"What's going to happen now?"
I'm delivering the dishes from the Fairy Godmother's dinner to the kitchen when I hear all the servants talking. They weren't the first that were talking about it. It seemed as though the entire country had gone up in shock at the fact that the Winter King had revealed himself. The only problem is that the person wasn't me.
That person was Indigo.
"It all depends on the Winter King..." a servant boy tells her in return.
"That isn't even the Winter King. Rumor has it Dorian has written a letter saying that he will not acknowledge Indigo as the true Winter King."
No surprise. Dorian knew the truth. He'd never be OK with Indigo claiming to be the true heir.
"He's holding out for a fantasy. Indigo is the winter, King. The only living one. Crazy isn't it? The Winter King was under our noses this entire time."
"I can believe it. I mean look at Indigo. He always seemed royal. Who else would it be?"
It's almost as though they want it to be him. I feel some type of way. It was petty but it also felt like someone was walking in my shoes. Someone was stealing my shine. And the fact is Indigo was beloved by humans like most all the other Spring fairies.
They almost seemed relieved and it isn't until the next person speaks that I understand why.
"But he's so sweet. I heard the Winter Court was evil."
"Maybe it's a good thing that he came forward."
"It is but that evil Dorian won't like it. He'll go to war..."
I'm confused. I drop something on the ground. The thought of war is making me nervous. I am so distracted that I only notice it's glass when it smashes into a million little pieces when it hits the ground.
"Solaris is going to be pissed at you kid," One of the senior servants states.
I'm not concerned about it now despite how bad Solaris would abuse me if he knew I broke something important.
"Do you guys really think war is coming?" I ask the servants.
The silence between the two is deafening. I can see it from their expression. They might not want to answer me but I can tell they are worried. Everyone is.
"Stop eavesdropping," the servant tells me, "Pick up the glasses. This isn't coming out of my salary. I'm making sure Solaris knows exactly who broke the glass."
They walk away to gossip more in private. They weren't going to tell me much. I was a nobody.
Not too long ago I was prepared to reveal myself as the Winter King and now I was at the bottom of the totem pole. Even when it came to servants...
I find myself struggling, shuffling upstairs towards the Summer Court, desperate to find Paris. The confusion in the Courts was getting worse. The scheming was reaching a boiling point. I knew there was only one way to go from here. Maybe that's why I'm too desperate to even knock. I just open the door. I just barge in.
And he's laying there.
"He's in the shower," Indigo states, knowing immediately why I came to the room.
Indigo isn't wearing anything but underwear. His muscular frame is postured like he's posing for a portrait in the silk sheets. He doesn't seem surprised that I'm here. He does seem entertained though. I see a smile spread across his face. It's a wicked smile. It's a smile that I'd never seen from him before.
I'm nervous not from seeing him but from seeing him HERE like THIS!
"Did the two of you just..."
Indigo lifts one leg in the air. He snaps at his underwear a little revealing a bit of moisture underneath. That's when I see his asshole. It's a pink puckering asshole wincing back at me. It is full of stuff. Cum. I literally have to watch as he pushes Paris's nut out of him while lying on the bed. Slowly it oozes and he lets out a deep dark moan and a smile of relief. Guess he didn't know he'd like being fucked so much.
I look away and I am flushed with heat. I didn't think I could be jealous to this extent but that was definitely what was happening right now. Jealousy. Fury. Almost a sense of certain betrayal.
"Oh come on, isn't that what husbands do?" he asks walking up to me and smiling. He leans up closer to me and almost whispers in my ear, "You can still join us again if you want. I don't mind...brother..."
"You know..." I state.
A smile. A smile that stabs me in the heart. I wonder how long he knew. I wonder he knew the first time I was in his bed.
"Do you think it was a coincidence that you were hired on when we first met? No. My mother had you followed when you were adopted. We needed to keep an eye on you," he states, "We needed to know what you knew and when."
All my life I felt like I was nobody. All my life I had been watched and hidden from the Summer fairies. But all the other court knew I was alive.
Why not kill me? Why keep me alive this long?
"What is it you want?"
I feel as though I don't even know Indigo any longer. All this time I thought he was honorable, proper and moral. I had blamed myself for being this cruel person who was using him. But the truth was that he was the one using me all along.
"Stop looking at me like that."
