The Writer - Chapter 26

The Writer - Chapter 26

A Chapter by A.L.
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The Reader

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Heaving Newt’s unconscious body onto the back of a horse turned out to be the easiest part of their new adventure. And that was saying a lot, seeing as it had taken both Emmeline and Beckett roughly half an hour to haul Newt safely down the steps and drape him onto a horse. 

The Generals were gone, much to Emmeline’s relief. They had disappeared in the middle of the night, and no one had seen them since. 

Good, she thought to herself. That means they actually heeded my warning. 

Not that she could actually act out any threats. She was far from the mansion, alone in the woods.

“Are we there yet?” Beckett whined - which seemed to be one of his favorite phrases. 

Emmeline glared at him. Beckett smiled back, feigning innocence. She let it slide anyway.  After all, how much longer would they be able to laugh like this. 

They rode in silence for a little longer, Emmeline checking on Newt to make sure his condition wasn’t changing. Just as she expected, it wasn’t any different. His lips formed unsaid words and his pale skin was clammy to the touch. 

“You should calm down, Em,” Beckett assured her. 

The nickname only made her tense more. That was Newt’s name for her, not Beckett’s. “Please don’t call me that,” she whispered. 

Beckett gave a small frown. “... okay.” 

He was quiet for only a moment before continuing. “He’s gonna be fine. I know he is. We’ll get to the temple and we’ll save him.” 

Emmeline nodded, but she wasn’t as confident. A thousand thoughts infiltrated her mind. If only she could Write him to survive this, but with his markings fading, she probably couldn’t. 

Part of her fear was due to the visions she had seen in the boy’s head. The location where he looked at her in pain and woke up was definitely the Temple. But after that? The vision filled with sorrow and pain - she had no idea of knowing when that would actually occur. 

That reminded her of Titus’s Reading. She wondered if perhaps her Writing had delayed his death, and how soon he would die. So many people… 

Dixral’s words came flooding back to her, about how Beckett and Emmeline cheating death would ensure some of their friend’s didn’t make it back alive. The thought terrified her. Who would she lose next? 

“Seriously, you’re scaring me,” Beckett said softly. “Emmeline, I know he’s important to you. But if he was to die - which to be honest, isn’t entirely out of the realm of possibility - would you give up? Would you let Baelle win if Newt wasn’t here anymore? Because it kind of feels like you would.” 

Emmeline sucked in a breath. She knew that Beckett was just trying to remind her of her duties. But the words rang of truth and sparked more fear inside her. 

This time it was fear of herself. 

Would she give up if Newt died? Was it selfish to say that part of her would want to give up? Heroes weren’t supposed to be selfish. 

“Please, Beck, I don’t want to talk right now,” she mumbled, turning away from him so he couldn’t see her cry. 

Again, he was quiet for a minute or so. 

Then, “do you remember being on the carriage when we talked alone for one of the first times?” 

Emmeline nodded. “How could I forget? You said we were going to make some good memories once this was over.” And he’d also reminded her that the world needed people like the two of them to shake things up. 

“And we will get through this,” Beckett continued. 

“You think so?” 

“I know so.” More silence from the prince followed, and Emmeline pressed her horse to go faster. 

They rode on for another hour or so, mostly in silence. 

Then, “I know we’re getting close. I can sense it like … like it’s part of me.” The comment came from Beckett, of course. 

The pair slowed the horses. Beckett was looking around like he knew there was something there that Emmeline didn’t. She followed his gaze but saw nothing but trees and shadows. 

Nervous energy tingled in her fingertips. Now that Beckett mentioned it, she could feel the air surrounding the temple too. 

It was almost as if the forest was holding its breath. The birds were silent, the air was still, and the trees were frozen. But mostly, there was an odd pulse coming from just ahead. It wasn’t super noticeable. In fact, Emmeline could barely feel it when she was searching. She couldn’t explain it. There was something ahead, but she didn’t know how she knew. 

“It’s calling you too, isn’t it,” Beckett whispered, and not as a question. 

Emmeline nodded slowly, fear creeping down her spine. The Temple of Purity was just ahead. A place of power, unimaginable. 

It was extraordinarily humbling. 

“Should we get closer? Or do you think it’s a trap?” she asked softly, keeping her voice low in case someone else was listening. 

Beckett closed his eyes, rubbing his temples. “I … I don’t know. All I can feel is the temple pulling at me, and it hurts to resist. It’s almost like the temple wants us to come inside of it.” 

Emmeline almost said that’s ridiculous, but she caught herself. It wasn’t ridiculous, it was likely. Everything was turning out to be more complex than she expected, so why not this too? 

