The Writer - Chapter 27

The Writer - Chapter 27

A Chapter by A.L.
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The Reader

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The only good thing that came out of the attack was the look of surprise that flitted across Baelle’s too beautiful features as Emmeline’s sword shattered on her skin. 

Okay, that might be a problem, Emmeline managed to think as the hilt in her hands crumbled to dust in her grasp. She was now weaponless - unless the pen she had found at the Beach of Lost counted. And she wasn’t about to waste that on Baelle. 

Anger seemed to fill the whole temple with power. Baelle began to fight back, her dress shifting to a simple pair of trousers and a tunic. She let out a loud whistle, causing soldiers dressed in silver to begin filtering until the area. So maybe fighting back had been even worse than Emmeline had thought. 

Weaponless and not used to fighting hand to hand, Emmeline was obviously on the losing side of the battle. She threw wild punches, but the soldiers easily dodged. Panic began to rise in her chest. 

Three soldiers advanced on her at once, one of them holding thick ropes. Emmeline darted away, but suddenly the air around her seemed to solidify.

Was Beckett helping? No, because if it was Beckett’s power, Emmeline would still be able to move. 

The air continued to harden and Emmeline felt herself slowing down. It was a similar feeling to what she had experienced in Luca’s mansion. But this time, it felt more refined. As if there was still hope for fighting it. Her heart wasn’t slowing, just her movements. 

Soldiers advanced on her, apparently still capable of their full range of movement. One of them wrapped the rope around her wrists, movements deliberately slow. 

When the air around her finally seemed to go back to normal, Emmeline crashed to the ground. She was forced onto her knees, hands behind her back. It felt so familiar and so weakening - so vulnerable to be in this position. 

Newt and Beckett were in identical poses beside her. She could feel them fighting. 

Emmeline wriggled, trying to get out of the bonds. But Baelle just tutted and Emmeline’s fingers went numb again. It was almost like Baelle had just blocked all of her magic. 

“Don’t try anything,” Baelle ordered. “Or I’ll have my soldiers kill him.” 

At first, Emmeline just assumed that Baelle was talking about one of the boys. But then a few of her men strutted into the room, holding a wiggling bag between them.

Emmeline almost scoffed but suddenly thought better of it. What could possibly be in that bag that she would care so deeply about? Baelle had said him, but Emmeline didn’t know many guys. Forrest? Titus? Then why wouldn’t Clara or Coral be used too? 

Baelle took the bag from the soldiers, removing from it a pale, glowing figure. 

“You … you kidnapped my Guide?” Emmeline asked. She felt like laughing. Of all things - the Guide? 

Her Guide was in boy form, his expression panicked as Baelle lifted him up and pressed a silver dagger to his neck. No, not silver. It was probably lumenite - the mysterious substance that could kill ghosts and not humans. 

“Yes, your Guide,” Baelle said, cocking her head to the side. “Oh, I see. He hasn’t told you.” 

“What?” Newt asked, finally working up the courage to speak. “It’s a Guide…” 

“Among other things, yes.” Baelle was growing more eager by the minute - and not just because she had captured Emmeline and her friends. It had something to do with Ernest. 

“Ernest is much more than a Guide,” Baelle continued. “He’s someone closely related to Emmeline to be even able to be her Guide. He’s a messenger. He’s leverage. But more than all of those things - he’s Emmeline’s … oh, I don’t want to spoil the fun, but he’s her brother.” 

Brother. The word flashed through Emmeline’s mind, awakening a terrifying beast. Memories flashed through her head. She saw flames rampaging the small village, consuming all. Her brother in her father’s arms, her in her mother’s. Running as fast as they could. The fire burned bright. Emmeline and Ernest screaming. Something about saving the Readers. As in plural. As in Ernest was also one. More screaming. Parents tripping. Emmeline rolling away from the flames, her parents and brother consumed by them. 

Fear. Sorrow. Regret. Her memories flooded through her head, overwhelming her. 

Ernest wasn’t just her Guide. Nor was he just her brother - a Reader. He was her twin brother. 

Twin Readers, she had overheard her mother saying, though she hadn’t known what it meant. What a crazy coincidence. Something worth killing for. Something worth committing arson on a whole villager for. Whoever had killed her parents hadn’t wanted Ernest to die. Or maybe they did. Emmeline didn’t know. 

She choked back a sob, her insides feeling raw as Baelle smirked. 

