XXXI: The Beginnings of Siege

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Nalin whirled around at the sound of the cold voice coming from behind him, and faced none other than Robin. He had his hands buried in his pant pocket, as if he'd leisurely been out on a stroll, and had coincidently stumbled upon Nalin. The halfblood huffed in exasperation as Robin's silver eyes narrowed in harsh scrutiny.

"I...I..." Nalin couldn't find the right words.

With a scoff, Robin grabbed a hold of Nalin's arm and naturally, the boy retaliated by pushing him away. Robin flew into a table holding a vase, and both boys watched in horror as it fell to the ground...and shattered. Robin cursed and reached out to grab Nalin, this time successfully forcing him into a sprint down the hall. They didn't stop until they reached the sleeping chambers, where Robin made him open his door. When he shut the door behind him, he turned to Nalin with an infuriated look.

"You make me want to string your neck!"

Nalin blinked.

Robin paced around the room for a few minutes, then paused at Nalin's nightstand, picking up a familiar white envelop with an incredulous look across his face. He hissed, "Do you not know how to follow directions? What part of burn the letter after you read it, did you not understand?"

Nalin's eyes widened.

It was him! Robin had been the one to send him the letter!

Robin massaged his temples, non-comically. "This changes everything...I need to get you out of here."

"You know." Nalin said in startling realization, "You knew about this war from the beginning, didn't you?!"

"That doesn't matter anymore!" Robin raged, "What I am trying to say is that they know someone was eavesdropping. They will trace it back to you in no time and nothing will stop them from throwing you to her. If it's to gain her mercy, they will do it without a second thought."

Nalin shook his head furiously.

"What are you saying?"

"Nalin." He started again. "The Academy has been lying to you this entire time. They've known about you ever since the beginning. A war has been waged and they have allied themselves with her."

He did not know why he felt it was absolutely imperative for him to know, but he needed to find out by any means necessary. He stepped closer to Robin, and went as far as to grab him by the upper arms to pull him down to his level. "Who?" He urged, eyes burning. "Who is she?"

He felt like he already knew, but what Robin uttered next still made Nalin's world shatter.

"One of Hell's Archduchess'."

All the blood drained from Nalin's face. His eyes didn't leave Robin's, whom was silent, the weight of his gaze making the boy want to crawl into the darkest and quietest recesses of his mind. The will to continue on had withered into nothingness.

"Nalin," Robin said to him. "I am sorry."

He knew what this meant for Nalin.

Everything the halfbreed thought was real, how he was taught, the friends he had made—Sir Lulche, Miss Calyx, Jacinda, Atticus...

They were all a lie.

All that he had given, all that he'd sacrificed...his freedom, potentially his own life.

The crack of thunder from outside sounded, making the room flash bright for a fleeting moment. Robin's face was blank, but his eyes were wary. Assessing. Nalin had enough dignity to not shrink under his scrutiny.

"Where will you be taking me?" He finally inquired.

Robin answered without hesitation. "The Dark Continent. You may not know this, but you have allies there who are willing to shield you."

But much had happened, that he had nearly forgotten his precious friend who he'd sworn to protect. Robin's keen eyes in which unsettled Nalin once, now made him feel comfort for just the slightest bit. He gave a deep nod before stepping back, extending a hand to Nalin.

"It is best that we leave now while they are distracted. Something is festering within the Kingdom of Light. Believe it or not, it is my job to get you to the Dark Continent in one piece."

Nalin gave a wary glare, but took his hand nonetheless. "Is there anything else you would like to reveal to me?"

Robin gave a toothy smirk.

"I am Fae, if you hadn't noticed yet. But other than that, that pretty much sums it all up."

Something passed over his features and his eyes flashed a bright green.

Nalin's jaw dropped. " are Robin Goodfellow?!"

The righthand of the King of Summer, King Oberon, gave a bow below the waist as he said in a mocking tone,

"At your service!"

Once Robin released the magic hiding him, his true appearance came to the surface. His coppery hair grew longer, more untamed. The white marking seemed to glow proudly, his ears were more pointy, and his eyes were now a brilliant emerald green. He looked wilder and inhuman, but strangely attractive.

He truly was Fae.

Wonder showed clear on Nalin's face and he was about to ask the swarm of questions that had been building in his mind, but what happened in the next moment swept everything in a wave of high winds from a blast that took to the northern part of the Kingdom, where a large clock tower stood— up in flames.

The windows blasted in and both boys dropped to the ground, bracing themselves.

What first sounded like distant screams soon became all out gut-wrenching shrieks of panic that came from the hall right outside Nalin's door.

Robin grabbed Nalin's forearm to help him up. "We are leaving, now."

He didn't really have much of a choice but to follow Robin out into the hallway and into the stampede of students trying to get out of the academy. It was absolute mayhem at every corner.

Nalin tried his best not to knock anyone over, but it was pretty difficult not to when other people were slamming into him from different directions. It was so crowded that Nalin couldn't even see Robin, who was right in front of him. The pressure of his grip around Nalin's arm was comforting enough.

The sound of glass shattering sounded close and he faintly heard Robin's muffled, "Get down!", before a series of explosions brought everyone to the ground.

Nalin winced as his eardrums throbbed. Ash and smoke had filled the interior of the academy, fires slowly eating up the beautiful decor and any in its path. Screams rose in the air, from people who were burning alive to the ones who were being hacked down by dark forms of towering warriors in black armor wielding swords of an otherworldly caliber.

These men, these beasts, filtered from the holes that were blown into the side of the building and slew the poor souls that stumbled away. Nalin looked around wildly for Robin, only to find no signs of the auburn-haired Fae. His heart raced in his chest and he twisted around when he felt the approach of something dark.

A warrior of darkness brandished its mighty sword, ready to bring it down on a terrified Nalin. 

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