Eric had to restrain himself from ripping the door of the plane as it landed in Oklahoma. The knowledge that Sookie had been in Freyda’s possession caused his heart to clench. There was no telling what the queen had done to her. Eric swore if Freyda had hurt Sookie in any way he would kill her. He didn’t care what it meant for him, he would make Freyda pay.
“Eric calm down,” Pam said, moving closer to him as she waited for the plane to come to a stop. She didn’t care how many rules they were breaking by being out of their seats during landing. There wasn’t anyone to see them anyway, seeing how Eric had glamoured the over friendly air stewardess to stay away from them just because she’d offered him a blood and a blowjob. That was something Pam wasn’t happy about. She’d wanted to have a taste of the perky brunette.
“Don’t tell me to calm down, Pam,” Eric growled refusing to wait any longer, he pulled the handle on the airplane door and popped it open. Jumping out the plane, Eric took to the sky, pushing himself harder than he ever had before as he headed to Freyda’s palace. As he flew, he couldn’t stop himself from remembering the last time Sookie had been kidnapped when he had sworn to protect her. He still remembered the horror he felt when he heard Neave and Lochlan had taken her. He remembered her pain and how powerless he was to help her due to Victor Madden’s interference. Eric swore he wouldn’t fail her again. He would take Freyda’s head and damn the consequences.
It felt like hours, but in reality were only minutes later when he saw Freyda’s palace come into view. Slowing his speed, he lowered himself to the ground, landing with a loud ‘thud’ alerting everyone to his presences. He paid little attention to the guards as he moved towards the front door. Pushing it open, Eric strode inside as was surprised to see complete pandemonium. Vampires and humans were all running around like headless chickens, none of them seem to know what they should be doing. Eric wasn’t sure what to expect when he arrived, but this definitely wasn’t it.
“Oh your majesty,” he heard someone call. Turning his head to look for who had spoken. He vaguely recognized her as someone he had fucked during one of his previous visits. “It’s terrible.”
“What is?” Eric growled impatiently.
“The Queen’s dead,” she cried as she moved closer to him.
“What?” Eric asked, shocked that was the last thing he expected to hear.
“The Queen’s been killed,” she said with tears streaming down her cheeks. She threw herself at Eric her arms going round his waist as she cried into his chest. “It’s just awful.” She ran her hands up his back as she pressed her breasts into his chest. “I’m so sorry. If there is anything I can do your majesty all you have to do is ask. I will be more than willing.”
Shoving her away, Eric stared at her in disgust, as the scent of her arousal filled his nose. He couldn’t believe she had actually offered herself to him seconds after telling him Freyda was dead. It may have been well known he hated Freyda, but most people would have had enough shame not to offer sex as quickly as she had.
“The only thing I want from you is for you to get out of my sight,” Eric spat making her whimper.
After dismissing the blood whore, Eric stalked through the palace towards Freyda’s chambers; the sight that greeted him as he entered the room was shocking but not unwelcome. Seeing one of Freyda’s guards, Eric crossed the room to her.
“The Queen’s dead,” she replied.
“I see that,” Eric said, staring at the blood stained bed. He ran his eyes over the bed, noticing the broken bedpost; he fought to keep a smirk off his face at the bloody bedding knowing that’s where Freyda met her end. He flicked his eyes over the rest of the room, and he raised an eyebrow at the second bloody mess by the door. He wondered briefly how he had missed it when he came in before shaking it off. “Who’s that?” he asked, pointing to the bloody stain.
“Marietta,” the guard answered.
Eric barely kept the shock off his face at hearing both the Queen and her child had been killed. He couldn’t help but wonder what had happened and where the hell was Sookie. “What happened, Shannon?”
“It’s unclear your majesty,” Shannon replied. “The Queen has… had been extremely secretive of late. She had been ignoring her duties and staying in her chambers. She rarely ventured out, having us bring donors to her. She had been waiting Marietta’s return anxiously…”
“Marietta had been away?” Eric asked, cutting her off.
