The Emerald-Opal Heir - 2

The Emerald-Opal Heir - 2

A Chapter by A.L.
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The Prince

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Only instinct saved Beckett from a knife to the head. His arms shot up to protect him and green light bounced off of the walls. Something shattered and when the bright light faded, he noticed tiny shards of metal on the ground. 

The girl met his gaze, her hand outstretched from throwing the knife. She looked terrified and Beckett felt a momentary wave of guilt. It was quickly erased by the fact that she threw off the jacket to her dress, revealing a dozen more knives strapped beneath. Her expression morphed into one of rage and then more blades came streaking towards Beckett’s face. 

He poured more of his magic into his shield, a sense of dread falling upon him once the tugging sensation didn’t stop. Fear crept down his spine as the emerald shield grew thicker. 

The entire world seemed to still, time slowing to a stop. The girl looked terrified, her mouth open in a silent scream as her heart struggled to beat. His power was being yanked out of him relentlessly, pulling away from his soul before- 

Time crashed back to the present and both Beckett and the girl dropped to the ground. Beckett felt his knees crumpled and his vision begin to dim but forced himself to stay conscious. 

Apparently, the girl was not facing the same challenges because - though out of breath and panting - she managed to crawl towards him. Beckett could feel the hollowness of where his magic was supposed to be, could feel that there was no strength to fight. 

“Nice try,” the girl said, voice a rasp. That bratty child thing must’ve been an act, because she didn’t seem so polite anymore. “I grew up in a travelling circus and I’ve learned to endure. Obviously you haven’t.”

A travelling circus? Emmeline.

Beckett recalled how Newt and Emmeline had been raised with a travelling circus since before they could remember. As the girl hoisted him to his feet, pressing a knife to his back, he could only think about how much she reminded him of them. How much had they gone through that he didn’t know about? 

They didn’t tell you because they’re not your friends. They never cared for you. 

That was Baelle talking, it had to be. Beckett was pretty sure she was lying but his memories of his friends were foggy as though they were from another lifetime. 

“Work with me, will you?” the girl spat as she continued heaving him down the corridor. 

Beckett’s only response was to let his legs drag even more. His eyelids were heavy and threatened to drop with each of the girl’s staggering steps. She was strong for only being eight or so, something he would’ve appreciated if her knife wasn’t pressed against his skin. 

As humiliating as it was to be seen in such a ridiculous position, Beckett was glad to see Baelle. Her disappointment was evident on her face, but there was something else hidden there too. Was that … fear? He almost laughed at the thought. 

Upon his entrance, the Viridian family jumped to their feet, bringing out their own hidden blades. The Argentian nobles were standing in less than a second as well, but they were unarmed. 

And Baelle… 

She tapped a finger on her lips, not even bothering to get up. “I see you’ve taken my prince captive, Amanda.”

Amanda. The girl winced slightly at the name, but her grip on Beckett’s neck only tightened. “I have, Your Majesty.” She turned her attention to the Viridians. “I expect double the payment for my quick thinking.” 

No one said anything. Beckett was too weak to do much of anything besides hang limply in Amanda’s grasp. 

“I assume you want something,” Baelle said at last, dabbing at her mouth daintily with a handkerchief. She didn’t even bother looking at the Viridians, which Beckett could tell made them even angrier. 

“The white weapon, the purest of swords,” the older male Viridian spoke. “We know you have it.”

What in the kingdoms were they talking about? A white weapon? 

A flush rose to Baelle’s cheeks and she shoved back her chair. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

An obvious lie, but an equally obvious bait. 

She would try to make them explain the real value of whatever this weapon was before exposing whether she had it or not. 

“I thought that the Green Kingdom still possessed the weapon,” breathed one of the Silver nobles, his brow wrinkling. 

“Silver stole it nearly five years ago,” spat the Viridian woman. 

Baelle raised her hands as if calling for a truce. Behind Beckett, Amanda tensed, her knife digging deeper into his skin. “Relax, everyone. I am sure whatever you’re looking for, there’s a reasonable way to find it.”

“You have it!” crowed the older Viridian man. “It’s here - in the Palace. I can feel its aura.” 

“Nonsense,” Baelle interrupted with a wave of her hand. “If there were something powerful in these walls, I would know it.” 

“All of you shut up or I slit the prince’s throat!” Amanda screeched, nearly shattering Beckett’s eardrums. “The weapon you seek is here, in these walls. But even if you find it, none of you can wield it.”

