her in what could have possibly been a mixture of confusion and resentment that she had not told him earlier. Ilona struggled to keep her composure. "It is good to see you child-"
"I'll not join you," she tried her best to sound gruff and sure but her voice betrayed her. It cracked and she stuttered like a fool. All she got for her interruption was a cuff to the head from one of the senior soldiers behind her who had not left. Ilona tried hard not to wince. The Prince continued on as if he hadn't heard.
"-I trust you are well? And Corrine?" he asked. She noticed that his eyes flickered and it was not caused by the light.
Ilona stuck out her chin. "Corrine is gone. You'll never find her!"
The Prince's expression darkened. The air seemed to become thicker and Ilona involuntarily took a step backwards and got a prod from the man behind her. Then, the Prince smiled. The sudden change of expression made Ilona nervous.
"Why so pessimistic Ilona? I'll have you to help me," he moved closer, peering at her face. She dropped her eyes. "She won't hide from you."
"I'll not join you," Ilona repeated again, lifting her head to glare at the Prince. Euan's face held the smirk again.
"Child, you're bright enough to realize when argument is futile," the Prince chastised and glanced meaningfully at Varco.
Illona stiffened before nodding her head slowly in acknowledgment. The Prince always got his way and he wasn't afraid to threaten or kill to get it. Perhaps though, she wouldn't have to do exactly as he said. Maybe she could warn Corrine and the others despite Varco's warning against betraying the Prince.
Since the argument appeared to be over and the Prince seemed to have won, the Prince called Varco forward to swear his loyalty. It was probably to provide Ilona with an example of how good soldiers behave. Ilona didn't pay attention though. Her mind was reeling with everything that had just happened. What about the countess' maidens and her friends the maids? What about Jeanette? How could she help them now? What about the rathstone? What about her mission? What would Mrs. Brown think?
She was startled out of her thoughts by the Prince bending over the kneeling form of Varco. There was something in the air. She could feel it, and she fancied she could see something, though she wasn't sure what it was. When Varco stood up there was a strange expression on his face. He glanced over his shoulder at Ilona, giving her a look she couldn't quite decipher before leaving with the other soldiers. "Find him a place in the barracks," the Prince commanded and then they were gone.
It wasn't just her and the Prince in the room. There were guards who stood still as statues at the doors and from their stature and smell she assumed they were trolls. The Prince regarded her sternly for a moment before motioning her forward. "Come forward Ilona." he ordered.
Illona squared her jaw and glared up at him in response. "No." she said. "You're evil. You kidnap and kill my friends. I will not become evil." she wished for her sword.
The Prince laughed, but he didn't look amused. "Always the fighter," Euan's face smirked back at her. "Alright Ilona, I shall let you choose. We shall have a duel. If I win you will continue your lessons and become one of my elite soldiers," he regarded her with a tilt of his head, "swearing loyalty to me and doing all I command."
"And if I win?" Ilona asked.
The Prince made a light snorting sound of disbelief as if this was not possible before he gestured to her slowly. "What is your wish?"
"If I win you will let me and my friend Janette go back to the mortal realm and you will give me the countess' rath stone," Ilona said.
"Nothing for Varco?" the Prince asked raising a brow. "He will be disappointed to hear that."
Illona stiffened her cheeks turning red against her will. "Varco is not my," she hesitated looking for the right word, "friend. He is my lieutenant." she said quickly. Perhaps if she hid her affections for Varco the Prince would not hurt him to control her.
"I abhor liars, Ilona," the Prince responded. Ilona tried to stutter a response but the Prince held up his hand. "But it does not matter. We will fight tomorrow, and the winner will be the first to disarm their opponent. You accept the terms of our agreement?" Illona nodded. "Good," the Prince smiled at her. "In the meantime I shall have one of my guards show you to your quarters."
"What about-" Ilona started to ask.
"You shall see your lieutenant shortly," the Prince responded waving a hand as one of the troll guards stepped forward and grasped her arm. "Rest well Ilona. We'll start your training right after the duel," and Ilona's stomach sank at how sure he sounded.
At first she was pulled along by the troll, her nose wrinkling at his smell. Soon, however, he realized that she was following and let go of his death-grip on her arm. Even the guards knew that she had no escape. How long would it be before she was just another mindless soldier doing his bidding? No. Ilona shook her head so violently the troll glanced sidelong at her. She would win the duel. She had to.
The room she had been placed in did not look like a soldier's barracks. In fact, it looked more like a ladies' chamber. "What is this?" Ilona asked the troll.
"A guest room," the troll explained thickly as if she were stupid.
Ilona nodded and the troll left. So, she was a guest? She heard the key click in the lock and realized that she wasn't a guest. She was a prisoner.