“Yes, she left five nights ago. The Queen sent her on a mission; none of us knew what though.”
Eric quickly realized where Freyda had sent Marietta; she had sent her after Sookie. As he looked at the stain that used to be Marietta, Eric thought she was lucky she was dead because he would have made her suffer for the part she played in Sookie’s kidnapping. Although that might have been Freyda’s plan, he thought. He wouldn’t have put it past her to sacrifice her child in such a way.
“When did she return?” Eric asked.
“Today,” Shannon answered. “She returned sometime this afternoon while we were all dead for the day. Her travel coffin was dropped off by Anubis Air.”
“What is known of what happened here tonight?” Eric asked, wanting to know if anyone else knew where Sookie was or what had happened to her. He still couldn’t feel her through the bond, and he was starting to think the worst.
“Not a lot I’m afraid your majesty,” Shannon replied. “The Queen demanded a donor as soon as she rose and one was brought to her, at which point she ordered everyone to stay away from her chambers for the rest of the evening.”
“Who found her?”
“I did about ninety minutes ago.”
“If you were ordered to stay away, why did you approach her?” Eric asked.
“I was concerned,” Shannon explained. “I was told that Marietta had suddenly sped through the palace heading towards the Queen’s chambers. I was told she was feeding on a donor at the time, which in itself is curious. She didn’t heal the donors bite marks; she just jumped up and sped off.”
“Why did you find Marietta feeding off a donor curious?”
“The Queen forbade her from being with them in any way as punishment for something that happened last year.”
Eric couldn’t hold back the smirk as he realized what she was talking about. Freyda had punished her for fucking him. But, if Marietta had been with a donor that meant Freyda had lifted the punishment, probably in reward for finding Sookie, Eric deduced; but it seemed like no one else knew that. Had Freyda really kept her search for Sookie a secret from her own people? He knew from his spy that she was keeping it close to the chest, but were Marietta and the Weres who took Sookie the only ones who knew? If they were, it would be convenient if no one else would know of Sookie’s kidnapping, but that didn’t answer the question of where Sookie was.
“So Freyda met the true death; Marietta was feeding on a donor, and then she too met the true death,” Eric summarized deliberately making it sound like Freyda died first. If he could push the spotlight on Marietta and away from Sookie, he would. He didn’t want anyone knowing about them kidnapping her unless he couldn’t avoid it.
“You think Marietta killed the Queen?” Shannon asked, unable to hide her shock.
“Is it one possibility,” Eric replied.
“But that’s not possible, Marietta wouldn’t ever hurt…” Shannon trailed off as she thought about it. She started to wonder if Marietta would be capable of it. After all, it was only a year ago that the Queen had caught Marietta fucking Eric in the Queen’s own bed. Freyda had punished Marietta severely for it. Shannon herself had been present in the throne room numerous times over the last year and witnessed Marietta crawl on her hands and knees across the room before performing oral sex on the Queen. Shannon had known how humiliated Marietta felt; she could see it on her face every time, and it had only gotten worse.
Around two months ago, the Queen had been in a particularly cruel mood, and on that night she had commanded Marietta to perform oral sex on others in the room as well. There had been around thirty people, vampires and humans, and she had forced Marietta to service them all. She had tethered her child to her side, making her kneel by her feet like a pet, and every time someone entered the room she offered them Marietta’s mouth. Shannon remembered the look of hatred on Marietta’s face every time Freyda offered her to someone else. By the time Freyda had finished holding court, Marietta had been covered in cum and Freyda had refused to allow her to clean herself. As she thought about it, she wondered, had Freyda pushed Marietta too far? Had Marietta killed her maker and Queen?
