Page 89 of Court of Nightmares

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“Gladly,” she purrs as she looks at Azul. “Welcome home, pet.”




“Oh, do you know our guest of honour’s pet, Cassandra?” the king asks silkily, and I know he knows she does. It’s all one big game, and they are waiting for my reaction, but I cannot give them one. Otherwise, I know they will turn on us. We have to play the game.

“Why yes, he used to be my pet. I did think he was dead though. I guess I was wrong. I am so happy about that. He was always my favourite. He screamed so prettily, but I’m assuming you know that,” she addresses me, fluttering long, fake lashes as she steps towards him.

I sit back, crossing one leg over the other as I eye her. “He has never mentioned you.” I grin, watching anger cross her face. “Maybe he was too busy serving me, but you are right about his screams. I do love them.” I don’t tell her it’s the sounds he makes when I ride his cock, but I let it hang in the air.

Possessiveness rolls from her. She wants him, and she wants him badly. “My king, for my show, I ask for the right of tasting.”

I stiffen, knowing whatever that is, it isn’t good, and the cruel smile she gives me tells me exactly that.

“Would you consent, Althea?” the king asks me, squeezing my hand once more to draw my attention. The pain from his touch makes me refrain from voicing a rude retort.

“I’m afraid I don’t know what that is,” I reply carefully.

“Why, it just means what is yours is ours, for a taste of course,” he replies.

“I see. As I said, I’m rather possessive and I do not like to share.” I’m hoping that’s enough, but I can see he doesn’t like that.

“It is customary for a new guest to share her possessions.” He won’t let this go, and denying him will only play into his game, into their game. It would look like I’m refusing the king, and that would mean he has the right to kill us all. I hate it.

It will be okay. I know you will die for me, Azul murmurs, yet I still hesitate.I can do this. I trust you to save me once more, my queen.

I let the chain drop, and with a grin, she picks it up and yanks until he’s on all fours. “Crawl. We are going to have some fun. Oh, how I’ve missed you.”

Jealousy and anger surge through me, and I have to push them back because the king watches me closely, pleased he finally got a reaction. The bastard. I’m forced to watch as she drags him over to the middle of the room where people begin to clear an area. There’s a table there, and she orders him to lie on it like a dog. He shoots me a pained, embarrassed look but climbs on and lies down. I sense the shaking in his bones as he prepares for pain, for humiliation, and his thoughts are slightly wild as they reach me.

Don’t want her to see me like this.

Not again.

I turn to the others, pleading for them to help with my eyes. I could kill them all now, but I need proof of their crimes. I’m lost and scared. I cannot save Azul despite the power that resides inside me.

I am chained by our roles.

Trust us, Nathair offers.Play along.

Swallowing back my own need to scream, I turn and see the king watching me carefully, so I smile as I force myself to relax, even though all I want to do is rip them to shreds.

Cassandra circles the table as she grins at us. “I used to have such fun playing with him. He was so hard to break. I wonder if he will be the same this evening. Tonight, for you, my king and honoured guest,” she says, “I will do just that. I will taste his blood and his body, and his screams will fill the room for you.”

I have to watch as she climbs onto the table and runs her sharp blood-red nails across his chest, carving into it as he swallows back his howl of pain.

Please!I beg them mentally. I sit forward as if to watch, but it’s really to stop myself from leaping from this chair and attacking them. Possessiveness and fury roars inside me until my powers growl, and I know the king senses it, his own lashing at me and trying to batter me down. While Azul is tortured, there is a war between the king and me that I have to focus on or I will die.

I have to trust the others. I feel Reve slip into his mind while the others step before him, shielding him. He takes the brunt of the torture while projecting happy images to Azul, taking him far away as she hurts him. When she doesn’t get the reaction she wants, I sense her anger. He’s smiling and distanced from what she is doing to him, but I am not.

I focus on the king, smiling at him as I let go of the last shred of control holding my power back, and I watch as he slumps in shock as it rips through him like his did to me earlier. I let him feel every drop of it and show him the truth of who I am.

“A queen,” he rasps, blood dribbling from his mouth, ears, and eyes. Some start to notice their king, their concern filling the air. I’m tired of playing their games. I’ve seen enough. Their king is corrupt and willing to watch the torture of innocents. Not only that, he encourages it, and every single person here watched and helped, unwilling to stop it.

I judge and find them all guilty, and their souls will be mine.