Prince Jarrah returns as promised, but he’s in no mood for conversation. Instead, he locks himself away in his chambers with only his personal guard allowed inside. He doesn’t come out until its time for us to say our nuptials. He doesn’t look happy.
His hair is set in perfect waves on top of his head and he’s wearing his deep, cobalt blue, royal military uniform, which only serves to bring out the blue in his eyes. It’s adorned with medals, probably from his younger cycles, before he was imprisoned for war crimes. It makes him look more important than he is to the Summer Court. His brothers are indeed clever.
“Is he going to frown like that the entire time?” Her aunt Delilah asks.
Probably. “Let’s hope not,” Lizbet smiles waiting for the French doors to open for her to walk through. The moment they do, she plasters a smile on her face and walks the length of the walkway to stand beside the Prince. He’s still not smiling.
She politely nudges the Prince in his side and his eyes slice to hers, but he’s still devoid of a smile. He’s not going to make this easy. Perhaps she should have thought things through before crossing him. She did what she had to do, but seeing how miserable he is makes her wonder if she did the right thing.
They complete their nuptials and he’s crowned as Prince of the Winter Court. He completes the ceremony by planting a kiss beside her lips and walking back down the aisle without her. She had to run just to catch up with him.
He walks right up to his brothers whose smug smiles are quite off-putting. “I’ve done as you asked, now give me what you promised me,” The Prince demands.
“I’ll have it delivered to you by nightfall.” His older brother Kahlem nods.
The Prince storms down the corridor to his chambers and I follow, trying to match his footsteps as much as I can. I’m winded by the time we arrive and he doesn’t even bother to check to see if I’m all right. His concern seems to be focused on his recovering lieutenant.
“If I didn’t know any better I’d think it were the two of you who’d just said your nuptials,” Lizbet sighs sarcastically.
Without even looking in her direction the Prince says, “What more do you want from me? You wanted us to be betrothed and now we are. You have your King.”
“Arya?” The recovering lieutenant asks, struggling to speak.
“I don’t know. She has her friends, her people and her sister. But you should have seen the look on her face.”
The lieutenant’s eyes slide to mine. “If you think she won’t come for him, you’re wrong. She’s stubborn, possessive, and her heart is dialed to only one channel, him. You’ve just made an enemy of the most dangerous woman within the planes.”
Lizbet swallows hard. “I’m not interested in making enemies and she’ll come to understand that soon enough. I only want a King for my kingdom and a father for the child in my womb.”
“If I were you I’d hope my brother comes through with his end of the bargain or you won’t have to wait for her to slit your throat,” the Prince glares at her, “I’ll do it myself.”
Again Lizbet swallows hard. Putting herself to good use, she tends to the lieutenants wounds. The Prince sent for a Magus from the Redlands and he’s impatiently awaiting the Magus’ arrival.
With the Prince intent to stay by his lieutenant’s side, the duty fell to Lizbet to address the Winter Court alone. Her aunts and cousins stand by her side for support and a feast is held in honor of her betrothal to the Prince who couldn’t even be bothered to show up.
Her citizens noticed the Prince’s absence and many began to wonder if there was indeed an alliance between the Summer and Winter Courts. Lizbet called Banon over and demanded he drag the Prince to their celebration kicking and screaming if he had to. Thankfully, the Prince decided to come of his own volition and took his seat at her side.
“How lovely of you to join us,” Lizbet feigned a smile. “My people are starting to talk, would it kill you to at least crack a smile?”
Putting on his most princely smile, he turns to meet her gaze. Peering into her eyes he whispers, “Fuck. Off.”
“Well I see you’re in a rather pricklymood.”
Lizbet hopes his mood will change once his brothers deliver on their promise. It’s almost nightfall and if this is what she’ll have to live with for the rest of her life, forever will be a very long time.
Banon comes running into the banquet hall and whispers something into the Prince’s ear. In a heartbeat he’s on his feet following Banon, and Lizbet jumps to her feet desperately trying to keep pace with him.
As they travel through the corridors she realizes Banon is taking them to the palace infirmary. The Prince is so eager to get there that he starts to run. This time she can’t keep up. She’s winded and her stamina isn’t what it used to be. It takes several minutes, but she eventually makes it to the infirmary where the Prince stands beside a sickbed with someone in it. She pushes through the crowd of people and looks down at the man in the sickbed. It doesn’t take much to put two and two together. The same dark hair, the same face and eyes only with more cycles behind it. She’s looking at the present King of the Summer Court. He’s breathing, but his eyes are absent any sign of neurological function. He’s not moving or responding, oh Gods…he isn’t even blinking.
“What’s wrong with him?” Lizbet asks.
“That’s what we’re trying to figure out,” Banon sighs.
Lizbet pushes them all aside and examines King Simeon Jarrah. She finds nothing visible to the naked eye so she places her hand to his forehead and takes a deep breath. When she opens them, she pushes her power throughout his entire body until she finds what shouldn’t be there. It’s microscopic and implanted in his brain.
“His brain has been poisoned with darkbane,” she informs them. “It rests on his brain and any attempt to move it without completely destroying it will result in it imbedding itself deeper into his brain tissue.”
The Prince meets her gaze and this time it isn’t with disgust. He appears grateful, at first, and then he starts to laugh hysterically. Lizbet looks around the room exchanging glances with Banon, the Magus and Zahn, one of the Prince’s revered guards. They seem as clueless as she is as to why he would be laughing at a time like this. Curious, she asked the question on everyone’s mind.
“Why is that funny?”
The prince’s expression darkens. His eyes become cold and murderous as he says, “Because the only one with the power to save my father is the girl whose heart I just broke. The only way to destroy dark power is with light.”
“She’s not the only lightbearer in the planes.” Banon replies.
“No, but to remove this particular sediment of darkbane, you need someone very powerful. A weaker being won’t destroy it fast enough to stop it from delving deeper into his brain, killing him.” Lizbet educates him.
Still laughing, Prince Malich Jarrah shakes his head. “It appears my brothers are one step ahead, yet again. I must admit, their knack for royally fucking me is poetic,” he runs his fingers through his hair.
“If she loves you as much as I believe she does, she’ll help us,” Lizbet turns to the Prince. “All we have to do is ask.”
“Did you even attemptto get to know her while she was here? Arya isn’t reasonable on a good day. Imagine how reasonable she’ll be now that her heart is broken. She won’t be. She’ll make demands you can’t and won’t fulfill.”
“Perhaps, but if anyone can talk her into doing it out of the kindness of her heart, it’s you,” his guard Zahn speaks up. “For your father, isn’t it worth a shot?”ns 18.104.22.168da2