ashes and snow

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eight


As quiet as she could, she sneaked out of their covers. She needed to get outside, the expanded air in this castle too much for her to bear.

Careful about the creaking timber, she placed her feet on the floor.

One wrong step and she could be caught, no magic in this world would help her with this man in the room.

She still needed to figure out why her magic didn’t work on him as it should have.

Her white nightgown swayed against her feet as she made her way to the armchairs. They stood next to the windows, her brown, silken dressing gown neatly placed on top of them.

She settled it over her shoulders, peering out of the window in curiosity. Like she had seen out of the eyes of another a few seconds ago, the world was covered in a thick layer of snow, outdoing every color the world had to possess. Mother nature had worked her wonders yet again.

A set of louder snores echoed around the room.

Her shoulders tensed, and she turned around. She narrowed her eyes on the person on the bed. The king’s snoring was still too persistent for her.

She needed to get out before she would do something reckless. Something that would ruin everything she wanted for the future.

Her bare feet made no sound on the ground as she moved passed the bed and the sleeping king. He was a deep sleeper, not one of the types to wake up at any given sounds.

But still- she was careful.

She couldn’t know what to expect from him yet- she hadn’t known him long enough. Usually, she would keep him asleep by the force of her magic- what obviously wouldn’t work with him.

Everything would be more manageable if it wasn’t for this misfortune.

She stopped a few steps before the door as she heard him move around, the sheets rustling quietly. The snores stopped, and she stilled entirely.

She gave a grave look to the bed to make sure the male was still fast asleep. He laid on his back now, his right arm rested above his face. He had moved, yes, but his eyes were still closed.

It was all she needed to see to turn and continue her way.

She planned on leaving for an hour or so, coming back just before he could wake up. His usual sleep schedule had shown her that this could work. Taking one step outside couldn’t end that bad.

Even if it was, it would be worth it to her either way.

Eira stopped in front of the wooden door, hearing for the guard that must still stand outside. One of them had always been there to guard them, even throughout the night.

She knew it was for safety measures, but still, it bothered her to no end. The sounds they’d make would never stop echoing around in her mind, letting her know that she was never truly alone.

Instead of only one heartbeat, which would usually come from Zeno, she was able to make out two of them.

To make sure she hadn’t misheard anything, she laid her ear against the door and placed her hand on it to steady herself.

She had been right, the guard wasn’t alone. Two were now standing in the hall, guarding them in silence.

She closed her eyes and groaned quietly.

Maybe, just maybe, she could get passed them. If she closed the door behind her, and there was no sign of the king, she could use her powers on them.

Her gaze found the golden door handle.

Careful, not to make any sounds, she wrapped her fingers around the cold metal.

But as she went to press it down, a hand landed on her shoulder, stopping her.

“Where are we going?” the dark voice that could only belong to her husband asked. His voice sent a shiver running down her spine. How hadn’t she heard him?

Her hand grabbed his as she turned around. She forced it away from her before she looked up to him.

His dark hair was tousled from his sleep, a grim look onto his sharp features. He tilted his head to the side, awaiting her answer. Something told her he wouldn’t budge until he had what he wanted.

She moved backward until her back was pressed against the door. Contracting her shoulders inwards, she tried to let herself look smaller, intimidated almost. “I just wanted-”

He waved his hand in the air, gesturing for her to keep going.

“I needed some fresh air,” she said timidly.

She let her gaze move down to his bare chest. Not caring, he forced her head up roughly to meet his eyes again. His touch almost burned her skin yet again.

“I don’t know how you got out the last time,” he spoke, “but I made sure that it will never happen again.”

Eira swallowed. Her hands started to shake as she tried to seem afraid. It was humiliating, but the only thing she could do to not let her cover flop.

“I didn’t-”

“We must not speak lies,” he whispered. They breathed the same air as he tilted his head down, trying to trap her in his burning gaze.

She wanted to stare back, yell at him, but there was nothing she could do. It wasn’t the time to show dominance, not yet.

He pressed his body against hers, pushing her against the door. The door handle pressed into her side, silently coaxing her to hurt him too. It would be so easy. So damn easy to break him- even without her powers.

How much she wanted to wrap her fingers around his neck, choking him until his face would turn blue. She would look into his lifeless eyes and laugh, celebrating the change that would come with his passing.

But she refused to.

It wasn’t the time yet, he would have to go through much more before he would enter the gates to hell. He would meet old friends of her, and she would tell them to do their worst.

She would take over what belonged to him and scatter his ashes around the world he had lost.

The king took a step back from her, giving her the space he had taken from her. She remained pressed onto the door, though. No one could predict what would happen to a young woman otherwise.

“Your maids will come soon and provide for your clothing. After they are finished, we will leave."


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