Nowhere to Hide

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3 - love is unforgiving

Phaedra sat in the corner of her new master bedroom, huddled against the wall. Even though Malachi and Xander had left her hours ago, she was determined to avoid seeing or being around them for as long as possible.

She rubbed her fingers against her soft, clean, and moisturized skin. The lady servants that had tended to her to make sure she was properly cleaned and well-dressed were more thorough than she wanted.

At least she smelled good.

She deeply inhaled the lavender and vanilla oils that had been massaged into her skin. It reminded her a bit of her mother.

“My lady,” Tindry knocked on the door for the 4th time that evening. “Dinner is ready.”

“I’m not hungry,” Phaedra said quickly just as her stomach grumbled.

“Attending dinner is not an option, my lady,” Tindry advised.

“I’m...I’m not feeling well,” Phaedra said out loud. At least that she wasn’t lying about. Mentally she was distraught. Her body felt weak and exhausted. Her wings hadn’t stopped throbbing in pain. She wanted nothing more than to be left alone to wallow in her misery.

“We have medicine,” Tindy insisted.

“Please. I just want to be left alone,” Phaedra pleaded.

“...again... that is not an option, my lady. Lord Xander and Lord Malachi expect you at dinner,” Tindry advised.

Phaedra ran her hand over her face with exasperation, anxiously squeezing her temples. She glanced at the tall window in her bedroom and wondered what her chances of survival would be if she jumped. She hadn’t even considered how high up they were. Her wings were in no condition for her to fly.

“My lady,” Tindry knocked again sounding more impatient than before.

“Can you give me 15 minutes?” Phaedra asked.

“I will give you 5,” Tindry said before walking away.

Phaedra already couldn’t stand her. She waited for Tindry to walk away before she stood up and looked out the window again.

Her heart skipped several beats. To say it was a long way down would be an understatement. They must have put her in the highest tower. No wonder those stairs were exhausting.

She glanced around outside, taking in the details of her prison.

The kingdom was massive from where she stood. Just beneath her were several small cabins busied with people and animals. There was lots of land to her left where it looked like farmers were working the land. Massive wooden windmills stood up high in the sky.

The large black gate looked even more foreboding than the first time she saw it. It was too high to climb and too tight for her to crawl through. If she were to escape, she’d have to find another way.

Phaedra leaned over the window sill, glancing at the people below. She squinted her eyes when she noticed someone who looked rather familiar being pushed around by a few of the shapeshifters.

“...Ar-...Archibald?” she breathed out.

An abrupt knock came at the door, startling her. “My lady. Lord Xander and Lord Malachi are expecting you for dinner,” Tindry said more firmly.

Phaedra swallowed hard as she stared at Archibald again. She could barely make him out, but she recognized that bright red hair anywhere.

He looked seriously injured. She had to get to him... somehow.

“My lady!” Tindry knocked again.

Phaedra took a deep breath and reluctantly walked to the door. She opened it and met Tindry’s irritated glare.

“No need to get your bloomers in a bunch,” Phaedra said mockingly.

Tindry scowled. “That is no way for a queen to-”

“Oh, bite me. I’m not a queen yet, remember?” Phaedra said dismissively as she walked past her.

***

“What if she’s a vegetarian?”

Malachi looked at Xander across the wooden table with confusion. “Why the fuck would she be a vegetarian?”

Xander shrugged. “Thought I heard something about faerie folk not eating meat.”

Malachi scoffed. “Regardless... she’ll be eating a lot of meat...”

Xander threw his head back in laughter as he kicked his leg up on the seat beside him. “Ever since you’ve laid eyes on her, you’ve been horny as fuck, Mal.”

“I’m impatient,” Malachi growled. “I can hardly wait another fucking minute.” Malachi ran his fingers through his hair as he hunched over, resting his elbows on the table. “And she’s a bloody virgin.”

Xander grinned as he rolled a thin tree twig between his lips. “So we have to be gentle with her the first time, so what? After the first go, she’ll be well and ready to take a good pounding without you splitting her in two,” he chuckled.

Malachi sucked his teeth. “You’re projecting, X. No one is wilder in bed than you.”

Xander grinned. “You exaggerate. Don’t flatter me, Mal.”