"Like you haven't been playing the game too," he states, "The only problem is we are playing it better. I'm still the same person. I'm still the good guy. I don't want to hurt you. Spring fairies are not violent. The Spring Fairies are the only fairies who are kind to humans. We are the most popular fairies for a reason. We should rule. I did what I had to do for survival. Not for me. I put my country first."
"WOW, you really believe it. You really believe everything you've done is justified for the greater good."
"Spring court is the only moral court. My mother, Queen Cerulean and I sacrifice everyday..."
"Queen Cerulean is dead," I state.
Oh my god. I look at how he stares down at the rug and takes a few steps back. It's as though he is ashamed of these sacrifices that he had to make.
I take a step towards him, "Indigo. It wasn't Dorian who blew up Cerulean. Was it? It was you."
"She's alive. We faked it."
They framed Dorian to turn the Summer fairies against him. The Spring fairies have been pulling the strings this entire time.
"You want war?"
I don't even need to ask the question. I wonder if it's Cerulean's idea but I don't think so. I don't even think it's Indigo's idea at this point. There was one woman who seemed to have everyone believing she is this lovable angel. It was Indigo's mother. The woman who had an affair with my father. The Fairy Godmother had planned this. It was clear as day.
"It's time the Summer Court and the Autumn Court destroy one another. Stop looking at me like that. One last war. I'll be the last remaining king. Stop looking like that Raine. One last war. One! And then I promise I'll give you the peace that you want. I'll be the last king."
Power. The Fairy Godmother had done this to give her son power. Having a child with the Winter King. Biding her time and leaving Cerulean to be subservient to the Summer Fairies. All the while never being loyal to Summer. Always plotting. Always wanting the one thing the Spring Fairies were never truly known for.
Always wanting power.
But disguising their own selfish desires as public servitude.
"I'll tell everyone."
"No, you won't..."
"I've been spying on my husband. I know he bound himself to kill Midnight. He is running out of time. Did he let you know that?"
What Paris did was the worst thing he could ever do. I get he thought Midnight was Indigo at that point. I knew the mistake would come back to haunt us.
My heart hurts, "No..."
"He planned on killing me tonight but he knows now I'm not Midnight. He knows he doesn't have to kill me. If you reveal yourself to him----guess who he's going to have to kill?" he asks.
I don't answer. I don't have the chance because Paris walks out of the shower at that point. He's dripping wet completely naked. He looks so sexy there steaming. He seems shocked when he sees me standing there to the point that he folds his hand over his long dick. I can see him getting a rush of embarrassment.
It was becoming increasingly clear that they were intimate.
"Everything OK here?" he asks
He covers himself. Pressing his muscular broad shoulders in. He's looking more at me than Indigo when he asks the question. I'm stuck though. I didn't want to put Paris in that position to turn on me. If he knew I was Midnight then he would be bound to kill me. If he didn't kill me then what would happen to him? What REALLY happened when a fairy didn't fulfill one of their sacred promises? Could the Shadow Courts be real?
"I'll leave you two alone," Indigo states, "You must have some serious catching up to do."
He's so sure of himself. He's not even worried a little bit that I'll reveal who I really am to Paris and everyone else. He is so fucking sure of himself that it kills me. Here I am tweaking at the fucking bit to tell Paris who I am and I can't even do it.
When Indigo leaves Paris just seems to get awkward.
"I can explain."
"You're fucking your husband. What is there to explain?" I ask.
Paris manages to wrap a towel around his waist. He secures it there for a while and looks in the mirror.
"I know he's not Midnight but this might be even better," Paris explains, "The only fairy alive that is both Seelie and Unseelie. If Indigo took his place on the throne..."
He meant MY throne!
"The Autumn Fairies don't recognize Indigo as the Winter King. They say he's a bastard," I state.
"They said that about Dino too. And look where he is."
"My nephew isn't a fuckin bastard."
It wasn't the same. Paris's brother wasn't married. Mara loved Dynamis. Dino was a love child, not some plot for a power hungry bitch to deny the true heirs.
Paris shakes his head, "Look, legally you may be right but there are no true Winter heirs alive. There are no true Winter fairies alive at all. By fairy law unless we are proven different...Indigo is the Fairy King."
"Not to Dorian. Not to the Autumn Court. Not to the Unseelie."
