Wake her up, wake her up, new king. For the crown will fall, the crown will fall. The crown will fall . . . .
The shaking of the ground wakes me up from my deep sleep and the strange dream. I can’t remember anything other than words about waking someone up and the child-like voice that sang them. I glance over at Winter, who is pressed to my side, her arms wrapped around a pillow. The room is still dark, the stars lighting up the sky outside, and it’s cold. Colder than I remember it being when we fell asleep. Winter moves slightly, rolling onto her stomach and her soft, dark hair spreading across the pillow. My mate.
I smile when I see the marks on her back, a beautiful reminder of last night. I’ve waited so long to be mated to her, to my Winter. We finally have everything, and even with her grandfather causing issues, I know we will make it through this. I didn’t wait this long to mate with her, only to lose her. That is never happening.
The room shakes again, and this time I know it’s not a dream that woke me up. I sit up and pull myself out of bed, careful not to wake Winter up. The room shakes again as I throw on some jeans and a shirt. What the fuck is going on?
I storm out of the bedroom, and there’s a dark witch outside, her head covered by her cloak hood, so I can’t speak into her mind. When she lowers her hood, I see that she is an older woman I don’t know, but she bows to me. Where are the guards?
“Watch Winter, and do not let anyone in this room. If she wakes up, tell her to stay inside,” I say, knowing full well Winter wouldn’t stay inside, but I hope that she doesn’t wake up. At least, this witch will be able to tell her where I am. The witch straightens up, and her dark-grey eyes watch me closely, before looking at the door behind me.
“Yes, your highness,” she says in my mind. I pull on my power to lead me to the throne room and hope I can find some answers there, if nowhere else. The room is in chaos when I appear in the middle of it. There are at least fifty demons in the room attacking my witches. One runs straight at me, with a large, silver sword and an emotionless look in his eyes. The demons look worse than the last time I saw any of them; the grey skin is peeling off their faces in places, and the smell from them is overwhelming. They smell like death. I quickly pull on my fire power and throw a line of fire towards him with my hand. The demon-possessed man doesn’t even move out of the way as the flames head towards him and burn him into nothing. There was no scream, and that’s the weird part. It’s like he didn’t feel anything. How can you fight against demons that don’t care if you hurt them? A loud growl gets my attention, and I look over to see my familiars, Mags and Jewels, jumping onto demons and using their large teeth to rip the heads right off them. I kill more demons as I make my way over to them.
“They want the queen,” a witch runs over to me. I cover her from the two demons following her by using my wind power to throw them through the glass windows, smashing the windows to pieces Witches with the air gift start to copy what I did and start throwing them through the windows rather than trying to kill them in here. I look over at the witch, who has a deep cut down her face and black ash covering her, mixed with blue dust from the dead demons.
“How do you know that?” I ask, lowering my hands a little but keeping an eye on the enemies around us. The castle shakes once more, followed by a loud howl that I recognise as Jaxson’s. I forgot he was staying at the castle tonight. Everyone else went back to the Goddess’ castle.
“The king let Taliana’s parents out from the dungeons. I was there, and the demon king said he wants Winter,” the woman pleads. She looks familiar, but I don’t know her. She clearly cares about Winter, and that’s enough for me to believe her. I pull on my power to try and find her, it doesn’t work. I can’t feel her, only darkness. No.
I use my power to take me to my bedroom and find our bed empty, a feeling of dread fills my stomach. I pull the door open to find the older, dark witch is gone. The castle shakes again, and I use my power to find Jaxson. There isn’t a witch strong enough to move the ground like this, and knowing Jaxson, he would be outside. The whole castle is shaking as I disappear, and I know it’s lucky the castle doesn’t fall. I appear in the gardens. What was once a beautiful place is a disaster. The trees are on fire, and a dead witch looks up at the sky from beside my feet. My mind goes to Winter when I look down at the dark witch’s hair, which is only a little darker than my Winter’s. I cannot lose her. I stand straighter when two demons run at me, their grey skin giving them away, as well as the empty look in their eyes. They have big, silver swords raised at their sides, and I use wind to divert the fire in the trees towards them. They don’t stop running as they burn, the awful smell filling the night, but I bet they are better dead than having a demon in their bodies. I lean down and close the witch’s eyes. She is so young, and it’s a shame her life ended like this. A growl gets my attention, and I look to my right, seeing Jaxson.
Jaxson has split a hole down the middle of the royal gardens that you can’t miss, and it’s smart, as my witches are pushing demons into the hole. Jaxson is in wolf from, and is ripping the heads off demons as he runs past. He is massive like this, taller than a human and at the right level to kill them easily. His black fur is covered in blood and blue dust, and I know he must have been fighting since the start of the attack. Two witches run up to me, and I use my air power to push three demons following them into the hole.
“There are too many, Your Highness,” one witch says, and she must only be sixteen by her looks.
“Go to the Goddess’ castle,” I tell them both and send an image of the castle into their minds.
“Thank you,” she says and disappears with her silent friend. I look over to see some are using wind and most using fire, I’m proud of how they are working together. I try to find Winter again, finding I can’t. There’s nothing, but I’m not giving up. I will find her.
“Jaxson!” I roar into his mind when a demon runs at him from behind with a large, silver sword aimed at his head. I pull my power and lift the demon off the ground, throwing him into the hole, but it gets Jaxson’s attention as his glowing, green eyes lock onto mine across the fire and death that surrounds us.
“Winter is gone!”
Even over the witches’ screams, the distance between us, and the noise from the shaking ground, Jaxson’s threatening growl fills the night; a growl that speaks of pain, revenge, and a promise. We will find our queen.