Maelin didn’t use her peace dragon magic to calm Isellta down. She just held onto him and comforted him. She let him calm down on his own.
And Isellta did calm down. He released his death grip on the back of her shirt. “I’m sorry, Maelin.”
“Sorry for what?”
“For surrendering myself to Her Majesty. I knew it was a risky move. I knew what she’d expect me to do.” He stroked her back. “I knew she’d hurt me again.”
“Did she hurt you again?”
His hand went still. He pressed his face against the side of her neck. His damp eyelashes prickled her skin.
Her heart sank at his lack of an answer. “Do you need to be healed?”
He shook his head. “She already healed my shoulder. It’s okay now.” Isellta’s hand resumed its motions. “It’s okay.” he singsonged as if she were the one who was hurt instead of him. “It’s okay. You’re safe now. It’s okay. Don’t cry. It’s okay.”
Maelin couldn’t help wondering if he were talking to her or to himself. “Isellta.” She paused a moment to gather up her thoughts. “Are you sure you want to do this to yourself? Are you sure you want to stay with Preyuna?”
“No? But what else can I do, Mae? She has said so many things that don’t make sense. They just don’t line up correctly.” He released her and sat back. “Mae, I think she knows where Robin is. If I wait long enough, if I’m patient enough, if I can just make her happy enough, she’ll tell me.”
“Oh, angel.” She gently rubbed away his tear trails. “You shouldn’t have to jump through so many hoops to get what you want.”
“I know. But, Mae. If she knows where Robin is, if I can convince her to tell me, I’m willing to jump through all of her hoops.”
“I know you are. But the point is you shouldn’t have to jump at all. If you want, I can talk to Preyuna and try to convince her to let you return to Jay’s care.”
Isellta shook his head. “But that won’t help. Mae, that won’t accomplish anything other than make her angry at me.”
“Then, I will try to convince her to tell me where Robin is.”
“She won’t tell you. Mae, she won’t even tell me.”
Maelin remembered the last time she tried to get information from the fey queen.
That wasn’t exactly a spectacular success.
“Let me do it this way, Mae. I will do my best to make her happy. And she’ll want to return the favor. She’ll want to make me happy too.” He hugged her again. “Don’t worry. I’ll be okay.”
She embraced him. “I don’t want you to just be okay, angel. I want you to be safe.”
Isellta exhaled a small breath. “I’m safe now.”