Jay pulled his weapon out of the storage closet and went to his usual position by the door.
“Oh.” Mark Caten lowered his newspaper. “Look who finally decided to grace us with his presence.”
“I’m sorry, sir. Breakfast ran a little longer than I’d expected.”
Mark Caten smirked. “Well, if you didn’t spend most of the morning snuggling with your shack-up geisha girl, you would have been here on time.”
“How did you—”
“Hahahahahahaha! I have eyes everywhere, guard. Everywhere.”
I can never take a shower here again.
Mark Caten tapped his lips with his index paper. “She has a great body. Can’t blame you for wanting to top that.”
Jay’s face burned.
“Your body, on the other hand, psh! I’ve seen so much better in my mirror every morning.”
I should just crack his skull. I’d claim it was an accident. My hand slipped or something.
“I could show you HOW much better, but I don’t want to worsen your inferiority complex, which you undoubtedly have from seeing me every day. I am a god among men, you know.” He daggered a look at the guard.
Oh. He wants a response. “Yep. God among men.”
Mark Caten smugged a smile and settled behind his newspaper again. “Oh, by the way. Since you were late coming up here, you get to stay with me allllll day. Don’t you feel super blessed?”
At least, I’ll be able to escape for lunch.
“Oh. And no lunch for you.”
I am going to die.
As they walked down the hall, Isellta tilted his head. “That place I saw in the healing magic…that beautiful forest…Is it real?”
Maelin smiled. “Yes.”
“What is it? Where is it?”
“That’s my home in the Dryad Woods. It is the place I go to whenever I’m hurt and it always heals me.”
“Where is it? Is it in this world?”
She shook her head. “It’s in our world. Just outside of the Fey Realm and on the borders of the Wood Elves’ Realm.”
“Could you take me there?”
She shook her head again. “You are magically bound to this house. I can see it: thin lines connecting you to this place.”
“Can you break them?”
“It’s simple fey magic, but I lack the power to break it.”
“I don’t want to ask her for help, but could Queen Preyuna break it?”
She shook her head. “The magic binds her too. Only the owner of this house can release you.”
She nodded. “And he won’t.”
Isellta stopped walking. “Then, I can’t escape? I’m stuck here?”
She stopped in front of him. “Not necessarily. If Mark Caten dies, all binding spells uttered for him and under his name will be broken.”
“Does that include spells that block teleportation?”
“If it was done for him and with his permission, yes.”
“Ohh.” That’s why Queen Preyuna wants him dead. That makes sense.
She smiled at him. “I can’t take you to the Dryad Woods, but I can do the next best thing.”
“I can paint it for you.”
His wings flapped. “Would you really do that for me?”
Her smile grew. “With no conditions or attachments. I’ll do it just for you.”
He took a step forward to hug her, but chickened out at the last moment. He took her hands and squeezed them. “Thank you.”
“Come. You can sit and watch me paint.”
His wings flapped even harder.