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       Moonbeam, p.4

           Adrienne Woods
 
He nodded as I opened up my speed again and zoomed to the west wing.

  I tried to connect with Elena’s mind as our landing came into sight.

  I landed. In three steps I turned back into my human form and carried her into our room.

  “Constance!” I yelled. She had been looking after Silho, but I was sure Annie or someone would’ve told her that something had happened to us. They had to know something was wrong.

  Elena’s body lay lifeless inside my arms. Her mind was one gaping pit of darkness.

  My heart clenched as I looked at the arrow. I’d once made the mistake of pulling one out. Constance wouldn’t be able to heal her and neither could I, but Constance would know how to make her more comfortable.

  Her heart was still beating, and she was still breathing. A beautiful sign of life. I didn’t like the blackout or the fact that her eyes were closed.

  “Elena,” I slapped her face softly. “Stay with me!” I didn’t sound like me anymore. My sight blurred. Tears spurred on by my worst fear welled up in my eyes.

  “C’mon, baby, wake up.” Begging harder, trying to tune in. She was gone. A pool of darkness had replaced the space where her thoughts used to be.

  The door flew open and hit the wall hard. Constance ran toward us.

  “What the hell?” she gasped as she took in Elena’s lifeless body covered with blood in my arms.

  “She got hit.”

  “Blake, how the hell did that happen?”

  “I don’t know.” My voice shook.

  Silho was still in her arms. My daughter started to cry. Constance handed her to a shocked Annie, who took her out of the room without a word.

  “One minute we were okay, and the next…” I trailed off. The bright light.

  “What? What came next, Blake?” Constance asked.

  My gaze shifted to meet hers. “The bright light.”

  “What bright light?” Constance asked, attending to Elena and the arrow that bristled from her hip. “We need to get this thing out of her.” She spoke more to herself than to me.

  “There was a bright light, we flew into it, and then everything was just…wrong.”

  “What do you mean?” She took out the arrow as Simone, Elena’s personal lady, came in with bandages and towels. Tears lingered in her eyes She loved Elena like a sister.

  “She got hit?” Simone asked.

  I ignored her.

  Constance handed her the arrow she’d managed to take out of Elena without breaking it. She barked orders for warm water and more towels. “Make sure you don’t get your prints on the shaft. We can wipe it for fingerprints later.” She looked at Simone.

  By now the commotion had alarmed more of the night staff. Soon everyone was bringing Constance what she needed.

  “We saw a full-on battle on Mount Likwa. Nothing made sense,” I continued explaining. I knew I should go help fight, but I couldn’t tear myself from my love’s side.

  “Mom?” Annie came back without Silho. Tears streamed down her face. “Plucky, what happened?” she asked.

  I didn’t want to retell the story. The bright light? What was that?

  “I’m sure it will be okay. Dad probably went to have a look.” Constance answered on my behalf, reassuring Annie’s worry. If only she could alleviate mine. But the fact that I couldn’t connect with her drove me insane.

  “Will she be okay?”

  “She has to be,” Constance said. “She has no choice.”

  I looked at my torso and arms. My chest was smeared with Elena’s blood. Don’t die. Please. I can’t do this without you. I begged inside my mind. Hers was still dark.

  “Where is she now, Blake?” Annie wiped at her eyes.

  I shook my head.

  “Nothing?”

  Constance looked at Annie as she tried to cover Elena’s wound. “She is going to be fine, sweetheart.”

  Annie nodded as Constance worked to stabilize Elena. “She’s lost a lot of blood, Blake. Why isn’t she healing yet?”

  “She is out, Constance. It works slower when you lose consciousness,” I barked back. Tonight’s events had taken a toll on all of us. I was still in shock. I tried to help when Constance told me to press hard. She was screaming for the phone and Jeeves told her that they’d already called the hospital.

  “We need to make sure that there wasn’t poison on that tip.”

  My heart felt as if it wasn’t beating. Poison? It had never even crossed my mind.