“Ernest, I’m so sorry,” Emmeline cried. “I didn’t know or I would never have treated you like just my servant.” 

She felt terrible, and Baelle was relishing from it. 

“So,” Baelle interjected, “I’m sorry to interrupt this heartfelt moment, but we have business to attend to.” 

“I’m not helping you,” Emmeline spat through tears. 

“And if I kill the boys?” Baelle asked, hitting Emmeline right where it hurt. She smiled when Emmeline didn’t comment. 

She knew that Newt and Beckett would probably be willing to stop Baelle. Ernest probably would too - but that was a whole different story. Emmeline felt terrible for the ghost of her twin and didn’t want to put him in any more danger. 

“Your task is simple,” Baelle continued. “I only want you to-” 

“To Write you again,” Emmeline sighed bitterly. “Yes, I know. You don’t think I finished the Writing.” 

Baelle shook her head. “Nope.” She was grinning now, like a jackal. It unnerved Emmeline. 

“You want me to Read you? Then you can find out how you die - if you do. And you’ll put an end to it,” Emmeline tried, her mind searching for Baelle’s purpose. The goddess shook her head again. “You want to end Beckett and I?” 

“Wrong again,” Baelle said. “Though I do admit, you do have some marvelous ideas. But my request is really quite simple - if a bit cliche. I want you to join me.” 

It was Emmeline’s turn to laugh. “To … to join you?” 

Baelle seemed oddly serious about it. “I want all of you - even the Guide - to swear allegiance to me.” 

Newt snorted. “You want all of us to join you to fight against our own friends? Are you insane?” 

Although Emmeline did believe it stupid to so openly go against Baelle, her thoughts echoed Newt’s. Why would Baelle want them of all people on her side? Emmeline had made it clear that she never respected Baelle. 

Baelle gave a small shrug. “You’re perfectly right to question if I have ulterior motives - and I won’t deny it either. Bringing you into my castle willingly provides many positives. But all of you are powerful for your age, and I can exploit that power and use it to my advantage.” 

Emmeline raised an eyebrow. “Did you just reveal your plan to us?” 

“Nope,” Baelle smirked. “Not even in the slightest. Again, all I want from you at the moment is your allegiance and a promise not to undermine me.” 

“What’s in it for us?” Emmeline was beginning to question why Baelle was being so … so welcoming. Every minute spent in this temple could’ve been another that Emmeline’s friends could’ve come to find her. She could escape! Baelle could just take them to the castle and figure it out there, but she wasn’t. Why? 

“I’m so glad you asked,” Baelle continued, admiring her nails on the hand that wasn’t holding a knife to Ernest’s throat. “Power. Respect. The usual - plus I promise not to kill you immediately.” 

“Wow, that’s reassuring,” Newt mumbled under his breath, and Baelle shot him a dirty look. 

Baelle droned on anyway. “Besides, you have no reason to help the goddesses. What have they done for you?” It was admittedly a good point. Why did villains always have to be so reasonable? 

But Baelle also fell on the wrong side of Emmeline’s moral compass. Although the goddesses weren’t much better, they at least didn’t murder people who stood on the opposite side. Sure, they Blessed and Cursed whoever they felt like it. But Baelle was - well, Baelle was immortal and she hadn’t been above torture to get her way. 

Baelle and her Rogues had possessed Emmeline’s friends. She herself had tortured Newt to make Emmeline help her. She had ordered her Rogues to tortured Forrest. Her soldiers were killing anyone who stood in their way. 

“That’s what I thought,” Baelle concluded, apparently wrongly interpreting Emmeline’s blank expression. “Join me, and we’ll overthrow those stuck-up women.” 

The offer was growing less tempting by the minute. 

“No,” Emmeline said at last, pouring as much force as she could into her voice. “I decline your offer.” 

Baelle’s hungry expression shifted to one of disappointment, and she turned to face Newt. “And you, boy? Will you make the same foolish mistake that the Reader did, or are you smarter than that?” 

Newt spat at Baelle’s feet, wrinkling his nose. 

“Ernest?” 

The boy shook his head wildly, and Baelle’s expression only grew more bitter. Emmeline was prepared for the worst. When Beckett would say no, would Baelle lose it? Would she kill Ernest again? 

