Elemental Heir : Book 1 Of The Elemental Heir Series

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Chapter 32



My nerves were completely and utterly shot as I stared into the floor length mirror. I should’ve been panicking. But I’d been through so many emotions in the last week. It was as if I’d simply... Run out.

I felt strangely calm, as if it were any other night. It didn’t feel like I was about to be the victim of a very powerful, very painful, very life changing public rune removal ritual. Perhaps it was a good thing that I didn’t feel afraid. Though, it was unnerving... To feel nothing.

I wore a long, flowing, silk white gown. The only part of the dress that wasn’t white was a beautiful, intricate design in the midsection, made of silver beads. My make up was done beautifully, my lips stained a deep red. The lack of color in my appearance seemed to mirror my mindset.

I had not seen Dristan since he left the public lashing with Andromeda in his arms. He was probably still with her, as well as Torryn, in the infirmary. I sent a prayer up to the gods that they were both recovering swiftly.

And Dristan... I prayed that he, too, was okay.

A familiar, loud whooshing sound startled me out of my day dreaming, and I immediately ran from the bedroom, through the living room, and into the kitchen.

Dristan stood in the doorway of the balcony, his wings tucked in tightly, his hair a wild array of dark tufts around his horns. His eyes met mine, the deep, cerulean orbs swimming with tension and anxiety.

We stared at each other as if we were both carved from stone... And for the first time since the whipping, I felt something stir inside of me.

He moved at the same time that I did. He stalked through the open room, his eyes never leaving mine, as I ran toward him. He opened his arms and I launched myself into his embrace.

His earth and pine needle scent filled my senses. The warm strength of his arms wrapped around me, holding me to him, as he buried his face in my hair and inhaled. I closed my eyes, my cheek pressed against his chest, and cherished the sound of his heart beating within him.

“Brenya....” He sighed in relief.

The deep sound of his voice reverberated through his chest, making it sound deeper than it was, and I smiled against him.

This was my comfort. He was my comfort. He was my relief, when all else was lost. He was my home.

“I missed you.” I said, pulling back and looking up into his dear face. “Are you alright?”

He gazed down at me fondly.

He looked exhausted.

“I’m better now.” He said gently, lifting his hand and brushing his thumb over my cheek.

“How are they?” I asked, trying not to let him distract me.

His face fell. “They are... Quite well, actually. They were treated for their wounds and healed very quickly. They left the infirmary only a few hours after they arrived.”

I furrowed my brows at him. “You don’t sound very pleased about that.”

He sighed though his nose. “I am pleased that they are healed... Of course... But...”

My eyes alternated between his own. “But... What?”

He was silent for a moment as his weary eyes trailed over the details of my face.

“I envy them.” He whispered at last.

My chest ached. I closed my eyes, trying to keep my emotions at bay. Of course he envied them. I did, too... They were like us, in a way. Secretly in love, all that time... But they had something that we would never have. They got their happy ending. They were mates. They got to have each other, despite all of the odds being against them. And we would never have that.

“So do I...” I said softly, my voice breaking a bit.

He pulled me against him again, his hands trailing up and down my back in sure, strong strokes. I sighed deeply at the comforting sensation.

“Are you feeling nervous?” He asked after a few moments, changing the depressing subject.

“I know I should be... But I’m not.. Not really... I’m ready.” I answered.

His arms tightened around me. “You can still change your mind, and do this privately. You don’t have to do this in front of everyone.”

I shook my head against his chest. “No. They need to see it. And I need them to watch. If I am going to change... Become whatever it is that I am... It won’t only change me. It’ll change all of our lives. It’ll be the beginning of our best chance in this war... And I need them, just as much as they need me. I don’t want to go through it alone...”

“Hey...” He said, pulling me from him. He gripped my shoulders tightly and stared down into my eyes. His brows furrowed, the deep V between them popping out.

“I have told you this before, and I will tell you a thousand more times, Brenya. You are not alone. You will never be alone. The people... And me... Will always be by your side.”

I smiled weakly up at him. “I know.”

“You are going to do just fine. You are the strongest, most intelligent, most stubborn woman I’ve ever met. And I know that you will do great things.”

My smiled widened. “And with such an impossible, perfect, grouchy, overgrown lizard at my side, I won’t be so afraid .”

He chuckled softly. And then his smile fell. My smile fell along with his as I realized the mistake in my choice of words. For it wasn’t Dristan, who would be at my side. It would be Ronan.