  “Jeeves!” I yelled again, and the old man entered the room a few seconds later. “Phone Ralph. He needs to come and look at the arrow.”

  Jeeves nodded and left.

  The more we knew, the better we could treat her.

  “Good call, Blake.”

  “I wasn’t the one who thought about the poison.”

  I bent down over Elena and brushed my lips on her head. Don’t leave me.

  Elena had been unconscious for almost two days. Ralph had come the night Elena was shot and taken the arrow in a container so they could do as many tests on it as they could think of. There was no war, or even a sign of a war taking place on Mount Likwa. My father was worried. So was king Albert, but I know what I saw. The arrow that shot Elena was proof too.

  Two days and we hadn’t heard anything yet.

  How difficult could it be? Unless there wasn’t an antidote.

  Please, please don’t let that be the case.

  I’d never prayed as much as I had the past two days.

  I didn’t have my orbs anymore. I could…no, don’t think like that, Blake. She is still alive. That was all I wanted.

  My mom had taken Silho to the manor. The vibe inside the castle upset her, and she didn’t understand why her mother wasn’t around. Why she didn’t want to wake up.

  This reminded me of the time she’d been in her two-month coma. I felt lost without hearing her thoughts. So disoriented.

  Her thoughts were dark. She wasn’t even dreaming. I couldn’t reach her.

  We still had no idea what kind of poison was on the tip of the arrow. If there even was any poison.

  If not, why wasn’t she waking?

  They’d had it now for more than forty hours and we still had no idea what was in her system.

  I tried to sleep, but couldn’t, so I just sat in a chair next to our bed all day and all night.

  Her father came in regularly. So did Constance and Annie.

  Becky and George slept in the guest room. Even Sammy came.

  She’d accepted the position my father had offered her three years ago, but she hadn’t taken another rider yet.

  Dean had been a great guy. It was clear Sammy would never trust another the way she’d trusted him. He’d died during the freeing of Etan. I doubted my sister would ever be the same again. That haunted sadness never really left her face.

  She’d seemed fine right after his death. I guess she’d had to make sure I was fine for Elena’s sake before she had her meltdown. A part of her had shattered so badly that nobody could heal it. I couldn’t heal it, and neither could my father or any of her friends.

  Elena, on the other hand, had healed. The scar was almost gone. It’d taken twenty-four hours for the gash to close.

  By tomorrow the mark would be completely gone, but something told me that she would still be asleep. Trapped.

  It had to be poison. Why else would she still be knocked out like that, unreachable?

  Her heartbeat was steady, yet soft. More proof of my theory that poison flowed through her veins. It was as if she was slipping into hibernation, her body shutting down softly.

  She needed to wake up soon.

  The door opened and Ralph walked in. We’d finally gotten the phone call that he needed to see us as soon as possible.

  King Albert, Constance, my father, Emanual, and Annie waited for him in the library.

  Ralph nodded toward us. He greeted all of us. Another scientist followed him in. Both faces were grave.

  “No, no, no, no…There has to be a
n antidote!” I was strangely shrill. Constance placed her hand on my shoulder.

  King Albert looked as if he were going to collapse. But my father stood ramrod straight beside him.

  “It’s not that, Blake. Sorry, my king. Here.” He took a small vial out of his pocket. We all exhaled in unison.

  “The poison in her blood and on this tip, was none other than Louie’s berries.”

  “Louie’s berries?” I said.

  “A slow death awaits Elena.”

  A gaping maw opened in my chest, unbearable and achingly empty. I closed my eyes and hugged my aunt and mother-in-law. It had been her call. She’d mentioned the poison.

  She stroked my torso and pressed her head into my chest as she took the vial from Ralph.

  “There is more.”

  We all looked at Ralph.

  “Find out. I’ll stay with Elena.” Constance looked up at me. I nodded.

  I watched her leave. Elena had to wake up.

  We’d given him Louie so he could take the poison from his berries to use it on the Saadedine. Nothing had worked as it should.

