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Starlight: Part 5 – Chapter 46



I can’t let you do that,” a male voice said.


No reply came.


“But there are no limits when it comes to your breed. You should’ve never let them become this.”


Still, he didn’t receive a reply.


“If you find what you’re looking for, you need to understand one thing. Someone needs to take her spot. Someone that’s alive now.” Silence filled the air for a few seconds. “Are you ready to play God?”


Still no reply.


“And it’s the only way. Death can’t be cheated. Do you understand the consequences?”


It was quiet for a long time.


“I understand,” the other person said, and I gasped.


It was Blake.


More voices filled my head. “Please,” Sir Robert begged. “Wait for Blake.”


I could hear someone sobbing. It was a man.


“Just wait for him.”


I opened my eyes and closed them immediately. My heart stuttered as if I was in a confined space, but the light, the bright light that came with it, didn’t make any sense.


I opened them again. It was so near and I wanted to close my eyes again, but they zoomed out immediately, leaving me with a slight headache.


I wasn’t in a confined space, I was staring at the sky, clouds, and small cherubs with arrows. It didn’t make any sense.


I realized then that it was not moving and it was not actually the sky, it was paint. It was a ceiling, a painted ceiling.


Noise filled my ears. Loud noises, people speaking all at once, a jack hammer, commands being shouted, as a stronger pain jolted through my mind. A horrible smell burned my nostrils. What is this?


I grunted. It sounded like a scream but I knew I hadn’t yelled, I’d hardly made any effort to make that noise.


“Elena!” Becky’s voice overpowered all the others. It was so loud.


“Go get Constance, now!” she yelled again.


“Can you please stop yelling?”


She didn’t say anything, but I could hear her sobbing. It was loud too. Why on earth was Becky sobbing. She wasn’t the kind of person who cried.


Becky reached me. Tears streamed down her cheeks but a huge smile appeared on her face. She was happy. “Sorry, I wish I could. It’s the Essence, Elena. You need to get used to it,” she whispered but it sounded so loud. It didn’t make any sense.


“Wait,” I yelled then grunted again. I hadn’t meant to yell. “The Essence,” I whispered too, but whispers weren’t whispers anymore. When I was a dragon, I’d never heard things this intensely before.


What Essence? I remembered Blake in the forest showing me what the dent was and all at once images of what happened before jolted through my head.


My father, I killed my father. He was the Saadedine. Is Blake okay?


I jolted up.


“Shhhh,” Becky said.


The door opened and Constance rushed in. She grabbed her stethoscope and placed it over my chest. It was so cold.


Sammy sobbed too, and I turned my head to look at her. She climbed on my bed and gave me an awkward hug as Constance checked my vital signs.


Sammy smelled like lilies and roasted almonds. It overpowered my senses this time. I breathed in softer, not that it helped.


Another shriek came, and I clutched my head again.


“Softer, please,” Becky whispered. She was so loud, and I stared at Constance. She started to shake with tears as she listened through her stethoscope then flung her arms around me, pulling me into her chest.


“I thought you were gone.”


My eyes flew opened. “What?”


I plugged my nose as I couldn’t handle the smell of violets anymore. “What is happening to me?”


“It’s the Essence.” She smiled and touched my chest with her palm. I flinched, as it still hurt. I lifted my shirt and saw a bandage right between my breasts.


“You can tune it out, Elena. Just think about what you want to do, and turn it down like you do with a radio.” Becky crouched in front of me.


“How do you know this?”


She lifted up her shirt and showed me her bandage too.


Blake. That feeling. “Where is Blake?” I asked as tears lingered in my eyes. Why did he show me that if…he can’t be dead. He just can’t be.


“Shhhh, Blake went to look for his orbs. He’s been gone for almost a month now. We don’t know what it does, but he said that it would help bring you back.” She smiled. “I think he just succeeded.”


The conversation before I’d woken. It was an unknown male voice, speaking about death, how it all worked. If someone that is dead wants to be alive again, then a sacrifice of someone alive has to be made. Blake had answered, “I understand.”


“No!” I yelled, sounding deranged.


“Calm down. It’s not a bad thing.”


“Death doesn’t work like that, Constance.”


“I know, we told him numerous times, Elena, but…” She shook her head. “He went to look for his orbs, he will be back.”


“He’s not going…” I couldn’t say it, as he’d given his life to save mine.


“Shhhh, don’t think like that. We need to hope.”


