A Kiss of Shadows – Chapter 21: What’s that repetition? I can’t remember!

 
Chapter 21 begins with Merry and Galen in the back of the black coach: a magical limo and the queen’s personal car. There was some champagne and snacks left for them, however Merry doesn’t want to eat it as she didn’t know what sort of trickery could be in the food. They didn’t know if it was left by the black coach itself, by the queen, or by someone else, as it hadn’t been there when Galen and Barinthus left the car.
 
The black coach was one of the oldest objects among the fey. No one knew where it came from. It, like some other of the oldest fey objects, simply just came into existence one day over six thousand years ago. Back then it had been a black chariot pulled by four black horses. As the years passed and vehicle styles changed, the coach changed with them, and one day turned itself into this long black limo. No one ever saw it change, and no one even remembered it ever changing. And after it changed into the limo, the black coach seemed to take on even more of a mind of its own, pulling a Christine and going after people. Rumors of a black death car took over, and people knew if they ever caught a glimpse of the black coach in the darkness, doom was approaching. Merry just didn’t feel safe inside of it.
 
So, to comfort herself, she leans in close to Galen and cuddles up. Galen OF COURSE takes this time to guilt Merry for not telling him where she went when she left, because all the men in Merry’s life just CANNOT leave anything alone. They have to pick and pick and pick at whatever small, insignificant problem that maybe happened at some point UP TO SEVERAL YEARS AGO. Bah, just dumb. Everyone in this series is so dumb.
 
Merry apologizes and tells him that she couldn’t let him know she was leaving, couldn’t let him know where she went, because she knew had she said or done anything, the queen would use that against Merry and torture her loved ones until she returned. Galen accepts this, and they cuddle up again.
 
The cuddling then becomes a bit more intense. Merry realizes that she had always ignored the spark between them. Galen was a part of the queen’s guard, so he was off limits to any sidhe women, but, when it came time for Merry to choose a consort, the queen allowed her pick of the guards. Merry wanted Galen, but Galen hadn’t been powerful enough to protect Merry, so her father had matched Merry with Griffin. Merry was so disappointed in her father’s choice, she had wanted Galen so badly back then, and all the want and desire was suddenly coming back in full force.
 
Galen feels the spark too and he and Merry begin kissing and touching and caressing one another. As much as Merry wants it, as much as she wants Galen, she puts a stop to it because she didn’t think the queen would allow yet another transgression with one of her guards, especially one as insignificant as Galen. Galen seems hurt by Merry’s choice, which helps to cement in Merry’s mind why Galen would never be the smart choice for her. Galen asks Merry for one final kiss, realizing they’ll never be together, and Merry obliges.
 
Which then causes them to start basically ripping each other’s clothes off as they kiss and grope at one another. Galen is basically dry fucking Merry in the rear of the limo, and Merry starts tugging at his pants to get them off. Galen starts licking Merry’s stomach and Merry yet again puts a stop to it. She realizes she can’t think, Galen is asking her not to think, there’s something strange in the air of the limo and Merry feels confused and sluggish and cloudy.
 
“Something’s wrong. We shouldn’t be doing this.”
“Nothing’s wrong, Merry.” He tried to lower his face back to my breasts, but I kept both hands on his chest, kept him pushed away from me.
“Yes, there is.”
“What?” he asked.
“That’s just it, I can’t remember. I can’t remember, Galen, do you understand? I can’t remember. I should be able to remember.”
He frowned down at me. “There is something.” He shook his head. “I can’t remember.”
 
Quality writing, that. WHAT CAN’T YOU REMEMBER MERRY, GALEN CAN’T REMEMBER IT EITHER, WHAT IS THERE TO REMEMBER, I CAN’T REMEMBER.
Sometimes in these novels I get that feeling where a word is repeated so many times so close together that it ceases to have a meaning at that moment. It happens WAY TOO OFTEN. Too bad I can’t remember what word I’m supposed to be remembering that now has no meaning.
 
Merry finally realizes there must be a spell placed somewhere within the limo. She finds a small cloth under one of the floorboards of the car. Inside the cloth was a silver ring with a woven cord attached to it. Merry recognizes the ring – it had been the queen’s ring, one of the magical items that they fey owned, a thing of immense power. Whatever spell was woven around the cord used the ring’s power to enhance it. Merry deciphers the spell: one red cord for lust, one orange cord for reckless love, and one green cord for finding a monogamous partner. She’s confused by the placement of the green cord. It typically would never go with the red and orange cords in a spell.  Merry thinks this is very odd, almost psychotic, and worries why her Aunt would have placed the ring there, as no one could have gotten the ring without her express permission.
 
Merry then notices a small white envelope sticking out of the limo’s seats. She opens it and sees her queen’s handwriting. The note reads “To Princess Meredith NicEssus. Take this ring as a gift and a token of things to come. I want to see it on your hand when we meet.” Merry slips the spelled cords off the ring and the ring grows warm with her touch. She passes the ring to Galen and asks him what he feels. Nothing. Merry takes it back from him and it warms again, so she slips it into the cloth bag it was in and puts it in her pocket. Galen doesn’t think the queen would have added the spell, that someone had added it after it had been placed in the car.
 
The car seats then begin to pulse, as if they are trying to push something out. A small cufflink with the letter “C” engraved on it emerges. Galen tells Merry that a few years ago the queen had those cuff links made for all the guards, both her royal guard and the prince’s female guards (of course the prince would be guarded by chicks. That makes sense.). They figure there are six suspects at court who could have placed the spell. Merry realizes that the car had kept the cuff link to show to Merry, and she asks the car if it had anything else to tell or show her. The lights go off in the back of the car in response. Galen lets her know that the car never responds to anyone but the queen…
 
They begin to get dressed again and Merry touches up her makeup. She then takes the ring out again and slips it on her finger, and it again is warm with power against her skin. She tries to take the ring off, but it wouldn’t come off. Galen notices this and offers to help her get it off, but once his hand brushes against the ring it sparks to life, sending a spark of electricity through  the two of them.
 
The chapter ends with Barinthus telling them that they’ll soon be at Merry’s grandmother’s house, and Merry musing over the reaction the ring hand when Galen touched it. She wonders if it will have the same reaction if Barinthus touches it. Merry worries about Galen at court, that her friendship and love will eventually get him killed, but she never has to worry about Barinthus. The six thousand year old sea god can take care of himself.
 
Characters Introduced:
 
The black coach – a faerie vehicle that came into being six thousand years plus ago, changing style over time and has a mind of its own. It only responds to the ruling queen, but seems to now respond to Merry
 
Themes Introduced:
 
The queen’s magical ring, come to life on Merry’s hand.
 

Sex: just some sweet car clothed crotch grinding

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