“It’s time to go to the council.” His words had rung in my head sinking me into an abyss that I could not get out of. My stomach churned my heart plummeted and my head seemed to spin. I felt so sick and the air around me seemed to lack.
“Lyric,” Jane called out to me in concern.
“I’m fine,” I managed to say to her, offering her a weak smile before turning to look at Parker who was standing by the door.
“Okay,” I heard myself say.
“She needs to get ready give her a few minutes,” Jane spoke for me, and at that moment I felt thankful that she was there. Mostly because the words that were coming out of my mouth didn’t really concede with the way my mind was processing things.
“Okay. I’ll wait downstairs,” Parker said, closing the door behind him and leaving.
“Lyric,” Jane spoke taking my hand in hers.
“You need to be strong for this okay. I know it’s a bad situation but. Things are going to work out. You just need to have faith,” Jane said.
But How? Parker? Or Maxwell? What kind of choices did I have? Bad or Evil. This was not something I wanted.
“I need to go get ready,” I heard myself saying to Jane before she got up to leave only offering me a sympathetic smile, but I knew what it was. Pity. That look that I hated to get was now back. I never wanted to have anyone look at me that way again but for the past few days, that had been the look that was directed towards me.
The walls began to spin again, my heart accelerated and I could feel the nasty bile rise up my throat. Running to the bathroom I threw out the contents of my stomach. The more I thought about my problems the worse I continued to hurl until there was nothing left and I was left shaking trying to collect myself.
“Why do these things keep happening to me? Am I such a bad luck magnet?”
“When I look at you I don’t see someone who’s nothing. I see someone who can be anything they want. You’re special, different.”
Remembering the letter as I lay in the bathtub I wished at that moment that whoever that person was, he would be here with me. That somehow I would meet the council and they’d say what a big mistake had been made. That there had been a mix-up at the DNA Labs and somehow I ended up in this position when I should have been someone else’s mate. But the reality was another different thing, and I needed to accept it.
“I can’t be like this anymore. Not by myself. And not in front of them. I need to face this and all my problems otherwise I’m letting them win.” I thought to myself, wiping away my tears.
Right now the last thing I ever wanted was to give someone like Maxwell or even Parker power over me. Whatever the council’s decision for me was I hoped it didn’t break me more than I already was. Turning on the water of the bath I let it rise to the top with warm water and undressed before sinking all the way down letting my mind go numb.
“You’re stuck in the past, thinking of the old him. But yet you don’t look at what’s in front of you. His actions now, even then. There’s so much of him that you’re not seeing and so much of you that you don’t let him see.”
Was Angel right? Had Parker really changed? He was always so self-centered... Always thinking of himself. But yet, he had saved me back then. It was always something I wondered all these years. Why? Why had he saved me? Why couldn’t he just let me die? Didn’t he hate me all those years ago? Had he not wanted me to disappear? We were both stuck in this situation now why had he made me feel comfortable? Why was he worried about me? Why did he fight for me back then? Was it obligation? Duty as a Prince? As my mate? Maybe it was to hand me off to Maxwell in the end…
So many questions filled my head, and I found myself wanting to sink further into the water, the lack of air making my chest tighten but I wanted to continue. Maybe letting myself go completely numb would have been a good idea. But remembering how stupid that had been, the people I had hurt, only made me resurface for air gasping out to breathe.
Three days and two nights. That was how long we had been traveling for. It had been non-stop and tiresome. Pit stops were short and a minimum of a few minutes. Time felt so slow but at the same time, I wanted time to drag on longer. I did not want to face the council, much less, Maxwell. I’d never been in front of the council before. There were ever rare cases were a normal human girl let alone a Nova was called forth by the council. The ride over was nerve wrecking. King Thomas had decided to go along with Parker and I. The ride was quiet with tension that only seemed to get tighter and tighter the closer we seemed to get to the council.
“Trust the council,” King Thomas spoke to both Parker and I once we stood in front of large gates. My heart racing so fast I thought it would stop any second.
