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Tumblr prompt: "Are you still taking Zoyalai prompts? If so, could you write about the first time they met?"

  • They first meet when he is Sturmhond and she is the Darkling’s favorite
  • Zoya runs into him when she’s visiting the King as a member of the Darkling’s delegation and he’s just exiting the throne room
  • She just huffs and sweeps away, but Nikolai waits outside until she’s done and asks her to join him for dinner as an apology
  • She looks to the Darkling, but he is distracted and brushes her off
  • So she accepts, thinking it would cause the Darkling to notice her absence
  • Nikolai goes the whole nine yards. They dine on the balcony on his room while a string quartet discreetly plays under them
  • Nikolai’s still playing the role of Sturmhond, so he smirks rakishly
  • “Why is it that a girl as pretty as yourself wasn’t scared of entering a stranger’s chambers?”
  • Zoya’s annoyed expression doesn’t change as she snaps her fingers and a strong gust of wind ruins Nikolai’s carefully styled hair
  • “That’s why.”
  • She’s pretty quiet throughout the entire meal so Nikolai fills the silence with tales of his harrowing adventures on the seas
  • She just sits and sips wine, but Nikolai is sure he saw her flash a smile as he told her about the time he accidentally fell off his own ship
  • After dessert, Zoya announces she’s too tired to walk back to the Little Palace and that she’s staying the night
  • She doesn’t let Nikolai touch her kefta though and takes it off herself before carefully draping it over the back of a chair
  • In the morning, Nikolai wakes up to an empty bed with no signs that Zoya had been there at all
  • All thoughts of the dashing Sturmhond are forgotten by Zoya as she has to deal with Alina stealing the Darkling’s favor
  • Nikolai knows it’s foolish to pine over her and tries his best to forget
  • When they meet again, Zoya doesn’t recognize Nikolai with his true appearance, but there’s something about him that she just can’t put her finger on
  • Nikolai does recognize her, but says nothing as she is nothing like the brash girl he had dinner with on that balcony