The Emerald-Opal Heir - 35

The Emerald-Opal Heir - 35

A Chapter by A.L.
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The King

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Beckett barely had time to throw up a shield as Emmeline exploded into a burst of radiant flames. It was like the sun itself had decided to destroy the sanctuary, its beams focused on Baelle alone.

Which wasn’t to say that Beckett didn’t suffer from the wrathful fire either, because he certainly did. 

Beckett’s body went flying and his back slammed against the wall as stained glass rained down around him. His head spun and unconsciousness threatened to pull him under at any moment. The only thing keeping him alive was the jade shield, which took the brunt of the attack. 

His whole body throbbed with pain, a result of recovering from getting his throat slit. He hoped that Glass had managed to escape, as he had been posing as Beckett for the coronation with the same potion Steel had used. 

He quickly sent a prayer to the goddesses. I don’t know if you’re listening, but if you are and if you can just do one thing for me, please help Glass and Steel escape. They don’t deserve to be here. 

The bright light faded suddenly and Beckett caught Emmeline’s blurry form collapse to the ground. A thousand curses waited on the tip of his tongue. 

He hadn’t actually expected the rebels to show up and he certainly hadn’t thought they’d send Emmeline herself. And yet here she was, along with Newt and a mixture of familiar and new faces. All of them were knocked out at this point, although the two on the left had to be dead by now. 

Should he be happy that they had a plan of their own? Or should he be worried that his death might be the next thing on the list? 

Guilt shocked Beckett’s limbs to life and he pulled himself to his feet. His body protested weakly, his joints aching. 

Baelle had stolen his power to hold Emmeline and her friends hostage. It was why when he’d felt Emmeline fighting back against his power, he’d gently let go. His plan had already fallen to pieces because Brooke was the one who was supposed to live, not him. Beckett sincerely doubted there would be a way to save Alys now, and he was ready to accept defeat. 

He stumbled through the shards of broken glass, his stomach heaving as he saw Baelle climb to her feet, brushing off her dress as though nothing had happened. His heart plummeted like it was made of stone. 

Baelle stood over Emmeline’s limp form, her dark eyes glittering with victory. 

Loss hung in the air and Beckett found himself struggling to breathe. No. There was no way that Emmeline could be dead. She was alive. Her heart was still beating. It had to be. 

Tiny sparks were drifting away from her body, escaping through the gaping holes where the windows should have been. They almost looked like tiny fireflies, or the night sky with its millions of stars. 

“You killed her,” Beckett whispered, his voice cracking. 

He’d meant to say it to himself, to blame himself for this. It should have been me. I should be the one lying there. But instead, he said it aloud, and so Baelle heard it, of course. “She was too clever for her own good. I have to give her credit for it.” 

When Baelle glanced back at him, Beckett realized that something was different about her. She lacked her usual glow, her hair suddenly unkempt and her skin taking on a different pallor. As if the title of goddess had been stripped from her, leaving her a mortal once again. Oh, goddesses, Emmeline, what did you do? 

Baelle laughed and it was a terrible, wheezing sound. “She’s made me killable, little prince, but she’s also doomed your other friend to die.” 

Alys. With Baelle stripped of her power, she lacked the magic she’d promised to use to heal Alys. Beckett cursed loudly, tripping backwards over a piece of rubble. It should have been me. Emmeline was already gone, Brooke’s death was his own fault, and now Alys was as good as dead. 

“There is a chance I could regain my magic-”

“Shut up,” Beckett ordered, his heart fracturing into tiny pieces. Unfixable. “Or I’ll cut out your silver tongue.” 

Baelle grinned at him. “Finally growing a spine. Welcome to the world of royalty, little prince.” She gestured to the wreckage around her. “Look how much the goddesses care for your empire. They’ve even left their little puppet to die.” 

“Emmeline wasn’t a puppet.” 

“Wasn’t she?” Baelle inquired, tilting her head to the side. 

Let her talk, Beckett reasoned with himself. He needed to stall until he figured out what he was supposed to do. Run? That was the coward’s way out, and it would condemn his kingdoms to a fate worse than destruction. Baelle might not be a goddess anymore, but her control of the people was still immense. She could manipulate them into killing the goddesses, which would spell the end for all. He could let Baelle live and give her the mercy his heart begged of him, but even without her magic, she was a threat. She would never willingly let him take the throne, and again, even without her magic, she was powerful. The only option was her death. 