Malachi raised a brow. “That woman from the Midlands is still on bed rest.”

Xander laughed boisterously. “She’s the one who tried to seduce us! I tried to warn her.”

“Except that you didn’t,” Malachi grinned as he took a sip of his beer. “Just don’t try that shit on our bride. I’ve waited too long for- where the fuck is she?” Malachi snapped impatiently.

“Now, I’m getting impatient,” Xander groaned as he finished his beer. “Where’s the food?”

“TINDRY!” Malachi growled.

Xander sighed. “I need at least one hunger to be fed...” He shoved the chair to the side and stood to his feet before heading to the kitchen.

***

“Make sure to add an additional steak to Malachi’s. You know he hates when we come up short,” one of the cooks advised.

The hands of a servant moved quickly, packing on fruits, vegetables, and meats onto three separate plates. “You think she eats as much as them?” he asked.

“Have you seen the size of her?” another servant snorted. “Of course she does. Perhaps more.”

The first servant shook his head. “I will never understand our lords’ tastes in women. They could have anyone within the Circle of Thirteen and yet they choose a woman like her? And to share for that matter? It makes no sense.”

The second servant shrugged. “Doesn’t have to make sense to you. You’re not the one fucking her. Though, they might as well have just gone to a stable and find a-”

The servant let out a shocking scream as a knife crashed against his finger, slicing it off before he could finish his sentence.

The large kitchen hushed as the workers looked up at Xander wielding a blade in one hand and an empty mug in another.

“What’s this?” Xander asked looking down at the servant crying over his bleeding hand. “Did I hear mocking about my bride?”

Several of them looked at him with fear in their eyes as they quickly shook their heads.

“Oh no?” Xander said with fake shock. “I was imagining it then? It was all in my head? I made it up, is it?”

“N-no, my lord,” the first servant said. “W-we were j-just... talking-”

“Ah! Talking! Yes! Having a bit of fun, are we?” Xander smiled. “I’m all about fun. Did you have a good laugh? Tell me the joke. I want to laugh too.”

They looked at him wide-eyed. The second servant sobbed over his bleeding hand. “M-my lord it... it wasn’t-”

Xander picked up his bloody blade and pressed it over another finger. “I want. to know. the joke... or I’ll take another...”

The servant swallowed hard as he looked from the blade pressed against his other finger to Xander’s off-putting smile.

“I... I said... she p-probably eats... a lot...” the servant trembled.

Xander blinked at him. “Well, that’s not very funny. What woman doesn’t like to eat? You’re just stating facts, not making a joke.”

The servant nodded as he looked down and panicked at what Xander would do next.

“Well, that can’t be all,” Xander mused. “There must be more. I heard something about going to the stables. Come on! Make me laugh!”

The servant looked at him with apprehension. “I j-just-”

“He said that you could have found your bride in the stables rather than with the faerie. He was implying your bride was a pig,” the first servant blurted.

Xander looked at the first servant with a raised brow. “Ooooh, I get it! He’s mocking my bride’s size, right? Is that it? Did I get the joke?”

There were a few nods as the second servant’s mouth parted in disbelief at how quickly he was ousted.

Xander chuckled. “I see.” He quickly swung his arm, sending his blade flying until it landed in the first servant’s chest. The first servant stumbled back against the wall, clutching the blade as blood leaked from the corner’s of his mouth until his body slid to the floor.

“So, here’s the thing,” Xander said smiling at the second servant whose eyes were wide with shock. His body trembling with fear. “I like big. I like soft. I like beauty. And my bride is all of that. Who Ifuckis none of your concern nor does it need your commentary. If I hear you or anyone else here say another thing about my bride, I will not make your death quick. It will be slow and it will be very... very painful. Am I understood?” Xander said cocking his head to the side.

Everyone in the kitchen frantically nodded their understanding.

“Good,” Xander said letting the second servant go. “Look, I get it. It’s not easy adjusting to... foreigners in our home.” He bent down and yanked his blade out of the first servant’s chest.

“I get it...” he said looking down thoughtfully before he looked back at them. “I also don’t care,” he shrugged. “Be sure to clean this up. I need another beer.”

Xander cleaned off his blade as someone quickly handed him a full tankard.