I didn’t have to hope. I knew he wasn’t going to make it back. He was gone. It was why I’d heard those voices, and the forest had been our last goodbye. He loved me so much that… I couldn’t think anymore. I cried.


The bond jumped into my mind. I’d heard him when he said it wasn’t Helmut, it was Goran. I could hear Blake, the bond had been working again.


I closed my eyes, trying to feel for him, but I couldn’t. It had been so easy before, I’d just heard him, and now he wasn’t there, he just wasn’t.


Please just come back, I begged. Why was I hoping?


“Elena, he will come back, we have to believe that,” Constance said as she cupped my face with both her hands.


The door opened again. I didn’t look.


“Elena,” someone familiar said, and I opened my eyes, looking at Constance. She smiled.


I turned my head slowly to the door and saw the man I’d only seen once before. He looked different, skinnier; he had a slight burn against his cheek that walked all the way down to his neck. He was older too. But his eyes, his eyes were mine and tears streamed down his face.


He rushed over with a cane and fell on my bed, flinging his arms around me.


“I told you not to come and save Etan. I made that very clear. You promised.”


“Dad!” I took deep breaths. “I didn’t kill you.”


He pushed me away to look at me then kissed my face so many times. Just like Constance had when she’d been reunited with Annie. We both started to cry, and he just held me tight.


“Elena.” Sir Robert was behind my father, and he hugged both of us at once.


“I’ll try to get word to Blake,” he said, and my father nodded.


When he let go of me, all the others were gone.


“Look at you. You look so much like your mother.”


I wanted to laugh but my lip trembled again.


“Shhh, he will return.”


I sniffed hard, and tried to hold on to that he had found whatever he was looking for, which could only be me. I had to hold on to that. I nodded. “And I don’t. I look like you. Or so everyone kept telling me.”


He started to laugh.


I looked around. I didn’t know this room. It wasn’t the infirmary, and it wasn’t the manor. It had the most beautiful cherubs floating on the ceiling and the room was huge. There was a large fireplace, plenty of closets, and a big table with chairs. The light was dimmed but bright lights still dangled at the edges of everything, as if the outside was filled with bright light and it was desperately trying to get in. To blind me. “Where are we?”


My father looked at me with soft green eyes. “It’s your room, or it would’ve been.”


“We’re in Etan?”


“We can move if you don’t want to be here, sweetpea. I’ll understand. I just didn’t want to move you, but now, anywhere you want, we can move to the palace in Tith if that’s what you like, or the one in Areeth.”


I shook my head when he said Tith, and he sighed.


“Robert told me that you and Lucian…he was a good boy.”


I smiled. “It’s fine, Dad. We can stay here. If this is my home, it’s my home. We don’t need to move.” A soft smile spread over my face. “Besides, I don’t think King Helmut and Queen Margerite would appreciate it if we crashed at their place.”


My father didn’t laugh; his face fell. “Helmut didn’t make it. He killed Goran, and died in the process. They were found with a steel beam pressed through both their bodies.”


“What!” I cried.


My father held me tight as I just succumbed. Queen Margerite jumped through my mind at once. She’d lost every member of her family. “Where is the queen, Dad?”


More tears filled his eyes.


“Please don’t say it. Please.”


“She couldn’t cope with it, Elena. I wanted her to live here, but she said she wanted to be left alone. Emanuel stayed with her, and Constance checked up on her every day, and one morning, they found her body on the shore. She’d jumped.”


I sobbed again as my father cupped my head with both his hands. “If I knew she would do that, I would’ve taken more precautions. I’m so sorry.”


He hugged me again.


“Why did you break your promise?” he asked. “I told you that I couldn’t live in a world where you didn’t exist.” He looked at me again. “I thought I’d lost you too.”


“I didn’t break your promise. I found myself in Etan by mistake. I lived here for four months, and I didn’t even know it.”


“I know, Blake told me.” His face became hard and he sniffed. “I also know what happened to you here. If you want to move…”


“Dad, I told you, I don’t, okay. This is my home and none of those boys are going to drive me away from my birthplace.”


He sniffed. “They won’t ever touch you like that again. Blake made sure of it.”


“What?” A cold finger traced up my spine. He’d found them.


“I wanted to set them free, give them a second chance, until Blake laid a claim on their lives, told me what they’d done to you. I wanted to kill them myself but Robert said that it was Blake’s job, he needed to deal with it. So, I gave them over to him.”


