The Beast And The Blessed
I didn’t trust anyone with Killian or Charlie’s blood; everyone in the room seemed to understand that.
The healers had also come down but were sitting off to the side after caring for the king’s and
princess’s battle wounds, waiting in case we needed them further.
My hands were shaking as one of the healers, Flora, talked me through inserting the needle into
Killian’s arm. She could have done it, but the fewer people handling his blood, the better for my peace
of mind, and I knew he would feel the same way.
They had said the vein in the neck would be best, but getting a good stick there was impossible with
him moving and snapping at me.
He was enjoying my fear.
The back and forth of warmth toward me had died, and there was nothing but malice on his face. The
darkness had taken over, leaving me with a man I didn’t recognize.
“So weak. I don’t know why the Goddess picked you for me. You are a disgrace to the crown.” His
voice was deeper, his eyes darker. I had expected to see the pure black orbs that would have mirrored
Heath’s before his death, but the hazel coloring I loved was still there. My teeth clenched together as
his words hit me harder than I had anticipated.
“Hold his arm still,” Flora said firmly to the guards assisting in restraining Killian.
He was strapped down to bolts in the floor, but there was only so much the chains could do to keep him
from moving while I tried to get the needle in his vein, so we had to ask them for help. I was so
distracted by the venom he kept spitting at me with every word that I couldn’t focus my magic long
enough to restrain him myself.
I was still working on using it on command and not just as an emotional reaction.
“You’re nothing but a whore. I should have known by the disgusting scars on your back that you weren’t
worth my time. You weren’t even pure when you came to me, begging me to fuck you. You were
tainted.” His lip was curled in disgust and turned into a snarl as I aggressively shoved the needle into
his arm, missing the vein.
My lungs collapsed as the pain in my chest knocked the air right out of my lungs. I didn’t want to
believe that what he was saying was what he actually felt.
I assumed the darkness was controlling him and spouting the insults, but I had to wonder how much of
it was true. Were these thoughts already in his head about me and were just being brought to the
surface by whatever controlled him?
I closed my eyes as he laughed darkly, enjoying my pain. “You may wear my mark, but you will always
be alone. No one wants you. We are all just stuck with you. At least your mother had the good sense to
throw you out into the woods.”
“That is enough!” My mother’s voice filled the room from the doorway, and I refused to look up as she
entered the room. What he said was true. She did toss me out as a baby, and he didn’t choose me. He
was stuck with me. He hadn’t wanted a mate and made that abundantly clear when he found me. “Do
not infect my daughter with your lies!”
The only person that had wanted me here was Joselin, and that was because I would be the person to
save her best friend’s life.
Killian growled again, the muffled sound making me feel more relaxed as his lips were literally sealed
shut. I was positive he couldn’t part them to speak again if he wanted to, and I kept the pack link tightly
I pulled out the needle, and Flora adjusted the angle of my hand before I inserted it into his skin,
watching as the tube began to fill with blood.
This was the first time I had seen something like it. The dark liquid was filled with shimmering black
lines, like small worms swimming through his bloodstream. It was almost mesmerizing, but I moved
quickly to Charlie to do the same.
Joselin was working over the collected blood, cleansing it of the darkness to return it to its owner’s
body. Still, we had no idea how long this process would take.
When I was done with Charlie, who hadn’t been entirely consumed by the darkness yet and was sitting
stunned and silent, I stood behind them, not ready to face Killian. She was a more willing participant
and allowed me to insert the IV without any struggle.
’Natalie, I swear, I didn’t mean to.’ Charlie looked up at me with wide eyes, begging for understanding.
But I wasn’t there yet. How was I to know if the darkness had been affecting her or if it had been her
choice to attack me?
“Please, don’t. Not right now.” I snapped at her as I turned to my mother.’ There has to be something
you can do,” I said, standing behind Killian.
Aurora shook her head sadly as she continued to observe Joselin’s work over her shoulder. Joselin
didn’t seem happy about it, but she said nothing.
The other council members were working on enchanting a few items on the other end of the room to
prevent the darkness from being able to retake control of Killian and Charlie. While I had just been
learning about that kind of casting, my main focus was guarding my mate.
I wanted to ensure no one else got their hands on my mate’s blood. It was bad enough they found a
workaround by taking his mother.
“You are growing stronger every day.” She responded, sounding distracted. ‘There is nothing I can do
that you can’t.”
I narrowed my eyes at her, waiting for her explanation.
Killian rolled his head back, unable to face me fully. But I could see the evil glint in his eyes, and I knew
I didn’t want to hear what he had to say about me and what I was capable of.
“We are not all-powerful, my dear, just stronger than others.” She responded as she nodded with
satisfaction at whatever Joselin was doing and turned to look at me.
I was so sick of the vague answers, but my mate came first, and as soon as he was better, I would sit
her down and talk to her. I wanted answers, and I wanted to ask if she could help with my training. The
biggest one that had been on my mind was my father. Who was he? Where was he?
I turned to Agatha, who was approaching with two pendants hanging from her hands.
“Is this thing contagious because I am starting to feel a bit violent myself?”
She smiled at me sympathetically. “I don’t think so. That might just be the situation making you tense.”
She handed me the necklaces. “Don’t put these on them until their blood has been cleansed as much
Tense was one way of putting it.
I wanted to scream and cry at the same time. Mostly it was because of what Killian had said. I knew he
would be fine. He was surrounded by powerful witches and healers. But it would always be in the back
of my mind, wondering if he meant what he said or if it had been the darkness talking.
“Thank you, Agatha.” She nodded before flicking her finger toward one of the armchairs in the corner of
the room. It slid over to me as she patted my arm. “Take a seat, your majesty. This could take a while.”
I nodded before turning to Tobias. “Can we have someone track down Damien? He should be here for
He nodded, his eyes turning black, and I narrowed mine at him.
“You could have talked to me through the pack link this whole time?” Joselin snorted as she looked
over her shoulder at a smirking Tobias.
“He could have actually spoken to you this whole time. He just chooses not to. He doesn’t talk to
anyone.” She held his stare momentarily before turning back and focusing on the blood transfusion
I wanted to help but didn’t want to test my powers on something that important and accidentally kill one
Tobias looked away from me, but a shadow passed over his face as he held his stare above my head.
That would be the end of the conversation.
I pulled my knees up, wrapping my arms around them as I watched the blood flow through the tubes to
where Joselin was working at the table that had been brought in. The council had joined her, and for
once, they were working as a team and discussing the situation quietly and professionally. Medical
pumps were set up to keep the blood flowing as Joselin worked quickly. The rhythmic noise of the
machines was soothing.
We could have gone to the infirmary, but having so many people in such a small space seemed like an
unnecessary added stress.
I tightened my hold around the pendants as I reminded myself that everything would be okay. It had to
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