The Emerald-Opal Heir - 3

The Emerald-Opal Heir - 3

A Chapter by A.L.

The Healer


At least while they waited for Forrest and Coral to meet them at the Library of Knowledge, Clara and the others had plenty of books to read to pass the time. 

Not that Clara could focus on them much anyway. 

In fact, only really Newt found the ability to read anything while they sat tucked away in the Library. Emmeline claimed it was too close to actual Readings and refused to so much as open a book. Occasionally, Clara caught Newt reading aloud to Emmeline as she dozed off next to him. As much as the gesture was sweet, Newt’s book selection was questionable at best and Clara found herself leaving the area more often than not to avoid listening. 

She was busy too - or so she told herself. 

When they’d first arrived at the Library nearly a week ago, there’d been a whole army, a few Rogues, and then Clara and her friends. It was crowded for the first few days until Clara finally dismissed the army - surprised when the soldiers listened to her. The Rogues left not long after to search for any remaining Rogues - though most were dead. 

Which left Emmeline, Newt, Brooke, and Clara to wait inside the Library for Forrest and Coral and their group to arrive. 

Brooke was as restless as Clara, which was why the two of them were nominated to visit the nearby village for a supply run. 

“Only get the things on the list,” Newt insisted as he handed Clara a small piece of paper. Beside Clara, Brooke rolled her eyes as if already contemplating what she would use the money on. Clara elbowed her in the side. 

“We’ll behave,” Clara promised, trying not to snicker. 

Newt rubbed his temples, already regretting the decision to trust them. “I swear if you two come back with anything not on the list - written by me - I will kill you.”

Clara only smiled. “Emmeline won’t let you.”

Newt grumbled something about the Reader being too generous and reluctantly handed Clara a tiny bag of coins. Brooke snatched them out of Clara’s hand and shook them, smiling at the sound. 

“Be back by sunset,” Newt ordered, watching Clara in confusion. 

“I promise,” Clara sighed. “We’ll stay out of trouble too.” 

Newt shook his head and sent a look back at Emmeline, who was slumped against the wall in sleep. “Knowing you, that’s too much to ask,” he chuckled. 

Clara stuck out her tongue and Brooke looked up from her money bag to frown. 

She was glad he was joking around at least. The first few days after escaping Baelle had been rough for all of them - Emmeline and Newt most of all. Clara knew she had every right to take time to heal after being in a literal battle and watching people die. But compared to Emmeline being on the brink of death and Newt’s Blessing morphing into the ability to drain life force - Clara felt like she could be strong. 

The first few days had consisted mostly of sleep for all of them - though Clara could tell nightmares were common. She herself could barely sleep, but others talked and screamed and cried out throughout the night. 

Emmeline and Newt had slept like the dead, and even now, Emmeline spent more time asleep than awake. Clara wasn’t sure if it was recovery so much as avoidance at this point. 

And honestly, she didn’t blame Emmeline. 

Clara silently grabbed Brooke’s hand and began pulling the smaller girl along. Newt called out behind them, “Only things on the list!” 

Brooke only grinned in response. 

They reached the village marketplace midafternoon at the busiest part of the day. 

Clara kept Brooke close at her side, afraid the girl would get distracted and disappear into the crowd. She knew she was being too cautious - the chances of Baelle checking some random marketplace was slim to none. But what if someone recognized them and turned them in or the goddess had soldiers posted everywhere or- 

“Stop worrying,” Brooke said, giving Clara’s hand a squeeze. 

Clara nodded, swallowing her fear. No one was going to sell them out, especially when they were just buying some supplies. She was being irrational. 

“You’re right,” she managed to say, forcing a smile. Brooke gave her another reassuring squeeze before pulling away. 

It took almost an hour to buy all of the supplies on Newt’s list - which was a mixture of food, medical equipment, and other various items that Clara had no idea what their purpose was. Brooke got distracted by almost everything in a way that reminded Clara of Beckett. 

Don’t even think about him, Clara hissed to herself. 

