We formed a line, with each of us walking in pairs of four.
Most who chose not to pass through lingered, watching with eyes that bordered on curiosity and fear. It was that flicker of curiosity that gave me hope, because sooner or later they might feel the call of this place.
There was a part of me that trembled with excitement, almost desperate to return to the vibrant colors and scents, and the rush of magic within every gust of wind and drop of water. I wanted to learn the secrets of this realm and explore the hidden corners of the court under Atlas’s rule, mastering the wild magic that fluttered in my chest.
Another part of me, the small part that would always remain mortal, mourned the memories, and ghosts I was leaving behind.
At the very back of the line were the warriors. A sea of metal headpieces and colorful armor stood out as fae from every court gathered. Those who fought to the death days ago, now walked side-by-side.
There had b
Nicki and Dustin had taken charge, helping the newly turned Fae that came through the wall. Every five minutes another blinding flash of light would appear, leaving spots that danced in our vision and more fae in our wake.My attention momentarily flickered over to Atlas, who was speaking with a group of warriors, some of which had passed through days ago. Duke stood at his side, silent but always watching. A flash of midnight hair and clothing darker than the night sky appeared from the western corridor. Ambrose, High Lord of the Night Court’s slender form appeared from around the corner.Ambrose was the only one to have improved in looks after the battle we had all endured. He had been thin before, a testament to the damage his sister had done on his body and court. His face had filled out since the battle ended; his slim frame now etched in lean muscle. He approached Atlas and Duke, nodding at the various warriors who bowed in his midst.“Oh, don&
Micah and Liam could only stay for a few short days, each one packed full of planning and introductions. Micah and Finn were helping Atlas and Liam, teaching them the differences between High Lord and Alpha—though they technically were both. We hadn’t figured out a way back to the human realm, but there was plenty here to keep us busy; for now. Our first day in the castle, Alette confided in me that during the last moments of battle, she had flung a gust of ice and rage at Aralia, sending her flying into a portal. I followed Alette through the castle, while Adelina rejoiced over the fact that Melia was alive and well, along with her five sisters. “There’s no way she would have survived it. Not when it hit her square in the chest like that.” Alette insisted, her eyes welded forwards as we wandered the maze-like halls of the castle. She knew where she was going without a fault, while I had become lost an hour ago. “I assumed she would end up here, in th
Three Months LaterMy stomach was twisted with nerves and excitement as I stood beneath the magically crafted arch of waterlilies and cherry blossoms Tyra herself had created. Atlas was at my side, his arm looped through mine as I leaned against him for support.We were initially skeptical about the pure white flowers, but the delicate aroma they emitted was well worth it. Clusters of tulips, orchids, and peonies were strewn throughout the courtyard, which had been completely remodeled for the grand ball I had been planning for months now.With Atlas by my side, I stood atop a long staircase looking down at the arduous work of countless fae, myself included. It was easy to forget about the sprawling crowd down below, watching us with interested and eager eyes.From the decorations to the guest list, I had full reigns of this project. Of course, I had a near endless supply of assistants at my side, all of which were introduced to me by Alette and Adelina.
I pulled Nicki into my arms, my heart swelling with the strength of my best-friend. I said nothing because Nicki needed no reassurance. She could see the flame that burned within her as well as everyone else; Nicki never once doubted her place in the world, or her own importance. Even on my darkest days, when Atlas’s rejection sapped the happiness from even the smallest of things, the undying confidence Nicki had in herself and the people she loved fueled me. Once Dustin appeared and dragged her away, I was able to catch up with Liam and see how things were going—and to get some elaboration on the previously mentioned assassination attempt. Atlas had kept his snarling to a minimum when Liam pulled me in for a bear hug, even if his eyes were hardened shards of granite afterwards. “Really, it was awful. Not even a whole-hearted attempt.” Liam shook his head, disappointment for the unskilled assassin. His lips twitched into a smirk, and the teasing note in his v
One Year Later “You could be over here with your true mate and not sweating your ass off, but no—violence prevails.” I sighed dramatically, grabbing a grape, and plopping it into my mouth. Atlas was easily a hundred feet away, his skin porcelain and shimmering with sweat. I eyed the thick muscles that spanned his shoulders and back, running down the length of his thick arms. “Well, I guess the view isn’t that bad.” “Speak for yourself, I love a little violence to start off my day. Nothing gets the blood pumping like political intrigue, vigorous training or a good old-fashioned fight.” Nicki grinned manically, leaning against the thick truck of the tree she sat in front of. Her chestnut hair had lightened from spending the year in Liam’s court, beneath the blistering sun and thick humidity. It now held golden undertones that matched her tanned skin. The dress she wore was bound at the shoulders with golden pins and reminded me of the Greek goddesses taught in