“He killed them?”


“They deserved it. I’ve always done what was right for Paegeia, we don’t need more followers of Goran hanging around. This world needs to heal, these people need to heal.” He was angry. “I had to do what I had to do to let that begin. I wasn’t going to let my daughter live in fear of evil… I told you not to free Etan.” He was still angry at me, and if I’d lost Blake, I would regret saving him the rest of my life.


But still. “I know. It wasn’t my promise alone. I’m not that type of Dragonian, Dad.”


He smiled, took a deep breath and shook his head. “You are just like your mother. Stubborn as hell. I wish you could’ve known her. She wanted you so badly. I wanted you so badly.”


“I know, I read her journals.”


“You did?” He smiled and wiped one of my tears away with his thumb. “She would’ve been an amazing mother.”


“I know.”


Three months had passed. They went so slowly as my heart was still bleeding. It waited for the other part to reunite, but every night I sat on my sill, looking at the moon, waiting to see the outline of him in the night light. Nothing of that sort happened.


Images of what my father as the Saadedine had done before my axes struck him flashed through my mind.


I had been wild at that moment, as he had been tearing off Blake’s wing. I hadn’t thought and then a spear struck me. It was Goran. He’d wanted me to die so badly, ever since the day he’d seen me through the Dragonian’s eyes. The last thing I saw was the Saadedine turning into my father and then I’d woken in that forest with Blake, unable to remember anything. Had he been saying goodbye? Finally able to show me what the dent was, that he would love me forever and ever, but we would never get that forever?


Sure, they’d told me that he was looking for his last two orbs, but I couldn’t help but think that he was dead and they were just waiting for the right time, for when I was better, stronger, to tell me the truth.


I heaved a deep sigh and touched my scar. It would take months to heal and Constance changed my bandages twice a day for the first month after I’d awoken. The bandage was finally gone but the scar was still there. She couldn’t heal me with her touch anymore. I had to heal myself from now on with my healing ability, but it was slow, as if the Keeper of my abilities was gone. That was the other reason why I kept wondering if he was dead: I couldn’t wield my abilities anymore.


Still, what he had done for me, giving me a piece of his Essence, was the only part that told me that he hadn’t died in that cave. He’d been alive before I passed out and slipped into my two-month coma. I had to believe it was a coma and that I hadn’t been dead. It meant he hadn’t found me and hadn’t sacrificed himself to save me.


I’d finally found a way to tune out my new enhanced senses. The first few days had been hard. The horrible smell, it wasn’t a horrible smell at all, it was all the smells of the world mixed together. I could smell them now; I just needed to control them, force each smell I wanted to enter first, followed by the second. It was quite an amazing ability.


It felt as if I was a dragon myself again.


The hearing was the same. For weeks everyone had to whisper; even though it sounded so loud, it was only a whisper. The best way I can explain it is that it sounded like someone whispering through a microphone.


My eyes were the best. I could zoom in and out like a photographer’s lens, but better. There were limits with photographers, there weren’t with my enhanced sight. It became my favorite sense too, as I could see the night sky from my sill as if I was playing through the clouds myself.


A lot had happened since I’d woken. I had a lot to deal with too.


Tabitha and Peter had both died. She’d lived her entire life as a coward, but had stepped up when she was needed. Not all the explosives had gone off as planned, and the others on the other side couldn’t get through, so Tabitha and Peter had this brilliant plan that would end their lives but it had worked. They flew into the Creepers fast with a bomb attached to Tabitha. The minute it went off, the Creepers that already had my blood in them from the first explosion started to crumble and fall.


Plenty saw that it was working and eight other brave dragons lost their lives that way too.


They sacrificed themselves so the others could get through.


I guessed Tabitha couldn’t live without Blake in her life either. Peter wasn’t enough, but he’d stuck with her. Died with her.


Julia was another dragon who had died. A wyvern killed her.


The entire McKenzie line was gone. In a hundred years nobody would even know who they were.


The only family that was left was Nichole, but they carried a different last names.


Many of the special ops guys died too. Fred, the guy who was with us and Raymond also.


I’d liked Raymond.


But the most painful loss was Dean.


Sammy had almost lost her life too. She’d gotten hit with a huge harpoon and scorched plenty of guys, but a wyvern killed Dean in the process. They found her barely alive.