I slid my hands up his chest, his shoulders, his neck, and entangled my fingers into his dark hair. His hands left my shoulders, sliding down my sides, and resting at my hips, as we stared at each other sadly.

“It will always be you.” I whispered.

I watched as his slitted pupils dilated a fraction. His grip tightened at my waist as his eyes trailed down my face and landed on my lips.

“I love you, Dristan.” I added softly.

And then his lips were on mine.

He pulled my hips against his own as his tongue swept across my lower lip. I parted my mouth wider, meeting the heat of his tongue with my own, as his hands traveled over my lower back and then gripped the soft flesh of my backside.

His tongue nudged mine gently, a different sensation than his usual desperate force. The kiss was much slower, much more soft than usual. It was as if I could feel his love poring out of him...

I gasped in surprise as he lifted me up and set me on top of the kitchen island, as he’d done once before. I wrapped my legs around him and moaned as I felt his stiff member pressing against my core through our clothing.

“The things you make me feel, Brenya....” He murmured against my mouth.

His hand snaked up my back and knotted into the loose hair at the nape of my neck while his other hand trailed up my belly. He sucked my lower lip into his mouth and gently held it between his teeth. At the same time, his hand wrapped around my breast. He pressed his palm against me, moving his hand in a soft, slow circle, as he kneaded the sensitive mound of flesh.

I writhed my hips against his hard member and he hissed, biting down harder on my lip. I winced in response, causing him to immediately release my lip and sweep his tongue over the swollen bite mark.

He was driving me mad. I ground my hips against him again and he groaned deeply. “Please, let me touch you... Let me feel you...” I begged.

He opened his eyes, staring warily into my own, as we shared breath. His expression was heated, longing and yet hesitant.

“Please...” I whispered, rolling my hips against him a third time. Warm liquid pooled between my legs. “Let me please you... I need to show you how you make me feel...”

His pupils dilated as his nostrils flared, scenting my arousal. A deep growl crept up his throat as he stared at me, his wings flaring slightly behind him.

He wasn’t saying no....

I reached down between our hips, pressing my palm against the swollen bulge of his cock. A soft sound escaped my lips, something between a gasp and a moan, as I felt the staggering length of him.

He growled again, flexing his hips, pushing himself further into my hand. The sound excited me and I fumbled for the zipper of his pants, desperate to see him, to feel him without the barrier of his clothing.

But he was too fast.

I squealed in surprise as he scooped me up, capturing my lips with his own. He carried me into the living room and dropped me in a heap onto the couch.

“Dristan!” I complained. He stood above me, his wings flared widely now, behind his back.

“Be still.” He said with lethal calm, his eyes blazing down at me. I clamped my lips shut as I gazed up at him, unsure what to expect next.

He reached for the button at the top of his pants and flicked it open with his thumb. I felt my eyes widening as his fingers moved to his zipper. His eyes never left mine as he pulled it down.

He slid his pants and briefs down over his hips and my mouth opened in shock.

His cock sprung free, every glorious inch of him standing tall and proud, as he stared down at me with darkening eyes. He wrapped his large hand around the thick base of his shaft. It didn’t even cover a fourth of the length of him.

“Is this what you want?” He asked, his voice husky.

I gaped at him, lost for words. Even once I was Fae, I was not sure how he was going to fit that inside of me. But damn it all, if I wouldn’t try.

I moved forward, sliding to the edge of the sofa, as I stared up into his eyes. His pupils dilated further, nearly blown completely black, as my hands slowly slid up his thighs.

I lowered my gaze as he moved his hand away, revealing all of himself to me. Eager, nervous and curious, I wrapped both of my hands around him. He snarled softly at the contact and I inhaled sharply, amazed at the feel of him in my hands.

He was like solid rock, wrapped in soft, warm velvet. I squeezed him gently and rotated my wrists a bit as I stroked my hands up, and then back down the length of him, just once.

He hissed, and I glanced up to find his head tilted back, his eyes squeezed tightly shut. A thrill went though my body.

For the first time since we’d met... I was in charge. I was in control of him, now. And it was the most powerful, intimidating, exciting feeling I’d ever experienced in my life.

I pumped my hands up and down his shaft again, more firmly this time, and a small bead of liquid appeared at the tip of him. My mouth watered as I wondered what he tasted like.

Without a moment of thought or hesitation, I leaned forward and ran the length of my tongue over the wide head of his cock. He tasted sweet, with a subtle hint of saltiness, and I moaned in pleasure at the sensual flavor.

“Fuck!” He gasped, pulling his hips away slightly.

