The Whitlock Academy

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Chapter Thirty-Nine

Emery’s POV.

“It was a hazy vision, only a glimpse of the situation. I knew I was going to die saving Emery.” Guilt fills me and I grip my hands together. Mal places his hand on my thigh to comfort me. “I knew someone was going to try and hurt her, but I didn’t know who.

“I knew that the best way to keep her safe was to become friends with her.” He meets my eyes and looks at me, letting me see the honesty in his expression. “I swear to you, Emmie, our friendship is real. I made the effort to get to know you, but, after that, I haven’t had to pretend or anything. Please don’t think that our friendship isn’t real. It is.”

I can hear the sincerity in his voice. I’m only a little hurt that our friendship was built from deception. He was keeping his prophecy from me, but he became friends with me to protect me.

How can I be mad about him trying to save my life?

“Prophecies are sensitive things. You can’t change them to go the way you want them to go. I knew that, if I told you, you would be terrified and always watching your back. You wouldn’t be able to keep the secret from The Four. They weren’t in the prophecy; I knew it would happen when they weren’t around. Hence, why I panicked when you said they were going away this weekend.”

It’s suddenly all starting to make sense. The Four don’t look happy that Sal kept this from them, but I don’t think they can be mad at the guy who saved my life.

“I knew that, if they found out, this would all go to shit and they wouldn’t leave you alone, ever. I couldn’t have the prophecy change, because then my vision wouldn’t be accurate, and I’d be even more clueless than I was before. I didn’t know it was principal Burberry until yesterday. I had my suspicions about him, though.

“When he started watching you all of the time, I started to get suspicious. I broke into his office and found a book on Lamia blades. That’s why I started reading the one from the archives, I wanted to see what he might have been up to. I’d looked, but I couldn’t find a Lamia blade in his office. Seems pretty obvious, I guess. It would have been a stupid place to keep it.”

“I thought he was nice until he called me into his office, then he started giving me the creeps,” I tell them. “He was so weird. He was so keen on me completing my mating.”

’He needed you to mate with them and complete your bond. That way, your souls would be linked,” Sal explains. “His plan was to kill The Four. By killing you, The Four die, too.”

“He wanted to kill my mates?” The words fall from my lips in horror.

My mates visibly bristle next to me, as uncomfortable as me with this new revelation.

“He revealed everything in custody. He was singing like a canary, spilling his whole plan in the hopes of making a plea deal,” Sal says bitterly. “He had to wait until you had mated with The Four so that he could kill you and wipe them out, too.”

“Why does he want to kill my mates?” I ask the obvious question that we’re all thinking.

Sal sighs and sits back on the sofa. “He received his prophecy when he was sixteen. He got the Mortem flame and saw a vision of him killing Emery. He knew he was a bringer of death, but got his tattoo inked over to make it look like he got the Amare flame.”

That’s why his red tattoo was a different shade of red to mine. It was a mix of black and red.

“He knew what you looked like and that you would be called Emery. He has had to wait years to fulfil his prophecy.” Sal grimaces. “He confessed to paying a hunter to attack you last year.”

A bitter taste forms in my mouth. He paid that hunter. That attack was because of him. I have to admit, after a year of questioning ‘Why me?’, it is relieving to get an answer. He tried to have me killed.

“He didn’t want to have to be the one to kill you, he tried to change his prophecy. When it failed, as he knew it might do because the powers that be hadn’t approved it, he realised it would be easier to kill The Four by killing you and following his prophecy.”

“But prophecies rarely change,” I mutter. “I should have died.”

Sal gives me a wry smile. “That’s where I come in. In this unique situation, I received a death prophecy too, and that changed the principal’s. It’s rare, but prophecies change sometimes.”

“This still doesn’t explain the principal’s original motive for wanting to kill us,” Lucio chips in.

“I didn’t realise this, but Principal Burberry’s family helped to found the school. It was so long ago that everyone has pretty much forgotten his family’s contribution,” Sal reveals to us.

