67. Time for a Clean Up
Walking up the stairs with wobbly steps, I stop and take a deep breath. My heart was with Irene and Michael. It was my fault Cian died, and it was my fault I lost my babies. Crouching down in pain, I cried. Calandra stood behind me, making small circles on my back. I wanted to be alone.
“You need to rest,” Calandra whispered. I shook my head and pushed her arm away.
“Just leave me alone,” I muttered as I stood up.
“But Valkyrie,” Calandra said worriedly. I know everyone was having a hard time. And I was not the only one suffering. Damian was having a hard time as well.
“I order you to leave me alone,” I retorted. Calandra flinched and backed away. Then, nodding, she stayed in her spot. Walking up the stairs again, I decide to head to Dimitri’s chambers. I needed to be somewhere where he has been. To feel close.
Walking around, I stopped by the room I was in before. Grabbing my stuff, I stop and stare at a piece of cloth. Frowning, I opened it.
“This,” I said, grasping it. I remember seeing this jewel in Devika’s hands. How come it was here?
Confused, I stare at it. It was gleaming softly. Sighing, I fold the cloth around it and head to Dimitri’s room.
Sitting on the bed, I watch the snowfall outside. The weather was getting worse, and the temperature was changing. Closing my eyes, I move my hands and rub my belly. Small tears slid down my face, knowing that I had lost them. It was my fault, only mine.
Hearing the chamber’s doors open, I notice Damian walking in. He smiled wryly.
“Want something to eat?” Damian asked as he approached me. I shook my head and kept looking outside. “Valkyrie,” he whispered. I felt his warm hand on mine, but I pulled away. I was in no mood to be comforted.
“Any news,” I whispered as I cleared my throat.
“No,” Damian said, “I’m still waiting for Leo or anyone to inform me.”
Nodding, I quietly looked outside. I could feel Damian’s gaze on me.
“Valkyrie, I’m worried for you,” Damian whispered, “Please take some rest.”
“I’m fine!” I snapped at him, “Just let me have some time alone.”
Damian nodded and stood up. Putting something down in bed, I continue looking outside. Once the chamber’s doors closed, I looked down at the bed. Damian left some grapes on a small wooden plate. I smile. He still remembers I like grapes. Picking one up, I plop it into my mouth. The sweet taste brought tears to my eyes as I remembered the two little souls I would never get to meet.
A day passed by, and no news so far of Dimitri or anyone. Damian looked impatient the more time passed. Finally, I sighed as I stood on the balcony entrance. The entire mountain was white.
“Valkyrie?” Calandra whispered from behind. I human answer. “I brought you some warm tea. It will make you feel better.”
Glancing over my shoulder, I thank her. Calandra didn’t utter another word and left.
Turning back in, I grab the cup and bring it to my lips. The warm smell of plants soothed my body. Then, deciding to take a stroll to distract me, I walk out of the chambers.
There were parts from the palace I’d never visited. I never felt curious to explore more than the essential parts Dimitri or someone else mentioned. Heading towards Dimitri’s office, I open a door and peek inside. It felt and smelled like Dimitri. Smiling weakly, I shut the door behind me. Dimitri will be devastated when he finds out I have lost his heirs. Gulping down, I breathe and calm down. My hands shook as I held the cup with tea.
Walking around, I look at the shelves. Rows and rows of bookshelves filled the office Dimitri spent most of the time. Then, glancing at some books, I stop and spot one of them completely different from the others. A book with a red cover and a golden emblem stood in the middle of the rest. Curiously, I pulled it. What was this?
Sighing, I take a seat and open it. My eyes went wide with the information that was inside.
“This is Dimitri’s letter,” I mumble in awe. Moving my eyes, I read that it mentioned a secret door inside the palace walls. I didn’t understand why, but I felt the need to explore. Curious to know more about it. I started reading each page until there was a map that showed where the door was located. Sniffing, I stand up, and with a book in hand, I follow the path.
My body felt tired as I walked down the corridors. I never expected this place to be so enormous. Reading the book, I follow down the hall, taking several steps and turns.
Frowning, I suddenly snap and look to the front. An enormous door with a strange lock stood before me.
“Is this it?” I said, looking up. The place looked eerily familiar for a reason. But why? Frowning, I feel a slight headache. Was I overexerting my body?