“Cheers,” he said heading towards the door. “Oh by the way,” he said turning around. “If Malachi catches wind, know that he will show no mercy. I like my fun, but Mal is... impatient and intolerant. Do not test him. And do not test me. The sooner you accept Phae, the longer your life expectancy,” he winked.

Xander turned on his heels once more and walked out of the kitchen.

~

Phaedra followed Tindry down the long-winding stairs and was relieved she didn’t have to climb them. Walking down was always easier than walking up.

She ran her fingers along the nicely designed wooden railing as she placed one foot in front of the other. She used her other hand to hold up the hem of her light blue dress that would have made her trip and tumble otherwise.

“My lord!” Tindry said, stopping abruptly as Malachi was walking up the stairs to meet them. Phaedra nearly bumped into Tindry from the shortstop.

“What took so long?” Malachi said impatiently.

“The Lady Phaedra needed to get ready,” Tindry said quickly stepping to the side.

Phaedra froze as she came face-to-face with Malachi standing just a few steps lower on the stairs in front of her. From this height, she could see the top of his head, and yet he still looked just as intimidating.

His long dark blonde hair was tied into a bun on his head as loose strands fell around the front of his face. His light grey eyes stared up at her with a rare tenderness.

“...you... you look stunning...” Malachi said taking in her new clothes.

Phaedra felt so confused. This man was responsible for the fall of her kingdom and the death of her father and sister. He told her off only hours ago about how her people deserved the massacre he spearheaded.

Yet, he had the audacity to tell her she was stunning. A word that had never been used to describe her before.

She frowned that these words were only now being heard by her oppressors and not by the family she had grown to love.

“Come. I’m hungry, and you’ve made us wait long enough,” Malachi said impatiently. He grabbed her hand, pulling her towards him and easily picked her up in his toned arms.

Phaedra didn’t think she’d ever get used to being manhandled this way. Now, she couldn’t even walk down the stairs on her own??

Phaedra tried to maneuver her hands so as not to touch him too much, but he held her close as if they were welded to each other.

“Don’t move so much,” Malachi ordered. “Your touch excites me, and I cannot have you until tomorrow. Remain still lest I break tradition.”

Phaedra breathed out with exasperation. What the hell was wrong with this man?

“Do I seriously not get a say in any of this?!” she said irritably.

“No,” Malachi said simply as he set her down on her feet.

Phaedra angrily pushed him, but he was so solid that she only sent herself stumbling backward.

Malachi looked down at her with a raised brow.

“Jeez!” Phaedra muttered. “What the hell are you made out of? Stone?!”

“You’ll find out tomorrow night...” Malachi said glaring at her.

Phaedra curled her upper lip in disgust and frustration. One way or another, she had to find a way out before tomorrow night.

She watched as Malachi walked to the large wooden table, crowded with tons of food. He pulled out a chair for her at the center and beckoned her over.

Phaedra reluctantly walked towards the table and took a seat. His footsteps were loud against the floor beneath them as he took his place on the left side of the table.

Xander walked out of the kitchen whistling until he sipped from his beer. A huge grin painted his face as he stroked his beard.

“There she is,” Xander grinned. “And don’t you look fucking lovely.”

Phaedra avoided eye contact as she stared at her table.

“The silent treatment. Women,” Xander snickered as he sat on the other side of her.

“What is that on your hand?” Malachi asked, gesturing with his chin.

“Oh, this?” Xander said looking at the bloodstains. “Minor disagreement in the kitchen. It’s been settled. Did you speak to the farmers about our conditions?”

“Yes, they were compliant,” Malachi said biting into a large piece of ham. “We need to make sure everything is sorted prior to our next conquest.”

Phaedra simply stared at her plate full of food as she listened to Malachi and Xander talk about their next murderous invasion as if they were planning a birthday celebration. It made her skin crawl that they could discuss something so violent and traumatic with such ease.

“So, Phae,” Xander said interrupting her thoughts. “Is it true that you’re a vegetarian?”

“Not this shit again,” Malachi grumbled as he dropped a meatless bone on his plate.

“Now hold on,” Xander said putting his hand up. “I have to confirm my suspicions,” he grinned.

Phaedra didn’t even want to look at him.

