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            “So this is where your parents live,” Brook murmured, looking at the chandeliers and sparkling fountains. “It’s very bright, in a good way.”

            “Ironic, isn’t it?” Nathan muttered darkly, eyeing a quartz statue with disgust.

            “Don’t be such a bore,” Eva laughed, squeezing in between them and throwing her arm over their shoulders. “It’s a party, let’s have some fun!”

            A photographer ran in front of them and snapped a blinding picture before scurrying off in the crowd. Brook sighed in relief and relaxed her facial muscles.

            “I just barely made a smile in time!”

            “I make a rule not to smile in posed pictures,” Nathan replied proudly, earning an elbow in the ribs from their spunky friend.

            As the two bickered, Brook caught some men whispering to each other and shooting her suspiciously lewd looks. She blushed and had an urge to pull up her corset.

            “Pretty sweet, huh?” Eva giggled conspiratorially, breaking Brook’s train of thought.

            “Pretty annoying, you mean,” Nathan interjected moodily. Without another word, he dragged his wife off to the buffet table in the main hall without giving Eva a chance to stop laughing.



            “I-can’t-breathe,” Brook gasped, tugging on Nathan’s sleeve.

            Nathan opened his mouth to make a witty comment on the amount of food left on her plate when a harried looking woman rushed up to him. His smile slipped off his face as the woman began conveying her message in hushed tones.

            “I thought you said you’d get it fixed!” Brook heard Nathan hiss.

            “Nathan?” she cut in as the woman frantically apologized over and over again. “What happened?”

            He whipped around to stare at her. Brook felt a chill when their eyes locked, for while Nathan’s eyes may have been directed at her, there was a vacancy in them that clearly stated he couldn’t see her.

            “Nathan?!” she repeated, right before he grabbed her hand, threw her plate onto a stand, and sprinted out of the main hall. Brook’s high heels barely hit the ground as they flew down several flights of stairs.

            Lights reflected from the crystal structures whirled like multi-colored fireflies in frenzy with every sharp turn. People they passed stopped in conversation to stare and photographers quickly flashed a few photos.

            Brook called out to him several times, but he continued to run at breakneck speed, as if they were running from something. Right when the two descended the last set of steps and went towards the large front doors at the end of the hall, Eva landed in front of them, a few yards in front of the doors.

            Her dress hem floated around her and Eva’s hair seemed to bristle as she dug her shoes into the rug and barred the exit. As Nathan froze, Brook heard a pounding in her ears at the sight of her uncharacteristically serious friend.

            Above, a few women, apparently acquaintances she had been conversing with, shrieked and called down to her in alarm. Eva ignored them and held glared levelly at Nathan, who tensed and tightened his grip on Brook’s hand.

            There was a reigning silence for a perpetual amount of time, both royals sizing each other up and planning their strategies.

            Suddenly, Nathan let go of Brook’s hand. “Get out of the way, I don’t want you getting hurt in this,” he murmured lowly, giving her a gentle shove.

            “Stop it, Nathan,” Eva warned. “Do you have any idea what will happen if you ditch now?! The Walkers’ popularity will-”

            “I- don’t- care-!” he snarled. “Move!”

            “No,” she simply replied. “I’m a Lee, you don’t have that much control over me, you know!”

            “Alright, Brook, go away,” Nathan commanded, not taking his furious eyes off of Eva. The indenture sensed the finality in his words, and she unwillingly backed off.

            As soon as she was out of the arena, Nathan lunged forward, pinwheels of red flame spiraling towards small Eva. Brook didn’t even have time to shout before the girl dodged by hitting the ground and, with hands holding her upright, swung both legs at Nathan’s.

            He jumped in response and snuffed out his flames with a jerk of his hand before they could burn the large doors. Eva got out a thin dagger six inches long from a leather strap on her thigh and threw upward, slicing off a few hairs from Nathan’s fringe.

            Before the weapon even lodged itself into the ceiling, Nathan was punching down onto Eva’s unprotected back. She, however, rolled away and sprang up, using the force of her turn to swing out an arm and square in the gut, sending Nathan back a few feet.

            “Stop it,” Brook said inaudibly, clenching her fists and watching them in horror.

            As he recoiled, Eva took off her shoe and threw it at the dagger in the ceiling, sending it tumbling down into her hand.

            “Stop,” Brook whispered, not that they heard her.

            Eva kicked the other one off in Nathan’s direction, who simply burned it to ashes with raising a finger.

            Brook saw the cinders floating towards the floor when she decided to jump in and end this stupid fight.

            She’d had enough.

            Why did those she loved most have to fight for her sake? Why did she need so much protecting, to a point where she had to be kept in the dark for everything? When did she become so useless?

            “STOP IT!!!” she shouted, squeezing her eyes shut and sprinting to get in between them. What she didn’t see, however, was that the royals had already launched towards each other, one with dagger in hand and the other with a knuckle blade from the inside of his jacket.

            They both widened their crimson eyes as she suddenly appeared from no where, less than a foot away from them. Unable to stop their momentum, the two careened into her, weapons flashing in the chandelier’s light.

When Brook opened her eyes again, she saw Nathan sprawled at her feet, gone from his hand, looking up at her in frozen shock. She looked down; to find four inches of the dagger tip protruding from her ribs.



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