All eyes turned to Beckett. His energy was returning, albeit slowly. 

“Only the prince can wield the purest of swords,” Baelle exclaimed, her voice strong as it resonated throughout the dining hall. “All of you are here for a reason whether you know it or not.”

She looked to the Silver nobles. “As traders, you have access to materials to forge weapons, correct?”

“Yes, but-”

Baelle turned to the Viridians. “And you three - all blacksmiths, yes?”

“Technically we work for the royal family-” 

“The royal families are dead,” Baelle interjected. “My prince is the only one left. You will serve him and you will craft him a new blade, one identical to the one hidden away. And you will adapt the hidden one to fit his needs. Is that understood?”

The nobles from around the room nodded. Beckett wasn’t sure why they were so eager to join her - maybe it was all a ploy. He caught the Viridian man’s dark eyes and could see that he was plotting. Beckett knew that calculating look well - he saw it whenever he looked in the mirror. 

“What about me?” Amanda asked. “I’m of no use to you, am I?”

Beckett could sense the hope in her voice, sense that the girl wanted to finally belong. Why she saw that future with Baelle, he had no idea. 

But it didn’t matter anyway because Baelle frowned once, meeting Beckett’s eyes. A cold feeling shot up his spine and into his head. He could feel the magic in his veins pulsing and writhing at the cold presence. The freezing sensation forced his magic outwards until it burst from his skin with a searing burst of silvery light. 

Both he and Amanda toppled to the ground. His vision swirled but then someone was pulling him upwards, supporting him against their hip. 

Baelle. 

“Well I suppose the girl is of no use now,” Baelle sniffed, glancing downwards. 

Beckett followed her gaze to discover Amanda’s stiff corpse, her eyes open and glassy. He choked back a sob. Baelle had just used his magic to murder someone. He didn’t know how she’d done it - how she’d managed to weasel her way into his very being, but it didn’t matter because a girl was dead. And she’d only been about eight. 

“Let this serve as a reminder to all of those who think they can cross me,” Baelle warned, not even bothering to look at the others as she began pulling Beckett to the door.  “Your servants will take you to your quarters.”

The next thing Beckett knew, Baelle was guiding him to his bed. 

So. Tired. 

She covered him with the blankets, her touch gentle as she tucked them around his sides in the way his mother used to do when he was a baby. 

“What-” He paused to yawn. “What are those people looking for?”

“A Sacred Blade,” Baelle answered as she made her way to the door. “The only weapon known to kill goddesses.”


The next day, Beckett didn’t wake up until noon. His limbs felt like they were boulders but he forced himself to get out of bed anyway. He threw on a random shirt and trousers, knowing Baelle would be disappointed already because he missed breakfast. 

Dread weighed him down as crept along the hallways, following the sounds of voices. Baelle didn’t have many servants left, since most of them fled when the king died, so it wasn’t hard to find the remaining people. 

They were still eating lunch when Beckett intruded, a few sandwiches strewn across the table. In between them were maps of- 

“Are you planning a party?” 

Baelle looked up at his question, her lips breaking into a smile. “Not a party, exactly a ball.” 

The people surrounding her paid her no mind. Beckett recognized a few of them from past dinners - probably recruited for their ability to plan “parties”. Others were new faces, but altogether there were only about ten of them. 

“So instead of waging war on the kingdoms like you’ve planned for, you’re throwing a party.” 

Baelle rolled her eyes, then pointed to something in the picture of the banquet hall. “These two can’t sit next to each other.” One of the planners stepped forward to adjust the seating arrangements. “And, Beckett, again it isn’t a party. It is a ball - an important one.” 

Beckett glanced down at the guest lists, scanning the names in a momentary lapse of confusion. “Who are these people? What are you doing?”

Baelle heaved a sigh, waving her planners out of the room. They left without argument, though Beckett could sense their frustration. It couldn’t be easy working with someone like Baelle, and he felt sorry for them. 

“Take a seat and eat something,” Baelle ordered when the planners had filtered out of the room. 

It wasn’t a suggestion and since Beckett was too tired to protest, he grabbed one of the half-eaten sandwiches and took a bite. His stomach growled in response, doing flips in his stomach. 

“The war,” Baelle began, “was only the beginning. It wasn’t meant to escalate as high as you did.”

To be fair, it hadn’t really been a war to begin with. Baelle burnt down a few villages, killed quite a few people, and the two kingdoms had a few minor fights. But the real “battle” had been between the rebels and the Silver kingdom. There never really was a war to begin with. 

