The Long Road to Ruin Ch. 25


The blackguard laughed heartily. "I've had you, birdie. Don't flatter yourself."

Nathan cleared his throat. "Children, behave. Now, Shiloh, why in the name of the gods did you lie to me when I asked you who attacked you down at the Wharf?" He caught her look of sheer surprise as she gasped, her hand flying to cover her mouth.

"Yes, I know about that. Vico told me all about it after that fight you two had. You will answer me and you'll tell me the truth."

Shiloh hung her head momentarily. A myriad of emotions swirled within her. Apprehension, dread, relief, anger and pain clogged her entire being and made it difficult for her to breathe. She wasn't sure what to say, nor was it easy to explain why she protected him. She sighed wearily before leveling her luminous blue eyes upon the older man. "I... I mean, mhm... I can't tell you why because it's hard to explain. It's difficult. I wanted something I could hold over his head, a way to manipulate him into doing what I wanted. He's not the only one carrying a secret about something I've done. Since we're baring our souls, perhaps you should have a chat with Warent and Joanna's son, Lenton about what they were doing the night before Lenton got married. They were fucking me."

Nathan's eyes flashed with momentary anger before he let it pass. "I set that 'off-limits' rule for your own good, so no one else would take advantage of you so ruthlessly like Vico did the night he violated you and you willingly choose to ignore it. How can you be so stupid, Shiloh?"

"That's just it. I wasn't thinking of it in those terms. All I knew is that it felt good. I felt unbelievably beautiful and sexy and wanted. It did wonders for me, for the way I felt about myself. It gave me the attention I so desired. I did the things I did to garner attention from him," she pointed at Vico. "I reveled in the spankings. It made me feel so alive. It was so addicting, that heady rush, that I craved that next ride, that next incident. But somewhere along the way I think I fell in love. I know I made a mistake by bedding that Dhorn commander, and I know it made you angry and I am so sorry for it. It's been hell doing without you."

"If you were truly sorry, you wouldn't have done it in the first place. You're a two-bit royal whore, Shiloh. You may not take money, but you're a whore nonetheless," Vico retorted.

Shiloh recoiled as if he'd slapped her. "Son of a bitch! You're one to talk! How dare you stick your dick in that insipid little cunt Trissa? You think I don't know you fucked her?"

Vico burst out laughing. "I don't know where you got your information from, but she begged me and I turned her down. I know whores who've spent less time on their back than she has. I have my standards and she doesn't measure up. And neither do you."

Shiloh launched herself out of her chair and tackled him once more, wrestling him to the ground and beating upon his chest with her closed fists. "You gods be damned son of a crotch rotted whore! You wouldn't have spent so much time chasing after me like a bitch in heat if I truly didn't meet your standards, asshole. And you wouldn't have kept me abed for days on end if you didn't enjoy fucking me. I protected you. I lied for you. And I have had many chances to slit your throat while you slept, but I didn't because I loved you. I don't care if you'll never return those feelings. You aren't capable of them anyway."

Nathan jerked Shiloh off of Vico and threw her bodily against the wall. With a tone that brooked no opposition, he glanced from her to him. "One more outburst like that from either of you and I will make damn sure you both regret it. I will have peace in my office and in 'The Family.' If either of you cannot abide by that, then you will pack your bags and leave the city immediately and never come back, because you sure as hell won't like the alternative. Vico, you're dismissed. I need you to report to Alfons. He has something important for you to take care of."

The blackguard climbed to his feet and inclined his head before leaving the room.

"Same goes for you, Shiloh. Take a day or two off. You've earned it." Shiloh followed Vico down the stairs, catching up with him as he exited to Bear Pit. She grabbed hold of his arm.

"Vico, there's something you need to see. Something that's in my apartment. The whole reason why I wanted the rod of resurrection. Could you spare a moment to come with me?"

He glared at her. "Get out of my sight, birdie."

"No, not this time. Now I'm asking you politely. Don't make me get angry again," her jaw clenched as she growled at him, tugging on his arm in attempt to force him to come with her.

"Fine," he relented, knowing she'd hound him all the way back to Alfons'. "But this better be worth my time."

"Oh, I think it will be, Vico." Shiloh gave him a radiant, knowing smile and led him to her apartment.

She unlocked her door and ushered him in, leading him to the bedroom where she lit a candle and held it above the sleeping form of her half-sister, Shanna.... Vico's former girlfriend. He gasped as he realized who it was and beheld Shiloh with a look of awe. "How? Why? When?"

"I wanted you to be happy, and since I seem to be terrible at doing that despite that I love you more than anything, I made the decision to find her body if possible and bring her back for you. She doesn't know about us. I haven't told her anything more than the fact that you rescued me. I do know that she is looking forward to seeing you again. Though every time I've heard her speak of you in that manner, I've felt these tiny little knives piercing my heart. Still I want you to be happy. That's all," Shiloh wiped the tears from her eyes and fled the room.

But there was nowhere that she could go in that apartment that Vico couldn't find her. He stalked after her, cornering her in her small kitchen/bath area. "You shouldn't have put yourself at risk like that. Going into a castle of Dhorn to find a body that you had no idea if you'd find or not. You could've been killed."

"I know that castle intimately. I could navigate through it blindfolded. I grew up within its stately walls. There isn't a nook or cranny that I am not familiar with. Half the castle is vacant. I only encountered one Dhorn soldier and he's dead now. I killed him and stole his armor and was able to move around freely. I think you underestimate me."

Vico scoffed. "You tempt fate," and stalked off, leaving the apartment behind. There was much he had to think about. There was much they both had to think about. Shiloh wondered if she'd made the right choice after all. Perhaps she should've just left well enough alone.

But she had seen the brief flicker of hope flash through his eyes when he realized who was sleeping in Shiloh's bed. She counted on that as a catalyst to make Vico come back for more.

But only time would tell.

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