Chapter 29: Battle Royale

A/N:

Oh no she didn’t! Oh yes, I did! If you remember way back to those first few chapters, Sookie did say she would kill to protect her family and to protect what’s hers, so she will kill Franklin if she finds the opportunity.

So, who didn’t think they’d be seeing an update today? I know, it’s much later than I normally post. I started feeling sick late last night and I didn’t even wake up until 7 pm tonight, but I finished up my chapter and edited it as quickly as I could. I can’t promise you’ll get an update every day, but I do promise to try.

Sookie, Godric, and Russell are about to have a sit-down and duke it out with words. Next chapter things will pick up the pace again and Sookie will strap on her spy gear.

Anyone wonder what Russell’s goal was when he killed off the Magister and married Sophie-Anne? True Blood never really went in and explained why he killed the Magister, so we’re about to learn what Russell was attempting to accomplish with his takeover and why he didn’t give a shit about the Magister’s death. Dun, dun, dunnn…

Disclaimer: Charlaine Harris, HBO, and Alan Ball own True Blood and SVM. I own nothing. I just unraveled their plots and weaved my own blanket. Now I use it when I snuggle up with the Viking by the fire.


While my bloodline did it’s best to patch me up like ringside trainers at a boxing match, Talbot showed off his wealth and taste. In doing so, he gave me a detailed map of everywhere I needed to go the next day, including Russell’s personal study. I made mental notes of all the electronic devices in the rooms as we walked and kept an eye out for video cameras. Luckily, I hadn’t seen any cameras after we entered. I guess Russell figured only an idiot would attempt something in the house of a 3,000 year old vampire.

Maybe I’d get it tattooed on my face later.

I’m sure doing that would be less idiotic.

When we entered the trophy room, and honestly it was truly a trophy room since Russell was just a 3,000 year old serial killer, a deep sense of foreboding swelled within me. Anxiety and unease swept across my connections and they flooded me with curiosity and alarm, asking me if everything was okay. I sent them all a push of reassurance telling them not to worry, but my ties were still thick and heavy with apprehension while Talbot showed me around the room and pointed out all their nifty little antiques. It suddenly all made sense when Talbot brought me to the display case and pulled out a scroll of vampire erotica he wanted to show me. I caught sight of the Viking crown Russell stole from Eric’s father, which was sitting on display inside, at the same time the camera did and Eric’s white, hot fury smacked into me violently, making me growl and drop my fangs.

Oh shit.

Talbot froze and looked up at me in surprise, not quite believing a month old baby vampire dared to drop her fangs unprovoked in the presence of one who was 700 years old, and asked me in a bewildered tone, “Sookie?”

All of my ties pulsed with worry, anxiety, panic, and concern when they realized I had just dropped fang aggressively in front of the king’s consort because of Eric’s rage. Thankfully, Eric was desperately working to rein in his anger with the help of Pam and Godric, who were frantically reaching into their bonds and absorbing the emotion. With that help, I was able to retract my fangs.

How the hell was I supposed to explain myself now?

Thinking on my feet, I threw Talbot for a loop when I randomly started laughing with delight. Very slowly, to show him I wasn’t a threat, I reached out and took the scroll from him, glanced down, and lied my ass off when I sheepishly admitted, “I’m so sorry, Talbot. I’m still a newborn and I just couldn’t control all my urges when I imagined usin’ this with a certain Viking.”

Mirth went off like an atomic bomb when everyone heard my excuse, making me laugh so hard I leaked a blood tear. Eric’s rage promptly disappeared as his amusement, glee, and lust skyrocketed and he pushed me friskiness laced with mischief. I smacked the back of his head harder than I ever had before as Talbot’s eyebrows shot to the ceiling and he joined me in laughter.

Really, Sookie?” he purred. “It’s true then? The Viking’s a good lover?”

I guess I backed myself into a corner with that one. Well, technically, Eric backed me into the corner.

I would’ve preferred it much more if this particular corner was dark and we were alone.

I nodded while blushing in the tie, thereby prolonging and doubling everyone’s amusement. I sent them all a push that said they’d really enjoy wearing garlic lotion and reached into my jacket pocket for my cell phone. I flipped it open and chuckled again before asking, “Mind if I take a picture? I’m sure Eric would get a kick out of it.”