I’d cried with Sammy so many times. If Blake wasn’t going to return, she hadn’t just lost her rider, the man she’d loved and who had adored her, but her brother as well.


Maybe we would team up after all, maybe not. I contemplated it as I struggled to see that future.


Fin-Tails, Copper-Horns, Night Villains, even Sun-Blasts. They all fought and many of them perished, but we’d won.


War was never a beautiful affair, but good had happened too.


I now had a chance to know the man referred to as the Greatest King Who Had Ever Lived, personally. He was my father. It didn’t matter how busy he was, or in what meeting he was in trying to figure out the process of healing this world and his people, between two to five every day, he spent time with me.


We spoke about so many things; he even started teaching me the things the Council had tried, but coming from him, with all his personal experiences with these people, made it so much easier to remember what I should’ve learned months ago. We spoke a lot about Mom too. He admitted that in the time before her death, she was desperate to find whoever was going to betray us, and that she blamed him for not trying as hard as she had. It wasn’t the truth, though, just the way she had seen it.


My room was filled with black-and-white pictures of her, making faces, just being happy, laughing. There was even one of her playing in the rain. She was so beautiful and so extraordinarily vibrant. It was sad she’d become consumed with grief and stopped living. He tried to speak about Blake as well, but I always told him that I was tired, that I needed to rest. I didn’t want to speak about Blake.


I didn’t know if he knew for sure what Blake’s fate was, but I refused to believe he would lie to me because of what had happened to Queen Margerite.


Sammy and Becky practically lived in the castle. Becky’s hands were full with two sad cases, but she made sure we laughed on occasion, and she too tried to give us hope that Blake would return.


Sir Robert was a different dragon now that my father was back. He was fierce again.


Becky’s dad was one of my father’s loyal men who had made it out alive with him.


I’d been in a coma, and hadn’t seen most of the reunions. They’d made a big fuss about it through the media.


Lucille had been beyond herself when she saw him, or so I’d heard. They were still on their second honeymoon, where I don’t know, not even Becky knew, but she talked to him every night.


My father gave them all a choice, they could still serve the country or retire. Most of them, including Etienne, wanted to get away from Etan as fast as possible. I didn’t blame him.


My father’s hearing with the Council came soon. I didn’t think that they would’ve done that to him, but he looked ready.


I sat next to him in front of the Ancients.


I had to suppress my smile on numerous occasions, as they forgot who he was. The day hadn’t started off like that though…

“Do I really have to go? The Council and Ancients are not huge fans of mine, Dad.”


“It is the first meeting we will be together. I would love for you to be there, please.” I had the feeling they weren’t huge fans of my father and that just maybe he didn’t love these meetings either.


I nodded.


He smiled, kissed me on my head. “That’s my sweetpea.”


I loved his nickname for me; he’d used it a lot too, just like I used to say “for the love of blueberries.”


I put on my best clothes for today’s meeting, and went with my father, Sir Robert and some guards I’d used to see hanging around the Castle of Tith.


We went to the City Hall in Tith. I hated that hall.


My father and Sir Robert were speaking softly. His recovery was going well, but he still walked with his cane and there were times that I wondered how he’d got the burn scar on his face and neck. Whenever it had happened, the two never spoke about it in front of me.


Sir Robert started to laugh and my father and I looked at him.


“What is it?” my father asked through a huge grin.


“Just Blake.”


I smiled too thinking about the day he’d destroyed the City Hall.


“Should I be worried?”


“Not the least, Al. Just after he dented, Elena didn’t make it easy on him.”


My father laughed softly. “Your mother would’ve loved knowing that. She was always worried about the future. About this dent since the day she found out we were having a baby girl. What did he do?”


“The Council and Ancients have changed. A lot. I can’t prepare you for what you are about to find.”


“We’ve all changed.”


“You know about them trying to strip away her title. What I forgot to tell you was they forgot to inform Blake about the hearing; they never sent him an invitation, and somehow he got one.”


I smiled as it was Arianna who had made sure Blake had gotten his invitation.


“He almost destroyed the City Hall to get to her. The way he used to speak to them, it embarrassed me for many years, but that day, I was the proudest father there ever was.”


My father just stared at him. “What?”


We both laughed.


“Oh, I wasn’t happy either, Dad, but they said it was against their Dragon Law not to have informed him.”


Sir Robert laughed. “Breaking down the walls is not what your father is referring to, Elena.”


“They disrespected the Dragon Law?” my father asked in a serious tone.


