Chapter 4 begins with Merry standing before Queen Andais, and she notices that Andais is wearing eyeliner. Why would she wear eyeliner when the sidhe can do insane personal glamours that use magic to disguise their features? Oh turns out the sidhe have been losing power over the years, and now Merry can do things most cannot. Merry knows that she cannot ever mention that to the Queen, because the Queen will punish her, and since she’s a sexual sadist, any punishment will obviously be sexual in nature and that’s incest.
And the incest bit of it doesn’t seem to bother Merry at all? What?
So Andais starts being a mega-bitch about everything, as she is wont to do. She’s mad that reporters had to enter the sithen because of Merry. She’s mad that two people died, which she believes is because of Merry. She’s mad that her guards have stopped being hers because of Merry. Merry Merry Merry. She gets Merry to drop her glamour and sees the lipstick smeared all over Merry’s and Frost’s faces. From that chaste kiss, remember.
More yelling and it’s revealed that the dude killed was a photographer, and a camera was found at the crime scene. Merry says they need to send that film off to be developed, because apparently it’s totally fine to get Walgreens to develop that film and no one inside the sithen can figure it out. Merry uses this technological segue to start babbling about the necessity of bringing the police into the sithen so they can help find the murderer. Andais seems to have no clue how anything in the real world works, so they have to waste pages to describe everything they just talked about in chapter 3 to her again.
There’s so much goddamn repetition in these novels. So much. The characters will spend an entire chapter or two discussing a plan, and then take another chapter to discuss the plan with another group of characters, and then discuss the plan with another set of characters, ad nauseum. It’s another thing about these books that make them just such a slog to get through.
So eventually Merry convinces Andais to allow the police into the sithen, and Andais immediately turns her attention onto Barinthus, who was known as ‘Kingmaker’ for a time. She turns to Barinthus and asks him why he never tried to make her son, Cel, into a king. He doesn’t want to tell her why. She insists. He tells her she doesn’t want to know why. She insists. This continues for a time because no one can ever just give a straight fucking answer in this series.
Barinthus eventually tells the Queen that Cel will never be as good of a ruler as she is, and that Merry will be even better. This pisses Andais off, of course, and Andais makes Merry agree to never have sex with Barinthus, which of course they all have to agree with, and the chapter ends with Andais kicking everyone out of her room.