The Emerald-Opal Heir - 31

The Emerald-Opal Heir - 31

A Chapter by A.L.

The Reaper


Newt nearly had a heart attack when Emmeline entered the house the goddesses had set aside for their group. 

She was holding her cloak tight to her chest and Newt didn’t miss that it was spotted with the ruby stains of blood. Her expression was emotionless, a mask of unfeeling that Newt knew all too well. 

His girlfriend was extremely upset. 

The rest of the group was gathered in the sitting room of their new house. After Niko had tried and failed to steal one of Ibenily’s famous journals, everyone had been pretty much banned from leaving this house. 

Forrest and Bethany were trying to make the best of it, planning their next step with Gwen, Delilah, and Morgan. Margo, Calli, Niko, and Rae were playing another card game on the floor while Clara and Finn were nowhere to be found. Newt was pretty sure they’d gone to work on weapons, but he knew Clara probably had other intentions. That left Newt to pace around the room. Gwen had told him he was going to wear a groove in the floor, but he didn’t care. 

Newt rushed to embrace Emmeline, catching a whiff of smoke on her clothes. Her hair was a mess and her eyes were red. There didn’t seem to be any change in divinity. 

“Did you manage it?” Forrest asked from the table. “Are you a goddess?” 

Emmeline nodded, and when she lifted her head, Newt saw that her eyes were a brighter shade of emerald, as if they were glowing. “I’m a goddess,” she whispered. Her voice was filled with power and Newt pulled her closer as she shivered. 

“What magic did you get?” asked Rae, way too excited about this. 

Emmeline took a moment to answer, and when she did, her voice was soft. “I’m the goddess of stories.” 

“Stories?” repeated Bethany, incredulous. 

Emmeline nodded again. “I can see all of your pasts and all of your futures and, goddesses, it’s overwhelming.” She stumbled a little, more of her weight falling on Newt. “I see the love and the grief and the anger … I think I’m going to go lie down.” 

The silent weight of the stares was more than enough pressure for Newt to agree. 

He gently helped her down the hallway to the bedrooms. 

“Do you want to bathe or anything?” he asked, heat rising to his cheeks. Emmeline tripped again. He hastily stammered, “I won’t be there, I mean. You can and I’ll wait outside or…” 

“This one is fine,” Emmeline said, pushing open the door to the nearest bedroom before collapsing onto the bed and tucking her knees to her chest. 

Newt was at a loss for words. He pressed a gentle hand to her forehead, only to find her burning up. A thousand emotions coursed through him but he pushed them all to the back of his mind, determined to help Emmeline. 

He silently undid the clasp of her cloak, letting it fall to the floor in a heap. Emmeline began to struggle out of her stained shirt and Newt went to the dresser and found her a new one - not covered in blood. One of his hands reached for hers, the other running through the tangles of her hair. 

Her touch was delicate as she moved closer to him, her fingers trembling as he cupped her hand in his. 

He didn’t want to talk, lest he break this fragile silence. 

Emmeline pressed her face to his chest, sobbing softly into him as her whole body shook. It was like they were back in Golla, except this time it was worse. He liked it better when she was cold towards him because that meant she was fighting back against whatever was bothering her. Now it felt like she was giving in. 

“It was real,” she wept. “This time it was real.” 

He dropped his hand from her hair, wrapping it around her and holding her to him. He could feel the fear inside of him sending his mind into a panic. What was wrong? 

“They wanted to test me,” she admitted through tears. Her voice still held the power of a goddess’s, compelling enough that he would do anything to make her feel better. “They said I wasn’t worthy until I proved myself.” 

Oh, goddesses, he knew where this was going. 

“I … I had to eliminate the camp at the bottom of the mountain. Newt, I didn’t mean to kill them. I’m sorry.” 

He was afraid to respond, but he whispered, “It’s alright, Em. Who did you kill?” 