Sighing again, I turn around to leave but stop. I stared at the door. Something was bothering me.
“It should open somehow, right?” I whispered as my eyes stopped in the middle. “I must imagine things, but I feel like I know how to open these doors.”
Moving my hand, I touch the latch in the middle.
Feeling it, I seize it and move it to the side. Making a creaking sound, I gasp. Then, following my eyes, I started moving the latch around until the doors finally made a huffing sound.
Too distracted, I dropped the book I was holding. Then, using both hands, I push them. The doors made a loud creaking sound. I flinch for a second as my entire body throbbed in pain. I was still in need of rest. Panting, I look around. Torches barely lighted the enormous dome room.
“Hello?” I said. My voice echoed around the room. Then, noticing that no one was around, I stepped in and carefully looked around.
Different chests and treasures are laid around. I stare at it in awe. Then, smiling, I started going deeper until I stopped on a small set of stairs.
“What’s that?” I mumble as I see something big and dark in the middle of the place. Descending the stairs, I stop and grab one of the torches. My red fairy hair gleamed in the light.
“An egg?” I whispered, surprised. Was it a dragon egg?
Frowning, I move my hand. I felt this attraction towards it, and it was hypnotizing. Feeling my hands warm, I reach for it. The rough surface makes me frown slightly.
“Amazing!” I mumble as I get closer. Letting go, I set the torch down and walked around it. Unaware of the danger, I tried to get up a small stone. The egg was double my size. “Would it be alive?”
It was impossible, right?
Too curious, I get up and try to stand on the stone. But, unfortunately, the egg was quite big. Trying to hold myself from something, I reach for a statue. Grasping it, I look down when I feel a sudden cut. Gasping, I move my hand quickly, spilling blood.
“That hurt!” I hissed as I looked at my bleeding hand. Blood had spilled against the egg. Trying to stop the egg, I notice a sudden movement. I frown and look up. What was that?
Seeing that the blood wasn’t stopping, I left. I was getting down carefully. I walk away. As I reached the stairs, I heard a sound. My head snapped back. Nothing was around. Did I hear wrong?
“I should leave,” I said without looking back.
Closing the door, I walk back down the hall. Unaware that I had left the enormous doors unlocked.
“Are you feeling better?” Calandra asked the following day. I nodded as I lied to her.
I wasn’t good. My heart and mind were not doing well.
“How’s Michael?” I asked as I sat correctly in bed.
“He’s with Irene. They pulled out cian’s dragon heart,” Calandra explained. Nodding, I look outside.
“Where’s Damian?” I asked without looking at her.
“He is in the throne room,” Calandra sighed, “He hasn’t left that place.”
“Any words from Dimitri?” I asked. Calandra stayed quiet. Frowning, I glance at her. She had her head lowered. “Dimitri, Calandra,” I snapped.
“We don’t know anything about him. Leo hasn’t informed us,” Calandra explained. Grabbing a fur coat, I get up. “You should rest, Valkyrie.”
“No, I have to do,” I said, standing. I couldn’t let Damian carry all the weight and struggle. Dimitri never crowned me queen, but I had all the right to it. Sighing, I fix my clothes and leave Calandra in the room. Heading down the hallway towards the stairs, I stop when I notice a shadow afar. I moved my head, fixing a hair strand that was on my face. What was that?
Was I seeing things now?
Pinching my nose, I sighed. I really should have followed Calandra’s orders. But I was worried about everyone, especially Dimitri. Ignoring what happened, I walk away. It felt strange, but I felt something following me.
Rushing to the throne room, some guards stood around. Greeting me, they opened the doors, and I walked in. Several of the council sat in their seats. All eyes fell on me immediately.
“Queen?” one of the council members said, greeting me.
“Elders,” I said, bowing. Damian sat in his chair. “Is something the matter?” I asked, approaching him.
“Why are you here?” Damian asked worriedly.
“I have a job that needs to be done,” I smiled. Damian looked surprised.
“What do you mean?” Damian finally asked.
Smiling at him, I turn and look around me. All eyes were waiting for what I was going to say.
“As you all know, we are at war with King Gabriel. Our king, my king, is over there fighting. Now that he is there, we as his people need to do our part and help him,” I said aloud, “It’s our role. No,” I said, stopping and smiling, “It’s my role as your queen to guide you and take you all to where your king is. King Dimitri is waiting for us, and even if some of you don’t follow me, I will make you.”
