“It’s okay.” I lie. It’s been a while since I’ve lied, I don’t know if I sound sincere or not. Probably not, given the way Addison sobs. Harsh and heavy, like somethings caught in her chest and she can’t quite cough it out. Well, I suppose anyone would find it difficult to lie with a sword through their chest.
What a sight we must make. The glorious White Queen, the strongest of the four rulers of this split land of light and darkness, ran through by her own sword by the Heroes Healer and master strategist. Not even properly ran through either. At this rate I’ll have to pull out the blade myself to speed up my death. My chest hurts — actually all of me hurts. I cough, red splatters over Addison’s hands and mine.
“I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry –” Over and over the raspy, wet words spill out and over Addison’s trembling lips. Thick rivers of tears rush over her flushed cheeks, the only spots of color on her otherwise pale face. Ugly crying. True heart wrenching sorrow.
God my chest hurts. I almost wish she’d gone for my head. Quick and clean like Simon. God Simon, my King, my confidant, my best friend. I hope he won’t be angry with them. Addison, Jacob, Jenny, Alex, Lucy. It’s not any of our Heroes faults. I wonder which one killed him. Probably Jacob. Quick with a blade that one.
I’m not mad. Not at the Heroes anyway. Our destined group of saviors, a terrified and scarred team of 14-to-16-year old’s. They’re so young. Too young to bear the weight of saving the world. No, I’m angry at our enemy. The Deity that though it was so funny to take children and turn them into weapons. If I’d known they were going to be children — I don’t know. You can’t fight a destiny like theirs, no matter how much you try. But maybe we could have made it easier? The White and Black Monarchy, we were so powerful, maybe we could have prepared our brave children better.
My legs give out. I barely feel the impact, I’m more focused on trying to keep Addison in sight through my own tears and blackening vision. The blade slides. Hello, white hot agony. It’s so horrible to meet you again.
Addison’s shaking, voice hysterical as she tries to lay me down comfortably without taking the sword out. I want to speak, to tell her I understand. That I’m not mad, that everything will be okay, even when I don’t know if it will. I want to tell her to take out the blade, to kill me faster, even though I know the words would break her cracked heart.
I’m not angry for the murders of my fellow Royals, or even for my own current one. Addison already explained. The words rushing out her mouth when she saw me coming at her with rage in my eyes earlier after finding Simon’s cooling corpse. Addison had been so scared, she’s still so scared. I can’t help her with that though. What happens next is all up to them.
They can’t beat the Deity’s twisted game, but neither can the Deity win. An eternal stalemate. The Deity couldn’t accept that, so a deal was made. Clear the board, restart the world, do it over. Let everyone start over, different lives. Pick new players, let them try to win. Only the five Heroes and their support would remember.
We, the Kings and Queens of this land, were included in that support, but. But we were also main components of the game. The Deity offered a compromise; we will be resurrected like the Heroes, but first we had to die by their hands. The Kings and Queens of the board had to fall. Marcus and Lyra are already dead. Simon too. It’s just me left.
My hands are stiff, my arms limp. I can’t breathe, can barely see color, but I can still hear her. Distant and echoing, Addison is still crying, still hysterical. Probably still apologizing. My fingers twitch around the blade still in my chest. Pull it out, my mind screams. Just pull it out, make it done. Please.
And maybe Addison hears me. Or she realizes the problem. There’s movement, and a swift final stab of agony as the sword is wrenched from my chest. I choke on the blood in my throat. I stare up, seeing only white that is quickly consumed by darkness.
I’m dragged under.
I gasp awake, jerking upright. I cough, dry heaving over the edge of a bed? Nothing comes up. There’s no blood. The pain is slipping from my fingers like whisps of smoke.
“Dianne”? I whip my head up and stare. Simon, whole and alive, stares back. He smiles, soft and warm like the hands keeping me from rolling off the bed. “Took your time, huh?” His dark eyes are wet. My eyes burn. I smile.