“Phae... I asked you a question,” Xander said more firmly. “You’ll come to learn that making me ask twice will not bode well for you.”

Phaedra let out a sharp breath of disbelief and finally spoke. “... no... I’m not.”

“See? I told you,” Malachi said sipping his beer. He leaned back in his chair and glanced at Phaedra. “Tell us more about you, Phae.”

Phaedra scoffed. “Oh now you want to learn about me?” she muttered.

“We want to know everything about our wife-to-be,” Xander said leaning forward, resting his chin on his hands.

Phaedra shook her head. “What do you want to know?” she asked reluctantly.

“Anything. Everything,” Xander probed.

“What are your favorite flowers. Your favorite foods. Your hobbies,” Malachi added.

Phaedra couldn’t stop shaking her head. This felt so unreal. “I like dragon lilies. I love apples. My hobbies are not watching my family get murdered or my sprite stolen from me. I’m not a fan of evil shapeshifters forcing me to be their slave bride.”

“Boring! You lost me after the apples bit,” Xander said, leaning back in his chair.

Phaedra glared at him. “You’re a monster!”

“Oh, little bird, you have no idea,” Xander grinned. “Tell me, Phae... have you ever pleasured yourself?”

Phaedra looked at him startled. “Excuse me?”

“She seems too innocent for that,” Malachi muttered. “We’ll have to break her out of it.”

“You’re not breaking anything!” she snapped at them.

Xander chuckled as he popped a grape into his mouth. “She’s going to make this so much fun. Ever been tongue-fucked before, little bird?”

Phaedra stared at him with wide eyes and it made Xander burst into laughter. “Look at her!” he laughed.

“It’s like teaching a baby to speak...” Malachi muttered. “She probably doesn’t even know what it is.”

Xander leaned over the table with a grin making Phaedra lean further back into her seat. He looked at her sharply. “It’s when I ease your big luscious thighs apart and spread your pussy lips wide so I can suck the gem at your center that makes your whole body tremble with want.”

Phaedra’s breathing shortened.

“And I’ll shove my tongue so deep into your cunt, you won’t know what to do with yourself,” Xander grinned. “Just like this.”

Phaedra’s eyes widened as she saw Xander teasingly flick his tongue up and down at her.

She abruptly stood up from her chair and backed up from the table. “I want to go back to my room,” she said angrily.

“You will sit down and you will finish eating,” Malachi said firmly.

“I’m not hungry!” she said annoyed.

“You’re not leaving this damn table until you finish eating,” Malachi ordered.

“You’re not my father and I don’t answer to you!” she growled at him.

She turned around and grabbing the hem of her dress, ran towards the stairs. But Malachi quickly grabbed her arm and yanked her backward against him as she nearly fell.

“Get off of me!” she screamed, writhing in his grasp that had locked her arms behind her back. Malachi grabbed underneath her chin and pulled her head back.

“I don’t know what the fuck is going on in that pretty little head of yours where you seem to have forgotten who the fuck you’re dealing with,” Malachi snarled at her.

“Clearly, we’re being way too kind,” Xander said standing from his chair. “Perhaps our bride needs discipline.”

Phaedra looked at Xander with apprehension and confusion as he walked in front of her.

“Well, that seemed to have calmed her down a bit,” Xander chuckled. “You like putting up a fight, don’t you, little bird...”

Phaedra glared at Xander as she breathed heavily until she felt Malachi’s face against her neck. He let out a deep groan as she felt something hard grow against her backside.

“She’s made me fucking hard,” Malachi muttered. “Let’s move on to what we planned before I bend her over this damn table.”

Xander smirked. “Maybe that’s what she wants... for us to bend her over the table and fuck her right here. Is that what you want, little bird?”

Phaedra quickly shook her head in defeat. “Please, just let me go.”

“You keep asking the same question over and over, and yet the answer remains the same,” Malachi said lowly in her ear. “No.”

Phaedra whimpered as she slouched weakly against Malachi.

“Cheer up, little bird,” Xander smiled as he grabbed her chin and played with her bottom lip. “We have a surprise for you.”

***

In all four corners of the darkened dungeon, wails of agony could be heard throughout the prison.

