AN: Enjoy this chapter! Happy Reading!

Chapter 16

SPOV

I sit beside my grandfather, a small frown upon my face as I poke disinterestedly at my plate, hating every minute of this supposed celebration. Between awkward, yearning glances ceaselessly cast my way and the over the top male posturing, I find myself half tempted to stab my own fork in my eye in a desperate attempt at an emergency escape. God, help me, this is fucking excruciating.

My listless gaze falls upon my vampires and as hypnotizing emerald and steely cobalt orbs come into view, I instantly feel at least marginally better. They send me dual smiles as I can't help but wonder just how bored they must be, unable even to indulge in the sprawling buffet selections. I wonder, just how long do I have to stick around before I'll be missed?

"Princess?" a low, gravelly voice breaks me from my thoughts before I gaze up to catch sight of lovely, lavender eyes. "Would you care to dance?" Quinn the weretiger asks, a rather cocky grin gracing his tanned face.

"Um," I answer back, admittedly inarticulately before catching my grandfather's expectant gaze. Shit. I guess I should have known this was coming. "Yeah, alright," I answer, trying my best to hide the disinterest from my voice as I allow the infamous Pit fighter to lead me away from the table.

"I take it these grand affairs are not exactly to your liking," Quinn remarks, lifting a brow at me to receive a dismissive shrug in turn.

"Is it really that obvious?" I remark lightheartedly, taking hold of his massive palm as his other falls casually to my hip.

"You're certainly nothing like I'd assumed a faery princess to be," he answers back, an amused smirk pulling up the corner of his lips. "Not that that's necessarily a bad thing," he adds with a wink to leave me grinning at him as we fall in step with the minstrels' soft melody.

"I'd certainly hope not," I answer back with an easy smile. "So tell me, Quinn, what about this tournament called to a notorious fighter such as yourself?" I question in a nonchalant voice whilst lowering my mental shields, deciding that if I have to go along with spending time with the selected competitors, I may as well take full advantage of finding out their true motivations.

"The lure of a good fight is always more than enough to draw my attention, Princess," he answers back easily enough, but I quickly deduce his thoughts are not in line with his words. He goes on to talk about his more impressive fights and my frown deepens as I finally decipher his true intentions for entering the tournament. Son of a bitch.

It would seem the notorious weretiger is under direct orders of the Vampire King of Nevada, Felipe de Castro, who is apparently interested in gaining a telepath for his personal retinue. Apparently, the plan is for Quinn to win me before transporting me back to Nevada in order to fill said position. The king made a rather grave mistake though; in thinking I would be unable to read the mind of a shifter. Thank God for that. I let out a defeated sigh, wondering if my vampires are the only competitors here with no ulterior motives.

"Mind if I cut in here?" a male voice soon sounds to startle me from my rather disturbing thoughts. I send Quinn a weak smile before turning to catch sight of familiar gold speckled, chocolate eyes. "Princess, may I?"

"Like you have to ask, Preston," I answer back, sending my friend a genuine smile before taking his offered hand into my own.

"I'm sorry," the two of us remark in unison before falling into soft laughter together.

"You first," I tell him, earning a light nod as clear hurt shines behind those warm eyes of his.

"I lost my temper earlier and well, it was not my place to judge who you chose to give your heart to," he admits, his soft voice laced with obvious shame and if I'm not mistaken, just a hint of regret. "I had assumed the vampires' intentions to be wholly selfish and now see that I was perhaps too quick in my judgments of them," he admits, causing my eyes to widen in mild shock.

"You mean to tell me you approve of my choice?" I question incredulously, seeing a soft smile form over his face as he continues to lead me over the makeshift dance floor.

"I'll admit my earlier actions were brash, and perhaps more than a bit selfish on my part, but upon further speculation, I've come to realize I was wrong. It's obvious you care greatly for both the Northman and his Maker and after watching the Gaul's fight tonight, well, I was left having to admit my judgments of them had been grossly inaccurate," he explains before I pull him tightly into my embrace, a fond smile finding its way to my face.

"Thank you, Preston, you have no idea just how much your blessing means to me," I inform him, suddenly feeling as though a heavy burden has been lifted from my shoulders. Preston pulls away with a bright smile before the next competitor is lightly tapping his shoulder. I send him a wave before falling in step with a rather kindly Fire Fae.

The dances proceed and I'm only thankful for the fact that many of the competitors are fully blooded fae, because although I cannot read their carefully shielded thoughts to gain perspective upon their intentions, I at least get a chance to rest my slowly straining mind. Man, what I wouldn't give for a drink right about now, a really fucking strong one.

I send a light nod to a rather stoic werewolf with thankfully amiable intentions for entering this tournament before taking hold of the next suitor's hand. Thank God, another fae. I let out a small sigh, fighting the urge to rub my sore temples before catching sight of icy blue eyes. Oh, fuck my life.

"Princess," Breandan greets, a smug grin forming over his face. From the corner of my eye, I see both my vampires abruptly raise, angry scowls upon their faces and I automatically tense, knowing nothing good is apt to come of this situation.

"Breandan," I greet somewhat warily, noting in my peripheral the subtle approach of the royal guards, Preston of course leading the pack.

"So much distrust," he tsks, shaking his head at the guards whilst guiding me through an overstated flourish. I then find myself abruptly bent backwards, my eyes widened in fear as Breandan's cold stare burrows deeply into my own.