And damn sure not to me.
"We don't need his consent. We can put him on the Winter Throne by force..." Paris explains.
Oh my god.
This is why he was sleeping with Indigo. This is what he was doing.
"Are you a fucking idiot?" I ask Paris, "You trust him?"
He wasn't the first. Of course, Paris doesn't know that his own nephew is both Seelie and Unseelie. His own nephew was a Summer and Winter Fairy. I wonder if my sister Mara was expecting that when she had the baby with the Summer King. We had hope in Dino already. We didn't need Indigo.
I can't say any of this though. He'd ask me how I knew the information and I wouldn't be able to tell him.
So instead of the truth I just stare at him blankly.
"He doesn't want peace."
"You don't know that."
"I do know that," I respond, "He wants war. And all you Summer Fairies are idiots who are going to give Indigo exactly what he wants. "
Paris doesn't seem surprised when I say it to him. He looks confused. He turns around and sits on the bed. He covers his head at that moment. I can tell he's stressed. He needs to know what to do. I wish I could tell him everything. I wish I could share everything with him. Maybe that's why I sit on the bed with him. In his silence, he doesn't say anything.
"You're a servant. You don't get it," Paris shoots seeming annoyed by all the questioning I'm giving him.
I can't believe Paris right now.
"Paris if you ever cared about me, don't do this. Don't go to war."
"It's too late..."
It's as though he's turning his nose up to my concerns. It hurts. It hurts more than I expect it to.
"What does that even mean?"
"We're going to war," he states, "To punish Dorian for killing Cerulean, to put Indigo on the throne in hopes that he'll be less hostile than Dorian and get the Unseelie Court in order."
Why am I crying? Why are tears falling down my eyes? I'm trying to help him. I'm trying to help everyone but I can't...because I'm a servant. That was the problem with these Fairies. They played their games for power thinking that no one else would be affected. I was though. I was in pain and as I was looking at Paris right now the only thing he can think about is his fucking game.
"You should leave," he states, "Indigo is going to need a supportive husband with him when he is coronated and becomes the Winter King."
"What are you saying, Paris?" I ask, "You saying you don't care about me?"
"Damn it, Raine..."
"You can't even say it."
"In my own world, I'd be with you. In my own world, we'd be married. I don't live in my own world. I am a Summer Fairy. That's what I am. So you know...what has to happen."
"Just go ahead and say it."
"You know what I'm trying to say..."
"No, I know what you are hinting at," I state, "I want to hear it. I want you to choose. Stand by me and try to stop the Summer Fairies from going to war or stand with Indigo."
I don't expect him to be so cruel. I don't expect him to turn his face up and look at me. What sucks is at that moment I'm not just looking at him as this beautiful handsome creature. It's more than that. At that moment I'm looking at him as though he's someone that I actually cared about.
It's at that moment----in this sadness that I realize I'm so hurt because of one reason and one reason only.
I'm in love with Paris.
"What we had was a nice fantasy...but I can't be with you," Paris tells me, "I choose Indigo. "
Only one I love so much could be my assassin. What sucks is I don't realize I love him until he's completely over me. Paris has his guards come to the room and collect me as though I'm a piece of meat. I am thinking about his blonde hair as they throw me out into the main court away from the Summer Court. The guards are stationed out. I think of his eyes as I'm thrown out hard into the mud. It's raining out. I might as well be a piece of trash. I was removed. I was thrown out. Like nothing.
This coming from someone who loved me.
It takes an inside job to attack one so resilient to emotional injury.
Damn it Paris, I could be hurt in any way by another and still bounce right back, but you... but you... can do far worse with just a few small words. The truth is I know he doesn't want to be with Indigo like he says he does. I know all those words are because of duty. But he still says them.
He doesn't mean them, I know it - in a way that makes it worse.
"You are banned from the Summer Court..." Paris's top guard Striker says.
Striker stands with the other guards. I've never felt so disrespected in my life. The rain is pouring down over my head and not even the storm is as wet as the tears pouring down my face. Paris didn't even have the balls to kick me out of the palace himself.
"Wait. My stuff. I don't have any of my stuff."
Striker shrugs, "You didn't come here with anything."
"Let me see Dino," I state, "Ok? Just let me see my nephew make sure he is OK and then I'll leave."