“Beckett? My little prince, please understand that there is much more to your life than a coma. I will unite the kingdoms, that’s what you want, isn’t it? If we work together, the kingdoms will listen to us.” Baelle’s voice was so sickeningly sweet that Emmeline couldn’t help but hate her even more. 

Beckett opened his mouth to respond, and Emmeline’s muscles tensed in preparation of a fight. 

“I will join you.” 

Emmeline thought she had misheard at first, and a small chuckle escaped her lips. But Beckett wasn’t smiling. The mischievous light from his eyes was gone. 

“Beck…” her voice trailed off. 

Had he … had he actually said yes to joining Baelle? 

The goddess’s grin only grew. “Really, princeling, are you sure?” 

“Beck, what are you doing?” Newt hissed, his voice sounding panicked. Emmeline felt her own fear rising up inside her. Was Beckett attempting to play double agent, because he would no doubt be discovered? 

The prince turned towards Emmeline and Newt. His pallor was angelic, but also terrifying in a way that he resembled a dead body. He didn’t even look scared. 

“I … my kingdoms need me,” he whispered, avoiding their gaze. 

“Beck, we can save the kingdoms without Baelle. She’s poisoning your mind. Do you want the kingdoms to hate the goddesses? To hate magic, essentially?” Emmeline was too taken aback to be very persuasive. 

“My kingdoms need what’s best for them,” Beckett continued, as if he hadn’t heard her. “And what’s best for them isn’t a side that’s losing the war. Besides, Baelle isn’t that bad - in fact, she’s correct. The goddesses have never done anything for us except divide the kingdoms. We don’t have to be separated into Cursed and Blessed. We can all be happy.” 

The words almost sounded forced, but it was kind of like Beckett actually believed what he was saying. 

“See, the prince gets it,” Baelle snickered. “He sees how futile your attempts are.” 

“Beck, you don’t have to do this,” Emmeline said softly, pleading. “We can get out of this alive. We can save your kingdoms.” 

Even to her, Emmeline’s words sounded like lies. Hadn’t her and Beckett just discussed the possibility of them dying? How terribly pathetic their situation was? Beckett was a prince and he thought he had to do what was right for his kingdoms. Even if it meant betraying his heart. 

Emmeline was desperate to get Beckett back on her side now. She scrambled for any piece of information that could prove that Baelle was bad. 

“How did you know that Ernest was my brother?” Emmeline stuttered. 

Baelle shrugged. “I keep track of all the Readers as a little … pet project. It’s good to know my enemy.” 

“You killed them, didn’t you?” Emmeline was just grasping at straws now, barely considering the meanings of her words. But apparently, Baelle thought that Emmeline knew something because she stiffened. “You killed my parents and Ernest.” 

“It was the beginning of my reign - a bet from the other Rogues,” Baelle said dismissively, igniting more fury in Emmeline. “Why should Readers keep more attention than the goddesses’ own children, we asked ourselves. I had to prove myself worthy of their ranks somehow - but the past is past. Ernest is back, is he not?” 

Emmeline ignored this, her mind still reeling. 

Beckett, however, seemed indifferent to this information. His expression was blank and tired, as if he were bored of this. 

“How can I prove my allegiance, your highness?” he asked Baelle. 

Emmeline wanted to vomit. Stealing the Rogues' life force or whatever, Beckett’s betrayal, and the shock of finding Ernest - her twin - was murdered by Baele was enough to make her feel sick. 

Baelle thought for a moment. “Guards, bring me the bag.” 

The soldiers obeyed and Baelle shoved a protesting Ernest back into the bag - which must’ve been made of lumenite or something. 

Then she handed Beckett her knife. “This is lumenite. It won’t kill your friends, but it will make them violently ill to force them to think about their choices and hopefully regret them. One cut between the shoulder blades will work perfectly.” 

Beckett nodded, and Emmeline watched him in horror as he approached, the knife gleaming in his hands. 

“Beck, please,” she whispered. 

“You’re too late,” he whispered, somehow summoning the hatred Emmeline had never heard from him before. 

And then he plunged the blade into Emmeline’s back. Cold washed over her, followed by a blanket of darkness. That’s when the dreams started. 


Emmeline is young, with pudgy hands and rosy cheeks. Her green eyes sparkle with the mirth that childhood brings. Her smile is bright. 

Beside her is a boy that could be - and is - her twin. The two are pouring over a book opened on the ground, its thick pages covered in colorful pictures. Ernest points to an odd depiction of a humanoid creature with a scaly tale instead of legs. Emmeline giggles, and the two share a look. 

