The After Effects

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Epilogue

~Five years later~

“And where do you think you are going?” Ivy glared at me, her hands on her hips. The stance pushed her stomach out more, showcasing her baby bump.

“To see Bear...” I trailed off and made a general gesture to the direction of the stables.

Ivy rolled her emerald green eyes as she sighed. “You do realize what time it is right?” She spoke while she walked to one of the heavy drapes in my room and straightened it. I nearly rolled my eyes at the action. Such a motherly move.

“Nearly midnight?” I made a rough guess.

Turning back to me, Ivy cracked a smile. “Can you promise me you’ll at least be back before dawn? If Locke finds out I let you out, he’ll kill me.”

A smile on my face mirrored hers. “I promise.”

“Give Ragnar some extra grain for me while you’re at it,” Ivy said while her hands refolded the clothes that the helpers had set out for me to use in the morning.

“Will do,” I watched as Ivy kept adjusting things in my room and going through my closet.

“What?” She asked innocently.

“You don’t even realize what you’re doing, do you?” I asked her.

When she found out she was pregnant five months ago, the whole Northern territory had celebrated. Though not much had changed until recently when nesting fever had hit her hard. She was always fixing something and stressing over little things.

“Doing what?” Ivy paused in folding one of my dresses.

I simply flicked my eyes between my clothes and her, getting my point across without even saying anything.

“Oh hush, now go before I change my mind,” Ivy threatened.

“If you change your mind, I’ll go wake up your dragon.” I fired back at her, the teasing in my voice evident.

Ivy eyes widened. “You wouldn’t dare,” she faked horror.

I, of course, was talking about Rorek. Who had been even more unbearably protective around her these last five months than usual, and that’s saying something. There were very few times that Ivy could be found by herself, most of those times were at night when Rorek was “sleeping”. Everybody but her knew that he was faking sleep, there was no way he didn’t know about her late-night trips around the castle, in which she usually just wandered.

I chuckled and walked up to her. “I love you,” I told her before kissing her cheek and running off.

A quiet, “I love you,” followed me down the hall.

Passing by a mirror in one of the long corridors, I paused briefly.

Dressed in my usual black leather pants, I had paired my pants with a simple red t-shirt and tight black knee-high boots.

Growing up, I always had bright white hair. Over the past two years though, my hair had slowly shifted to a silvery-gray color. Tonight, I had it tied up in a ponytail, though it still hung to my lower back.

My stormy-gray eyes flickered in the mirror. I looked like no one else, my unique and natural coloring was unheard of even with Deples-non-human and non-animals beings that were gifted with powers, a term humans had recently coined up when the supernatural world revealed itself to everybody.

Continuing to my destination, I weaved through long and dark corridors. The occasional pair of guards my only interruption. Until finally, I slipped through a backdoor of the castle and jogged down the paved path that led to the Royal Stables.

The air around me dropped. The cold air nipping at my cheeks while chilly wind breezed across my exposed arms. Despite the sudden drop in temperature, a smirk crept across my face.

Rocks crunched under my boots as the stables finally came into view. My black and white horse stood in his usual stall. Bear's the son of Ragnar, and from the second I had seen him out in pasture one day, I had claimed him as mine. He was nearly three years old and I had recently started whistle and command training with him-like Ivy had with Ragnar.

Despite coming out here to see him, I was even happier to see the male leaning against his stall.

Picking up the pace, I ran into the stables and into the arms of the male who, apparently, had been waiting for me.

"Blossom," The chest I currently hugged, rumbled.

"Casanova," I smiled and looked up into icy blue eyes.

Soren rolled his eyes at my nickname for him, his cool arms squeezed around me tightly before he let me go.

"I thought you weren't visiting for another month?" I asked him as I turned to my horse and greeted him.

"Well, I lied," Soren shrugged. "I figured I would surprise you."

"Surprise me?" I asked, cocking my head at him.

"Today is someone's eighteenth birthday, and I wanted to be the first person to congratulate you." Soren paused, watching as I pet Bear. "Happy Birthday." His warm smile contrasted with the cold air he had manipulated around him.

