Chapter no 58 – Evie

Assistant to the Villain

Half an hour later, Evie was dismounting the horse, The Villain’s hands gripping her hips as he hoisted her down. It was bad enough being pressed against him for the entire ride there, but now she was eye to eye with him as she slid down his body.

She should’ve kissed him. She’d wanted to. The minute she’d touched him, it felt like a slow-burning flame had lit underneath her skin, making it hard to breathe, to think.

They’d stood there together for what felt like forever and yet still not long enough.

She made sure to pack all her sister’s favorite toys, her coloring parchments, and even one of the pillows from her bed. Perhaps it would soften the blow just a smidgen when Evie told Lyssa the truth, the whole truth. Something Evie had never been given.

She had no regrets, however. Maybe that did make her a monster, but she was quickly learning that it took more to make a monster than a monstrous act. She had no idea where her line of morality was anymore, but she’d protect herself however she could.

Her father had thought he was doing his duty, and that didn’t make him a monster. But the means in which he did it, the way he sacrificed her for the sake of himself… She shook her head, happy Lyssa would never be subjected to that sort of cruelty.

She followed Trystan inside the manor, pushing away the absurd urge to reach out and take his hand in hers like it belonged there.

They were halfway inside, the satchel around her waist heavy with the dagger, when: “Oh no,” she said, feeling around the bag.

“What is it?” Trystan turned to her. It was still too early to see the first rays of morning, but the night wasn’t as dark at this time; the sky seemed lighter. But she had plenty of time later to panic about the fact that she would be seeing him at all hours of the night every night, now that she’d be living there.

The real horror was just beginning.

“My notebook. I left it in my father’s office.”

“I’ll purchase another for you, and before you say no, consider it part of your supply budget.” He was being kind.

“I need that one. It has important things.” She smiled to herself, remembering the hearts she’d drawn. “Sentimental things.”

“Very well. We will return to retrieve this sentimental notebook of yours.” He shook his head, raising a brow. “Marv, take these to the west side of the manor.” He dropped the bags into his guard’s waiting hands and turned to pull Kingsley from the riding pouch. “And make sure this one stays put in my office.” Kingsley gave a croak of outrage but went willingly with the guard.

“We’re staying on the west side?” Evie’s jaw nearly dropped open. “The side you live on?”

He was already walking back toward the open gates, without his horse. “Shall we walk?”

Trystan kept a long stride back into the array of brightly colored trees, and Evie followed quickly behind him. “No, no, wait. I get to see where you live. Oh my gods. What do you even do in your free time? Do you have hobbies?”

“Little tornado,” he grumbled under his breath before leveling his voice back to his normal volume. “Don’t make me regret this, Sage.”

“Can we play board games? Lyssa loves board games.” She nodded wisely beside him. “Perhaps a tea party. Lyssa loves those, too.”

“Why would one need a party for tea? Don’t you just drink it? What on earth is the party for?” His confusion caused a bubble of laughter to leave her lips.

“I’m sorry. That’s not funny.” She snorted, and his mouth cracked wide open, his dimple making its graceful appearance.

“I realize once I find out what a tea party is, my ignorance will most likely be very amusing.”

She scrunched her nose, giving him a final grin before dancing ahead of him. “I actually think if we cut across the stream up ahead, we can shave ten minutes off the walk.”

A low, strangled sound halted her suddenly. Evie whipped around and gasped when she saw her boss crumpled on the ground. Tossing her heavy satchel away, she ran over to him.

“Sir!” His eyes were open, but his face was pinched in pain. He gripped her arm, hard. “Run,” he rasped.

“What?” Evie shook her head, confused, but then the rattle of horses brought on the swift quickening of her heart. She put a hand on Trystan’s shoulder and leaned her body slightly over his to shield him. Six riders on large horses appeared, circling them, one of them with a hand raised toward The Villain.

“Stop!” she screamed, looking around for any weapon. But the only thing she had at her disposal was the dagger that she could barely be near, not to mention her satchel was outside of the little barrier within which they’d blocked her.

“Stay put!” one of them yelled. She couldn’t see any of their faces with their metal helmets on. A carriage rattled closer, with a large compartment linked to the back, and Evie felt panicked. She assessed every escape, every means of bribery or deceit. But she didn’t know what they wanted, and there was no telling what they knew.

She looked down to Trystan, still pinned by whatever power the knight closest to her was using. Her hand remained on his shoulder, and she squeezed tight when the carriage rattled to the middle of the circle, the horses that had moved reclosing the gap behind it.

The driver of the carriage, a large-set man dressed in silver and white, rushed toward the carriage door.

After opening it, he bowed deeply. All the knights dismounted their horses in a wave and dropped to their knees.

“Son. Of. A. Bitch,” Trystan gritted out, sitting up, wincing through the pain. His face was turning red, and the veins in his eyes and around his forehead were splaying.

Evie knew immediately, even though she’d never seen the man in person. So, it was technically just a guess when he descended the small steps of the carriage and Evie said in quiet horror, “King Benedict.”

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