Alys will die. 

He told himself to find a weapon anyway. Every decision had its consequences, and hadn't Alys already accepted this? His gaze caught on the Sacred Blade, lying beside Emmeline on the floor. 

Baelle saw him staring at it and scooped up the blade before he even had a chance to react. “Looking at this? I suppose you’re finally going to work up the nerve to kill me. Honestly, it took you long enough.” She raised an eyebrow, like she was considering killing Beckett herself.

“Silence-”

“You’re not the king yet, little prince,” Baelle reminded him, twirling the Sacred Blade in her hands. 

“And you’re not a goddess any more,” Beckett retorted. He could feel his heart growing numb. Not mending, not healing, but hardening into stone so the pain would finally go away. 

Baelle pretended to be offended. “Yet I’m still more powerful than you’ll ever be.” 

We’ll see about that, Beckett thought with a smirk. 

Even if Baelle had still been a goddess, Beckett knew he had the power of two goddesses behind him. He was twice as powerful as Baelle on any day, and now she was weak.

He didn’t even have to move for his magic to understand what he wanted. It flung itself at Baelle, silver ropes snatching the Sacred Blade from her grip. Too easy. Emerald bonds held her tightly in place as the Sacred Blade flew into Beckett’s waiting palms. 

It felt so good to use his magic again, to have it under his own control. 

Beckett forced Baelle to her knees, satisfaction blooming in his gut despite her expressionless mask. Oh, how the world had flipped. He was now the hunter and she was the hunted. She would beg for his forgiveness just as he had for her’s. He could dangle it in front of her like some sort of game, offering her mercy and then stealing it away. 

“Kill me if you wish, little prince, but it does not end here,” Baelle taunted. Beckett admired her ability to remain confident, even with a sword pointed at her throat. “You can pretend that you’re taking the throne and you can pretend like you’re in control, but you’re just another one of the goddess’s pawns.” 

Beckett rolled his eyes. “This again? You’re getting desperate, mortal.” He savored the bitter taste of the insult, even though it felt wrong. 

“I don’t care if you kill me,” Baelle added quickly, a hint of anxiousness seeping into her voice. Beckett stifled a grin at the thought of her fear. “But heed my warning when I say that the goddesses are the real problem. Who are they to decide who should be Blessed and Cursed?” 

“A valid point,” Beckett admitted. “I’ll be sure to bring it up the next time I see them.” 

“Please, Beckett,” Baelle murmured. She has a silver tongue. “We both know it is the fault of the goddesses that I am this way.” Don’t listen to her. 

“You did this to yourself, Baelle. You had good ambitions, I’ll confess,” he sighed. “But you were not meant to be queen, just as I am not destined to live a life of joy. The world is cruel, but you let it break you.” 

“I’ve helped you get to where you are-” 

“Through murder and manipulation. You are a monster, Baelle.” 

“Forgive me-” 

He scoffed at her. This woman, so eager to plead for her own safety. She disgusted him, but as Beckett searched what remained of his heart, he couldn’t find it in him to kill her in cold blood. Because despite everything - the way he’d been treated by his friends, the way he’d been used and abused, the things he’d lost - he wasn’t a monster. 

“I can not offer my forgiveness, but I can give you my mercy.” 

Baelle’s eyes were wide and for once she looked young and innocent, as she did in the portraits that hung in her father’s house. He wished that it didn’t have to be this way. He wished that Luca and his daughter could be reunited, and could live their lives together as it should have been. 

Beckett attacked swiftly, plunging the Sacred Blade through Baelle’s chest. Her expression didn’t change as she dissolved into light, but she did manage to form the words, “Be a good king, little prince.” 

He dropped the Sacred Blade as though it had burned him. 

Goddesses. He’d just murdered Baelle. He glanced down at his hands, still pale and trembling slightly. Goddesses. 

He slumped to his knees, running his fingers through his hair. 

Why did it hurt this much? He wasn’t supposed to feel sorry for a monster, and yet here he was, already regretting his choices. 

It should’ve been me. 

“Beckett?” 