Talbot laughed with pleasure and nodded, he even held it up for me. I snapped a quick photo and sent off a text at vamp speed. I didn’t send it to Eric though, I sent it to Pam. Her mirth erupted all over again, quickly echoed by Eric and Jess, when she read the message:

Add this to the scrapbook.

Apparently my faux pas was all the encouragement Talbot needed to open up to me like I was his best girlfriend. By the time we made it back to the library, he had told me all the gossip of court and was begging me for details about my sex life. We walked into the room giggling and smiling like teenage schoolgirls, making Godric’s lips twitch and Russell stare at me in astonishment. I picked up from Russell’s thoughts that Talbot had been getting more depressed and antsy for the last decade or so and Russell was beyond frustrated with him. He truly loved Talbot, but after 700 years, they were starting to piss each other off and Russell had been purposefully leaving Talbot at home while he went out to see to other things. Russell hadn’t seen Talbot so genuinely taken with someone in years, not in terms of friendship at least and it was increasingly rare for it to be a female.

Did that make me Talbot’s best girlfriend, after all?

“Dear heart, it’s truly been a pleasure,” Talbot said as he pressed a kiss to my cheek and gave me a warm smile, “I hope your maker does move to our state.” He then turned to Russell and gave him a quelling look while he ordered, in a tone pretending to be a suggestion, “Darling, you really should offer Godric the sheriff’s position as incentive. Mr. Compton won’t be taking it.”

Godric had to seriously force himself to tamp down on his amusement while everyone else shot me up with their incredulity. The king’s consort was so taken with me that the monarch was being forced to offer my maker a very high position just so Talbot could have me close by.

It really was too funny.

“What a wonderful suggestion, Talbot,” Russell said to placate him and cocked an eyebrow at Godric.

Talbot smiled beautifully, brushed my cheek with another kiss, and vamped away. I gave the king another bow of my head and he smiled at me and indicated the space next to Godric on the sofa with a welcoming hand. I gave him a grateful smile and sat down next to Godric, feeling a hundred times safer when my maker slipped his arm over my shoulder. The closer Talbot and I had gotten to Godric and Russell, the more my emotions had tightened. They hadn’t completely disappeared, but at this point, I was feigning my emotional responses more than truly feeling them, with the exception of protectiveness, which had grown with every step we took in contrast to everything else. My fairy nature was screaming at me to protect my kin, completely uncomfortable with having my maker near the 3,000 year old predator responsible for massacring Eric’s family.

“Talbot appears quite taken with you, Miss Stackhouse,” Russell commented while he stood up to light a fire.

“I feel likewise, your majesty. Talbot is a warm spirit and I enjoyed speakin’ with him,” I replied. I was really tempted to make a comment about lighting a fire when it was so warm out, but being a baby vampire put me at the bottom of the totem pole and that could be overstepping. Russell seemed a little off kilter and prone to emotional outbursts. I certainly didn’t want to set him off.

When he took a poker to it though, I couldn’t stop myself from sighing wistfully and saying, “That’s one thing I do miss about being human,” Russell quirked an eyebrow at me so I continued, “roasting marshmallows and making s’mores by the fire.” I then purred, “Always were delicious.”

Neither Godric nor Russell had ever had a s’more, but my comment still sent them back to their human days and they both thumbed through a few memories out by a campfire while they cooked something over it. In a move that made my lips kick up, they both scented the air as if they could smell the food being cooked tonight right there in the library.

Russell pulled himself out of the memory and eyed me curiously. He was surprised by me, thrown off by my demeanor, and had expected me to fall to pieces about Bill’s death sentence. He had lit a fire deliberately as an intimidation tactic and instead I had him reminiscing about his human days. Russell didn’t know what to make of me.

He decided to abandon his present course of action and put the poker away without burning himself like he previously planned, enjoying my natural reactions too much and too intrigued by my current behavior to mess with me. Instead he wanted to see how I would react if we continued on this course.