“I bet it’s being guarded,” Emmeline hissed as Beckett slipped off of his horse. 

Beckett snorted. “But the temple is empty.” 

“That doesn’t mean Baelle wouldn’t put Rogues on it. If she really did make Newt sick as leverage, she probably assumed we would end up here eventually.” 

Beckett sighed. “Fine. I can use my own gifts to protect us.” 

“I thought you were scared because the power could consume you,” Emmeline pointed out. 

“I was, but I’m not anymore. I think I can control it,” Beckett argued. 

Emmeline knew there was no stopping the stubborn prince now, so she sighed and went along with it. She slid off her own horse, surprised at how squishy the ground was. 

If Beckett was going to provide protection against possible enemies, that meant he needed to be clear of hindrance. Which meant that Emmeline should carry Newt by herself. It would’ve seemed impossible, but then she remembered her gifts. 

Focusing on the power from Layenyl, she forced it into her muscles. When she slid Newt off the horse too, he was heavy but his weight was bearable. 

“We should go now, before my gift gives out,” Emmeline said through gritted teeth. 

“Right,” Beckett nodded, inhaling deeply. “I think I’m ready.” He closed his eyes again, the tendrils on his arms pulsing with the odd silver and emerald light. 

Green rays burst from his palms, forming an almost perfect sphere around the small group. Beckett clenched his fists and his eyes fluttered open. “Hurry, I don’t know how long I can hold this.” 

He began to rush through the plants. The horses whinnied, and Emmeline shushed them quickly before following after the prince. 

It was a good thing that his defense sphere was in place. 

Immediately upon entering the clearing, all kinds of magic and weapons bombarded the shield, cracking it in some places. 

And then Beckett froze. His eyes were wide as he looked up at the shield breaking around him. For a split second, he looked purely and utterly terrified. Emmeline wasn’t quite sure why - they would be safe under the shield if he kept moving. 

“Beckett,” she growled under her breath, startling him. 

Without a word, he sped up, setting the pace at a run that Emmeline could barely keep up with as she was carrying Newt. 

All around them, the air was filled with loud noises and smoke. It seemed that, just as Emmeline had expected, the Temple of Purity was being guarded by way too many Rogues to fight off. They really needed to invest in Rogue trackers. 

Ahead, the temple gleamed in the dim light. It’s marble columns were covered in a layer of dirt that still didn’t take away from the overall impressiveness. 

But they weren’t there to admire architecture. 

Beckett ducked inside the temple, and Emmeline was right after him. The green shield shattered into fragments of light and disappeared. 

“Help me with the door,” Emmeline demanded, gritting her teeth. Newt seemed to be growing heavier with every second, weighing her down. She pushed against the cool, tile of the doors to the temple. When had someone installed doors? 

Beckett obeyed, throwing his weight against the doors as well. Slowly, with a loud groan, the doors swung shut. Beckett locked it tight. 

The pair slumped against the wall in exhaustion. 

“We did it,” Beckett breathed in relief. “We really made it here again.” 

Emmeline nodded, too tired to reply. Newt slid off of her shoulders and to the ground, where he lay in a crumpled pile. 

The temple was actually quite spacious. The walls were covered in mosaic murals of random scenery. Frigid water coated the floor, seeping cold into Emmeline’s bones. The only part not covered by water was the center, which was a stone walkway that led to a small table. On the furthest wall, the one on the opposite side of the room, was a mural of a boy. He looked … well, kind of like Beckett

If the prince noticed it, he didn’t show it. The mural Beckett did look older, maybe Emmeline’s age. 

The real Beckett was too busy taking deep breaths. “It smells like home,” he whispered under his breath. Emmeline sniffed the air, finding it to be stuffy and kind of bland. Beckett had spent a century here, so maybe it felt better to him. 

“We should get Newt in the water,” Emmeline managed. 

Beckett cocked his head to the side. “The water? Are you sure you don’t want to put him on the table or something?” 

Emmeline shook her head. “The Reading showed him in the water.” 

Apparently, Beckett knew better than to argue. He grabbed Newt’s legs and Emmeline grabbed the unconscious boy’s shoulders. Together they hefted him upwards and half carried, half dragged him into the freezing water. 

Newt lay there for a moment. And then he twitched. 

Emmeline’s shriek caught in her throat when he stilled again. Small tendrils of what looked like black liquid drifted calmly away from his arms. 

Beckett started at the water for a moment. “We should get out of the water. It looks like whatever Baelle did to him is becoming undone. He’ll probably be up momentarily.” When Emmeline didn’t move, Beckett gently pushed her backwards until they were both standing on the dry land of the center stones. 

Newt twitched again. 

