Chapter 41

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King Nikai of Amaranthine

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King Nikai of Amaranthine. His beauty shines even during the most somber of times. He's like a living goddess, draped in gold stars and silk as white as milk. His gaze is so cold and lethal. Has he come here to kill me?

As the door closes behind him, shutting us off from everyone outside in the hall, Sam lets me go without hesitation. He pushes me away just so he can scurry to the wall, and it's in that moment, I catch sight of his arm. Weaved in majestic black vines and flowers, the Crown Prince's curse mark curls around Sam's left arm.

What have I done?

Their grandfather's hand leaves the confounds of the long sleeves, bringing out a small glass vial filled with honey substance. Each drip turns into air, waving through the room like an enchantment is being cast over us. The chattering dulls outside as if we're now standing in a soundproof room.

"Restrain her." His voice comes out in such a strong, captive way, I almost miss the Ama words he spoke.

Darious walks out from behind him and straight for me in swift determined strides, each step coming out hollow. I back away before he can reach my space, but I'm too frozen in place to escape and knock into the IV pole behind me.

He comes to a halt on my side, yet I'm still expecting the worst. He whispers under his breath, "I will not hurt you. But this will be less painful if you do not resist."

Darious grasps my arms from behind before I can respond.

Having him restrain me turns my instincts into overdrive, pushing out ideas and ways I could escape from their clutches and run. But there is nowhere to run. From the hallway, I can faintly hear Mom making threats and Gregori trying to calm her down. It sounds like he's given in to whatever demands King Nikai is after.

I might really die in this room.

Their grandfather walks with such grace, the tiny diamonds hanging off strands of hair easily absorb the sun's rays and reflect rainbows against the shade of midnight.

With each step, he carefully plucks each finger of their glove, until it's completely uncovered. The fear grows stronger from the wait, but when he stops in front of me, I don't have time to respond. I gasp as his palm covers my forehead.

Images flash before my eyes.

A blushing Mika and his wide eyes. He hovers above me on the floor after he's pushed out of the portal and into my living room. The first time we held hands. Our fight during training. The moment we kissed in the desert sand and again in the basement. Everything that's happened between us snaps by like pictures.

The memories speed up as they fast forward. There's no time to keep up, to understand what I'm seeing, to immerse myself in the nostalgia. The longer this goes on, I eventually give in to this strange ability until we reach the memories of Marc.

I jerk back.

With a steady hand and Darious' grip tightens. I'm strapped down in place when I want to run away as far as possible. "Stop. Please, stop."

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