Astra

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22.) Chance

He’s dead, oh please tell me he’s dead. Let this be over, let Parallax be dead and let this be done.

I hear him tsk behind me, the mist wears off my body so I’m able to breathe better, and I can see in front of me the disappointed looks on everyone’s faces.

“My, my. Who are you? Maybe I should be asking you to join my forces. What an angry girl you are,” Parallax mocked, and I could see the fire in Ember’s eyes. I kneel there, unsure of how to even proceed, Embers sword clangs to the ground beside me. He had stopped it, froze it with his magick or something. Ember hadn’t succeeded in killing Parallax.

I heard her scream before I saw the mist, it encased her quickly and dragged her close, her feet an inch or so off the ground. I watched in terror as she hovered, her face clenched in pain. I know that pain, and now I know what it looks like on the outside.

“Beckett, kill her with her own sword.” Parallax does not know what he is asking, how he did not know of Ember I’m unsure, but I know he does not know they’re related. He doesn’t see that they are nearly identical, that Ember looks just like the woman he forced to bear his child. How could this man be so blind?

I scrambled to my feet, placing my body in front of hers, shaking my head roughly.

“No! No, not her.” I barked, even as my voice trembled. Beckett seemed to be thinking the same thing, as his skin started to turn a sickly color. A glaze of sweat beads down his temple, and he body shakes as he tries to figure out what to do.

“Beckett, son, I said kill her.” Parallax glared at his son, who nodded slowly and began walking down the few steps to where the sword lay. “On second thought, I’ve grown tired of all of this. Pick one, the girl or Astra.” My heart sank, and I watched as Beckett picked up the sword with a shaking hand. He’s just a kid too, but he got his choice. This is what he’s chosen.

Ember lets out a low groan of pain from behind me, her wrists encased in mist but nothing else. He holds us here to be killed, for his own joy.

Facing us, knowing his father can’t see his face, Beckett’s lips tremble as he holds back his tears. Everything he does, he does for Ember. As for me, dying in the place of Ember seemed like an ok way to go.

His brow furrowed as he stared at me, the pause longer than it should have been, and his eyes swimming with tears. Beckett didn’t want to kill me, but if it came down to myself or Ember? I don’t disagree with his choice.

The electricity between us grows, and in my final moments I welcome it as a comfort. I look at his icy eyes, feel everything I’ve felt for him all at once, and I nod my head. He reared back the sword, his arms still shaking slightly, and I let out a slow breath as I closed my eyes.

“Stop! I’ll do as you asked, Parallax. I will take the suppressor off of Beckett. No one has to die today,” Alatar announced, stepping forward to us and putting a hand on my arm. “I will do as you asked, on the account that you let everyone here go.” Parallax nodded, but his smile told me that he did not intend on holding up his end of the bargain. I want to tell Alatar no, to just let me die. More people would die if Beckett was let free.

A temper tantrum for Beckett was hell on earth, that’s what my uncle had said. This can’t happen. But it does, I watch Beckett drop the sword to the ground, and Alatar steps toward him to place fingers on his forehead. My heart races as I watch Beckett clench his jaw, still sweating from the ultimatum, so afraid of what’s going to happen.

Then Alatar took a step back, coming to my side once again, to protect us if need be. Nova, her bow no longer raised, stands on the other side of us.

A long pause as we all wait, nobody makes a sound. Then Beckett meets my eyes, they’re dark with rage. He released his power into his palms, they looked like balls of silver fire, the sheer power of them making his hair whip around. They crackle and spark, just like flames.

“Beckett?” I asked slowly, my voice horse. He released his power, and encased us all in an explosion of energy. Cries erupt from all of us, as we’re all lifted into the air by a silver electric fire. It burns our skin, and we all fight against it.

Parallax laughs intensely behind him, beholding all of us fighting in the air. Beckett looks up at him, his eyes glowing with power and rage. I’m afraid he may kill me, his powers tighten around me fiercely, but I don’t break my eye contact with him.

While Parallax’s mist is suffocating and burning, Beckett's is a fierce pressure of shock that makes me feel like I’m going to shatter; I can feel it deep in my bones. Another wave wracks through me, this one so intense that I clench my eyes as I scream, Parallax’s laughter and Ember’s scream behind me echoing in my ears.

When I opened my eyes, they dripped with my tears, I looked at Beckett again. His hands are above his head, conducting us all in the air, his eyes are wide with shock and fear as he takes it all in. Like for a moment he’d forgotten who he was and where he was. We lock eyes, and his eyes shatter with total realization. He was hurting everyone, but his powers were draining me and killing me.

I felt the cuffs fall off my wrists, at the moment. My arms jerked as they’re freed, and we all dropped to the rug. The impact of the fall winded me, and I lay there a moment staring at the ceiling with ringing in my ear. I try to sit up, my body shaking from the torture it had endured these last few days.

“Moron! Kill her!” Parallax yelled at his son, who looked at me intensely. The room is in chaos, I noticed. Nova shoots at vamps, while her father uses his own balls of energy to attack. But they keep coming. My uncle was awake, using the chain on his cuffs to decapitate the vamp that had held him hostage.

“Beckett-” I stood to my feet, Ember grabbed my arms and held me steady. She does not look at her brother. He stepped closer, Ember pulled us back. I’m too weak to stand on my own, but I try.

The shocks between us are more intense as our suppressors are both off, and I can see his hands shake as he attempts to hold in his power. He fights off the instinct of his power, the desire to kill me. Slowly, in the midst of a small battle, he picked up Ember’s sword.

“Yes! Kill!” Parallax yelled again, as Beckett drew closer.

“Beckett, no!” I heard Nova yell, and an arrow rang true; he stopped it with just a raise of his hand. It burned to ash and fell on the ground. Ember squeezed me tighter, as Beckett took one more step closer.

“Protect her.” He said, and with a flick of his hand we were thrown backwards and sucked into a portal he had summoned.

We rolled in a heap onto the grass, heaving deep breaths of shock and relief. Confused, I pushed up into a sitting position. With a cry Nova flew through the portal after us, Ember’s sword rolling through last; then the portal vanished and we were left alone.

“What the hell happened back there?” Ember asked, her tone high pitched with disbelief. I looked at her and Nova, neither of them knowing what I’d been through in the last few days. Numbness fights in the corner of my eyes, as waves of dizziness makes me swoon,

“Beckett gave us a fighting chance.” I murmured, before giving in and collapsing.

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