“A hundred people,” she answered and Newt felt a wave of shock roll through him. He didn’t even want to know- 

“I killed you, too,” she continued, voice shaking. “All of you were there and you died and I heard it. I saw it. I’m sorry, Newt. I’m sorry.” 

His heart broke for her, feeling the weight she carried for what she had done. A hundred people. That explained the blood and he was glad it wasn’t her’s, though he guessed she’d probably been injured. And the goddesshood had already erased her bruises. 

Emmeline fell silent then, and Newt realized she had drifted off into a fitful sleep.  

Anger pounded in his temples - at himself for letting Emmeline go through that alone, and at the goddesses for making her go through that. 

He carefully laid Emmeline on the bed, covering her up with the quilted blankets and tucking a loose strand of hair behind her ear. Her lips were parted slightly in a frown, her expression pained and he had to refrain from waking her from whatever nightmare she was dealing with. 

What he really wanted to do was lay down beside her and hold her to him to keep her safe, but he knew Emmeline wouldn’t appreciate it. 

She was a goddess now. Who knew what could happen if she was unhappy? 

And this is forever, he reminded himself. He would be married to a goddess one day, and if they had kids … He tucked the thought away. 

Newt left Emmline in the bedroom, hoping that she would feel better when she woke up. He made his way back into the sitting room, plopping down on the couch and ignoring all of the questioning looks sent his way. 

“Well,” Forrest said. “Is she okay?” 

Newt shrugged. “I don’t know. The goddesses made her go through some sort of test.” He decided not to tell them about Emmeline murdering a bunch of people. She’d confided in him and it wasn’t his story to share. “I think she’ll feel better once she wakes up.” 

Forrest gave him a pitying look. “Hopefully. I think we all know how cruel the goddesses can be.” 

Newt nodded in agreement but changed the subject. “How is the plan coming?” 

“Relatively well,” Bethany answered without looking up from the parchment on the table. “We can stay here for a few days before we head to the palace for the coronation.” 

The coronation. Newt had forgotten that Ibenily had told them about it when she’d created this house. He couldn’t believe that Beckett was going to become king, nor could he believe that they were planning their attack for the coronation. How many people from across the kingdoms would be there? Their chances of succeeding were low. 

“And the details?”

“We’re working them out now,” Forrest replied. “Oh, and you’ll be happy to know that you won’t be sitting out this time.” 

“Awesome,” Newt said half-heartedly. He knew Forrest was just trying to be nice but all he could think of was Emmeline crying. “Hey, I think I’m gonna go see the goddesses. Just to, y’know, check in.” 

Forrest narrowed his eyes. “You’re going to go yell at them about Emmeline, aren’t you?” 

Newt shrugged. “So what if I am.” 

Forrest cracked a mischievous grin. “Then I’m coming with you.” 

At first, the goddesses refused to answer the door. 

“Maybe they aren’t home,” Clara suggested bitterly, crossing her arms. Newt knew she wasn’t thrilled that they’d stolen her away from Finn, but he and Forrest had figured she’d want to come along for revenge. And they were right. 

Newt scoffed. “Where else would they be? In their respective mansions, all having tea and biscuits after a nice day of murder?” He’d noticed that time wasn’t really a “thing” up in the heavens. The sky was bright all the time, so he had yet to sleep despite his growing exhaustion. Maybe once he was done here he would go curl up beside Emmeline… 

“It’s more likely that they’re down in the kingdoms, tormenting innocent kids,” Forrest commented drily. 

“You’re both horrible,” Clara grumbled. 

“Yeah, but we’re right,” Newt argued. Clara rolled her eyes at him, but the smirk on her face said otherwise. 

It felt weird, the three of them being together. Half of their original party was absent - with Coral dead, Beckett in Baelle’s hands, and Emmeline unconscious in the mansion. He’d never really hung out with either Clara or Forrest before, and now it felt … right. He wished the circumstances were different, because maybe then they would’ve all been true friends without the threat of the world ending hanging over them. 

Clara pounded her fists against the door, harder this time. “I know you’re in there!” she cried, adding a few choice words in there that Newt didn’t bother to correct. 

