The Emerald-Opal Heir - 1

The Emerald-Opal Heir - 1

A Chapter by A.L.
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The Prince

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The Becoming

THE BECOMING

Chapter 1 - The Prince 

They said he would either die a hero or live long enough to become a villain, and Beckett didn’t want to die. That was how he found himself straddling a guard in the streets of Argenti, a bloody knife in his hands. 

“Don’t do it,” the guard beneath him hissed, blood splattering on Beckett's face. 

It was warm on his cheek and Beckett could feel his own pulse jump. The man wouldn’t even be able to stop him, arms pinned by Beckett’s feet. He pressed the blade closer to the man’s throat, a trickle of blood leaking from his neck. Other injuries were already adding to a pool beneath them. 

“Please don’t kill me.” The man’s eyes were pleading, his voice shaking. 

Beckett thrust the knife forwards, closing his eyes and trying to shut out the man’s rasping breaths. 

The world around him dripped away like paint sliding down a wall, the man beneath him still breathing. He dropped off the guard, breathing heavily. His knife clattered to the ground, the blade clean. The familiar walls of the courtyard drifted back into view.

Goddesses. He pressed his head into his knees, determined not to vomit this time. The blood was gone now but Beckett could still feel it coating him, a permanent marker. 

Murderer. Traitor. And a girl with ginger hair screaming the next time I see you, I’ll kill you. 

Loud clapping snapped him back to the present. His heart hammered relentlessly as he caught Baelle standing a few feet away, a wry smile on her face. 

How he wanted to tear that smile off of her face. 

“Is that sarcastic?” he managed to spit, still struggling to breathe. 

Baelle’s unnerving grin didn’t waver. “Of course not. You’re really improving - today’s practice was a new record.” What she didn’t say was how far behind he actually was. “Come, walk with me.”

Beckett had no choice but to follow. He grabbed his knife and handed it to the guard who’d he’d killed just moments before and then joined Baelle’s side. 

“Are the illusions to your liking?” Baelle asked as she began strolling towards the gate that led to the village. 

Beckett nodded. “It’s definitely improving my focus,” he lied. 

It was Baelle’s idea to have him train with illusions rather than real people. That way she didn’t have to replace guards every time he killed one. Since most of her power resided over creating false pictures, it wasn’t hard for Beckett to fight in a new arena with various distractions. As for why he was training … 

“I still don’t understand why I have to learn to fight,” he grumbled as they emerged into the bustling city square. “I’m a prince, not a soldier. Isn’t it enough that I can wield a sword?”

Baelle sighed and Beckett could feel the disappointment radiating off of her. 

He hated himself for wanting to please her. 

“It’s imperative that you learn to wield a weapon properly and effectively,” Baelle said, her voice monotone as though she had a speech memorized for the occasion. Beckett wouldn’t be surprised if she did. “There are a variety of reasons a prince - or a king - should know how to defend himself.”

Or I could just hire an amazing personal guard, Beckett wanted to point out. But he knew Baelle would probably just counter with something about his guard betraying him and decided to keep his mouth shut. 

“Name one,” he challenged. She gave him a glare. Good. 

It was easier to see her as the monster she was when she was angry at him. 

They continued through the square, Beckett letting his nerves unravel slowly. Although he did feel at peace when he was alone, there was a part of him that needed these bustling streets. 

The town surrounded the palace in a sort of spiral pattern, small rows of houses branching off of it. To anyone else it might have seemed like a maze but Beckett was a master at finding the patterns in life - the constants. He liked the way the houses were all painted the same silvery color, the doors all a uniform rectangle. The cobblestone streets fit together in perfect pieces like a puzzle falling together. 

Baelle stopped in front of a fruit stand, greeting the owner with a cheerful hello before purchasing a basket of apples. Actually buying something despite the fact that she was the queen. 

She’s procrastinating, Beckett thought to himself, pleased. Finally he’d worn the goddess out-

“I recently heard that a certain Blessed from Elyviel managed to escape after rescuing two of our prisoners.” She stopped again, striking a conversation with a young woman surrounded by several children. Beckett watched in confusion as the goddess handed over a handful of her apples to the woman, earning a thankful smile. “Rumor has it that someone let the healer escape.”

Beckett’s stomach sank. He’d held out hope that Baelle wouldn’t find out about his little assist in Clara’s escape. Adrenaline rippled through him as Baelle led him down a back alley. Based on his mental map, they were near the edge of Argenti now - the slums where only the homeless resided. 