Queen Lora leaned against the wall trying to use whatever magic she could to break free, but she was absolutely powerless within the four walls.

“We’re going to diiiiiiieeeeee! We’re never getting out!!!” Irene wailed from the corner of their small prison.

Lora snarled impatiently. “SHUT UP!! NOW! I can’t concentrate with all of your whining!!”

Irene’s eyes widened. “BUT MOTHER!”

“I SAID SHUT UP!” Lora snapped. “I’m trying to think!”

Lora leaned back against the wall, nibbling on her fingers dirtied from trying to claw at the door. Her eyes shifted as her mind raced.

“What do they want with us?” Lora muttered. “Why did they attack us?”

“They want to eat us!” Irene sobbed.

“IRENE, I SWEAR, BY THE GODS, IF YOU DON’T QUIET YOURSELF!” Lora snarled.

Both women jumped startled when they heard the gates open. Several footsteps could be heard coming down the stairs of the dark cellar until their door was opened.

Lora looked upon Malachi with surprise. “L-Lord Malachi!” she said frantically. “I pray you’ve come to free us!”

Malachi raised a curious brow. “Now, why would I do that?”

Lora looked at him startled. “Then... then why are you here?”

Malachi stepped into the room causing the two women to quickly back up. Irene trembled behind her mother as they looked upon Malachi with apprehension.

“I’ve come to inquire about your daughter,” Malachi said.

“You can take her!” Lora said without hesitation as she shoved Irene towards Malachi.

“MOTHER!” Irene blurted in shock.

Malachi shook his head in disgust as he stepped away from Irene. “Not this one... the other... Phaedra.”

Lora looked at Malachi confused. “What about her?”

“She will not tell me the truth so I’ve come to seek it from you,” Malachi inquired. “She is very stubborn and your honesty is imperative. Tell me the truth about Phaedra and I will let you and your daughter go,” Malachi continued. “I want to know her-”

“You cannot trust her!” Lora spat quickly. “She is a witch of dark evil and magic who has brought nothing but pain to our family and she will do the same to yours!”

Malachi looked at her surprised.

“Phaedra, she- she has been a curse to her father and every person she comes in contact with,” Lora said trying to appeal to whatever it was he was looking for.

Malachi folded his arms behind his back and tilted his head to the side. “You speak this way of your daughter?”

“She is not my daughter,” Lora said with disgust.

Malachi hummed. “I see...”

~

Phaedra leaned against the wall on the other side with tears in her eyes. She knew her stepmother didn’t like her but... to hear those words come from a woman she spent most of her life with.

“You see now?” Xander said walking up behind Phaedra. “See how she regards you? How can you advocate for the life of a creature like this?”

Phaedra spun around and looked at Xander angrily. She tried to shove him but she only sent herself tumbling backward. Xander threw his head back laughing hard with amusement.

“This sick game that you’re trying to play!” Phaedra snarled at him as she struggled to her feet. “You’re disgusting!”

"I’m disgusting?!” Xander laughed even harder. “Your so-called ‘mother’ just tossed you away like you’re nothing. She cares nothing for you Phae.”

“She’s- she’s in distress because you murdered her husband and daughters and locked her up in here! We may not like each other, but she does not deserve to die!” Phaedra argued. “None of them do!”

“Oh, but she does, little bird,” Xander smiled as he walked up to her. “She does.”

Phaedra flinched as Xander raised a hand and wiped a tear from a cheek. “I have heard of the so-called ‘kindness’ of faeries. You may possess it, but your mother does not. Nor did your father.”

Phaedra backed up against the wall breathing heavily as Xander trapped her between his arms.

“They all deserve to die. And she will not be the exception,” Xander said menacingly. “I will make her scream and beg for her life. Because it’s more than she deserves.”

Phaedra whimpered helplessly. “Xander-”

“Ohhh...” Xander bit his lip as he searched her eyes. “Now, you’re turning me on, little bird. It’s the first time I’ve heard you say my name. Say it again for me.”

A tear slipped down down Phaedra’s cheek as she shook her head. She gasped as Xander abruptly grabbed her neck.

“Come on, little bird... just once more...” Xander groaned as he rubbed his lips against hers. “You’ll be screaming it tomorrow night anyway...”