“Whatever decision they make should be the right one for all three of you,” He spoke. However, the concern in his eyes spoke volumes to me and based on the look Parker gave him I knew he was thinking the same thing. We stood in front of a large old building that looked to be as high as a skyscraper. There were no other buildings surrounding it if anything we were on deserted lands. Sacred deserted lands that only belonged to the Nova Council. Around this building, there were large gates surrounding it to keep trespassers away, but I doubted anyone would really dare cross these Nova’s path. Why would they? Approaching the gate, we stood there a few moments before a buzzing sound was heard and the gates opened for us to be let inside. I walked behind Parker and King Thomas as we entered the gates. I felt afraid, unsure, and so many more emotions that it made me feel sick to my stomach.
“Be strong Lyric,” I chanted in my head. There wasn’t much to go by, the offices were big looking like any other office. However, there was stifled air around that reminded you of a morgue or a hospital. At the end of the large empty hall that seemed to run for miles stood a guard in front of a large door that only made me feel smaller.
“Wait here”, He told us, bowing to Parker and King Thomas before entering the large doors that were at the end of the hall. My heart began to race once again, and I felt pressure against my chest finding it hard to breathe.
“Was this really happening?” I thought to myself.
“Don’t be scared,” Parker spoke up sensing my fear.
“Nothing is going to happen to you,”
“Promise me,” I wanted to say to him, but I couldn’t seem to find my voice, feeling my throat tighten as if someone were choking me.
“I’m glad to see you brought her Archer. I was starting to think you’d keep her away from me again and I’d have to go into your Kingdom to get her back.”
Hearing his voice was like a dozen blades piercing my skin over and over making me shake with fear but I couldn’t seem to move or scream. I knew the fear that I had not wanted to show was now there for everyone to view. Maxwell was looking at me, a smirk on his face. His skin sickly pale with how porcelain white it was. His hair a blonde color that almost looked white was neatly combed to the side in a fashionable matter and he wore a gray suit. But his eyes were red matching his natural looking red lips from the blood that ran through him. Madness was clear in his red eyes as he smiled the blood rushing to his cheeks when he did. His father was the same as he, the only difference being King Charles was much older than his son and if anything thirstier for blood. I felt trapped in the middle looking between both Kings and Prince’s.
“Cray,” Parker spoke, taking my hand and giving it a squeeze.
“Please don’t let go,” I wanted to say to him, feeling so terrified.
“You could try. But I’m sure the council wouldn’t approve.”
“I don’t need the council’s permission for anything,” Maxwell snapped angrily almost rabid. His eyes intensifying with anger to the point I thought he’d shift into Nova form right then and there. Parker, on the other hand, seemed calm, collected and smirked at him.
“Then why are you here?” Parker questioned him.
“Enough children,” King Thomas spoke.
“Now, now. It’s all in good fun,” King Charles said to King Thomas. Still, King Charles put his hand on Maxwell’s shoulder trying to calm him.
“I suppose so. But I don’t think you want my son to use yours as a chew toy,” King Thomas spoke, his tone calm but at the same time condescending. I could see King Charles’s eyes flicker with anger before it vanished just as quick.
“We shall see what the council has decided,” King Charles spoke before he smiled at King Thomas.
“Not that my son has anything to worry about. We always get the women of our choosing don’t we son?” King Thomas asked.
“Yes,” Maxwell spoke, his eyes landing on me.
Moving in front of me Parker continued to hold my hand but glared at Maxwell.
“Please. Don’t let him take me,” I wanted to say to him. The tense atmosphere seemed to be cut by the sound of the large doors finally opening the guard looking at us all objectively.
“The council will see you now,” He spoke calmly before allowing us to walk in. Before we entered Parker squeezed my hand once more reminding me to breathe though the air continued to lack from my lungs.
They were all there. All twelve council members. Women and men alike twelve pairs of eyes looking at us, at me. The large place where they sat making them appear bigger while we stood on the ground making us small while the council felt big, powerful, more powerful than both Kingdoms. Men and women around the same age as both kings, some a lot older. But I knew who was in charge of the council. I knew who was allowed to speak for them. The head of the council, their voice. Daniel Green. Nova Lion and Andrew’s father. I’d often thought of this man as cold-hearted. But he’d allowed my mother and I to stay at his home as a favor to the king. Of course, that was until we could get back on our feet. He was sitting there in a Black suit and tie. His green eyes impartial as he looked down at all of us. His dark hair tinted with a few streaks of gray here and there perfectly styled in a professional matter. I knew he had to be neutral, they all did. But I sincerely hoped the decision they made for me, for us, was a good one.
