Fatefall - 46

Fatefall - 46

A Chapter by A.L.
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Jett

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Chapter 46 - Jett

Xegalla could use a leader like you.

“You’re late,” Sage remarked, crossing his arms as Jett and the others approached the library. His stoic expression melted when he caught sight of Jett. “I’m glad you’re okay, though.”

Jett’s heart gave a flutter at that. He’d spent the majority of his imprisonment imagining what he might say to Sage when they finally saw each other again, but what came out instead was, “I like your hat.”

Sage’s ears turned red as he fiddled with the knit cap obscuring his curls. “Thanks, I guess.”

Adrian groaned. “I thought the flirting couldn’t get any worse…”

“It always does,” Nakoa grumbled in agreement. 

Jett shot them both a glare. “Your love lives are more of a disaster than mine is, so keep your opinions to yourself, please and thank you.” He turned back to Sage. “The hat isn’t nearly as attractive as that scarf.”

“I debated bringing it, but Evangeline said it didn’t match my outfit,” Sage confessed. He turned to Adrian, cutting off Jett’s reply. “How’s Poppy holding up?”

“She’s breathing,” Adrian answered. He still held her limp form, though judging by the strain of his voice, he wouldn’t be able to carry her for much longer. 

“So,” Nakoa cut in, “Evangeline said you have a plan, Sage? Because I feel pretty exposed just standing here.”

Sage nodded. “I understand your worries, but I blew up half the prison. Admittedly, it was just the offices, but the guards were still all ordered to investigate. A handful of them chased after me, but I already changed outfits. And the man I talked to said--”

“That’s the part I want to hear about,” Adrian interrupted. “Some man on the street just offered help and you believed him?”
Sage sighed. “His name is Declan,” he explained. “And he’s helped me before. He’s another competitor---I met him during the first trial and he showed me how to get through the doors. He also helped calm me down before the qualifying fights. I trust him.”

“If he’s another competitor, then won’t he be Graceless too?” Nakoa pointed out. 

“What if he asks for his Grace back?” Adrian added.

“I think it’s only fair that we hear him out,” Sage argued. “If we don’t agree with his methods or we feel unsafe, we’ll leave.”

“Leave and go where?” Jett asked. As much as he didn’t want to pick fights with Sage, he couldn’t ignore the anxious feeling twisting in his chest. Maybe it was the adrenaline from the jailbreak or the mix of emotions from seeing Sage again, but Jett was finding it increasingly difficult to breathe.

“You all can come and stay at my place until we can get you safely out of Xegalla,” Evangeline offered. “I know it’s not a permanent solution, but there’s plenty of space and you won’t have to worry about food in the meantime.”

“Does that sound like a plan?” Sage asked. 

Jett and Nakoa nodded. Only Adrian seemed hesitant. “You’re sure that this man will back out of this if we feel uneasy?”
“Absolutely,” Sage answered without a moment’s hesitation. “But just a fair warning before we get there, Declan can be a bit…odd…”


A bit odd was a gross understatement of Declan’s character. Jett wished he’d stayed outside the arena with Evangeline because he wasn’t sure that he’d be able to keep a straight face for much longer.

When they’d reached the arena, Evangeline had insisted on waiting outside, claiming, “Whatever’s in there, it doesn’t concern me.”

If only Jett could use the same excuse.

Unfortunately, the hole in his chest where his Grace used to reside hurt more than he cared to admit and he sincerely hoped that this Declan person would be able to help.

When he and his teammates entered the arena, Jett’s process of judgment immediately commenced. He caught sight of a figure standing in the dead center of the dirt floor, their head angled upwards like they were searching the stars for hidden messages. Sage cleared his throat and the figure spun to face him.

The only light in the arena came from the lantern in Declan's hand. It illuminated his pale face and eerily silver eyes. He wore the clothes of a commoner, and as far as Jett could tell, he could’ve belonged to any profession. 

“You’ve made it.” His voice had an odd melodious quality to it, which was odd considering his words were short and clipped. 

“I brought my friends,” Sage said, gesturing loosely to Jett and the others. 

“Sage claims that you believe you can get our Graces back,” Nakoa added. “Is that true?”

Declan smiled. “Of course it is.” 

When he didn’t elaborate, Adrian stepped forward. “So what’s the plan, then?”

“Patience, Your Highness,” Declan said, his smile never wavering even when Adrian blanched. “This is a delicate process---one I have yet to attempt. In theory, it should work perfectly.”

In theory,” Jett repeated with a scoff. “Because that’s reassuring.”

Declan shrugged. “You have no reason to believe me, I know. But if you want your Graces back, you’ll have to trust me.”

Jett sighed. This man was secretive, that was for sure. Sage trusted him, though, and that had to count for something. Right?

“Explain the process,” Sage said.

“I have your Graces,” Declan stated, as-a-matter-of-fact.

You stole the Graces?” Adrian asked in disbelief. 

“Would you rather them be in the hands of your father’s scientists?” Declan countered. “At least this way, you get them back. And no need to give me that look, Sage,” Declan added with a roll of his eyes. “I only took your Graces this time.”

