Chapter Thirty-Nine – continued
We’ll also call this the chapter in which I forgot what I named the King and Queen of the Pearl Kingdom and was simply too lazy to go back and find them.
Adrian had been knee-deep in negotiations with the King and Queen of the Pearl Kingdom. They had seemed as tired as he felt, as mournful as he was. They had admitted to trying to get rid of their daughter, of trying to foist her dark powers on another kingdom. After witnessing Merike’s powers, Adrian had a hard time blaming them.
For years, the seas had been largely inhospitable to sailors and the mer had been attacked in retaliation. It had been Merike’s powers stirring unrest. The Pearl King had hoped that marriage between the Pearl Princess and the Glass Prince would resolve the conflicts, because his control over his sea witch daughter had been growing too thin.
“You have lost a king and a cousin,” the Pearl King had said tiredly. “We have lost a daughter. We did not wish the unrest in the first place. I hope we can come to an agreement.”
Adrian had nodded, leaning forward even as his devastation at losing Gray and Lawrence and his fear for what happened to Abigail threatened to eat him away. After all, they had been fighting a war against the sea witch, not the Pearl Kingdom.
“I grieve for the loss your kingdom has taken,” Adrian had said sincerely. “I’m afraid it was impossible, for all these years, to tell if the mer approaching our ships were seeking help or to destroy.”
“We are both at fault, but you are the new King and we have hope. We understand you will be wed soon.”
“Yes. Soon. I hope.”
“Our children are all grown and Merike is dead,” the Queen had said softly. “We would like to ask for a permanent ambassador, one for you and one for us.”
“That sounds reasonable to me,” Adrian had managed to say before the knock had come at the door.
“What do you mean?” he now demanded of Camille.
Vaguely, he was aware that Camille – steady, firm, resolute Camille – was shaking like a leaf. She herself didn’t seem to be aware of it, and was simply clutching his hands as hard as he was clenching hers.
“It’s Muriel and Madeline,” she said, the words tumbling out. “They’re sisters, co-conspirators. They conspired with a man named Ephraim to kidnap Abigail and lock her in a nearby fae tower. If we don’t reach her soon and free her, she will die.”
Ice ran through his veins. “Ephraim?”
She nodded. “Adrian, we need to get Kyanan. Only the fae can get into and out of the tower.”
He barely heard her, his mind latched onto the single name. The ice thawed and lava flowed. Dimly, he heard her wince as his hands tightened, but his fury didn’t allow him to see anything beyond it.
Abruptly, he dropped Camille’s hands and turned to a guard. Quickly, he barked, “Bring Councilor Ephraim Raltor to me. Lady Kyanan as well.”
The guard saluted and was out the door in seconds. Adrian took a moment to compose himself, to remind himself he was King and in an important meeting.
First, he turned to Camille. “I have no idea what a fae tower is, but you will take Kyanan there as soon as she arrives. Whatever happens, Abigail must not perish.”
Before Camille could respond, he was turning away and striding back to the Pearl King and Queen. Both had settled back into their seats, their bodies unsteady on legs. He offered them a low bow, and breathed a sigh of relief as they nodded to receive his apology.
“Your Majesties, I’m afraid there is an urgent matter I must attend to.”
The Queen held up a hand and turned her head slightly in Camille’s direction. “No need, King Adrian. Your bride is in trouble. My husband and I would be happy to provide what aid we can.”
Adrian bowed again. “I am humbled, Your Majesties. It is my hope that we may resume our negotiations once Lady Abigail is with us.”
“Of course,” the King said, his voice rumbling like a wave. “Whoever Muriel and Madeline are, they must be stopped.”
Catch up on Sisters of String and Glass
Check out Queen of the Garden of Girls