Seduced by Moonlight – Chapter 32


Chapter 32 begins with Merry learning that rumors had spread among the sithen that she had been killed at the press conference. Because she had been basically whisked Merry from the press conference to Andais’s bedroom, no one had seen her at all. So, Andais and everyone decided that they will keep Merry hidden from everyone at the banquet so that they may have the element of surprise on their enemies. Merry also isn’t allowed to change out of her blood-soaked clothing, because they all decided that it would make more of an impression if she were covered in blood. It would prove that Merry is a fit heir to Andais.
 
Before they all headed for the banquet, they had searched for Nuline to question her. However, they discovered that she had been murdered, her head severed and missing.
 
They’re all waiting outside the doors to the banquet hall, waiting for the perfect opportunity to enter. Finally, they’re told that one of the sidhe nobles has approached the queen’s dais to speak, which is their cue to enter.
 
Barinthus and Galen pushed the doors open, and the stronger light of the great hall spilled around us. We were moving as the doors opened. I walked a little in front of Rhys and Frost; then came Nicca and Sage, and beyond that everyone just picked a partner and followed me two by two, with Galen and Barinthus coming at our backs just ahead of the goblins.
Doyle stayed by the door, as planned, and we gave no acknowledgment of him, as if he’d angered us. The plan, as it were, was rolling along.
Gasps, furious whispers, and even one muffled scream met me at the door. I think for a moment the herald at the door didn’t recognize me. The only part of me that wasn’t pasted with blood were my eyes, and even the lashes of one eye were stiff with it. I’d spent my life being treated as lesser, as someone not of importance, and certainly not dangerous. I admit that a large part of me enjoyed that first moment when they watched me cross into the hall. I enjoyed their fear, their surprise, their worry. What had happened? What had changed? What did this mean? They were some of the best court politicians in the world, but now all their plans were thrown into the air simply because I walked into the throne room covered in blood.
 
So, these uber-political scheming sidhe scream when they see Merry enter because their plans were ruined? I somehow don’t think that is how someone would react when they discovered that their plans, which AS FAR AS THEY KNOW NO ONE EVEN KNOWS THEY HAD are thrown into disarray. I would bet that they’d have much better poker faces than that. LKH must think that all schemers just turn into like teenage girls who throw a fucking fit when they discover that Justin Bieber or someone from One Direction is dating someone.
 
So we get a lot of description of what is going on in the banquet room – where people are sitting, what they’re wearing, etc. Nothing that is actually worthwhile when trying to fucking move the plot along. You know, when there is a plot. Which this book is seriously lacking.
 
Anyway, then we get introduced to a sidhe with THE WORST NAME EVER. Afagdu.
 
A fag doo.
 
I’m sure it’s pronounced some stupid gaelic fancy way, but come on now. A fag doo. That’s how I’m going to pronounce it no matter what you try to tell me.
 
Anyway, Afagdu is kneeling before Andais, and he is the first to break the silence. He asks Merry if she is covered in her blood or the blood of someone else. Merry ignores him and instead addresses Andais. Andais invites Merry to join her on the dais, so she takes a seat near the queen. Her guards fan out next to her, and Afagdu heads back to his seat.
 
Two Red Caps approach Merry on the dais. Red Caps are badass goblins who wear hats that drip blood onto their skin. The Red Caps are pretty awesome in this series, actually, and as far as I know Merry does not have sex with them at all. I may be misremembering the latter books, but Jesus Christ I hope to god she doesn’t. They’re huge and strong and beastly and awesome. Please don’t fuck these characters up, LKH.
 
Jonty, the larger of the two Red Caps, introduces himself to Merry and explains that Kurag sent them to protect Merry while she is at court. Merry greets him and offers her hand to him, which he kisses and then licks some of the blood off her hand. The other Red Cap then follows suit and licks the blood off Merry’s hand, but it causes him to lose control, and he basically tries to lick all the blood off of her. It hurts Merry, and Ash and Holly step forward to pull the Red Cap off her. Jonty takes her hand and licks it again for some reason, and Ash and Holly shove him away as well. They BOTH OF THEM start licking her hands, then lick over other places on her body. Her ar. ms, her face, her eyes. This continues for a few paragraphs before Merry wonders why the queen hadn’t called for them to stop yet. Turns out the queen is enjoying the show, and none of the nobles in attendance had dared stop the festivities when the queen is enjoying herself.

So the demi-fey fly over to Merry and take their turn licking the blood off of her.
 
They looked so dainty, but they were heavier, meatier than the insects they mimicked. It was more like being covered in small monkeys with graceful wings, grabbing hands, and feet that slid in the blood on my skin. Tiny tongues lapped at the blood, tickled along my skin. One grazed me with needle-like teeth, and I fought not to jerk away. I spoke softly, clearly: “Only the blood that lies on my skin is allowed, little ones.”
 
Tiny monkeys with wings, people. New York Times bestselling description right here.
 
Finally, one of the sidhe interrupts the show. Maelgwn asks Andais to allow Merry to come closer to the audience so that they may better see the show. Andais tells him that there will be a show, but Merry is not it. UH OH. Maelgwn settles back into his seat, and we waste a few paragraphs to describe him and his people. He and everyone in his house wore an animal skin cape or whatever. Before they lost their powers, his house had been able to transform into these animals.
 
Andais asks Maelgwn what he would give to allow his house to regain its abilities to shapeshift. She then asks Doyle to give a demonstration, but before he transforms, he brings his weapons to Merry for safekeeping and whispers to her that “Nerys reeks of the spell.”
 
Nerys. Remember how in the first book Merry kills a nighthag named Nerys? Because LKH sure didn’t remember she already used the name!
 
Merry is surprised that Nerys laid the spell, as she was not one they suspected. She was head of her own house, but wasn’t really all that powerful, and she wasn’t fond of Cel.
 
