This novel is limited to 100 free copies due to its part in Inkitt’s Novel Contest.
The sound of footsteps echoed loudly through the corridor. I needed to see what was going on. That was all that mattered right now. It was a matter of life or death, and I was almost out of time. A loud rumble that sounded from the planet’s very core filled the corridor with vibrations that shook the ground. I struggled to keep balance. When I finally pushed open two heavy doors and ran down the steps into the courtyard I was greeted with a sight that caused a gasp to escape my lips. The empty night sky was illuminated with a soft orange glow. As my footsteps approached the gates that had supposedly kept my home safe for so long the stench of something burning became stronger in the night air. The town below the hill which I stood on was alight with a fierce blaze, and the sounds of explosions and screaming left a ringing sensation in my ears.
“Annaliese!” came a voice, causing me to turn around. Relief swept through me as I recognized the figure limping toward me. That relief quickly dissolved, and fear settled in my stomach.
“Julian,” I breathed, running into his arms. He embraced me with such force that he might never let me go. His face and arms were covered with battle scars and blood stained his armor. I looked over him and noticed his badly injured leg.
“You’re hurt Julian!” I exclaimed.
“It’s just a scratch,” he reassured me, taking my hands in his own. We entwined our fingers and gazed into each other’s eyes.
“I told you to stay inside,” he whispered.
“How could I? How could I simply sit by and watch this happen?”
“It’s far too dangerous out here. We have lost half of our men already. We’re at a loss of what to do,” he told me.
“What are we going to do? Must I enter the battlefield?”
“No!” he said firmly. “You must never go somewhere so dangerous. I will fight for you, so hard that I would be fighting for both of us, but you must never find yourself in such a hideous place.”
I said with a tiny voice, “I just wanted to help.”
He took me back into his arms. “You can help by staying in the castle where you are safe. If I were to lose you I do not know what I’d do.”
I nodded, knowing it was better that way. He tilted his head down and kissed me tenderly. With one final look at me, he took off toward the burning town.
I stood gazing after him for a time, but knew I had to get undercover or risk getting killed. I hurried back across the courtyard, but was stopped suddenly by the sound of girlish laughter. I froze in my tracks, my blood running as cold as ice.
“Well well, running away are we Annaliese?” A wind tore through the air, and a figure appeared in front of my eyes dressed from head to foot in a sweeping dress the color of lilac. A pretty, yet hypnotizing gaze met mine.
“Adrina,” I replied.
“So, the Princess wanted to fight, did she? How touching. But you’re not in any position to be fighting anyone, especially me.” I took a fearful step back from my confronter.
“What do you want from me?” I asked, trying to sound bold. A dark glare appeared on Adrina’s face.
“You know what I want from you.”
I knew this would be a bad move, but I did it anyway. I ran from Adrina.
“Don’t run from me!” Adrina shrieked. Within seconds I’d been caught by Adrina’s strong hands and pushed roughly against a marble column. A cry of pain escaped my lips, and I tried to shrink away from Adrina’s glare.
“Give it to me,” she hissed.
“No!” I cried, struggling. Adrina took a step back from me. She held out her hand to the side, like she was reaching for something. Her hand gripped onto something invisible, and pulled. Another figure was pulled out of thin air and into Adrina’s grasp. I gasped.
“Elodie!” I cried. Elodie saw me, then Adrina, and screamed.
“Let her go!” I cried, hurtling toward her. Adrina sent a wave of air at me which pushed her back into the column. I collapsed on the ground, gripping my shoulder, my face scrunched up in pain.
“Stop!” Elodie shrieked frantically.
“Give me the damn key Annaliese!” Adrina spat at me. She held her hand to Elodie’s throat and added, “Or your precious little sister won’t see the light of day.”
“I can’t!” I choked. I sent a pleading look at Adrina, who didn’t buy it. In a swift movement, the air was filled with a horrific cracking sound and Elodie’s limp body fell to the ground at Adrina’s feet. I gazed in shock at my sister’s body. A cry of disbelief escaped my lips. Adrina kicked the useless body away from her and bent down so that she was towering over me.
“Give me the key,” she said slowly, menacingly. I was about to refuse but suddenly Adrina was knocked aside. I gasped. “Julian!”
