Malich looked both amused and conflicted to have set eyes upon her. If he thought she would just sit idly by while he married some stranger, he didn’t know her very well. “Arya, what the fuckare you doing here?” Malich asked.
“You left coin beside my bed as if you’d bought me from a pleasure house. You knew that would offend me and I’ve come to return the favor.”
“And you’re an arsehole.”
“Do you know whose in the other room? My family. The ones who tried to have you killed while I watch.”
“Of course darling. I came all this way to meet the little arseholes, but as for that other matter, I decline your proposal of marriage,” she slipped his grasp and headed back into the banquet hall. “At least until further notice. Perhaps you should start being nicer to me.”
Arya didn’t wait for Malich to follow before entering the banquet hall and taking her seat. Dax glanced between Arya and Malich; neither of them had counted on her showing up here unannounced.
“Forgive my foul language earlier,” Arya donned her most royal of smiles, “Tis a small lovers quarrel is all.”
“Nothing too bad I hope?” Kahlem raked his eyes over her. His interest peaked.
“It appears my love has a small function problem,” Arya teased. The meaning of her words was so vast that she fully intended for them to take them the wrong way. Sniggering erupted at the table and Malich narrowed his eyes at her. She winked at Malich, “No worries dear, I hear it happens to every man at some point.”
The snickering turned into full-blown laughter now. If he were a lesser man, or lacking confidence, he might have taken offense and fallen into her trap.
Malich ignored Arya and turned his attention to Kahlem. He noticed the way his eyes lingered and bristled. Although she attempted to be more of a thorn in his side than a brilliant sidekick, she’d managed to do the unthinkable. She’d managed to win Kahlem’s favor.
Studying her, Kahlem turned to Malich. “I likeher. No wonder you’ve kept her under lock and key. She has both beauty andbrains.”
Arya returned his smile with one of her own, “Your flattery is appreciated.”
“Enough,” Malich glared at her. His tone was sharp and full of warning. His jealousy was monstrous. “Shall we get back to business?”
“Indeed brother,” Kahlem inclined his head. “As reported, you will receive back your land, your title, position at the kings table, your inheritance, your name and reputation restored, and access to all resources the house of Jarrah holds.”
“In exchange for meeting my beloved,” Malich reminded him.
Kahlem grimaced, “Not quite. In addition to meeting your beautiful companion, I want access to the Red Legion.”
Again Malich bristled. “You spoke nothing of this during our negotiations.”
“Well I’m speaking of it now.”
Arya swallowed hard. The red Legion was Malich’s. Surely he saw the dangers of exposing the Red Legion to a man that would frame him for murder and steal that which didn’t belong to him.
“One condition,” Malich sighed, “Your access must go through me and I will maintain my position as Majii to my people. I must approve all charges, and you must adhere to our code. No children, depending on the offense no women, and we start nowars.”
“Conditions granted,” Kahlem nods.
“Likewise,” Malich returns the gesture.
Servants arrive with delicious fruits and various types of meat. Arya went to take a bite of her food when Malich stopped her. She was starving. Leaning to whisper into her ear he informed her, “First a taster samples the food to make sure it isn’t poisoned and then you can eat. I wouldn’t want you to die before I get a chance to punish you privately.”
“Promises-promises,” she whispered back. “You should be thanking me. Your brother would have seen right through a surrogate.”
“What makes you so certain?”
“Since I’ve arrived, you haven’t once stopped undressing me with your eyes. The fire inside them is much more natural with the proper inspiration,” she uncrossed her legs revealing the slit in her dress and giving him a brief glance of her nethers before crossing with her other leg.
“Gods,” Malich gasped, “What am I going to do with you?”
“Whatever it is, I prayit lasts forever,” she purred.
Amused by their private conversation even though he couldn’t actually hear what they were saying, Kahlem cleared his throat. “Perhaps you’d like to share your conversation with the room. Its rude to exclude all in attendance.”
“I doubt all in attendance would like to hear the salacious details of what my love plans to do to me later,” Arya replied. Kahlem practically choked on his water. “I’m tired, are we done here?”