Eric watched as Shannon carefully put everything together, he needed her to be the one to put the theory of Marietta killing Freyda forward. He needed to distance himself from it even though he had an alibi, and there was no way they could pin it on him. When Freyda’s remains were discovered he was halfway over the Atlantic Ocean, but he had to divert attention away from Freyda sending Marietta on a mission. He couldn’t risk them linking it to Sookie in anyway, for her safety and his own. If they discovered Freyda’s was looking for Sookie, it wouldn’t take them long to try and lay the blame on him, and him being thousands of miles away wouldn’t stop them. Everyone knew he hated Freyda. They wouldn’t believe any investigation he may lead into her death, but if one of her own guards voiced the opinion that her own child killed her, it would go a long way in convincing other people.
As he eyed her, Eric couldn’t help but compare her to his own guards. He could say with almost certainty that none of his guards would be as free with information as she was being. They would have closed ranks and said nothing, regardless of who was asking. They would have treated everyone with suspicion and interrogated everyone and not offered an explanation. As one of the Queen’s personal guards, Shannon should have at least asked him where he was at the time of the Queen’s believed death. Even as a King and especially knowing how much he despised Freyda, he should have been the number one suspect. Shannon knew of his deep-seated hatred for Freyda having been seduced by him six years earlier. Eric always wondered why Freyda kept her as one of her guards, knowing that he had fucked her. But then he thought, if Freyda replaced every woman in the palace he had fucked she would have had to replace practically all of them. Was Shannon telling him everything due to their past encounter, an encounter that meant nothing to him? If that was the case he would certainly use it to his advantage.
“But if Marietta killed the Queen,” Shannon said finally. “Who killed Marietta?”
“There was no one else in the room?” Eric questioned. “What about the donor Freyda requested earlier?”
“She claims she was dismissed when Marietta arrived to see the Queen.”
“The donor claims Marietta was the last to see Freyda alive?”
“Yes, she said…” Shannon paused the more she thought about it the more she was convinced Marietta had killed the Queen. There was no other explanation. No one other than Marietta and the donor had seen the Queen, and there was no way the donor could have done it. They would have been able to smell Freyda’s blood on her, but Marietta could have done it, and Shannon believed she had. Although how she ended up meeting the final death wasn’t clear, unless, had Marietta killed herself? Or had Freyda managed to issue one final command? Had she commanded her child to kill herself? Shannon wasn’t sure and she didn’t think she ever would be. She would put her theory to the council and it would be up to them to decide whether to investigate or not.
Turning her attention back to Eric, she smiled coyly, “Will you be taking over the rule of Oklahoma now your majesty?”
“That will be for the council to decide,” Eric replied. He had no desire to rule the state. In fact, he would be happy to never step foot in it again.
“I’m sure the council will see the wisdom of gifting you with the state,” Shannon said as she ran her eyes over him. “And if they do, I will do everything I can the transition of power go as smoothly as possible.”
Eric didn’t bother to reply as he spun on his heels.
“You’re leaving your majesty?” Shannon said.
“There is no reason for me to stay any longer,” Eric replied. “My reason for being here tonight is a puddle on the bed. I will be returning to Louisiana.”
“Can I get you a donor before you leave?” Shannon asked, trying to prolong his stay.
“No,” Eric barked as he stalked out the room. Stopping just out of view, Eric took a deep breath scenting the air, trying to find a trace of Sookie, but there were too many scents overlaying each other making it near impossible for him to pick up a single scent.
Where are you, Lover? Eric thought as he headed out the palace. Once he was clear he took to the sky again heading back to the private airstrip where his plane was waiting.
It was barely five minutes when Eric landed on the tarmac by the plane; he had no intention of leaving Oklahoma until he had found Sookie, but he needed to make it look like he was. Entering the plane, Eric growled to not find Pam waiting for him. He could feel she was close by, and by the amount of lust he was feeling from her, he assumed she was with the air stewardess. Eric swore if she was getting a feed and fuck while she knew Sookie was missing, he would punish her.
Stepping into the back of the plane, Eric froze, unable to believe his eyes. A blood-spattered Sookie was sitting on one of the seats.
“Happy anniversary, Eric,” she greeted. “Your wife’s dead.”