Everyone looked at me in shock as I started going up the stairs. I turned and looked down at everyone present.
“You will follow me who your queen is, and if anyone opposes, I’ll be sure to kill you with my own hands. Are we clear?” I said sternly. Damian looked at me with utter shock.
“You think you can simply say that?” Dimitri’s grandfather said, standing, “Do you hear this, my elders? A mere slave was telling us what to do.”
“Slave?” I said, laughing, “According to rules and dragons’ history. I AM YOUR QUEEN!”
Dimitri’s grandfather growled back.
“Like it or not, I am your queen. Since the moment I became Dimitri’s mate,” I retorted at him.
“She’s right,” Damian said, smirking, “You can’t oppose grandfather.” Standing, Damian joined him. “Valkyrie is our queen, like it or not.”
Damian’s grandfather started growling and getting angry. As he was about to say something, we heard a roar somewhere in the castle. The entire castled shook as voices were heard outside.
“What is that?” one councilman said.
Seeing a shadow passed by one of the windows. I heard another roar.
“Are we being attacked?” another voice said. I looked around the room. Something was flying outside, but what? Could it be a dragon tamed by Gabriel?
Damian started yelling something when suddenly one of the walls on the right size exploded. I crouched down as dust started flying around. Debris fell around me. Hearing Damian call my name in a mess.
I coughed and looked to the side. What was that?
Standing up, I cover my mouth. Something was inside the throne room.
“VALKYRIE!” Damian yelled as I moved to see. I saw a dark figure hovering over me. I screamed and backed away. Tripping, I fall on my buttocks. Damian hearing my cry of help rushed up the stairs but stopped when he saw what stood before me. A red dragon with a blue and hazel eye looked down at me. His size was like nothing I’d seen before.
Noticing Damian, I raise my hand and stop him. The red dragon stared at me. Then, crooking his head, he looks down at me.
There was something odd about it.
Gasping, I cover my mouth. The dragon had the same eye colors as me. Shocked by this, I see him lower his head. Then, growling softly, I notice him approach me.
“Valkyrie!” Damian called.
“No, stay!” I said as I kept my eyes on the beast. Panting, I stand up but flinch as he gives a step forward. It was strange, but my fear and shock for him were subsiding. Instead, this familiarity started rising in my heart. “You’re the egg,” I whispered in shock. Growling, the dragon started moving around me.
“What’s this?” one of the elders asked. Their faces were in complete shock.
Surrounding me with its body, the dragon huffed and laid his head down.
“Valkyrie, are you ok?” Damian said as he reached the top.
“Yes,” I breathe, smiling. Then, moving my hand, I tried to touch it, but Damian called my name. “It’s ok, Damian. This dragon… it’s the egg that was in that room.”
“Room?” Damian asked, frowning, “What are you talking about?”
“The room in the south of the palace,” I said, smiling as my hand caresses its scales. Rough and cold scales move under my hand.
“The vault,” Dimitri’s grandfather whispered. Looking at him, we all wait for him to say more. But he falls on his knees and bow. That took me by surprise.
“Grandfather?” Damian called, worried. He looked confused, as everyone else did.
“That’s the treasure that your father left,” Dimitri’s grandfather said as he kept his head down, “That’s the one and only dragon egg gifted by the last dragon queen.”
“Wasn’t it supposed to be Dimitri’s? How come then it’s with the queen?” one elder asked.
All eyes fell on me.
“I might have been there?” I said, gulping down nervously. Then, feeling eyes on him, the dragon growls loud, making everyone, including Damian kneel.
“It seems the dragon egg has acknowledged someone as his master,” Leo said, stepping into the room. A smile on his face. Kneeling, I tried to move, but the dragon tail stopped me.
“Dimitri!” I said as I worried.
“At ease, my queen,” Leo said, standing and smiling, “The king is fine, but he needs our help.”
Smiling, I sigh in relief. Tears started streaming down my face as I swayed from side to side. Feeling my movements, the dragon moves closer. His snout pushed my back. Smiling down at him, I turned and looked at Leo.
“I think it’s time to go and bring our king back,” I said as everyone nodded. “Damian gathered everyone here. It’s time to kill that fucking king.” I said as the dragon behind me roared.