You’re not going anywhere. I am in control, now.

I tightened my hands around him and scooted off of the couch, kneeling on my knees in front of him. I glanced up at him as I moved closer and found him staring down at me, his eyes wide and burning like two pits of smoldering coals.

I kept my eyes on his as I flicked my tongue out a second time, barely grazing the tip of his cock. He growled and bared his teeth, his fangs glistening in the dim light.

And then I unleashed myself upon him.

I moved my hands to the base of his shaft and wrapped my lips around him, swirling my tongue around the smooth head of his manhood. I sheathed my teeth behind my lips and took him further into my mouth, pressing my hands back, toward his hips.

He groaned in pleasure as the heat of my tongue writhed against him, over and over again.

I took as much of him into my mouth as I could, moving my tongue side to side underneath his member, and then moved back again, pulling my hands with me. The slickness of my saliva coated my hands, making it easier to move them up and down his shaft, as I pumped my mouth up and down him.

His hands entangled into my hair as I pleasured him, and he began to move his hips in time with my movements. His growling snarls of satisfaction became more intense as I picked up the pace, worshiping him with my mouth.

I lifted my gaze, desperate to see his face. His eyes were on me, wanton and animalistic, as he watched me work him.

“Fucking hell...” He gasped as I clamped my lips around him even more tightly.

I did not break eye contact as I swirled my tongue around the head of him, took him into the back of my throat, and repeated the process. Each time I pulled back, I swirled my tongue around the wide, flat surface, before plunging him back into my throat again.

My jaw began to ache, widened and stretched to the limit with the width of him, but I didn’t care. Up and down I went, praising his manhood in the only way he would let me, working him in the most intimate of ways. I didn’t stop. I didn’t slow down.

I wanted him to come undone before me.

“If you don’t stop... I’m going to...” He panted, flexing his hips over and over as he watched me take him higher.

A thrill went through me at the sound of his breathless, gravely voice and I squeezed my hands tighter, pumping him faster, and sucking him harder.

“Fuck.. Fuck...” He growled, his body growing tense. The flexing of his hips grew erratic and jerky as I brought him closer and closer to the edge.

His hands tightened their grip on my hair as his trusting became even more convulsive. I moaned around him, knowing that he was close, and that it was because of what I was doing to him. The pleasure of giving him pleasure what unlike anything I’d known before.

“Brenya, stop... If you don’t want me to come into your mouth...”

I clamped my lips around him tighter, accentuating my desire for him to do exactly that... I wanted to taste him, I wanted to take him, to experience all of what he had to give me.

He growled in approval at my eagerness, his hands tightening even further into my hair. It hurt, but I didn’t care.

He halted my movements, holding my head in place, as he trust himself into my mouth once, twice, three more times.

He roared as his release shot into my mouth, splashing across my tongue, filling me with the sweet, salty taste of him. The heat of the delicious liquid spurting onto my tongue made me moan in absolute ecstasy, and he panted as he watched me take it all.

He stilled and I swallowed his essence, licking my lips as he pulled himself from my mouth.

He dropped to his knees in front of me, taking my face in both of his hands, as his still lust filled eyes alternated between my own.

“How many times have you done that before?” He growled, his face suddenly angry.

I blinked at him in surprise. “Never.”

His eyes widened as he gaped at me. “What?”

I furrowed my brows. “I-I’ve had sex before... a couple of times, with one person... But I’ve never done that before.”

“But, how? You... Gods, Brenya, no one has ever gotten me off that way before.”

My eyes widened as a flash of pride swelled inside of me. “Really?”

His lips crashed into mine. His tongue forced my lips apart, trashing wildly against my own. I was sure he could still taste himself on me, but that didn’t seem to bother him. I moaned as he lifted me off of the floor and pulled us onto the couch with me in his lap, straddling him.

“Brenya... Will you ever stop surprising me?” He asked breathlessly, his tongue sweeping across my lower lip.

I smiled against his mouth. “No. It’s too much fun.”

He growled, trailing kisses down my jawline. “You maddening woman... I love you.”

I buried my face in his hair, smiling widely. “I love you, too.”


Dristan left shortly after that, as both of us needed to prepare for the ritual. It was only a couple of hours away, now. I’d carefully cleaned my mouth, ridding myself of any trace or scent of him on me. I had to shower again, but avoided my hair and face, not wanting to ruin my make up.

I sat on the couch, watching the seconds tick by on the wall clock. I counted down each minute, my nerves growing more and more prevalent as I did.

