The moment Treasure got the summons to the throne room he was relieved. He happily cartwheeled into the throne room bells on his hat jingling and jumped up. “Your Highness, while I was in Italy a funny thing happened—” The king of the Unseelie court raised his hand, signaling him to stop.
Dagda was the opposite of King Briar, he had bright red hair instead of black and his build was stocky rather than small and compact. His skin was as cold and pale as marble with a few freckles scattered here and there, whereas Briar had a yellowish tinge to his skin. The Unseelie King’s features were sharp and aristocratic whereas the Seelie King’s were rounder and smaller. His body was also a lot more solid looking despite being made of hundreds of inky black shadows which almost completely sucked the light cast by the dimly lit torches which were located throughout the room. The throne room was bare except for the throne carved entirely from bone and the rug with various still moving eyes woven into it which led up toward the throne.
Treasure found his own guilty feelings of selfishness, frustration, and fear rising to the surface which he struggled to suppress on a daily basis as he gazed upon the dark splendor of the Unseelie King. Dagda gave him a knowing look that chilled Treasure to his very marrow, he found it hard to breathe, then again that may have been the stench from the carpet.
“Trouble, muppet?” the king asked evenly.
“Your magnificence is a bit overwhelming, my lord.” Dadga settled back on his throne and suddenly the siren boy felt less overwhelmed.
“I want no jests from you, boyo, I want to use your other talents.” His heart sank upon hearing these words.
“Bring them in,” Dagda ordered and there came his wife, Sealiea, followed by two guards. His wife was leading two tiny blond fairies, the soft light illuminating from their porcelain skin in shades of light blue, and purple conveyed that they were Leanansidhe. The images danced through their hair and around their heads as they shimmered; they were breathtakingly beautiful even by fairie standards. Behind Sealiea a muzzled woman with long black hair was dragged forward by the guards her furry ears flattened against her head.
“Ah, Rayanna, Rashell, Miss Fox. I’ve heard so much about you both courtesy of my good friend Greyman.”
The girl looked at him. “Come, sit.” He flicked his fingers and the stone wall next to his throne swung around to reveal what looked like two electric chairs.
The boy glared at his sister as she nervously sat down. “I think I’ll stand,” he replied quickly.
“Now, Rashell, you’re a being very disagreeable.” Dagda tisked. The fairie boy stood his ground, the Unseelie King nodded at the one eyed guard who picked Rashell up ignoring his kicks and punches.
“A cyclopes, toughest creature ever, their skin is so thick it’s hard to so much as prick it,” Dagda gloated.
“Let me go, ya ruffian!” Rashell cried out as it dumped him in the chair and Sealiea strapped him in rather roughly.
“Are the straps really appropriate?” Rayanna cried out.
“Are we going to pretend I don’t know what he really does for the Seelie court?” Dagda asked.
“I’m a party planner,” Rashell responded. “Ya know? Food, drink, festivities, games, decorations. Speaking of that, this room could use some work.”
Dagda looked at him taken back. “Oh, really?”
Rashell nodded. “The Dracula’s castle look is not working. I mean, yer a king, shouldn’t ya have actual furnishing?” he asked.
“I have a rug.” Dagda sounded a bit indignant.
“I’ve noticed. What is that, blood intestines? Good Danu, it’s almost yellow. When was the last time ya cleaned this?”
Sealiea sighed. “I told you the rug was a bad idea.”
“It reflects violence and rebelliousness of the Unseelie court.” Dagda argued.
“My Lord is right, it’s a great inflictor of violence, shove it under the enemy’s nose and they will fall.” Treasure nodded agreeably.
The Unseelie King sighed. “Fine, the brownie serving maids I’ll get on it.” The siren boy did a dance of victory; the dark king had seen the light.
“The whole room is designed to give the victim the sensation of being trapped,” the Unseelie King explained.
“Is that what yer interior decorator said?” Rashell asked him pleasantly.
“He’s not exactly an interior decorator, he did promise me something that made people want to scream,” Dagda admitted.
“This does make him want to scream just not for the reason you intended,” Treasure pointed out.
“How would you fix it?” Dagda asked the Leanansidhe.
“Well I da like those doors, the Gothic style sets a fairly creep vibe and the chairs aren’t a bad touch. The dimly lit area adds a vibe of sinister energy ta the room so props on that. I’d suggest a few improvements; get torches shaped like dragons first of all. Then I’d go with a nice crimson rug, maybe paint some designs on the floor over ta yer left. Oh, maybe, ya could build some stairs ta yer throne.”
Dagda looked thoughtful. “Yes, that would make me look bigger, more intimidating.” He looked intrigued.
“Exactly, not ta tall through or I’ll look like yer trying ta hard,” Rashell warned.
“What about disturbing pictures on the walls all around? Yee know? Greyman so if yee get him ta lend yee the Macabre muse yee could get a bunch of gruesome portraits.” Rayanna cut in sarcastically.
Then the doors burst open and Reaper strode through them along with Jenny Greenteeth. “You missed me, right?” he was asking her.
“Eff off,” the water fairie responded.
“Come on, it’s been a couple of thousand years, time to forgive and forget.” The death fairie smiled at her winningly.
“I’m not getting back into bed with you” she retorted. Jenny was a green skinned scaly fairie with the face of an alligator and a nose as long as a cucumber, her mouth was not only full of jagged green teeth, but they formed a very bad overbite, her long red hair spilled over her narrow shoulders concealing half of her face.
