The Beast And The Blessed
The tone of the council changed after the announcement that Talia had chosen the other side and that I
was Aurora’s daughter, making me a descendant as well. They focused even more on tracking the
witches, trying to get a lock on them before the battle. If we could take them down, the vampires would
be no problem.
But the magic that was protecting them, hiding them, made it almost impossible to fight them in battle.
No one had brought up Talia again, but I could see the anger and disappointment in everyone’s eyes.
Especially Charlie’s. She seemed to have a connection with the witch and had been excited to see her.
For the rest of the night, the princess looked crushed. She and her brother had mastered masking their
emotions, but even she couldn’t hide how upset it had made her to hear of the treason.
I kept glancing at Killian in the mirror as we prepared for bed, but he was void of emotions. The eerie
feeling that had settled over the castle only worsened when the sun went down.
The low and deep voice barely reached my ears, and I looked up at the mirror, watching as Killian
rinsed the soap from his hair through the glass shower wall. It was a sight that normally took all
thoughts from my mind and left me a desperate mess.
“What did you say?” I called out, hoping to be heard over the running water and thoughts going through
his head. Killian opened his hazel eyes, staring at me with confusion as he shook his head.
’I didn’t say anything.”
I hummed in response as I brushed it off. No one else was in the room, and if Killian hadn’t spoken,
then perhaps I had picked up someone’s thoughts in the pack link. That was even more concerning
than if Killian had been the one who said it.
For anyone in the pack to have thoughts that contained those words so close together made me feel
even more unsafe in our home.
“Sorry, I thought I heard something, but it wasn’t clear.” I pulled the brush through my hair, biting my lip
as I considered the consequences of letting it go unannounced. Killian would need to know about
something like that. “Is it possible to cross signals in the pack link? Like for someone to accidentally
pick up on someone else’s conversations or thoughts?”
Killian shook his head, and I tried to focus on his face, not the soapy water running down his torso.
“Thoughts can never be heard in the pack link. You have to speak to someone, and I’ve never heard of
accidentally tuning into someone else’s conversation. What did you hear?”
I let out a breath of relief that it couldn’t have been one of our pack members then, and a quick scan of
the room proved it to be empty. “I thought I heard someone talking about darkness and running free,
but it must have been in my head.”
Killian stared at me momentarily before looking away to turn off the water. He didn’t seem concerned,
so I had to trust that everything was fine.
“Let me know if you hear anything else.” His tone was firm as he grabbed the towel and dried off. I felt
dismissed, but at least he didn’t make me feel like I was crazy.
“Yeah, okay.” I half-heartedly said as I walked to the bed and got under the blanket. Killian didn’t say
anything more on the subject as he joined me, spooning me from behind and whispering a sweet
“Goodnight, my love” next to my ear.
The room was still dark when I woke, and I sat up as the thick air closed in on me. In the past, when I
had felt this, I struggled to pull enough air into my lungs. But now, while it was physically evident there
was something dark afoot, it didn’t bother me as much as before.
“Bound,” The dark voice whispered again before fading to silence, and my hands gripped the blanket
tightly as I turned to Killian. He had rolled onto his back during the night, which happened often, but he
almost always turned back to hold me in his sleep.
His eyes were closed, but I could see them moving behind his eyelids as he remained deep in sleep.
“Killian,” I called out, placing my hand on his chest. His usually hot skin felt chilled, but his body moved
as he took in deep and even breaths. I pushed against his body again, trying to wake him. Only this
time, I realized I wasn’t touching him at all.
Invisible to my eye, there was a cold barrier between us that prevented me from actually getting to him.
“This has to be a dream,” The whisper left my lips as soon as the thought crossed my mind, only to be
confirmed as the bedroom door opened slowly to an empty hallway.
I paused for a moment before getting out of bed. There was something either my mind wanted me to
see, or the owner of the voice wanted me to see. If it could help save my people, I needed to know
what it was.
“…in the blood…” The voice called again as I reached the hallway and found the guards standing
watch, not seeming to notice me as I walked right by them in my pajamas.
The pull was getting stronger the further down the hallway I went until I stood before the door I had
once dreaded. The heavy wood opened on its own, and I stood still as I glanced into the dimly lit room.
The ominous feeling I once had associated with the dying or dead was still there, but the body wasn’t.
Laying on the bed was nothing more that the golden crown I had been wearing during my coronation,
the same one the queen before me had worn.
Only all of the gems had been replaced with blood-red rubies.
I felt the need to go into the room and take my crown back from the clutches of whatever spirit had
brought me here tonight, but I stayed rooted to my place in the hallway.
It wasn’t right. It was a trap. I just didn’t know who or why they were pulling me in.
The room flashed before me, as bright as day. My mother-in-law’s body, Lillian Amery, appeared for
only a moment before it went dark again, and only the crown remained. I clung desperately to the
memory of what it looked like in the real world, trying to force my body to wake up.
But the walls began to distort, and the temperature dropped until I had no choice but to wrap my arms
around myself to preserve some of my body heat.
Yet, I still couldn’t move.
The room flickered again, and the queen being kept alive by her machines flashed into my vision
before the dull and evil grey realm consumed me once more.
“Darkness will run free!” The voice called again, sounding louder than before.
I turned my head to look down the hallway, gasping as a hulking shadow figure rushed toward me. I
pulled at my feet, desperate to get away. But they were fused with the floor.
“No!” What I had intended to yell came out in a shaky gasp as a puff of white air left my lips from the
rapidly dropping temperature.
My scream ripped free as the shadow figure reached me, and I closed my eyes. My body finally
responded as I dropped to the ground, wrapping my arms over my head and pressing my forehead to
“Your majesty!” A voice shouted with horror, but I couldn’t unfold my body. ’ Grab a healer!”
I convulsed violently as the air warmed, but my body remained frozen.
“Where is she?!” The deep roar was familiar. It pulled at my heart, and I lowered my arms to look up at
my mate as he ran toward me. The bright light of day flickered in and out, the darkness fighting to
“Do not touch her!” I wanted to growl at the woman who appeared between myself and my mate, but
my mate did it for me. “She is not yet back in our realm. Only she can bring herself back. You can’t
disrupt, or she will be stuck there forever.”
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