“It was supposed to cause the people to lose faith in the goddesses since they made no move to stop it,” Baelle explained. “A goddess is only as good as the people who believe in her, and if they are weak then they can be killed.”

“The people hate the goddesses anyway,” Beckett pointed out, thinking of Forrest and his Curse. 

Baelle shrugged. “The ball will gather the lords and ladies of each patron land. They will sign a treaty waging war against the goddesses, and the heavenly thrones will topple.” She said it so calmly that Beckett was reminded that Baelle had been planning this moment for an extremely long time. 

And as much as he wanted to see the goddesses fall… 

“You do know that Emmeline and her friends will try to sabotage whatever you plan, right?” Her friends. As if they weren’t his too. Beckett’s heart twisted at what Clara might think if she were here. 

“I know,” Baelle said casually. “My plans stretch further than anyone can imagine.” 

She passed him a small list, one with fifteen names on them and locations beside them. He recognized the twelve patron lands plus Argenti and Viridi and … 

“The Crossover Forest? Who lives there?”

“Your friends will be staying there,” Baelle answered, as-a-matter-of-fact. 

“You’re inviting them?”
“Don’t be ridiculous. Not formally, of course.” Her lips pulled into a lopsided grin, her eyes darkening slightly. “The letter will be ‘sent’ to a friend of mine who resides somewhere in the Crossover Forest. Emmeline and the others might happen to intercept and attempt an attack on the ball.”

It’s a trap, Beckett realized. They had severely underestimated Baelle, for she was far more cunning than anyone of them could have ever known. 

“They won’t make it out alive,” Baelle promised, an almost excited tone to her voice. 

Beckett felt like he would vomit up that sandwich. “Won’t the lords and ladies see you as weak if you get attacked?”

“Again,” Baelle said, this time a hint exasperated. “Emmeline and the others will be captured long before they reach the banquet hall. It’s a win-win situation for us.”

And the thing was, Beckett knew his former friends would fall for it. 

“You will write the invitations for the ball,” Baelle instructed, gathering a few rolls of parchment. “Make sure each one is identical and there are no mistakes. The ball takes place in two weeks, arrival can begin in one. I’ll review the invitations before they are sent out.”

“And what am I to say on the invitations? The reason for coming here, I mean.” Please let there be a way I can warn the others.

Baelle gave a careless shrug like she couldn’t be bothered to come up with the wording. 

Anger flickered in Beckett’s gut, a fire burning bright. This woman was not a storm, she was a drought. The heat was preferred over the endless days of rain at first until time passed and everything in her path withered. And he was drying out. 

“Say something about a political alliance. The details aren’t important. You wanted to be a prince so badly - now you have to live with the duties.”

Beckett wanted to remind her that he should in theory be the king, but instead he kept his mouth shut. No use provoking her any more than necessary. 

“I’ll have them finished by this evening,” he promised, keeping his voice monotone. 

Baelle nodded, already focused once again on the seating arrangements. Beckett slipped out of the room before she could say anything else, trying to think of the easiest way to convey a secret message through the invitations. 

By the time the sun sank behind the horizon, Beckett’s arms ached and his hand felt like it would fall off at any moment. Before him lay a pile of discarded parchment as well as a neat set of fifteen invitations. Just as promised, Baelle arrived mere moments later - not even bothering to knock. 

She read through the invitations so quickly that Beckett was sure she didn’t even pay attention to what he wrote. “Good,” was all she said before turning and leaving. “I’ll send a servant to ship those off tomorrow.”

His door slammed shut and Beckett slumped back against his chair, relief washing through him. 

She hadn’t noticed his code

Now he only had to hope that his friends would see it and understand that they would be in danger if they arrived. 

Dearest Lords and Ladies, 

As per request of her Highness, Queen Baelle, your presence has been requested for a Solar Spring ball. Note that this ball will be followed by proceedings regarding a political reliance. Guests from Argenti and Viridi will be attending as well. Everyone must arrive within three days prior to Solar Spring for a spot to be reserved at the banquet. Refrain from bringing weapons if possible, as we would like the activities to be peaceful. 

Yours Truly, 

Prince Beckett



© 2021 A.L.


Author's Note

A.L.
Sorry if this chapter is a little shorter. There will most likely be more variation between chapter lengths in this story because there are so many perspectives and I want all of them to get a somewhat equal page-time while also not creating a bunch of extra fluff. Enjoy!

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Added on July 24, 2021
Last Updated on July 24, 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..

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