The Beast Within

In a world where magic is outlawed and virtually extinct, Princess Fiamatta suddenly finds her world turned inside out by the traitorous word. From royalty, to fugitive, to leader of the rebels, Fia is forced to work with a handsome, arrogant magician she found locked away in a dungeon.

btw, this is my NaNoWriMo story so criticism is much appreciated! Thanks :)

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34. Act 33

In total, there were five of us: me, Logan, Caiden, the captain, and one of his soldiers. Captain Tregor started us out at a neck breaking speed towards the east; I almost had to jog to keep up with the group. He had estimated that it would be a two-day journey to get to the Forbidden Zone. The captain had told me I had been in the caverns for about three days. Although it was longer than I had expected, I was grateful someone finally told me. Back in fresh air and in the comfort of the sky I could keep time again and center myself. The plan was, once we reached the Forbidden Zone the captain and his soldier would leave us. Going into the Zone was like signing your own death certificate; I was not about to ask anyone to do that for my sake. Enough lives had already been lost.

            I was thankful, though, for the torturous speed. The aching resistance in my legs gave me something to focus on other than Logan’s complete silence towards me. Ever since our argument I haven’t even caught a glance from him, let alone a word. Caiden was around to help me out, but he never said very much. It was obvious from his somber expression that he was still in mourning for his sister. I felt a tug on my heart at the thought of Ida. In my dreams I could still see the knife poking through her shirt and the feel her limp body in my arms. Then my eyes would open and the images would be gone. I could breath again and pretend to be normal once more.

            We stopped for a short break by a babbling brook that snaked through the forest. While Tregor and the soldier, I believe her name was Natalie, scouted out the area Caiden went ahead to start making a few snacks for everyone. My feet took me over to the brook where I bent down and splashed my face with water. It was cold, but it provided me with a sudden rush of exhilaration. My eyes gazed around the forest. We were currently in Krails Grove. The trees were not quite like the ones in Ryler. They had more of the needle trees where as Ryler had been in the middle of changing the colors of its leaves. Beyond the grove, we would have to cross the Winniver Planes until we finally reached the Junip Mountains that marked the boarder of the Forbidden Zone. As I thought about the journey ahead I began to feel like two days was not a lot of time. Soon we would be there at the foot of the mountains and from there only the unknown would lie ahead.

            I stood up and looked back. Logan was nowhere to be seen. I walked over to Caiden and the captain, who had returned. When I inquired about Logan’s whereabouts both of them shrugged and continued to eat their sandwiches. Caiden implored me to eat and that Logan would return soon before we headed off again, but I couldn’t just let it rest. I decided to go off in search of him, reassuring the captain that I would stay within sight of the camp.

            I tromped off into the trees, and then, thinking better of my loud footsteps, walked quieter, straining all of my senses to detect him. I tried to think of where he would go; probably somewhere quiet, but with good scenery. With that in mind, I decided to follow the brook, hoping it would lead to a pool or something that maybe he had stopped at. It didn’t take me long to spot his dark hair through the trees. For a moment I stopped and just watched him. He sat along the edge of a small pool of water with his legs crossed and his eyes shut. His hands were placed palms up in the center of his lap. Hovering between them was a small ball of water, it almost seemed as if the water was trying to escape by the way it moved in the sphere shaped it was molded into, but a force held it together.

            Slowly I crept closer, trying to get a better look to see what would happen with the water. Logan’s hands slowly began to move, pushing the ball higher into the air. They moved around the water artistically, as if spinning webs of magic around the water in order to affect the shape. Slowly, it began to morph from a ball into a long, very thin, cylindrical shape. I kept creeping closer, mesmerized by the art, until I was standing beside him. With his eyes still shut, petals, carved into the water with intricate detail, sprouted from the stem like cylinder, and at the end a beautiful rose bloomed. It slowly rose towards me and my hand instinctively reached out to grab it, but at the slightest touch the rose began to wilt and shrivel. The water petals fell back into pool, while the dying stem rained down onto the grass.

            As if waking from a daze, Logan’s eyes fluttered open. He gracefully rose to his feet but did not look at me. Instead his silver gaze was transfixed on the water, watching it flow down the brook slowly and endlessly. For a while we listened to the sound of the birds surrounding us that talked obnoxiously in the trees, and the animals scurrying over the floor of the grove. I let out a deep sigh, figuring that Logan had still decided to stay silent towards me and was about to step away before I heard the deep timbre his voice.

            “Life often has its surprises, but you are one I never expected.” His voice was soft but strong. I stayed silent, waiting for him to go on. “I feel like that rose, ever since I met you I’ve been growing slowly in ways I never felt possible, but then as quickly as that sensation came, it died away with the slightest touch.” His words penetrated me like a wound, and as he turned to face me I felt that intense silver stare only make it wider. “I will not take back any of the words that I said. While you have been living safely in a castle my people survive day to day without the assurance that they will see the next sunrise. Not everyone in our society possesses the gift of magic, only a few can access it. Yet, you treat all of us as if we were a different race, an entirely different species, but the truth of it is that we are exactly like you.”

            His words sunk into my mind, acting like a numbing agent against all of my fears. All of my worries, everything seemed to not matter anymore. The most important thing was how I was acting. Even if I managed to get the throne back and got rid of Straiyer, I still had to focus on ruling. If by the end of this I am someone who ignores the plight of persecuted people for the sake of achieving my own goals what kind of ruler would that make me? Definitely not one that my father had raised. He had taught me to be fair and to trust the people. If it was the right move they would follow you.

            I felt the tears pricking my eyes, but I had no idea what prompted them. Was it shame, or realization, or perhaps a mixture of the two? It didn’t seem to matter once Logan’s arms were around me. I inhaled deeply, not realizing how much I had missed his scent, or the feel of his arms around me, or the way our bodies seem to fit together like puzzle pieces. With him around, I did not need to be in the castle to feel at home.

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