GPOV

"Fucking asshole," Eric grits out, taking a step toward our Sookie. I let out a small sigh, reaching out to place a calming hand upon his shoulder and am left having to raise a challenging brow at the sight of his descended fangs. "She's in danger, our love, our woman!" he hisses out irately.

"Our Sookie is more than capable of handling herself, my child," I answer back coolly, watching as he fights to dampen that notorious, Viking anger of his. "We must proceed with caution," I remind him, sending him waves of calm through the bond. "To break the tournament rules could prove damning to our love."

"Yes, Master, of course," he answers back lowly, dropping his head in a show of respect. The two of us then proceed cautiously, catching Sookie's anxious gaze as her enemy proceeds to twirl her expertly over the grassy expanse.

"If we may?" I question Breandan coolly, finding it much more difficult than I might care to admit to keep my voice even before seeing said fae turn to meet our dual, hard stares.

"Ah, the infamous vampires," Breandan remarks, an amused smirk playing upon his lips. "Tell me, Princess, do tell me you intend on spreading those luscious thighs of yours for the rest of us as well? It would truly be a shame to know only cadavers were granted unlimited access," he practically purrs and I have but a moment to act in order to evade impending disaster.

In a flash, I have both Sookie and Eric held in my embrace, both blondes' faces contorted in pure hatred as the leader of the Water Fae's malicious laughter raises up around us. Niall's guards are quick to step in then and I grant them grateful nods as they secure Sookie into their combined hold before turning to hit Breandan with an icy stare of my own.

"This fight will be settled in the ring and I must suggest you bite your tongue as such transgressions are not likely to be soon forgotten," I direct at Breandan, who's smug smile leaves me clenching my fists in ire wishing, not for the first time, that these binding rules were not standing in my way.

"I hope you do remember, vampire, and you as well, Princess; I hope you all remember every single harsh accusation, every single slight," he spits out, a hateful glare shining behind icy cold eyes. "For at the end of the tournament, there will be but one victor; and that shall be me. And when I win, when I take your precious little hybrid from you, the memory of my words will serve only to deepen the ache of your loss, of your ultimate defeat."

"Fuck you!" Sookie cries out, pulling harshly at the binding hands currently holding her in place. "I'll kill you! You hear me, Breandan? I'll fucking kill you and you'd better believe I'll do it with fucking smile on my face!" she cries out as I feel her bubbling anger welling between the three of us.

"Hush now, Princess, the men are talking," Breandan remarks offhandedly, waving a dismissive hand towards my love. I'm suddenly left clenching my chest, my brow furrowing in confusion as the slight bond we now share with Sookie seems to almost ignite, suddenly seeming to burst to life within me. What is this!?

White light suddenly explodes to send bodies flying in every direction and on instinct; I fall protectively over my child in order to shield him from attack. A pained hiss escapes me, feeling a scorching heat ripping harshly over my back, burning my highly susceptible flesh and I glance down to catch Eric's terrified gaze just before an unnatural silence falls over the collected group.

"Godric," Eric gasps, reaching up to gently cup my face. "Are you alright?" he questions, earning a pained nod from me that leaves me hissing in agony once more as the small movement proves to send sharp pains shooting through my every nerve ending.

Carefully, gently, my child helps me to my feet once more and I fall heavily against him, letting him hold me upright before we're left looking over the disarray, the both of us trying to make sense of the odd scene before us.

Breandan is standing stock still, clear shock engraved over his face as he stands mere feet away from Sookie who is standing solely amongst the now grounded fae guards whose pained grunts signal their apparent, injured states. What, in the name of the gods, happened here?

"Dear one?" I question rather hoarsely, gaining my obviously shaken fae's attention as she begins to visibly tremor before us.

"This-, this isn't possible," her shaky voice whispers, her face falling to her trembling hands in puzzlement. "I can't, I just can't," she continues, not making any sense at all as she raises her now watery gaze towards Eric and I once more.

"Lover, did you do this?" Eric questions then, making my eyes widen in realization as I see Sookie's golden head nodding shakily in affirmation. For the love of the gods, how is this even possible?

"Well now, this is certainly interesting," Breandan then remarks, gaining our attention just in time to see a gleeful smile stretch over his face. "Very, very interesting. Breaking you should prove so much more entertaining than I'd originally anticipated, Princess," he remarks amusedly just before a loud pop signals his abrupt disappearance.

A pained grunt escapes me, my every vein seeming to be flowing with liquid fire and I'm left falling more heavily against my child. Eric catches me easily, a wary glint shining behind his eyes before we're joined by our love.

"Oh, God, did I do this?" Sookie gasps out as I feel her mixing pain and guilt welling between us. "Godric, I'm so sorry," I hear her whisper as slender, trembling fingers trail cautiously over my cheek.

"Fret not, dear one," I beseech of her, catching her watery gaze. "It was clearly unintentional and I have healed much, much worse in my time," I reassure her, earning me a fervent nod as she seems to be fighting back her tears.

"Granddaughter," Niall's voice sounds out beside us then to leave me craning my neck at a rather painful angle in order to catch sight of the prince, seeing him reach up to gently cup Sookie's face into his palms. "I believe the four of us have much to discuss," he states determinedly, glancing between the three of us. His hands are then placed firmly upon us before he proceeds to pop us abruptly away.

AN: Whoops! Made a couple boo boos this chapter...fixed now, thanks to you guys catching them! So thank you!

****Breandan NOT Preston ignited Sook's anger with the offhanded, dismissive comment and Niall needs to talk not only to the vamps, but with Sookie as well about what happened...So sorry about that! Hope I got things cleared up a bit!****