Goddesses, this was where she was going to kill him - in a dark, moldy corner where no one would discover his body or even care.

Instead, she set the basket down and began searching the brick walls with her hands. 

Beckett could feel the anxiety creeping within his veins. It didn’t help that the air was chilled, a rain cloud hovering above the castle. Rain would wash away the blood...

“Ah, here.” 

He turned his attention back to Baelle as she slid a rope ladder from behind a loose brick. It didn’t look stable, but he watched anyway as Baelle threw the end of the ladder over the edge of the wall looming before them. The rope caught on something atop the wall, holding tight. Baelle placed one foot on the bottom rung and began to climb. 

“It’s perfectly safe,” she called down. 

Maybe she wouldn’t even murder him in the back alley, she’d take him outside the village and leave him to the creatures of the outside world. A cruel idea of a joke if she knew he wanted his freedom back. 

“I’m not going to kill you,” she continued, and Beckett could imagine an evil smirk on her lips. “Not yet.”

“You’d be better off,” he mumbled under his breath, half hoping she would hear and punish him. 

He forced himself onto the ladder, stomach dropping as the rope swung beneath his weight. It wasn’t hard to pull himself up, but with the wall nearly thirty feet high, he knew a drop from this high could really hurt. 

Baelle was sitting with her legs dangling over the wall when he reached the top. The sun overhead warmed the wall under him, so Beckett took a seat beside her. 

Looking out into the distance, her expression looked almost peaceful. Beckett had noticed Baelle changing her appearance slightly every day, as though she was working into what she thought a goddess should look like. Her hair was a shade darker today, and a bit longer too. She stood taller and her skin was paler, hinting that she was something other. Only her eyes and lips remained the same - maybe features that her magic couldn’t touch. 

“So,” her tone was casual, a warning. Baelle was never casual. “Do you know anything about this healer’s mysterious escape?”

His muscles tensed again. 

She would know if he lied - who else would have helped Clara, Emmeline, and Newt escape. No, Baelle was toying with him, seeing if he would confess. 

Don’t give her that satisfaction. 

He kept his mouth shut, lips pressed together in a thin line. Please drop the subject. Don’t say you caught Clara and are keeping her in the dungeons, ready to be tortured. 

“I’m not angry with you,” Baelle said at last, her voice unnaturally calm. 

Beckett hated this side of her - the one that reminded him of what he thought a mother would be. It made it difficult to remain her enemy when she treated him with such respect. 

“Why would you be?” Just make her yell. Give her a reason to be upset. 

Baelle simply chuckled. “Exactly.”

Beckett had to admit the last answer threw him off a little bit.  He tried not to let his puzzlement show, but eventually he caved. “What do you mean?” Baelle already knew he was the reason behind Clara’s escape, there was no use in pretending. “I’m the reason your prisoners are still out there.” 

Her prisoners. My friends. 

“And I know why you let them go. It was a good reason - if misplaced.”

Beckett raised an eyebrow, hating that he was interested in what she was going to say. A fat drop of rain splashed down on the tip of his nose, startling him. If Baelle noticed his jumpiness, she said nothing about it. 

“You have a good heart, Beckett.” 

Was that … regret? She sounded so miserable that Beckett almost wanted to believe her act. Almost. 

“Yeah, sure I do. Clara and the others might be free, but I’m still allied with the woman who wants them dead.” He didn’t bother to mask the bitterness dripping from his voice. “My heart is as black as the depths of the night sky, as cold as the mountains, as empty as the ocean is large.” 

Baelle thought for a moment, her expression betraying nothing. 

Then, “So, little prince, why did you save your friends if you have no love for them?”

A million ideas of what to say slammed into his mind. They might prove useful. They are not a threat to us. They might destroy themselves. They don’t deserve a death at your hands. 

When he failed to answer, a sad smile crept to life on Baelle’s face. “Why, little prince? Why do your friends run free?”

“They saved me from the Viridian soldiers, so I returned the favor.” A half truth. 

Baelle raised an eyebrow, not convinced. Another drop of rain broke on the wall beside Beckett, the clouds now turning the sky a foggy gray. 

“Because they are my friends,” he said at last, crossing his arms. “I know you wouldn’t understand, but most people don’t kill their friends.” 

