Chapter no 32 – Evie

Assistant to the Villain

It’s huge!” Evie gasped.

Blade turned to her then, a sly smile on his lips. “If I had a gold piece for every time—”

A loud smack wrenched through the air, and Blade winced and clutched the back of his head.

The Villain didn’t even look in Blade’s direction as he brought his hand back to his side. “It’s smaller than the dragon.”

Her boss had been very quiet since she’d left his office to make sleeping arrangements for everyone. After dismissing the interns and leftover workers to the guest quarters across the courtyard under heavy guard, he’d invited Evie to the back corner of the cellar to see the creature for herself.

And the guvre was horrifying.

“Yes, but Fluffy doesn’t look like that.” Evie tilted her head, and the serpentlike animal angled his head with her. “Stop being cute—you’re supposed to be a living nightmare.”

He looked like one, at least, despite the somewhat docile manner with which he was currently conducting himself.

His eyes were large and bugging out of his head, which was sloped and tapered at the nose like a snake. When he took a step closer to the bars, his bat wings flared out, the leathery membrane so like the dragon’s and yet different in a way that made her feel intimidated.

“Why are we keeping this horror show in our cellar again?” Evie asked, giving the vicious animal a little wave and gentling her expression when he tilted his head again at her.

She turned to get an answer and saw her boss watching her motions carefully, something light in his eyes and a slight upturn of his lips, so small she almost didn’t catch it. “Sir? Is something wrong?” she asked curiously.

He shook his head and cleared his throat, shifting his gaze back to the bars. Ignoring her question, he said, “Guvres are notoriously mated animals.”

“And you thought we could assist the creature in the courting department?” Blade asked dryly, creeping a hand through the bars, clicking his tongue. Amazingly, the guvre crept closer and nudged his head against Blade’s hand.

“How did you do that?” Evie’s eyes widened. Blade shrugged. “Animals like me.”

“Oh yeah, you’re just always in the infirmary; I forget sometimes.” Evie hadn’t meant the words to sound so insulting, but of course she realized this after they’d already been spoken aloud.

To her relief, Blade chuckled and adjusted his vest. “It’s the less desirable part of the job, to be sure.”

“I would’ve thought the less desirable part would’ve been cleaning up the creature’s excrement.”

Blade and Evie both stared at their boss with open mouths. “Did he just make a joke?” Blade asked her in an exaggerated whisper.

She returned her answer at the same volume. “I know. He’s been doing that a lot lately.”

“Interesting. Do you think—”

“Enough!” Their boss put both hands on his hips, looking dark and formidable. “If you two don’t mind, I’d like to finish what I was saying.”

“Oh, no!” Evie said with false innocence. “We don’t mind—go ahead.”

Quirking a brow, seeming to want to smile once more, her boss shook his head and opened his mouth to speak. “Guvres are typically mated animals. This particular guvre’s mate is of value to me.”

“Then why not just capture the guvre’s mate? Why go to the trouble of taking this one?” Blade began throwing slabs of beef through the bars, and the creature swallowed them without chewing.

“Because it’s nearly impossible to catch a female guvre; they’re too cunning, too smart. The males are far easier to defeat. Besides, this female guvre is already in captivity.”

“What? Then how do you expect to catch it?” Evie asked incredulously.

“Female guvres are vengeful creatures, and the best way to capture one is to lure her in with her mate.”

“That doesn’t explain how you expect this female to get here if she’s being held behind bars.”

“Do not mistake me. When I say vengeful, I mean it in the most extreme sense of the word. If a female guvre believes her mate is in danger, there are

no bars in this world that could hold her.” A gravity settled over the room, and the only sounds were the hums of the creature beside them.

Evie waited for Blade to return to the office upstairs before she walked closer to the cage, pointed an accusing finger at The Villain, and whisper-shouted, “King Benedict! He’s the one with the female guvre in captivity!”

Trystan glanced down at her finger and lifted a brow. “Very astute, Sage.” “Why would King Benedict keep a guvre?”

A rolling noise came from the cell, stilling them both.

“Was that a purr?” Evie leaned forward and tentatively reached through the bars as Blade had. A small yelp left her mouth as two large hands wrapped around her middle, yanking her backward.

“I would prefer you not lose a hand, Sage.” The gravelly voice was in her ear, sending a series of pleasant chills down her spine. “He may be cute, as you so eloquently put it, but he has a temper.”

“Hmm…I think I know someone like that.” Evie gazed up at him pointedly, and her boss rolled his eyes.

“King Benedict has had his mate in his possession for ten years.”

“Ten years?” she exclaimed. “What sort of consequences must that have wrought?”

The Villain released her with a wry, mysterious grin, then paced away. “Regardless, tonight, that will change.”

The Villain always became distant when he spoke of his vengeance, like in order to tap into it, he had to go somewhere else. Somehow, Evie knew it was best to leave him alone with it, too. Who was she to stand between a man and his need for retribution? Honestly, if he ever shared his motivations with her, she might even join him with glee.

“I need to get back to helping with the sleeping arrangements, sir,” she said and ventured back to the stairs of the cellar that would lead her into the office space.

She’d nearly made it to the top before The Villain’s shocked voice carried to her. “Sage…did you just call me cute?”

She opened the door, a grin on her face.

But as the heavy metal clanged behind her, a sense of impending doom chased away her good humor. Because tonight, The Villain wouldn’t be the only one seeking revenge within these manor walls.

If everything went according to plan…a frightening guvre was coming for her mate. And not even The Villain was going to be able to stop her.

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