Isellta returned to his room.
An irrational flash of panic hit him as he crossed the threshold. He glanced around, searching for…he wasn’t even sure what.
Something had changed in his room. Nothing physical. Just something in the atmosphere.
He didn’t feel safe. Something was standing just out of sight, ready to pounce on him and push him down and hurt him again and again.
Isellta stumbled back out into the hallway.
The feeling lessened, but it was still there.
He wrapped his arms around his chest and shivered.
I can’t go in there. I can’t. I don’t know why. It doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t make any sense. He whimpered as the fear stroked his skin and toyed with his wings.
He turned and ran.
The fear chased him with open jaws and hungry teeth.
He pushed himself to run faster.
The fear caught up to him, snapping at his heels, grabbing his wings, plucking his feathers.
Reaching with bloodied claws for his skin.
Isellta tripped and fell hard.
The fear dove at him, blanketing him, suffocating him with its touch.
Isellta curled up and hid his face. He sobbed into his hands.
“Hey!” Someone touched his shoulder.
He shuddered and sobbed even harder.
“Hey.” Jay knelt next to him. “Hey, it’s all right. It’s just me.”
Isellta peeked up at him.
Jay wasn’t wearing his mask. So, the fey could see the concern on the man’s face.
Isellta sat up and hugged him. He cried helplessly, unable to speak.
Jay hugged him. “It’s okay. It’s okay.”
Isellta dug his fingers into the back of the guard’s shirt.
“It’s okay, kid.”
It isn’t okay. It isn’t. It’s miles and yards from okay.
I don’t know if I can be okay again.
And I don’t understand why.
It took Isellta a couple of hours to fully calm down.
“So, what happened?”
Isellta thought about it. “I think my room is haunted. I tried to go in there and this feeling, this horrible feeling came over me. I felt afraid.”
Jay’s face fell. “Oh, you poor kid.”
“Something in there wanted to hurt me.”
Isellta blinked quickly. He looks like he wants to cry. Jay wants to cry. Why? It doesn’t make sense.
“How could she hurt you like that?” Jay rubbed the tears from his eyes. “You just stay away from Preyuna from now on. You see her coming, you just run. You hear me?”
“I hear you, but I don’t understand. What does Queen Preyuna….”
Snatches of unwanted memories surfaced.
He shuddered and looked away from Jay.
He hid his face with his hands.
Jay hugged him. “You can stay in my room. You won’t find any ghosts in there.”
Preyuna waited for Mark Caten to get dressed and gone before she opened her eyes.
Am I becoming like him? I take what I want and go away.
What I feel.
How I feel.
Am I becoming a cold heart like him?
No. I have always been this way.
I am Fae.
I am Queen of the fey. It is not in my nature to be overly emotional about my harem members.
But am I becoming like him? The man I hate.
Expecting everyone to meet my demands.
Again, I am a Queen.
What is right?
What is wrong?
What is me just being me?
And what is me being corrupted by that man’s touch and voice and influence?
Where do I end and where does he start?
When Ambrose Smith kills him, will I become the Queen I once was? Will his influence on my mind and character disappear?
What if it doesn’t?
What will I do?
Will I still be fit to be Queen?