The doors didn’t move. 

“If you don’t let us in, I’m going to toss myself off of your stupid, heavely doorstep and fall to my death!” Clara called. 

“I don’t think they care,” Forrest hissed. Clara slapped him. 

“We just want to talk!” Newt shouted, frustration beginning to form inside him. 

In response, a small box flickered to life on the right side of the door. Etched above it in tiny handwriting were the words complaint box. 

Clara picked up the box and threw it at the doors, causing them to finally swing open. 

Newt, Forrest, and Clara stepped into the temple of the goddesses, and Newt nearly forgot how to breathe. His attention went straight past the goddesses themselves, each robed in finery, and straight to the golden columns behind them. Despite there being obvious walls on the outside of the temple, the inside appeared open to the air, probably some sort of witchcraft. Each column had a torch burning with white flames, illuminating the room.

Dixral made a show of yawning as Newt, Forrest, and Clara approached. “Oh, it’s you,” she sighed. “Make this quick. We have biscuits waiting for us.” 

Newt shot Forrest a glance that he hoped conveyed I told you so. 

“What test did you give Emmeline?” Newt broke in, cutting right to the chase. He didn’t have the energy for games. 

“That’s confidential,” Ibenily said, her voice monotone. “And it’s irrelevant. She passed, did she not?” 

“Yeah, but at what cost?” countered Clara. Newt could have sworn that the girl was staring straight at Elyviella, as if daring her to comment back. He wondered if this was the first time the goddesses had seen Clara’s new scars. 

“We didn’t give her many restrictions,” Ibenily continued. “The challenge was stated, her solution was not. The path she chose was entirely her, not us. Therefore, we are not the ones you should blame.” 

“You gave her the test in the first place!” Newt argued. 

The goddesses narrowed their eyes. He knew he was walking a fine line, and that any wrong word would lead to death. 

“Enough with the riddles,” Forrest interrupted. “What test did you give Emmeline?” 

Dixral was the one to answer. “We told her to eliminate the camp at the bottom of the mountain.” 

“Which is exactly what Emmeline told me,” Newt explained to Forrest and Clara. 

“She just had to get them to leave,” Dixral continued. “It was your Reader friend who decided to murder everyone there.” 

So Emmeline hadn’t been lying. She really had killed about a hundred people. Goddesses. Newt wasn’t sure if he was shocked or scared or sorry. A hundred people. And somehow, she believed she’d killed Newt too. 

“That’s not like her,” Clara was whispering. “Emmeline would never kill someone.” 

“Except Baelle,” Forrest added, though he didn’t seem so sure. 

Newt wanted to say they were right. The first time Emmeline had killed, it had been an accident and she’d been so rueful she’d tried to run away. And when Marlene died, she had been even more upset. In fact, besides the soldiers and a few of Baelle’s minions, Newt was pretty sure Emmeline had never murdered. 

Ibenily waved her hand and an image appeared on the golden tiles of the floor. Newt watched as a distraught Emmeline stepped into the temple and tossed a decapitated head to the ground. Goddesses. It was real. 

“You forced her to kill someone?” he breathed, voice low and dangerous. 

“We didn’t force her to do anything,” Elyviella murmured as if she were trying to soothe a rabid animal. “She chose to kill-”

“You keep saying it was a choice,” Newt said. “That it was her decision and whatnot. But you didn’t have to test her. In fact, she wouldn’t have been forced into all of this if it weren’t for your instance on inequality with the demigoddesses.” 

The goddesses were silent and Newt felt a sense of satisfaction. 

“Let’s go, Newt,” Forrest said, grabbing Newt’s arm. “They’re not going to apologize, and even if they did, it’s not us they owe an apology to.” 

Newt obliged, and he, Clara, and Forrest began making their way out of the temple. 

Until Dixral called out, “It isn’t in our nature to regret something.” 

