“You just hate me, don’t you?”
Ryia paused by the door with clean linen sheets from the laundry folded in her arms, the voice just loud enough for her to hear. The door led to King Jaqu’s chambers, and since the voice wasn’t Lady Vinilé’s Ryia could only assume it was one of his many maids that he slept with. Her lip curled in disgust and she nearly snarled. Did the maids really think that someone who cheated on his wife would be faithful to them?
“Of course I don’t hate you, my flower,” King Jaqu’s silky voice replied. Ryia moved closer to the door, holding the white sheets closer to her breast and curious to listen. She winced, as there was a shriek and a crash of something breaking.
“You liar! Then why is it you always go around sleeping with other women, breaking hearts?” There was a short pause. “You break my heart.”
Footsteps thudded loudly, and Ryia jumped back just in time before the door burst open. Instead of the ditzy maid Ryia expected, Fyciah stuttered to a halt before her, tears shining in her emerald green eyes. Upon seeing Ryia, a strangled sob escaped from the young girl’s throat and she flung herself into Ryia’s arms. In response, Ryia dropped the clean sheets onto the ground and held the child close to her.
King Jaqu followed his daughter. It was the first time in a long while that Ryia had seen him, and he looked no less than he had before. His handsome blonde hair was swept back in an almost careless manor, and his sturdy jaw was rigid. He glared at Ryia through glassy blue eyes, similar to Heron’s playful ones. If he had looked at her like that a month or so ago, her heart would have broke with shame, but now she glared back.
“She’s just a young girl, what would she know of life,” he said, more to himself than Ryia.
“She would know enough to know that her father should not be cheating on her mother,” Ryia snapped, running a hand through Fyciah’s soft hair. The King scowled at Ryia. Fyciah just kept sobbing and sobbing into Ryia’s shoulder, seeking comfort in the servant girl’s presence.
“And you, Ryialyn Teriti? What do you know of parents,” King Jaqu growled, taking one dangerous step over another.
Her eyes flashed painfully. “Do not vex me, Jaqu.”
“AND DO NOT VEX ME,” the King roared, wrenching Fyciah from Ryia and slammed his open hand into the servant’s face. Her cheek stung terribly, but Ryia steadied her breathing as not to show weakness. “You can never call me by my name alone, you animal! I am the King! King Jaqu!”
“You are also a tyrant! The tyrant who runs around messing about and brandishing his title like it was honorable,” Ryia spat. “You do not deserve the honor that comes with the title ‘King’. You are Tyrant Jaqu to me!”
“ENOUGH YOU WRETCH. ENOUGH!”
He slammed his fist into the pit of Ryia’s stomach. She heaved and fell to her knees, coughing. While she was on the ground his foot shot out and kicked the side of her face.
“Stop it, Father! Just stop it,” Fyciah cried harder, and yet unable to do anything in her maid’s defense. King Jaqu grabbed a fistful of Ryia’s brown hair and yanked it so that she had to face him. With her neck bent at an awkward angle, Ryia struggled to breathe.
“You wretched cur. You belong on the streets with the rest of your kind,” his breath, reeking of alcohol, burned her face, “call yourself noble? Call yourself brave?” He flung her away from him roughly, shouting, “WORTHLESS. We should have you strung up for your arrogance-”
“Father!” Fyciah stepped in front of Ryia, blocking her from view. “I’ll tell Mother! I’ll tell her you beat Ry again!”
“Again,” the King laughed manically, swaying up to his daughter, “again, little girl?” Suddenly he grabbed her wrists and shoved her into the wall. “Was there a first time,” he whispered angrily into her ear. She bit her lip and screwed her eyes shut, whimpering.
That sealed the deal for Ryia. She jumped to her feet with a strange, new energy, and screamed, “Hands off her, you tyrant!” She chanted string of words rapidly, and King Jaqu dropped to the ground like a puppet whose strings were cut. He moaned and clutched his stomach.
Ryia quickly moved forward and caught Fyciah as she collapsed. She glared at the King.
“Don’t worry, the spell will only effect the alcohol in your stomach. And if you consume alcohol in the next few days you’ll feel even more pain as it enters your body,” she informed the groaning King.
“W-witch,” he managed to say.
“Nope,” Ryia turned, picked up the discarded sheets, and began to walk away with Fyciah and the sheets in her arms, “just magikal.”