"I knew there was a heart somewhere in that cold chest," I teased him while walking over to Ragnar's stall and giving him a treat like Ivy had requested.

Soren's deep chuckle followed me as he watched me float around the stable and greet the other horses before ending on Bear. "I wouldn't go that far," he said, sliding his hands into his pockets.

Like usual the King of the South was dressed impeccably. His black dress pants paired with a black and red suit jacket decorated with gold and sporting the Celtic-themed symbol of the South. Not a speck of dirt was seen on his clothes, and not a piece of his dirty blond hair was out of place.

"Thank you, Casanova," I said, making eye contact with the King. "I appreciate you thinking about me."

Something flashed in those icy blue eyes briefly before he nodded. "You're too special to not think about," he said softly before clapping his hands together. "Now, shall we go raid the kitchen for flavored ice and retreat to the library?"

I beamed at Soren as he offered me his elbow, looping my arm through his we started walking back to the shining-white castle of the North. "For the millionth time, it's called ice cream," I corrected him and threw in a roll of the eyes.

Ice cream and reading in the library was our thing. I've always loved reading and apparently so did Soren, so whenever he visited, he and I would meet up in the library with some crazy flavor of ice cream and we would just read for hours. Sometimes he'd read me a book, sometimes I'd read him a book, and sometimes we read separate books then did book talks. It was always the highlight of his visits.

"Well whatever it's called, it's my new favorite food. I've made sure my help has my cold box filled with different flavors," Soren admitted, causing me to chuckle.

He continued talking, but I suddenly lost focus as a piercing noise filled my head.

"Ow," I hissed at the painful noise that wouldn't stop.

Soren stopped beside me. "Everything alright?" He asked, worry filling his deep-rumbly voice.

"Yeah." I smiled up at him, in what I hope was a reassuring way. "I just remembered I forgot something in the barn. You go ahead and grab the ice cream and I'll meet you in the library." I watched as suspicion flickered in his chilly blue eyes, but he didn't protest, instead he just nodded and I quickly went back to the barn.

The piercing in my head was painful and kept causing my vision to go blurry. The onset of it had been so sudden and unexpected.

Going through the barn, I went through the backdoor that faced a huge wooded forest. "What's happening?" I rubbed my head with my palms in hopes of making the pain go away.

Distracted by the pain, I hadn't noticed that I stumbled into the forest until darkness surrounded me.

A curse fell from my mouth, but I kept rubbing at my head, trying desperately to relive the intense pain scorching through my head. Looking up briefly, I saw somebody standing a distance away. Bright white light surrounded them in what looked like an orb.

No, wait, the light wasn't surrounding them, it was coming from a ball of sheer blinding light in their hands. The bright light prevented me from seeing the figure that was wielding it except for the cloak that was covering them.

A mage. I realized just as a wave of nausea hit me and my stomach threatened to empty itself.

Looking up, I watched as the figure started moving their hands, the ball growing with each movement and dread pooled in my stomach. This can't be good.

A strangely hot arm wrapped around my waist and pulled me out of the way just a little too late. The orb lift the mage's hands and soared for me. When the arm holding me yanked me left, the orb followed.

"Blossom!" Soren's panicked voice filled the forest as the orb exploded and hit me in the chest. The arm around my waist dropped me as if I was on fire and pain exploded everywhere when the blinding light disappeared into my chest.

My cry of pain filled the forest as fierce pain touched my every atom. My chest felt as if it was being cleaved apart and there was nothing I could do about it, my hands clawed at my chest looking for any relief but none came.

Random dark shapes danced in my vision as I realized this was it. This was how I die.

Staring up, I noticed I could see the night sky between the tall forest trees. At least I get to die under the stars. I mused as severe pain made my vision flicker in and out. I could hear nothing of my surroundings, but something told me that a lot was happening around me.

Right before I blacked-out, or died, a hot arm picked me up from the floor of the forest and I could've sworn I felt the wind whipping around me, almost like I was flying. But that was impossible because I was dead. Right?


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