I guess LKH decided we needed to fix that.
This is doubly disturbing for me, because in the next Exiles book (IT IS COMING I PROMISE I HAVE TO GET MY TABLET OUT OF STORAGE) I have a scene where Casey is confronted by a former lover who scares the shit out of her, only she doesn't recognize it. I used basically the same language and sensations. It was fucking difficult to write, too, because I had to pull on my sex assault to find the right words for "shutting down emotionally because you're that fucking scared". So to see that exact language being erotized makes me want to do a full decontamination routine a'la Silkwood.
...but it wasn't him that made my hand slip underneath his shirt and glide along his bare skin. Fear choked me, ran along my skin like electric shocks, tingling out to my fingertips.
Being afraid of sex is not sexy. Being manipulated into having sex with someone else is not sexy. Now, writing about being manipulated into sex because that's the plot? And you do it deliberately? And your goal is to point out that hey, this is not cool and it needs to stop now? Very good. Be careful about getting it wrong. Writing about being manipulated into sex because consensual sex is somehow out of your range? Boo.
Merry and the MOST BEAUTIFUL MAN IN THE WORLD starts to make out...and then...
GEE, YOU THINK?
And then the goddess says "HURRY" which I think is LKH's agent going "Can we have a book now?" and Merry tells them to put the accused murderer in a cage--she specifices that this must be done "gently" because that is totally a thing--and they all have to RUN to the throne room.
Why? This is not explained. But they do it.
The fountain leading in to the throne room is suddenly in the middle of a dead garden. This is supposed to be shocking. For some reason. Merry feels fear like fine champagne, which is not a description I like much. Andais is doing...something. And it's terrifying. What it never is, however, is actually described. So we're supposed to imagine Andais torturing kittens or something. Merry asks for a private audience to make Andais stop torturing kittens. Andais demands Merry ask for it on her knees. Merry does so. They talk in circles for a few minutes and then head off to that private chat.
And it turns out that what has Andais so pissed is that Merry had astral sex with Barinthus. She assures her aunt that all their clothes were in place, so no vows were broken and everything is okay.
Yes. We have a double murder in the slithen, which is currently full of cops and psychotic fairies at the same time, and an attempt on Merry's life, and Andais wants to know about the state of clothing during astral sex.
And on that note, the chapter ends.