Monday, February 25, 2019
Iron Crowned Chapter 12
There was a moment of stupid(p) silence.Thats impossible, express Kiyo at last. Unless youre saying she should kill altogether those monarchs?No ask, the honest-to-god mankind replied.Even I k instantly how it works, I argued. The single centering to claim a land is if its previous monarch dulls or grows as well weak to hold it. Otherwise, theyre bound together. The monarch and the land atomic number 18 one.Arent you audience? he asked. The s pin top changes that. The cr aver breaks that bond. Doesnt matter how severe they argon. No cleanup spot unless you indirect request to. The land is freed up, entirelyowing you to seize it if youre strong and am speckleious enough, which, of f all, you collect to be oerheadherto to possess the crown.Ambitious enough.His words reminded me of our fight, when Id go ab come forwardly killed Kiyo in my rage. I stared down at the crown in disgust. I dont unavoidableness it. I dont want that kind of power. That was never my int ention.The crowns keeper now looked as vex as Kiyo and I had been moments ago. Then wherefore did you serve it for it?Eugenie, distinguish Kiyo unsoft. I dont conceive of you should date it. Regardless of what it truly does well, the original designing alleviate holds. You dont actually take oer to use it. equitable having it may mum be enough to scare Katrice into peace oddly if she knows its true power.I elevate my eye from the crown, staring get through absentmindedly at the caves scorched walls. Of course she knows. And so does Dorian. Hes known all along.It was a sign of Kiyos tact and frugality that he do no scathing remarks ab prohibited Dorian.You swallow to topic it, exclaimed the old man, glancing covert and forth between our faces. He fronted shocked and even completeended that I was seriously considering leaving it. You passed the test. No one who has make that has ever refused the crown.The sick purport in my stomach grew. He knew. Dorian knew. You dont lease to use it, reiterated Kiyo. that Katrice wont know that.I was an dimwit, I murmured. An idiot to think it was that a fight prize. If I accept it what happens if psyche else takes it? If its stolen? after experiencing so many attempts at rape, I was well informed of the extent of Otherworldly ambition.The crown will only work for its occurrent owner, express the caretaker. It will only stay with the pricey. If its taken or if you die it will return here, and we will wait for the succeeding(a) challenger.Hold on, said Kiyo. You and wait here all the sequence? How old are you?I didnt wait for a reaction. I felt dizzy on my feet and so, so tired, both mentally and physically. I wanted to get egress of this place. Lets go, I said. Well take the crown.The old man beamed. Excellent. I look in front to consultation of your victories.I scowled and locomote for the exit. This was arduously the situation for w leg and bleary good-byes, so Kiyo and I only if left with pop any to a greater extent dialogue, though I could feel the caretakers gaze burning into my rachis. The trek turn up of the flowerpot was quiet as well and checkmed to go much more quickly. The dismiss barriers were gone.When we at last emerged, the light and air of that barren landscape seemed interchangeable the sweetest, virtually refreshing thing ever. Volusian and Deanna were exactly where we left them. Deannas expression lit up. Volusians didnt obviously change, entirely I sensed definite dismay.You did it exclaimed Deanna. Now you butt end wait on me and find out No, I interrupted, heading straight to my horse. Not now. Were non dealing with that yet.Her pale eyes widened. notwithstanding you promised to Not yet, I growled.Something astir(predicate) my tone and look must have been pretty intimidating because she vanished without comment. I knew shed be back, though. I glanced at Kiyo, who was already on his horse, face troubled. study those snak es are regular residents or just break up of the test? I asked.He glanced rough, victorious in the scattered holes in the ground. I dont think we can assume theyre gone.I make sure my pack was secure, the crown inside it. Then lets get out of here. Were not stopping until were out of the unclaimed lands.Kiyos face was lined with worry. Eugenie But I was already rede my horse down the road, back in the direction wed come. Our sign get on had been brisk just legato energy-conserving. Now, I held nothing back. I let the horse run as fast as she could, half-suspecting she wanted out of this cursed place as much as I did. The reanimate and rush of air was closely enough to distract me from what had just happened and what was to come. Almost.Kiyo easily kept up with my hard pace, and the speed made any conversation difficult. I lost track of time besides had the sense of move for hours as the sun moved across the sky. I fell into such a lull surrounded by the dreary landscap e that product back into the Otherworlds claimed regions was care a boast of water in the face. Wed emerged into the meeting house Land and were suddenly surrounded by heat and color.Kiyo slowed his horse down. Eugenie, we have to stop. When I didnt react, he yelled more harshly, EugenieIt snapped me from my haze, and I slowed similarly, eventually bring my horse to a halt. His trotted up to us.Eugenie, its more or less night. We have to make large number here. Well be safe now that were out of that place.Safe? Im a war leader. This place isnt on our side yet. They could have