Chapter Thirty- LIVIA
I try not to stumble as the king drags me through the corridor. Soreness creeps around my neck as the collar digs in deep.
I can’t believe Vera stood up to the king. Hope flutters in my chest along with the lump in the back of my throat. Seeing the agony displayed on her face when the small child hit his head will stay with me for a long time. King Kgar said the child was his son, but that boy clearly means everything to Vera.
I recall my desire to go heal him, but the king tugged my chain when he felt me flinch forward. Why wouldn’t he let me heal his son? All I needed was to touch him and his life would’ve been saved.
Kgar tugs on my chain again. “Keep up, you wench!”
My dress and hair cling to my skin as I do my best to keep up with their grueling pace. He is following the Scree, who I overheard saying she must find a safe place to establish her portal link to the Enchanter.
“I don’t understand why we’re running? Can’t you stop her?” the king snaps.
“Of course I can stop her! Do you doubt me even now?”
“I saw your doubt the moment she unleashed her power. Don’t tell me you didn’t feel it too? I was afraid this stupid stone would not protect me!”
The Scree hisses through her teeth.
“I don’t doubt the Enchanter’s power, and neither should you. So hold your tongue.” Her anger casts a haunting shadow across her face.
A shout comes from behind us. “Hey!”
A unmasked assassin comes running up the hall. The Scree pushes her hands out and sends a blast of wind hurling towards him. He throws himself to the side, barely dodging the blast. Getting back up, he runs his hand through his hair and I instantly recognize him--it’s Reddik!
The Scree sends another blast of air, but Reddik dodges it. The blast explodes against the wall behind him, sending chunks of stone scattering everywhere.
“Reddik!” I shout.
When the Scree attempts to send another blast of air, I lunge out and push her down. The gust of wind goes off course and shatters the color-paned windows, bestrewing glass across the floor. The king jerks me back and kicks me to the ground.
“Stay there, you bitch!”
Ignoring the sharp pain, I watch in horror as the Scree sends her final blast of air, hitting Reddik squarely in the chest. The force slams him against the wall and he crumbles to the floor.
I release an agonizing scream. My gift comes swiftly, snapping to the surface. The Scree cocks her head to the side. “Oh, sweetie, did you know him?”
Her mocking tone ignites a fire inside me. I push myself up off the ground. Kgar goes to tug on my chain, but I whip my head around, “Don’t you dare pull that chain.”
Taking heed of my tone he relaxes his grip. I turn my attention back to the Scree. “I don’t know who you think you are, but I’m done seeing you and the king harm innocent people.”
The Scree cackles. “My dear, I am a Woman of the Scree, blessed by the Enchanter himself. He protects me from the ignorant mistakes you people make. You might think you are done with me, but there is nothing you can do to stop me. I know what your gift is, my dear Livia. And I don’t believe it can stop me. The Enchanter informed me long ago of you and your sister. He created the both of you with the help of his dear old friend, Queen Bellflower. You belong to him.”
What did she mean he created the both of us? The Scree’s lip curls up. “Let me tell you a little secret. When your father called on the Enchanter to help his bride bear him a child, I was the one who administered her cure. So who do you think made that concoction?”
My heart thumps loudly in my ears as the Scree continues, “I helped your mother drink the cup of Queen Bellflowers’ blood. Her blood allowed the gift to manifest inside Queen Kyra and implant the magical powers of old inside her offspring. Your healing gift cannot stand up against the Enchanter’s power, so stop being a child, and do as you’re told.”
I smile sweetly as the Scree sneers down her nose. She has no idea that beneath my skin I have been caressing a different spark of my gift.
“Well, I have a secret as well, a gift your Enchanter doesn’t even know about.” I lurch forward and grab hold of her arm. Her eyes widen in surprise. “Death.”
I release my gift and her body stiffens before crumbling to the floor. Then to my surprise, her skin changes color to gray. I step back as her skin continues to transform. It wrinkles and sags to her bones, then flakes away. Her once lustrous locks fade to white as my gift reveals her true age. Her body continues to waste away until she is but a pile of dust.
My mouth hangs open in shock.
The chain to my collar slackens as King Kgar darts hurriedly away. I rush after him and grab hold of his robes.
“Please don’t kill me. I’ll do anything. If you want to leave, you’re free to go. Just please, don’t kill me.” He falls to his knees, begging for his life. His pathetic behavior doesn’t surprise me. I grab hold of his necklace and snap it off his neck. In that moment, he whips up and pushes me to the ground before running off down the hall. But he doesn’t get far before freezing in place.
“Where do you think you’re going?”
Vera comes running up the corridor along with a masked assassin who is carrying the limp body of the small child. He stops near Reddik as Vera quickly runs to my side.
A pulling sensation draws me towards her and a strange feeling passes over me. Suddenly I know what to do. I grab Vera’s hand. Her eyes flash to mine and the room around us disappears.