❅ Chapter 20 ❅

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Music flowed through the room, the melody from the Throne room heard even here.

I stared at Foster's open palm, my heart dead silent in my chest. It felt raw, heavy - like a concrete stone.

I gulped and outstretched my arms, opening my palm. Foster slid the blade into it. The metal was icy against my skin, but I didn't mind. I felt numb, gutted, empty. There was only one way Foster could've gotten this sword.

Suddenly I couldn't breath. My throat felt too warm and too tight. Heat prickled the back of my eyes, and it wasn't long before my vision went fuzzy. Reality blurred, melting away, and suddenly I was back at the training ground, Sebastian in front of me.
"We're going to start magic training. It's time you start learning how to use your ice magic. You know, considering Akan turned back on his plan to meet you every Friday."
My body froze. "What?"
"Ice magic," he repeated, spitting on the cool metal and then buffing it away with his sleeve. The tip of his nose was red from the bitter cold. "I can't use it, but I can teach you how to harness your power."

"I can't," I blurted. "I can't."

He then looked up from his sword to pin me in a questioning glare, his eyes narrowing. "Why not?"

I shook my head, my galloping heartbeat roaring in my ears. "I just can't." I stood up then, not even bothering to brush snow from my pants.

He suddenly through the weapon on the ground, the metal sinking into the muddy snow with a splat. "God dammit Eve!" he snapped, and I jumped. "Why can't you see that I'm trying? I'm trying to give you space, trying to win you back, trying to get you to understand that I love you."

I love you.

"Were you the one to do it?" I whispered, my soft, strained words barely audible over the wind.

Sebastian came for me. He was here when the witches invaded; that was the only explanation for this.

Foster's brows knitted together as he studied my face. His eyes followed the tear that slid from my eye. Realization lit up he features like a beacon.

"He's not dead, Nev."

I ignored the nickname and stared at him blankly, gripping the blade tightly, holding it to my chest. "What?"

"He was the one that lead the witches invasion on us weeks ago. He came for you."

"Then how did you get this?" I snapped, holding out my wakizashi. My eyes traveled down the engravings on the blade, to the intricate designs of ice and ivy etched in the shiny metal. I squeezed the leather hilt so tight that my knuckles turned white.

"I had to take his weapons from him. Do you really think your mother would allow a witch to stay armed down in the dungeon?"

The dungeon!

My heavy heart suddenly didn't feel so heavy anymore. In fact, it began racing so loudly I could hear it in my ears, a strange shock of electricity jolting through my body. "He's here? In the castle?"

Foster cast his eyes downward.

"Tell me!"

He finally met my eyes, his face an unreadable mask. "Yes."

My whole body felt as if it was vibrating. "What are you waiting for? Take me to him!"

Foster's eye suddenly became pleading. "Nev, there's something you need to know first before I take you -"

I cut him off, a sharp burst of anger tearing through my chest. "No, take me there now!"

Foster nodded, his face solemn. "As you wish, your majesty."

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