“I always enjoyed a good fire, always made things seem a little more dramatic,” he said as he walked over to a wine rack tucked in the corner of the room. Having heard his change of mind, Godric and I pushed each other amusement while Russell quickly scanned the wine bottles. He picked one up, read the label, and turned back to me and asked, “S’mores are chocolate and marshmallows, yes, Miss Stackhouse?”

I nodded and slowly answered, “And graham crackers, your majesty.”

He pulled out three glasses and popped the cork on the bottle before he poured a healthy measure of blood into each as he explained, “Talbot enjoys it when his donors feed on nothing but one food for several weeks. We find the blood often holds a hint of the former food. This one happens to be Talbot’s own version of s’mores, minus the graham crackers.”

As the scent of the blood hit my nose, my fangs dropped. My eyes zeroed in on the glasses and I licked my lips. Godric and I hadn’t had time to go out hunting tonight before the pack initiation, so we had filled ourselves with True Blood.

This was definitely more appetizing.

I didn’t even notice who passed me the glass and I drained it with a moan. I was still adjusting to my human blood cravings, so any human blood was delicious to me. If I actually took a step back and analyzed the taste, I probably would’ve said it tasted like I was drinking from a diabetic, but I didn’t taste any hint of the actual food’s flavor in it.

It’d been 700 years since Talbot ate human food. Methinks he may have forgotten what it tasted like.

“You’re not what I expected, Miss Stackhouse,” Russell said contemplatively, drawing my gaze from the cup to him.

“What did you expect, your majesty?” Godric asked as he squeezed my shoulder.

“I guess,” Russell paused and shot us a smile as he explained, “more human. Most newborns still have trouble realizing they’ll never sit by the campfire roasting marshmallows again, but you… You seem to be fully immersed in the mindset of a vampire. You act much older than you are, more controlled. I expected you to be weepy over losing your dear, noble Mr. Compton. I expected you to try to reason with me and beg for his life. You haven’t said a word about him.”

“With all due respect, your majesty, why would I care? I have no genuine feelings for him. He drowned me in his blood to get me to comply, tryin’ to addict me to him so he could train me to be the perfect little pet for his childish queen. He wanted to bind me to him with blood without my consent. Now? I could care less what happens to dear, noble Mr. Compton,” I said in a dark, predatory tone.

And he definitely wasn’t mine.

I could almost feel the thrill that shot through Russell when he heard my voice and absorbed my words.

“The only thing I am concerned with,” I continued casually, “is that you’re about to kill a man wanted by the Magister for the desecration of the sacred blood.”

“What?” Russell asked with a start.

“It’s true, your majesty,” Godric confirmed while winding gratitude around the bond in thanks for putting us back on track. “The Magister stopped by my eldest progeny’s club while we were in his area. He’s currently looking for Bill Compton and plans to make an example of him.”

“But Compton told me the queen was the one selling vampire blood. In fact,” he said with a devilish smile, “he even suggested it was your progeny selling the blood for her.”

I scoffed and Russell turned to look at me, so I purred out, “What a clever tactic to shift the blame. Compton was usin’ his own blood, your majesty. The lab confirmed it with a DNA test. Compton never liked Eric, hated him, in fact. Why not blame the man he hates? If he said it was the queen at fault, I could see that bein’ very true. Compton excels at manipulatin’ the truth just enough to shift scrutiny off himself. I know this from experience.”

I may have even used his tactic just then, adjusting the truth just enough to shift the blame off Eric.

Russell didn’t like hearing this. He had planned on using the information Bill had given him about the V to entrap Sophie-Anne and blackmail her into marrying him. If Bill was actually the one selling vampire blood, then Russell couldn’t trust anything Bill had told him. It pissed him off thinking a vampire so young may have pulled the wool over his eyes and he didn’t want to believe someone like Bill would even try to manipulate someone as old and powerful as he was. Unfortunately for Russell, Bill had proven himself untrustworthy when he attempted to stake his monarch.

“What did the Norseman do to garner that much hate?” Russell skeptically asked.

Godric turned to me, knowing exactly what it was but leaving the decision on whether or not to disclose it up to me since Eric was currently listening in on our conversation.

I sighed and answered him truthfully, “It wasn’t what Eric did, your majesty. It was what I did.”