“We have money left,” Brooke pointed out, snapping Clara out of her thoughts. Her pale eyes were pleading, and again, Clara was struck by how much Brooke and Beckett looked alike. 

“You may buy one thing,” Clara found herself saying, sounding much more like a mother than she wanted to. “One, Brooke.” 

Watching the little girl’s face light up, however, warmed Clara’s heart a bit. 

She ended up purchasing a small bag of chocolate with enough for Emmeline and Newt to have some too - if Brooke didn’t eat it all by the time they returned. 

Clara had to admit the chocolate was amazing. She was so distracted by the taste of the candy that she completely ran into a woman on their way out of the market. Her immediate instinct was to apologize but when she looked into the woman’s face… 

“Clara?” the lady breathed, nearly dropping the basket of bread she was carrying. 

Goddesses, was that

“Lola?” Clara gaped. She could feel Brooke tugging at her shirt but she didn’t pay it any mind. “Is that really you?”

In response, the young woman crushed her in a hug. Clara’s heart was running miles in her chest and she could feel a million emotions welling up inside of her. She gently wriggled out of Lola’s grasp. 

Her older sister wiped her eyes on the sleeves of her jacket, giving a nervous laugh. “I thought you were dead.”

“Who is this woman?” Brooke hissed from beside her, reminding Clara that she was in the middle of the marketplace.”

“Uh, Brooke, this is my sister, Lola. Lola, this is my friend, Brooke.” She watched as the two gave each other wary looks. Brooke tugged at her side again but Clara shook her off. “Is there anywhere … private we can go?” 

Lola didn’t hesitate. “Of course. I’ll show you my new home.”

New home. 

Clara’s breath caught in her throat as Lola led her and Brooke back through the marketplace to the houses. They wove through a beautiful rose garden before arriving at a tiny cottage hidden among the brush. 

Lola pushed open the door and sat her bread basket on the table inside the door. 

“Welcome to my humble abode,” she said with a blush. “I know it’s not much, but it’s all Crow and I can afford.”

Crow. Clara had a brother-in-law.

“It’s beautiful,” Brooke commented, her tone unreadable. Clara reached for her hand and gave it a slight squeeze, just as Brooke had done in the market. 

“Come, sit,” Lola said, gesturing to a couch in the next room over. Clara and a hesitant Brooke took seats on the couch as Lola perched in a rocking chair across the room. “Can I get anything for you-”

“Why did you think I was dead?” Clara interrupted, not caring if it was impolite. 

Lola was thirteen years older than Clara - she’d moved out just after Clara’s parents had sent their youngest daughter away. Lola reminded Clara of what she saw every time she looked in the mirror - the fiery hair and piercing hazel eyes. Would this be what she looked like as an adult? 

Luckily, Lola wasn’t too worried about manners. “I didn’t think you’d survive the journey down the river, to be honest, Blessing or no. Mom was pretty inconsolable that night, like she knew she’d made a mistake.”

Lola shuddered, as if lost in bad memories. 

“We didn’t hear back from you, so Mom assumed you’d either died or found a new home.”

“I joined the Sprite Hunters,” Clara replied, her voice low. How could a mother just let their child float away? She didn’t care that her mother might have felt remorse for her actions afterward because it didn’t fix the fact that Clara had grown up alone. 

Lola nodded absentmindedly. “My husband - Crow - he was in the rebel army that Captain Bones led. He sent me letters every week and he said there was a ginger-haired girl that looked just like me.”

Her sister’s husband had been in the army with Clara and she hadn’t even known. 

“Did he-” Her voice trailed off, knowing it was unfair to ask her sister of the fate of her husband. Especially if he was dead… 

“He’s alive,” Lola assured her with a second nervous laugh. “But he was taken captive and managed to escape. When he found his way back to the battlefield, he found only one lone body - a young boy covered in burns.”

Goddesses. In all the chaos of escorting an army, Clara had entirely forgotten about Titus’s corpse. She’d just left him there in the middle of the field.

