Ruy is the dragon in charge of the palace, and he takes his job seriously. When the queen announces she’ll welcome a human delegation to sign an alliance and assigns one of the new clan humans to help him, he knows the human will only complicate his life.
Christian does, but not in the way that Ruy expected.
Christian recently moved to the palace, and he’s not sure of his place with the clan yet. When he’s offered the job of prepping the palace and organizing the stay of the human delegation, he’s happy to help, even though it means he has to work with a prickly orange dragon whose expressions he can’t read.
But maybe Ruy isn’t that prickly after all, and maybe Christian isn’t that much of a complication.
Not everyone is happy about the alliance, though, and when someone poisons the leader of the human delegation, the Ogorth clan finds itself in danger again.
“Oh, and can we get more of that cereal? Blue loves it,” the queen asked.
Ruy gave a small bow toward the queen and made a note on his tablet. “That shouldn’t be a problem,” he said smoothly.
She smiled at him. “I don’t know what I’d do without you.”
Ruy knew what she’d do without him. She’d be lost, like most of the people at the palace. It wasn’t arrogant of him to believe that because it was the truth. He was in charge of the palace, and his job was to make sure it ran without hitches—and he was quite good at it. Still, he couldn’t exactly say that to the queen’s face. “I’m sure you’d find someone else to do the job.”
The queen smiled. “Possibly, but would that someone be as good as you?”
“I’m sure they’d try their best.”
The queen laughed. It was good to hear her like this. It made her look younger, and she sorely deserved to have some fun and smile after everything she’d gone through lately. She might be the queen, but that didn’t mean she wasn’t human.
In fact, both she and Ruy were in their human form at the moment.
It made Ruy slightly uneasy, even though he understood the reason behind it. Everyone at the palace needed to get used to being in their human form to make life easier for their new human clan members. It was odd after so many years of being mainly in their dragon forms, but it was also good in some ways. Ruy had forgotten how different things were when he was in his human form, and not just in a bad way. It felt nice to have more space to move and to be able to use his tablet without fear of ruining it.
A knock on the throne room door made both of them turn. It wasn’t cause for concern, but it probably meant that their meeting was coming to an end.
“That will be Caven,” the queen said.
Ruy stiffened. He didn’t like the queen’s cousin and doubted many people in the palace did. He’d been an asshole for a long time and betrayed the queen. Why she’d given him a second chance and had appointed him one of her advisors was anyone’s guess, although Ruy wondered if there was something about the saying to keep your friends close but your enemies even closer. Maybe that was what the queen was doing. Maybe she wanted to keep an eye on Caven and make sure he didn’t try anything like he had before. He’d come close to betraying the clan, and he was lucky that instead of locking him up for the rest of his life after he escaped, his cousin had taken pity on him and offered him a place by her side.
That probably had a lot to do with the fact that Caven had recently laid an egg and had taken a human partner. Everyone had been stunned, although not as stunned as Caven’s parents.
Good. Those two were assholes, just like Caven had been. They’d raised him, after all.
The door opened, and a guard peeked in. He bowed to the queen, then straightened and looked at her. “Caven is here.”
The queen waved to let him in. “We have a meeting. Thank you.”
The guard bowed again, then stepped aside to let Caven in.
Like always, Caven strode into the room as if he belonged. In a way, Ruy supposed he did, although he didn’t like it. Caven shouldn’t be anywhere near the throne. He’d been plotting to take it from the queen for too long, and Ruy didn’t understand how she could trust her cousin. After everything he’d done, how could she work with him and believe he wasn’t trying to take her place anymore? Did she really think that taking a human partner had changed him that much?
“Ruy,” Caven murmured when he reached them.
Ruy forced himself to nod back. No matter how much he disliked Caven, he was still the queen’s cousin. Ruy owed him at least a semblance of respect, no matter how he felt about him.
“Did we have anything else to discuss?” the queen asked Ruy.
“I don’t believe so, your Majesty. But as always, if you think of anything, I’m only a tablet away.”
She smiled and nodded. “Thank you.”
That was a dismissal if Ruy had ever heard one. He bowed to the queen again, then to Caven, and turned to head for the door. He could hear the two talking and was curious, but he couldn’t stay. It wasn’t his place, and whatever they had to discuss was probably a secret. Caven advised his cousin now, and considering how long he’d been trying to take the throne, he had eyes and ears everywhere. He knew people and things Ruy could only ever dream of knowing, which was probably why the queen had decided to make him one of her advisors. She needed to know who her enemies and allies were, and Caven was her best bet when it came to that. That had to be why she’d allowed him closer. She needed his help to protect the clan and wanted to keep an eye on him.
And Ruy could respect that.
He left the throne room, closing the door behind himself. His assistant had been waiting for him there, probably chatting with the guards if the flush on his cheeks was an indication of anything. Ruy almost rolled his eyes, but it didn’t matter. Yorick was a good assistant, and Ruy didn’t need his attention twenty-four-seven.
Ruy strode down the hallway, and Yorick quickly followed him. He already had his tablet in hand, ready to take notes about whatever Ruy and the queen had discussed. That meeting had been just for them, but Ruy would need Yorick’s help to implement things.