Part 2563 – “Then, Follow Me.”

So. It’s as I expected. Eschia walked over to the door and opened it. She glanced around, but there was no one lurking outside the door or on the visible part of the staircase. She closed the door again and returned to Preyuna. “Robin is here? He really is here?”

“Yes.” Preyuna smoothed another crease. “He’s been locked in Caten’s dungeon for the past couple of days.”

Eschia looked back at the door. It was closed. There was no one else about, but she moved closer to Preyuna anyway. She lowered her voice as she asked, “And Isellta doesn’t know?”

“He hasn’t a clue. I intend to keep it that way.”

She glanced at the door again. Still closed. Still no one there. “Why?”

Preyuna stopped messing with the crease. She folded her hands and rested them in her lap. “I have my reasons.”

Eschia considered pressing her for those mysterious reasons, but decided against it. If she says that she has her reasons, then she has her reasons. If she is not willing to share them, that’s fine with me. The fact that she told me this big secret is more than enough. “Does Mark Caten know that Robin is here?”

“Yes, he does.”

Interesting. Caten knows, but Isellta is not allowed to know. Although, I suppose it does make sense. “May I see Robin?”

“It would be unwise to do so.” Preyuna’s hands remained calm and still. “He has not had anything to eat. He will be highly irritable and aggressive.”

Eschia bowed her head in understanding. “I appreciate your concern, Your Majesty. But I will not let him touch me.” She considered pointing out the fact that Robin couldn’t hurt her even if he tried. But why point out a fact that Lady Queen Preyuna, Queen of the Fey, already knows? “I will be careful.”

Preyuna regarded her with a calm, assessing expression.

“I will not let him talk me into releasing him or into bringing Isellta to him. I swear upon all of my happy memories of home that I will not.”

Preyuna’s expression relaxed. “Then, yes. You may see him.” She stood. “Follow me.”

“What? We’re going to see him now?”

“Of course.” Preyuna gave her a puzzled look. “Would you rather do it later?”

Eschia shook her head. “No. Now. Now is perfect.”

“Then, follow me.”

****

Both women were silent as they left Preyuna’s book nook domain and headed down the staircase. Eschia walked behind her queen as expected. She maybe have been verbally silent, but her mind was filled with worry.

Fey skin is one of the three hardest substances to break. So, Robin can’t kill me or injure me. But one doesn’t have to break skin to hurt a fey. Maybe this is a very bad mistake. Maybe this is something that can wait for another time, another day, another week. Maybe never.

Eschia frowned as she remembered Isellta’s reaction to her Robin disguise. But there is something about this vampire that pulls at Isellta. Something about him has claimed Isellta’s heart. I want to see it. I want to understand it so I can explain it to Her Majesty.

They left the room of staircases and walked up the hall.

I just hope this isn’t a horrible mistake. 

As they approached the door to the dungeon, Eschia wanted to hold Preyuna’s hand, like a little girl wanting to hold her mother’s hand, for comfort and protection. But she recognized the unseemliness of that action. It would be a nonverbal denial of her queenship. It would be a statement of equality between us. An equality that doesn’t in reality exist. She is my queen. I am her handmaid. I am beneath her in status. I will not bring her down to my level.

Preyuna opened the door to the dungeon. She looked at Eschia. “Are you certain you wish to do this?”

“Yes.” She said it without any hesitation. “I need to do this for both of our sakes.”

Preyuna looked puzzled by that statement, but she didn’t question it. “Then, follow me.”

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