Instead of scolding him for the retort, Baelle simply asked, “And why are they your friends?”

Once again, his brain was bombarded with possible replies. They rescued me. We’ve been through so much together, it was bound to happen. They aren’t just my friends - they’re my family. Goddesses, how could he have been so blind- 

“Before you answer me, I just have one last question. Did you think your so-called friends considered you a friend?”

Beckett scoffed. “As opposed to what? A napkin?”

He was given a shrug in response. “As a tool. A weapon in their arsenal. A sacrifice.”

The last word caught him off guard and sent his heart fluttering again. He dared not ask what that meant, because his mind was already going into dark places. 

Are you a weapon? He heard his mental voice repeating the question over and over again. 

The more he thought about it, the more his stomach tied itself into knots. Because as much as he liked to pretend he fit in with his friends, he really didn’t. 

Emmeline and Newt had each other - closer than friends. And although Emmeline made time for him, he recalled how she always seemed to blow him off for Newt whenever the other boy was around. Newt was funny and Beckett really did like him, but sometimes he felt that Newt really didn’t want him around. The same was with Coral and Forrest. They were two halves of one whole, and though it was clear they cared for his safety, there wasn’t really any spark of something closer, was there? And Clara… 

There was something about her that made Beckett’s head feel light. He liked the way she joked around with him, the way she seemed to accept him when the others wouldn’t. How could she not be his friend? 

The next time I see you, I will kill you.

The threat sang through his head like a church bell. Did Clara ever look at him like he looked at her? There was so much he didn’t know about her - like who Johnny was. He’d heard the name mentioned before, but was he a relative? A friend? A lover? The last word set a sneer upon his face. Clara didn’t need him - not when she had the Sprite Hunters and whoever Johnny was. 

Baelle was irritatingly silent now, watching him with an intent gaze. 

They wanted you as their friend.

The only reason they rescued him was because they needed him to stop the war, and once Baelle had waged it, he’d been discarded like a broken toy. 

Emmeline made sure you were okay. 

She only had eyes for Newt at this point, putting herself, Beckett, and the entire world in danger just for his safety. 

Clara was your best friend and trusted you.

But there was always that distractedness, wasn’t there? He thought of the way her eyes always drifted when she was bored, how when she caught his gaze she blushed and looked away. 

He could feel Baelle staring at him, eyes piercing daggers through his chest. 

A sacrifice?

His breath caught in his throat, his thoughts racing a mile a minute. The rain began plummeting to the ground, soaking into his hair and clothes. He ran a hand over his scalp, trying to calm down.

“The future is set in stone,” Baelle said, her voice brushing his ears with an eerie smoothness. “From the moment Ibenily fell in love with my father, this course has been set. I was born, I was tossed away, and I found a purpose. I killed Emmeline’s family, I woke her power, and her power woke you. The goddesses will fall, Beckett.”

“And for you to destroy them, I have to die.” It wasn’t a question. 

Baelle didn’t even bother to deny him. “The path is set in stone, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be altered. With enough water from the rivers of change, we can change the future.”

“I can live?” Goddesses, why was he even asking this? Baelle was a murderer and the world would be bathed in blood if he listened to her. 

She nodded once. The breath flew from his lungs and he felt a wave of relief crash over him. 

“There will still be death,” Baelle warned. “When the goddesses fall, the consequences will be great.”

Beckett could feel his heart hardening inside of him as he wondered how many would perish. But what had the goddesses done for any of them? They Cursed and Blessed on whims, ruined lives for the fun of it. When they die, we will have peace at last.

Lightning struck in the distance. 

His mind was fuzzy and Beckett tried to fight through the fog. Why was he so exhausted? He flung just a tiny bit of his magic at the barriers around his mind, experimenting the way Baelle wanted him to. They recoiled at the touch and suddenly he felt much more awake. 

I am powerful, he thought with glee. 

“Are you ready, little prince?” Baelle’s voice was a bit frustrated, though Beckett wasn’t sure why. She’s probably just still mad that I let my friends - no, my enemies - go. 

Still, a tiny voice in the back of his head protested that maybe he was wrong about them … especially Clara. 

“I’ll think about it,” he choked out, his mind at war with itself. 

Baelle’s smile seemed forced. “That’s all I ask.”


Beckett’s least favorite part of being a prince: the meals. 