I'm begging at this point.
"King Dino doesn't want to see you..." Striker states, "He is happy with his young wife and his NEW family. You are no one. I've been instructed to arrest you if you show up here again. I won't do that..."
I'm surprised, "You won't?"
"No," Striker tells me, "If you show back up here...I'm going to kill you."
The guards look at me up and down and laugh this cruel laugh. A few of them make piggy noises as they see me in the dust. I have nothing left to my name. I have nothing left to anything. The only thing I had left was my father's locket pressed up underneath my shirt close to my heart.
And I knew then that I had no choice.
I had to go back to the Unseelie Court.
The Unseelie Court isn't what I remembered. I don't remember the walk being that long across the long gardens that separated the four towers. The Southern Towers where the Unseelie Courts definitely were a hike in the rain. However, when I get inside the tower I expect nothing more than the dark empty gloom that I had seen before.
I'm wrong though. The Unseelie Courts weren't dead. It wasn't empty. It was vibrant. The dark colors were still there but this place was full of life. Sure enough, the Autumn Court had returned in full effect.
"Mist," I state.
I had to ask the guards for him when I arrived. I didn't know who else to ask for first. He's the only one I'm comfortable enough to throw my weight on, knowing he wouldn't have a problem catching me no matter how heavy I became. Mist lets me cry on his shoulders.
"What happened---did they hurt you?"
Yes. Paris had hurt me. Not physically, but in a way what he had done now was worse. The physical pain I could endure but this heartache was deafening. For some reason, I'm on his chest and I'm crying. Tears flowing down my eyes.
Mist lets me cry on him for what seems like forever. I wish it was forever, but it isn't. Someone sees. The Unseelie Courts weren't private places of recluse anymore. If I weren't so devastated and Mist wasn't so comforting we would have probably assumed buzzing coming our way was someone.
"Mist...were you not going to tell me my husband has returned?" Dorian asks.
We don't hear Dorian arrive. He flies. Looking up I see the castle all around him. If this fort of stone, built on blood and bone, could talk, you'd beg for deafness. Those halls that were once grand and empty were not grand and full. And rich. Dorian himself seemed different. Dark and silent as ever but no longer as empty as his castle.
"He's just upset," Mist states, "He just needs a minute."
"Mist...we spoke about this," a voice states.
It's Aunt Willow. When she arrives with King Dorian I can tell that Mist gets uncomfortable. I don't need to be brilliant to know what they spoke about by the way that he releases me and takes a shy step back. It's clear he doesn't want to offend Dorian.
Dorian looks up at me, "Fly with me."
"I don't have wings."
"Not yet," he states, "Hold on tight."
The Unseelie fairies flew much more than the Seelie Fairies. A servant explains that the reason being is culture. The Seelie Fairies were more open to seeming more like humans and found it primitive to fly. The Unseelies are different. The differences between the two fairies didn't stop there. Dorian takes me to his room and I notice how plain and almost removed this place is. The Unseelie definitely didn't seem like they cared much for decoration.
"You can stay here," he states.
He must know I was kicked out of the Summer Courts. I realize that the other side of the bed is where he lays. We'd share this bed. I shouldn't be feeling weird about it. Dorian was my husband after all. But I did. I did feel weird about it.
And so does he.
"I'm your husband," Dorian states coldly, "I'd appreciate if you need comforting that you'd come to me, especially in front of my court."
"You didn't seem like the comforting type," I admit.
"Perhaps you're right," he acknowledges coldly, crossing his arms and staring at me in the darkness in a way that makes me think he is determining whether to punish me using long hard sex or not, "But none-the-less I like Mist and now I'll have to make an example of him."
"Don't hurt him."
"You leave me no choice. I told him not to touch you. Willow told me the history between the two of you. She warned me."
I'm disgusted at this point with Willow. Really? She would sell her own son out so easily.
"There's nothing between Mist and I. Can you go one day without being cruel?" I ask.
Dorian shrugs, "I am not cruel."
I grunt, "Yeah right."
"You still don't trust me?"
I sigh sitting at the edge of the bed, "Indigo revealed that he was behind Cerulean's death. Except she's not dead. I assume he was probably the one who was responsible for attempting to kill my nephew as well."