  “What news do you have? That expression on your face…You almost gave us a heart attack.”

  “Sorry, my king. We are struggling to accept it ourselves.” Ralph glanced at the scientist next to him. “It’s the arrow.”

  The gaping maw in my chest threatened to consume me.

  King Albert spoke first. “What about it?”

  The scientist behind Ralph wiggled toward the table. On it lay with a solitary envelope and a crate stuffed with documents.

  We all went over to the table and watched him open the envelope. The heavy parchment crinkled audibly in his hands. Inside was the weapon that had almost killed my reason for living. Well, the most important one, anyway.

  “My name is Kingston,” he said, sounding slightly out of breath. His hands, though, were steady. Excitement sparkled in his bright blue eyes. “I work in the historical department at KU Labs.”

  “Historical?” I repeated.

  He reached out his hand with a slight bow at the waist to King Albert.

  “Wait, what the hell has this got to do with the arrow?” Confusion clouded my mind.

  “Blake, you need to sit down. All of you,” Ralph said. I looked at my father, standing like always, a few inches from King Albert.

  “Proceed.” King Albert looked at Kingston, ignoring Ralph’s gesture.

  Kingston removed the arrow as if it were a great treasure. A snarl curled my lip. They should’ve burned that thing. “We have performed every kind of test we could think of on this arrow. I promise you, the data we collected…” He shook his head, a smile tugging at the corners of his lips. Then he seemed to realize how inappropriate his enthusiasm was. “Sorry, let me proceed.”

  “What about the arrow?”

  “The arrow is more than two hundred years old.”

  The room fell silent as everyone considered those impossible words.

  “What?” We all looked at him, mouths agape.

  “How is that possible? It should have disintegrated by now.” My father raised his eyebrows, staring at what looked like a new, yet delicately crafted arrow, not a two-hundred-year-old artifact.

  “Exactly our point,” Ralph said. “No chemicals could preserve this arrow, and we found no trace of any charms. Whoever shot Elena at that distance must have been one of the best wielders in the entire world.”

  “So,” Kingston said, “we researched this type of arrow, and we’ve got a fingerprint off it.” He looked at Albert. “Believe me when I tell you that none of it makes sense.”

  “I agree,” King Albert said. “Who’s the culprit? Who almost killed my daughter?” he asked through clenched teeth.

  Ralph paused.

  “Who, Ralph?” King Albert insisted. His anger was palpable.

  I didn’t like this side of him.

  “It was…Queen Catherine.”

  The entire room fell into a deadly silence. We all stared at the arrow, not one of us had the nerve to say what was on everyone’s mind. A million thoughts zipped through my head.

  How could this belong to Queen Catherine? It hit Elena in the stomach, and…

  “Wait, someone kept Catherine’s arrow and hit Elena with it?” King Albert was thinking in the same direction as me.

  “No, my king,” Ralph said. He took a deep breath. “If they’d kept it this long, it wouldn’t have been in this sort of condition.”

  “Spit it out, man. What are you trying to say?” I asked.

  Ralph looked at me. “I’m saying that somehow, you and Elena went back two hundred years. Queen Catherine shot Elena.”

  If shock was what we’d felt a few minutes ago, then I didn’t know what to call this feeling that rushed through me. Something heavy and hot trickled through my limbs. The ache in my chest expanded. Elena.

  King Albert took the arrow. It looked brand new. It couldn’t have been two hundred years old.

  His eyes traveled down the long shaft, seeking something. Then they widened in surprise. He dropped the arrow and it clattered to the floor. He fell into his chair. His face was slack.

  “Al!” My father was at his side at once.

  “Look,” King Albert said, pointing at the arrow.

  It was as if my father knew what he was looking for. He found it immediately.

  “Katie’s markings?” he said. He looked at me.

  “Blake, the battle you saw,” he started. “You said it was on Mount Likwa?”

  I nodded. “The stars were all wrong.”

  “What do you mean?”

  “They were wrong, Dad!” I yelled. “Some fell. A long time ago.”