The food wasn’t the problem and he did enjoy getting to eat cooked meals as opposed to fruit or whatever Emmeline and the others usually had the money to buy. 

No, the issue was the people. He didn’t know half of them as they were random people invited by Baelle. Okay, so maybe they weren’t random and there was probably a method to the madness but the point was that Beckett still had no idea what Baelle was planning. The guest lists weren't consistent and there was no correlation between the people who attended. 

It also bothered him that Baelle forced him to dress up even though he wasn’t actually dining with everyone else. 

Today’s guests consisted of a family of four from Viridi and two nobles that resided in Argenti, as well as a few other servants from all the guests. 

As usual, Beckett was seated at Baelle’s side at the beginning of the meal. His back ached from sitting with a stiff posture for so long. Across the table, the daughter of the Viridian family caught his gaze for what was probably the hundredth time. 

He looked away pointedly as a servant delivered a steaming plate of vegetables to the center of the table. 

Baelle turned to him, her voice patronizing. “You’re dismissed now.” 

No formal title, not even a name. Beckett could feel the other nobles staring at him with interest. 

It’s all part of the act. 

He nodded once, keeping his gaze down. A servant came to pull back his chair when the Viridian daughter spoke up. 

“Why must he go?” 

This wasn’t the first time this question was brought up, and normally Baelle just ignored them. Beckett figured she probably made up some lie about him being fragile or something. 

“Meals can be quite strenuous for him,” Baelle answered without a moment’s hesitation. “I assume you know where he came from, and it makes him a bit shy.”

He hated how she shamed him like he was a dog, but before he could protest he caught the two Viridian parents sharing a look. His curiosity burned in his stomach and he almost called them out before the girl interrupted again. 

Her lip wobbled when she whined, “But I want someone to talk to!” 

Goddesses, Beckett thought to himself. Were all people that didn’t live in poverty this obnoxious? Had this girl ever heard the word no in her life? 

Baelle sighed. “Fine. You two can stay for the meal, but once supper is over I insist that if you really want to have a conversation, the prince can take you to his quarters while the adults talk.”

No. Beckett didn’t want some entitled brat to follow him to his room. And yet he was powerless to protest. 

The girl finally silenced, her false tears ending as abruptly as they’d started. 

More food arrived and Beckett wanted the meal to last forever. He ate as slow as possible, taking care to savor each bite of meat and vegetables even though it all tasted like sand. Baelle and the adults made small talk, though the atmosphere was uncomfortable. He was practically squirming in his chair at this point. 

It didn’t help that the conversations were always derailed by Baelle. She cut off every statement with a curt answer, especially with things concerning Beckett or kingdom affairs. He couldn’t help but believe it was due to his presence. 

“Where do you get these tomatoes imported from? They’re better than the ones from Zachryose.” “Our royal gardeners are quite talented.”

“I’ve heard that you plan to turn the goddesses mortal. Is that just a rumor?” “Goddesses have never fallen before, why should they now?”

“Is your little prince damaged? He doesn’t say much.” “If you spent a century in a coma, would you be normal?”

At the last question, Beckett could feel the magic pulsing through his veins reaching its peak power. He suppressed as much of the magic as he could, but silver sparks leaked through his fingertips. The fork in his hand wilted before snapping in half. 

All eyes were on him now. A muscle in Baelle’s cheek jumped. The little girl was staring at him with wide eyes, her parents sharing another look that made his skin crawl. 

Without a word, Beckett shoved back his chair and gave a stiff bow to those still seated at the table. Baelle’s disappointment radiated through the air, but Beckett didn’t care. He couldn’t stand being treated like some … some animal. 

“I am not broken,” he said, more as a reminder to himself, before fleeing the room as fast as his feet could carry him. 

Don’t cry, the voice in his head pleaded. 

He sniffed once, forcing back tears. 

“Wait for me!” The voice came from behind him, echoing down the corridors. Beckett froze mid step as the Viridian girl appeared at the end of the hallway. 

Metal glinted in her grasp. A knife. 

Beckett barely had time to register the weapon before it came hurtling at his face.



© 2021 A.L.


Author's Note

A.L.
I really suck at first lines/first scenes so let me know how I did with that.
Also, this begins the final story in the Reader trilogy. I've done a good bit of preparation for the different character POVs, so I really hope you guys enjoy reading this story as much as I did writing!

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Added on July 21, 2021
Last Updated on July 21, 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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