“One of the things that has changed. They use it whenever they see fit.”


“Robert, how could you just let them do that?” All jokes were suddenly gone.


“How, you really want me to answer that?”


My father just stared at him. I knew now what they meant about my father and Sir Robert sharing their own, different kind of bond. They lifted each other’s spirits. He bent over and leaned with his forehead against Sir Robert’s. “Even if I was dead. You had responsibilities to all dragons.”


“They tortured me because they thought I was the one that betrayed you. If it wasn’t for Helmut…”


My flesh erupted with goose bumps; it was intense.


My father took a deep breath and sat back in his seat.


“Even if I wanted to, they wouldn’t have listened to me. If Blake wasn’t the Rubicon, believe me, my family wouldn’t be here today.”


My father turned his head and stared out the window, thinking.


Maybe it had finally sunk in how much everything had changed.


The carriage landed in front of the City Hall and reporters rushed toward us.


My heartbeat started to pick up but my father, even if he felt the way I did, didn’t show it.


Sir Robert climbed out first and cameras went off. I huffed when they addressed him as Sir Robert again, asking him all sorts of questions.


My father closed the door. “What is that about?”


“Didn’t you hear what they did to him, Dad? They’ve only started to address him as Sir Robert again the day everyone found out you were still alive. Actually, not even then. It was the day you were reunited with him.”


He frowned first then closed his eyes as his jaw muscles pumped.


“You don’t have to be here today, Dad. Wait, see what they’ve became like first, prepare yourself, please.”


He smiled and touched my face softly. “It’s good to have someone care again. I’ll be fine.”


He took a deep breath and opened the door.


I feared he really wasn’t ready for any of this, but to be honest, I wasn’t ready for what followed either.


My father smiled, waved and even stopped to shake hands with some of the reporters. He spoke to them as if they were humans, not cockroaches. He answered so many questions as he walked to the entrance of City Hall. They all laughed at his responses. It was as if he was a different type of dragon breed himself, one that charmed everyone, that made them forgot what they were, and about their job.


I smiled.


Sir Robert caught the admiration on my face “Now you know why everyone called him the Greatest King That Ever Lived.”


“Because of the way he spoke to reporters?”


Sir Robert chuckled as my father wrapped his arms around an older lady to take a picture. “No, because your father treated everyone as if they were someone important.”


I looked at my father again. He sure was amazing with all of them.


When we reached the stairs, my father turned around, waved at everyone, and held out his hand for mine. I took it and we went up the steps to the entrance.


Stan and his gang were waiting, as one of the guards opened the City Hall’s door for us to enter. I was glowing inside, as my father knew what the cockroach had done, but they all bowed low.


“Please, Stan, get up,” my father addressed him. He didn’t even look at me.


“I need to thank you for taking care of Elena, trying to teach her everything that she needed to learn in such short time. It comes from my heart, thank you.” My father bowed his head to Stan, gave him a warm smile and walked on again.


I just stared at him. I wasn’t the only one. Stanley was confused too, and he hardly looked at me and then back down. “Princess.”


I didn’t greet him at all, and instead strode after my father. How could he have thanked him? I’d told him what he and his team had done to me when I’d just discovered I was the princess.


Everyone on the Council bowed as my father entered. He also bowed gracefully and went over to one of the two chairs that were in front of the Ancients, who weren’t on their thrones yet.


My father should be up there, not those old farts.


I sat next to him.


Sir Robert was not standing behind my father. It bothered him and he looked at me through narrowed eyes.


“Told you,” I said quietly and my father’s face turned emotionless, as if my reply just didn’t bother him anymore.


He looked at me again and I turned away.


He wielded a shield around us. I knew it as the twitter of the others started to disappear instantly.


“You are upset because I thanked Stan?”


“He didn’t deserve a thank you from you.”


He chuckled. “You are so much like your mother. She would’ve probably ordered a restraining order on him for the way he treated you.”


“I don’t want to know what Mom would’ve done. She’s not here, but you are. He treated me like shit, Dad. Threatened to take our money away. Was part of the team who wanted to strip me of my title.”


My father laughed, which made me even angrier. “Even if he wanted to Elena, he couldn’t. He was manipulating you, and got away with it.”


“So it’s my fault?”


“That’s not what I said.” He spoke quietly. “Getting a thank you from someone with my sort of status, Elena, is harder than a punishment. Believe me, you will get your apology from him. It might not be in front of millions of people, or the cameras, but it will be sincere and from the heart.”