Dorian isn't surprised, "Figured that much."
He accepts what I'm saying to him almost immediately. No push back like Paris. They were opposites. Shockingly opposite.
"How'd you know?"
"Mist actually. Sent him to investigate the explosion. I was quite suspicious of it. He caught her hiding out in a nearby village playing coy. Kidnapped her. Brought her back here. We'll execute her in the morning..."
"Dorian---we just spoke about being cruel."
Dorian is clueless about how he is coming off. He doesn't try to act as though he has a bit of emotion or real regard for life when he shrugs it off, "She's dead, isn't she? That's what the Queen wanted everyone to believe? You know what they say. Fairy Dust grants wishes. She wants to be dead so badly I'll make sure I make her dream come true."
"Dorian...you can expose her," I state.
Dorian looks confused, "To what regard."
"The Summer Fairies are planning on declaring war on you."
He smiles, "I'm aware."
"Then expose the truth about the Spring fairies. You might be able to stop them from coming to war."
"Why would I do that?" Dorian asks.
"To open up dialogue."
Dorian shakes his head. He gets up and in the half-light, Dorian looks like the shadow he's become. When it came to Dorian spooky doesn't quite cover it and eerie is an understatement. So when he goes to the window and calls me over, I know that he has something to show me.
"You want to hear the dialogue. Look out there..."
In the distance there, I can see them. Men. Not just any men. Soldiers. I can barely make them out from here but I knew they were being stationed. The army moved as one, a sea of gray and black as if it was just one brain instead of many. Each face was grim against the frigid wind and every hand was a black glove.
"You raised an army..."
"Yes. They want to put their false king on the Winter throne. A Spring fairy will NEVER rule the Winter Court. I put that on your father's life. The only dialogue I want to hear is the piercing scream of my enemies as their blood flows across their pretty little flowers."
Dorian goes to sleep silently. He doesn't snore. He doesn't toss and turn. That wasn't a Dorian thing to do. He slept on his back, completely naked, perfectly positioned as though he had it all figured out. He wanted war. Dorian was not Paris. There would be no back and forth. There would be no arguing. He was cruel but in a way, it did make me feel better that it wasn't him responsible for all the horrible acts against me.
Dorian wasn't going to expose the Spring Fairies. He didn't want to. He wanted war. Perhaps he wanted to get revenge for my parents. Perhaps he wanted his own power. Who knew what his real motivations were behind it all. But he wasn't lying. At least about this.
There was a way of convincing him.
So that's why I sneak back out.
That's why I sneak back out and get to Mist as fast as I can. I manage to find him in the same place that always would find him back in the village. He was by the horses.
He's shirtless when he sees me.
"What is it?"
"I need help. I need you..."
Mist sighs, "I'm playing with fire. If Dorian knew I am helping you without his concern I could be breaking my bond."
"He won't know..."
Mist struggles. I know that he doesn't want to do it but I don't think Mist can deny me. He nods and all of a sudden he states.
"What can I do?"
It's the day of the declaration. Supposedly the fairies got together and made it a thing. I wasn't surprised they were all about Pomp and Circumstance. The Summer Fairies coming through with a mustered ranks of soldiers, marching and striding up the fields right outside of the big palaces. In front of them were important fairies. Solaris, Titania, Paris and then my nephew himself...Dino. He was dressed in a ceremonial fairy outfit.
As they march over to Dorian and the tent he's set up I can see that there is one person missing. Indigo. Hell. All the Spring fairies were missing. Must be nice to set up a war and disappear. The worst part is they had a good excuse. Cerulean was attacked. They had no reason to be here.
Dorian shakes his head as he looks at me, "Stay in the back, my love. I'll be right back. No point in revealing who you are now."
I stay in the back. Mist and Willow are there with me but so are so many Unseelie Servants. Behind us the vast Unseelie army. The fight wouldn't happen here. We were too close to their precious courts. They wouldn't risk the fight here. No. It would be among people who had nothing to do with Fairy politics. The humans were loyal to the Seelie against the humans loyal to the Unseelie. I had seen this before.
It would pour out into the streets. It would pour out into the cities.
But here we were. The decision makers here playing generals when really they were nothing but spoiled brats with the fates of millions in their hands. This was all for a show.
"Look, Dino..." Mist whispers to me.
