Ruling Sikthand: Chapter 28

What have I done?

Sikthand walked through his tunnels back to the royal wing with Sophia clutched in his arms. There was a deep sense of dread stirring in him below the surface, but it was pushed down and hidden from view at the moment. Her taste in his mouth, her smell on his skin, and her warm body in his arms put him in an unmatched state of tranquility.

She leaned against his chest as he walked.

This was a bad idea. He’d revealed, at least in part, that he had a way to secretly move through Vrulatica. Even if he had blindfolded her, she now knew where one tunnel entrance was, though not how to get into it.

Her palm brushed over his collarbone, gripping his shoulder as he bent under a low bit of ceiling.

“You know it wasn’t me.” Her voice was barely a whisper, like she didn’t want to ruin the moment but couldn’t hold her words back.

His stomach hollowed at the reminder of his current reality. He didn’t know for certain whether she’d had any part in this latest attempt. He didn’t think she had, but he’d been wrong before.

The scent of her arousal still clung to their clothing, and he breathed it in. The world had seemed so pointless an hour ago.

He’d languished in his room, wishing news of a Tagion invasion would ring through the tower so he had a good reason to rip someone apart. He’d kept himself locked down, the furious futility of his life making him want to set the tower ablaze.

But her smell had reeled him in.

She was everywhere, no longer confined to his study. Sophia lit every corner of his room. Her scent made his chest ache and his insides boil with anger. He’d betrayed himself and revealed such a colossal soft spot.

He wanted Sophia desperately, and now the Guild knew. She knew.

If he turned cold toward her again, they would all know he was lying. And it wouldn’t be long before news trickled down through the tower. Even if it traveled through whispers as a rumor, sooner or later, whoever had tried to kill him would learn that the king had a staggering weakness.

Not knowing what else to do yesterday, he’d gone to his study, poured a glass of renwaeder, and drank. Nothing resolved after his cup was empty, so he’d poured another and another and another, until he’d convinced himself that going to find the human was the best answer.

He’d lied, telling himself that once he found her, he would interrogate her. But in truth, he’d just wanted to see her. His hands had ached to touch her as though they recalled the feel of her body and were bereft. He’d known it was a mistake to go in his current state, yet he couldn’t seem to care.

Sikthand had sought her without armor or soldiers or weapons, and part of him had agreed that if he died on his way, then that’s what was meant to happen.

So what if she turned around and plunged a knife in his belly? He could be killed at any moment. It might be worth getting stabbed by her if it meant he could clutch her to his chest and take her mouth in a kiss as he drifted away.

“Where are we anyway?” she asked, head turning blindly in all directions. Her exhale ghosted over his neck, making his cock swell.

“A shortcut back to our wing.”

She hissed in a breath. “Someone is trying to kill you. You’re telling me there is a secret entrance to our wing and you aren’t barricading it? What if they know about it?”

She couldn’t see him through her blindfold, so he allowed himself to smile. “Only I have access, little wife.”

She stiffened ever so slightly at the murmured name. “I don’t understand you,” she sighed.

He stepped onto an ancient lift and waited as the mechanical cogs rotated and clicked, carrying them up through the tower.

“I’m sorry,” she whispered. Her hands tightened on his shoulders.

“So you did try to kill me, then?” he rasped.

Her lips pursed adorably. “No. I’m sorry someone tried to kill you. I’m sorry so many people went into your room without your permission. I’m sorry I slept there. I thought…it seemed to help you.” She exhaled through her nose, and her brows furrowed. “I’m sorry that once again, someone has given you cause to hate the world.”

His chest constricted with emotion. He brushed it away. “No need to be sorry. You’ve just allowed me to vent my frustration. It’s hard to hate the world when I have a keening female writhing underhand.”

A pale flush lifted on her cheeks, and the muscles of her leg under his palm tensed as though she were pressing her thighs together. His cock stiffened uncomfortably. He’d have to go relieve himself before he really lost his mind and stalked her into her room.

He activated the locked panel between this tunnel and the royal wing and stepped through. After walking through the halls of their wing in a few rambling directions so she remained unaware of where the panel was, he lowered her at her door and pulled off her blindfold.

The makeup on her eyes had smudged over her cheeks from the cloth. He didn’t like it. It reminded him of how her face looked after she cried.

“I have to go,” he said, holding his regret back.

She nodded gravely. “Go figure out who did this and run them through.”

His mouth twitched. “As you wish, my queen.” He gave a teasing bow, then frowned to himself. How was he so calm? Anger still lingered at the edges of his mood, but it was more of an irritated anger since now he had to go through the arduous and often unsuccessful process of unearthing a culprit.

When normally he approached the task full of gloom, he now merely wanted it done with so he could ensure his evenings were free for their meetings again.

She caught his arm before he turned to leave. He peered at her, but she only chewed on her lip as if working up the nerve to say something. Finally, she gave a tremulous smile. “I want you to know I’m here for you. You know…if you ever need to vent.”

He wanted to growl and groan and bellow all at the same time, but what roared out of his chest instead was a purr.

She shrugged and backed toward her door. “I mean, allowing a sexy alien king to finger fuck me in a library will be difficult, but I can soldier through if it helps you, my king.” She grinned wide, knowing exactly what effect her words had, before she slipped into her room and closed the door.

He stood rooted in place, every cell screaming to follow her. With a start, he noticed his tail had begun swaying from side to side an inch off the ground. He frowned and wrapped it around his thigh to keep it still, then forced his protesting feet to move.

This was bad. Sophia was like an oncoming sandstorm. He’d had time to prepare for it before. To run or hide or barricade himself underground.

But now the sand swirled just ahead, and it was too late for him to avoid it. All he could do was let it hit and hope he survived.


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