7: Maternal Instincts

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Biana's heart rumbled with the palace as a loud BOOM rattled the building late one evening. She jerked out of bed, and pulled on her silk robe before running to the door just as Dex threw it open, wearing full armor like he hadn't begun to get ready for bed. "Come on," he urged in a loud whisper, opening his arm for her to run into the protection of, "let's get you to the safe room."

They rushed out into the main hall and followed closely behind Keefe, who had a triplet under each arm and one riding on his back, and only made it a few hundred feet before Neverseen goons charged up through servants passageways and met the guards who were already steadfast in their positions, ready to fight. Dex didn't even blink as the swords began to clash and blood began to spill, he kept his fierce, periwinkle eyes ahead and his grip on her shoulder tight, determined to keep her safe. He kept her moving forward, bashing goons with his sword and shield when necessary, causing her to move closer to him, her arms wrapped protectively around her baby bump.

She tried to keep focus as they moved, but panic swelled up in her throat. The last time there was an attack on the palace, her husband and father of her baby was killed, and she couldn't help but wonder who would be next. Her mother? Her brother? Her father? Sophie? Keefe? Linh? The triplets? Dex? Biana herself? Her baby? Who else would she have to lose today? In what way would her world fall apart? Biana stumbled, and Dex caught her with a firm hand.

"Are you alright?" he asked worriedly, scanning the area for potential threats. They were standing at the edge of the hall, the miniature battles raging around them at a distance.

Biana tried to speak, but the only sound that would leave her mouth was, "Tam."

Miraculously, Dex seemed to understand, and scooped Biana up in his arm, adjusting his grip on his sword before running faster than before, sticking to the edges of skirmishes and avoiding as many fights as possible. At one point, the entire hall contained an all out brawl of guards against savage Neverseen radicals, and Biana heard Dex suck in a nervous breath before diving right into the middle of it, slashing with his sword and shoving radicals out of the way brutishly. Just before they were out of the middle of it, Dex blocked a sword falling down upon their heads with his own blade, shook the Neverseen radical's sword off, then stabbed the goon between the plates of his armor, kicking him down so he and Biana could get by.

Biana looked over Dex's shoulder as they broke away from the cluster of fights, and the glints of sunlight coming off of the blood-stained blades were blinding, skewing with her vision so that every time she blinked, she flickered between the current attack on the palace and the last attack on the palace. She could hardly tear her eyes away, and tears slowly slid down her cheeks, even though the world around her was moving so fast. She could hardly tell if her nightgown was her ball gown as she was carried by Dex in the same way he had during the first attack, only this time, his armor wasn't warm and didn't smell like acid on metal. Eventually she felt her hands tremble as they held her baby bump, and she ducked down to hide behind Dex's large shoulder, forcing herself back into the present.

Her heart fluttered with joy when she saw the entrance to the servants passage that lead to the safe room, but it quickly sank when she saw a skirmish coming down from the other end of the hall to block the passageway. When the man fighting the four radicals turned his head, Biana identified him as Keefe. His hair was askew, his pajamas were ripped and stained with blood, and he shot a smile over his shoulder when he saw Dex, who set Biana down and jumped into the fight.

"Glad to have some back up," grunted Keefe, "I had the triplets run ahead, the passage is one way with no doors, they're safe."

"We can not let the radicals enter the passage," Dex decided.

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