Eric startled internally at my words and, from the intense curiosity coming from my ties in Louisiana, I could almost see all three of them leaning in closer to the screen inside Fangtasia.

Russell’s eyebrows shot up and he gave me a look that said, “Well?”

“I was drawn to Eric from the first moment I saw him,” I began slowly, using my calmest, most matter-of-fact voice. “Even when Bill drowned me in blood and fooled me into thinkin’ we were in love, Bill couldn’t control my emotions when I was around Eric. He tried to suppress the levels of lust and affection growin’ in my blood but couldn’t completely. The more he tried,” I shrugged, “the less it worked. When I was later wounded, he drowned me in even more blood, nearly overcooked me, flooded me with hate and disgust whenever I was near Eric, and yet he still couldn’t stifle that pull entirely. I still volunteered my help and went to Dallas to find master when Eric asked,” I admitted reluctantly. Our bond filled with pride and affection for being honest about something so sensitive in order to protect Eric, to remove him from the spotlight. I then chuckled ruefully and added, winking at the end, “Though I may have gotten a friend released and $10,000 out of it. Eric didn’t need to know I would’ve done it anyways.”

Thrilled I had manipulated an ancient vampire sheriff, Russell laughed gleefully before thinking about it harder in an attempt to understand. Finally, he hummed and speculated, “Mr. Compton became addicted to you. Frustrated because the more he felt for you, the more you felt for the Norseman.”

“That would be my guess,” I murmured. It was my fault Bill hated him so much, my fault he turned Eric in for the blood. As soon as that guilt surfaced though, Godric snatched it away and sent me an admonishment, chiding me for even thinking it. I pushed him genuine affection and focused my blood on his cheek while I sent a kiss through the bond, his lips twitched when he felt it.

“You realized this when you rose vampire? That Mr. Compton was suppressing your attraction to the Norseman?” Russell asked curiously. I nodded and he added, “You must’ve been extremely confused when those emotions came rushing back.”

“I was. At first I didn’t trust the new feelings I had and didn’t understand where they were comin’ from. Then I went through and analyzed my own memories and I realized they weren’t new at all. Compton was actively forcin’ negative emotions on me every time we were around Eric, I just hadn’t realized it because he lied to me about the effects of the blood,” I said quietly and sighed. Godric tucked me closer to him and reinforced our bond with support and fatherly love.

I checked in on my ties and found some interesting reactions. Jessica was surprised but felt both sorrow and relief. If I had to guess, I would say she was relieved I had no genuine feelings for Bill after what he did. Either that, or she was relieved the blood couldn’t drown my true emotions totally. Pam’s reaction completely threw me. At the moment, she was feeling incredibly tender and affectionate. When she felt me checking in on her, she pushed that tenderness towards me and cloaked me in it. I had to bite my cheek to keep from purring and I stroked her in gratitude for how she felt. Somehow, I wasn’t surprised when I got to Eric though. For the third time in four nights, he felt nothing but static.

I didn’t reach out to soothe away his jumbled emotions this time. I felt too much trepidation over his reaction to do that. I also felt embarrassed, insecure, and remorseful. It was very similar to the way I felt when he told me he would never get used to feeling my affection. It made me incredibly sad to think he would never be used to me feeling affectionate towards him when, in reality, I had always felt affectionate towards him.

Bill Compton was a jackass.

Apparently my blood then announced that for me because everyone flooded me with mirth for it. Thankfully, it wasn’t near as much mirth as they sent over the vampire erotica, so I easily stifled any urge to laugh.

“And Mr. Compton was sent to procure you because?” Russell prompted.

He damn well knew. He just wanted to see if we’d admit it.

“Because I used to be telepathic when I was alive, your majesty,” I said softly.

“Used to be?”

I nodded and explained, “Sometimes I get emotions now, but no thoughts. It’s my own personal theory that I can’t hear them anymore because I no longer emit any livin’ brainwaves. When I was alive, vampires were completely silent to me. They were the only ones I couldn’t hear.”

My spur of the moment theory impressed Godric and he flushed me with pride. If my telepathy had been the result of something scientific, my theory would make complete sense. It wasn’t though, it was something magical instead, like the essence of vampire blood.

“Then why would you get emotions?” Russell asked, truly confused.

