Part 635 – A Matter Of Trust

She is my Queen.

I trust her.

She’s my only ally in this place.

I trust her.

She needs me.

I trust her.

Isellta went down on one knee and bowed his head.

I trust her.

Preyuna came down to his level and laid her hands on either side of his head.

His natural instinct was to close his eyes and shield himself from her mental probing.

I trust her.

He opened his eyes.

He raised his head.

I trust her.

He looked up at her. “I’m ready, Your Majesty.”

“Good.”

Her irises turned white.

Her pupils widened.

His wings flittered nervously, but he held still.

I trust her.

She won’t hurt me.

I trust her.

She needs me.

I trust her.

I trust her.

I trust…

His wings flared out in shock and pain as she tore the individual memories from his mind.

Every word that Olessa said.

Every look.

Every laugh.

Every moment of torture.

His feathers bristled out. Some of them fell off.

She needs me.

She won’t leave me hurting.

She needs me.

She needs me.

She needs…

Preyuna released him.

He collapsed. His wings twitched sporadically.

“Do you have them?”

“Yes.” She sighed. “My Lord and Master.”

Isellta listened to their footsteps.

His footsteps left the room.

Her footsteps followed him.

She closed the door.

Isellta drew his knees upwards.

“Was this her plan all along?”

***

“Did you collect all of them, my lovely fey?”

I hate him.

“Yes. Every moment.”

Mark Caten grabbed her hand. “Show me.”

“Now?”

“Now. I want to see her again. My Olessa. My little girl.”

Preyuna’s expression softened. “As you wish.” She laid her hands on the sides of his head and let the memories flow in.

Mark Caten gasped softly as the memories flooded him. “Olessa.” Tears fell down his face. “Look at you.” His mouth twitched as if he were trying so hard to smile. “You. Oh. My little girl. So vibrant. Look at her laugh, Preyuna. Look at her laugh. Look at her…” He shook his head. “Stop. Just stop.”

She released him.

He wiped away his tears. “You will give me the rest later. Right now…I can’t right now. I just can’t.”

“Do you need me?”

He shook his head and walked away.

***

Hildreth glanced at Elsie and smiled as they walked down the street.

“What?”

“Elsie Vansing. You were worried about me.”

“Hildreth. I’m always worried about you. Plain truth.”

“Why do I have this strange feeling I should take offense to that?”

“Do you take offense?”

He wrapped his arm around her waist. “Elsie baby. You know I don’t.”

Her arm slipped around his waist.

“I like this. Right now, we could be anyone. Or just be any loving couple walking to their car.” He kissed her head. “You don’t have to worry, Elsie. I’m not burned out. Just…I don’t know. It’s so difficult sometimes.”

“I know.”

“When they’re that young.”

“I know. Believe me, Hildreth. I know.” Her fingers dug into his coat. “I had to stake a child.”

A moment of silence.

“She was a beautiful little girl. She could have played an angel in a school Christmas pageant.”

Another silent moment.

“She was someone’s child. She should have had a long, natural life. I had to stake her. I had to do it. And it killed me.”

“I’m sorry, Elsie.”

They entered the business area.

“Well. I think it’s time we jump subjects.” Hildreth smiled at her. “To something warm and luscious and inviting.”

“Hildreth, what on earth are you talking about?”

“Food!”

She laughed. “Of course.”

“It’s your pick.”

“You won’t whine and bellyache if I choose somewhere good?”

“Hon, you and I have different definitions of the word ‘good’ when it comes to food. But—” His smile made his eyes sparkle. “I’ll be good. No bellyaching here. No sirree.”

“Good. Because I know exactly where I want to go. It’s called ‘The Moss’.”

His mouth dropped open. A flurry of possible mental images flashed before his eyes. Most of them involved sitting on a toadstool, for some reason. “Moss?”

“Moss.”

“Good Lord, woman! What are you gonna make me eat?”

She laughed. “You’ll like it. Trust me.”

 

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