And before I knew it, much too soon, there was a knock at my front door. I slowly padded to the door, smoothing out my flowing, white gown. When I pulled it open, Ronan smiled down at me.

“Princess...” He said, extending his arm toward me.

I hooked my arm through his as I shut the door and began walking down the corridor with him.

“Are you ready to make history?” He asked, raising a brow at me.

I stared up at him blankly before turning my face forward again.

“I’m ready.”


I stared up at the ceiling as I laid on top of a stone table, which had been placed at the front of the stage. Someone had lined standing torches all around the vast, empty room, casting a soft glow about it.

There were several Fae males near the side of the stage, seated in front of several, large drums. Their faces were painted with white lines and they stared into the crowd blankly as they began to slowly beat on their percussion instruments.

I turned my head to the side. The massive crowd of people below was as silent as death as they watched me with wide eyes. My eyes swept across the front of the crowd, searching... Searching for...

Dristan.

He stood in the very center, his hands folded behind his back. His intense, ocean eyes were glued to mine, his brows furrowed with tension.

Andi and Torryn stood to this left, Warrick to his right. I looked at them all in turn, smiling weakly at them.

Andromeda and Torryn were completely healed. They looked happier than I’d ever seen them before, as they stood there, hand in hand. My heart swelled for them, and broke for myself, at the same time. I hoped that they knew how lucky they were.

Ronan walked to the front of the stage, a large, crystal bowl in his hands. The beating of the drums began to grow louder, increasing in tempo. I turned my face back toward the ceiling as he finally spoke.

“Tonight is a very special night! Tonight, you will all bear witness as Princess Brenya is stripped of her human form and returned to her Fae form, for the first time in eighteen years!”

The crowd broke out in a deafening applause, shouting and screaming their praises and approval, as Ronan raised the bowl above his head. I squeezed my eyes shut at the noise.

“You should all know... That this ritual was intended to be private. But, your Princess... Your future Queen... She wanted you all to experience her transformation along side her. She wanted to show you all just how much pain she is willing to endure to fulfill her role in all of this. She wanted you to see, as she becomes who she was meant to be! Your Queen!”

The applause grew louder, the shouting echoing off of the walls, traveling through the empty space of the giant room. I focused on breathing evenly through my nose. The drumming grew more intense.

When I opened my eyes again, I found Ronan standing above me. He looked down at me with an unreadable expression.

“Give me your hand, Princess.” He said softly. The drums and shouting were so loud that I hardly heard him, having to rely mostly on reading his lips.

I lifted my hand slowly, my panic growing more and more present. He took my hand in his and spread it open, exposing my palm. He lifted his other hand and the gleam of the knife in his fist made my eyes widen.

“I need your blood.” He said, lowering the knife to my palm, making his intention clear. I swallowed and nodded as I watched him.

He sliced into the sensitive skin of my palm and I winced as the crimson liquid sprang free. Ronan closed my fingers into a fist and held my hand over the crystal bowl. The bowl was filled with an array of crushed herbs, and smelled strange.

My blood dripped into the bowl, coating the dried herbs in its ruby hue. After a full minute, Ronan released my hand. He stepped away, turning toward the crowd, and repeated the process with his own hand. I watched blankly as his blood dripped into the bowl, joining with mine.

He pulled two vials from his pocket and deposited their contents into the bowl as well. They were the hair samples, collected from the corpses of my parents. I felt my stomach heaving as I thought of them.

The drumming grew even louder, the beat growing even faster, as Ronan approached me again.

“Pull your knees up.” He ordered me calmly, his eyes sparkling with excitement.

I felt my heart rate increasing as I obeyed, bending my knees and pulling my feet toward my bottom.

“Spread your legs, my Queen.” He whispered, his eyes darkening.

I felt my throat bob as I hesitantly parted my legs. The fabric of my dress fell over the sides of my thighs and between my knees, covering my sensitive areas from him. But my thighs were fully exposed.

His eyes traveled down my face, my shoulders, my chest, my abdomen, and stopped between my parted legs. I turned my head to the side and found Dristan, desperate for some form of comfort.

His eyes burned into mine, scorching the edges of my soul. He stood stock still, as stiff as a board, as he watched the scene unfolding before him. I wasn’t sure he was even breathing.

“Your true self will come forth, soon, my bride.” Ronan said, brushing his fingers across the rune on my inner thigh. I winced and squeezed my eyes shut at the feel of his skin on mine.

When I opened my eyes again, Ronan was reaching into the bowl, scooping out a handful of the strange, foul smelling concoction.

