The Emerald-Opal Heir - 37

The Emerald-Opal Heir - 37

A Chapter by A.L.
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The Reaper

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As he held her in his arms, the only thing that mattered was making the world pay. 

Someone was calling his name, but Newt ignored them. Their shouts grew more insistent but his limbs felt like they’d been turned to stone. He didn’t think he’d be able to move even if he wanted to. 

“Newt,” they repeated, this time laying a gentle hand on his shoulder. He tried to shrug away the touch and then they reached for Emmeline and it was as though they were stealing his heart. His cry was guttural and his grip tightened. Letting her go was not an option. 

“Please, Newt.” A different voice now, and another hand at his shoulder. 

He buried his face in Emmeline’s hair. “Go away.” 

“Newt, the goddesses are coming-”

“Let them see the destruction they’ve caused.” 

He knew he was being unreasonable. Deep in the empty shell that was his mind, he knew that there were more pressing matters, but he wanted a goodbye. A goodbye that he still wasn’t ready to give. 

“Newt-”

He wheeled around, his fury spilling out of him like a breached dam. “Did you hear me? I don’t care!” 

Two people - Gwen and Calli - flinched at his outburst, taking cautious steps back like they were scared of him. 

They should be, the hurting part of him argued. His magic tightened in his chest, sensing his rising emotions and reacting. He could sense the souls around him, pulsing with life while Emmeline lay unmoving. It’s not fair, but you can change that. 

The world blurred with color and shapes as Newt staggered to his feet. 

He wiped away his tears with his sleeve until his vision cleared and he could make out every last detail of Emmeline’s features, even though he already had them memorized. Surrounding her were shards of stained glass, as if the goddesses had decided as one last gift, they would give her a beautiful resting place. 

A resting place, because she was just sleeping. 

“Newt-” Calli began, reaching out a hand as if to comfort him but then drawing back as she caught sight of his expression. “What, uh, should we do about Morgan and Rae?” 

“What do you mean?” he spat. 

Calli bowed her head, accepting his bitterness. Newt wished she would fight back or something, because her submission only made him feel worse. “They’re dead, Newt.” 

Something exploded with power and Newt realized it was him. 

It was like he was seeing himself from the outside, watching himself stride to where Bethany was curled up beside her brother and Delilah wiped blood from Rae’s brow. Their eyes widened when they saw him but Newt was too focused on wrapping his magic around two blaringly bright souls that were attempting to escape. He held them tight and stuffed them back into the bodies on the floor. 

The screams grated against his ears but Newt was numb to the world. 

He didn’t hear Bethany begging him to stop or Morgan’s pained groans or Rae’s whimpers. He didn’t even realize he was forcing the souls back into their bodies, didn’t realize that the death had been a gift to escape the pain. 

Someone grabbed his arm and threw him to the ground. The pain jolted him back to reality and Newt lost his grip on the souls. 

And then someone was on top of him, straddling him and telling him to wake up. 

This isn’t a nightmare, he wanted to reply. This isn’t something I can just wake up from because this is real and she’s gone… 

“Get off me!” he shouted instead, writhing until the person slid off. 

His magic was acting on his own accord now and Newt lifted the person - Beckett, he realized - into the air. One word echoed through his head: traitor. 

He latched onto Beckett’s soul, determined to make him suffer. This was all Beckett’s fault and-

“Newt!” someone cried, and he turned his head to see Clara racing towards him with Forrest stumbling behind. “Newt, stop! You’re hurting him-”

“He deserves this,” Newt ground out. 

“No, he doesn’t. He wasn’t trying to hurt us,” Clara explained, her hands raised in surrender. 

Newt glanced at her and the scarred tears dripping down her face. “Oh, really? Tell me that the brand on your arm doesn’t say that you belong to the king, then. Tell me that he didn’t sit by while Emmeline and I almost died to Baelle’s experiments. Tell me that he couldn’t have easily prevented this if he had the guts to kill Baelle.” 

“It wasn’t his fault, and there’s more to the story than that,” Clara protested. She sounded desperate and it only fueled Newt’s anger. 

“Sure,” he spat, and then turned back to Beckett, who was fighting back with his own magic. Newt slammed him into the floor and Beckett stilled. Then Clara was running at him, trying to tackle him to the ground. 

Newt grabbed her soul and squeezed it until Clara dropped to the ground, unconscious. 

“Hey!” Forrest yelled, and then Newt was falling. His head slammed into the floor hard enough that he saw stars. He was on his feet a moment later, his magic pulsing inside of him. Never before had he felt so alive. 

Forrest was pale and unsteady, Newt realized, and he actually stood a fighting chance. 

Newt threw a wild punch and Forrest easily blocked. “This was Emmeline’s choice,” Forrest said, ducking as Newt punched again. “She knew the risks with the plan before she went into this-”

Realization struck him like a blow and Newt slowed, his guard dropping. “You knew?” 

