Issellta ate one last pickle, savoring every bite.
It’s been such a long time since we’ve actually spoken to each other. It will be so strange but wonderful to hear his voice again.
I don’t know how I’ll be able to talk to him without crying. I hope he’ll understand. Maybe he’ll feel the same way. Maybe he’ll cry too.
I don’t want him to cry, though.
I want him to be happy.
He picked up the jar of pickles and started to carry it to the fridge.
The kitchen door opened.
He startled hard and dropped the jar.
It hit the ground and shattered.
“Oh!” He knelt and tried to clean up the mess of pickles and glass.
Preyuna entered the room. “Don’t worry about that mess right now, Isellta. We need to talk.”
“Your Majesty.” He stayed on his knees. It felt safer down there.
She strode over to him.
He trembled. “Please. I.”
She stopped in front of Isellta.
He bowed his head and drew his shoulders forward.
“I need you to do something for me.”
“Your Majesty. Please. I can’t.”
“I’m not talking about that. I need you to kill Mark Caten.”
He raised his head and blinked quickly.
“I’m sure you can do it. So, do it. Get it done.”
He shook his head. “Your Majesty, I. I’ve never killed anyone before.”
She scoffed. “You had no qualms about throwing me at the kitchen doors. You had no qualms about throwing that vampire scum off the cliff.”
“That’s different. I wasn’t trying to kill either of you. I was just…moving you two out of the way.”
Her eyes turned white. “You disrespected me. You betrayed me. You let that filthy human live.”
“You don’t know what I’ve gone through because of your mistake.”
“I’m sorry, Your Majesty.”
“Prove it. Kill Mark Caten.”
“But. Our previous arrangement… You said…you…you said I wouldn’t have to kill him. I could just passively help. You never said—-”
“Things have changed, Isellta. Mark Caten is going to break your wings off. If you don’t kill him, he will break your wings off of your body. I will not be able to fix that and he knows it. You’ll be even less of a fey than you already are.”
He twisted his fingers. “Your Majesty. Can’t you…can’t…Isn’t there some magic protection you could put on me to protect me?”
His hands went still.
“Hrrash ka kae with me one more time.”
He shook his head.
“And this time do it right.”
He shook his head even harder.
“I won’t do it. You chased Robin away before I could even see him.” He raised his head. “You chased him away! I will not hrrash ka kae with you. I refuse.”
“Stupid boy.” Her eyes returned to normal. “This is not for me. This is for you. This is to protect you.”
“Jay will protect me.”
“That human?” She scoffed. “When is he going to do that, Isellta? He’s working a double shift today. He won’t be able to come anywhere near you. How is he supposed to protect you under those circumstances?”
“Then. Then, I’ll have to protect myself. I can, you know.”
She grabbed his shoulders and pulled him up to his feet.
He shuddered. “I don’t want to do it. You’ll just hurt me again. I don’t want to be hurt. Try to understand. I don’t want to do it. I don’t. I can’t. I physically can’t.”
“Hm. You physically can’t do it. I wonder how true that is.”
“You had me pinned down for five hours and nothing happened. That’ s how true it is.” He backed away from her. “I’m going to Jay’s room now. Just…stay away from me.”
“Isellta. You’re making a mistake.”
“No. I’m not.” He ran out of the room.