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Chapter 20

I peel my silver dress off my body and brush vigorously through my hair before Lixar returns with the bucket of water. I have managed to brush through most of my knots, surprisingly enough. I yank through the last of my mangled hair, thinking about how Zarcar and the King will be arriving in mere minutes.

This was atrocious – absolutely the worst situation possible. If I could just manage a simple enough braid, wash off the stink, dust and grime from my body, shimmy on a presentable outfit – surely, surely I could be ready in time!

I hear the boots of Lix stomping down the hall, before I hear his cheeky call, “You better be naked, Chyronex!”

“Just hurry up, will you?” I scream back at him as he kicks open the door and pulls his arms back with the bucket – about to throw it at me. How typical that his first attempt at a continuous throw is halted by the look in his hazel eyes.

Most men would stare – but Lixar seems to have that dark demonic side just like Zarcar when it comes to an unhealthy obsession with lust. This is clear when Lix stares at the curls between my legs and boldly states, “I can smell your divine petals from here… it’s sweetness… real sweetness…”

“H-“ I can’t get a word in when Lix chucks the bucket at me a moment later and a wall of water collides with my body and my open eyes.

“I’m going to curse you, you piece of horse shit!” I rub at my eyes and then awkwardly reach for the cotton drying cloth on my bed.

“Ah!” Lix pounces forward and snatches it from me – too fast.

“Snake,” I hiss, and he flicks the cloth so it whips over my tits – I think it’s meant to be a kiss in the air above it, but when it makes contact and I hunch over in pain, Lix profusely says he’s sorry as he grabs said nipple with his hand and squeezes it better.

“That wasn’t supposed to happen,” Lix murmurs under his breath, barely keeping in an amused chuckle. My hands clasp around his wrist as his palm rubs that cloth over one breast to the other.

“I –“

“I’m quicker,” Lix doesn’t let me get a word in and I can’t complain. Simply because I couldn’t waste the time!

So, I growl as I stand up straight and he runs the cloth over my body for me. I glare at him the whole time – his mouth pulling at the corners as he runs around me and pats me dry – occasionally squeezing in places he doesn’t need to squeeze. Like my ass cheeks.

“Hurry it up!” I snarl at Lixar – just as I hear a musical chuckle coming from the corridor and the murmur of another masculine voice.

A pair of men; early!

They had arrived early!

Rey and Zarcar had just walked up to my level of the Moon Tower, they had just exited the stair case and would be here any second.

“No, no, no –“ I hiss back at Lixar as he clamps a hand over my mouth, shuts my jaw and laughs in my ear.

No,” Lix drawls back to me, throwing the cloth to the bed, he wraps an arm around my naked waste and drags me back with him towards the daisy pots.

“What are you doing?” I hiss even quieter, wondering if Lix has some sort of ulterior motive.

He holds my waist firm, his arm immovable as he… he leans back against the window sill, holds me into his front and pets a hand through my hair.

“It’s okay, Chyronex,” Lixar drawls with such a menacing, cunning lie of confidence – I want to kill the handsome bastard right now! I struggle against him but he holds me tighter, “Stop it,” Lix leans forward at the right time to say it into my ear.

I freeze as two shadows in the door way quickly become two tall men.

My heart drops into my stomach as I freeze, in what seems to be a naked pose on Lix’s arm, back against his chest, in between spread legs.

The Immortal King Rey is dressed as expensive as ever, in what appears to be a new black suit with even newer white ruffles at the collar. His fingers gleam with silver rings, his eyes focused with interest on what he has come in to witness.

Zarcar – my dearest Warlord who I missed very much, is with Rey, dressed in dirty travel wear, looking in need of a meal and very much relieved… until he’s dropped his bags straight after witnessing the scene Lix has masterfully created.

“She’s been well looked after, my King,” Lix ignores Zarcar altogether and addresses Rey only.

Rey is silent, his eyes not even focused on me – but on Zarcar as he launches across the room!

“Should I have expected anything less!?” Zarcar’s tone drips with the poison of betrayal and jealousy as he reaches out to grab his cousin.

Lix tosses me aside towards the bed and I go scrambling for a sheet, tears in my eyes as I wrap myself up – now noticing Rey’s eyes tracking my every move next.

The cousins have grabbed onto each other’s uniforms, butting heads, ready to fight.

“You want to know, don’t you?” Lixar can’t help his grin, “I’ve been pounding her every day for the past two months – cousin!”

“Zarcar – no!” I yell out as Zarcar almost nearly threatens to shove Lix out the damn window, backing him up into a pot and cracking its side – soil starts to spill, “Lixar is lying to you!” I yell out, furious and distraught at the same time, “Lixar – please tell the truth!”

It’s like I don’t exist as they seem hell bent on killing one another.

I turn to Rey, who is quietly amused and interested about the occurrence.

But… King.

I could use his authority as a King to stop this!

What I was thinking could be utter insanity but I had no choice!

“Rey!” I call out as I stumble over the bed and fall at his feet, grabbing his black pants, “Please,” I put my head to his knees, supplicating myself before I dare look up into the Immortal King’s gaze, “Stop them fighting. I beg you.”

“Stand up,” Rey drawls calmly, as if he is in no hurry to finish their fight. I launch to my feet and lick my dry lips as I hold Rey’s silver, black veined eyes. He surprisingly continues, “They’re fighting over you, that’s what Mystifyer’s do, you should be pleased,” I am taken back by Rey’s words, but I need his help before I can contemplate the loaded meaning in that sentence.