Forrest held his chin up higher. “Emmeline and Ernest confronted me about the possibility that this would happen, yes.” 

“And you didn’t think to tell anyone?” Newt growled, this … this betrayal burning deep inside his stomach. 

Forrest didn’t respond, which Newt took as a yes. 

“Goddesses, you’re just as bad as the prince,” he snarled. “Am I the only one here who even cared about her?” 

“We all loved her, Newt,” Forrest said, pleading now. “You’re not alone in this. That’s the mistake I made when grieving Coral - I tried to shoulder it alone. We’re all suffering, Newt, but she wouldn’t want this.” 

“Who are you to know what she would want?” Newt countered. 

He knew he struck a nerve because Forrest stiffened. “She told me she was okay with dying, because she knew that I wouldn’t condemn her decision.” 

“Or because she knew you would just let her die because you don’t give a-” 

“I argued with her,” Forrest protested. “I told her that this was ridiculous, but she’d already made her decision. Emmeline had been planning this ever since the failed attack on Baelle. She knew that it was the only way to win.” 

Newt hated what this meant - that Emmeline knew that she would die. He hated that she’d known and hadn’t confided in him. He hated that back in Golla, she’d claimed she wanted to get married there, knowing full well that would never happen. He hated that she’d left him to suffer this pain. 

Forrest seemed to sense that he’d finally broken Newt and he lowered his fists, his head hung in acknowledgement. “I really am sorry, Newt. I was supposed to be here so that I could help save her, but I wasn’t. Blame me if you need to, but don’t hurt anyone else. I … I may not have known Emmeline as well as you, but she wouldn’t want you to become a monster for her, Newt.” 

He nodded, only half hearing the words. 

His gaze snagged in the back of the sanctuary, where twelve figures entered subtly. Fury flared in his chest, his magic tensing as though preparing for a fight. 

Newt saw his friends gathering around him, their group partially united once again. 

Forrest was on his left, Clara climbing to her feet on his right. Finn joined Clara, supporting her with an arm around her waist as Beckett and his new friend mimicked them from the other side. Beside Beckett were twin boys with dark skin, one of them barely standing by the looks of it. Delilah and Gwen approached as well, with Bethany trailing behind as Margo sobbed into Calli’s shoulder. Niko joined them too, bleeding from a gash in his head. 

Newt let the goddesses stride closer, but refused to bow. Behind him, his friends did the same. 

“It’s funny,” remarked Dixral, her dark eyes gleaming with amusement. “Because your Reader friend did the same thing the last time we saw her, and look where she is now.” 

Newt’s magic pulsed again, a steady thrum in his ears. 

“What do you want?” he said, allowing his magic to harshen the sound of his voice. 

“We come to pay our respects,” Ibenily said, her head held high in a way that had Newt grinding his teeth. “What more of a motive do we need?” 

“You’re not welcome here,” Beckett called out. “Leave, before I change my mind on offering you mercy.” 

“Emmeline doesn’t want your respects,” Forrest added. “Or Morgan or Rae, for that matter.” 

Newt’s stomach churned as the goddesses gave twelve identical, twisted grins. 

“Goddesses do not bow to the demands of mortals,” Racke said. “We will pay Emmeline our respects whether she wants them or not.” She took a step closer, her sisters at her sides.

“Stay back,” Newt warned. He could feel his magic pounding at his temples. “I don’t want to hurt you … actually, that’s a lie. But I don’t want to have to kill you here because that’ll leave Beckett a bigger mess to clean up.” 

“So strong,” crooned Ibenily. “So bold. Your defiance means nothing.” 

“Then why haven’t you just pushed past us?” Newt crossed his arms, a dry smile forming on his lips. “We’re mortals, after all, and you’re goddesses.” 

Dixral tilted her head to the side. “Goddesses can be polite,” she said. “Your little Reader friend would know all about it, but it’s a pity you can’t ask - especially considering her soul is gone for good.” 

Newt refused to accept what that meant. “I’ll warn you one more time: leave now.” 

Ibenily turned to Dixral. “Do you know what I think, sister? I think that these ungrateful children need to be punished.” 

Newt scoffed. “So we save your lives by defeating another goddess and you thank us by punishing us? I see now why Baelle challenged your system.” 

Dixral shot him a look. “You’re right, you did kill a goddess. And I’m going to give you the gift of honesty, Newt, when I say that we are not here to pay our respects.” 

“Who would’ve guessed?” Clara remarked. 

“Our positions are reasonably threatened by you,” Dixral explained. “The prince especially, but all of you have played a role in the death of not one, but two goddesses. This is unbalanced power.” 

“So you’ll kill us, then,” Forrest clarified with a disgusted laugh. “I should’ve expected that.” 

