OKAY SO EITHER I LIED OR CAN'T COUNT, YOU DECIDE, BUT THERE ARE ACTUALLY 7 CHAPTERS LEFT. THIS IS THE LAST ONE, THANK GOD. I HAVE SOME OTHER WRITING PROJECTS I NEED TO FOCUS ON :) ENJOY!!!
The moment the shackles went on Arya could feel its stifling presence on her power, rendering her power mute. Without her weapons or her hands free, she’s defenseless. She looks back towards her Kingdom and wonders if Ihsan is watching. He’d tear the world apart to find her and she’s counting on it. Her people will never truly be safe unless she’s free.
Lord Balor’s General shackles both Arya and Malich to one another. They don’t speak, but they allow their fingers to touch, taking in their defeat with pride. Kahlem has bested them at every turn and now he has them right where he wants them.
“You should’ve killed me.” Malich finally speaks.
“I told you, I couldn’t. I am not completely without a heart, you know.”
“You cannot trust him Arya.”
“Balor or your brother?” She asks.
A soldier pokes Malich in the back with his staff and warns him to be quiet. Arya commits the soldier’s face to memory.
He’ll pay for that later…
Malich stops speaking and his gaze trails to Lizbet. She isn’t shackled but she isn’t free to leave either. “How much longer?” Arya juts her chin out towards Lizbet’s stomach.
“Any day now.” He answers. Lizbet meets Malich’s gaze and he looks away. Her smile fades. Whatever relationship the two of them has, it’s not a pleasant one.
“Are you ready to be a father?” Arya asks.
Malich tilts his head to the side, eyeing her incredulously. “We’re prisoners of war now that you’ve handed yourself over to the enemy, so forgive me if I could care less about what sort of father I’d like to be,” Malich snaps at her.
“Don’t be an arse,” she glares at him.
“What were you thinking?” He continues to scold her. “You had one job to do, one.That was to stay alive and out of my brother’s clutches. As long as they have you he knows I will give him whateverhe wishes.”
“He was going to killyou!” Arya shouts, earning herself a jab in the back.
Lowering his voice to a whisper Malich replies, “And you should’ve let him.”
Arya searches for Alara and finds her already staring back at her. She’s seated inside the gold tent beside Lizbet with a worried look on her face.
“This is not what we agreed to!” Kahlem shouts, capturing both Arya and Malich’s attention. “I want them both dead!”
“I suggest you address your sovereign with the respect he deserves,” Audric squares up against Kahlem.
“Sovereign?” Kahlem scoffs amused. “I am the King of the Summer Court. I bow to no man.”
“The key word here being man. Lord Balor is a God.”
“He’s not myGod,” Kahlem fires back. “And we had a deal.”
“Ah yes,” Lord Balor chimes in tapping Audric on the shoulder. Audric walks away fuming, grabbing a sword from one of his soldiers. He and Lord Balor exchange a knowing glance. “The deal…which deal would that be again? The one I made with you, orthe one I made with your brother?”
Confused, Arya and Malich exchange glances. Kahlem looks to Malich and then back at Lord Balor. “The deal you made with me of course. He has nothing to offer you.”
Lord Balor nods, “No, I suppose he doesn’t, but hedoes,” he nods towards Bevi.
Kahlem’s eyes widen. “Have you betrayed me brother?” He asks, not quite able to believe it.
A wicked grin spreads across Bevi’s face. “You’ve lost your touch I’m afraid. After Sen’s death you just haven’t been the same. But allow me to apologize for my role in the poisonous Queen’s demise.”
Shock slowly turns to anger. “Youkilled Sen?” Kahlem glares at him.
“She was a horrible Queen who made you equally as horrible.”
Kahlem lunges at Bevi and Audric runs his soldier’s sword through Kahlem’s heart, killing him before he can take another step.
Malich and Arya exchange glances. Does that mean this over? Are they free to go?“The other end of our bargain,” Bevi addresses Lord Balor.
Balor’s gaze slides to Malich. “My apologies King Malich Jarrah, but a bargain is a bargain and I’m a man of my word.” Arya throws herself in front of Malich as soldiers approach, but it isn’t just him screaming after the sound of piercing flesh.
Looking around, Arya finds Lizbet lying on the ground beside them, blood pooling from the sword protruding from her heart. Every time she tries to speak blood bubbles from her lips instead, drowning out her words. Malich’s shouts die in his throat.
Hate fills his eyes as he turns them on Bevi. “Why?”
“It’s simple really. Now that Kahlem is dead our people will need a leader and they won’t follow me as long you have an heir.”
Malich scoots closer to Lizbet and tries to console her as she slowly dies beside him. While he’s still reeling from the death of his wife, his aunt Asherah is dragged into the room and forced to her knees in front of him.
“No,” Malich shakes his head, pleading with his brother. “Don’t. Brother, please!”
His aunt means the world to him. Arya wishes she can do something to stop them, but with her shackles stifling her power and her weapons taken from her, she’s powerless to help. “Hush now sweetheart and remember what I told you,” Asherah forces him to look at her instead. “I’ve lived a long life and I am not afraid of death.”
“Hm,” Bevi scoffs and then drives his sword through her heart. He wipes her blood from his blade using the sleeves of the tunic Malich is wearing and sheathes his sword.
Queen Asherah slumps over onto her nephew spilling blood all over his lap and the floor. All emotion is gone from Malich’s face. He just sits and stares at his aunt’s lifeless body as if he’s died along with her.
“You have the Summer Court and your brother Arokin has the Spring Court. Our deal is complete,” Lord Balor shakes Bevi’s hand. If Malich hears why his brother has chosen to betray him, he doesn’t show it. The longer he remains in a state of shock, the more she worries for him.
“You have what you want,” Alara pleads, “No more bloodshed. Let’s go get our son.”
Lord Balor smiles at Alara, pulling her into a kiss. He nods to Audric who comes to collect Arya when a bright light erupts in the room. When the light fades a lone soldier dressed in a white royal uniform littered with Gold medals and white rays beaming off of him stands before Arya and Malich, carrying a solid gold staff.
“PrinceIon,” Lord Balor hisses, baring his sharp teeth. He moves to strike the white soldier but with a tap of his golden staff against the ground Lord Balor, Audric, Malich’s brothers and their soldiers are all blown backwards.
Bursts of light spark all around them as more soldiers appear. Turning his attention to Arya, the soldier examines the shackles on her wrists. He closes his eyes and seconds later the shackles on both Arya and Malich’s wrists fall away.
“Queen Litri, I am Prince Ion. We have a lot to discuss, but first I need to get you to a safer location.”
“Them too.” Arya motions to Alara and Malich.
“I won’t leave her here,” Malich shakes his head, cradling Lizbet in his arms.
Tears fall from his eyes onto Lizbet’s cheek. Ion moves closer to the fallen Queen splaying his hand over her stomach. “There’s nothing that can be done for the Queen, but the child lives,” he tells them.
His hands begin to glow and moments later a small figure appears outside of Lizbet’s womb, covered in blood. Malich quickly grabs a blanket and wraps his son in it.
“As for the Darkin, she cannot go with you. She’s bound to the dark Prince.”
Arya’s eyes flicker to Alara. They’ve only just found each other and now he wants them to part ways again?
“Just go. I’ll find you.” Alara assures her. Arya nods and with the closing of his eyes, Arya, Malich and his son are winnowed away.
“Where are we?” Arya asks, taking in the beautiful world around them. The sky is the bluest of blues and the grass is the greenest of greens. There is beauty in everything she sees, including the large castle towering before them.
“This my Queen, is the realm of the Gods.”ns 188.8.131.52da2