Godric realized where I was going with all of this and gave me a slow smile as he sent me mischief and clarified my false theory for me, “We believe Sookie’s control over her blood is a vampire gift, your highness. Feeling the emotions of others could just be an extension of it. After all, it is the main effect of the blood. It’s ironic that Sookie went from having no control over her blood to having total control and now she receives emotions from others in a completely different way than she did before, isn’t it?”

Huh. I really did go from having no control to total control over the emotions in my blood.

Clever maker.

At that point, Eric’s emotions sharpened and came into focus, becoming crystal clear. It was like Godric’s words had suddenly reminded Eric I was currently feeling his emotions too and he felt incredulous, shocked, amazed, affectionate, tender, and hopeful, which had me swelling with relief. He reached out for me in the tie and I gladly reached back, letting him pull me into an emotional embrace and nuzzle me, cuddling me while flooding me with security, tenderness, appreciation, and his own relief. He was relieved I had felt things for him before Dallas, completely surprised that I had, but relieved.

My lips twitched. If he felt relieved to know that, then Eric felt things for me before Dallas, and not just lust and a craving for my blood like I had feared. He was relieved it hadn’t just been him.

“Yes, it is,” Russell agreed and got up to stoke the fire. “I would say you’re likely right, Miss Stackhouse. Mr. Compton did growl, idiotically I may add, when Godric had only mentioned the Norseman’s name. It makes sense he would use him as a fall guy.”

Russell believed us about my telepathy and was now ready to change the subject. Franklin had not only glamoured Tara about me, he glamoured my brother, Jason, when he couldn’t find Bill’s progeny to question her about the two of us. Both Tara and Jason had told him there was nothing unique about me, that I lost my telepathy, and that I was just an ordinary vampire, which Franklin reported to Russell. After listening to my theories and seeing how very controlled I was, he thought it was entirely possible whatever emotions I felt was a vampire gift or just a remnant of my ability. He was now willing to shut the book on my gift.

Thank God.

After a moment of reflective silence, I asked, “Will you hand him over to the Magister, your majesty?”

“No,” Russell said, shaking his vehemently before facing us again and adding in an annoyed, dramatic tone, “Mr. Compton will meet the true death by his maker. He will be punished for attempted regicide. Honestly, the Magister is a nasty little… anachronistic toad. A ridiculous remnant of the Middle Ages. The only power he has over us is the power we give him.”

Godric and I glanced at each other as he spoke, concern and wariness rising in our bond. Confusion rippled across our connections with Pam and Jess, but Eric felt pure glee. He was enjoying watching Russell bury himself even further. Godric gave me a push and I nodded before turning my attention back to Russell’s mind again and digging deep, searching for exactly how Russell felt about the Magister and the Authority.

Shock and extreme caution burst across our bond when Godric and I discovered a few things, which freaked out our bloodline when they felt it. Russell had indeed been planning a takeover of Louisiana, but he wasn’t planning to stop there. He was going to move from state to state, taking control of vampire kingdoms and establishing his own authority. He planned to uproot our government, our ruling faction, and establish himself as an ultimate ruler. The frightening thing was that Russell had allies, Sanguinistas.

The Sanguinistas believed that humans served one purpose in the world, to feed us. They believed we were better than everyone and everything else in this world and humans were little more than cattle. Sanguinistas used the idea of Lilith, a vampire god, to spread their fanatical beliefs and explain away their darker natures, giving their consciences absolution they didn’t deserve when they tore humans apart for fun and reveled in the death they spread throughout the world. Russell agreed with them when it came to subjugating humans, though he thought the religious aspect was ludicrous. It was his opinion that humans should never have been allowed control, that they would destroy the earth and take vampires down with them. He’d been enmeshing himself in conflicts for thousands of years in order to annihilate as many humans as he could whenever he felt they’d grown too powerful, just like he did in the last world war when he leant his wolves to Hitler’s cause.

And just like Hitler, Russell felt he was destined to be the ruler of a supreme race.

Smart, right? Because Hitler’s destiny worked out so well for him.

