Swallowing Darkness – Chapter 33: Safety Tease

Chapter 33 starts with the Humvees creeping along the side of the road, trying to go around Prince Cel’s retinue. The Humvees are moving incredibly slowly, because this is so stupid. Cel and everyone with him are standing in the middle of the road making it impossible to continue, demanding to return Merry to the Unseelie Court, but they’re allowing the Humvees to pass provided they’re not on the road?

Merry and Doyle are still playing telephone with Gregorio. Doyle asks to have Mistral relay to them who is all standing with Cel, so Merry asks Gregorio to have Mistral relay to them who is all standing with Cel. Oh my god.

The answer came back as a list of the people who had backed Cel for centuries. But the crowd wasn’t as large as I’d thought. Important names were missing, which didn’t mean that the missing Unseelie were on my side. It simply meant that they’d abandoned Cel. One important oversight was that Siobhan was almost the only guard he had left. We’d discovered that the guards, most of whom had begun their careers as my father’s personal guard, had not been asked if they wished to serve Cel. They had been forced, and no oath of allegiance had been given by most of them. Which meant that their service, and their torment by Cel, were illegal by our laws.

If I remember correctly, all of Cel’s guards are all females, just as all of Merry’s/the Queen’s are men. This series is so stupid.

Turns out, Andais finally gave Cel’s guards a choice, to serve him willingly or to leave his service. Most left. Or, Rhys theorizes, that they’re out in the woods waiting to ambush Merry and Co, and that’s why Cel and his group aren’t attacking the Humvees as they creep past. Doyle reminds them that while they cannot work any magic while inside the Humvees, neither can Cel and the others attack them from outside.

Gregorio asked, “Are you saying that we should let them throw magic at us, and the trucks will take care of it?”
Doyle and Rhys exchanged a look, then Rhys nodded and shrugged. Doyle answered. “The magic should fall apart around the trucks, and as long as your people stay inside them, they should be untouchable.”
I turned in Doyle’s arms so I could see his face, though dark on dark, I could see little of his expression, Of course, when he didn’t wish me to, bright light wouldn’t have clued me in to his thoughts.
“Are you saying that we are completely safe inside here from their magic?”
Doyle stirred beside me, pulling me even more tightly against him. Rhys took my hand in his, playing with my knuckles again in that worry-stone way, over and over.
“Either they can work magic inside here or they cannot,” I said. “It is not that simple,” Doyle said at last.
“Well, since the Humvee with Galen and the others in it is going to be close to them soon, I suggest you make it simple.”
He smiled. “Spoken in the tone of a queen.”
“I’m with her,” Gregorio said. “I’ve got people depending on Dawson and me to keep them safe.”
I shook my head. “Take the tone any way you like, Doyle, but you’re both hiding something from me. Tell me.”
“As my lady asks,” he said, “no magic from his hand or the others can touch us in here. He may not know that, but we are safe inside the trucks.”
“I sense a ‘but’ in your voice.”
He smiled a little more. “But there are things that can pierce the metal.”

WHY WOULD HE SMILE AT THAT? Oh gee, you’re safe from metal but what if they stab the trucks??? What if they drop a bomb on us??? Can’t say you’re safe then, teehee!

They then begin worrying about the queen. She had always kept Cel from becoming an embarrassment to her court, so she definitely would not let Cel behave this way, especially in front of the human police. She had been kept safe for ages due to Doyle and Frost protecting her, and they’re apparently just now realizing that without them at her side, she’s incredibly weakened. WHOOPS.

Gregorio then asks if she should radio the other truck and let them know they’ll be relatively safe from the guards in the road.

Rhys said, “Some of them might be able to make illusions real enough to lure the soldiers outside the trucks.”
“What kind of illusions,” I asked.
Voices came over the radio, frantic. “Sierra four to all Sierra, we have wounded soldiers in line of travel. Stopping to render aid.”
“Those kind,” Doyle said.

Oh how convenient.

Anyway, the chapter ends with the trucks stopping and of course the soldiers getting out of the other trucks to “help”, only to be attacked. Great.

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