Chapter 11 begins with Doyle and the other guards continuing to talk to Unsa about whatever nonsense that doesn’t even matter. Aisling then just bluntly asks them why he was invited into the main car with them, which… didn’t he do that already last chapter?
So Doyle explains to Aisling about Hugh’s offer to Merry of the Seelie court.
“I wanted you to hear it first, Aisling,” Doyle said. “I did not want you to think that we had forgotten what faerie itself offered you once.”
Aisling looked at Doyle for a long moment. “That was a very decent thing for you to do, Doyle.”
Shouldn’t Merry have been the one to tell Aisling about this? Future ruler and all?
Anyway, that’s the entire chapter. That’s it. It was 2 kindle pages long, and I even have my font set a bit larger than normal because I’m both blind and like to read on the treadmill. This 100% could have been added to the last chapter. Who edits this shit?
Chapter 12 begins with them finally arriving back to Maeve Reed’s house. They’re greeted by a ton of dogs. The dogs are all different breeds – Merry’s dogs are basically greyhounds, named Minnie and Mungo. I don’t think that she ever goes into why the dogs are named that. I don’t know about you guys, but I like when animals have actual thought put into their names. Personal anecdote time: I stupidly messed up and “accidentally” kept our last foster cat, Boots (he’s an orange cat and he was super sick when we got him, and I kinda fell in love and refused to give him back so we adopted him). This means that my husband gets to both pick out and name our next pet. He wants a dog, and he’s already picked out names. I’m a firm believer that you cannot, CANNOT pre-pick your pet names. You have to name them based on their personality and also give them something that fits. Anyway, long story short, I’m pretty sure that there’s absolutely no reason why the dogs are named Minnie and Mungo and also I hate it.
So everyone has dogs that match them. Rhys has some tiny terriers (insert joke about him being a former god of death and terriers are tiny demons) and Doyle has giant black hounds. Frost, though… Frost’s got nothing. No dogs for Frost!
None of us knew why, but I knew it bothered Frost. He feared, I think, that it was a sure sign that he was not enough to be truly sidhe. Once he had been the hoarfrost, Jack Frost, and now he was my Killing Frost, but there was always that insecurity that he was not born sidhe, but made.
As soon as they get inside, they beeline to the bedroom so that they can call Andais. Rhys forces himself into the scene, since he has to remind Merry that she “promised me sex, but I know you, you’ll get distracted unless I stay by your side,” and that is just so freaking shitty a thing to do. And Doyle just sits there because he’s too injured to move, and they’re just totally going to fuck right in front of him, guaranteed.
So the mirror opens up to Andais’s bedroom, and there’s a man laying on the bed. He’s all sliced up. Merry realizes it’s a man named Crystall. I can’t remember if we’ve met him in a previous book but pretty much any character aside from Merry’s closest men are just throwaway characters who don’t matter anyway.
Crystall hadn’t been a lover of mine, but he had fought with us in faerie. He had helped defend Galen when he might otherwise have died. The queen had decreed that all the guards who wished could follow me into exile and then too many of them had opted to come, so she had had to take back her generous offer. The men who had left were safe with me. The men who had not been in the first few groups that Sholto, Lord of That Which Passes Between, had brought to Los Angeles had been trapped in faerie with her. Trapped with a woman who didn’t take rejection well, when they’d openly chosen another woman. I was seeing what the other woman, my aunt, thought about that.
Meh. I’m already over it.
Andais sees Doyle injured and wants to know what could have hurt him so much. Oh, and she’s in a mood. So this is going to be a super fun chapter. They tell him that Taranis used his hand of power to injure Doyle and Abeloec. Andais doesn’t think that Merry was the intended target, since, after all, Galen, Rhys, and Abe were the ones originally accused of raping the Seelie lady.
“Are you going to be my heir, Meredith, or is there another throne that calls to you more?”
There, she’d said enough that I could address it. “It is true that when Taranis was subdued by his nobles they offered me a chance at his throne.”
“You told them yes.” She hissed it at me, standing and striding toward the mirror.