“Sorry about outside,” Beckett continued, obviously trying to fill the silence. 

Emmeline was grateful that he wasn’t letting her alone with her thoughts, so she engaged in the conversation. “You mean when you froze? It’s fine, we made it inside all right.” 

Beckett shook his head. “No, it’s not fine. If you hadn’t said my name, I probably wouldn’t have moved and we would’ve died.” He cursed, something Emmeline was tempted to correct. 

“What exactly happened?” she asked, her arms crossed in front of her chest. She didn’t look at Beckett, her eyes on Newt. Yes, so maybe she was a bit miffed about Beckett stopping in the middle of the path. It had endangered all three of them. But she wasn’t livid about it. Everyone made mistakes. 

“I don’t know,” Beckett sighed. “At first I thought it was just the temple, drawing me closer. But it was … draining me again. I was suddenly back in Luca’s house when I couldn’t stop my magic from coming out. This time, I knew I couldn’t let it have me.” 

Emmeline felt the guilt clawing away at her stomach once again. She remembered how Beckett had admitted to almost letting the magic have him. 

I really am a terrible friend, she thought miserably. 

“At least you snapped out of it this time.” Comfort might help him feel better, but Emmeline was feeling a bit panicky too. 

Beckett shrugged. “I think one of these times, the magic is going to be too much.” 

And Dixral wouldn’t be willing to save him again. 

“Maybe if you keep using it, you’ll get stronger,” Emmeline suggested. 

“Maybe.” A moment of silence. “Emmeline, I’m sorry.” His voice was barely a whisper, barely audible, barely there. 

“Sorry for what?” This time Emmeline turned to face him. If he’d referred to her as Emmeline instead of Echo, that had to mean something, right? “Beck, you have nothing to be sorry for.” 

“Yes, yes I do,” he replied, bitterness seeping into his voice. “I’m the cause of all of this, aren’t I?” 

“The cause of … oh, Beckett, you’re not the cause of any of this. It was your parent’s decision to have you, not your. And the whole thing can be traced further back, too. Who made the kingdoms hostile? This isn’t your fault. Is that what this is about?” 

He gave another small shrug, which seemed to be his new favorite motion. “Among other things, yes.” He looked at her, big, blue eyes full of pain and sorrow. “But … shouldn’t I know how to use my powers? Shouldn’t I be able to use my magic like the rest of you? I can’t use magic, I can’t fight. I’m just dragging you down. All I’m good for is jokes - and even that’s debatable.” 

Emmeline was quiet for a moment to collect her thoughts. “Beck, you’re much more than just some jokester. Magic takes time, and you can fight pretty darn well. But you’re so much more than that too. You’re a prince, you’re a hero, and you’re my friend. Plus, your jokes are pretty good.” 

Beckett scoffed, but there was a playful smile on his lips. “Is being your friend supposed to be a compliment?” 

“Yes.” 

“And you really mean all that? You think I’m a good person?” 

“I know so, Beck. I meant everything I said.” She gave him a smile to show that she was sincere, and tension seemed to leave the small boy. 

“Thanks, Echo, it means a lot.” 

“Anytime,” she replied. Apparently, even optimists needed lifting up sometimes. “Now, is Newt getting any better?” 

Beckett frowned, peering closer at the water. “No, it doesn’t look like it.” 

Emmeline followed his gaze. The black stuff had turned the water murky, but Newt wasn’t twitching anymore. 

What did I forget, she wondered. She thought back to the vision. Newt had been in the water and … there had been a cut on his forehead! 

“We have to cut open his head,” she burst. 

Beckett looked at her like she had just suggested they murder the very boy they were trying to save. “Pardon?” 

“In the vision, he had a cut on his head. I don’t know, maybe the black stuff is in his blood?” she said. “We have to try. Do you have a knife?” 

Beckett held out his hand and a pearly dagger appeared in his palm. 

Emmeline was careful not to step into the water as she knelt over Newt. Careful not to make the laceration too deep, she slowly dragged the blade across the smooth skin of his forehead. 

Black and red immediately formed on the wound and began to dribble down the side of his face. Emmeline cleaned the dagger in the water before handing it back to Beckett. 

Newt stirred. Emmeline’s heart leapt into her throat. He began to twitch more until the blood on his forehead began to turn the water dark. Before long, only red was coming from the wound. 

His silver-blue eyes opened. 

Emmeline gave a delighted gasp and nearly leapt into the water to strangle him in a hug. But there was a crash from behind her. 

“The Rogues!” Beckett yelped from beside her. Emmeline muttered a curse and turned to fight. Except, before she could do anything, a force slammed her backwards. She rolled into the water, momentarily paralyzed. 

