You know I had to try the tub, and that’s what I did after I stood there and looked around for oh, twenty minutes or so. It was like I’d stepped into some kind of dream, well, if you didn’t take into account all the men around here that had flashing eyes like built in glow sticks.
Tucking my knife sheath into the pocket of the satin soft royal blue robe that I found hanging in the bathroom, I went back into the room. I had to lift the material so I could walk without tripping, apparently, the huntress was supposed to be taller than I was. I wandered around the room. There were two more doors I hadn’t opened and I wasn’t quite ready to do that. Turning, I realized there were no windows in this place, and then I remembered going down the long tunnel fifteen feet underground. It was daytime and I was in the hold of the night side, so windows were probably a bad juju to have.
A quiet knock on the door had me pulling the raptor from my pocket.
“Daxx? It’s Quinton, I brought you something to eat.”
My stomach kicked me, reminding me food would be a welcome thing. “Come in.”
Quinton stepped in and assessed me briefly before closing the door. “I didn’t know what you liked, so I had Mitz put together an assortment.”
His lisp was back, and that made me feel better to know that he didn’t try to be all stiff with me. In this place he had become the only one I would call my ally, the vote was still out on the rest of them. “Thank you.” He set it down and then turned back towards the door again. “Stay with me for a bit.”
He turned and sent me a surprised look. “Are you sure?
I nodded and went over and sat down in the large chair he’d set the food beside. Lifting the lid, I checked out what this Mitz had sent for me. I liked them already. It was like snack food heaven with cheese and crackers and some vegetables and dip.
“Oh.” He reached into his back pocket and pulled out a bottle of Dr. Pepper. “Is this okay?”
“Perfect.” There was Dr. Pepper in this realm, how bad could it be? “Thank you.”
He stood there with his hands stuffed in his pockets. “You need anything else?”
“No, I’m good.” I motioned to the chair on the other side of the small table. “Sit.”
He glanced nervously at the door and then sat down. “I was told not to bother you.”
Raising my eyebrows at him, I smirked. “By who?”
“Troy and Chase.”
I noted the sad look in his eyes. “Really? I thought you were the older one? You still take orders from them.”
Shrugging, he looked down at his hands. “They were born to rule, everyone must listen to them. Mostly.”
“Mostly. Yeah, ‘cuz I see you bowing before them and following orders.”
His eyes glowed with humor. “I said mostly.”
Tucking my feet up under me, I leaned on the arm of the huge chair and really looked at him. I didn’t know what had happened to make him look the way he did, but I knew at one time there had been a handsome face where the wrinkles now hung. “They both seemed shocked that you talked to me.”
He sat forward and leaned on his knees, still clasping his hands together and looking at them. “I don’t talk to many outside of family.”
Those brown eyes sent me a bewildered look. “Have you seen me?”
Squinting I held his stare. “I’m looking at you, aren’t I?”
“Then you have your answer.” He nodded and looked back to the floor.
“No, I don’t.” Picking up the bottle, I opened it and took a sip.
“No one wants to talk to the monster,” he said so softly I wasn’t sure if I heard him right.
“Monster? I hardly think you’re a monster.” I rolled my eyes trying to add that dramatic effect to what I said.
“The stories will never die out completely, I will always be the monster. It’s been almost a hundred years and no one has forgotten. How could they, just looking at me is a reminder.”
He kind of reminded me of a friend I used to have. Craig was good at being down on himself and then he met a woman and got married and now she was down on him instead. I missed Craig. “I may never get used to how around here a hundred years is mentioned like I’d say a year in my time.”
“How old are you, Daxx? If it’s okay for me to ask.”
I shrugged. “Yeah I don’t get hung up on age like most females do. I’m twenty-six, going on eighty some days.”
He grinned and it reached his eyes. “I think I have a few years on you.”
“Yeah, Troy told me. I’m still digesting all of that.”
“At least I look my age.”
I laughed. “No, even for someone over four centuries you do not look old enough.”
“I have wrinkles unlike my brothers’ baby faces.”
I knew he was trying to make light of how he looked but I wasn’t going to play into the pity party he seemed haunted with. “Their faces are too pretty; at least I know I can trust yours.” He looked up at me again and there was something in his eyes that was way too heavy for having just met the same day. I cleared my throat. “Do you have a royal job too?”
He sobered. “I did.”
“Did? What did you retire at three hundred or something? Go pension?”
He shook his head, but there was no smile to be seen. “I stepped down when…” he motioned to his face, “this happened. I used to be the enforcer, I kept the laws held.”
“Why did you step down?”
Quinton stood up and paced a few feet away. “It’s a little hard to enforce when you’re the shining example of why the laws exist.”
Shaking my head, I dropped my feet to the floor and leaned forward. “I don’t understand riddles very well, Quinton.”
“You should get some rest. I’ll be outside.” He began to move over to the door.
“Do I really need a guard?” I got up and followed him.
He stopped at the door and turned to look down at me. “We’re not taking any chances.” Grasping the door handle he leaned on it. “If I’m not there when you wake up, Rafael will be. He’s my youngest brother and will see you’re safe.”