My prize for protecting my family.
With the same fangs I just used to viciously kill the man, I bite my mate. She welcomes me with a moan, her head falling back as her arm wraps around me to bring me down. I’m careful, since my fangs are so big in this form, but she encourages me to sink them deeper, her eyes closed in bliss.
Our little monster fucker.
Our nightmare lover.
* * *
I watch my brother’s back as he feeds. The horror and revulsion on everyone’s faces makes me smirk. Our mate moans loudly, and when Lycus releases her, he lays her down softly and steps before her in spider form, then he raises his legs and hisses. The size of a truck, he’s a threatening sight, and it’s clear what he is saying—do not try to harm his mate.
With one last hiss, the spider melts away and Lycus takes his place, panting and covered in blood. He drops to his knees next to his mate and cuddles into her side, licking at the wound on her neck. With a lazy smile, she strokes his head. My eyes go back to the man he killed.
I’ve only ever seen him use his venom once, but it’s still a terrifying sight.
The man melted and bled from the inside out. Now, the ghoulish remnants remain strung up there as a warning, providing a nightmarish sight, which is perfect for us. Zale snuggles closer to Lycus, supporting him after what he did. The rest of us are spread out, watching our guests as they recover.
“How many more will be killed tonight? Is that why we were brought here?” a man calls.
I seek him out, and my hand moves to my sword, but my mate’s voice stops me.
“You demanded to see us and our home, so that is what you are doing. You would try to stop my mates from killing those intent on killing me? I don’t think so. Just because you hide your kills behind closed doors does not make you any better than us. You might be glossy and perfect on the outside, but on the inside, you are all just nightmares like us.”
“We are not monsters, not like you,” someone else retorts.
“Oh, darling, we are all monsters.” She laughs, the sound throaty and beautiful, making my cock jerk. “Some just hide it better. You forget that I was born into your courts, and I saw the truth behind the curtain . . . the perfect façade you present to one another.” She holds her hands out, and Nathair and Reve help her to her feet. Keeping their hands in hers, she walks forward and tilts her head, eyeing the crowd.
“Would you like me to start naming the sins of the courts? How about the harvest festival two years ago, where four women were killed for having sex with another court? Or when Specter held a party that turned into a bloodbath after a challenge was issued and denied. I can keep going. Those are only some of the very public slayings and embarrassments you have suffered, but it does not even begin to touch on what you hide behind closed doors.”
“And Principes?” someone demands. Ah, here we go. “They were slaughtered not a week ago. Many believe it was you.”
She smiles, not denying it. “If they were killed, or slaughtered as you say, then why do I see some of their court here?” She begins to pace before them. “Maybe it was simply those in the court who had broken our laws who perished?” she taunts. They won’t outright accuse her, not after seeing what we are capable of, so they are fishing, and she’s playing them perfectly, turning them on each other.
“And who are you to carry out our laws?” The man speaking is a council member and King of the Elemental Court. He doesn’t seem angry. Instead, he almost appears curious. “That is the council’s job.”
Turning away, she starts to walk towards her throne, but she glances over her shoulder with a sardonic grin. “Then maybe the council should do a better job.”
I can’t help but chuckle, my eyes tracking my mate as I protect her back.
Better job indeed.
The council is going to make their move soon. I can sense it. They are growing restless.
Now?I ask the others through our bond. Nervous energy fills me, not that I let it show. I know what we’ll do here tonight will change everything, but it’s something that needs to happen. Just because it’s our norm doesn’t mean it’s right. Our race needs to be shown that we cannot carry on like this.
That is our job as judges, and tonight is our wicked show.
No better time, Nathair responds, so they stride over to the thrones. I follow them, but this time I do not sit. I remain standing, and when my mates spread out, standing before their own thrones, I smile at the gathered crowd. I ignore their whispers and palpable fear. Maybe they sense their own deaths.
Maybe they simply don’t like this place.
Either way, it won’t save them.