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The Never King: Chapter 22


I can feel the Darling look at me with new interest.

This is precisely why I don’t like telling the Darlings who we are and especially not this one.

Being a prince makes people treat you differently. Even if you are sullied.

“Is that true?” she asks low.

“It is.” I finish filleting the fish in hand then toss the spine and the ribs into a bowl, the filet into another.

“If you’re princes, then why are you here?”

“We were banished.”


I start gutting a second fish. “Are you sure you want to know?”


“Kas and I killed our father.”

The admission steals some of the oxygen from my lungs.

The memory is still vivid all of these years later. The anger that came over his face when the blade sunk deep. Followed by shock when he realized he was going to die from the wound.

It took all of ten seconds.

One minute our father was alive and the next he was on the floor, rimmed in blood.

“Why?” she asks again.

“Because we could.”

Not the real reason, but the real reason is more complicated and I’ve dredged up too much already.

If it wasn’t for the blade in my hand, I might be losing my damn mind.

I understand Winnie’s fear of going mad. I worry about it every single fucking day.

If I go mad, it will be karma driving it.

I finish cleaning the fish in silence and the Darling watches me intently.

“Is that for dinner?”

“No,” I answer. “It’s payment.”

“For what?”

I finally look up at her. Her hair is shiny and soft after her shower. It makes me want to rub blood through it, dirty her up.

The rain is pouring outside the windows now and everything feels farther away.

“For my sister.”

Tonight Tilly will come to see the Darling now that the moon is full.

It’s been decades since I saw her last.

I miss her more than I thought I could. More than I thought I would.

It was always Bash and me protecting her and now who does she have in that vast palace on the other side of the island? Our court had always been conniving and duplicitous.

I hate the thought of my little sister being there alone without champions.

We were supposed to be her knights, princes of the fae.

Instead, we are erased.


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