Home > Midnight Soul (Fantasyland #5)(12)

Midnight Soul (Fantasyland #5)(12)
Author: Kristen Ashley

That was not cold.

It was spiteful.

Any guest in this palace would not hesitate to do the same.

And I’d ordered wine, bread, cheese and a fire. Noc had ordered the blasted whiskey.

Oh, and I’d asked for a sleeping draught and a bath to be brought up that morning.

But that was all.

I hadn’t even requested breakfast.

“But, yes,” Aurora went on to answer my request. “We’ll see they’re safely delivered to your rooms immediately. Now, can I further offer the services of the palace staff to assist you in packing and being certain the horses are put to your sleigh so that it’s waiting for you early on the morrow?”

In other words, get out.

I didn’t fight back lifting my chin a smidge. “Yes. You may. And I would be grateful.”

“Excellent,” she murmured, casting her eyes to her daughter (who was not her daughter), somehow communicating at the same time she was casting me out of her mind.

I was to leave.


I did not bow or drop into even a slight curtsy, although this was a considerable breach of protocol.

I’d been dismissed.

Therefore I turned to leave.

“As I said.” I heard Frey mutter.

Apollo’s words came right after. “Yes, Franka Drakkar would never do something for naught.”

I heard this but it was what I was feeling coming from Noc that made my gaze shift to him.

And the pang came back, ten times the strength, searing a swath of pain through my middle as I saw disappointment and even mild aversion in his eyes as he watched me move through the room.

Looking at him, I knew. I knew he’d told them of our time together last night. He’d likely shared he thought more of me than they ever would.

Undoubtedly, this was met with incredulity.

Or, perchance, hilarity.

But I knew he’d also told them I would not accept remuneration for the part I’d played in saving my universe.

Or, perhaps, not that extraordinary amount.

And I knew just looking at him, looking at the carefully blank expression on Circe’s face, which I caught when I cast a swift downward glance in her direction, that they may have been offered their rewards.

But they’d declined, or at the very least eschewed such extravagance.

They’d done what they’d done out of care and concern. They’d put their lives at risk because it was the right thing to do.

They’d done it because they were good, kind people right down to their bones.

Unlike me.

I’d been born with the black soul of a Drakkar and no matter how hard Antoine had worked to cleanse it, it would forever remain midnight.

“As you said, Noctorno,” I spoke haughtily, looking right in his eyes as I kept moving toward the door, “there are no such things as heroes.”

Except, I thought but did not say, you.

And with that, I pulled my gaze from his, kept my head lifted and swept out of the room.

* * * * *


“She is not a good person,” Lavinia declared.

“Mm…” Valentine murmured, her attention aimed at the large sphere sitting on its emerald-green velvet pillow on the table between Valentine and her fellow witch.

“I can understand your fascination with her, my friend, she’s quite fascinating. As a snake lying coiled in the sun would be fascinating. But get too close, the snake strikes.”

Valentine lifted her hand to her crystal ball, twisted her wrist and skimmed the blood-red tips of her fingers across the cool glass.

The image in it of Franka Drakkar walking with head held high from the queen’s study drifted away in a mist of green smoke.

She looked up to Lavinia.

“There’s more to that one,” she stated.

“I’m uncertain you wish to discover it,” Lavinia returned.

Valentine wasn’t uncertain.

“Perhaps you forget,” Valentine returned, “the rose grows amongst thorns.”

“This is true,” Lavinia retorted, “and I have not had any direct dealings with the woman, but I’ve heard much. So much, it indicates not only is Franka Drakkar a thorn, her particular thorn is dipped in poison.”

Valentine studied her friend and wondered if she didn’t sense it.

Lavinia was nowhere near as powerful as Valentine was.

However, she held great power. She should be able to sense it.

Where she sat across from Lavinia in the warm comfort of her rooms in the palace, she asked, “Do you not sense it?”

“I sense it,” Lavinia replied.

As Valentine thought.

“Unusual in your world, no?” Valentine asked.

“Unusual and unlawful,” Lavinia replied shortly.

Yes, from what Valentine had learned, it was.


Valentine’s gaze drifted back to her crystal as she purred, “Hmm…”

“The only reason I like that look on your face, Valentine, is because I sense your interest in Franka Drakkar will mean you will not leave our world as you’d planned after Apollo and Maddie’s wedding. I enjoy your company. Over the last months, I prayed to the gods our troubles would end without too much destruction and heartache. But with the fondness I hold for you, I still faced the end of those troubles with a heavy heart for I knew it would take you away, for there would no longer be any reason for you to come back. Therefore, even if the reason you’d stay, or return, is Franka Drakkar, I’ll take it.”

Valentine nodded, touched in spite of herself at Lavinia’s words.

Valentine made a habit of not connecting with mere mortals. Not that she was a goddess, but she was also no mere mortal. This, a habit she’d broken of late, precisely when she’d started dabbling in travel between the worlds, her own and the women she’d brought here.

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