Then, just like in the vision, a thousand fractals of light shot from Newt’s hands and towards the now opened door. 

Emmeline could barely see what was happening, her limbs numb. It was like the strength was seeping out of her and into the water. Time seemed to slow to a halt as the light bursts flew towards the Rogues in the doorway. 

The light struck them each in the chest with deadly accuracy. White flecks started to float upwards, as if coming from the now unconscious Rogues. The flecks flew together to form a huge ball of … stuff? Was it energy? Emmeline didn’t care, she just wanted to be able to move and hopefully finish the Rogues off. 

And then the light began to drift towards her, Newt, and Beckett. It was slow at first, but it sped up. As it drew closer, the orb seemed to lose mass and Emmeline could feel strength returning to her body. 

A horrible thought struck her. They still didn’t know what the mysterious illness had done to Newt, but all of the sudden he had new powers. His old magic was based on life and death. So if this new magic branched off of that … did Emmeline just somehow consume another person’s life force? 

She wanted to vomit, but managed to hold it in. 

Her muscles cramped as she pulled herself out of the water. Terrified of what had just happened but overwhelmed with concern for the boys, she began to crawl towards Newt’s body. 

His eyes were open, and when he saw her, his lips pulled into a smile. 

Her voice caught in her throat, and Newt pushed himself into a sitting position. Emmeline threw her arms around him in a tight embrace. A single tear leaked down her cheek as she took it in. He was alive and awake! 

“Em,” he whispered, and oh, how she had missed his voice. This boy had been her only friend for years. She had managed to finally repay him. 

However, their victory was short lived. 

“What … what just happened?” Beckett asked meekly. 

Newt and Emmeline pulled away from each other. Emmeline’s cheeks were on fire, but for once, she didn’t really mind. 

“I … I don’t know,” Newt answered softly. “I saw you in danger and I had to help. So I did.” It took Emmeline a moment to realize he was talking about her, and not Beckett. A small smile found its spot on her lips. 

“You stopped an entire ambush single handedly,” Emmeline said. “You saved us.” 

“Yes,” another voice called out from the door. “But for what? Me to capture you personally? I really appreciate the gesture.” 

Emmeline snarled. The woman’s voice ignited rage inside of her, only adding power to the ever stirring fire inside of Emmeline. Baelle simply grinned from the doorway, her hands empty and her long, white dress seeming way too innocent. 

Beside Emmeline, Beckett was frozen in either fear or … well, probably fear. Newt raised his palms for another attack, but Baelle laughed.
“Oh, I wouldn’t do that if I were you,” Baelle advised. “I have many, many protective enchantments around me. Besides, your new magic is very … different from the little power you had before. I’m afraid you’d just drain yourself faster, and then how will I harvest any magic?” 

Newt scowled, and Emmeline’s hatred only grew. 

“I nearly killed you once, I can do it again,” Emmeline threatened, getting to her feet and reaching for the sword sheathed around her waist. 

Baelle scoffed. “That’s being very generous, dear. But I will admit, making it so that I am killable - very good thinking on your part. Yet all you really accomplished was sealing the nail on your coffin. Now I definitely have to kill you.” 

“Then do it,” Emmeline spat, smirking when Baelle didn’t move. She’d managed to call the goddess’s bluff. Baelle needed Emmeline for something, she couldn’t kill her. 

“I can still kill the boys,” Baelle reminded her. “I can harvest magic from corpses just as well as the living - even if it would be a pity to lose two very powerful possible soldiers. Not that they would join me anyway.”

This time, there was no falter in her eyes. Baelle truly meant to kill Newt and Beckett if Emmeline didn’t cooperate. 

“What do you want?” It was a simple question, but Baelle didn’t answer. Emmeline glared harder, wishing that she could attack Baelle without risk. But she probably did have some sort of shield, meaning Emmeline would only harm herself. 

“Come quietly,” Baelle demanded at last. “There’s no reason for you to be unconscious during the trip.” 

So Baelle planned to take them to Argenti. 

There was no way that Emmeline was willing to go with Baelle, just so she could die. Her muscles tensed, and she hoped Beckett and Newt got her message. 

With that, Emmeline let out a loud cry and attacked futilely.



© 2021 A.L.


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Added on January 1, 2021
Last Updated on January 1, 2021
Tags: adventure, fantasy, blessed, cursed, fiction, mythology, death, love, friendship, kingdom, prince, princess, queen, king, youngadult, ya, goddess, sword


Author

A.L.
A.L.

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I'm a teen, I'm just looking for advice on how to improve my stories. Any advice is appreciated. I hope to publish one of my stories for real in the near future. more..

Writing