Now that vampire kind had revealed itself to humanity, Russell was planning on getting involved and drastically making the conflict worse yet again. He wanted humans to target vampires, firmly believing vampires would then rise up and take the control away from humanity, which was something the Sanguinistas also wholeheartedly believed in, thus they had come to terms.

If the Sanguinistas got their way though, there’d only be one realistic outcome- we would be hunted.

And it wouldn’t be as fun as when I hunted Eric.

Godric and I came to a couple decisions pretty quickly upon hearing Russell’s delusional thoughts. One, we were done trying to reason with him, we would move onto plan B where Bill was concerned. Two, we would now include anything about the Sanguinista movement in the evidence we gathered and tomorrow I would be looking for all the names I could find of any vampires involved in the movement to turn over to the Authority. Three, we had to deliver this evidence to the Authority as quickly as possible since Russell planned to start enacting his plan within the next couple nights, starting with Louisiana. And four, the best way to do all this was to agree with Russell as much as possible and get the hell out of dodge as soon as we could.

“I agree, your majesty,” Godric stated, flooding Eric and Pam with reassurance when they sent him their disbelief and confusion. “We thought we should mention it, but why bother with the Magister at all? Compton’s meeting the true death. Can he realistically be punished more than that? Why should the Magister’s punishment take precedence over yours? You are older, more powerful. It shouldn’t. Your punishment should take precedence over the Magister’s.”

Russell nodded and gave us a sadistic smile, “I’ve always liked you, Godric. Talbot was right, I should offer you the sheriff position. Would you be interested?”

This would be one thing we would not automatically agree with him on.

Suggest Eric, I quickly sent to him. Bewilderment emerged in the bond and he glanced at me very briefly. Master, suggest Eric for the position. Tell him he’s dissatisfied with the queen, Russell will transition to takeover talk and we’ll offer to set a meeting. Then Eric will have his opportunity to end him.

When I asked Eric what he would’ve done about the vampire blood, he said he likely would’ve sworn fealty to another monarch. In fact, he told me he probably would’ve approached Russell Edgington. I was just taking that idea and adding a small twist.

Godric’s lips twitched and understanding and pride washed over me in a wave as big as a tsunami, which only confused Eric and Pam even more.

“In all honesty, your majesty, I left my position as sheriff in Texas because I wanted more free time to spend teaching my youngest progeny. May I suggest an alternative though?” Godric asked.

Russell looked disappointed but still threw his hands out in front of him and energetically said, “By all means!”

“My progeny, Eric, is dissatisfied with Sophie-Anne,” Godric began and Russell slowly started to give us a sinister smile. “She’s running her state poorly, now we find out she’s involved with vampire blood, she’s taxing her state like crazy, abusing her power, and targeted Eric’s sister, who he is very fond of. If you offered him a position, I truly think he may accept it.”

Russell cackled, delighting in the idea. Understanding slowly began to replace the shock coming from my tie with Eric and he pushed curiosity straight at me. I pushed back a firm yes in response and he swamped me with pride and affection. Eric had just asked me if this was my idea and he was a very big fan.

He should be. He came up with it.

“Sophie-Anne is childish. She doesn’t deserve her own kingdom. She’s drowning in debt and Mr. Compton was kind enough to explain her involvement with the V to me. I offered her an alliance through marriage earlier, but she rejected it. I plan to maneuver her into it, is this something your progeny would be interested in, Godric?” Russell asked. “Something he can assist me with in return for a position in my retinue?”

Having Eric’s help meant being privy to everything a sheriff knew about his monarch, including things like security at her compound. Now that he wasn’t sure about anything Bill told him, he needed another source to confirm it and Eric would be able to do that. At the very least, Eric could let slip what he knew about Sophie-Anne’s finances and her troubles with the IRS. If Russell were to get Eric to help him, his takeover would be a breeze.

“You would have to speak with him,” Godric said carefully. “I believe he would be open to a discussion with you, your majesty, but I do not interfere with his position as sheriff. Like I said, he’s dissatisfied. It was not a smart thing for the queen to upset her most powerful sheriff. I can guarantee a sit-down between you, but anything else would be up to him.”

Russell nodded, thinking things through for a moment before he said, “Arrange it. I’ll meet with him. Make it soon.”

