CHAPTER THIRTY-SEVEN: The Cage
Story opened her eyes. The branch of an apple tree slowly came into focus.
She was back in the garden, covered in her own blood and dirt, but she was alive. She could breathe unhindered, and her abdomen was whole, with only drying, flaking blood attesting to the fact that she’d ever been stabbed.
How long had she been there?It could have been seconds, or it could have been years for all she knew. Who was to say that time worked the same way there?
Then she heard it—the sound of a selkie howling in pain and weapons clashing.
He’s still alive!
Story surged to her feet, momentarily stunned by her sudden influx of power. It was as if Ailionora knew she needed to stand, and it had helped her up. Eánna’s gift had improved her vision and hearing, but now, it was like she had been blind and deaf before. She held her hands up in front of her face and knew that, if she really tried, she could see beyond the skin, beyond the bone and tissue, into the very makeup of her body on a molecular level.
Ailionora was lending her the strength of a world.
She didn’t know how long it would last, so she ran. It was effortless, and the trees bent out of her way as she flew by. In a heartbeat, she was at the edge of the clearing, taking in the scene before her, her father’s knife in hand.
Pinni lay near her feet, dead. Ped was a few paces beyond, also on the ground and breathing heavily, silver blood oozing from a clean stab wound to his ribs. Her mind processed the horror, and her eyes frantically sought out Eirnin.
Dagger and sword locked over the Faerie Prince’s throne, Morrigann and Eirnin were mere inches apart. Morrigann uppercut Eirnin in the jaw with his free elbow, knocking the elf away and to the ground, his amulet long since gone now. The sidhe held out his gleaming black dagger and circled Eirnin slowly.
“You know, it didn’t have to be like this.”
Eirnin moved his jaw experimentally, then stood up slowly, Aiolus held at the ready. “Yes it did. All you’ve tried to do from the moment she got here was kill her.”
He lunged at the Faerie Prince, nicking his biceps in the process and sending golden sparks of magic flying.
Morrigann winced at Aiolus’s cut and spun away. “But that’s where you’re wrong, elfling. So very wrong.” A cruel smile crept across his face. He was enjoying tormenting the elf. “If she would have just taken the apple, she’d still be alive, and you two would have had a nice, long, elf-length life together.” He resumed circling Eirnin, who kept his sword angled toward him.
“What do you mean?” His eyes were wild, red hot, and swirled with black.
Morrigann shrugged. “The apple would have transformed her. She would have become like you, and in doing so, ceased to have been the Ailesit. But she would have still been alive, and you would have had everything you wanted.” The Faerie Prince’s face hardened and his violet eyes glittered with menace. “But she was too stupid to leave well enough alone.”
His words had the desired effect. Eirnin bellowed incoherently, rage and grief consuming him, and he attacked Morrigann blindly. He hacked with Aiolus, driving the Faerie Prince back at first. Eirnin was powerful, but he was also reckless. He was going to lose, and so, Story acted. With the strength of the world behind her, she threw her father’s knife and knew it would fly true.
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War of the Seasons, book one: The HumanFantasy
“Are you alright?" The corner of Eirnin’s mouth quirked up with a hint of a smile, probably remembering her reaction when he’d asked her that a moment ago. Story smiled sheepishly back up at him. "I'm fine. I think I just stepped on a rock and cut...