Chapter 35: Bonus Prequel Series Part 3
“You are absolutely amazing with a dagger but you are a terrible singer,” he laughed, shaking his head in disbelief.
“I always sing when I’m training and no one has ever asked me to stop.”
"They are afraid of offending you. The last time a guard disrespected you, you snapped his neck," he reminded me.
I rolled my eyes. "The warriors are not that easily frightened. Perhaps they simply didn't mind my singing and you are just being a child."
He raised an eyebrow. "The warriors and I agree that if your dagger somehow missed the enemy’s heart, your voice would send them running."
I scowled, throwing another knife into the wooden post nearly a dozen meters away. “How dare you speak to the future queen of dragons in such a manner?” I scolded.
He bowed his head. “My apologies Princess, please forgive my disrespect.” He peered at me through the tops of his eyes, his green gaze full of pleading and mischief.
I started to walk away but he took my hand, lightly kissing it as he fell to his knees. He looked up at me. “May I be forgiven Princess?” he begged with a small tilt of his head.
My composure broke. The corners of my lips turned up into a smile and my cheeks flushed red. “Of course,” I mumbled.
He started pulling himself to his feet, that lopsided grin plastered on his face. Then he winced sharply and stumbled and my smile faltered. “Kailo are you—”
“I’m fine,” he assured me, waving me away. His face was screwed up in pain and he clutched at his leg. He seemed reluctant to put weight on it and aimlessly rubbed at the armor over his thigh.
I took a step closer but he shook his head. “Zari I’m okay, I promise,” he said, offering me a smile when I didn’t back off.
My jaw clenched as I brushed nonexistent dirt off my dress. “I’m sorry Kailo,” I murmured.
He stared at me. “For what?”
“You were injured because of me—because I didn’t believe you were strong enough.”
Kailo started to say something but was cut off by a deep chuckle. I turned to see my father walking towards us, mild amusement on his face. “Kailo knew exactly what he was doing in fighting for you. Had he trained more or listened to the healer, he might feel less pain now,” he remarked with a pointed glance at my mate.
I turned back to Kailo. “What did the healer tell you?”
He smiled sheepishly, his cheeks pink. “I was instructed to rest for a few days then resume training after at least two weeks of leisure.”
“Then why have you been with me all day? The fight was just yesterday you’re going to cause permanent damage!” I growled in frustration.
“I wanted to be with my mate.”
I stared at him, my heart beating furiously as I tried to hold onto my anger. It was useless. His soft gaze and crooked smile were too much.
My father placed a hand on my shoulder and leaned close to whisper in my ear. “Do not let him fool you Lyzaria. He needs rest if he is going to heal. The last thing you need is a mate that cannot stand because he refuses to listen to reason,” he advised.
I nodded. “Kailo let’s go.” When he didn’t move I jerked my head towards the warriors’ quarters.
His mouth fell open. “You’re making me stop?”
He pursed his lips and narrowed his eyes. “And if I refuse?”
My lip curled into a smirk. “I would love to see you try.”
“Have you ever been there?”
He frowned, his brows furrowed deep in thought. “Uh once—I think, when I was very young,” he said.
“You’d remember it,” I mumbled. “It’s not an easy place to forget.”
“You miss it, don’t you?”
I looked up from my lap. “I haven’t been there in years. I miss the volcanoes and the black sand. I didn’t even get to say goodbye to my family or my friends and now the one person I did have is gone,” I murmured, dragging my fingers through the loose dirt.
“I’m sorry, I know how much it hurts to lose your own home.”
“Do you miss the clans?”
He nodded. “Yeah. I’ve gotten used to this place but I still wish I could go home,” he sighed.
“Yeah.” I shifted on the thick fur rug then let out a sharp hiss as pain shot through my spine.
“How many times am I going to have to tell you to stop moving!”
I rolled my eyes. “Probably until everything heals. I don’t like having to just sit here, I appreciate you helping me move so I can look outside but I’m going to die if I have to stay still for much longer.”
He sighed in annoyance. “You’re going to fall over if you try to stand. Your leg is broken and you shifting only made it worse. You still have cold iron in your blood too, and that’s definitely not going to go away any time soon.”
I growled. “Stupid hunters,” I grumbled under my breath.
Kellan leaned back against the rock with a deep sigh. “So what do you miss the most?”
I didn’t even have to think about it. “The warmth.”
He offered me a sympathetic smile. “I’m sorry, that’s not really something I can help with I’m afraid.”
I shook my head. “It’s fine. I haven’t been warm in years.”
“I thought Fire dragons could create heat?”
“It’s not the same. The warmth we make feels . . .” I chewed my lip, searching for the right word. “False.”
“Heat is heat, how could it possibly feel different at all?”
