He laughed at the remark, doing just the opposite. He advanced closer to her, throwing his arms out wide in an expressive gesture. “Does my presence offend you so, Duchess?” he asked mischievously, his long robe trailing in the grass as he stepped toward her.
“I never called you stupid, heartless, or cruel,” he countered, his tone softening to sincerity as he came face to face with her. He let it hang in the air for a moment, then continued with a wry smile. “Unreasonable, perhaps… but I suppose it’s to be expected with such a delusional dreamer.” He grinned again, moving away to explore another nearby flowerbed. “And you are delusional, my dear!” he called, pointing at her in emphasis even as he moved away.
“You did call me stupid. It would be stupid to assume that you did not come here because you heard my singing. It would be heartless and cruel AND stupid to confine you both to quarters when you are meant to be proving yourselves, and so there is your ‘unreasonable’ claim hanging in the air by it’s neck. I did not want either of you here, as for my delusional dreaming…”
Her eyes filled with tears that she refused to shed. She was simply so angry she thought she might explode. ”You know nothing if you make that assumption. So yes, Padawan Kenobi, your presence offends me. And another thing. This is MY palace, I am not YOUR anything, and I am certainly not dear to you. You will refer to me by my proper title or not at all. It is I who runs this system, not you.” She spun on her heal to leave, her heart hammering angrily in her chest. ”Enjoy your peace, for you have given me nothing but contempt, may rest find you swiftly while you think upon that.”
He had only meant to tease her. Because intimidating though a creature she may have been to a thousand worlds, to him she was just a girl too young to be caught up in all of this political nonsense, stuck acting older than her age because men who didn’t even care for her all that much had ushered her toward the throne. It was unfair and ruthless, really, and all he had wanted was to lighten the mood with a little humor. But he realized now what a mistake he had made, and his expression softened as he heard her voice waver with unshed tears.
“Milady,” he called after her as she stormed away, hoping to stop her. Something in his voice had changed. It had all the formality she had asked of him, but none of his humanity. He would give her the posturing if it was what she really wanted, but it would never be conducive to any real sort of warmth. In the event that she turned toward him, he offered a low bow. “As you wish,” he finished, but the words were cold and meaningless.