Chapter 31

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He quickly brought his attention back and we continued our walk to the car. Once we were both seated, he started the car and drove off.

Our silence was crushing; I couldn't find a thing to say to him other than thanks. I tried to fill the ride with ideas for conversation. Should we talk about his stalking tendencies? However, maybe my issue with trouble and always being involved with tragedy was the problem? I seemed to have developed a knack for finding problems for him to rescue me from?

Once we arrived, I reached over to unbuckle my seat belt only to have his hand lay on top of mine stopping me midway. I looked at him, waiting for him to speak.

"You...You shouldn't go out alone anymore. Clarksville is not safe."

With that warning he let my hand go, I was expecting him to say more. Sadly, he had nothing more to offer. I grabbed my bag and hopped out of the car. I shut the door and expected him to wave, but without looking back, he sped off. I think I felt my heart skip a beat. I felt as though I had been abandoned on the side of the road. I laughed at my own thoughts as I strolled towards my apartment to wait for normal to return.

Nate walked into his apartment, and the walls rippled as soon as he entered. He walked into his main room. His father had pulled the windows open in order to let the wind circulate freely inside. Nate walked forward and dropped to one knee, his eyes focused on the ground.

Nate had now achieved the same height as his father, but his father was slightly broader through the chest. His hair had become white but his face and stature remained youthful.

 His green eyes silently observed Nate before he spoke. "You have handled this mission with sound reasoning. This mission of maturity could be seen as a success, aside from the anomaly of an Unholy escaping from the dream world." Nate raised his head, though only slightly, at the praise. He braced himself and waited for his father to continue.  

King spoke in the tone of a kind teacher, "Sadly, a rule has been disobeyed. This rule has kept our existence and our people safely living among the humans after the war. The court was wise to put forth this decree."

 Nate could feel the weight of the Glamour as it grew darker in his apartment. The King's tone became less instructive and more demanding as he spoke, "I have learned that you, my very own son, have violated this rule. The only action is to punish you and to remove the human girl."

Nate jerked away from his father's words. He raised his head. His skin lost its holding and started to crack at the surrounding pressure his father generated. Nate tried to speak clearly but struggled, "Father, please! I beg you to spare her life. She is not a threat or a danger to us."

The King stood. He began to glow more surrounded by silver and his voice was stronger, "SHE IS." 

 He paused, and attempted to control his breathing. The King rubbed his cheek and felt his skin shift. He continued to speak in a calmer tone," she is aware of our world, and she has managed to bind herself to you. This is too much. Son, you have not been aware that you are bound by something stronger then blood. You are in love with her. I can detect the change throughout your aura. There is only one way to break that type of bond."

Nate dropped his head and pounded his fist against the wood flooring. He begged, "Please! Please Father. I promise to never see her again. I will cut off all ties with her, but please leave her to continue living her normal life. I beg you."

King Finvarra looked down at his son. Nate reminded him of how fervent he felt when the Queen had touched his heart. The King remembered how there had been other women since Nate's mother but his love for her was incomparable. The King physically wrestled with the flow of despair coming from his son, and longed to do at least one fatherly thing for his son. Finally, he spoke. "Fine, I will let the girl live, but you must withdraw from her. Am I understood?!"

Nate raised his head, his true flesh showing from underneath, and he nodded. He father stood before him and looked him over carefully. Slowly the King turned away and melted into the light and wind. Nate remained on the ground and looked at his hands, powerless. He was powerless against his father, The King.

Later that night in Eliza's apartment, Eliza calibrated her latest ancient weapon, the bow and arrow. Ashe threw another dart at the board, only to cry out in disappointment when it missed. Neil and Eliza laughed at him for not anticipating the board's motion, while Erik read a book on the sofa.

They all startled when the door crashed open. Nate stood in the middle of the room, glamour heavy around him. Eliza stood up and took a step back, while Ashe immediately dropped the darts to the ground.

 After just a few seconds Nate immediately jumped on Neil. His hands wrapped around the young man's neck and he lifted him a few feet from the ground. As Neil matched Nate in stature, but appeared much more muscular, this was a feat. Nate was of single focus as he challenged. "You!" he hissed. "You caused this. How could you?"

Ashe grabbed Nate around the neck and shoulders. He pulled at him while Eliza tried to peel away the grip from his fingers around Neil's throat. Erik stood and watched them totally confused.

"Stop, Nate; You cannot hurt Neil, but you may destroy Corrine. Think of your Father's words!" Ashe pulled Nate back. Neil fell from Nate's grip onto the couch and tumbled to floor, gasping for air.

Nate fought against Ashe. Nate screamed incoherently, "Neil told my father everything. Everything! He must pay!"

Ashe would have been knocked unconscious if hit in the face by Nate as he struggled. Finally Ashe yelled, "ENOUGH, I told him to report this. It was me!"

Nate froze while he tried to absorb the treachery by his closest friend. Ashe slowly released the tension and walked around to face him. Nate looked at him confused. Saddened, he asked, "Why would you... What made you do this to me?"

Ashe rubbed a frustrated hand through his hair, before meeting Nate's eyes. "She's in danger because of you, I searched for a reason why they'd be targeting her, and it's your Glamour."

Nate flinched as if struck, Eliza and Erik watched his reaction from the floor were they sat next to Neil. "I am? How....How, would I be the cause? Explain."

Eliza stood, her blue eyes serious, "The oath you made with her was an ancient one, in exchange for you protection and glamour, she gave over her heart. If what Ashe has explained to me is exactly what happened, then she protected you by being stabbed in the heart. Correct?"

She looked at Ashe for confirmation. Ashe nodded for her to go on. "It means that as far as the oath is concerned, by ancient law, the two of you are married. So the affection you feel and the need to be by her side is understandable.  The exchange caused you to always unintentionally surround her with your glamour, so she exudes the essence of your glamour which made the Vermillion target her at the party. It wasn't you who drew the Vermillion, but she."

Nate shook his head in disbelief. "So, it is true then?"

Ashe nodded and extended a hand to offer support, but Nate waved him off.

Ashe dropped his hand down to his side and said, "Prince, the only way to protect her is for you to cut off contact with her, thus your glamour around her will weaken."

Nate nodded, dumbfounded and turned away from them. He walked out, leaving a trail of despair behind him.

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