  “Two hundred years ago?” Ralph said.

  I didn’t want to nod, but I had no choice. How could this be?

  “Then it’s a miracle,” Kingston said with a smile lingering on his lips. “You found a way to jump back in time.”

  Life started to return. I felt many things at once: the pain in my side where…my eyes popped open. Blake was the first one I saw, worry etched on his face.

  “Shh,” he said. My bed shifted as he climbed up beside me. “Easy.” He lay his head near mine, cupping the back of my head softly. I could count his black eyelashes. I could stay here forever. Except for the pain.

  Alarm crept in. “What happened? Where am I?” I trailed off. Taking in my surroundings, I realized I knew this place. It was our room. I relaxed marginally.

  Blake just hugged me tighter. I thought you were dead! I felt so helpless.

  “I’m okay,” I said aloud, my voice hoarse. I breathed in his scent. His closeness, his unique scent calmed me down. I was safe, I was alive, and he was here. It was all that mattered.

  His thoughts invaded. A flash of the events I’d missed, all his worries, my family’s worries, and frightening images of blood and war kept me occupied for a few minutes. They were fast, but the emotion and the clarity made them so real. He’d been completely beyond himself.

  Two days?

  How scared he’d been when I’d blacked out, the connection broken again. How they’d waited for the scientists. My heart beating softer. The sensation of his unending terror was suffocating.

  Where is Silho?

  He showed me that Isabel had taken her and she was at the manor, safe and sound.

  Then the scientists came. Ralph. The revelation. The antidote. I gasped.

  Louie’s berries?

  He nodded.

  I met Kingston through him, a history scholar, which didn’t make sense at all. They spoke about the peculiar arrow. He said it was two hundred years old and that it belonged…to my mother. My mother had shot me…

  We’d jumped back in time.

  “What?” It came out louder than I wanted it to. Shock rippled through my entire being. We’d jumped back in time. My mother…

  I didn’t care that my mother had shot me. She’d thought…whatever she’d thought…It was war. We’d jumped back two
hundred years.

  “What is going on in that mind of yours?” Blake asked. He couldn’t connect the pictures of my jumbled thoughts.

  Save my mother? Goran! We can warn them.

  Blake squinted and then he got what I was thinking.

  He jumped up. “No!”

  For the first time I realized we weren’t alone. Across the room, Constance and my father jumped at his seemingly sudden reaction.

  “What is going on?” my father asked.

  Blake got up from the bed and started to pace.

  I noticed Annie sitting on a chair in the corner. She looked relieved. All of them did. But more worry lines appeared.

  “Elena, I’m not going to do that.” Blake’s voice broke my gaze from Annie.

  Just like that, he’d said no. “Blake, if what you showed me is the truth…” I thought back to that time underneath the tree when I couldn’t remember anything. When I’d thought he was saying goodbye. He had jumped back. It was his ability, not the Dent.

  That time he’d been gone, just vanished. What if it hadn’t been caused by breaking his oath? What if it was linked to this? This might be the beginning of the bright light, all those bright lights he and George had been speaking about for years.

  My eyes found Blake. He squinted at me.

  He shook his head. You don’t know that.

  I spoke aloud. “I do, Blake. It explains everything.”

  My father cleared his throat. “What is going on?” Our silent conversations frustrated all of them

  Blake’s eyes flashed. Was it condescension or embarrassment? “Elena thinks I own a new ability.”

  “Own?” Constance asked, looking from Blake to me still sitting in my bed. “But only Dragonians have abilities, not their dragons.”

  “It’s the only thing that makes sense,” I said out loud. Silently I added, With the dent. You know it is. You were there, Blake. It explains why you didn’t remember me the first time you met me. Because you weren’t there. But you were there the next time.

  Blake closed his eyes, rested his hands on his head. The way he did when he felt frustrated. I had to get through to him.

  We can go back twenty-seven years and warn my parents. We can tell them that Goran is the one who is going to betray them.

 
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