“Lixar found me sick as a dog, and was helping me wash – then he held me against my will – he is causing trouble for no reason –”

Rey’s eyes turn to mine, his neck tilting in that way that I think I’m watching it tilt forever – a nightmare walking on two legs.

I go to stumble back, but this time Rey steps back, confusing me so I freeze – before he slides up behind me. Now, he is moving in again, as if to curl around my front – cheek to cheek.

But no, his breath whispers over my neck and I remember him drinking that woman’s blood.

I flinch away but he doesn’t come any closer, he just gazes at my neck for a moment, at the erratic pulse.

“…but are you going to be truly good for your Immortal King…?” Rey asks, so low, I’m sure only my ears can hear the drawled question.

“Anything. Please,” is all I can manage to whisper, “Stop them before they both -”

“Zar, unhand Lix,” Rey cuts me off, standing away from me, he addresses his Warlord with a King’s command, “Now. Lixar is baiting you, nothing more.”

I watch as Zarcar hesitates and then slowly unhands Lixar, stepping away.

“…and so sweet she is,” Lix can’t help himself.

“Shut up!” I scream at Lix, furious.

“Lixar. Zarcar. You’ll both dine with your Draconess tonight over dinner and heal broken bonds,” Rey addresses both of them now and I watch as Lix’s smile is wiped from his face.

Zarcar turns on his heel and finally gazes over at me.

I’m sorry, I mouth to him and he just quickly glances at Rey.

I have no idea what my lover is thinking.

“Is that really necessary?” Zarcar asks Rey.

“I have myself an unconventional Venatores – while only one Mystifyer can belong in such a thing, I’m making that three by the end of next week, so you better start behaving and learning to… co-operate… Chyronex will enjoy the fuss, I’m sure,” Rey’s words have all of us captivated.

“Three?” I ask for Zar and Lix, just as confused.

“Torrent has been invited to create alliances,” Rey leaves it at that, “You’ll dine with her and keep her happy in the meantime,” Rey motions to me, but does not touch me as he slowly takes in Zarcar and Lixar’s reactions.

“Torrent?” Zarcar murmurs, quietly, “Are you serious?”

“Your brother will be excited to see you,” Rey nods at both of them and then finally glances at me, “…do you enjoy the attention…?”

What an odd question.

I gulp.

How should I answer.

“I am not sure… if ‘enjoy’ is the right word, your highness,” I do a fake curtsy in my ‘sheet’ dress, “I apologise for the… this situation that –”

“I quite enjoyed it, actually,” Rey cuts me off with straight venom in his musical voice – suddenly as deadly as a knife pressed to the base of my throat.

I just lower my gaze with a meek nod.

No more words.

“We’ll do as you bid,” Zarcar pipes in, trying to draw the attention away from me – I think.

“After more than two and a half centuries… it should be an interesting reunion,” Lixar also adds in his two cents.

Were they both trying to distract Rey’s attention from me?

Rey makes a light noise of agreement in response to Lixar’s statement.

“Make sure my Slave Queen is dressed next time,” Rey adds as a finality and I can feel his eyes on me even though I don’t dare look up again, “It’s quite distracting seeing her in… such a state... disappoint me again and you’ll be the one punished, Lix; may I remind you, your job is combat training – not whore training,” Rey finishes and backs off.

He disappears out the door as if he has better things to do, as quick as a shadow.

I’m clenching the sheet to me, my breathing, which was shallow with Rey around… was now becoming far more deep and alive.

“Lix. I’m. Going. To. Kill. You,” I whisper this, slowly looking up to see Lixar now sitting on the edge of my bed, licking a sharp canine as he smirks at me.

“What did I do?” Lix asks, innocently.

I turn to my Warlord – my lover.

He can’t look me in the eye.

“Believe me, Zarcar – ” but he holds up a hand.

“I’ll return when I’m ready and I’ll believe what I know to be true… Chyronex,” Zarcar starts off strong, but when he murmurs my name – it’s full of pain and emotion.

Dark emotion.

“Please…” I watch as Zarcar heads for the door.

I jump to him to grab his arm, but he jerks away from me.

“Leave me be,” Zarcar snarls at me and I jerk away, my tears growing more potent.

I would unleash them any moment.

Zarcar picks up his bag and walks away.

“Get out!” I scream at Lixar as he slowly jumps to his feet.

I cross my arms and glare at the door, refusing to look at him as he slides by… and then in front of me.

I jerk back and hold up my chin just as Lixar grasps it in his palm.

“This is going to get a whole lot worse…” Lix growls down at me, right in front of my face, a warning laced with many layers of meaning, “…before this gets better. So, you better learn to deal with the attention real quick. You’re our Queen, after all.”

I jerk out of Lixar’s hold and he turns – finally – exiting my bedchamber.

When he slams the door shut, I yank off my sheet and glance at one of the broken pots with the many daises.

I wished Lixar’s last words were another lie – but they were his only truth told today.

This was going to get a whole lot worse.

Before it got better? More like if it got better. I wasn’t sure how this situation could improve at all – other than dinner being either another disaster… or…

That was it!

Maybe… if I was smart enough… tonight’s dinner could be an opportunity to forge bonds and to fix relationships!

Later on that night, I would look back on that dinner as one of the first things Rey had organised, that would make me wonder about the Immortal King’s plans; and what he truly intended for his very own Venatores.

Just another thing I still had to have explained to me properly.

The Venatores were hunters.

…but what exactly were the Venatores expected to hunt?

One thing was for certain; I would ask Zarcar and Lixar that direct question tonight!

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