“Aye,” Kahlem nods, “I’ll have the treaty written up and sent to your room. Or will you be too busy?”
“He’ll be too busy, but he’ll send for your treaty once he’s free,” Arya bat her eyes. She felt like an idiot, but mocking this charade was more fun than actually listening to it.
She stood up to leave and Malich followed. She had no idea where she was going. “Where exactly are we going?” She asked.
He led her down a long corridor to a completely different wing of the house and into his room. This was more luxury than she was accustomed to. It put her cot within the Red Towers and Red Keep to shame.
“So thisis how the other half lives?” Arya smiles.
“Do you have any idea what you’ve just done?”
“You’re not smiling,” she realized.
“Now everyone knows what you look like.”
“Well I won’t just stand by and watch you marry someone else. You expect too much from me Malich,” she argued.
“Too much,” he seethed, “Kahlem will stop at nothing to either capture you or kill you.”
“Capture or kill one of the most deadliestassassins in both your bed and your employ? Let him try and I’ll send his soldiers back to him in pieces.”
“You don’t get it,” Malich shook his head. “Look at me…what do you feel?”
“Anger. Boiling. Red-hot. Anger. And a lack of gratitude on your part.”
“Seriously Arya, look at me…what do you feel?”
Humoring him, she focused on his features…the look in his eyes, and the energy around him. Suddenly she was hit by a suffocating sexual energy and quickly realized it was coming from him. He was just standing there, but he was putting off enough sexual energy to attract every female within the planes.
Arya recalled reading about this in her history books and tried to place its origin. When it came to her she gasped, “Holy Gods! You’re Fae?”
Malich nodded. He held up his fingers and small electric bolts danced about his fingers. “It’s been a while since I’ve felt my own power,” he marveled at it, watching it dance along his fingertips and then the back of his hand before disappearing.
For the first time she felt as if she knew nothing about the man standing before her. “Why haven’t you told me?” She asked.
“Does it matter? It changes nothing.”
“What else are you not telling me?”
“In due time I swear I will tell you all you need to know,” Malich pulled her into his arms, “but right now, all I want is for you to take off this ridiculous dress and lie between the sheets with me.”
Arms folded, Arya had no plans to acquiesce. Its just like him to pull the rug up from under her and expect her to just roll with whatever came next.
“Please,” Malich begged. He knew she enjoyed the power she had over him and wouldn’t be able to resist wielding it. Resting his head against hers, he unfolded her arms and traced kisses along her neckline to her shoulder. “For Anan’s sake, take off your clothes.”
That power worked both ways and he would wield it as much as he would take it. Unsure of what to do, she just stood there, her mind going through all of the reasons she didn’t like him keeping things from her.
Malich unfastened her dress and it fell to the floor. He pulled the string to loosen the gown underneath and it too fell to the floor.
Looking into his eyes, she fell prey to his preternatural sexual efficacy. He undressed himself; neatly hanging his clothes on the back of a chair and turned her around so her back was to him. He promised her punishment for her earlier antics, and bending her over the desk inside the room, did…he…ever.
He punished her from the desk, to the wall and then eventually to the bed. Exhausted, Arya fell asleep. When she awoke, Malich was gone but there was a guard posted in the room. Wrapping the sheets from the bed around her, she ran herself a bath. The soaking massaged her aches and pains away.
She dressed once she was done and turned to the guard posted in her room. “Where is the Majii?” She asked. The guard wouldn’t speak. He kept his mouth shut and his head down. Perhaps he was given orders to watch, but not to speak. “The Majii isn’t present, you have my permission to speak. I swear it will stay between us.”
Still nothing. Growing more aggravated by the second, she gripped the stilettos at her side. Perhaps he’d find his tongue if she put a stiletto through his trachea. She brandished her weapons but he didn’t flinch. His resolve was unwavering. He’s as stubborn as she is.
Arya flung the stilettos at the guard, impaling the hood of his cloak to the wall on each side of his head. Slowly he looked up at her, revealing his face, and her heart slammed into the wall of her chest. “Ihsan?”ns 220.127.116.11da2