Phaedra tried to pull away his hand wrapped around her throat as his other hand quickly worked to bunch her dress up before working between her thighs.

“X!” Malachi snapped angrily. “And you dare lecture me!”

Xander sucked his teeth as he pulled back with an amused grin. “These hours are agonizing.”

“Let’s kill the bitch and get this over with,” Malachi said.

“Malachi, please,” Phaedra begged.

Phaedra immediately regretted saying his name because it seemed to have the same effect on Malachi as it did on Xander.

“See now?” Xander grinned as he backed up and watched Malachi tower over Phaedra. “She has too much power already.”

Phaedra looked up at Malachi and was put off by the fact that he hadn’t said anything as his light grey eyes bore into hers. Her breathing hitched as he immediately grabbed her large thighs and lifted her onto his waist as his mouth slammed against hers.

Xander threw his arms in the air in defeat as he walked away.

Phaedra could barely breathe as Malachi’s lips moved furiously against hers. Although his grip on her thighs was firm, she instinctively tightened her thighs around his waist for fear of falling to the ground. But it only seemed to make Malachi harder.

He let out a hungry, ferocious growl as he shoved his face into her neck, his tongue bathing her skin as he sucked fervently with his lips.

“Why do you do this to me? I told you we needed to wait. Fuck!” Malachi growled angrily as his large hands massaged her ass in his palms.

“Malachi!” Phaedra said trying to push him back as she gasped for breath.

Malachi licked his lips as he looked at her hungrily.

“I’m begging you to spare her,” Phaedra said trying to catch her breath. “Please. No more death.”

Malachi set Phaedra back down on the ground and searched her eyes. “Follow me,” he said grabbing her hand.

~

Phaedra followed Malachi outside to the back of the dungeon where she saw several people being held prisoner.

“Phae-Phaedra!” Irene blurted from a few feet away. “Sister! Sister, please help me!”

Phaedra saw Irene trapped in Xander’s arms as he held her tightly. He held a blade to her neck.

Malachi dropped Phaedra’s hand and walked over to a pile before he yanked Lora up by her hair.

Phaedra covered her mouth in shock as Malachi dragged Lora towards her, throwing her at her feet.

“Choose one,” Malachi said.

Phaedra looked between Malachi and Xander. “What? What- no!”

“Choose one, Phae!” Malachi snapped.

Tears welled up in Phaedra’s eyes as she started to panic. “Please, don’t. Don’t do this.”

“Choose, or we’ll choose for you,” Xander threatened.

Phaedra breathed heavily as she looked between Lora and Irene.

“I’ve always been a mother to you, Phaedra,” Lora pleaded. “I’ve loved you like a daughter.”

Malachi loudly snorted.

Phaedra swallowed hard. “Lora. I choose Lora.”

Lora looked at Phaedra in disbelief before she let out a bloodcurdling scream. Phaedra stared wide-eyed as Malachi violently tore her wings from her back as blood sprayed into the air.

“Please!” Phaedra said running to Malachi. “You’re torturing her!”

“That’s the point, Phae,” Malachi said shoving Phaedra back.

Phaedra covered her mouth and felt powerless as she watched Malachi yank Lora up by her hair.

Malachi hooked his fingers into Lora’s mouth and palmed her jaw.

“Tell your husband to go fuck himself,” Malachi sneered in her ear as he ripped her jaw from her skull.

Phaedra quickly turned around and covered her face as she tried not to puke. She took deep breaths as she frantically headed for Irene.

“Ah, ah!” Malachi said quickly grabbing Phaedra’s arm and holding her back.

“What are you doing?” Phaedra asked as she writhed in his arms. “You told me to choose one. You said you’d let her go.”

“We said no such thing, little bird,” Xander smirked. “We just had you choose who would have the worse death.”

“NO!” Phaedra blurted. “PLEASE NO!”

Her mouth parted in shock as she watched Xander slit Irene’s throat.

Xander dropped Irene’s body to the ground as Malachi released Phaedra. She ran towards Irene and fell to her knees.

“No...no...” Phaedra breathed, staring at Irene’s dead body in shock. Relentless tears streamed down her cheeks.

Xander grinned at Malachi. “Did she really think we were going to let them live?”

***

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