Chapter 52: The King's Punishment
We stood in Kevin’s room, watching her only grow ill by the minute.
Somehow, I didn’t have to tell my father to stand back and let Erebus comfort his little sister—he just did. None of us were sure what happened to her, but we all knew what was going to happen.
I stood near the closet door, my father standing next to me. A few feet away from us, my grandfather stood alongside my grandmother, Tarlac, and Celic.
My attention remained solely on Kevin as my father’s remained on Erebus who sat on the edge of the bed, just beside her. Jordan kneeled on the floor as Hunter stood beside her.
None of us knew why she was sick. None of us but Hunter, Erebus, and Jordan. I couldn’t help but wonder if there was something we could do.
That little girl means a hell of a lot more to me than I thought.
Watching her lay there without being able to stand breaks my heart.
Not long after she lost consciousness, she woke up, but it didn’t last very long, having lost consciousness all over again all but a few minutes after. It was when she awoke again that she started coughing up blood—black blood.
I knew she was well fed, so I did not understand why it was that her blood had turned black.
I was hesitant, approaching them. The second I came to a halt, Hunter’s attention snapped to me. He glared, a low growl emitted from the back of his throat as his jaw clenched.
He was right to not want me near them, but I ignored him, turning my attention to Erebus. “Is there anything I can do to help..?” I asked sincerely.
...that’s what I felt when Erebus ignored me entirely. I glanced at Hunter only to receive another glare from him. A soft sigh passed my lips, my hair rushing to my face as I bowed my head lowly. The second my eyes landed on the light pink carpet floor, Erebus sighed, “No.” The instant he spoke, my attention snapped back to him. “Not unless you’re carrying the cure for a witches’ curse.”
He merely glanced at me before returning his attention to Kevin.
A witches’ curse?
“What do you mean?” I asked, my attention now being solely on Erebus. Another sigh passed his lips and he was hesitant, shifting his gaze to meet my own.
“My parents killed a witches’ coven leader who had been practicing necromancy,” Erebus explained in a low voice. “In return, on Kay’s seventh birthday, she received a...gift from the...leader’s son. That is why she stopped aging at such a young age. Over the years, she grew weaker until she only held the strength of a human child. After that, she just seemed to be tired all of the time.”
Another soft sigh parted his lips as he bowed his head before reverting his attention to Kevin. “Three-hundred years is a long time, but not nearly enough. I should’ve gotten cursed, not her. She’s a child, what does she know? She doesn’t even understand what is happening to her…” his voice trailed off.
I knew that he wanted to mourn for his sister, but he wouldn’t let himself. He was trying to be strong and I knew that he was hoping she’d live a little longer. I mean, who wouldn’t?
I glanced at Tarlac, a shaky breath parting my lips. It seemed that they already knew what I was going to ask before I even got the chance to as Tarlac looked back at me and stated, “There is nothing we can do. There is no cure for a necromancer’s curse.”
My heart dropped at the sound of those words.
A while ago, my grandfather told me the story of how my father and mother got the gift of a traveler. They were cursed and found a cure.
There has to be a way...
I reverted my gaze to meet Kevin, taking a couple of steps closer to her, and I planted a gentle kiss on her forehead. I had merely glanced at Erebus before stepping away and heading for the door.
The second I stepped near the doorway, my grandfather took hold of my arm, forcing me to stop on my tracks. “Where are you going?” He questioned. I could tell he was still upset, but at that point, I really didn’t care.
I huffed, “If you’re not going to do anything to at least try to help her, I will.” I pulled my arm out of his hold, going about my way as I walked past him. I wasn’t going to stand around and just watch her die.
When I walked down the hallway and past the throne room, many of Erebus’ vampires stared at me, and some even bowed their heads in respect.
What happened to all the hissing, glaring, and growling?
As I approached the entrance to the cellar, I noticed Mardel standing where the door should have been. He crossed his arms just beneath his chest, a gun resting on the side of his belt as a dagger hung on the opposite side.
He growled, “What the hell are you doing here, slave?”
I clenched my fists, anger and frustration instantly washing over me. “My name is Silver and I suggest you move out of my fucking way.”
His eyes widened, and without just like that… without hesitating, he bowed his head to me and stepped aside.
Don’t gloat. You haven’t earned anything. They fear your parents, not you.
I had to remind myself that I was only allowed to walk tall for all the wrong reasons.
Swiftly, I moved into the long corridor till I met the cellar. The second I stepped foot into the room, Doraime snapped her attention to me.
“I see you’re okay,” she stated softly, nodding to me.
I slightly shrugged, responding, “I’ve been better.”
She shot me a sly smirk then a slight chuckle emitted from the back of her throat. “You’re welcome,” she taunted. “How’s Erebus doing?”