I just stared at my father as I thought about it.


“You think that I’m not livid with him for how he treated you? I am furious, but I’m also a king. We have to strategize to get what we want. You are my daughter, and it’s time they respect and accept that.”


I nodded. “Sorry, I really suck at this.” I was referring to the strategizing part.


“What, being my daughter? I think you are doing an excellent job.” He gave me a one-armed hug and a kiss on the temple.


The shield vanished as the Ancients walked through the doors and took their seats.


Pappi smiled as he saw me, and nodded toward my father, who nodded back.


I wondered if my dad knew about Pappi being Mom’s great, great, great-great-great grandfather.


They all addressed my father like they did with everyone, nothing special, like he deserved. My father took all of their questions, even the harsh ones.


It made me furious again, as I couldn’t see the end result of this. Why was he so friendly and obedient? He was the King of Paegeia, for crying out loud.


My Pappi didn’t like it either. He stared at Duclin with all his questions, and I knew where it was going to lead.


Then Sir Robert got up.


“Sit down, dragon.” Duclin stared at Sir Robert.


Sir Robert didn’t want to but after a while he sat. It was as if an invisible force did it for Sir Robert against his will.


I looked at my father, who looked at Duclin again.


“What is your reply, Albert?”


“Let me get this straight, you want to disown millennia of bloodlines from the throne of Paegeia? Is that it?”


“Not in those precise words, but it is time a stronger bloodline takes on this responsibility.”


“Let me guess, a dragon bloodline, like your own bloodline perhaps, your honor?” My father sounded calm, as if he were really thinking about giving up his birthright.


“I don’t see why not. This is after all the dragons’ world.”


“And yet you order your will on your subjects?” my father said and Duclin frowned. “What will I do to my people if you can’t even listen to what dragons have to say? What voice will humans and shifters have?”


“There are other elite dragon families.”


“Other dragons.” My father smiled. “And who is going to follow these other dragons?”


“Your family has had this world for a long time. It’s time to stand down.”


“And when danger comes again, who will this world turn to, those dragons that will rule Paegeia?” My father was still calm.


“Remember who you are talking to,” Duclin said through gritted teeth.


My father smiled at him. “Precisely, because of that, I will not stand down. If you don’t like it, then we can sort it out like they used to in the old days.” Everyone gasped. How did they sort it out in the old days? “But just remember what runs through my veins, and I will bring my sword and shield to defend my right and my people’s right.”


“Is that a threat?”


“I don’t need to make threats. I’m the King of Paegeia, and so was my father, and his father before him. We were chosen by the greater power to rule this world. When the greater power chooses you, or your bloodline, I promise you He will let me know, and I will step down, but there is no dragon in this world that will run this country the way I will. Not yet.” The way he said I knew he was referring to Blake, as if he believed with all his heart he was going to come back too. It gave me hope.


“I’m what my people need to heal and to have peace, and whoever is going to stand in my way will cause another war. I’m not afraid of those, as I have one of the most noble and strongest dragons fighting at my side.”


I could see Sir Robert’s chest rising slightly, and a smile appeared at the corner of his lips. “I will not make you pay for all the unkindness you’ve bestowed on him and his family, but I think it’s time.”


“Time for what?” Duclin spat.


“Time to take that vote. Our forefathers put you five up there; I think it’s time to rethink who our next Ancient team is going to be, as some of you are a bit clouded about what is best for Paegeia and all its inhabitants here.”


“You cannot do that. Like you said, only your forefathers could do that.”


“They are dead and no longer have a say in this world.” My father’s tone was slightly stronger, but still calm. “Aye, for a new Council.” My father lifted his hand. I looked at Pappi, and he was smiling. He closed his eyes and lay back as if he’d been waiting for this for a long time.


I lifted up my hand too. “Aye.”


One by one all the Council members lifted their hands, even King Caleb.


My Pappi opened his eyes and lifted his hand.


Duclin look at him. “You fool. You are on this Council. Lower your hand.”


“King Albert is right. He is the best for this world and his people. I thought you had learned by now that you cannot strip this family line of their title. It’s who they are, and it’s who they will always be for millennia to come. Aye.”


The others just stared at the floor and three more lifted their hands.


“You can’t do this!”


