Miss Hell plastered a smile on her face despite her rigid posture. While Bloodvein was wearing his normal sneering mask and making thoughtless comments, his hand drummed nervously on the table.
He should be scared. It was his fault they were sitting here now.
“We have made some progress,” she explained, now that The Sage of Untamed Magic had finished their massage. “Vladislaus made war against the witches to such a degree that they cursed him. They look to the Sages for guidance even more now.”
“It’s Simeon who prefers the simpering adoration of witches, not I,” Morgyn purred. “I do not reward failure, I punish it.” He let a curl of magic roll off his finger tips. Jimena yelped, leaning back in her chair.
“Now, now, Bloodvein, if your pets aren’t housetrained, they shall simply have to wait outside,” Morgyn giggled, eyes gleaming with malice. “Although training them could be quite fun!”
The Sage of Untamed Magic’s definition of fun was not one that would make any creature happy. Even Miss Hell, who still enjoyed consuming her meal while the heart was beating, understood the difference between fun and bloodlust.
“I believe we made a small error in judgement,” she replied, careful to maintain a mask of good-nature. It did not calm the situation.
“An error in judgement?” Morgyn seethed, his emphasis on each word sending a tidal wave of fear crashing through her. She knew better than to let the Sage of Untamed Magic know she was riled, but she had to steel herself not to respond.
He took a breath. His conversational tone returned, but the air was different. Tense. “An error would be showing up with Vladislaus a few hours late. Instead, you have not shown up with him at all, despite your promises and platitudes. Add to that, your incomprehensible actions of yesterday. Killing a contestant so early in the game?”
“Oh that’s a simple matter, that,” Bloodvein sneered with a wave of his hand. “They’ll be up and running in a few days’ time and we’ll get back to our work.”
Miss Hell closed her eyes briefly and took a deep breath. “I believe what my love is trying to say is—”
“A simple matter?” Morgyn repeated, leaping to their feet. Everyone followed suit, the tension breaking into something wild and dangerous. Miss Hell braced herself for the pain she knew was coming. It was Morgyn’s way. You didn’t hurt your enemy, you hurt the thing your enemy valued and as far as the Sages of the Realm were concerned, Bloodvein valued his lover: Miss Hell.
Morgyn was fast, casting a beam of light that hit Jimena square in the chest.
She erupted into a myriad of sparks before settling back down on the floor as a stuffed teddy bear holding a heart. Bloodvein yelped, baring his fangs before drawing them back in again. He was riled but cowed into submission.
Miss Hell couldn’t hold back the gasp that fell from her mouth. Stupid. That’s what she was. Stupid! She was better trained than this! You never let a client put their affections elsewhere, not because you were jealous but because then you lost control. If she were back in Magnolia Promenade, Madame Caliente would have had her head.
But you’re not back there. You will never go back there.
When she could command her limbs to move again, she sauntered across the room, following Morgyn to the closet.
“Our deepest apologies,” she nodded, pleased to note that there was no waver in her voice. “We can clean this up and handle the matter with Vladislaus discreetly. Perhaps if we knew more about Vladislaus is and how he can help you—”
“You know all you need to know,” Morgyn said calmly, staring at the row of suits. “The time for discreet is over, Anastasia. Go big or go home.”
They waved a hand and there was an audible click as the door unlocked. “Take your little stuffed animal and get out of my sight.”
“I…but what would you have us do?”
Morgyn ignored her, focusing their attention on closet, running a hand over the fabric of the suits. “Yes, the blue silk will do nicely, I think.”
The message was clear. She was dismissed and in her least favorite position: being at someone else’s mercy with no leverage to speak of.