So, like, eight pages pass from when Doyle approached Merry to give her his weapons, and it’s all spent DESCRIBING EACH OF HIS WEAPONS. Ugh. Finally, he goes back to the center of the room and transforms into his eagle-form, then his horse-form, then his dog-form. Maelgwn is impressed, and Doyle tells him that Merry was able to bring him back into his powers as well as give him new powers.
 
Another sidhe noble, Miniver, stands up and shouts “Lies!”
 
“Did you say something, Miniver?” Andais said, and by merely leaving off any title she had insulted the golden figure. It was a warning. A warning to sit down and shut up.
“I said, and I say again, that it is a lie No mortal could bring anyone into his power.”
“She is a princess of the sidhe, and that makes her a little more than a mere mortal,” Andais said.
Miniver shook her head, sending those heavy yellow braids sliding along the gold of her dress. “She is mortal, and you should have drowned her when she was six, as you tried to. It was weakness for your brother that stopped your hand.”
 
Andais tells them all that none in her line other than Merry have brought back any power to the court, but Miniver continues to argue against this. Miniver is sure that if Merry becomes ruler of the Unseelie court, her mortal blood will taint all the Unseelie sidhe, making them mortal. “This abomination cannot be allowed on the throne,” she tells Andais. At this, Nerys stands up and agrees, telling them all that if Merry were to take the throne, the Unseelie sidhe would “cease to be anything”. With this, several other houses take their feet out of agreement, and Merry sees that it is six houses of the sixteen total in their court who is taking their stand against Merry as an heir to the throne.
 
Andais tells Miniver that only she is allowed to say who will be heir to the throne, and if Miniver or any other sidhe has a problem with that, they are welcome to challenge her to a duel. That if anyone could best her, they could take her throne. No one takes the queen up on her offer, however.
 
“I would never presume to challenge the Queen of Air and Darkness to a duel. It would be suicide.” [Nerys’s] voice was quiet, and somehow dark. But there was no anger in it, nothing that could give true offense.
“But attacking me from secret, an assassination attempt, that would not be suicide, would it?” Andais’s smile was not pleasant. “Not if you didn’t get caught. … Assassination is a pretty business, so long as you are not discovered.” Andais looked down the line of standing nobles, I think so that she did not single Nerys out, but it was like many things tonight, in trying to do one thing, another thing was accomplished.
 
That last sentence. Christ.
 
Miniver began to move through her people to the space between her table and the next. Some of her people touched her arm; she shook her head, and they let her go. She walked out from between the tables, her back ramrod-straight, like something carved out of gold and amber.
“Do you have something to say, Miniver?” Andais asked.
“I challenge the princess Meredith to a duel.” For someone who had seemed so angry, she was strangely calm as she said it.
People at her table cried,
No, do not do this. She ignored them, and kept her Seelie face pointed toward the dais. She never looked at me, only at Andais. She asked for my life, but it was not me she asked it of.
“No, Miniver, it will not be so easy as all that. The princess has had one assassination attempt tonight. We do not need two.”
“I would have preferred my spells to work earlier tonight, but if she will not die from a distance, then I will do it here, now.”
 
So it was Miniver who had placed the spells back at the press conference. Andais orders her guards to take Miniver to the Hallway of Mortality to be punished for the assassination attempt, but Miniver cries out that her challenge must be answered before her punishment begins.
 
Galen spoke from behind me. “So she tries to kill Merry earlier, fails, and now she gets another try. I don’t think so.”
“It is our law.” Doyle’s hand had reached out, and I took it, resting my face against the nude line of his hip. Nervous touching.
“No,” Andais said, “the young knight is right. To allow her to go forward with this challenge is to reward her for trying to assassinate a royal heir. Such treachery will not be rewarded.”
“When it was Cel and his allies who challenged the princess over and over, you did not intercede,” Nerys said. “You were more than willing that Meredith take the field when it was your son behind the duels. We all knew that Cel meant her death. Meredith did her best to give no offense to anyone, yet sidhe after sidhe found an excuse to challenge her. When you challenge a mortal being to duel after duel against the immortal sidhe, what is it but an assassination plot by another name?”
 
This fucking logic right here. Cel and his allies challenged Merry to those duels before she was named a goddamn heir of the court by Andais herself. Now that Andais needs her alive, of course she’s going to try to stop any assassination attempts. Another sidhe noble pops up and says “No one is above the law, except the queen herself, and the princess is not yet queen.”
 
Which is why the queen, who is FUCKING ABOVE THE LAWS OF THE SIDHE, is ordering Miniver to be punished. Merry isn’t. Merry isn’t even responding to the duel yet, Andais is, and by YOUR OWN WORDS, LKH, ANDAIS IS ABOVE THE LAW. So why is this an issue?
 
Oh, because Andais stopping the duel now is proof that Merry is too weak to rule, and if she becomes queen, the sidhe nobles who oppose her will just challenge her to a duel then, which she will have to accept.
 
Oh, except that the QUEEN IS ABOVE THE LAW, and she can totally NOT ACCEPT ANY CHALLENGES BECAUSE SHE’S ABOVE THE LAW. Ughhhhh.
 
So, anyway, Merry accepts the challenge, and as the challenged, she is allowed to choose the weapons for the duel. Merry chooses to use their hands of power, because her Hand of Blood will come in handy (LOL GET IT). Before the duel begins, they each nick their bodies and taste each other’s blood from the cut. Merry can call Miniver’s blood from that cut and make her bleed until she dies.
 

So the chapter ends with Miniver confident that she will win the duel, but Merry has a secret about her hand of blood that Miniver is not aware of, and Merry knows that with her hand of blood, she will be able to beat Miniver. 

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