This time,” Jett grumbled under his breath. 

“And you, boy, would benefit from using your own words instead of copying mine,” Declan remarked.

Jett blushed and dropped his gaze. 

“As I was saying,” Declan continued, “I do have other Graces on hand to be used as a last resort. Should this experiment yield positive results, I will return the other stolen Graces to their rightful owners. If my theory fails, then I’ll turn the Graces back over to the scientists. Does that sound okay with you?”
Jett nodded his agreement, his friends doing the same.

“Great. Now that we’ve taken care of that matter, let’s move on to the process itself. My theory is that every person has the potential to be Graced--”

Jett heard Sage’s sharp intake of breath beside him. He squeezed Sage’s hand, his mind already racing with the implications.

Declan continued on. “Think of a person as a glass jar. That jar can be emptied of its contents, just as a person can have their Graced removed. But if a jar can be refilled, shouldn’t that mean that a person can have their Grace restored as well? And what about jars that are empty to begin with? What’s to say that they cannot be filled? Can more than one substance be placed into a jar? If a jar is filled with one substance, can it be emptied and filled with another one entirely?” His fervor faded and he paused. “We take our Graces for granted. We assume they’ve been gifted by the Fates on a whim---and so what if they are. We’ve removed every other instance of the Fates’ influence on our lives, so why should we not fix this too?”

His eyes locked with Sage. “Imagine a world where no one is ever assumed worthless because their jar was empty from the beginning.”
He turned his attention to Nakoa. “Imagine a world where your role in the world is not defined by what Grace you possess.”

His eyes flicked to Poppy’s limp form, then to Jett. “Imagine a world where no one is persecuted for a power they can’t control.”

Once again he paused, his feverish words trailing off. 

In his silence, Jett’s mind rumbled with half-formed theories of his own and the overwhelming thought that maybe Sage could have a Grace too. And hadn’t Declan mentioned a person possessing more than one Grace, or switching Graces? Could someone potentially get a new Grace each day, donning and shedding them as easily as a scarf?

“And the process itself,” Adrian interjected, lowering Poppy to the ground. He seemed genuinely interested in what Declan had to say, and Jett couldn’t blame him. 

“That’s where you come in,” Declan explained. “Your Graces were removed using a special substance that draws Graces to the surface so they can be leaked out. To put a Grace back would be a similar process, I assume. A small cut near the wrist, the Grace poured back inside. Of course, the Grace would have to be guided back to its proper place.”

“What’s my Grace got to do with any of that?” Adrian asked.

“What did I say about patience?” Declan chastised. “The Grace of Void is not properly named. Your Grace is strong, is it not, Your Highness?” He didn’t wait for Adrian to respond. “I’m sure you’ve felt your awareness of other Graces beginning to mature.”

“I…I’ve been able to sense the Graces in other people,” Adrian confessed.

“The Grace of Void isn’t just about nullifying other Graces, it’s about controlling them. So while a Graced of Void can weaken other Graces, they can also strengthen them…and, I believe, they can guide them.”

“You want me to use my Grace to give the Graces of my friends back,” Adrian clarified.

“In simple terms, yes.”

“And why haven’t you shared this with the king?” Nakoa asked. “This is a groundbreaking discovery. It could change the world as we know it.”

“It’s still only a theory,” Declan said. “I was hoping that tonight, I could prove it true. If my theories are correct, I intend to share them with the king. But first, we must actually test it. Now, I’m not forcing you to participate in this experiment. However, as your Graces have only been missing for a few days, the chances are that the process will be easiest with you. I fully understand if you have any reservations, though, so the choice is ultimately up to you.”

Jett hesitated. 

He wanted his Grace back---he could feel its absence inside his chest and knew the pain would not disappear. He wanted the insurance that came with it and the ability to hide his identity on a whim. And, if this worked, he wanted Sage to be able to have a Grace of his own…if he wanted that, of course.

But what about the risks? What if this went poorly?

What did he have to lose?

“I’ll do it,” he decided. 

“Me too,” Nakoa said. 

“And your red-headed friend?” Declan asked with a gesture towards Poppy.

“She’d want her Grace back,” Adrian said automatically, before glancing at Jett and Nakoa. “Right?”

Nakoa nodded. “Remember her reaction when they put that collar on her during the second trial? She’d leap at any chance to get her Grace back.”

“And you’re willing to help?” Declan asked Adrian.

He nodded. “Of course.”

Declan grinne. “Wonderful. If we’re all on the same page, I’d like to get started as soon as possible. You did just flee a prison, after all.”



© 2023 A.L.


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Added on March 18, 2023
Last Updated on March 18, 2023
Tags: adventure, Grace, Fates, Fate, teen, ya, fantasy, fiction, magic, tournament, game, competition, enemies to lovers, young adult, assassin, thief, royalty, prince, priestess, death, survival, noble


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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Fatefall - 1 Fatefall - 1

A Chapter by A.L.