Part 907 – Opening Doors

Maelin kissed Jay’s sideburn. “We should get back to Isellta.”

“Can we stay in here?” He looked down at the few unfastened buttons on her shirt. “Just a little longer?”

She smiled and locked the door. “Just a little longer.”


Isellta opened the door and looked out into the hall.

He ducked back in as a couple of guards walked past in their red robes and carrying their spiked clubs.

He closed the door and leaned against it.

I don’t want to be seen.

I don’t want Her Majesty to catch me.

I could disguise myself as…

He stood up straight and smiled at the mask in his hand.

“As a guard.”


The robe didn’t fit right. It hung all wrong on his narrow shoulders and absolutely engulfed his long, thin frame.

He straightened his posture.

That barely helped.

The mask was also wrong. It didn’t look a thing like the masks the other guards wore.

I just hope no one tries to look at my face.

I hope I don’t get caught.

He opened the door and stepped into the hall.


Preyuna opened her door and stepped into the hall.

All of her anger came surging back.

It’s Isellta’s fault.

He promised to help me.

Instead, he helped my enemy.

He dared to help Mark Caten.

I will punish him.

She marched ahead, magically shoving people out of her way.

Isellta will pay for this insult.

He will pay for my suffering.

Even if I have to break his wings myself.


Jay kissed the line of Maelin’s nearest shoulder as she slept.

“mmm. I love you.” he whispered on her skin. “I want to marry you. I want you to choose me over your wanderlust. Stay with me.”

She rolled onto her back.

He kissed the hollow of her throat. “Am I really asking for too much? I feel like I am. I can’t help it. I love you, Mae.”

He kissed her neck.

She opened her eyes. “Jay.”

He kissed her lips. “I know.” He smiled ruefully. “We should get back to Isellta.”


Isellta strolled down the hall, trying his best to look like he’d been there all his life.


Certain of where he was going.


Loads of swagger.

A passing guard fist-bumped his back. “You might want to cool down on all that confidence. If Caten saw you, he’d get all put out. Mark Caten is THE swagger king. At least, that’s what he thinks.”

“Oh.” Isellta stopped and looked back at him. “I’m sorry. I’ll try to be less confident.”

“Eee! You’re soooo cute. But I’m sure you already know that, right? Am I right?”


“I bet you’re a total doll under that mask. Mind if I have a peek?” He reached forward.

Isellta backed away from him. “Ummm. Maybe next time.”

“Such a tease! You know, it’s too bad I already got a significant other. I’d totally go for you.” He playfully punched Isellta’s upper arm. “See you around, Doll Face.”

“Ummm.” Why is it suddenly so warm in here?

Must be the robe.


Preyuna walked down the hall. She carried herself with pride and dignity. No matter what Mark Caten did to her, she refused to be humbled. She was a queen. She would never see herself as a servant, walking with bowed head, groveling at her master’s feet.

The people around her were far beneath her notice as they moved past her. She saw them only as extensions of Mark Caten.

Then, she caught sight of a guard in an ill-fitting robe talking to another of his kind. But that was all the notice she gave them. She focused on getting to her destination: Jay’s room.


Isellta saw Preyuna walk past and nearly passed out with relief. He turned his back to her and walked briskly all the way to the front door.


Maelin smiled as she walked beside the man she loved. She straightened his collar and smoothed her hand down his back.

If only I could stay with him forever, I would.

“I love you, Jay.”

He wrapped his arm around her waist and pulled her in close.

She leaned her head against him. “I really do love you.”

“I know.” He kissed her head. “I love you too. Always will.”

“No matter where I am.”

“No matter how long we’re apart.”

“I will love you.”

“I will always love you.”

They turned the corner.

Just as Preyuna entered Jay’s room.


Preyuna entered Jay’s room and glanced around.

Isellta was nowhere in sight.

She wasn’t impressed.

She approached the bathroom.


She stopped and looked back at Jay and Maelin.

“What are you doing in my room?”

“Looking for Isellta.”

He scoffed. “Amazing. You’re not gonna even try to come up with a fake reason.”

“Why would I?”

Maelin glanced around. “Where is he?”

“I don’t know. He doesn’t seem to be in here.”

Jay scowled. “If you’ve hurt him, if you’ve touched him, if you’ve done so much as breathe on him—”

“Oh, stop talking, you idiot human. If I damaged him, I would flaunt it in your face.”

Maelin walked around the room.

She checked the bathroom and the closet. “Jay. He isn’t here.”

Jay thought about it. “Maybe he’s in the control room.”

“I walked past the control room.” said Preyuna. “It was empty.”

“Jay. I have a bad feeling about this.” She grabbed onto his arm. “What if he’s trying to go home?”

Preyuna flared out her wings and bristled her feathers. “He’ll get himself killed. We must stop him.” She flattened her wings and they disappeared into her back. “Right now.”




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