Oh hey, Chapter 22 starts off with those long, oft forgotten police. Remember that they exist? And that Merry specifically asked them to help in the investigation? And then promptly ignored them multiple times?
Oh and the cops are doing LKH’s favorite thing in the world: complaining. Merry is covered in blood because obviously they didn’t have enough time to change but has hidden it under a glamour, and Major Walters grabs Merry’s arm at one point. So she has to drop her glamour to show him that she’s okay. They tell him about the assassination attempt, which brings the total of assassination attempts on Merry and her crew to two in two days. Plus a double homicide. All since Merry’s been back in faerie.
Dr. Polaski had found some evidence, but she’s wary on giving it to Merry, as she doesn’t trust that whoever the evidence points to won’t lead to their harm. But no biggie, right? Faerie plays by its own rules, and murder and death is totally okay! Except when the plot conveniently needs it to not be okay, and then the human cops are called, and we get chapters full of everyone constantly explaining how faerie law and human law are different.
“What did you find?” I asked.
He shook his head. “Not yet.”
“You do realize that the murderer could be the one behind the attempts on my life. By not telling me what you suspect, or who you suspect, you could be signing my death warrant. By the time you’ve analyzed your data, it could be too late for me.”
His hands made fists, and he closed his eyes. “I told the doctor that in so many words. She won’t budge.”
“So you don’t know either,” I said.
“I know it’s a print of someone we took samples from, and the only ones we had access to were the ones in the hallway.”
So they found a fingerprint. Any casual watcher of the MANY forensics shows on television nowadays can tell you that a fingerprint means pretty much nothing. If you find prints of a person in an area they typically make use of, that proves absolutely nothing about whether or not they were the culprit. Which is what Walters is trying to explain to Merry, but because of “faerie law”, it obviously means they must have done it and they should be punished severely for it.
After a few pages of this back-and-forth “You need to tell me” “That’s now how this works” “But I am Princess” and after Merry has already agreed several times to allow them to gather as much evidence as possible, then reneged on it, then agreed again, Walters finally says he’ll try to help Merry talk to Polaski about the evidence.
Once Walters leaves the room, Merry almost collapses in the midst of a severe nervous breakdown. While she’s sobbing and hyperventilating and basically making a mess of herself, Frost forces himself on her, kissing her. Merry is complaining about how badly she can’t breathe, and Frost just starts kissing her.
His mouth closed over mine, and I struggled against it. There was no air. I fought free of Galen’s arms and clawed at Frots. He breathed a cold wind into my mouth. The moment the cold touched me, I stilled, as if my body just stopped. I think even the blood in my veins stopped. A moment of nothingness, silent, still, cold. It was like being thrown into freezing water; the shock of it stopped the hysteria, stopped everything for a moment.
Frost pulls away from the kiss and Merry pretty much instantly calms down, then loses herself in Frost’s big dreamy eyes. Then Polaski interrupts. She’s definitely seen the entire thing. The guards move so Polaski can make her way closer to Merry, and Merry is just sitting there in Galen’s lap, straddling him. Perfect position to talk to the cops! I can’t even begin to imagine how fucking awkward that would be to try to have a serious conversation while sitting with my legs wrapped around someone in a pretty sexual manner. Why not just fucking move?
Merry eventually gives her word that she will try her hardest to not let whoever Polaski reveals to come to harm before more evidence is gathered, and then Polaski starts grilling Merry and Co on the fey. Questions about the demi-fey, and shapeshifters, and whether magic would interfere with her investigation. Polaski eventually reveals that she found a handprint from Peasblossom, the demi-fey, on Beatrice’s back, but the handprint is human-sized.
Polaski wants to use someone to demonstrate where Beatrice was stabbed and where the handprint was in relation to the wound, so that begins a whole conundrum on who she can demonstrate on. Aisling starts to volunteer, because apparently now that he’s used his magical beauty power on someone it’s ALL HE WANTS TO DO, even though just last chapter he was terrified of doing just that. Merry makes Ivi do it, but then as soon as he removes his cloak, Polaski is pretty much immediately bespelled by his stupid magic hair. Ivi then takes offense when he’s asked to step away, because they learned he’s gained more of his power back, and he gets on his knees and begs Merry for sex. All while Polaski is there. And they’re in the middle of a fucking murder investigation. Jesus.
Anyway, Polaski finally gets to demonstrate the wound and the handprint, and they’re trying to figure out what to do about it, when Polaski moves to stand closer to Merry and Co (because of course they’re arguing again and Polaski won’t leave unless she knows EVERYTHING that Merry isn’t telling her about the guards), when she trips and starts to fall. Aisling is the closest to her. He moves to catch her from her fall, but knowing that if he were to touch Polaski with his bare skin, she’d be forever bespelled, Merry pushes him out of the way. Galen catches Polaski, while the chapter ends when Merry falls into Aisling’s bare arms.
Now remember, dear readers, that Merry has already seen Aisling naked and seen him use his power. She has admitted that she fears him, but like, she’s already pretty much proven that his powers don’t really affect her. Hooray for false tension!