I hadn’t heard from Daimon since the arena, and I was getting worried. We had a plan to take over the world practically. I tried to talk to him through my mind, but I got no reply, maybe the necklace was cutting the connection.
My guards took me to a different wing of the magistrate, one that I haven’t been to before. I was not able to walk on my own, and one of my guards had to carry me down the many halls. I was unsure where we were going, but based on the sad looks on my guard’s faces, it wasn’t going to be good for me.
I was still struggling to breathe and wanted the suffering to end, but I was not going to get that luxury. The guards stopped in front of a large door, one that I had never seen before. Made of iron with intricate designs on it, and it looked old, ancient. Maybe this was the original area of the magistrate.
The guard opened the door, and what laid before me sent fear down my spine. Daimon was tied up to a post, being whipped by Elder Kakios. I audibly gasp, and tears welled up my eyes, seeing the slashes through his pale, smooth skin. I wanted to stop it, but I was too weak to try.
Daimon wasn’t making any noise, after every crack of the whip, he would cringe, but he refused to scream for the elder’s pleasure. After a few slashes, Elder Kakios put the whip down and turned to look at me. His expression never changed; he seems upset and angry.
“Gaia, how wonderful for you to join us.” Kakios walked over to my guards and me. He pointed to a bed to was off to the side, and my guards, almost reluctantly, placed me on the lumpy mattress. I turned on my side to relieve some of the pressure on my chest, fear creeping through every pore.
Elder Kakios ordered the other guards to send Daimon back to his room. They roughly untied him and threw him towards the door. I could see that he was restraining himself as he stumbled to his feet. They pushed him forward, almost sending him to the ground. I wanted to get to him, to help, but I couldn’t; all I could do was reach my hand out—a small gesture to show that I was there for him and at least care about him.
He noticed but wasn’t close enough to touch but gave me his signature smile. It was creepy looking, but it let me know that he was fine. I pulled my arm back to me before Elder Kakios noticed me reaching out for my competitor.
“Now that we are alone,” the elder said as he turned and walked towards me. “That stunt Daimon pulled in the arena didn’t go unpunished as you could see. Now, let’s talk about that necklace.” He pulled a chair next to me and sat down, looking pleased with himself.
I was getting more worried the longer we were in the same room. Alec was no longer around to protect me, and I was too weak to defend myself.
“It seems my assistant placed a fate curse on the necklace. Do you know what that means?” Kakios asked. I shook my head no, waiting for him to enlighten me with his knowledge.
“A fates curse is a forbidden charm that kills the host within a certain amount of time. Considering she placed it this morning, you have till midnight to get rid of it, or you die.” Kakios paused and sent me a creepy smile before continuing. “Don’t worry since my assistant took it upon herself to rig the games; she has been dealt with, accordingly. Now, we need to get rid of this damned thing. It is challenging and extremely painful. You may die, but if we don’t get it off, you will die anyway. In all honesty, either way, is fine with me.” Kakios finished with a toothy smile, waiting for me to make a decision.
I can have them try to remove the necklace and possibly die or not do anything, and the curse kills me in the end. No matter what road I choose Kakios thinks I will die. So, I went with the obvious option.
“Take the necklace off,” I whispered, feeling my breath becoming shallow. Elder Kakios nodded and asked some people in dark brown robes that recently entered the room to do their thing.
They placed the bed I was laying on in the middle of the room and made me lay down on my back. I resisted for a minute but did what the strangers wanted. They circled me chanting something that was in a different language. As they sang, they raised their arms, and the necklace began to levitate off my chest.
It was a strange sight, and it was scaring me. That was when the pain hit me, excruciating pain that was white-hot. The kind of pain people seldom feel that takes your voice away, so you can’t scream or breathe. I wanted to shout to the heavens to end my torture as the necklace began to glow white, but I couldn’t.
The pain increased, making the edges of my vision, fuzzy and darken as the people in brown robes chanted louder and faster. Finally, after what felt like an eternity, I blacked out from the pain.
I awoke in my room with the necklace off and burned marks all around my neck. They were tender but would heal fine. Immediately I heard Daimons voice screaming in my head, “Gaia! Gaia, you will need to kill me!” It alarmed me, and I jumped to my feet, feeling anxious as I paced the length of my room.
I repeatedly yelled his name in my head, “Daimon. Daimon!” but no response.
I was about to break the warding and the door to find him when his deep voice crept into my head softly, “Gaia, I am sorry. Please remember me.”
He then screamed his head off. It was blood-curdling and made my eyes well up. I wanted to help, and I didn’t know why. It wasn’t like we were friends or allies; I only have known him for a short time. I was a means to an end, and so was he. Why would I care?
If he dies, then I am the winner and can destroy everything just like I planned, but I was saddened by the thought of Daimon dying. There has been so much tragedy during these games, and maybe I wanted one person to understand what happened here. I continued to yell his name in my head as I kneeled on the floor, but I heard nothing.
I finally concluded that they killed him or did something terrible to him. I could guess for an eternity and never be right. Only monsters can think of something so torturous to make a man scream like that.
Soon, my guards knocked on my door, saying that the final games are ready to begin. I swallowed the lump in my throat and followed them to the arena door. I felt more anxious than ever before standing in from of the iron door. I didn’t know who I was going to face. Who will be in the arena with me, a killer, or a friend?