My knight stood protectively in front of me. Adrina quickly recovered and lunged at Julian. He fended her off and I watched fearfully from behind him. My gaze fell onto Elodie’s body, and fresh tears welled up in my eyes.
“Why?” I whispered. Adrina’s eyes were cold and dead, they weren’t what they used to be. She wasn’t who she used to be anymore.
“You know why,” Adrina spat. I stood up shakily.
“I won’t let you do this. You wouldn’t do this...” I trailed off. I gulped and then boldly said, “I promise I will save you.” Adrina may have better combat skills, but she was nothing compared to what I could do. I knew the only way to protect Julian and myself and restore peace would be to use the key.
“Julian, I’m going to do it,” I said. Julian’s face paled.
“You mean...that? No...No you can’t!” he protested. I stepped away as he tried to reach out to me.
“I have to,” I whispered.
Julian took my hands in his and replied, “Then let’s do it together. Okay?” I slowly nodded in agreement, feeling touched that he would make such a sacrifice for me. I reached inside of a pocket that had been sown into my corset, and pulled out a golden key.
“No...stop!” Adrina growled. I held the key above her head and shouted.
“I call upon the angels to appear before us, and take on their duties as protectors of this universe!”
A faint golden light surrounded us. Adrina lunged toward us but was sent flying from the glow that enveloped us.
“As the Princess of Starlight, I hereby order you to protect this world, this universe, from the dark forces that try to defy us. I command a barrier to form throughout the universe, in the form of lanterns.”
I gazed up at Julian’s face. He caressed my cheek, not only as a sign of affection, but as a promise that we would one day be reunited. I tilted my head up at the sky.
“And I promise that I will save you all,” I whispered. A blinding light hugged our bodies, shattering us into tiny lights that spread across the universe.
JWalker: I loved this story from start to finish! It flows at a really nice pace and the story world feels so real. The fight sequences are a treat especially when Isanfyre is training to become a warrior. I found the names really cool and thankfully easy to pronounce. Personally I have always struggled w...
Bri Hoffer: I couldn't put it down!! The characters are all incredibly likable, and it's so descriptive you can see, smell, and feel thier surroundings. Great story, and very well written. I cannot wait for follow up stories. there were a few grammatical errors, but nothing that I could move right over.
genlynne2379: I read the other review of this book and I must say that I disagree with it wholeheartedly. I do not believe the author put the apostrophes in the names just to be unique, but because the characters are supposedly of a different race than humans. They are Anmah. They should have different names a...
annie08c: I really like this story, I can relate to it a lot and with how she feels, the boyfriend and the events that happened but I'm a little bit younger. It was really good plot, really liked how you stuck to the topic and you had a new title for every chapter making me guess what's going to happen. Ma...
Kasei Bulloch: At the beginning I wasn't very into the story but I kept reading and was more hooked than I was with Battle of the Wills. All of a sudden I had devoured chapter after chapter then the book was over. I am dying for The Compact. Please help a girl out!
CurlyRed: I read this entire book in just under 4 hours I COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN! i found myself emotionally attached to the characters and making personal connections that i had never experienced before while reading a book! I was constantly wanting to read more, every chapter left me on a cliff hanger tha...
Flik: Hi! ^.^ huge fan of yours on ff.net! When I saw the note about this contest on The Way We Smile, I couldn't help but rush over here, create an account, and vote! XD Seriously love this story and would recommend it to anyone! :D best FT fanfiction out there. Amazing story, amazing concept that wa...
Sandra Estrada: I loved every minute of it and I thank my lucky stars that brought me to the story, it's been a whirlwind of emotions, plot twist after plot twist but I never got tired of them. Abby and Kade's story is a hard one to understand but once you're submerged in their story and love, you can't help but...
KC_Ward: Black Mark was one of the most interesting romance novels I have read. I really enjoyed the fact that Mora has such a strong character and held her ground. Each character had a background story that gave clues as to what shaped their personalities. This novel was almost like two books rolled into...
Katharine Southworth: I think this is an important love story. The author tackles the highs and lows of a romantic relationship and I truly empathized with both characters. As one descends into depression the other must find ways to cope with watching their loved one suffer. This is a heartbreaking struggle that I hav...
mullikin902: Do not start reading this book unless you have enough time to finish it in one sitting, because you will not be able to put it down! Superlative! Addictive! Deliciously wicked characters you can't get enough of. Impatiently waiting for the sequel!