A Caress of Twilight – Chapter 15: Merry gets her license

Chapter 15 begins with Merry and Co arriving back at her small apartment, finally done with jobs and such for the day. You’ve been back from Faerie for like three months, Merry, why are you still living in your tiny, one bedroom apartment with your 4 guards and Kitto? Where does everyone sleep?
 
They enter the apartment and find it smells like fresh baked bread. Galen comes around the corner from the kitchen wearing an apron over his bare chest. Oh, not just any apron, but a sheer lace apron. How is that even an effective apron? Galen begins setting the table, and announces to everyone that the stew he made was ready, but the bread had to cool a bit before they could slice it. Merry moves to go get a hello-kiss from him, but stops herself. She remembered that Galen’s injuries from the previous book had not yet healed. His groin had been a feast for many of the demi-fey, and him being an immortal sidhe, should have been able to heal it within a few days. But it hadn’t healed on its own, and although they had taken Galen to doctors and other healers, nothing had helped it.
 
Merry goes to Galen and wraps her arms around him in a hug. Galen freezes and then starts to pull away, telling Merry no. Merry begs him to let her contact Queen Niceven, the queen of the demi-fey, to find out how to heal him. Galen tells her no, he doesn’t want her to contact Niceven. He doesn’t want Merry to do anything that could put her in danger or debt to another fey.
 
I’d been begging Galen’s permission to go to Queen Niceven and find out what she’d done to him. He’d forbidden it. He didn’t want me to put myself in her debt just to help him. I’d tried pleading, crying, which I think on anyone else would have worked, but he had held firm. He would not be responsible for me owing Niceven and her demi-fey a debt.
 
But Merry – a ruler should not have to beg of her people to let her do something. She should be able to do it because she is the ruler, and it is what is best for her people. Isn’t this a problem that you spent the first few chapters pondering, how to get your men to respect you as a ruler? Hey, genius, how about your first act is to tell Galen to stop being such a fucking baby and get him healed so you can finally fuck his brains out?!
 
I guess Merry realizes that very thing, and she decides to go against Galen’s wishes to have him healed. She turns to the living room and orders Doyle to contact Queen Niceven through the mirror for her. Galen comes into the room and tries to tell Merry no yet again, and tells Doyle not to do this for her. Doyle turns to Galen and they begin staring one another down.
 
“You act as if you are already king, Galen,” I said, and it sounded harsh even to me, because I knew he was thinking no such thing. But I had to get him under control before Doyle stepped in. I had to lead here, not Doyle.
The look of astonishment on Galen’s face as he turned to me was so genuine, so Galen. Almost any other of the Queen’s Ravens would have been able to guard their expression better than that. His emotions had always been painted on his face.
“I don’t know what you mean.” And he probably didn’t.
I sighed. “I gave one of my guards an order, and you stopped him from carrying out that order. Who but a king would *supercede the orders of a princess.”
*original spelling – like, I realize this is a lesser used alternate spelling of supersede, but seriously, why choose to use the one that every single spell-checker will flag? 
 
Merry again tells Doyle to contact Queen Niceven, but Galen begs Merry not to do this. Merry tells him that she will negotiate with Niceven to find out what it would take to have Galen healed, but that she knows her limits and if what Niceven asks is too great, she will not do it.
 
Galen continues begging, pleading with Merry. He tells her she doesn’t know what Queen Niceven has been like since she left Faerie. He tells her that Niceven has grown in power since Merry left, and Merry tells him that she has assumed as much. Galen is confused, not sure how Merry could have known about the other fey’s growth in power, and assumes that she likely had a spy in court during her exile.
 
“No, Galen, I had no spy. I don’t have to be there to know what the court will do if the queen is weak. Nature abhors a vacuum, Galen.”
 
What? What does that even mean in this context?
 
Galen continues begging her not to do this, so finally Merry puts her foot down.
 
I touched my fingertips to his lips. “No, Galen, I will do this, and you will not stop me, because I am the princess. I am the heir to the throne, not you. You are my guard, not the other way around. I think I forgot that for a while, but I won’t forget again.”
 
Uh, no, Merry. You never even acted as if you were a potential ruler. You basically skipped off from Faerie and acted like a rebellious teenage girl who just got her license, pouting when she doesn’t get her way. None of the guard have ever treated you like “the princess” because you’ve likely never acted like a potential ruler, like an heir to the throne.

Yet another Photoshop original. I’m hilarious.

 

Merry sends Galen off to finish preparing for dinner, and then as Galen returns to his duties, she becomes sad. She realizes that Galen has no aptitude for politics, and likely would be a disaster as a king.
 
He was so hopeless at the politics that to make him king would be almost a death sentence. It would be disastrous not just for Galen personally, but for the court, and for me. No, I could not have Galen as my king, but I could have Galen. For a brief time before I found my true king, I could have Galen in my bed. I could quench the fire that had been burning between us, quench it with the flesh of our bodies.
 
But wait, isn’t it that whoever gets you pregnant becomes your husband and thus king? So, by “quenching the fire” you’re putting both you, Galen, and the court at risk. You’re descended from fertility deities, Merry, and Galen is descended from nature deities. How could you even think this is a good or smart thing to do?
 

The chapter ends with Merry wondering if she could perhaps just keep Galen as a royal mistress once she becomes queen, because of course.

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