Chapter XLIX

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Something had broken in me. As the rocks of my castle, of my home, fell one on top of the other, still consumed by the green fire, I could feel that in my head it was falling apart. I felt my mind crumple, my bones break one at a time, and yet the pain had me there, trapped in my own body.

There were voices, there was also heat, there was noise, but I could only think about one thing. One thought that eclipsed the rest of myself and the whole world as the tears set my face on fire, just like The Tenth had done with my family, with my legacy. Just like she had been doing with my life.

"Alynne, we need to get out of here." I barely recognized Pandora's voice and her hand in my shoulder.

No more. Nevermore.

"No. This time I will not run away," I said between my teeth. "I will never run again."

"Alynne, we really need to get out of here," Pandora insisted. There was panic in her voice, and only because of that, I looked at her and followed her eyes. A dark army was coming towards us, and it would only be a matter of seconds before it arrived. However, I did not think twice before speaking.

"Draxen, you and Pandora, take the kids to a safe place." I didn't wait for a response on their part before running with my sëol beside me. "Kill the servants of The Tenth Faery," I told it.

My hand traced the outline of the rose that Aldwin had given me, still alive, still overflowing. Something told me that it was time to finally use it, and with a single thought, with a single idea in head, I let my mind take care of sending the whole message.

Tears blurred my vision, I could hear the desperate cries of Pandora in the distance and I knew I could not come out alive this time. I didn't think, didn't meditate, didn't feel. I simply let both scythes, one in each hand, form before jumping into the demonic army that was coming towards me.

The last images I had of my father, the fuzzy memory of my mother, the days I had lost by their side because of the curse, the innocence that had been ripped from Gail. She had tried to kill me over and over again, and yet there I was. With a war cry that tore at my throat, I jumped into the horde.

They couldn't touch me for a second. There was not one of them that could put a finger on me. I would rip off the whole arm of rennet with a movement. Their blood fell to me, staining my body, my clothes, but it left the blades as soon as it touched the scythes. They were both impeccable.

I kept moving forward, cutting heads, tearing each and every one of them apart. I imagined it was her, that the bodies were hers, and I could see it clearly. I did not think to fall until I had taken her with me. Suddenly, the runes began to arrive like a furious rain around me.

Red, purple, black, white. They congealed, exploded, paralyzed, burned, and some cured me, protecting me, making me untouchable for them. I felt recharged, unstoppable, until I saw Pandora and Wiese, both transformed, approaching me, skinning anyone who came near me. Draxen had begun to create an army on his own, and Gail had also taken her book, reading again, making the ground tremble beneath us .

The demons had formed a circle around us already, but I was not afraid, not anymore. My scythes kept asking for blood, my sëol was now a giant lion with three heads, Pandora's staff and book shone at full power, Wiese had extended their claws, Gail floated beside us with a murderous expression in her eyes and Draxen was surrounded by a circle of black tentacles.

"You are not alone, Alynne," said Pandora.

"We are together in this," continued Wiese.

"Then help me get to her." This time, The Tenth was behind her army. She knew there was something different in us, she knew she wouldn't be able to make us go back, and I couldn't even see fear in her eyes. She was right to fear.

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