“We’ve figured that out by now,” Clara retorted. “And y’know what? We’re not gonna ask you to change-” 

“Which is why when I say that I am sorry, you should know how much that means,” Dixral continued. “We all are sorry - for Coral’s death, for Beckett’s betrayal, and for what you’ve all had to go through.” 

“Yeah, we all know how much you actually care,” Clara growled. 

Newt completely agreed, but beside him, Forrest was frozen in place. Newt tugged on the other boy’s arm, but to no avail. 

Forrests’s eyes were fixed on Racke. “You can’t be serious.” 

Racke’s face was an emotionless mask. “What do you mean, Forrest? We have offered you our condolences.” 

“That means nothing!” 

Forrest,” Newt hissed. “Maybe we should go…” 

“How many times do I have to tell you, I truly didn’t mean for Coral to die?” Racke whispered, her brow wrinkling. “It was a mistake-”

“And you did nothing to fix it!” Forrest shouted, tears in his eyes. 

Clara and Newt simultaneously backed away. Newt felt bad about it, especially since Forrest was no longer Cursed. But anger was dangerous, as was love. 

“Forrest-” Newt said again. 

Forrest wheeled on him. “The goddesses don’t care about us, Newt. If something happens to Emmeline, do you think they’re going to care?” 

“I know they won’t, but-” 

Dixral interrupted them. “We are trying to protect all of you - including Emmeline. But sometimes, sacrifice is necessary, as it was in Coral’s case-”

Racke’s voice was nearly inaudible when she added, “If I had to go back to the day you were Cursed, Forrest, I would let things play out exactly as they did before. Same as with the day in the temple-”

“You’re all monsters!” Newt exclaimed. 

“As is the nature of a goddess,” Ibenily dismissed. “And I wouldn’t be so quick to insult us, as soon Emmeline will be one of us too.” 

Soon, as if she wasn’t a goddess already. 

“I’m beginning to think Baelle is right in wanting to destroy the goddesses,” Clara murmured. 

The ground shook with the wrath of the goddesses. Newt sensed danger and fear rose in his chest as Dixral and Elyviella both stood at once. The goddesses of life and death - and they were coming for him. 

Clara cursed under her breath and Forrest reached for his sword. 

Newt held himself still as Elyviella and Dixral approached, fear pounding against his chest. The two goddesses shared a look and then split apart so that Newt, Clara, and Forrest could clearly see Ibenily. 

“No one may challenge the goddesses and emerge unscathed,” Ibenily decided. “The three of you will be punished to encourage others not to pursue your path.” She nodded once. 

Elyviella grabbed Clara’s forearms and Dixral grabbed Forrest’s. Newt held his breath as both of his friends cried out in pain, the goddesses’ hands glowing with white heat. Clara’s shrieks rose past the ceiling but she didn’t cry. Forrest sank to his knees, his head low so no one could see his face. After a few moments, the goddesses stepped to the side, allowing Clara and Forrest to sink to the floors. 

Elyviella and Dixral each took one of Newt’s arms and their touch was hotter than fire. He wanted to scream in pain but he bit his lip hard enough to draw blood. His knees felt weak but he refused to sink, forcing himself to look straight at Ibenily through watery eyes. 

Just when he thought the pain would be unbearable for a moment longer, Elyviella and Dixral stepped back. He sucked in a sharp breath. 

“Thank you for your time,” he said curtly before offering each of his throbbing hands to Forrest and Clara. He didn’t give the goddesses a second look as he exited the temple, his friends in tow. But he felt the ground tremble - this time by his own doing - and he hoped they were feeling fear.

As it turned out, goddesses weren’t the only monsters in the kingdoms.

© 2022 A.L.

Author's Note

Was the dialogue realistic? Also, the next few chapters are probably going to be the climax and the "big scene", so I might not release them until all of them are done in case I have some last minute changes.

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Added on January 16, 2022
Last Updated on January 16, 2022
Tags: blessed, cursed, adventure, goddesses, sword, love, death, betrayal, kingdom, kingdoms, war, castle, magic, reading, writing, prince, king, queen, royalty



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