Finally I got this out! Happy Thanksgiving to everyone. You might not get another update until I go on Christmas break. Just a heads-up. This chapter is where Iron Outcast mixes with The Lost Prince. How many of you have read it?
"Ethan?" I stopped and turned, sensing his presence. "What are you doing here?"
The Iron Queen's brother hesitated, indecision glinting in his eyes. "Hey, tough guy, relax. It's Harmony and Kierran, no one else," his companion – Kenzie? – reminded him calmly.
"Please. I'm not going to hurt someone I tried so hard to help." I rolled my eyes.
Kierran looked between us. "You didn't brainwash me, did you?"
I smiled sheepishly. "Maybe…" He shook his head, smiling slightly. "Come with us to the Council meeting. I might need you." Ethan nodded, dropping his angry guise. He seemed a lot more comfortable than I would have expected, considering everything. "Be warned. Your sister might not be too happy about you showing up."
"She wasn't too happy about my being in the Deep Wyld when you were still gone for those couple weeks. And then afterward when I ran into Kierran." Ethan shrugged it off. "I don't intend on apologizing anytime soon, either. She didn't tell me about my nephew, or that she's married to the person I hate most."
My instincts started shrieking, and I knew Puck had gotten into trouble with Oberon already. "Damn it," I muttered. "Kenzie, have you ever ridden a tiger before?"
"No, w–?" She yelped when, in tiger form, I slid under her and lifted her onto my back.
Without hesitation, Kierran morphed and Ethan jumped onto his back. "Lead the way," Kierran growled, his voice deeper.
Grimalkin leaped gracefully onto my head; I automatically lashed my tail. "You should know the way," the cait sith remarked, sounding calm at having ticked off one of his wild ancestors. The spirit animal I was closest to snarled, but I only lunged forward and raced for the Council meeting. We arrived shortly, and the two humans slipped off our backs.
"Goodfellow, you are a servant of the Seelie Court!" Oberon's voice boomed. Thunder rumbled overhead. I saw Ethan draw Kenzie close out of the corner of my eye.
Kierran stepped up beside me. "What do you want us to do?"
Covah, I thought, squeezing my eyes shut. This was where I lost you.
"Harmony," the Iron Prince whispered, entwining his fingers with mine. "You don't have to remember those things. They're not going to happen again unless you run away. Puck needs you to fight right now, not dwell in the past."
Reopening my eyes, I gave him a grateful look. "Stay out here for a minute or two. You'll know when I need you." I glared at Grim, who twitched his whiskers.
"Got it." Kierran placed a quick kiss to my forehead. "They won't know what hit them."
Oberon was still yelling at Puck when I sneaked in. Goodfellow just stood there unflinchingly. "Lord Oberon, Puck is no longer a servant of Summer," I stated, stepping from the shadows. My voice held authority, and I felt the presence of my family wreathing around me. The monarchs had no power over me. "He is a member of the Lost Legacy now. He has sworn himself into my service." Just not as a full knight… yet, I added silently to remind myself. That had been his promise to Crystal after all.
"What service? You can be destroyed for all that you have done!" Titania exclaimed. The lights flickered.
I stood my ground. Puck took the few steps to my side. "What exactly have I done, Lady Titania?"
"Murdered countless members of all the courts, for one. Took half-breeds and exiles from their homes. Corrupted Prince Kierran and possibly killed him."
"Those half-breeds and exiles were of no concern of the courts, nor were they under Leanansidhe's protection. They are safe in my home. As for the faeries I have killed, they were tormenting humans and fey alike. Think of it as pest control." I took a deep breath and sent a signal to Grim. "Prince Kierran is alive and well, is he not?"
At that moment, he walked in, flanked by Ethan and Kenzie. "Do I look harmed to you?" he challenged.
"Kierran!" Meghan exclaimed, her eyes wide. "Ethan!"
"The real threat is obliterating the mortal world. Soon it will come after the Nevernever. You thought all this time I was a criminal? I have been saving your sorry asses from invasion up until yesterday. I do not deserve to be charged in any way."
Oberon inclined his head. Vines wrapped around me. "Disrespecting those who are of higher power than you," he said.
"No one is of higher power than me!" Ice shards, broken glass, and embers shot out from my body in all directions, slicing the vines. "Lady Mab, what say you?"
"The Nightshade girl has a point," the Winter Queen replied thoughtfully. "She has done no real harm to our courts."
Meghan's glamour swirled around her in a deadly aura. "Why have you brought my son and my brother here with you?" she demanded.
Aw, the little girl's throwing a tantrum. Poor princess. I glanced over at my companions. Grimalkin and Kenzie hung back. "The Nightshade family has always had three representatives in the Council. One for each court, even when the Iron Court did not exist." I took another deep breath. "Puck and Kierran are a part of the Nightshade Court now."
"I would do anything for Harmony, as well," Ethan chimed in. "As much as I hate to admit it, she has been my best friend my whole life." He fixed his sister with a piercing glare. "Just like Puck has been for you."
"What of the human girl?" Ash interjected calmly. He was probably the only one, besides Mab, who was still collected and a part of this conversation.
Ethan stiffened. Hatred gleamed in his eyes. I sent a flicker of glamour to block it from the others. "She owes Harmony her life, even though Harmony had been generous enough at the time to not take a favor. She has also gained the Sight thanks to the combined efforts of Leanansidhe, Kierran, and Harmony herself."
"I go where Ethan goes," she added defensively.
Mab narrowed her eyes. "Some love is not for weakness, Queen Mab," Glitch reminded her. Even without their prince – princes, actually – the Iron Court still had more members than Summer and Winter. No wonder my family used to be in charge.
"And this new threat?" the Dark Muse inquired. "Are they the ones who attacked?"
I forced myself not to shudder at her question. Only one of their leaders was dead, and he had nearly taken Goodfellow with him. Quite a few faeries were less fortunate. Ethan and Kenzie exchanged a glance and then looked at me. Kierran gave Lea a scowl before turning to me. Trust shone in his blue eyes. Puck's bright emerald irises reflected the leaves of a certain poisonous plant, but only briefly.
Guess this was my story to tell.