“Your majesty?” I asked and Russell trained his eyes on me. “Might I suggest meetin’ with him in Louisiana? Maybe at his club? If things go well, and I believe they will, he may be able to help you settle your situation… quickly.”

Godric nodded in agreement with me.

“He can ensure privacy there?” Russell asked. We both nodded and Russell made a quick decision, “All right, set up a meeting at the club.”

There was no point in telling Russell to come alone, we heard from his thoughts that he was already planning on it, not wishing to attract attention to himself if he was leaving the state and entering another vampire’s kingdom. It was also implied Russell would have to show up alone. If Eric really had been contemplating something treasonous like this, he would never, ever agree to anything if Russell came with someone else and Russell knew that.

He eyed me again contemplatively, analyzing my behavior for the night, the movements of my body, the suggestions I made, Talbot’s attachment to me, and the manipulation I admitted to where I outsmarted Eric. He nodded to himself and switched his gaze back to my maker and proposed, “Godric, if you decide to swear fealty to Mississippi, I believe Miss Stackhouse would also fit nicely into my retinue. I realize she’ll need a few years of training, but whenever you deem her worthy, I’ll find a position for her.”

My ties in Louisiana echoed shock and amusement back to me while Godric turned his head towards me with exaggerated slowness and eyed me with a glare, giving me a very pointed look. I didn’t need to be able to translate his thoughts to understand what he was thinking at the moment. His face clearly said, Why does this keep happening with you?

Wasn’t it obvious? Russell was clearly insane.

I actually had no idea why older and powerful vampires seemed to like me so much, but it was varying degrees of entertaining. For some reason, they just latched onto me and wanted to claim me in some way. The Magister, Thalia, Talbot, Russell (hell, Eric wanted to claim me in every way)- it was like every ancient or powerful vampire I came across wanted to keep me close. Somehow, I’d gone from being catnip to vampires as a mortal to catnip to ancients as a vampire. I sent him a mental shrug, which greatly entertained him, and he eyed me dubiously for another moment before he said, “We are greatly honored, your majesty. She still has much to learn, but when she is ready, we will give it the utmost consideration. Assuming we take up residence in Mississippi, of course.”

“Of course,” Russell agreed with nonchalance. He thought everything was just a formality at this point, believing he had us hook, line, and sinker.

He didn’t realize we weren’t the fish, we were the bait.

“Your majesty,” a guard interrupted us and we all turned our attention towards the door, “the hotel has delivered the travel coffins and they’ve been set up in the guest suite.”

Godric had called the hotel Alcide was bringing us to the next day when Talbot had dragged me off for the tour. If Russell had been willing to let us take Bill, he would’ve called them back and asked for another one.

Russell nodded and dismissed him with a wave of his hand. He then turned his attention back to us and said, “You and your progeny are welcome to join us for another night, Godric.”

Godric nodded while we all came to our feet. “Thank you, your majesty, but I think we may head back to Louisiana. We need to discuss things with Eric in person and we haven’t finished packing up Sookie’s house. We still need to make arrangements for her things and property. We wanted to check out your state first and see what other options were available to us before we closed anything up.”

“Well, Mississippi would welcome you and both of your progenies should you choose to reside here,” Russell stated with a wide smile and called the name of another guard to lead us up to our suite. Daylight was nearing and Godric and I chose to retire a little early, needing a moment to ourselves to figure out how exactly we were going to rescue Bill and Tara without falling under suspicion.

back-ericsookie-homenext-godric

4 thoughts on “Chapter 29: Battle Royale

  1. Great Save Sookie. Poor talbot with Russell ignoring him so much. Compton a sheriff? Really. Might as well give it to Whorena; she’d be pulling the strings anyhow.
    oooh way to slip the magister into the conversation. Great thinking on her part. She really is a great strategist.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. oh my what a night , first Talbot and now Russell, she sure has a way about her, but like she said, they have to figure out how to get the other two out of there. i think the best way would be popping them out, screw Compton if he body rejects it, she can tie his ass up at fangtasia in silver. and Tara, they need to make sure Franklin is killed this time, no errors and put her in Sookie’s coffin and let Sook cloak herself to make sure Alcide is okay. KY

    Liked by 1 person

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