“It was not our wish for it to end this way,” Racke promised. “We will make it painless-” 

“No,” Newt interrupted, locking eyes with Dixral. He refused to drop his gaze or blink. “It’s time for a change. A goddess is only as strong as her people, and you have alienated yours.” 

“You speak lies,” hissed Dixral. “We are just as powerful as we have always been.” 

“You’re scared of the small power we possess,” Newt pointed out. “You’re all so cowardly that you won’t even walk up the steps to kill us because it’s a risk.” 

“We will never bow to the likes of you,” Dixral assured him. 

Newt’s magic purred inside of him and he gave her a smirk, but there was no warmth in the gesture. “Are you sure about that?” 

He had never felt a goddess’s soul before, but his magic savored the taste of its power as he forced Dixral to her knees. His magic leapt from goddess to goddess, sampling just a little bit of each one as he forced them all to bow. There was no strain, no weakness from doing so, as if this was what his power had been designed for. 

“Newt,” Clara breathed, her voice tinged with fear. 

“The goddesses have ruled with an unfair hand for far too long,” he said, more to himself than anyone. “They hand out Curses and Blessings to whomever they please and only answer prayers that will benefit them.” 

He paused, feasting on the horror that filled the air around him. 

“Your reign ends here,” he declared. 

“Newt-” someone was saying, but he ignored them. His magic pounced on the souls of the goddesses, tearing into them. Their power flowed into him, filling him to the brim with ancient and unbridled magic. It pulsed with every heartbeat, throbbed with every fracture of his heart, and strengthened as it met with his fury. 

The world was his to remake and shape to his will. 

“Newt,” Forrest whispered. “Don’t you think this is taking it a little too far?” 

When Newt wheeled on him, he saw terror in the other boy’s expression, but it sparked nothing within the abyss that had become his heart. “They never deserved this power.” 

“And what makes you believe that you do?” Forrest asked. 

“I have suffered with the rest of you and I will be fair in ways they never were-” 

“This much power was never meant to exist in twelve people, let alone one,” Beckett pointed out. “What happens when someone makes you angry and you end up destroying an entire kingdom?” 

“I would never-”

“You’re unstable,” Forrest interrupted, pointing to the floor beneath Newt’s feet, which was a dizzying maze of cracks and rubble. “You haven’t even had this power for five minutes and you’re already bringing down a whole castle.” 

Newt knew they were right, but he didn’t know what else he could possibly do. “The world needs fixing,” he insisted. “The kingdoms need someone to follow.” 

“And that doesn’t need to be done alone,” Forrest said. “We’re here for you, Newt, and we always will be. The world isn’t yours to fix, nor is it Beckett’s or anyone else’s. You don’t need this much power.” 

He saw the logic in this, but he knew that if Forrest held this much magic in his hands, he wouldn’t be so eager to give it away. Newt felt strong and powerful and loved - more so than he ever had in his whole life, except maybe when he was with Emmeline. He could feel her phantom lips against his. 

She’d been better than any Blessing, better than any goddess. She’d seen the good in everyone, willing to believe Beckett’s betrayal would not prevent him from killing Baelle. She’d given up so much for those around her and expected nothing in return. Goddesses, she’d even died twice for Newt. 

This world of Curses and Blessings was unfair and unjust, and Newt was tired of it. 

“I’ll give up the power,” he decided. “But I just want to do one more thing first.” And without waiting for the others to argue, he raised his hands to the sky and let the magic roll across the kingdoms, a tidal wave that no one would be safe from. 

He felt the power spilling from him, overflowing and leaving him dizzy and weak, but when he looked down and saw the magic pouring from him and wiping his arms clean of the lines that dictated his fate, he smiled. Destiny shouldn’t be predetermined, he thought, but up for everyone to change and make it what they wanted. 

“Newt,” Clara murmured. “What have you done?” 

He waited until the power left him with a final flourish before turning to look at Clara. Her face was a mixture of horror and amazement as she flexed her fingers. “Where is my Blessing?” 

“There are no more Blessings, and there are no more Curses,” Newt said. 

“Everyone's a Reader,” Beckett noted, glancing down at his bare arms with tears in his eyes. “Newt, you’ve … you’ve broken everything. 

“But our Blessings did good,” Clara whimpered. “I did good things-”

“And you still can,” Newt cut her off. “Readers have gifts, remember? The world is full of small magic that we take for granted. Sometimes, you just have to take the time to look for it.”



© 2022 A.L.


Author's Note

A.L.
So... that's kinda the end. I'll probably end up revising it at some point, and there's still the epilogue of course. This ending had a lot of possible outcomes, most of which were scrapped almost immediately but this one stuck out to be as somewhat cheesy but also kind of beautiful in the same way. (Or maybe I'm just being fake deep), but anyway, the journey comes to a close.

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Added on February 7, 2022
Last Updated on February 7, 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.