The drums continued to grow more and more wild as he smeared the disgusting mixture onto my thigh, covering the rune with it. He added another, thick handful of the substance before he stepped away.

He came around the side of the table, facing the crowd, and stood over me.

He placed one hand on my forehead, while the other hand clamped down over my thigh, directly on top of the rune.

The drums stopped suddenly, and the sound of my panicked panting could be heard across the stillness of the crowd.

Ronan stared down at me, his intense, powder blue eyes shining with exhilaration. Our eyes remained locked for what seemed like an eternity...

And then the drums began to pound again, the intense beat reverberating through the stone table and into my bones.

And then, Ronan spoke.

But it wasn’t our language. It was the ancient language. His eyes took on the same horrific, red glow that they had when he’d marked me. He held my stare, and began to recite the anti-spell.

“Galwaf ar yr hen dduwiau a’r newydd. Mae gwaed hudol yn rhedeg trwy fy wythiennau ac rwy’n dal pwer hynafol.”

My breath instantly hitched in my throat as a searing, burning pain shot from the palm of his hand and into my leg. It felt like he’d pressed a blazing hot iron against my skin, burning through the muscle, straight to the bone.

I tried to suck in a lungful of air as my eyes shot open and stared at the ceiling, but the pain had literally paralyzed me. I couldn’t move, aside from my eyes. Inside, I was screaming.

“Mae duwiau yn fy helpu i adfer yr hyn a gymerwyd unwaith.”

The pain shot outward, creeping down my legs, and up my belly. I felt as if I were being submerged in boiling water, the intense heat melting the flesh from my body. I opened my mouth and choked out a pained cry, desperately trying to breath, to scream... To do anything, really.

Distantly, I heard the crowd gasp, and I thought I saw Dristan move toward me before Warrick pulled him back. But it was diffucult to tell, difficult to be aware of anything apart from the horrible agony spreading throughout my body. I squeezed my eyes shut as tears rolled down the sides of my face and into my ears.

“adfer ei chnawd! adfer ei ffurflen! adfer yr hyn sydd wedi’i guddio!”

The torturous pain climaxed, engulfing my entire body, and my eyes shot open wide. Pain like I’d never known could exist exploded inside of me, and in that moment, I wished for death.

My back bowed off of the table as a blood curdling scream erupted from my lips. My entire body began to convulse, trashing on the hard stone, and I could no longer see. Blackness enveloped my vision as shouting and mayhem ignited from the crowd.

I seized on the table, my head, arms, legs and back thrashing painfully against the hard surface, and I was suddenly aware of several pairs of hands holding me down. I could hear voices, but I couldn’t make sense of what they were saying.

I screamed again as my thigh began to throb and burn even more intensely.

Cut it off... Just cut it off...

I thought, as my leg ignited in invisible flames. But I couldn’t form words to beg anyone to help me. I couldn’t speak or scream for someone to kill me, right then and there.

Suddenly, I felt weightless. Confusion accompanied the pain as I felt myself being lifted into the air. I opened my eyes, struggling to see what was happening, but I was blinded by a bright, luminous light.

I screwed my eyes shut again at the light. And I sighed in relief as the consuming, burning pain inside of me began to subside, and a new pain began to take over.

My gums began to ache and sting. I opened my mouth as a strange pulling sensation filled my mouth. I ran my tongue along my teeth and gasped as I realized that my canines had elongated, sharpening into deadly points.

Next, my ears began to throb and burn, and another, strange tugging sensation began inside of them. I reached up and ran my fingers along the tops of my ears to find that they, too, had elongated. The tips of my ears were arched backward, and formed delicate points near the ends.

And as all of my pain bled away, replaced with a foreign, newfound feeling of wellness, I opened my eyes. I sucked in a sharp breath as I realized I was floating in the air.

I was suspended about twenty feet off of the ground, gazing down at the crowd of stunned faces below me. Some were crying with joy, some hugging, some even backing away in fear.

I lifted my hands in front of my face and flexed my fingers, marveling at how strong I suddenly felt. I inhaled and exhaled slowly, and found that even my breath seemed to come easier. I felt new, as if I’d just been born, as if my body had never been used before.

But my elation was instantly forgotten as my ears flooded with sound. I winced at the intruding noise. I could hear things that people were whispering to each other far below, even though I shouldn’t have been able to hear them from so high up.

Strange, new scents filled my nose, disorienting me. I blinked at my surroundings in confusion. Every sight was sharper, more colorful. Every sound louder, every smell more intense. It was overwhelming and a sudden fear turned my blood to ice.

