“I…” said Freetrick. “I do have objections. And you have to listen to them. I’m the Ultimate Fiend.”
“Pardon me, my lord,” said DeMacabre. “Soon-to-be-Ultimate Fiend. The coronation is scheduled for tomorrow.”
The day after Freetrick’s wedding to this guy’s daughter? Ah ha. “Well, I haven’t…had t-time to see anything yet, I mean—” okay, calm, steady Freetrick, sound like a king and not a terrified college student. As much as he wanted to, Freetrick did not shut his eyes. “I am not yet ready, and there will be no, uh, un-wedding until such time as I am.”
DeMacabre looked like a shark that had just gone off its medications. “My lord, the preparations…” he rasped.
“That is not my concern,” Freetrick cleared his throat and forced his voice down an octave. “My concern is the government of this country, and only once I have made a start on that will I consider, uh, un-marriage? Shall we say…” a quick calculation. What was the longest time he could delay without lethally pissing off DeMacabre? “A week from now?”
“My lord—” The waxy wrinkles of DeMacabre’s face bunched, then smoothed. His smile regained its obsequious gleam, and several molars on both sides. “Of course, my lord. A week. New slaves will have to be prepared, but the un-wedding will be altogether more bitter for the wait, I am sure.”
“Excellent.” The disgusting old man was actually following Freetrick’s orders. “And in the mean time, I look forward to getting to know both you and your daughter better. Mr. Skree, an appointment for supper tomorrow night? Arrange that, will you?”
Freetrick barely had time to register the words before they were out of his mouth, but strike him out if he didn’t sound tyrannical. This was almost fun. Of course his spine was frozen solid and he was a good way toward hyperventilation.
“And for today, I would like breakfast, and then a tour of the castle. Mr. Skree, arrange that. And so, DeMacabre, I bid you good morning.” All right, so maybe Freetrick was a prisoner here in Clouds-Gather. But he was also, it seemed, the head warden.
“…Indeed. In that case, I must beg my lord’s leave.” DeMacabre swept another low bow, which hid his expression from Freetrick. By the time he straightened, the grin was firmly in back place. “I shall go, and send word to my daughter that my lord wishes to speak with her.”
“Uh…” said Freetrick, scrambling frantically for a polite way to say that he did not, in any way, want to speak with Bloodbyrn DeMacabre.
“No no, I insist. For in my long, and, I hope I do not overstep myself by saying so, excessively murderous career, I have found it best to leave the details in cases such as this up, as one says, to the incumbents themselves. I shall therefore leave the Soon-to-be Ultimate Fiend to discuss the matter of his un-marriage further…” the Duke’s orange eyes glittered as if lit from within. “…with Bloodbyrn.”