Chapter 20 begins with Merry getting ready to meet the goblins as they arrive at Maeve Reed’s mansion. They’re meeting in the mansion’s dining room. The room is full of Merry’s sidhe guards on one side and the goblin’s Red Cap guards on the other. They had arranged the dining room as if it were a throne room, so Merry’s seated at one end in a large chair.
There’s a lot of bullshit greetings between Merry and Holly/Ash. They’ve grown their hair out in anticipation of becoming sidhe (only sidhe males can have long hair). Merry then greets Jonty of the Red Caps, and the twins start poking at Merry’s reasons for singling him out.
“Should we have greeted the Killing Frost and Rhys?” Ash asked. “I am not completely clear on the rules of sidhe etiquette.”
Neither are we, the readers of this bullshit series.
“You may greet them or not. I greet Jonty because he stood beside me in battle. I greet Jonty and his Red Caps because they helped me and mine. I greet the Red Caps as true allies.”
“The goblins are your allies,” Ash said.
“The goblins are my allies because Kurag cannot get out of our bargain. You would have let my men die that night in the dark.”
“Are you going to go back on your bargain to bed us, Princess?” Ash asked.
“No, but seeing Jonty and his men reminds me, that is all.” Actually, I was angry. Ash and Holly had been like all goblins, and most sidhe. It wasn’t their fight, and they didn’t want to die defending sidhe warriors who wouldn’t have given a damn for them. I shouldn’t blame them, but I did anyway.
A rational and reasonable ruler, Merry is.
Merry announces to the twins that Amatheon and Adair will guard her as she tries to bring them into their full sidhe powers. Then, Rhys and Frost barge into the conversation and get all pissy about the goblins again.
Rhys said, “I wish Doyle were here, I really do. I hate goblins, everyone knows that, so I don’t trust my judgment with you.”
“Rhys,” I said, “what…”
“Is no one going to ask why they have brought every Red Cap the goblins have at their command?”
“I, too,” Frost said, “do not wish Merry to do this. It colors my judgment as well.”
“Well, I don’t give a damn who she fucks as long as she eventually fucks me, so I’ll say it. Why in the name of the consort do you have this many Red Caps with you?” Onilwyn stepped away from the rest of my guards.
First off, I cannot believe Rhys is allowed to get away with flat out stating how much he hates the goblins. What the fuck.
Secondly, why do they have to have this little pissing match right in the middle of greetings? Do they not respect Merry enough to trust her instincts in this? Merry didn’t seem bothered by the Red Caps presence at all, and actually just said that they were her true allies.
Ash tells them that the Red Caps insisted to accompany them, but Onilwyn mentions that the Red Caps do not insist, they only obey. So finally Merry asks Jonty why so many Red Caps came along.
“You I will answer,” he said in that deep voice. He’d insulted everyone here. Ash and Holly, Onilwyn, everyone but me.
He came forward. Rhys and Frost moved a little in front of me. Some of the other guards moved out of their line behind us.
“No,” I said. “He helped me save you all. Don’t be ungrateful now.”
“We’re supposed to protect you, Merry. How can we allow that to approach you?” Rhys said.
I gave him an unfriendly glare. “He is not a ‘that’, Rhys. He is a Red Cap. He is Jonty. He is a goblin. But he is not a ‘that’.”
What the fuck, Rhys?
So, Merry rises from her throne and goes to greet Jonty. She notices that his skin had changed and become more soft, more healthy looking. She asks him what happened, and Jonty replies that she happened to him. The power Merry loosed during the hunt in the last book helped to change the Red Caps for the better. Her hand of blood brought them back to some of their old powers.
“Why have you all come, Jonty?”
“They want you to touch them as you touched us. They want you to bring the into their power, too.”
“Why did you not ask me sooner?”
“Would you have done it?”
“You saved us, Jonty. I know that. But more than that, my job, my task as princess, is to bring power back to faerie. All faerie. That includes you and your men.”
And the chapter ends with Jonty crying from joy because Merry had agreed. Merry wipes a tear from his face and then licks it off her finger.