“It is done, and if anyone mistreats the Dragon Law again, they will be brought in for a hearing and sentenced by me. From now on, no dragon will ever not have a say when it comes to hearings. We fought years for them to have a voice, we killed our kind for them to have a voice, and we lost a lot of good men for them to have a voice, and lost really brave dragons for them to have a voice. My dragon belongs at my side, and no hearing or meeting will ever tell him otherwise. They will be addressed accordingly as they deserve. To gain that title, it’s something that cannot be bought, only earned, and nothing can take it away. Now, if you’ll be so kind as to excuse me, I have a world to run.”


My father stood, grabbed my hand, and bowed again.


The entire hall burst into applause.


Goose bumps flushed my skin as everyone got up, everyone except Duclin, that is. It was the most amazing thing I’d ever seen, and for the first time I didn’t regret saving my father from Etan.


A smile appeared on his face before we walked out.


I smiled again as I thought about that day. It was the first day I’d met my father’s patient side and his side that had given him the title of The Greatest King That Ever Lived.


He wasn’t the type who would change things because he wanted to. He was the type who changed things for the good of his people, and changing the board of the Ancients was for the best, as some of their minds were clouded, as he’d said.


It wasn’t a surprise either that he didn’t take Areeth away from Caleb. He believed in second chances, and believed in his heart that Caleb deserved one, even if I didn’t.


But I trusted him.


Like he said, Caleb must have earned it too, in some way.


That wasn’t the only thing that happened. My father found love again.


They tried to hide it from me for a long time, and now that I thought about it, it was stupid for them to do so.


I thought she was at the palace to make sure that I was okay, getting healthy, getting the new hospital back on track, but she stayed longer than she should have.


And one night I caught them dancing on a balcony.


They both froze when they finally saw me standing on my opening – yes, the castle had those too. My father had built it for Blake.


“Elena.” It was the only thing he said.


“Dad,” I replied. I smiled softly and went back into my room.


My father didn’t waste any time after we spoke about that possibility, that drastic change, and wanted to know if I was ready for it.


I loved Constance, she was like the mother I’d never had. We shared a special bond, and I just laughed as I gave her a hug.


“It’s about time, Dad.”


She really looked so embarrassed about all of this, and worried, but I wasn’t.


This weekend was the big day.


I tried to get a special message to Blake to return, but again, no answer.


That conversation he’d had with someone, whom I was sure now was Death, replayed in my mind, every time I thought about it.


I was losing hope and I knew how Queen Margerite had felt, well an inkling of it. She’d lost so much more.


I found out that my father had granted Blake passage, if he needed to go to the other side. We talked a lot about it too, as he was scared I would do something I shouldn’t.


I wondered if it was the Wall that blocked this new connection – well, old connection that had been lost, but had so recently been found again. Could it be. Is there hope?


I missed his voice, his face. His arrogant ass. I ached to see him, but at what cost?


At night I would either sit on the ledge just waiting for him to come home or I would play all the albums he’d recorded and cry myself to sleep. I was becoming one of those girls. Pathetic, but I didn’t care anymore. I wanted him back.


“Your Highness,” a soft voice said over and over, and when my eyes jolted open, I found myself still on the window sill.


Simone, my lady who had a slight Scottish accent, was standing right at my side.


She gave me a smile.


I nodded, looked one last time at the moon, jumped off the ledge and crawled into bed.


I didn’t dream about my first time in Etan and everything that happened anymore.


Since the night Blake changed all of them, they’d stopped. I had to say the times I’d spoken to Leo had helped me too. They were supposedly dark but they were very smart, had an effect on problems, which would give psychologists on the other side a run for their money.


I didn’t have to see him anymore, but my father still saw one from time to time. She was a woman, and he was getting better and better every week, especially at night.


We shared our ability to dream. In the beginning he used to wake up so many nights. He would storm into my room, almost giving me a heart attack and would just break down.


He would always ask me why I’d freed him. Always, even though he knew the answer.


Still we were all busy healing. The people of Etan were picking up the pieces. All the farmers got their land back. The ones who hadn’t sold theirs started working them again.


August found his dragon. He had been on the other side and was going to attend Dragonia Academy a couple of weeks from now.


The hospitals were the first to start running again, then the other buildings started to pop up one by one. The farms and docks opened again with the help of many people


My father helped too. He rebuilt alongside his people when he shouldn’t have, but that was just the type of man he was, a king people would remember for millennia and millennia. His greatness was already written in the stars.


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