As soon as Beyla left, the King let out a long sigh. Swirling the drink in his cup, he had a distant look in his eyes.
"Beyla's mother died in childbirth. She never knew her mother, and it broke my heart. Because of that, I spoiled the hell out of Beyla when she was growing up. I wanted to make sure she never had a hardship in her life. I thought I was doing the right thing, but in the end, I was stopping her from growing as a person. It took me a long time to realize it, but she grew into the person she is today when I stopped coddling her. I know that when my time comes, and I need to step down, she will be a better ruler than I in every way."
I listened to what he said, but I had no idea why he was telling me this.
I guess the King could see my confusion. Letting out a sigh, he said, "I am saying this because I can see the same thing happening with you. The way you look at your demon was how I looked at Beyla. Tell me, though, she clearly wasn't strong enough in this past fight. If you give her everything, are you going to expect a different outcome the next time she fights?"
I was not pleased with his point, but I knew the truth behind his words.
"So you are saying that I am giving her too much?"
"Yes and no. For something like tonight, if you genuinely care about her, give her whatever the hell she wants. I would still give Beyla the world if she asked for it. The only thing I could pass on to you is to not fight her battles for her."
Laughing, I replied, "There is no worry about that. She is the one who wants to fight everything and everyone."
"That is what should worry you. If she isn't strong enough, you are always going to have to protect her. If you truly care about her, you need to do everything in your power to make her stronger than you. That is all the advice I can pass on to you."
Staring at Selene as she showed her new soldier friends how she could turn her fingernails into weapons, I asked, "Why are you trying to help me?"
"Your friend saved my daughter's life. If she had died, I would have lost my composure and killed the Prince. He may be a child, but his father is someone we still need to be careful of. We don't have many allies because of where we are located, and if he wanted to, he could level this castle. Holding his son is a massive win for everyone's protection who lives here."
Giving his words some thought, I replied, "I can think of a kingdom that would be a good ally for you. It's relatively close, and the Queen shares the same morals as you."
"Oh really? What is the name of this kingdom? And what is the name of the Queen?"
Hearing this, I stopped to think. Did I really not bother to learn any names?
Rubbing the back of my neck sheepishly, I replied, "I didn't bother to learn any names because I didn't care. I'm sure Selene knows, though."
Turning to Selene, I called out, "Hey Selene, would you mind joining us for a second?"
Letting out an exaggerated sigh, she replied, "I don't know. You are just so far away, and I'm having fun over here. I just don't want to walk."
I stared at Selene for a moment making sure she was serious, then I growled out, "Just fly."
Selene let out a giggle, then quickly grew out her wings, knocking two soldiers over. With one flap, she was sitting on the table in front of me. With a smile on her face, she asked, "So what's up?"
Ignoring her quick mood change, I asked, "The kingdom we were in before this. What was its name? Also, do you know the name of the Queen? And the name of the King you killed?"
Selene gave me a look as if she thought I was an idiot for asking that.
"You mean the whole time we were there, you didn't bother to learn any names? Not even the Princess's name?"
Before I could answer, the King asked me, "Do you know the name of the kingdom you are in now?"
With a grunt, I stated, "Look. Why is this suddenly about me? No, I don't know. Are you two happy now?"
Looking to the King, Selene said, "See what I'm stuck with? That being said, he still has his positives." Turning to me, she continued, "And to answer your original question, yes, I do pay attention to things. The Queen was Alexis, and her daughter's name was Allison, but I called her Allie."
Hearing this, I made a mental note to take Selene to visit Allison one more time before we left on our next adventure. I'm sure she would appreciate that.
"As far as the King, I refused to remember his name. He was not worthy of my time, and honestly, he was lucky I made his death as quick as I did. He deserved a hell of a lot worse than what he got. And lastly, the kingdom he ruled was Sarton."
With a thoughtful look, the King muttered out, "I had heard rumors that the old fool had died. I am glad to know that it was true. It is a shame to hear that he had a quick death."
Laughing, I said, "Don't listen to her. I'm surprised that you couldn't hear his screams of pain from here. But, with him out of the way, I am sure that the Queen would have no problem aligning herself with you. In fact, I'm sure Selene and I could be convinced to be your ambassadors."
The smile that grew across Selene's face made everything up to this point worth it.
"So what exactly is the dynamic between you two, and what are your goals?"
I didn't want to answer something that personal, but Selene was clearly happy, and with us being linked, it made it hard for me to be annoyed.
With a smile, Selene replied, "He is technically in charge, but we both know that I make the decisions. As far as goals, we are searching for my friend. Leo thinks his goals are mine, but he has his own. He just hasn't realized that yet."
Giving Selene a confused look, she continued, "You mean to tell me that you don't want to find the man who did this to you? The man who took her from you and branded you."
Reaching down, I lightly traced the crude 200 that was tattooed on my ankle. I really hadn't thought about it, but now that Selene said it, I would like to find the doctor. I had a lot of questions for him, and he needed to pay for what he did to Rebecca.
Giving Selene a nod, I replied, "You are right. There is someone that I need to talk to. This time though, I am the one who gets to kill, and you get to watch."
Shrugging, Selene replied, "That works for me. Now would you mind if I go back and eat more food, or did you need me to remind you how little you pay attention again?"
I was about to wave her away, but I caught sight of Beyla returning with the other demon. I had a few questions of my own for the demon, so I said, "Feel free to go off on your own but don't go too far. When I am done with my questions, I will need your help transferring the other demon to Beyla."
Selene had a smirk on her face for a moment, but it quickly disappeared as she turned her attention back to the group of soldiers and their food.
As she flew away, I heard the King ask, "Does it bother you that she has her own agenda?"
Getting to my feet, I replied, "Not at all. Things are a lot more fun this way. I can't wait to see what she has planned."