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~ Previous Chapter ~
Bonus catch up post! Featuring twinly plots and Wingborn plans.
“LORD YULLIK,” RIAME greeted, unable to hide her surprise as she all but tripped over him in a corridor of the upper keep. “Have you eaten?”
Yullik eyed the woman – and the brother lurking just behind her – and raised an eyebrow. The passage they were exiting led only to a cavern high up near the peak of the mountain. What could these two possibly find of interest in such a place?
He forced a smile and inclined his head. “Not yet,” he said, because he did have manners when he found them useful – and Riame was an unexpectedly excellent cook. “Is this an invitation to join you?”
“Of course.” Rion stepped forward to link his arm with Yullik’s, his twin mimicking him on Yullik’s other side, sandwiching him between them. “We hardly see you these days.”
“We have been positively starved of your company,” Riame purred.
“Such a pity,” they said together with a seductive sigh.
They made Yullik’s skin crawl, but he was too curious about what they’d been doing to simply shrug them off and storm away. He rather suspected that was what they expected and hoped he would do. It would be a shame not to disappoint them.
“How delightful,” he said, though he couldn’t quite bring himself to flirt back.
“Isn’t it?” Rion chuckled. “We three together again. The very best of friends.”
Yullik said nothing, but he caught Riame frowning ever so slightly at her brother. It was unusual to sense any kind of discord between them and Yullik filed it away to think over later. His sudden appearance must have truly caught them off guard. Excellent. He wondered if he could use it to find out what they were up to, although he had his suspicions.
“I see you have been exploring my keep,” he said, as they began the lengthy descent of stairs that would eventually lead them back to the kitchens where Riame could perform her culinary magic. “I trust it meets with your approval.”
“Indeed,” the twins purred together. “Most impressive.”
“Even more so considering what the dragons did,” Riame cooed with false sympathy.
“So rude,” Rion agreed.
“Such terrible guests,” his sister tutted.
“And they weren’t even invited.” The pair shook their heads.
Yullik didn’t allow even the smallest muscle to tighten at their words, not wanting them to know how angry he felt. The betrayal of it all still surprised him. He hadn’t been a small, innocent boy for a very long time, yet the destructive marks of Clan Sunlord inside the heart of his home had been like seeing his father die all over again. However, since he would never let these two see such a thing, he smiled instead.
“Never fear, I will repay them all in kind.” With a little time and a lot of patience. It had taken him two centuries to bring down the Rift Riders. Tackling the dragons would take longer, but he was still young by dragon standards. He had time. He was still growing. His power was still maturing. The time of reckoning would come. Given time.
“Good,” the twins purred with approval, patting his arms. “Very good.”
“Speaking of uninvited guests,” Yullik said, hiding his smile as Rion tensed ever so slightly beside him. Interesting. “How is our little Wingborn faring?”
Now it was Riame’s turn to tense, although she tried to hide it with a smile. “You tell me, Lord Yullik,” she chuckled, squeezing his bicep. “You’re the one who visits her in her sleep. Healing, I hope. If all you do is watch her, that would be… unseemly.”
Yullik shot her a sideways glance. “I have neither the time nor the patience to visit someone merely to watch them sleep.”
She patted his arm again and he felt a little of her tension fade. How intriguing. The woman truly was concerned about his intentions towards the Wingborn. He suspected she should have been paying more attention to her own.
“As sweet as your concern for my prisoner is,” Yullik continued, springing his ambush, “she wasn’t the Wingborn I was referring to.”
Both twins tensed and Yullik smiled at Rion. “Perhaps you should invite the miryhl in next time. All these blizzards can’t be good for him.”
“Perhaps I should,” Rion smiled back, baring his teeth. “He seems eager to gain entrance.”
“Then tell him he is welcome to use the front door anytime he likes,” Yullik replied, sliding his arms free from their rigid grip and placing his hands in his pockets. Closing one fist around the vial of human blood, he inclined his head towards the twins. “If you’ll excuse me, I’ll find my own meal later. I feel a sudden urge to prepare a welcome for my new guest.” And the rest who were certain to follow.
The twins inclined their heads in return, faces blank, thoughts no doubt racing behind their identical dark eyes, wondering what he knew, how much, and what he might do next. “Good night, Lord Yullik,” they said together, rather more cautiously than they usually did.
“Farewell.” He smiled. “Until our next meeting.” Turning on his heel, he stretched his senses in case of a reply, but for once the last word was his and he walked away content that he had the upper hand for once. It wouldn’t last, of that he was sure, but he wasn’t interested in their games. He had too many of his own to play.
Fishing the vial out of his pocket, he swirled the Wingborn’s blood and chuckled as he descended back to his workroom.
~ Next Chapter ~
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