The threat continued to grow despite having captured one of the creatures responsible. Evander and his soldiers experimented on the creature, learning its strengths and weaknesses. The light seemed to be its only weakness and its strength was the darkness that swirled around it. For the most part the creature had no mind of its own, only orders. Destroy and bring Arya’s soul to its master.
Malich tried not to think about the stubborn girl. She had the will of an ox and still refused to go to her former lover to see what may lie between them. Every time he caught a glimpse of the pain in her eyes he wanted to take it all back. He saw how much calling off their engagement had hurt her.
“Are you and Arya anywhere close to a reconciliation?” Dax asked.
“Then I will have to deal with yet another alumni falling at her hands. Last turn she drove her sword through Akil, Nam, and Zeran. Just this morning she opened up Zahn’s upper thigh. At this rate we will be down every alumni within our arsenal in under a term.”
“You, Asherah, Mekhi…you all asked me to stop seeing her and so I have. Deal with the consequences,” Malich waved him off.
“I asked you to give her a choice, not toss the poor girl out like the mornings waste,” Asherah corrected, letting herself into Malich’s chambers. “I see you’ve settled in at the Summer Court quite well.”
“I’m almost completely moved in to my humble new estate,” Malich waves his hand at the palace his brothers had gifted him after ravaging the land and homes within his territory.
The palace had crumbling walls, a roof with holes in it, and dead landscaping. In short, they’d gifted him a pile of shit. He was sure they were laughing themselves into a stupor about it, but he wasn’t about to let them win. He started renovations on the palace immediately; adding a few embellishments that would make his brothers’ palaces seem like the pile of shit they’d given to him.
“Kahlem’s sense of humor is still in tact, I see,” Asherah took in the ruined palace.
In a sarcastic tone Malich replied, “He’s a regular riot, that one.”
“I saw dragons over my estate this morning. Yours?”
He nodded. “We’re moving the alumni training camp.”
Malich turned to meet his aunt’s gaze. She liked Arya; he could see it in her eyes. Arya grew on his aunt in the short time they’d been engaged. “She will be moving with them I suppose.”
“Are you punishing her or yourself?” She asked.
Malich swallowed hard. “Perhaps a little bit of both.”
“She loves you nephew.”
He frowned, “Does she?I thought you said it was obedience.”
“Perhaps she’s obedient because she loves you,” Asherah offers.
“Arya doesn’t have an obedient bone in her body. She would’ve made a horrible princess.”
His aunt chuckles, “True, but she’d make an amazingqueen.”
“Queens need compassion.”
“Compassion can be taught.”
Malich took his aunt to the sitting room. It’s the only finished room in the house. A servant brought them tea and cakes to eat and they talked politics for a better part of the afternoon. Kahlem and his brothers had always thumbed their noses up at their aunt, looking down on her and her entire Court thinking they were better. They didn’t value the knowledge she has. Knowledge of the Courts and beyond, but Malich knew better. His father always valued her advice and her guidance.
Now that he was living in the Summer Court, Malich planned to find out what happened to his parents. And if his brothers had anything to do with it, Ananhelp them…
Dax returned to Malich’s chambers with a document in hand. Yet another charge from his dear siblings. He wonders what poor soul has crossed them this time. “Is that what I think it is?” Malich sighs. Dax nods. His brothers have soldiers of their own but they leave all of the dirty work to him.
“Give the charge to Arya. I’m sure she’s dying to get out.”
Dax nods and leaves. He’s been a man of few words lately. Malich pulls the ring he gave Arya from his pocket and rolls it over the back of his fingers, catching it with his pinky and rolling it in the opposite direction.
He thought about Arya dying in the Seelie Court and imagined Ihsan holding her in his arms as the life slipped from her. It should have been him. He should have been there to protect her or perhaps they would have died together, but at least it would have been the two of them and not Arya alone with her former flame.
Malich has always been a jealous man as far as he can remember. The first girl he ever loved, Madelyn Pierce, his brother Kahlem took to bed just to spite him. His brothers Arokin and Bevi were given the job of helping him walk in on his brother’s treachery. When he was done with her Kahlem tossed Madelyn out like trash, her reputation ruined. Some cycles later Malich had run into her out on the street. She no longer wore the fine clothes and jewelry he remembered, she was dressed in rags, her teeth rotted, hair matted and nails dirty. She took one look at him and turned away with shame. His brother had ruined her in more ways than he could have imagined and her family had turned their backs on her.
Malich extended his hand to the broken girl and after several moments she accepted it. He took her to a family who owed him a favor. They took the girl in and cleaned her up. He left before she could express whatever gratitude she might have for his generosity.
“Excuse me your highness, but you have a visitor,” his doorman announced.
Malich motioned for the doorman to let his guest in and was surprised to see Lumi standing before him. He waited until the doorman left before addressing her. “Lumi. Did Arya send you?” He asked.
“No. I came of my own volition.”
“I’m all ears.”
“Its Arya. She’s not eating or sleeping and it…your breakup, its affecting her,” Lumi expressed concern for her friends wellbeing.
“Has she killed anyone she isn’t supposed to or harmed herself?”
“Well, no…not really. I’m just worried about her. She won’t talk about it.”
“Then let her deal with her emotions however she sees fit.”
“She’s not herself.”
Malich slid his eyes to Lumi’s and pinned her with a glare. “What would you have me do about it? Go to her? Grovel at her feet?”
“No, from what Arya tells me you’re too much of an arse for that if I may be allowed to speak freely,” Lumi snapped.
Malich couldn’t stop the roar of laughter that escaped his lips. “She is not the only one who suffers Red daughter. This isn’t easy for either of us.”
“Then put an end to it. She loves you.”
“It’s not her love for me that I question. It’s her love for him.”ns 18.104.22.168da2