For once I believe the Prince and I have come to an understanding. He no longer lashes out at me and the once sharp edges of his personality have softened. My aunts have noticed his less prickly personality as well. It appears having his father back has changed him a bit. My only regret is that the Seelie Queen was the one to give him this. Whatever plan his brothers have, it doesn’t benefit her or her kingdom.
“His Majesty interim King Kahlem Jarrah and two of the royal Princes have just arrived,” Banon informs Lizbet.
“Of course they have,” she sighs. She wonders what new part of their plan they’ve come to unfold. “I’m assuming they’ve requested a smaller more intimate gathering consisting of the new Prince of the Winter Court, the true King of the Summer Court, and myself?”
“Yes your highness.”
Lizbet makes the long walk from her chamber to the throne room where The Summer Court trio of brothers, her new husband, and her father in law are already exchanging threatening glances. Lizbet takes her position at her husband’s side and waits for the doors to close.
“I’ll make this quick,” interim King Kahlem speaks, a smug smile plastered across his face. He slides his gaze to his father’s and takes a moment to acknowledge the man he’s held captive for only Anan knows how long. “Welcome back to the land of the living father. I shall give mother your regards.”
The true King is quick for his age. He lunges at his older son and Prince Malich Jarrah is quick to get between them. The interim King for the most part does not flinch. Instead, he continues on undeterred.
“Now that we are all together, I’d like to explain what happens next. Father, you will abdicate your throne to me during a public ceremony in which you will cite your growing ailments as the reason,” interim King Kahlem starts to rattle off his plans as if they’re a grocery list. “Brother, now that you’re King of the Winter Court, you will aid my army in whatever way I see fit. The first will be attacking any and all shipments to the Seelie Court if its Queen should not agree to my terms.”
Lizbet can’t help but cut him off, glaring at him. “Not while my father still lives he isn’t. You have no authority to make such demands of my kingdom.”
“Oh, that reminds me,” Kahlem nods to his younger brother. Arokin I believe is his name. He heads to the door while interim King Kahlem inspects his nails until the younger brother returns with a group of soldiers carrying Lizbet’s father between them.
The next moments happen so fast that Lizbet is unaware of the bloodcurdling scream coming from her own lips. Interim King Kahlem unsheathes his sword and drives it into her father’s heart, twisting the blade so there is no stopping the bleeding. Her father breathes his last breath before she’s even done screaming. He now hangs dead between two of the interim Kings Soldiers.
They toss her fathers body at her feet and she drops down beside him, grief-stricken. Her father who never hurt a soul or so much as lifted his voice at anyone is dead. No longer will she be able to seek his council, lose herself in the warmth of his arms or hear his voice.
The interim King turns to his youngest brother, Prince Malich Jarrah, now King of the Winter Court in an instant. He spares no regard for her slain father, or the pain his loss might cause her. The new King doesn’t even flinch. He isn’t surprised at his brother’s blatant treachery.
The next words out of the interim King’s mouth are a blur. All Lizbet can focus on are her father’s lifeless eyes and the warm blood still spilling from his wound, saturating her gown. He was already dying. Killing him and cutting his life short was cruel and unnecessary.
It isn’t until she feels the new Kings hands on her shoulders, lifting her to her feet and away from her father that she is aware that the interim King has gone. Lizbet turns and sags against the new King, sobs pouring out of her mixed with threats and a vow of vengeance. The new King lifts her into his arms and carries her to her chambers where he orders her servants to draw her a bath and bring her a fresh pair of clothes as he sits her down on her bed.
“He killedhim,” Lizbet’s voice is barely above a whisper. “Why? He was already dying?”
“Nothing about my brother’s actions should surprise you. If you’re going to walk into a lions den, you should at least know what they’re capable of,” new King Malich Jarrah gives her a pointed look. “He’s kept my father and my mother incapacitated for cycles now. He framed me for a crime I didn’t commit just so he could steal the throne he knew he wouldn’t get otherwise. This was only ever going to end one way. Although I’d hoped he’d let your father die in peace. My brother’s don’t makes moves like marrying me off to you without it being of benefit to them. While he still has my mother, this kingdom, its people, its resources and I as King are allat his mercy.”
Twisting the knife in deeper, he leans in close, helping her loose the corset around her waist and whispers in her ear, “And to think…had you have allowed me to remove the leverage my brother’s held over me without interfering, your father would still be alive.”
The new Kings words hit home. She betrayed him and it cost her dearly. Suddenly something he said came floating to the forefront of her mind. I am not yours to take…that is what he told her, only at the time she thought he was talking about the Seelie Queen. He was trying to warn her of the things to come she just didn’t see it then.
Cupping her hand over her mouth, Lizbet bursts into tears. Her eyes take in the blood on her hands…her fathers blood, and she rushes to her bathhouse to empty the contents of her stomach.ns 220.127.116.11da2