Chapter 33

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The silence stretched out for what felt like an ocean of time. No one spoke, no one dared to move, as if the slightest whisper or gesture would solidify the reality of Puck's words. Evelyn was in shock. The idea that Puck could be dangerously mischievous and unpredictable was one that Evelyn had long since come to terms with, but the thought that he could mislead and betray her? It was unthinkable, especially for something as monumental as this.

"How could you?" her voice was ice. "You come back into my life begging for my help, begging me to leave everything I know and love behind while leading me to believe that I'll be able to come home once I set things right. What were you going to do? Wait until I was trapped forever before deciding to tell me?"

Puck cowered before her, his thing body wracked with sobs. "But... that's your home, Eve..." he moaned, reaching towards Evelyn with a single shaking hand.

Evelyn slapped Puck's hand away. "This is my home!" she screamed. "You have no right to take me from it!"

"We have every right," Puck said, his voice becoming low and dangerous. He stood up and faced Evelyn, skin turning a dark shade of red. "We stole you in the dark of night, kept you hidden and safe until you were old enough to survive this world. We didn't want to bring you here, but we did it anyways! Did it out of love so you would survive the wrath of the queen! You live only because we risked ourselves to save you!"

"That changes nothing!" Evelyn snapped. "I am not a slave! Not to you, not to anyone! I can live my life how and where I like! I appreciate what you did, really I do, but I won't give up everything and everyone I love to stop a war I have nothing to do with"

"You have everything to do with it!" Puck screamed. "It was your mother that took Oberon into her bed! The queen gave her everything! Her love, her home, even a husband of her own! And yet she still took the one thing she had no right to!"

"Well if Oberon's my father then he had just as much to do with that as my mother! He broke as many vows as her! Their mistake does not force the queen's duties on me!"

Puck's eyes narrowed. "You may not be a queen, but you are born of royal blood, and with that royal blood comes a duty to your people! A duty to protect and save them from having to face the repercussions of the very sin that created you! Only Oberon's blood can save us and only you bear that blood!"

"Why me?!" Evelyn screamed. "Why not you? You're his son too! Don't think for one minute I missed that little detail of your story! You go back and shed your own blood if blood is needed so bad!"

"You think we didn't already try that! You think I didn't try everything I could think of to shield you from this? I can't, Eve! It's not just the blood, it's the sacrifice! Giving up everything you love here is what makes the spell work!"

"Oh really? And just how was I supposed to sacrifice anything if I didn't even know I was sacrificing it in the first place? What were you going to do? Say, 'oh, by the way, you can never go home again. Thanks for that, now go do your thing!'"

Puck sighed. "You didn't have to know until after. It would have been enough that you stepped out of this world, even if you didn't know you couldn't go back."

Evelyn stood dumbfounded. The realization that Puck had truly intended to steal her from her life felt like a thousand daggers stabbing into her soul all at once. She dropped to the ground and cried, allowing hot tears to flow freely from her face and water the ground. Brandon's arms wrapped lightly around her shoulders as she let her emotions flow out. Evelyn was grateful for him, in the intensity of the fight she had forgotten he was even there. "Give me one good reason I shouldn't send you away forever? Give me a reason not to hate you forever." Evelyn sobbed.

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