“True warmth feels like it’s alive. Fire has a heartbeat and when we make it ourselves it just doesn’t feel right,” I tried to explain.
He nodded with a low hum. “I think I understand,” he murmured.
He fell quiet. I didn’t try to break the silence and felt my body relax as it settled over us. There was something comforting about just sitting and watching everything go by. Even if it was just for a few hours.
By the time Kellan finally stood, I felt completely numb. My legs throbbed and my fingers tingled but the pain was distant. It seemed to be simply a memory but I knew it wouldn’t last long. As soon as I moved I would feel it again, just as sharp and immobilizing as before.
“I’m going to go gather more wood, please don’t kill yourself while I’m gone okay?” He said, his lip twitching upward.
I finally allowed myself to move and my body screamed with agonizing pain—just as expected. “Why are you getting wood?” I asked.
“Uh, for a fire?” The way he said it sounded more like a question than an answer.
I cocked up an eyebrow. “You do know I’m a Fury? I can give you a fire that doesn’t need anything to burn on.”
“I know that but it gives me something to do. I’ll lose my mind if I just sit here—” he grinned slyly, “you should understand that.”
I scowled, crossing my arms over my chest. There was a slight twinge in my shoulder but I ignored it. The pain was so constant—it was almost like it didn’t hurt anymore. It was more of an annoyance in the back of my mind.
I clicked my tongue. “So, what? You’re just gonna leave me sitting out here like a lame pet?”
He sighed, looking disinterested in my attempt to make him feel guilty. “Well I suppose I could drag you back inside.”
“That’s not funny.”
“Wasn’t trying to be.” He looked at me expectantly. “Any more complaints?”
My lip curled into an irritated grimace and I wrung my hands together. “Just go away,” I growled.
He shrugged and turned away. He carefully picked his way down the rocky slope, his dæmon slithering behind him.
“Bitch,” I muttered once he was out of earshot.
I heard my dragon snicker in the back of my mind.
By the time Kellan returned, the sun had already dipped far below the horizon. A frown crept onto my face when I noticed he had no wood for a fire. His snake was nowhere in sight.
I started to say something but he walked right past me and into the cave, not even sparing me a glance.
“Well someone’s got a barb in his scales,” I growled under my breath.
My eyebrows furrowed at the sound of something hitting the stone walls of the cave . . . books maybe?
“Kellan?” I called. There was no response, only more rustling.
A few moments later he stormed out of the cave, mumbling something incoherent, a bag slung over his shoulder.
“Hey! Where are you going? What’s the matter with you!” I growled. “Answer me!”
When he ignored me once again I felt my restraint snap. I raised my hand and encircled him in a wall of scarlet fire.
He froze. His knuckles and face were white as he finally turned to look at me. The flames cast harsh shadows on his face, filling me with a chilling fear as I realized his eyes were wide with pure terror. “Janessa went to search for food and found the Hunters. They’re going back to the clans to get more weapons before they head to the Circle. They think you’re dead—or at least the boy does.”
“Boy?” I asked.
He nodded numbly and seemed to relax a little so I let the flames die. He took a slow step towards me, then crumpled to the ground on his knees. “It’s just a boy. He’s the only one with a bow. He’s the one who’s been killing everyone—he can’t be more than ten years old,” he muttered.
I gaped at him. “A boy killed my father? The King of the dragons?”
He nodded again, staring at the ground. “Killed him with one arrow. He convinced the other Hunters to return to the clans before moving to wipe out the dragons in the Circle. They said they’re going to kill any witch that refuses to help and I—” He bit his fist. I could see the tears welling up in his eyes.
A sharp pain in my chest took my breath away for a moment. “So where are you going?” I asked, clearing my throat when my voice cracks.
“I’m going to the clans.”
“I can’t just stay here! If they know what the Hunters are planning on doing they’ll resist—I can’t just stay here while they kill everyone I care about!”
“Kellan there’s nothing you can do!” I growled. “Don’t get yourself killed in some futile rescue attempt. You can’t stop the witches from refusing to help and you can’t stop the Hunters from killing them!”
The instant change in his expression was almost frightening. His gaze grew dark and his entire body stiffened. His jaw clenched and he raised his head. He glowered at me through the tops of his eyes. “You don’t think I know that?” He spat.
I paused, my words clinging to my throat. “I don’t—I don’t understand,” I murmured.
He tilted his head. “I know there’s nothing I can do. I know I’m completely helpless against the Hunters. I know everyone I care about is going to die!” He fumed. I bit my cheek and tried to edge away from him but his anger was already subsiding as he stared down at his hands. “I know there’s nothing I can do to save them, I just wanted to say goodbye.”
I broke down. Hearing his words only reminded me of the truth I accepted long before I’d ever even met Kellan.
It still hurt.