“Thank you for coming,” Councilmen Green spoke, his voice echoing through the room strong and powerful, disrupting the quiet tension that had begun to build once more.
“I know this situation is uncommon almost unheard of. It certainly did take us off guard,” Councilmen Green spoke.
“However, we did some investigating and Councilmen Jacobs has indeed heard of this situation.”
Hearing his words made me feel relief. For a moment I didn’t feel like such an out of place person. Still… the question remained.
“I’m sure you’re all wondering why it is that no one has heard about this,” Councilmen Green said. For the first time, he seems to show an emotion. Embarrassment.
“There have only been four other cases. They’re rare maybe every five hundred if not one thousand years. We’ve been around for quite some time. Centuries, millenniums. Some of the old council members before us found the double mating. Disgraceful,” Councilmen Green said. I felt myself shrink, but I could see the anger in both King’s eyes at the words used to describe the situation their sons were in.
“However, they never thought this would happen in both Kingdoms at the same time,” Councilmen Green appeased.
“Then how do you suggest we resolve this Councilmen?” King Charles spoke his sharp red eyes glaring angrily at the councilmen.
“They cannot share her. And I will not allow my son to share anything let alone his mate with an Archer,” King Charles spat out in disdain.
“They will not share her,” Councilmen Green spoke. I could sense the irritation in his voice now but I wasn’t sure if it was for King Charles or for the situation at hand.
“Councilmen. How was the situation resolved?” King Thomas spoke.
“From what we gathered there were two solutions used. One of you, Prince Parker or Prince Maxwell can retreat. Allow the other to take her. Give her up,” He said and at his words, I felt my stomach drop.
This was it. Parker was going to just hand me off. He was going to give me up to Maxwell Cray.
“Please don’t,” I wanted to say, but found myself unable to speak. Instead, I held on to Parker’s hand tighter hoping to convey what I could not speak.
“Do either of you choose to retreat?” Councilmen Green asked.
“No,” Parker and Maxwell both answered, their tones tense.
“That is out of the question. They are both unwilling. So what is the other option,” King Thomas spoke.
“The other way things were handled was a fight to the death. The winner keeps the woman being fought over,” Councilmen Green said his word once more making my stomach drop.
A fight to the death? Someone had to die here for me. I would be the cause of one of their deaths.
“However. Because they are both Prince’s we realize that is a drastic measure that will only cause chaos between the two kingdoms,” Councilmen Green spoke quickly.
“From the four double mating’s we were able to learn that none of the matings were successful when these strategies were used. The female did not have a happy mating nor did the two males involved.”
“Then what do you suggest councilmen?” King Thomas asked.
“We can’t have them stay like this,” King Charles snapped angrily.
“Would the girl please step forward,” Councilmen Green spoke up.
At his words, I felt as if my heart was racing a mile a minute and the world once more began to spin rapidly. I could feel Parker’s grip on my hand slowly loosen before he finally let go. His eyes, along with everyone else’s were on me. Slowly, I gathered what little courage I had and stepped forward a few feet away from the two kings and the two Prince’s. I knew I was vulnerable at this point, exposed to Maxwell. If he struck now and decided to take me I knew no one would be able to stop him.
“This is a very odd situation to be in isn’t it?” Councilmen Green asked. Though I had spoken to him dozens of times before, it was never like this.
At that moment, I truly felt small in front of him, like a mouse trapped under his giant Lion paw, grabbed by the tail while fighting to break free.
“Yes,” I spoke, my voice weak and groggy, that it seemed like I had not had a drink of water in days.
“How do you feel?” He asked.
“I can’t breathe,” I managed to say.
“Are you afraid?” Councilmen Green asked.
“Yes,” I heard myself saying, and he simply looked back at me and nodded.
“This situation is uncommon and because of the council’s past mistakes and the shaky treaty between both Kingdoms we’ve decided on this…”
“The choice is yours Lyric. Do you choose Prince Parker or Prince Maxwell?” Councilmen Green asked.