The voice startled him out of his thoughts and Beckett glanced up, his vision blurred with tears he didn’t realize he’d been shedding. 

It was Newt. His golden hair was coated with a layer of dust and his eyes were narrowed. Beckett’s heart thrummed in his chest as he expected the older boy to attack. 

“Where’s Emmeline? Where’s Baelle? What happened?” 

Beckett couldn’t speak. He opened his mouth in a futile attempt to reply, but all that came out was a choked sob. Newt’s lips parted in surprise and then his gaze landed on Emmeline’s body. 

The cry of agony that erupted from Newt was pure misery. 

Beckett watched, helpless, as Newt clambered over piles of rubble to reach Emmeline. He watched as Newt pulled Emmeline’s body into a hug, kissing her forehead and brushing away strands of hair from her face. His whole body shook as he cried and it took all of Beckett’s willpower to remain still and not join him. 

It should have been me.

“C’mon, Em, wake up,” Newt pleaded. “It’s going to be okay, Em. You’ve survived before. You can do it again. Just wake up, please.” 

Goddesses, Beckett wanted to cry out that it was useless, but he couldn’t find the heart. 

It should’ve been me. He wanted so badly for Emmeline to be alive and for himself to be dead because that would be better for everyone, wouldn’t it? He noted that Clara wasn’t among the injured and his mind snapped to what the assassins had told him. They’d attacked a young girl that looked like Clara. Was she dead? Was there anyone left for him to live for? 

Newt’s pleas became more desperate and Beckett covered his ears with shaking hands, trying to block out the cries. He’d never thought someone could sound so desolate.

“You promised! You promised you would stay with me! Emmeline! Please.” 

Newt was lying over Emmeline’s body now, as if it would somehow bring her back to life. 

“She’s gone,” Beckett whispered, more to himself than to anyone else. It made it real.

Newt wheeled on him, his eyes wild and red and hungry. “She’s not gone, you … you traitor. Emmeline’s a fighter. She’s going to pull through.” 

“Not this time. Newt, we need to get out of here-”

“You promised!” Newt sobbed, ignoring Beckett entirely. Beckett felt his stomach cave in, felt tears cut a path through the grime on his cheeks. “Emmeline…” 

Beckett couldn’t stand to be there a moment longer. He forced himself to his feet and started to run. His mind didn’t know where to go, but his heart did. 

His feet pounded on the ground, too hard and too fast. He tripped as he entered the corridors of the castle, toppling to the ground. His head hit the ground hard, but Beckett welcomed the pain. It should have been me. He could feel blood on his temple. 

He half ran, half crawled through the hallways, his mind spinning and his heart burning. You should turn back and go help those people Baelle nearly killed. 

It should have been me. 

He needed to find the only person who could keep him centered.

There was the familiar door, up ahead. Beckett turned the knob and slid inside. He was falling apart and the only person that would be able to hold him together was still unconscious, probably never to wake again. And it’s my fault.

The room was dark, but Beckett had been in it enough times to easily find his way to Alys’s bed. He didn’t care that he was covered in dust and probably blood as he pulled himself into the bed. Alys was still breathing, albeit raggedly. He curled up beside her, resting his head on the pillow as his whole body shook. He wished she could offer him solace.

“It should have been me, Alys,” he whimpered. “Goddesses, I wish it had been.”

And this time, when the sobs came, he didn’t bother to stifle them.



© 2022 A.L.


Author's Note

A.L.
This chapter will also probably be revised at some point. I was listening to my "sad playlist" (aka everyday playlist) while writing because it's pretty good and doesn't have ads and I was actually on the verge of tears and then a grammarly ad popped up and ruined everything so I'd like to dedicate my current emotional pain to grammarly. That's why this chapter is the way it is. You're welcome. Have a nice day/night.

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Added on January 30, 2022
Last Updated on February 6, 2022
Tags: blessed, cursed, adventure, goddesses, sword, love, death, betrayal, kingdom, kingdoms, war, castle, magic, reading, writing, prince, king, queen, royalty


Author

A.L.
A.L.

About
When I was eleven, my cousins and I sat down and decided we want to write a fifty book long series that would become an instant bestseller. Obviously, that hasn't happened yet (and I doubt it will) bu.. more..

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A Chapter by A.L.