Chapter 26 begins with Merry and Co returning to her room, only to find her door covered in butterflies. Or, well, glamored demi-fey trying to look like butterflies. Galen tenses, because remember, a swarm of demi-fey tried to eat his cock in one of the first books, and I’m sure that’s not a good feeling. The group of butterfly-demi-fey part, and Queen Niceven is hovering in the middle of them.
Niceven is always described like a super pink Barbie Doll, so I always have a hard time with her scenes because I just keep picturing a super evil iridescent Barbie and it just doesn’t work in my mind. Anyway, Niceven is pissed and just spends the entire chapter mad about nothing. She eventually tells Merry that their alliance is over, since Merry broke their bargain.
The bargain was for Merry to give blood to and occasionally have sex with a demi-fey who could grow to human size. Due to a sex act gone wrong, Sage got stuck in human-size and Niceven took him away out of anger. So Merry didn’t break their bargain so much as Niceven removed the only player in the bargain.
Oh, and during all this nonsense, out of fear, Galen develops some new magical ability. He filled the entire hallway with flowers and it instantly turned the demi-fey hoard who were dead set on attacking into docile inebriated children.
Anyway, Niceven is still going off about how Merry is so terrible when it’s all been her fault, and another demi-fey, Royal, volunteers to be the new blood/sex proxy for Niceven. He’s a wingless demi-fey, so there’s no change that he’ll be transformed into a form without wings for the rest of his life, like what happened with Sage. His partner, Penny (get it, Pennyroyal??) begs him not to volunteer, because she fears that she’ll lose him if Merry transforms him somehow.
Niceven is unrelenting, though. She’s mad that Merry and Co had the demi-fey, Peasblossom, “arrested” without her permission. She’s mad that Beatrice was murdered, as Beatrice had also been a demi-fey who was stuck in human-size. Merry agrees, and she apologizes for her oversight. She explains that she’s trying to give all courts of faerie equal respect. Galen also steps forward to apologize, which totally confuses Niceven.
“After what we did to you, it is you who offers us an apology.” She looked at him, as if she had never truly seen him before. “You fear us, hate us. Why would you show us courtesy?”
He frowned, and I watched him try to put into words what was simply him. It had been the right thing to do, and for once it had even been the politically smart thing to do, but that hadn’t been why he’d done it.
“We owed you an apology,” he said at last. “Merry explained it. I wasn’t sure that anyone else would agree with her, so I did.”
Galen then explains that he was born of a pixie and an Unseelie sidhe, so he has a lot of the Seelie aspects. Upon hearing this, Niceven alludes to having spies in the Seelie court. She finally agrees to allow Royal to be her blood proxy, so that they remain allies. Royal is hoping that some sex with Merry will give him wings.
I thought Red Bull gives you wings?
Merry agrees to let Royal join in on one of her sexcapades tonight, but only to feed on her. The chapter ends with them negotiating over what Royal is allowed to do to Merry while he feeds, because that’s super romantic!
UUUUGH. I have read SO MANY LKH scenes where a character has a (typically minor) grievance about someone or something, a different character apologizes for the miscommunication/offense/whatever it is and the offended character then blinks in surprise and explains to character 2 (who would know this about themselves) that they are the very last person character 1 thought would ever apologize to them because (reasons), followed by character 2 giving some thoughtful-albeit-noncommittal speech on Why They Are The Way They Are, and how an apology costs them nothing and means everything to character 1 so why not apologize and character 1 is like omg wow that’s so big of you, I hate you still but now I kinda RESPECT you! and blah blah blah blah I could literally write this shit formula in my sleep if it weren’t so tired, trite, and RIDICULOUSLY overused by LKH. So, so overused. ABUSED. Uuuuuggghhh!