I ignored her remark, taking a few steps closer till I stood merely a couple of feet away from her. “Give me the cure for a necromancer’s cure,” I demanded.
She eyed me with uncertainty before bursting into laughter. “Oh, sweetheart...” her voice trailed off. After a moment, her laughter muffled and she cleared her throat, explaining, “There is no cure. A necromancer’s curse is like transforming a human into a vampire. There is no way to undo it.”
I growled, protesting, “There has to be!”
She released a sigh in frustration as she rolled her eyes at me.
...that set me off. I scowled at her, “Tell me how to cure a necromancer’s curse, Doraime...”
Again, she eyed me before another sigh of frustration escaped her mouth. She stared at me for a few seconds before clicking her tongue.
Leaning forward, she smirked. “You want to know what the cure is?” she whispered.
I nodded as I crouched down to her eye level.
“Please,” I looked at her with pleading eyes.
The smirk continued to play on her lips as she tilted her head to a side. “Drive your hand through her chest and rip her heart out,” she stated. “There is your cure.”
Please, wake up...
I begged she would open her eyes as I took Kevin’s hand into my own.
I felt as if my heart was slowly being torn out of my chest. Kevin is my everything. I’d taken care of her her entire life. She is like my own child.
She is my little girl…
I knew that one of the reasons she grew so sick within the past couple of hours was because of what Cam did to her. Although her injuries were minor, her body used the last bit of strength to heal her wounds.
And now, it’s killing her...
A deep sigh pulled me out of my thoughts, my gaze shifting to meet Jordan’s. She gave me a small smile, but I could see the tears begin to form at the brim of her eyes.
I wanted to give her reassurance, I wanted to comfort her, but I knew I wasn’t going to fool anyone.
“Big brother…” Kevin’s voice was just above a whisper, instantly drawing my attention to her.
“Kay?” The second I called for her, the corners of her lips curled up to a small smile.
Slowly, her gaze shifted away from me to Jordan’s and stopping at Hunter’s. The second her eyes landed on him, a look of happiness washed over her.
“Bubba!” She exclaimed, her smile instantly growing.
“Hey, kiddo,” Hunter responded softly, giving her a small smile as he leaned to her and planted a kiss on her forehead. “You came home...” She giggled as she glanced at Tarlac. “Thank you, Mister Tarlac!”
That day...that day that they came looking for Celic, Tarlac made her a promise to have Hunter come and see her more often.
Underneath all that he is, I am grateful for him. At least she got one thing that she wanted.
“Big brother...” She called.
“Yes?” I was gentle, bringing her hand up to my lips and planting a kiss.
“It hurts...” her voice shook. With every breath that she took, it seemed as if it pained her to exhale.
Sighing, I nodded. “I know.”
Suddenly, I couldn’t look her in the eye anymore. My heart was breaking and I couldn’t even attempt to hide it.
Another sigh escaped my mouth, “Yes, Kay?”
She lightly squeezed my hand. In doing so, I knew she wanted me to look at her. So, I did. I slowly shifted my gaze to meet hers and she sighed, “I’m tired...” She looked at me with pleading eyes.
Hesitantly, I nodded. “I know.”
As she parted her lips to speak, a knot formed at the edge of my throat. “Big b—” She was cut off, her attention instantly snapping to the doorway. “Hope!” She called out, and again, a big smile spread across her face.
At that point, I didn’t care about anything. I just wanted my sister to be okay. I would have given anything to have her be okay. Sadly, I knew there was nothing I could do.
...and judging by the look on Silver’s face when she approached Kevin, I knew that she found nothing.
I watched Kevin raise her arms and gesture for Silver to hold her. Without hesitation, Silver leaned in to Kevin and hugged her as Kevin wrapped her arms around Silver’s neck.
“Thank you for everything,” she whispered into Silver’s ear. Nodding, Silver slightly pulled away from her and gave her a small smile. “I love you, Miss Hope.”
No, please… Don’t do that...
I had given Silver a side-way glance and I could see the tears building at the brim of her eyes as she gave her a slight nod. “I love you too, Kay.” The second those words left Silver’s mouth, Kay turned her attention to Jordan and gently caressed her cheek.
“I love you, big sister.”
Jordan gave her a small smile, a shaky breath passing her lips, “I love you too, Kay.”
Shifting her gaze to meet Hunter’s, that big smile of hers instantly spread across her face. “I love you, Bubba! Thank you for coming home...” Kevin’s voice trailed off.
Hunter clenched his jaw and nodded. I could tell that he was trying to keep it together for her. So, it took him a while before he was able to speak, “I love you too, Kay.”
