I nod and watch as Conall pushes Reve into a pond, making me giggle. He comes out spluttering and pushes his hair back. It shouldn’t be as sexy as it is, but when he winks and dives at Conall, desire flames inside me.
Simon groans. “I mean, that’s just not fair, and you got seven.”
“You have a wolf.” I chuckle. “Simon, you said you were glad I left the courts. What did you mean by that?” It has been bothering me since he said it. After all, aren’t I charged with cleaning them? I need to know what he meant. It seems important.
He laughs bitterly. “They have changed a lot. They are not good places anymore. It’s as if they are just giving into their baser instincts. There’s so much death and torture. Specter was almost shunned because of your rejection, and they spiralled. The king—the bastard who rejected you—lost a lot of followers, and he keeps others out of fear now. I just meant I’m glad you’re not part of that anymore. They would have used you as a pawn, or worse.”
I’m not a pawn, not anymore. I’m a queen, a judge, and it’s my duty to stop it. I call for the others, and they come closer. “Tell me everything.”
Simon throws us confused looks but starts to talk. We listen intently, and when he’s done, we share a look.
“What?” he demands.
“Simon, I think we are going to need your help.” I look at Nathair. “We need someone on the inside so we can judge them. I think . . . I think I was always supposed to see Simon again, and I think it’s part of the puzzle.” As if to confirm it, my powers pulse inside me. “It seems like the gods have been playing again, but this time, they decided to play with us.”
Nathair hesitates but sighs. “We are making this up as we go along. Nox, what can it hurt? If they want us to do this duty their way, then they should have been more specific.” He grins at me. “At least now you can tell him everything . . . or it might be easier to show him.”
Simon screams as I release him from my shadows, stumbling on the stone floor of the judgement hall.
“I think he’s going to be sick,” I murmur, watching him.
“No, he’s not.” Althea chuckles. “Oh, wait.”
Simon turns and pukes, and she winces as Reve slaps some money into my palm.
“You bet on that?” she mutters, and I give her my kindest grin. She hits my chest as she moves over to her friend. “You’re okay, just breathe and let it pass.”
He groans before he straightens. “I’m good. Nox, that was embarrassing.”
“It’s okay. The first time I did it, Reve nearly shat himself,” I share, trying to get back in Althea’s good graces.
“Dude!” Reve yells as Thea and Simon giggle.
“You did.” I frown, confused about why he’s mad at me now.
“And what did I say after?” Reve hisses.
“Not to tell—oh.” I wince, rubbing at my head. “Sorry,” I say, and when I glance around for help, everyone is laughing.
Reve huffs and looks at Thea. “In my defence, I would still be hot.”
“You would,” she tells him with a placating grin, and then she looks at me. “Any more embarrassing stories?”
“Well, there’s the time Lycus—”
“Nope, you’re done.” Lycus pulls me into a headlock, and I lose myself in the fight. He flings me into the wall, and I grab him and throw him to the floor as we roll across it.
Zale and Azul sigh and wade in, yanking us apart.
“Boys!” Althea calls, clapping her hands, and we all stop and look at her. “No bloodshed in here, okay? Take it outside.”
“Got it.” Grabbing Lycus, I drag him outside with me, hearing her laugh trail after us.
* * *