The sound of swords unsheathing made Devin weak at the knees. Death hovered behind the pillars, waiting for the moment she would try to run. Meanwhile, sin stood before her. A picture of immorality and decadence: the Queen of Knives. The daggers that hovered around her body shone with cold intent.
“Remind me why I shouldn’t have you executed on the spot.” The self-appointed monarch lounged on her throne.
“Because I want to help you.” Devin trembled.
“How can you possibly help me?”
“Because I can work for you. King Tobias trusts me. I can be- be your spy.”
The queen narrowed her eyes and hissed. The idea seemed to have got her attention, though not necessarily in a good way. She stood with a swish of her red gown and the sewn on jewles clicked together. Then the click of her heels approaching, the knives moving alongside.
“King! Tobias is no King to me!” She raised her voice, “He’s a heretic. He claims God appointed him. But my bloodline means I am the rightful ruler! No God shall have power in my lands.”
“Oh… yes, my lady.” Devin squeaked, looking more at the floor than the woman in hopes to avoid throwing up.
“And who’s to say you’re not trying to be his spy on me?”
“I’m not loyal to him anymore. He doesn’t appreciate me. Doesn’t think to credit all the work I did to get him where he is. He doesn’t even see me when I’m in the room with all the other nobles. He’s just absorbed in himself and his wealth-”
“Nobles?” she snorted, “They’re all bastards. But he’s still infatuated with them because he’s below even the lineage of bastards. He’s just a peasant playing with shiny stones and soon his people will hate him for the poverty his spending will bring.
Devin ached. The queen’s dress cost more than the King’s whole wardrobe when it came to spending. She had barely ever seen the world beyond her palace walls whereas the King had lived the struggles of the common folk. Tobias had taken the throne with intent nobler than any pure bloodline. And yet. Times had changed. He forgot her. And the queen didn’t forget her. The queen remembered her enough to want her dead.
“You saw me, my lady. You looked me in the eye as you aimed carefully at my face. I’d be dead if not for the shield. And that’s more than Tobias has thought of me for months even as I risked my life for him and his cause.”
“You could be lying.”
There wasn’t much Devin could think to say to convince the queen. She knelt down, partly because she couldn’t hold herself up any more. “I risked my life coming here, your majesty. I’m at your mercy. It would be foolish for me to come here for a lie. But then I am a fool, and you a queen.”
An extended period of silence followed. Devin, looking at the floor, was too paralysed to move at first. She waited for the swing of a sword to cleave away her head or the stab of a knife to split over her spine. Neither happened. Nothing happened. She tried to remember how to breathe and slowly, slowly raised her head.
The queen was smiling down at her. It was a nasty smile. The eyes danced with horrible mirth. The corners of the mouth stretched wide. There was something so twisted about her perfect, symmetrical features. Devin froze as the queen’s hand came to softly caress her face, the nails trailing over her cheek so gently she could have imagined it.
“Devin.” The queen crooned, “If you are to go home to Tobias as my spy, then you’ll need a convincing story as to what happened while you were here. A story, shall we say, like torture.” Her smile widened, “A story of painful interrogations that last days. Conducted personally by the Queen of Knives.”
The hand on Devin’s face slid down to encase the throat. Squeezing, a lack of air made terror mix with delusion. Death no longer waited behind the pillars. Instead, something much worse loomed. A layer of unreality settled like clingfilm on Devin’s eyes and all she could see was shades of red.
Inspired by this ↓ song as well as surving the comments section of “villain” playlists.