CHAPTER 16 - "I felt cold inside"

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It was really hard to let Bellamy go, but we both needed to take a break before everything began. The rest of the night passed in the blink of an eye. I tried to sleep, without any success. Every time I closed my eyes I saw blood everywhere or I couldn’t stop thinking about Bellamy’s kiss. These two thoughts were tragically linked. So I started to get ready, I wore my war jacket and came facing the square from my balcony, there were already people gathering so I went away and took my swords.

I came down the stairs and than saw Lexa going toward the prison.
She came to see Aspen. He stood up when he saw her and came close to the bars. Lexa made the guards leave and opened Aspen’s cell. She came in and slapped him.

“Your behavior is unacceptable. Know one thing Aspen: if I had to choose between you and my sister I would gladly let you rot alone after what you did at the training camp.” She said firmly. Aspen bowed his head but started defending himself the next second.

“I did this for you, to protect you.” Lexa looked at him pissed.

“Oh please! Stop this! I’m quite capable of protecting myself. What you do is only saving your own ass. You’re nothing but a coward. Now give me your ensign.” She ordered.

Aspen started to faint and let a tear flow from his eye. “Lexa … Lexa please don’t. Let me make it up to you … I’m beg…” Lexa stopped him yelling:

“It’s your majesty! You don’t get to call me by my name, you lost that privilege the moment you started acting like a self-absorb stupid man. Man who by the way is no longer a part of the royal guard.” After these words she snatched the emblem from his jacket and left leaving the cell open. Just before she disappeared into the corridor, she shouted:

“You have two days to prove to me you still deserve to be a part of this people, this kingdom, otherwise you’ll be banished.” She disappeared leaving him alone with his consciousness.

I came into the same corridor, she was waiting for me worried. We didn’t talk about Aspen or the duel. Actually none of us knew what to say. There were no good words to spell in this situation. So she took my hand and we walked into the holy square.

The sun was shyly rising while more than three hundred people were gathering around us. We climbed on the rostrum, followed by the leaders of the clans of the coalition including the chancellor Malorth.

“This duel is a fight to bring peace in our home. Blood must have blood, but a war would be sending the army of Polis to death.” Lexa started. After these words the people started screaming “Heda” with respect and some of them put their hands through the sky. Symbol of the sun. Then I came next to her and started speaking:

“This fight sets in our home, with our rules. The kingdom of Polis is known for his good behavior, his greatness. I will personally get into this fight facing a Skaikru officer. I demand you all the respect and the honor that this ceremony deserves. For those we have lost.”

I knew Bellamy was somewhere behind me but I couldn’t look at him. Not yet. I haven’t even pronounced his name, maybe to make this less real. Anyway we both came down and took swords. I saw Octavia in the crowd, she wanted to hug Bellamy before the duel but I made a sign with my head showing her not to. She mustn’t be associated to the Skaikru if something went wrong.

The people were extremely respectful and quiet. We came closer to each other and bowed. Just before we stood up he whispered to me: “Play along.”

I didn't know how we succeeded to make this look like a real fight, but we did. We tried to touch each other but every time one of us was dodging the hit. Every time until this one.

We were both exhausted. The fight was going on for more than half an hour now. I tried again this hit I had done more than a dozen times during the fight. But this time Bellamy didn’t succeed to fight back and got nicked on his arm. I drew back quickly trying to control the emotion on my face. The people were screaming, they wanted me to finish him and I didn’t know what to do. I heard a scream behind me before I had the time to think about anything.

“That’s enough! A leader should fight another leader!” The chancellor Malorth screamed. He came down armed and started coming toward me. The crowd was moving but Lexa made them calm down. I guess she was as much distraught as I was. I started to hit him, pushing him back several times. Bellamy was still laying on the floor trying to get up. Please Bell fight back, fight back, I said in my head.

Malorth was faster than I thought. I started to feel really weak and my hits became less and less precise. I turned my head to see Bellamy but he wasn’t on the floor anymore. When I turned back I saw Malorth in front of me with his sword moving closer to my chest and then nothing.

Everything stopped, I heard screams and then Malorth was immobile. It was like when Aspen attacked us, I wasn’t thinking straight. My eyes were misty and my head heavy. I felt cold inside whereas the light of the sun was burning my skin.

I looked at my chest there was blood on it.

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