She wondered if his mother was still alive and if she was, did she know her son was dead? Guilt tugged at her gut as she realized that she knew nothing about Titus’s life. Would his mother care that he was dead? He’d mentioned that she’d sold him to the circus, but… 

Lola must’ve noted her expression, because she quickly sprang to her feet and hurried into another room. When she returned, there was a small necklace in her hands. “Crow took the boy’s finger and turned it to ashes before burning the rest of the body. He gave me this to keep safe for him while he found the army again. He wanted to remember what he’d done.”

Clara’s fingers shook as Lola approached and placed the necklace in Clara’s hands. 

The metal was warm beneath her touch, a locket covered in swirling patterns that reminded her of a sandstorm. It somehow managed to contain the fiery fury that Titus had always possessed. 

“I thought you perished with everyone else,” Lola sniffed. “I thought it was too good to be true when Crow found you.” Tears welled in her eyes.

“I don’t think I’m the same person I was when you last saw me,” Clara told her. She’d been broken in ways Lola wouldn’t be able to fathom, and her edges were sharp enough to cut. She was a piece of glass, shattered in thousands of pieces and the only people who could piece her back together were stuck in the Silver Palace. 

Lola gently closed Clara’s fingers around the locket. “You have grown, but I can see in your heart that you have not changed in the slightest.”

“Thank you.” The words were barely a rasp. “Did you tell mom and dad that I’m alive?” 

Lola shook her head, giving a sad laugh. When she spoke, there was no regret in her voice. “No, I didn’t want to give them that false hope. I also understand if you don’t want them to know you’re alive.”

In case Clara still held hatred for them. She knew she would probably never be able to forgive her parents for casting her aside, but maybe it would be nice to see her siblings at least once more… 

“What about you?” Clara asked, wiping the tears from her eyes. “Why aren’t you still in Elyviel?” 

Lola frowned. “Mother never approved of war. When I measured a soldier she was already hesitant. And then when he went off to war and I was with child, she was irrational. Complained about Crow poisoning the baby with his war-mongering.”

“A child?” Brooke asked, glancing around as if searching for the baby. 

“Gone,” Lola’s voice was as harsh as crushed glass. Her eyes flashed with anger and Clara could sense the pure hatred in her sister’s voice. “Do you remember the illness of a few months ago? It seemed to tear away Sparrow’s life markings and it destroyed her from the inside.” 

Clara and Brooke shared a look. Newt had contracted the odd disease a few months back. It was Baelle’s attempt to convert normal people to Readers, but a failure when it killed everyone who caught it except for Newt - and even then, his Blessing was different. Darker… 

Her niece had been stolen from her before she’d even met the girl. Clara’s stomach tied itself in a knot and her fists clenched. The metal of the locket dug into her skin. 

“I’ll kill her.” 

Lola didn’t seem taken aback by Clara’s harsh statement.

Titus. Bones. Now Sparrow. All stolen away by Baelle. Clara would make her pay for every last life she’d taken. 

Lola’s touch was gentle as she uncurled Clara’s fingers and pried the locket from her grasp. She placed it over Clara’s head so the trinket dangled right under her collarbone. “I think you should take him home, Clara.”

She would. Once Baelle was gone, Clara would take Titus back to Waelia and she would leave him to the mercy of the sand dunes. 

“What about you?” Clara whispered. 

Lola’s smile was full of pain. “I will wait for Crow to return and maybe we’ll try for another child.” Clara could already see the hurt in her sister’s eyes and knew there would be no second try. “But if you ever have nowhere to go, Clara, you’ll always have a place here, alright?”

She nodded, not trusting her voice to stay steady. 

“We should head back soon,” Brooke interjected, a hint of reluctance in your tone. “Newt will legit murder us if we’re even a second late.”

Lola’s chuckle was forced. “You’re free to leave whenever. Just come back and visit sometime, okay, Clara?”

Another nod. Her chest felt thick with emotion. 

Clara made her way to the door without sparing her sister a glance. She didn’t even turn to say goodbye as she pushed herself outside and away from the house. 

