18] A Sweet King
I run straight to the ground floor after remembering that my tank may provide me some form of protection. However, when I glance down towards that opening bridge that connects to that area of the castle, I see two Sirens feeding on a strangely dressed… mortal? Biting into either side of his neck… in fact, I only pause long enough to consider if I should just run past them… to quickly deciding that there was no way I was going down there… especially when they both bite in so hard that the head just slips and tumbles off the side of the bridge.
Watching a decapitation was so not what I needed right now.
My gag reflex almost has me throwing up my breakfast on the spot. Feeling faint, I wave my hand in front of my face and stumble sideways and into the nearest open arch, falling to my knees away from the sight of such violent horror.
I stare at the ground, knees weak as I try not to think about that horrible way to die. I clasp my throat with both hands, feeling my erratic pulse. I close my eyes and think… about Eros’ cock… just another violent thing to face.
I think briefly that questioning a Siren might actually be a good idea, since they were the usual mates to Erebos.
But then I hear words, masculine words and I bother to look up at the drawing room I just collapsed into.
Those same three male Erebos from the Deep Sea cave were sitting upright on rock carved lounges, mostly naked except for a roughly made cloth with a black web around their hips. They had clearly been in a deep chat about warriors or the coming war in the sea, because in each hand they held a large curved sword.
And now they were somewhat snarling under their breath because I just interrupted their little meeting.
To make matters worse, my legs had turned to jelly and I was frozen. My instincts were screaming play dead, or something like that. Running was too late. Even though they wouldn’t harm me from Eros’ orders… I couldn’t move. My arms wrap around my breasts and I squish my thighs together while my gaze scatters across each man.
When a feel a leg brush into my back, I let out a high pitched scream of terror, jerking away from the thing behind me. I crawl to the side and glance over my shoulder… my mate. Eros is standing there, watching me with a very bemused, barely hidden smile.
“My little critter…” he murmurs, watching me literally scuttle my way backwards on my hands and feet towards the fire place at the side of the room. I kneel beside it and my hand boldly lies on yet another iron poker. Eros’ lips twitch into a down fall and he glances at his three male friends, “Perhaps you can help me –”
“No!” I scream out.
Oh, gosh no, no, no, no.
If I experienced anything else overwhelming to the senses I might just pass out again.
“…in explaining…” Eros pauses, as if disgusted by interruption and my kneeling form, “Never. Mind.” He grinds the words out and his friends wait impatiently for his next words, “I have decided we need a multitude of slaves who will look after this one…” he nods to me, “I can not care for her all day while she’s crawling around on all fours, panting and squealing at nothing,” he snarls these last two words at me directly and his ocean eyes pulse with annoyance and power, “…worse than a half-wit…”
“Coral Mermaids are meek, my King,” one of the Merka speaks, confidently, “Send her to the females, they’ll teach her how to think like a warrior.”
“Oh, what a lovely idea, Lily –”
“No… no,” I whisper each word, shaking my head, “…but thank you?”
Eros bares his fangs at me, clearly angry that he’s hunt of me has been interrupted by his male Erebos friends. I assume. I don’t know.
Eros glances at each male who is watching our interaction closely.
He seems to have a mental battle, before finally speaking… with his scary and sudden switch to a polite and sweet tone.
“Lily,” Eros holds out a hand, “Let me introduce you to my Generals.”
I stand up and my hand slides along the iron rod, Eros’ eyes follow every movement and I make the bold decision to release it and show him that I’m putting my trust in him… maybe… maybe he would pick up on that.
Eros’ eyes shine as I step towards him without the weapon in hand. His look… it’s either relief… or victory… and I think it was the latter.
I force myself to walk to Eros’ side, avoiding his intense stare, I turn and face his three Generals.
“Bellus of the shell eyes, Nereus of the waning moon,” the twins, “Tethys of the golden gaze,” the one with stringy black hair. Eros introduces each one with calm speech, nodding to each Merka Erebos.
“…and what makes a General of your army?” I ask, hoping to keep the chat civil.
“They’re body count is the highest,” Eros explains, “That is how you become a General; you have killed the most in battle… in feeding… in anything, really.”
I gulp as I look up at Eros and he notes my fearful realisation for a moment, but proceeds to ignore me by avoiding my gaze.
“Any questions, Lily?” Eros asks while staring at his Generals, I note that now he is trying to change the subject.
“What do I do as a Queen?” I ask.