“Make it stop!” I yelled, covering my new, pointed ears with my hands. I squeezed my eyes shut, desperate for relief from the overwhelming stimulation of the crowd below me.

A hush fell upon the room and I sighed in relief.

I felt myself lowering, the magical suspension subsiding. I drifted back toward the floor while the glowing light around me faded, and I scanned the crowd with fresh, new eyes.

Each face that I settled my gaze upon seemed different, though I knew I had seen them before. They were more detailed, more clear. My heart should’ve been pounding inside of my chest. The adrenaline and anxiety should’ve caused me to hyperventilate...

But my breathing remained steady. My heart remained slow and strong.... Because I wasn’t a frail, simple little human anymore.

I was Fae.

My bare feet touched down onto the cool, smooth table. The group of stunned magical beings stared at me, still silent, as I was reborn in front of their eyes.

A few moments passed...

And then my hand began to tingle. I furrowed my brows in confusion and lifted my hand, studying it closely.

My eyes widened as I realized that the Fae ring on my finger was glowing, bright and florescent, in a way that it had never done before. It pulsed against my skin with an ancient, powerful force, and I grasped it with my fingers.

Holding my breath, with everyone watching, I gently pulled at the ring.

It moved.

A sound left my lips, a cross between a gasp and a laugh, as I slid the ring down my finger. It had been stuck there for weeks, un-moving, no matter how hard I pulled on it. And now, it was sliding right off...

I removed the ring completely and held it up, studying it in the light. The skin on my finger, where the ring had been, now felt cold and empty.

The ring began to glow brighter, and my lips parted as something unexpected happened.

It transformed.

The band of the ring broke apart and separated, elongating into a thin, flat rod. The rubies across the band came together, and then extended in two smaller rods, near the end of the white gold stem. The large, sparkling diamond began to travel up the rod, toward the other end. It settled at the tip, glimmering at me, as it snapped into place.

Gods above....

It was a key.

“What the hell is that?” I heard Ronan say from somewhere to my left.

I didn’t answer as I studied the bejeweled key, perplexed and amazed that I’d unknowingly been carrying a key instead of a ring, all this time.

But what did it unlock?

Ronan realized I wasn’t answering him, and I was certain he was scowling at me, but I was too stunned to care.

He cleared his throat and stepped forward on the stage. He threw his arms out to his sides and smiled warmly at the murmuring crowd.

“Your Princess is reborn!” He bellowed, pumping his fists into the air.

Cheering, shouting, and an explosion of drumming sounded across the room and I gazed out across the sea of people as they began to bow before me.

“Hail the Elemental Heir!”

“Happiness be upon you, our future Queen!”

“The Gods have blessed us today!”

I felt a smile creeping across my lips as I met several of their tear stained faces. They loved me. They would follow me, to any end, and gladly fight at my side. They were my family, now. My people...

I turned to the right, searching for the one face that I wanted to see above anyone else’s. I found him, standing to the right of me, gazing up at my towering form atop the table.

And as my new eyes met with his sapphire depths...

The earth fell away from beneath my feet.

I stilled as something inside of me snapped into place.

Shock.

Confusion.

Love.

Bliss.

Every scent, every sound, everything around me faded away... Every instinct in my body, every molecule of my existence, every thought in my mind, zeroed in on the Dragon Lord that stood below me.

I couldn’t see anything apart from him, couldn’t hear a single sound, couldn’t even remember what my own name was, as his wide eyes burned into me.

Nothing else existed. Nothing but him and I.

My lips parted in realization as my very soul seemed to exit my body, reaching toward him. I could somehow feel his own soul doing the same.

The invisible force of everything that either of us were made of stretched out, crashing into the other, fusing and twining into one, living, breathing thing.

He was mine, and I was his, and nothing in this world, or any other world, could ever tell either of us differently. It was destiny, it was fate, it was everything and nothing, all at once.

Dristan fell to his knees, his deep blue eyes still searing into mine.

“Oh my gods...” I whispered.

Everyone around us went still, their eyes zeroing in on me and their Dragon Lord. I was vaguely aware of their eyes alternating between him and I, confused and concerned, as we stared at each other in absolute awe.

“What the fuck are you doing?!” Ronan growled, stepping toward us. I ignored him, unable to look away from the deep, ocean eyes that were now seeing straight into my soul in the most literal of ways.

Everyone turned their eyes to Dristan, just as the most beautiful word I’d ever heard him say, fell from his trembling lips.

Mate...”



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