The news surprises everyone. We are all taught about the Whitlock family and The Four’s contribution to building the academy, but I have never heard of the Burberry family name.

“He was given the title of principal but has no royal claim. He wanted to be part of the royal family and potentially be in line for the throne. Killing The Four, four of the royal family and four people in line for the throne one day, opens up spaces for the royal family to take in new descendants, like Burberry.”

“All of this was for power?” Mal asks incredulously.

“Isn’t it usually?” Sal responds dryly. “He is bitter as hell. He blames the five of you for his sad excuse of a life. He claims he has had to wait years to take his rightful place in the royal family.”

Silences descends on us as we all get lost in our own thoughts, contemplating the last few hours.

“What will happen to him?” Esteban asks. “He deserves capital punishment for murder and attempted murder.”

Sal shrugs. “He’ll go before the crown court. I imagine he will receive a life sentence, if not death.”

I feel conflicted by that response. As much as I despise the man for trying to kill me and my friend, I’m not a violent person. Sometimes, fighting murderers with murder isn’t the answer. I’m just relieved he will be locked up and nowhere near me or the people I care about.

“I should probably call my parents and update them,” I think aloud. “Mum is going to freak.”

“I need to call my father,” Sal says, looking reluctant. “He is not going to be happy but fuck it.”

I give Sal a hug and he leaves to speak to his dad. I call my mother and, an hour and a lot of tears later, I finally get off the phone with her.

I visit my friends next. It takes forever for me to catch them up on the situation and explain everything. They’re completely blindsided by the situation. None of them knew about my attack last year or Sal’s insistence on protecting me.

Two hours later, I finally return to my dorm. I lay in bed with my mates, cuddled up with all of them despite the fact it’s still the afternoon.

“How did you know to come back when you did?” I ask them.

“Sal called,” Lucio states. “I made him take our numbers when we asked him to keep an eye out for you. I’m glad I did now.”

“That was lucky.”

“I’m so glad that threat is gone,” Mal says and we all agree. “We can finally relax.”

I sigh contently. “It’s over.”

It really is.

⋆⋆⋆⋆⋆⋆✥⋆⋆⋆⋆⋆⋆

We are given the day off school on Monday. The principal is taken to the royal penitentiary. Professor Langston, our alchemy teacher, is appointed temporary headmaster.

In an attempt to get away for a break, Mal arranges for us to visit his family home the following weekend. It will be the first trip the five of us will make together.

The stares are even worse than normal when we go back to school on Tuesday. It’s worse for Sal, I think. Everyone has heard about the psycho principal who tried to kill me and stabbed Sal. Salvador, the boy destined for death, was brought back to life by the powerful bond of five mates.

It’s the stuff you read about in fantasy novels or watch in a TV series.

I don’t blame people for talking about it or staring at us. I don’t quite believe it happened myself.

I can’t even begin to imagine how I’m going to repay Sal for what he did for me. He made the greatest sacrifice, purely for his friend.

How do I thank him for that?

He has a second chance at life now. He thought his life would end with his prophecy. He never thought he would fall in love or grow old or have children. That is all possible for him now and I want to see him have it all.

The atmosphere changes slightly between myself and my mates. Despite the fact that the threat to our lives has gone, they’re more protective of me. The sexual tension between us takes the back burner for a while. We’re more focussed on appreciating each other’s company, simply grateful that we’re all still here and breathing.

⋆⋆⋆⋆⋆⋆✥⋆⋆⋆⋆⋆⋆

On Friday evening, after a long week, Lucio drives the five of us to Mal’s estate. It is about an hour from the academy.

The enormous mansion rises from the hills as we approach. The winding driveway leads right up to the staired double-door entrance. The whole place screams ostentation and nobility.

I immediately feel inferior as I step out of the car. Mal puts his arm around my shoulders and brings me into his side.

“Don’t be fooled by the exterior, my parents are warm softies.”

⋆⋆⋆⋆⋆⋆✥⋆⋆⋆⋆⋆⋆

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