My eyes shot open as air blasted into my lungs. I felt my legs give out, as my mind re-established itself. I coughed as my lungs tried to bring in air. I blinked a few times as my mind finally got its grip on reality. I looked at everyone around me.
Nix was on the ground in front of me. Her hands were gripped to my shoulders, her mouth moving in words I could not hear. I frowned at her and moved my eyes past her face. Grace and Kallum stood behind her, a look of worry and happiness mixed on their faces.
" - Okay? Ariella, look at me." My ears rang before they popped and caught the last of the words Nix was saying to me.
I blinked at her a few times before I found my own voice. "I-I'm fine."
I looked around me. My eyes skipping over the fallen bodies, to the faces of my family, the men and women who had dropped their weapons and were now watching us.
My mind was itching in the back of my skull. I saw so many people that I knew, so many different people but I wasn't seeing that one face I found myself searching for. My foggy mind was struggling to place where I was, what had happened.
"Where's Rupert?" I heard Kallum's voice come from behind Nix.
Just like that, my brain finally clicked. My eyes shot wide before I scrambled to get myself up.
"Oh my God," I whispered. My feet slipped on the grass as I struggled to get myself off the ground.
I finally pushed myself up. My legs felt like they were air as I ran as fast as I could back towards the castle. Everything around me was a blur. All I could think about was Rupert. Had he died alone? Was he still alive? Did he know that I couldn't live without him?
I felt my heart in my throat as I saw his body laying on the ground in front of the castle doors. I ran to him and fell to my knees beside him. I reached my hands out and brushed his blood and dirt-stained hair away from his stained face. I brushed my thumb across his dry lips. I studied his face, my eyes travelled down his neck to his chest that was slowly rising and falling. I grabbed his hands and pulled them back from his stomach, where they were resting on top of his wound.
I grabbed his shirt with shaking hands and ripped the material away from him. I ran my hands across his stomach in complete shock. The wound that had gone all the way through him was gone the only thing that was left was the sticky blood that was still on his skin.
I let out a soft cry as I felt his hand reach up to touch the side of my arm. I turned to look at him. My eyes widened in shock, not understanding how this had happened. His hand moved up my arm and to the side of my face. His eyes were half-closed as he gave me a soft smile. He let out a soft groan as he tried to move.
"Don't move." I reached up and placed my hand over the top of his on the side of my face.
"What happened?" I heard Grace's voice.
I turned to look at her. "He was stabbed," I whispered looking down at him. "I thought he was going to die, b-but he's fine." I frowned looking back down at him. "I don't understand."
Nix moved beside me. She placed a hand on my shoulder. "You hold very powerful magic inside of you, Ariella." She smiled. "The magic has chosen you from the moment you stepped back into this world. When you shifted out of your body did you touch him?" She asked.
"Yeah, I did." I remembered holding his face in my hands. "I held his face in my hands and kissed his forehead."
"Sometimes that is all that needs to be done to save those who you love." She smiled at me. "He will be fine, it'll take a few days for him to be back on his feet. His body will need to heal." She gave my shoulder a squeeze before she turned back to Kallum and Grace.
"What now?" She asked.
Kallum gave Grace's hand a squeeze before he turned back to those who were left from the battle.
"Those of you who are from the Carnelian Kingdom, you no longer have any royal family to keep your town sustained. Your conditions are poor in the Carnelian Kingdom, for that I understand if you do not want to return. I offer you a place to stay. Return to your town, tell those who remain what has happened here. Tell them that Emerald City offers out a hand, a place to start fresh. If you do not wish to stay here, I understand. I will send a message to the Kingdoms around us to accept those of you that are searching for a new home." Kallum spoke with authority and strength.
"To those who stand I commend you for your strength. May your future be one of peace and happiness." Grace spoke up, her hand held onto Kallums. Kallum began to speak again, this time I drowned out his voice and focused on what mattered to me the most.
My eyes drifted from them and back down to Rupert. His eyes were fully open now. His face held pain, as his body worked at repairing itself.
"I thought I had lost you," I whispered.
"It'll take more than getting stabbed to get rid of me." He let out a small cough has his lungs tried to take in air.
I let out a soft smile, I leaned down and placed a soft kiss to his lips.
"I know. You won't be going anywhere for a very long time." I grabbed his hand and helped pull him into a sitting position. "We have a full life to live, and a lot of missed time to catch up on."
He let out a soft groan as he tried to stand. He pulled me towards him, his arms wrapped around me in a tight hug. His nose was pressed against my neck. I felt his lips place a soft kiss before he looked me in the eyes.
"I can think of a few ways that we can make up for lost time." His voice was low.
"Hey." I gave him a low warning tone. He smiled down at me and pressed his lips to mine.
"Don't worry Little-bug. I got all the time in the world to make up for wasted time and take care of you." He kissed me one more time before he leaned himself against me to help him into the castle.
"For now, I'll take care of you." I looked up at the side of his face as we slowly moved together. He turned to look at me, a small smile spread across his lips.
"Have I told you that I love you?" He asked. I smiled up at him.
"I love you too." I said. "Now, let me take you to bed."
He let out a soft chuckle before it turned into another groan of pain. "Baby, you can tell me that every day and I'll always follow."