Chapter 16

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Hmmmm... I should update this.

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I fidgeted with my skirt as I followed Dad to the room we would meet Dirg in. He was oddly silent, and he seemed tense. He stopped at a door and turned to look at me.

"Lucille... He has changed."

I nodded. "So have I."

"If he tries to deceive you or control you, I will not hesitate to have him removed if not flat out kill him."

I bit my lip and nodded. Dad looked me over and seemed to steel himself before he opened the door for me to go in. The room was simple, with three chairs forming a sort of triangle in the middle and neutral lighting. Dirg was pacing on the far end of the room but froze when we entered and looked straight at me.

I met his stormy green eyes and stopped. Dad looked from me to him before he went and sat in one of the seats, propping his head on his elbow on his knee. Not that I was watching him. Dirg seemed frozen to the spot. There was something different in his gaze. It was softer, more... vulnerable. I tore my gaze away and looked at his wings, now as white as snow and nearly as bright. He seemed to break out of whatever spell he was under and slowly took his seat, not saying a word, simply looking at me.

I shook my head and berated myself for acting like a deer in headlights and took my seat gracefully. Queen Pat and Princess Lilly seemed intent on making me princess material. I looked down at my hands in my skirt and fiddled with a little gold ring with a tiny pink gem in it that Dad had given me.

Dirg broke the silence. "Knock knock."

I looked up at him, confused. "Who's there?"

"A royal." He smiled arrogantly.

"A royal who?"

"A royal pain in the-" Dad cleared his throat, "right I shouldn't say that word. Butt."

He looked at my arms, and his gaze locked on the scars. I had grown used to them, but he seemed pained, so I hugged them to my stomach.

"Was that supposed to be funny?" I asked.

He shrugged. "It broke the ice?" He said apprehensively, "May I see your arms?"

Dad tensed but stayed put.

"Why?" I asked.

He sighed, and I noticed little bags under his eyes that I hadn't seen before as he looked down and ran a hand through his hair. "It's really probably best that I don't. When I saw you... covered in your own blood- I- I freaked. I realized the truth. Though you held the knife, I might as well have cut you myself, and for that I'm so sorry. I can't apologize enough for all the things I have done to you, but I can at least try to clear things up and explain my actions to you, if you're willing."

I couldn't hold his gaze well. I hadn't been able to hold it when it held haughty arrogance, and this apologetic vulnerability was intriguing and so much harder to keep looking at. I nodded to say I was willing.

He took a deep breath. "Feel free to ask me questions if you need them, okay?"

"Okay."

He was sitting on the edge of his seat, those dark emerald eyes only leaving me to glance at my dad for a brief second.

"I chose you to be my pet because you were beautiful, small, and feisty. I needed small for easy transport and feisty so you were willing to get in fights on my behalf. The best thing I learned about you in those early stages before I took you was that you had no one and nowhere to go. I figured if I could give you purpose, then you would reciprocate with loyalty, and you did."

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