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After the bodies were removed and the land returned to its former glory and shine, Malich had Mekhi investigate how that many soldiers made it onto his palace grounds undetected. Mekhi himself was baffled. He oversaw the security protocols and they should have been impenetrable. Either his guards allowed the soldiers to walk through or there was more than one reason his brothers chose this particular piece of land to gift him.
Malich gave instructions to Dax to buy whatever information he could about the way his brothers and the other nobles acquired their riches. If they wouldn’t allow him to climb up the social ladder to his rightful place, then he would bring them all down. Well…those in particular that didn’t acquiesce to his power, crowns be damned.
His brothers didn’t think of everything when they gave him this land. They were probably so impressed by how clever they were in granting him the piece of shit he turned into a palace, that they didn’t consider it’s borders, roads, and shoreline. His first plan of action was to stop any and all traffic through his territory. He brought in more Red Soldiers and posted them on his roads, his borders and his shoreline stopping any and all trade to the capital where he brothers were bound to get word. At least from his shores, which the last time he checked, was where majority of the Jarrah Houses trade traveled through. They’d still have their gardens, but their grain, weapons, and all other trade would be halted.
“Your highness, her majesty Queen Arya is requesting council,” Mekhi walks into his office to inform him.
Malich sighs remembering the last time they spoke. Being pulled back into her indecisive world with his heart dangling in the balance didn’t appeal to him so he told him, “Deny her request, and for the love of Anan, stop calling me your highness. Not you. You call me by my name, you’ve earned that right.”
Mekhi nods, but he hesitates to leave. Malich meets his gaze a second time. “Forgive me Malich, but is it really wise to deny her request?” Mekhi asks.
“Arya made her decision, or rather, she made a decision notto make a decision. I am in no mood for her swaying interests.”
“But what?” Malich cut him off.
“She won’t take no for an answer. She’ll show up unannounced running her swords through our soldiers if they try to stop her.”
“If she shows up, make sure the soldiers know not to stop her. I’ll deal with her.”
“Is that wise given your current nighttime activities?” Mekhi’s eyes trail to the sleeping half naked girl lying on a bearskin rug in the middle of the room.
“Again, she made the choice to leave.”
Mekhi nods and leaves the room. Malich stands and walks over to the girl lying on the floor of his office. He cannot recall what her name is, not that it matters, and he can vaguely recall how she got here. One things for sure though, spirits were involved. Lots and lots of spirits. It’s how he chased thoughts of the beautiful assassin away. What better way to get over one female than to climb on top of another? Or so the saying goes. It doesn’t work. Their faces somehow become her face, whether his eyes are closed or not. And those he manages to take to bed sober never seem to measure up to the one he wishes were there.
The more he stares at the naked girl on the floor the more he’s reminded of who she is not. The last thing he wants is to think about Arya, so he nudges the sleeping girl with his foot and she stirs, eyes fluttering open. “Get out,” he tells her. The girl groggily reaches for her clothes, dresses and quickly leaves.
Malich has second thoughts about denying Arya’s request. It would give him a chance to see her again. He quickly shakes the thought from his head and just in time to watch Kahlem, Arokin, and Bevi come strolling into his office like they own the place.
“What part of get the fuck out of my palaceled you to believe I’d welcome a future visit?” Malich glares at them.
Bevi pulls his lips back from his teeth, taking a step forward, ready to launch into a tirade, but Kahlem places a hand against his chest, pushing him back in line. “It has come to our attention that the Seelie Queen has recently parted ways with you,” Kahlem smirks.
Malich tilts his head at them, narrowing his eyes. “Get to the fucking point.”
Kahlem wags a finger at him, “Tsk-tsk-tsk, brother I do believe the Queens sudden departure has left you a bit cranky.”
“And bored,” Malich doesn’t bother denying his misery, “Either get to the point or leave.”
“Very well then. As you already know or will soon find out, Sen is with child-”
“My apologies,” he mutters beneath his breath.
“Excuse me,” Kahlem fixes him with a glare.
“I said my apologies…to your unborn child of course. It’s a shame we can’t all pick our parents,” he speaks up so everyone can hear him clearly.
The last strand of resolve holding Kahlem’s temper in check snaps and he quickly rises from his seat. Small bolts of lightening dance across his chest. “I gave you back your wretched life and I can take it all away,” Kahlem leans in close in order to peer into Malich’s soul, “Again.”
Malich tips his head back and roars with laughter, clasping a hand to his stomach. He quickly wipes the smile from his face and leans in so Kahlem will know he is not intimidated in the least. “I am not the same boy of fifteen cycles. While you and the others were safely locked behind palace doors with your guards and your servants tending to your every need, I was in the trenches up to my elbows in shit. You don’t scare me in the least, none of you. Now state your business and leave. Take your shadows with you,” Malich points to Arokin and Bevi with his chin.
Kahlem pulls back, his lightening still dancing across his chest, and regains his composure. “I have arranged several suitable wives for you. You’ll be at court tomorrow at sundown where you will meet and choose your bride. That is an order.”
A bride. Thatwas their master plan? He’d laugh in their faces if he actually found them worth the effort. “Anything else?”
“So you’ll be there?” Arokin asks.
Malich studies each of their faces. They are eager for him to accept. “I’ll come to Court, and I’ll browse through your selection of brides, but I’ll make my choice when I’m good and ready and not a moment sooner.”
Satisfied with that answer, they incline their heads to him. He expects them to leave, but they remain. “One last order of business. The royal roads-”
“My roads,” Malich interrupts, correcting Kahlem.
Kahlem bristles at being corrected by someone beneath his station. “I have a shipment of grain and you’re going to let it through.”
“What makes you think that?” Malich eyes him incredulously.
“Because I’m asking you too-”
“Are you?” Malich cut him off, continuing to push his buttons. “I have yet to hear anything that sounds even remotely like a question.”
Kahlem’s temples flare. He ignores Malich and continues. “In exchange, I will make sure to put in a good word for you with princess Grayson. Her father is in the last stages of consumption and expected to expire any day now. When he does, you’ll be king of the Fall Court.”
“Trying to satiate me with the title you took from me by marrying me into another court won’t work.”
“It’s either that or back to the Redlands you go, a nameless outlaw.”
“It would be more fuel for me to conquer the other planes and then come back to snuff you all out,” Malich folds his arms across his chest. He isn’t in the mood for neither games nor threats.
“A threat to a King is punishable by death,” Arokin finally speaks. The three of them are like children trying to browbeat others into submission.
“Lucky for me he is only actingas King while father is away, or being held captive if not dead already.”
A light comes on in Kahlem’s head and he smiles. “Make sure you are there tomorrow to choose your bride, and let our grain through Malich.”
“Your highness,” Malich corrects him, “Only my friends and family call me Malich.”
“Your highness.” Kahlem inclines his head. He leaves taking Arokin and Bevi with him. Whatever that smile was about Malich knew he’d walked right into it. He only wished he knew what itwas.ns 188.8.131.52da2