I take a step forward. He notices me walking towards him. It's hard not to because all the Unseelie were so still and disciplined. When I break rank most of the Seelie who were joining the tent notice me.
He looks over at me. I see Titania whisper something into his ear and he adjusts himself. It's painful to know that Titania had my nephew wrapped around her fucking finger. He turns away from me quickly ignoring me and acting as though he didn't know who I was to appease her. It pisses me off that she's been able to manipulate him so quickly.
I get ignored by all the others as well. They all do for the most part. All of them seem too important to realize or care that one servant or another has switched sides. They weren't the least bit bothered or at least they weren't showing it.
All except Paris.
His eyes shoot over to mine and he just looks confused.
"Quite a force you have been able to build in such little time," Solaris states, "I speak for King Dino in saying that we are quite impressed, King Dorian."
"I plan to impress your little king, even more, when I destroy everything he holds dear," Dorian states.
It bothers me he talks to my nephew like that. Dino stays completely still. He's staring out so hard he barely blinks. Titania had done well preparing him for how intimidating King Dorian could be if he wanted to.
"It's not too late," Solaris states, "Give Indigo the Winter Throne and turn yourself over to be judged for the murder of King Dynamis and Queen Cerulean."
"It's much too late for that."
I look at Titania. She is enjoying this. That's what she wants. That's what they all wanted. They wanted war.
Solaris shakes his head, "So be it...this means war..."
It's my voice that comes over. I walk forward and see Aunt Willow try to stop me but I pull my hand away from her so hard that it almost turns her over.
"What's this?" Dorian asks.
He's not the only one. I've broken rank and a bunch of people is getting nervous.
"I have a gift...for the king," I state.
"He requires no gifts," Titania states.
Dino looks confused unsure of what to do. Maybe that's why he turns to me and seems curious. I approach and realize I'm confronted by a dozen or so men who stand between me and Dino in this little small tent.
"It's just a doll," I state, "A peace offering..."
"Who the hell are you to be giving a peace offering?" Solaris asks.
There is laughter specifically amongst the Summer fairies. They are unaware of who I was. When I place the doll down I look at Dino considering if he should go and pick it up. He was considering if he should accept the peace offering.
"My love please..." Dorian states, "These people are animals. They don't deserve your time or energy. I'll handle this war and make short work of them."
"Love?" Paris asks.
Paris stands up. He's clearly bothered. He's not the only one surprised by how Dorian is responding to me or even how Dorian reaches out to me. I get past Dorian somehow though.
"Paris isn't this YOUR slave?" Solaris asks, "What is he doing there?"
"He is no one's slave. You'll learn to respect his name," Dorian states.
Dorian may be trying to show respect for me but it wasn't helping.
It's Titania who seems to not be a lost idiot like Solaris. She has managed to stand up as well.
"He ISN'T a slave, is he?" she asks.
All of a sudden now she is squinting. All of a sudden now she is looking at me in a different light. I think she can see it before I pull my father's locket out.
A gasp falls over the tent.
"Hope this works," I state.
Luckily Mist took me back to the Archives. No one could sneak into places quite the way that Mist could. It took me so long to read through them but I did. I learned all I could about dust. I learned how I could use it.
Dust could make certain wishes come true.
"Is that----?" I hear Solaris whisper to Titania, clearly desperate for his golden hope to give him answers.
"Shut the hell up idiot," she quickly responds, "I want to see what he's doing."
I pull the dust out. I sprinkle the dust over the doll.
"King Dino...this is a peace offering," I state.
Dino looks over at the doll that I'd given him.
All of a sudden that Doll wasn't a doll at all. All of a sudden the TRUE appearance of that doll is shown. Mist helped me sneak her out of the dungeons and I turned her into a doll using just a pinch of dust. Fairy magic could do remarkable things.
Cerulean is there in her true form. Proof that the Spring fairies were full of shit.
"Oh my god..."
Paris sinks in his seat. It takes Striker and several of his men to gather around him in order to stop him from fainting. I'd never thought the day that I'd see all these Summer Fairies who treated me like shit LITERALLY brought to their knees in a matter of seconds as they all realize who I am.
The only one who hasn't figured it out yet is the idiot Solaris.
"Who are you?" he asks.
"I am Midnight, the true heir of the Winter Court."
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