“I did not. I told them we would have to discuss such news with our queen, with you, Aunt Andais, before I could say yes or no.”
“I heard you jumped at the chance, you ungrateful little bitch.”
I love the fight scenes between Andais and Merry. They’re always exactly the same fucking thing. Andais is mad because of something she overheard. She confronts Merry about it. Merry keeps mentioning that they’re family, Andais accuses Merry of lying, etc etc. This goes on for at least the entire chapter, sometimes more, and it always ends up with Andais reluctantly agreeing with whatever Merry says.
The chapter continues. Andais doesn’t believe that Merry didn’t agree to take the throne. She starts asking the other men in the room, because she doesn’t believe Merry at all. Doyle was unconscious, Abeloec was too injured. She starts asking them why Taranis targeted them specifically. Abe used to help the sithen choose the next rulers with his booze power. Galen was part of some stupid prophecy that other sidhe believed. Rhys is back to nearly his full god-powers. Doyle is Doyle. Apparently talking to the men help to calm Andais down a bit.
“Now that I know that you have not been meeting with Hugh and the Seelie nobles in secret, I agree that they mean you treachery. Perhaps you will be their stalking horse to lure out all the would-be assassins. Or perhaps it is what you say, that they simply throw your name into the ring to slow the process while someone else consolidates their own power. I think the latter the more likely, but the offer is so completely unexpected that I have not had time to think clearly on it.”
Anyway, the mirror beeps and turns out Rhys had done some sort of call-waiting spell on the mirror, because of course instead of introducing the faerie world into the modern technological era, they instead make faerie stuff more dumb. Andais announces that she would like Rhys to return to faerie and perform the same spell on her mirror, that same day, in fact. Merry has to respectfully decline, on the grounds that she promised Rhys sex. Ughhhh.
“Would it upset you to see his pale flesh bleeding on my bed like Crystall’s?”
There was no safe answer to that question. “I do not know what you want me to say, Aunt Andais.”
“The truth would be nice.”
I signed, Doyle squeezed my hand. Rhys tensed beside me. It was then that Galen lost it. “What does it matter? Taranis attacked us today. He went so crazy that his own nobles jumped him and dragged him away. He’s about to be voted out as king of the Seelie Court, and you want to spend time tormenting Merry about us!” He actually stepped close to the mirror and continued to yell at her. “Doyle almost died today. Merry could have died today, and then you’d never have a child of your blood on any throne. The Seelie nobles are up to something dangerous that involves our court, and you want to play these stupid, painful games. We need you to be our queen, not our tormentor. We need help here. Goddess save us, but we do.”
Here fucking here, Galen.
So Andais agrees to help them try to figure out what is going on at the Seelie court. Except…
“If the Seelie offer is a genuine one, Meredith, you might consider taking it.”
A thrill of fear ran through me. “Aunt Andais, I don’t understand.”
“Every man who prefers you to me makes me hate you a little more. Soon, my hatred for you may outweigh my desire for you to sit on my throne. On the golden throne of the Seelie Court you would be safe from my anger.”
Bah, fuck this whole thing. Merry gets so much shit constantly for not acting like a queen, and yet the Unseelie queen is a giant ball of jealous bitchery.
Oh, and then this happens:
“Cel screams your name in the night, Meredith.”
“He means my death if he can manage it.”
She shook her head. “He has convinced himself that if he laid with you, you and he would have a child, and he would be king to your queen.”
My mouth couldn’t get any drier, but my heart rate could get faster. “I do not think that would work, Aunt Andais.”
“Work, work – it is fucking, Meredith. The mechanics of it would work just grand.”
Andais makes it known that Cel isn’t imprisoned anymore, so he’s free to go after Merry and co and forcefully try to get Merry pregnant, so she better watch out. Ughhhhh. Andais then ends the call after letting them know she’d look into Hugh’s offer of the Seelie throne, but not until she’s done torturing Crystall. The chapter ends right after Andais admits that she’s taking out her anger and jealousy of Merry on Crystall and the other guards who wanted to leave, just to, you know, make Merry feel great about everything.