Jay stiff-marched out of the room. His hands hung in tight knots at his sides.
Maelin closed the door for him. “How bad is it?”
His mouth twitched as he fought against the urge to sob and/or scream.
She rubbed his back from the middle all the way up to his shoulders. “Talk to me, angel.”
“That witch. That ungodly, unfeeling witch!”
“I don’t even know how the poor thing can walk around like that. He must be hurting so much.”
“Is he missing anything?”
“No. But…How could she…How could she hurt him so badly? He’s just a kid. He’s just this poor, sweet kid.” His breaths came out in hurting gasps.
She came around to his front side and hugged him tight.
He curled into her neck. “Mae. Help him.”
“Thank you.” He kissed her neck. “Thank you, Mae.”
Maelin entered the bedroom and closed the door. She took off her shoes.
Isellta hid his face behind his pillow.
She approached the bed. “Isellta. What is your full name?”
“Isellta Mal Hoven, Fey of the Nor’Eastern Fields.”
“My name is Maelin Tse Lae Razzhrrnae.”
He uncovered his face and looked at her with frank curiosity. “You have a fey first name and a dragon last name. Why?”
“My mother was Carrah Tse Laende, Fey of the Dryad Woods. My father was Bohai Razzhrrnae, a Chinese peace dragon from the Lower Province.”
He tilted his head. “Do you have a dragon form?”
“Unfortunately, no. My fey blood overrules my dragon inheritance.” She unfurled her wings – overlapping red enameled scales with a black skeleton leaf pattern along the edges.
“Ohh.” Isellta carefully climbed out of bed. He started to reach forward, but pulled back. “They’re so pretty. Can I touch them?”
She smiled. “Go ahead.”
He ran his fingers over the slick, smooth surface of her scales. His wings fluttered happily. “I’ve never seen a fey with such beautiful wings.”
Her smile grew. “It’s the amalgamation of my parents’ genes. I have fey wings with Chinese peace dragon scales..”
“Your father must be beautiful.”
The unexpected compliment caught her off guard. Any jealousy she felt about Jay’s feelings for him abandoned her. “He is.”
He lowered his hands. “You don’t seem like fey.”
“I get my good personality from my father.”
He blinked quickly.
“Chinese peace dragons are not like American dragons. They don’t have that whole destructive emotion problem. They bring feelings of peace to people who are afraid and heal those who are injured just by standing near them.”
“Why aren’t I healed, then?”
“My mixed heritage dilutes both my dragon and fey magic.”
“You have both?”
“Thanks to my mixed heritage.”
“Can you heal me?”
“If you will let me. Will you let me, Isellta?”
He hesitated. “Can I trust you? Will you be like Queen Preyuna and betray my trust?”
He twisted his fingers. “What if I tell you no? Will you hurt me?”
“Can I trust you?”
She smiled. “Just consider this: Jay is very fond of you and I understand why. Now that I’ve had a chance to really talk to you, I understand why he cares about you. If I hurt you, it will hurt him. He will feel that I’ve betrayed him.” She pulled her wings into her back. “I will not betray the man I love.”
Isellta’s wings fluttered. “You love him.”
“Of course.” She thought about him and saw him in her mind. “He’s a good man. He deserves to be loved.”
“Yes, he does.” The feathers on his wings bristled out and smoothed out. “Okay. I’m ready. Heal me.”