Witch, 94

“Do you guys need anything?”

“No, we’re fine, really.”

“Okay. If you do, I’ll be just outside.”

“We wouldn’t want to interrupt your big meeting. It sounds very important.”

“It is, but taking care of people who need it is also important. Come get me if you need anything.”

“If you insist.”

“I do,” said Ron, giving Daisy a smile. “I know how hard it is to suddenly have to leave home, and it must be even harder when you have a baby.”

Villain, 78

“Derek, I don’t think this is a good idea.”

Derek nodded at Daisy, holding Delilah as they walked to the portal in the tower. She was asleep, not crying for once. Still fitful, but quieter than she had been. She was getting used to Sam being gone.

They all were.

Scott had told Derek once that Delilah’s magic was connected to Sam’s, which was probably why she’d felt his absence so powerfully. Derek was glad that at least he wasn’t the only one who was figuring out how to move forward.

“It’s the only real option we have,” Derek told her. Delilah was heavy, he thought. How did Daisy hold her all the time? “The castle is too dangerous, and it’s going to get more dangerous in the next little while. I don’t want you or Delilah getting hurt.”

“You don’t know that we won’t be hurt in this forest of yours.”

Witch, 93

“They’ll be here any minute.”

“Yeah, I can hear them coming.”

“Yes, they’re quite loud, actually.”

“In all senses of the word, yes. Speaking of which, can we trust the centaurs not to clomp through the garden or should I go tell them not to step on Howie’s shoots?”

“I think we can trust Estelle to know better than to disrespect our garden.”

“I think so too,” Ron admitted, stroking the table to calm it down. Everyone was going to be getting here for the meeting soon. Their family was already here, standing by the house and waiting. Ron could hear the faeries approaching from the east and west, at the same speed and distance. They must be able to sense each other, and of course neither of them wanted to arrive first and be made to wait.

Villain, 62

“Everyone had better be out of the castle,” Sam said, hands out in front of him. “I’m not listening to bitching later that someone was inside and got crushed.”

“Yes, your Majesty.” Derek was a little behind him, sounding excited. “Everyone’s out. I made sure.”

“Daisy and the baby are at the back of the crowd,” Henry said in Sam’s ear.

“Okay.” Sam took in a breath. He was less annoyed with Henry now. Or rather he was still annoyed with him, but he felt better over all since he’d talked to Todd. Which was certainly not a thought he’d ever imagined he’d have, but there it was. “Everyone better fucking watch, I’m only going to do this once.”

Others, 11

Delilah was fussing as they approached the castle, but she fussed a lot. Imogen, the maid that King Sam—though it had been Lord Henry who’d done it, and he’d just taken a recommendation from someone else—had found to help Daisy with her had told Daisy that Delilah was a particularly fussy baby, but that there was nothing to worry about, lots of babies fussed. She probably just had a sour stomach.

All this travelling probably wasn’t doing a sour stomach any favours, Daisy thought. She wasn’t feeling too wonderful herself, though she wasn’t sick, just tired. “It will be nice to sit down somewhere, won’t it?” she asked Delilah, adjusting her blanket while Delilah made an angry baby face. “Somewhere that’s not moving.”

“Babies normally like movement,” Imogen chuckled on the other bench. “They’re not used to laying still yet.”

“Well, laying still isn’t all it’s cracked up to be either.” Daisy adjusted the blanket again, just for something to do, and tickled Delilah’s chin. For her effort, she got what felt like a static shock, and Delilah started crying. “Oh, calm down, baby.” Daisy tried not to sound upset. That wouldn’t help.

Rebels, 10

Cassius stood with his arms crossed, surveying his humans. Well, four of them, anyway. Cyrus was on his knees, sucking Cassius’s cock. Sawyer and Sean were facing each other, being fucked by Claudius and Castor respectively. Gino was between them, one siremate in his ass and one in his mouth. Derek and Max were in the castle for now.

Standing perfectly still and letting Cyrus do the work, Cassius surveyed the building called a castle, or the parts of it he could see from here. Cassius had to admit, from this angle he could see why a small thing like a human might find it intimidating.

He was not intimidated.

Villain, 47

Sam didn’t understand the appeal of babies. They didn’t do anything except lay there and sometimes cry or shit. But for some reason peopled liked them. Maybe it was because they didn’t talk back.

He just sat there in a chair, holding Delilah, his hand on her chest. She’d wrapped her hand around his finger, which had momentarily freaked Sam out, but apparently that was something that babies did.

Babies didn’t do anything but for some reason they could latch onto people. It was alarming.

Villain, 45

“Of course, my townspeople were overjoyed at the banquet thrown at home too,” the woman said to Sam. “Rare indeed to see a king give gifts for his birthday rather than expecting them from his people.”

Sam smiled. This woman was the leader of the town called Zegid in the Plateau’s northeast. He didn’t know her name. “I didn’t want any gifts. I have a lot of stuff already, as you’ve probably noticed.” He waited for both her and the man with her to laugh politely. “But the plateau-wide banquet was Henry’s idea, not mine.”

“Well, I’ll have to thank him for that,” the woman said.

“Make sure you do,” Sam told her. “He’d be happy to know his gift was appreciated.”

“Very much so,” said the man. He was the magistrate of a town named Henth, also in the east. Whether it was actually big enough to warrant a magistrate Sam wondered, but he hadn’t asked. “I think with you and him in the castle here, we can count on a new prosperity in Ech’kent.”

Sam tried not to sigh. At least these two spoke Kyn, so he didn’t need a translator. Henry was going to teach him Chez’n soon, he said. “I hope so. I’m the first to admit that Solomon wasn’t a good king. We’re better off without him.”