Swallowing Darkness – Chapter 35: Please Just Kill the Princess Already

Chapter 35 begins with Gregorio grabbing Merry’s arm to keep her from following Doyle and Rhys into the trap. Merry realizes that since she’s part human and isn’t affected by the Humvee’s magic-stopping metals, she can perform magic while inside the vehicle. She realizes she needs to lure Cel to the vehicle. She then conveys all this to Gregorio, because it’s super fun to read someone’s thoughts only to immediately have to reread it as dialogue.

“Gregorio,” I said, “I need to lure the prince to me, to this car.”
“Are you crazy? He’s making people bleed from a distance.”
“We both have a version of the hand of blood. It runs in the family. But magic cannot touch us in the metal of this car. But my magic can go out.”
“Why can your magic work in the car, and his can’t?”

Wait, what? Merry can send magic OUT of the vehicle, but any magic performed inside the vehicle cannot hurt her because magic cannot be performed inside the vehicle? Am I understanding this correctly? If I’m not, someone please explain it to me, because what??

“I’m part human. My magic works here, just like yours and Dawson’s.”
She looked at her driver. The two women exchanged a long look. “If we get her killed, the least that will happen to us is being given a dishonorable discharge,” said Corporal Lance. “We’d be lucky not to be brought up on charges.”

You’d be lucky not to be ripped apart by Merry’s other guards, who aren’t anywhere near this battle.

Gregorio turned back to me. “Lance is right.”
“Listen to the screams. Your men are dying. My men are in danger. We can stop this, because once the prince is dead, his allies will melt away into the night, because if he can’t take the throne, there’s no point to this fight. They’re fighting to kill me and win the throne for their choice. If we take away their choice, we take away their reason to fight.”

Because no one in this series ever kills out of frustration or anger.

The women exchanged another look. A particularly piteous scream rose in the silence between gunfire and magic. It was the sound of death. It was the sound of mortal life being ripped away.
“If I were willing to do this, how would I lure him?” Gregorio asked. The moment she said it, i knew she’d do it, if I could just think of a way to bring him to me.
I spoke, thinking aloud, because I had no clear plan. “He wants to find me. He knows by now that my guards are not with me in the car. If I were him and his allies, I’d find me.”

Or how about this – Gregorio gets out of the car and shouts to Cel that “the princess is all yours, just stop the killing! Come get her!” and because everyone in this series is seriously stupid, he’d just march right up to the vehicle expecting Merry to give herself over to him to die. Super easy and fitting with how the characters are known to act in this series.

But no, the chapter ends with a mist forming by the trees, and a figure approaching from out of that mist.

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