Emmeline feels safe as her and Ernest continue to flip through the book. The crackling fire in the fireplace, the smell of the pages and ink of the book, and the lush carpet beneath her toes make her happy. 

“Time for bed,” a woman says, interrupting their reading. 

“One more book!” Ernest pleads. “Please, Mommy.” 

“You have school tomorrow,” the mother chastises, leaning against the doorframe to the living room. Her husband stands behind her, his arm wrapped lovingly around her. 

Emmeline frowns. “No school!” 

The woman and her husband share a look. They’re about to say something when a door slams elsewhere in the house. Another woman appears in the doorway, her dark skin shining with sweat. Her voice is soft as she notices the children. “They’re here, and they have torches. Run now and you can escape.” 

The mother and father share only a single look before rushing for their children. Emmeline’s mother scoops her up in strong arms, pressing the small girl to her chest, and her father does the same for Ernest. The twins glance at each other, identical green eyes wide with fear. 

Emmeline begins to cry, and her mother shushes her. “Please be quiet, baby. It’s not time to cry now.” 

Emmeline can’t help herself, though. Snot and tears mix together as she cries, wails growing louder. Her mother grabs a cloak off of the hook and wraps it around the two of them. Her father throws open the door and they run.
The air is warm and the birds are singing their evening songs. The sky is bright, illuminated by millions of stars far above. 

And there is fire everywhere. 

Emmeline is silent as she watches it consume all. Flames are tearing into their house now, eating it without a second thought. Emmeline is scared. 

“Protect the Readers,” her mother chants under her breath, as if reciting something. “We have to protect them.” She mutters something else, but the sound is cut out by Ernest wailing not far away. His tiny hands are reaching for Emmeline’s. 

Then the world flips upside down. The fire is spreading faster now. It is consuming all in its path. Emmeline’s mother has tripped, sending the toddler rolling away. 

Emmeline only feels sorrow as she watches her father trying to help her mother up. Ernest is dropped to the ground, and he scrambles towards Emmeline. There is screaming, crying, and so much pain. Emmeline can feel it in the air, like poisoned spikes. 

“Run! Run! Run!” It’s the only sound she can hear, besides her own sobs. 

Her tiny legs can’t carry her fast enough. She stumbles along in the forest, the flames growing brighter now. Ernest is just behind her. 

He is not fast enough. The flames look like they come alive, bursting outwards in an explosion of heat and death. The wave takes her mother. Her father. And then it takes Ernest too, ripping her entire family away from her in a single moment. 

Gone. 

Emmeline runs, her hair streaming behind her like ribbons. When she can run no more, she collapses into a ball, shaking with sadness. She doesn’t completely understand what has happened, only that she is alone and hopelessly lost. 

“Ernest!” she cries. “Mommy! Daddy!” 

No one answers her, and Emmeline only falls deeper into despair. 

The older Emmeline was watching too, stuck on the other side of the vision, unable to help as she watched her younger self be torn apart. She didn’t know who the woman was. She didn’t know how long she had been in that forest alone before Zoro found her. She didn’t even know her parent’s names. 

The Rogues hadn’t done much in the outside world yet, but they’d done plenty to Emmeline and her family. 

They’d killed her mother, an innocent woman who had aspired to be an artist - something Emmeline only vaguely remembered from the drawings in the book her and Ernest had been reading. 

They’d killed her father, an innocent man who’s jokes had caused everyone around him to laugh. Emmeline missed the way we would push the frame of his glasses up on his nose every time before they would all play together as a family. 

And they’d killed Ernest - a toddler - all because they were jealous of the magic that hadn’t even begun to manifest itself yet. 

As Emmeline slept, she promised her family that she would avenge them. She wouldn’t let them die in vain. She had lived the night of the fire for a reason. There was a reason that Elyviella had let her live. She would destroy Baelle if it was the last thing she ever did.



© 2021 A.L.


Author's Note

A.L.
Lots of important revelations in this chapter, though I'm not sure if my motivations were quite powerful enough.

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Added on January 3, 2021
Last Updated on January 3, 2021
Tags: adventure, fantasy, blessed, cursed, fiction, mythology, death, love, friendship, kingdom, prince, princess, queen, king, youngadult, ya, goddess, sword


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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..

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