Finally, her gaze landed on me. The second my eyes locked with hers, I couldn’t stop the tears from falling. “Don’t cry...” she whispered. “I love you, big brother. Sooo much. Thank you for taking care of me.”
As the last word left her mouth, a soft sob passed my lips, more tears falling from my eyes, and for the life of mine I couldn’t stop them.
“Kay, please don’t do this. I—”
“Stop it!” She whined as she squeezed my hand tighter. I had to restrain myself from breaking. Even when I could barely keep myself together, I did what she wanted: I stopped.
She outstretched her arm to me, wiping the tears from my face. “I know I ask for a lot of things, but I promise if you do one more thing for me, I won’t ask you ever again,” she spoke softly.
I would do anything for her. Anything. So, if there was anything she wanted, all she had to do was ask and it was hers in a heartbeat.
“Okay...” my voice trailed off. She shot me another small smile and took the teddy bear resting beside her, turning it’s back to her. She grasped the small pull tab, unzipping the zipper, she reached into the pocket residing inside of it.
My heart sank when I saw her retrieve a small knife. Placing the bear beside her, she took my hand and placed the knife on my palm. The second that I had touched it, I realized that it was a hunter’s weapon that I was holding.
She sighed as small tears began to build at the brim of her eyes. “I wanna see momma and poppa again...Big brother, it hurts so much...” her voice cracked, the tears slowly trickled down her cheeks.
I shook my head and she only began to cry harder, “I won’t ask for anything anymore, I promise!”
She’s in that much pain?
Maybe she’s just tired of having to fight for every little breath she takes.
This is what she wants...
Would I be selfish if I let her die a slow and painful death just to watch her live another day?
This is what she wants...
Hesitantly, I shifted my gaze to meet Jordan’s. Tears streamed down her face, nonetheless, she nodded in approval. When I shifted my gaze to meet Hunter’s I could see the tears in his eyes, but he wouldn’t let them fall.
He eyed me for a couple of seconds before hesitantly nodding.
Finally, I reverted my attention to Kevin. She looked at me with pleading eyes until I gave her a slight nod. Relief instantly flashed in her eyes.
Can I do this?
This is what she wants...
I released a shaky breath, firmly holding onto the knife before leaning to her.
I closed my eyes, my lips meeting her forehead. “It’s okay...” she whispered. The tears slid past my sealed eyelids, and before I could really grasp onto the reality of what I was doing, I found myself holding that knife against her chest.
“I love you, big brother.” The second those words left her mouth, I pushed the dagger into her chest. A slight whimper emitted from the back of her throat and the second I pulled away to look at her face, she gave me a small smile and mouthed, ‘Thank you.’
In the next second, she was gone.
She was just gone.
I felt as if everything had been stripped away from me.
This is what she wanted…
I know, but this isn’t what I wanted...
I clenched my fists as uncontrollable tears began to stream down my face. Once I realized I wasn’t breathing, I gasped only to have the pain of losing her hit me harder.
The scream I was tired of suppressing escaped my lips, and the second it had done so, I stood up. I took the nightstand, violently throwing it across the room as I allowed myself to feel the pain I always wished I never would.
“Man, fuck this!” Hunter spat before turning on his heels and storming off, Celic quickly running after him. Immediately after, Jordan stood and stormed off as well.
The knot in my throat wouldn’t allow me to breathe. I was done. I was so done with everything. She was the only reason I fought so hard to win the damn crown. I needed both because I wanted to protect her.
Now, there’s nothing left for me to do.
What’s the fucking point of living?
I rose my arms up in defeat, looking at Silver’s father as I cried, “Kill me.”
“No!” Silver’s attempt to get in the way was denied as her grandfather took hold of her. Tears streamed down her face as she pleaded, shaking her head.
Why is she still fighting for me..?
Her father eyed me, though in the next moment, he moved to me, standing but a mere few inches before me. Once his gaze met mine, he came to a halt and smirked.
“No. I’m not going to kill you. Death offers more mercy than you deserve,” he stated lowly. “You’re going to live with this. The guilt, betrayal, grief. It’ll eat you away from the inside out.” A sinister chuckle emitted from the back of his throat as he took a single step closer.
“This is your punishment, King.”
Before I could mutter a word, he took hold of the back of my head and forced me to look into his eyes as he said the following words. “You will feel this pain so intensely and with every waking breath that you take you will remember that grieving moment hits that much harder for what you did to my daughter.”
At his command, my mind refused to let go of the part of me that wanted so badly to let me die so that I could finally let go of all of the anger and loathing that poisoned me for so long.
Without another word, he turned on his heels and walked off, taking hold of Silver’s upper arm, and practically dragging her away.
...this is my punishment...