Chapter 22 begins with Usna touching the ring and it reacts to his touch because of course Merry should have MORE lovers in her stupid life. Merry basically has an orgasm and Captain Obvious Barinthus is like “that is much stronger than before!” So drunk Abloec saunters over and wants to go next. Usna is dancing with Merry, twirling her all around, and so Abloec can’t touch the ring until their dance is done. Why the fuck. Why is this something that is important? Is Merry’s orgasm so awesome she has to FUCKING DANCE after it?
So Usna twirls Merry away from him into Abloec’s arms and once he touches the ring it also flares to life. Abloec falls to his knees and Merry takes the opportunity to pull her hand out of his. Onilwyn steps forward and then one of the most confusing things ever happens:
I was still hoping to talk the queen out of Abloec and Onilwyn. I’d have to keep at least one of the three of her choice, and strangely the best of the bunch was Amatheon. That he was the best of the three made me wonder what the queen was basing her decisions on.
So, Merry would rather be tied to Amatheon, who FUCKING HATES HER, than to Abloec, whose only issue is he drinks and does drugs, which DON’T EVEN DO ANYTHING TO THE SIDHE. Onilwyn also seems to hate Merry much less than Amatheon does, so I don’t even know what the hell sort of reasoning Merry/LKH has for selecting him as the lesser of evils here.
Anyway Onilwyn touches the ring and it creates this sharp, stabbing pain to flash through both him and Merry. Everyone is concerned that the ring hurt Merry, because it’s never done that before, and Barinthus reasons that it must react differently to each man.
Carrow steps forward to touch the ring, but nothing happens. Carrow is basically one of Merry’s uncles, so it would have been fucking weird had the ring reacted to him, I think.
So the last to tough the ring is Amatheon, and he’s still being all hesitant about it because this chapter obviously needs 18 more pages of whining. After a bit of convincing, Amatheon finally takes Merry’s hand and they’re both surprised to find that the ring reacts with a warm magic.
They all then start getting dressed for the press conference thing and we get several pages describing them all changing into their new fucking clothes. This is important stuff, people. CLOTHING HAS CHANGED THEREFORE THE MOOD OF THE CHAPTER HAS CHANGED. LKH is like a novice writer in high school creative writing courses trying to meet the page minimums to get an A. When you have a huge group of people, each person doesn’t need a full paragraph explaining their new outfits every single fucking time they change.
Anyway after all that crap the chapter ends with Merry thinking how funny it is that Andais sent three men to be her spies, and all three men passed the ring’s test.