She made sure Brooke was right behind her, and then she ran. 

“Goddesses, we thought you died,” Newt breathed when Clara and Brooke arrived back at the temple, slightly out of breath. 

It was all Clara’s fault. She’d been the one to make it just outside the village border before breaking down into sobs. Brooke had just sat there and watched in silence, unsure what to make of the whole thing. The whole day was emotionally draining with the locket and Clara’s lost niece. She didn’t want Newt and Emmeline to see her so broken, so she’d waited until her tears dried to start moving again. 

“They were only fifteen minutes late, Newt,” Emmeline pointed out, her voice weary and thin. Clara noted with a bit of worry that the dark circles under Emmeline’s eyes had yet to fade, despite all the sleep she was getting. 

Newt snorted, but his grip on Emmeline’s hand relaxed slightly. 

“We got a bit caught up,” Brooke said, with a meaningful glance in Clara’s direction. 

Newt and Emmeline watched her under a scrutinizing gaze and Clara squirmed a bit. “I may have run into my sister. We talked for a bit, she gave me some of Titus’s ashes, and her daughter was killed by Baelle. It’s all water under the bridge, though-”

“Titus’s ashes?” Newt blanched at the same time as Emmeline gasped, “Baelle killed her daughter?” 

With an encouraging shoulder bump from Brooke, Clara plunged into the short version of her sister’s hospitality and conversations. Emmeline grew pale when Clara mentioned Sparrow falling ill and Clara knew the girl was already feeling guilty about it. 

Newt, on the other hand, was more concerned about whether Clara and Brooke had seen anything of interest at all. 

“Not really,” Clara admitted. She handed Newt the bag and he rummaged through it, checking if everything was there. “The market is probably one of the busiest ones I’ve seen. But there was no sign of Baelle or any soldiers.” 

Newt nodded as if relieved. 

“What about you guys?” Brooke asked. “Anything interesting happen?”

“Yes, actually,” Emmeline answered, taking a seat on the edge of her blanket on the floor. “Ernest stopped by and let us know that he found a new place to stay in the Crossover Forest.” 

Excitement and curiosity prickled at Clara’s spine. “Where?”

Emmeline shrugged. “He left us instructions on how to find it but wouldn’t tell us specifically where it was.” She bit her lip like she had a theory. Clara bet Emmeline probably knew where they were headed, and she probably didn’t like it. 

“He’s leading Forrest and Coral there as we speak,” Newt added. “Emmeline and I thought we could leave tomorrow morning and try to meet them there.”

Hope rose in Clara’s chest. Tomorrow. That seemed so soon to finally see Forrest and Coral again. How long had it been? A few weeks and yet it seemed like forever ago. Clara missed them terribly. 

“You guys should get some sleep,” Emmeline continued. “I don’t know exactly how far wherever we’re staying will be. Be prepared for a long journey.”

Clara and Brooke shared an identical nod before heading to their own sleeping area. Over the past week or so, the group had collected enough blankets to cover a good bit of the floor for sleeping. 

As Clara finally let herself relax, she felt the weight of the locket on her chest once again. Almost as if Titus was calling out to her. 

Clara took off the necklace and sat it beside her. 

When sleep came for her, she didn’t want to have Titus haunting her.

© 2021 A.L.

Author's Note

The chapters concerning characters that are with each other are likely to be in groups of one (example: a chapter from Clara, a chapter from Emmeline, a chapter from Newt). Sorry if this makes it confusing, but I want all of the characters to get somewhat equal page time. They will split up later on so it'll become more clumped, but for now expect groupings of characters who are near each other. Enjoy!

My Review

Would you like to review this Chapter?
Login | Register

Request Read Request
Add to Library My Library
Subscribe Subscribe


Added on July 27, 2021
Last Updated on July 27, 2021
Tags: adventure, fantasy, blessed, cursed, fiction, mythology, death, love, friendship, kingdom, prince, princess, queen, king, youngadult, ya, goddess, sword



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..