“Exist,” Eros snaps.
“Do I have any jobs? Should I conduct talks with the Coral Clans because I am the middle ground… and…” Eros turns to me as if in slow motion, watching me with narrowed eyes. I stop talking and slowly back out of the room, “…never mind?” I copy his statement from before.
Eros watches me sneak out and he turns to snarl back at the rest of his Generals, “Do not dare to comment. She is a half-wit and slow to learn anything I’ve taught her thus far –” Eros turns then and I’m walking down the corridor meekly when he intercepts, “Are you really as stupid as a starfish, Lily?!” I don’t get far when Eros grabs my body, drags me into the nearest alcove carved into the wall and shoves me up against it, holding my elbows tightly while glaring down into my eyes, “You cannot leave until you prove to me… honour our agreement… and prove you will be loyal through our fucking… I have been rather gentle this entire time leading up to it… have I not?!”
I love that he’s so stupid with his words.
I go from cowering to smirking while I scoff loudly up into his face and snarl back, “Gentle?! Oh really, you speak of gentle when you quite clearly have killed the most to become the King of your Clan?!” I’m proud of my logic in this moment, just to win this argument. My words drip venom and I know he can see the plain disgust in my gaze, “…you’re one to speak of gentle…”
Eros unhands me so quickly, he backs off like I’ve just stabbed him in the heart.
I could choose to say more but I bite my tongue and hold onto my win as he skulks off down the corridor. Quickly he turns a corner and is out of sight.
I clench my fists and stare after him.
Yeah, that’s right.
Eros couldn’t deny what I said.
I turn then, when I feel white shell eyes on my form, and I notice Bellus standing in the door way, watching me with utter revulsion but also a shake of his head in some form of denial.
“Wrong, you’re so wrong, little Darv,” Bellus keeps in his snarl and uses his polite tone.
I guess all Erebos played on the charm to captivate people into discussion.
“He’s guilt ridden by how many murders he’s committed,” I state, “Even Erebos feel –”
“Eros left in total disgust due to your ignorance, he shouldn’t put the expectations of our female kind and their intellect, onto an inbred Darv who didn’t receive the same education as her Coral Clans… oh, I know just how deceived you’ve been, but you wouldn’t even have a clue… I’ve heard it all through the water… I’ve heard it all… your kind are bred to be stupid and taught to be worse… so you never understand your own gifts in the Water’s Will. Look at you, so judgemental… have you killed anyone before and enjoyed it? I don’t doubt it for a second,” he’s guess hits so hard to home, my chest almost caves in.
My best friend.
Sometimes, in moments of self-reflection, I wondered if I…
…if I almost willed the whirlpool myself. That movement in the water… but that wasn’t possible… I wouldn’t have been tossed aside at birth if I was someone worthy of power.
But his words shake me regardless.
“Please, stop,” I shake my head and Bellus suddenly approaches. I lean into my alcove and watch as the General moves in, his eyes are dead like those of someone who enjoys killing as much as breathing.
He doesn’t touch me, he doesn’t do anything like that.
Bellus leans down until his face is hovering just above mine and his fangs are visible as his mouth stays open before his next words spill.
“Go to our females and learn off them. You better learn quickly… or Eros might just kill you first… his patience wanes,” he warns me.
“I was right then, to be the King of the Ezili Clan, you must brazenly kill the most innocent souls –”
“Shut up, half-wif. He’s restraint and intelligence outweighs all our strengths. Eros is our King because he’s killed less than all of us combined. That doesn’t mean he can’t or doesn’t like it when he takes a life. But every death has a special, graceful, meaning when Eros is involved… best you learn… and swiftly…” he nods to the side and I note he’s nodding in the direction of those Sirens.
I’m too embarrassed to speak.
If he’s words are true – then I was almost proven to be a half-wit.
Bellus leans out and steps back, watching me with pure arrogance, waiting to see what I’ll decide.
Will I be too cowardly to speak to the female Erebos, or will I have the guts to admit I was wrong and take some advice?
“Bell…” I get so nervous I don’t pronounce his full name, “…w…w-will they hurt me?”
Bellus smiles, “Only if you insult their King. They’re. Very. Protective.”
“Won’t you?” Bellus is just enjoying my submission a bit too much now and I’m freaking out that he might be getting other ideas.
I step forward and slip past him.
I’m about to take some advice.
I consider the real possibility that everything I thought I knew about Erebos – was wrong.
And I needed to start again.