As soon as Isellta was gone, Jay turned on her. “What is wrong with you? Why can’t you just leave the poor thing alone? He doesn’t want you. He will never want you.”
“You are stupid, human. Stupid and a fool. I’m not taking him against his will. He offered himself to me.”
“Only because you gave him no choice.”
She blanched. “He is one of my subjects. It is my responsibility to protect him.”
“By entrapping him into doing your will? How does that protect him?”
She scoffed. “You’re too overly emotional to fully understand. So, I will not waste my breath. Go back to your room, little boy. I will send Isellta to you when I am satisfied with his performance and I know that he is safe from Mark Caten.”
“What’s the point? You’re just like Mark—”
She slapped him across his face and headed after Isellta.
Jay sat in the rocker with his elbows on his knees and his hands pressed against his forehead.
He couldn’t think.
He didn’t want to think.
He sat in that position and waited for five hours.
The bedroom door opened.
He raised his head.
Isellta entered the room.
He didn’t look at Jay.
He didn’t say a word.
His wings hung limp on his back.
He climbed up on the bed and curled up with one of the pillows.
Jay came to the side of the bed. “Isellta. You okay?”
“Don’t touch me.” Isellta’s voice was soft and listless. “I hurt.”
“What did she do?”
Isellta tightened his grip on the pillow.
Jay sat on the bed.
“Everything. She did everything to me.” He closed his eyes. “Everything hurts.”
“Were you able to…”
Isellta let out an anguished cry and pressed the pillow tight against his body. He leaned his head back. “It hurt so much. I can’t. I can’t do anything.”
Why can’t she see what she’s doing to him? “Isellta. Come here. Let me comfort you.”
“No. Hurts. Touching hurts. Tired. So tired.” He hid his face in the pillow.
Jay’s shoulders slumped. “You can’t do this again. You hear me, kid? No matter what she threatens to do, don’t you ever do this again.”
He whimpered. “Okay, Jay. I won’t.”
It was a long train ride.
Robin spent most of the trip pacing and worrying.
But eventually the ride ended.
And Robin was finally in Henspence.
He followed the train station clerk’s directions to a large, overbearing cliff at the edge of town. “Darnation! Someone was feeling pretentious.” He looked at the long, curving drive.
He looked straight up the cliff face.
Taking the drive seems like the roundabout way of doing things.
He extended his claws and proceeded to climb the cliff.
All the way up to the top.
Preyuna dressed herself in silence.
And it was not a happy, relaxed sort of silence.
It was more like cactus spines and Russian olive thorns and rose thorns all bound up into a sharp lack of sound.
I’m like Mark Caten.
How dare he make such an accusation. Whether he’s right or wrong, he had no place saying so.
She brushed her hair until her silver strands almost glowed.
I kept trying to awaken him and I failed.
What am I doing wrong?
She set her brush on her vanity table. No. I am not the one at fault. It’s him. Isellta. There’s something wrong with him.
I don’t know if I can do anything more to protect him.
I did everything I could.
And he did not awaken.
Only that ugly human can awaken him and I don’t understand that. I don’t understand why.
It does not make any sense.
She rose from her seat.
“I need some fresh air.”