I broke the arrow shaft over my knee, muttering curses under my breath. Simeon was too soft. Believing everything was happy and peaceful now that we found Avery. But I knew the truth. I knew the monsters that lurked in every corner or shadow they could. I stomped down the hallway and a brownie shuffled out of my way with his eyes huge as I passed him.
Simeon never heard the screams every single night like I did growing up. Nor the nightmares that came out during the day even. He had lived a sheltered life with his kingdom bordered up to the human one and as far as a Fae could get from the shattered realms.
We had a duty to protect Avery. Our queen and our love. And all our people from the monsters that threatened them and even the humans beyond. I shook my head. Ne’er thought I’d love anyone in this crazy world, but she took us all by surprise. The fact she had been a Fae killer still made many uneasy.
Shit. Sometimes I wondered if she had lost her senses about the Fae and now she wanted to talk peace with the Unseelie? Could she not see how dangerous they were?
The woman was out of her mind.
They were monsters. All of them. Only interested in how much pain they could inflict on their enemies. There wasn’t an Unseelie I bet who wouldn’t love to murder us in our sleep ‘or the sheer pleasure of it.
No, I had to turn this around and show Avery that she was right about monsters. The Unseelie born ‘n’ bred them. Centuries o’ battling with them wasn’t going to change because of a few dinners. They were as slippery as snakes and even deadlier. Nightmares didn’t even come close to explaining these creatures.
I clenched the cracked arrow in my fist, careful to avoid the poisoned tip. Did she not see the danger she was putting herself in? To me, this proved that an Unseelie had plans to execute her, just like they did her real mother—the Fae Queen. She hadn’t been here when the wars erupted following the monarch’s death. The line went through the women and we only had us three princes, barely boys, on our side. Our fathers who survived reigned as regents until we were old enough, but we never gave up hope of finding the Fae Queen’s daughter.
So much so that I let a dark Fae deceive me. Amber. She’d been on the human side, pretending to be lost, pretending to love me. And I had been oblivious until she tried to kill Malcolm and Simeon. A bloody, damn fool for love. The scars she left behind had run deep. I was unable to heal or trust another woman again.
Though none of us thought she’d be a Fae hunter and not at all interested in the throne or ruling. That changed though when we fought for her place in this world. Now I couldn’t imagine my life without her in it. She had healed me. Made me love again. A damn fucking miracle.
With her, I felt complete, whole. Like she’d always been with me and my life wasn’t screwed up. And I would hold onto everything I had to keep it that way. Even if it meant murdering every Unseelie I found until she was safe.
My boots echoed in the corridor and the faint scent of woodsmoke filled the air. I pushed open the door to my chambers.
I tossed the broken arrow into the hearth. Somehow, I had to convince her of the truth. Tomorrow, I’d talk to Malcolm about all of this. He was escorting Avery’s friend, Maggie, back across the border. And he had to handle some business at the human bars we owned.
The fire in the hearth sizzled and popped, chewing on the arrow.
Aye, someone had planted the poison after our fight with the Gwyllion. Unlike carefree Simeon or my cousin, Malcolm, I knew every blade, every inch of the weapons’ chamber ‘n’ that blasted arrow hadn’t been there.
This was recent. Which meant we had a fucking mole in the castle. One I intended to catch.