“You have some nerve bringing her here,” Lizbet follows him with her aunts and cousins in tow. All were shouting at him telling him how much of a horrible person he was for bringing Arya to the Winter Court, which he didn’t, and then sleeping with her, which he’d never admit to openly.
Tired of their mouths and incessant squawking he whirls around to face them, “One, I did not invite her here, I gave specific instructions for her to be left out of the loop, but I needed her army or we would be swimming neck deep in the blood of your citizens. Two, not only is this kingdom vulnerable to siege, but your weather is shit, and your army is an even bigger piece of shit. Three, I’m only engaged to only one of you…she is the only one I’ll be answering to. The rest of you can fuck off.”
That shut Lizbet’s family up, but they refused to leave her side. Instead, they followed her into Malich’s chambers and took up positions against the wall while Lizbet launched into an endless tirade about how much his actions hurt her. He allowed her to vent for as long as she needed, but then tears formed in her eyes. Her voice trembled and broke. He couldn’t take it anymore. He couldn’t take hearing a female cry, which is why he never participated in Arya’s discipline. He’d get as far away from Dax and her cell as he could in order to silence the sound of his lieutenant pounding his fist into her flesh until her punishment was complete.
Many times he was on the verge of going back on his word, cancelling her punishments. But her actions couldn’t go unpunished. She was his only weakness and still is.
The door to his chambers opened and two of his soldiers came in carrying Dax with a Magus in tow. Malich quickly cleared off the desk in his room and they laid Dax on top of it. He suffered from several wounds to his body and he was barely alive. “What happened?” Malich demanded.
“They were waiting for us,” one of the soldiers replied. “The package was no longer there and they were waiting.”
Malich faltered for a moment, his eyes sweeping to Lizbet. He won’t allow himself to think about what this meant. Instead he rips off his shirt and places it to Dax’s wound to stop the blood from gushing out.
To his surprise, Lizbet appears next to him, placing her hands over another wound to stop the bleeding while Malich and the Magus works tirelessly to try and save his life.
It took hours to stabilize Dax and Malich refuses to leave his side. Like Arya, he raised Dax from a small male to the male he is today. He’ll never forgive himself if something happens to him.
“This is my fault,” Lizbet covers her mouth with her hand. Her aunts try to shush her but she pushes them away. “I was worried I would lose you and when I saw the new Queen I knew you were trying to get out from under whatever leverage your brothers had over you. So I sent word warning them.”
Slowly Malich’s eyes meet Lizbet’s gaze. A bolt of lightening lashes out. He can’t stop it. He deflects it towards a sconce on the wall instead before it could hit her.
“Youdid this?” He glares at her.
“Please, you must understand the position I’m in,” Lizbet pleads, clasping his head in her hands. Her touch feels so wrongthat all he wants to do is be free from it. “If I lose you, I lose everything. I don’t have time to find a new King because my belly swells just a little every moon and our enemies are just beyond the border, waiting. I did what I had to do, but I never meant for him to get hurt. For that I’m sorry.”
Malich backs out of her grasp and sighs. If Dax was unsuccessful then his marriage to Lizbet will proceed as planned. He will lose Arya and whatever future there is for them. He played right into his brothers’ hands and no amount of maneuvering could solve the mess he found himself in now.
It isn’t allhis brothers’ fault. He chose to share a bed with Lizbet to spite his brothers and perhaps Arya at the same time, he still isn’t sure about the latter. But now nothing is going the way he hoped. Lizbet is with child and there’s no avoiding their nuptials. It’s as good as done. He’ll have to break Arya’s heart and push her away so his brothers can’t use him against her. They would. He had no doubts about that.
For all of his intelligence and cunning, Malich Jarrah, Prince of the Summer Court and King of the Redlands had been outmaneuvered. His brothers have won. Lizbet’s moves against him cost him more than she would ever know or understand. He didn’t blame her either, not completely. This was his doing. He brought her into this pit of vipers. She reacted the way she did because of him…because he allowed Arya to remain when he should have made her leave. If that were even possible. He doesn’t know because he didn’t try.
In truth, this was justice coming back to bite him in the arse. For the many years he plotted to keep Arya and Ihsan apart, punishing them unjustly for simply loving one another. Its only fitting that he lose it all in the end. For all of the deceitful webs he wove and continues to weave, this is what he deserves.
Again Lizbet closed the distance between them and clasps his head in her hands. He didn’t back away this time. Bile rose in his throat and he forced it back down. He’d allow her this embrace and any other she wanted, he owed her that much and now was the time to repay his debts.
Defeated, he resigns to giving her whatever she wants. He only wants one thing in return. “I’ll give you whatever you want, just allow me to return to the Seelie Court,” he spoke barely above a whisper.
Lizbet reels back, “Why? So you can escape?”
“Am I your prisoner now?” He counters.
“Send Banon and a small army with me if you don’t trust me. But if we’re to wed, I need to end my relationship with Arya. I will not allow her to hear it from someone else. She must hear it from me and not through correspondence or she will come for me, do you understand? She needs to hear it from me.”
Lizbet swallows hard. “You truly do love her don’t you?”
“And yet she deserves more…better.”
Lizbet looks to her aunts who shake their heads, but the decision is hers. “And you’ll return? You’ll stop fighting our union?” She asks. Malich nods. There’s no fight left in him. It’s a strange new feeling for him. Since he was fifteen all he’s ever done is fight to get back to where he should rightfully be. That fight is now over.
“Very well then,” she nods.
Malich takes nothing with him. He doesn’t plan to stay long. With Dax down, the responsibility of his protective detail falls to Zahn. Together, they join Banon and a small group of his soldiers and head for the Seelie Court. ns 18.104.22.168da2