“ You know ladies cann’t resist this” Reaper said.
“ Except when they kick, hit, arrest and pepper spray it!” Treasure quipped.
Sealiea smirked. “ Didn’t you burn down a diner because you got dumped by one of your honey pot targets?” she added gleefully.
“ I did not burn down the diner because some teenager rejected me, I burned it down with her inside because that bitch still expected me to pay the bill even after she dumped me” Reaper retorted. “ she could of at least split it. If it was still the sixties, I’d understand but it was the two thousand's” he added venomously.
“Jenny!” Treasure threw himself at her hugging her tightly. “I missed you a lot, I heard you were in Florida. Was it nice? Did the alligators buy you as one of them, or did they kick you out? Did you see Playland?” he babbled.
“I stayed away from theme parks, too much temptation.”
Sealiea kissed Jenny on both cheeks. “You could have sent a message by bat or something,” she scolded as Jenny knelt down and kissed Dagda’s hand with reverence.
“That girl downstairs was harder to crack then I thought.” Reaper had a smug little smile on his face. His eyes landed on Rayanna. “Hello there.”
“Reaper, hands off.” the King reminded him.
“Aww, you have to bring home a pretty toy I can’t play with.” The death fairie pouted.
“Actually, she came here,” Sealiea remarked in a bored tone.
“Which begs the question ‘why?’ other than stupidity,” Reaper surmised.
“We’ll discuss that later. First, skin the Fox.” Sealiea smirked and withdrew a knife at the whimpering Fox who was restrained by the guards.
“That’s what I’m talking about,” Rayanna spoke up with haste. “This is Countess Fox, she’s worth more alive.”
Dagda looked at her. “What could I get that’s worth more than her pelt?” he demanded.
“Yee can take Fox’s skin but you’ll have ta take whatever the Erlking offers fer it ”
The Unseelie King studied her intently ” I’ve plundered these lands year after year. You think I don’t have enough to feed my people?” he inquired.
" Not during Winter, when the sea freezes yer as trapped as the rest of Faerie. Yee can't take yer boats out ta raid or scavange. I think the Wild Hunt is giveing ya supplies during the cold months in exchange fer use of yer army. I’m guessing the Erlking offered ya a chunk of the Seelie Court and the promise of fertile lands was ta tempting ta turn down.”
Treasure frowned. If a Seelie Court member knew about their deal with the Hunt that didn’t bode well for the future.
“If ya ever take the Seelie Court, the Erlking will give ya the worst part of the land mark me words. If he is benefiting from ya he will da everything in his power ta keep ya from being self-sufficient.” Rayanna ended her speech on that note.
“Do you have any proof of this?” the King demanded.
“Besides me own experience, has the Erlking offered yee any of the magically sustaining vegetables from the artist garden?” the Leanansidhe queried.
Dagda’s face darkened while Reaper growled. “I knew that bastard was screwing us over, two hundred troops, the bulk of which was ours lost in the last couple battles and we only get three deer and some lousy acorns to show for it because we couldn’t take Beard Town.”
“Those dwarves are vicious fighters and they had their weapons magically transported two days before we arrived,” Jenny added.
“I cut and I whipped and I sliced but the mayor wouldn’t give up their location; not even after I sliced his family’s fingers off,” Sealiea added.
“It was a complete waste of time, three days trying to hold a town and nothing.” Reaper sighed.
“Your offer for Fox’s life?” Dagda asked Rayanna.
“Redtail Manor has a sizeable portion of sheep and goats. With that, you’ll have milk ta make cheese and butter and if yee sheer the sheep you’ll have wool. The Wild Hunt likes their wee luxurious now and again I’ll give yee a better leg fer trade agreements.” she offered.
“What do I have to do to have some vegetables?” Dagda asked her
. “Those are an exchange fer Rashell and I being returned home unharmed. This includes death, torture, and rape.” She looked at her twin as if to say ‘see I have this’, but Rashell did not look reassured.
“Very well, Sealiea, release her.” His wife did so, looking disappointed. Treasure thought her dismayed expression was cute, then again, he thought the majority of her expressions were adorable. Treasure was so caught up thinking about Sealiea’s pout or the way she bit her lip or the numerous other expressions he’d seen her make only to almost miss the next thing said.
“Very well, I will release Fox and return you both home unharmed in exchange for access to the Artist Garden’s vegetables and a portion of sheep and goats,” the Unseelie King promised, holding up his hand.
“I, Rayanna, vow that I will give yee a portion of the Artist Garden’s vegetables and the sheep and goats if yee hold up yer end of the bargain,” the Leanansidhe promised, holding up her own hand. The deal was struck and neither would break it; fairies were many things, but you could trust their exact word Treasure knew that well.
“Now why are you here?” Dagda asked her.
“The veil is failing, or at least that’s what we’ve been told,” she said. Her next words would either condemn them or save them. “Briar wanted us to check it, the portal is supposed to take us to the heart of fairy,” added Rayanna.
“Well, then we better get a-going.” said Dagda.
“Ya want us ta go now just like that?” Rashell asked suspiciously.
“I gave you my word. You will be returned safely home after.” Dagda promised.
The boy thought for a moment and sighed. “Alright,” he agreed.
“Sealiea unstrapped them.” The siren girl did so and the twins got up from the chairs.
“Now who wants to walk through first?” Dagda said, getting up and moving back, his throne to reveal a magical portal. The group stepped straight through it.