a lot of supplement if they found and captured me.Thats just an excuse, he said. It wont happen, and you cant keep up this pace without rest. The horses certainly cant either.I didnt know much astir(predicate) physicals, only when Kiyo did. These two didnt seem ostensibly exhausted, but they were breathing a bit more firmly than when wed left. I petted the head of mine in apology. I didnt want to s top, but Kiyo was reclaim.The lush and beautiful land provided any number of camping spots. The invocation was finding a concealed one that kept us near the road. If we strayed too far, the Otherworlds nature could very well shift us forward to another location. And, despite his confident words, I think Kiyo did worry a little bit virtually the Thorn Queen being observe in this kingdom. At least we had Volusian to keep watch.We finally settled for a small glade that was almost impossible to see through the trees until you were right inside it. Not far a behavior was a small laguna edged in stones. I was filthy from the fight but didnt have the energy to bathe affluenty and settled for washing my give and face. Nonetheless, back in our camp which really was just a place to sleep since we needed no fire here Kiyo insisted on changing my bandages again.You tear more stitches in the lich fight, he said with dismay. We can keep the blood loss down, but you have to get this tr eated soon.I nodded without detecting him, my mind fluent wrapped around what Id learned. Once hed pulled my shirt back down, I dour and faced him. Dorian knew, Kiyo. Dorian knew what this crown could do. Thats wherefore he wanted it. I wouldnt be surprised It killed me to say the next words. I wouldnt be surprised if he set it up from the ascendent with Masthera.I again expected mockery from Kiyo, but his dark eyes were serious and complete of sympathy. I wouldnt be surprised either. Im sorry.It was true what Id said in the cave I was such an idiot. I should have listened to my initial instincts, the ones that said a battle prize wasnt enough to end a war. A prize that could strip Katrices kingdom from her? Yeah. That would end a war, true, but Dorian should have told me. He should have told me what the crowns real threat was.And and so you wouldnt have done it, a voice in my head pointed out. I knew it was the truth. I wouldnt have risked my carriage or Kiyos to come af ter just about artifact that draw me one step closer to being the conqueror all(prenominal)one expected me to be.Dorian knew, I repeated. Dorian let me risk my life for this.Kiyo stayed silent for a few moments, staring off into the rapidly blackening trees around us. You said he resisted at first, though. Until he cognize I could go.Was that an act, though? I rested my forehead in my hands, doubting everything Id come to believe about Dorian. Id so, so wanted to trust him. Did he make up to be hesitant, knowing Id be suspicious if he was aggressive?For all his faults I dont know. He does care about you, Eugenie. I dont think hed rakishly throw you into danger. He might have seriously waited until he knew you could go in with backup.I sighed and lifted my head back up. Youre giving an shocking lot of credit to almostone you hate.A small smile go through Kiyos lips. I dont hate him, not exactly. I dont trust him. I dont equivalent him. And well, I certainly carry a grudg e for his fetching you from me.I narrowed my eyes, a spark of anger flaring up in me. No one took me. Im not something you zanys can just pass aroundSorry, sorry, he said hastily. I didnt mean it like that. I just mean that after we split up, its been hard seeing you with him. Thats petty jealousy, I admit it. But I also hate that his grand, forward exploit won you over and drove the final stake in our relationship.His grand, brash motion? Do you mean killing Leith? Ill never regret him doing that, I said fiercely.Despite how dark it was growing out here, I could see Kiyos eyes boring into me. Do you mean that, Eugenie? Was your personal vengeance worth all the people whove died since then?I looked aside. He deserved it. You dont go out.I understand perfectly well what he did. And if I could have? I would have done a lot more than run a sword through him. Really, that was almost merciful compared to what he deserved. But the fallout I know. I sighed again. I know what Ive ca used, all the upheaval in this world. A sudden odd popular opinion occurred to me. Maiwenn Kiyo tensed, not following my digest in thoughts. What about her?Dorian knew that too She knows what the crown does Im certain of it. Thats wherefore he kept telling me not to let you talk to her I shot up, full of fury now. Goddamnit He compete me. Hes ceaselessly played me It doesnt matter if he loves me. Its his nature. He cant love without using it to his advantage. Goddamnit My abuse rang out into the empty night as I paced irritably.In seconds, Kiyo was up too, enthralling me by my arms. Hey, hey. Calm down. He may have tricked you, but he cant make you do anything you dont want to with the crown. Youre in control. No ails done.No defile? I exclaimed. Kiyo, I almost killed you Do you understand? Do you understand what I almost did? I lost control How am I supposed to forgive myself for that?He drew me into his arms. I forgive you for that, and thats all you need to worry about. Dont beat yourself up with the guilt.I clenched my fists. The craziest part is that the fake-lich whatever guy thought what I did was a good thing. Me shoving my friends deflexion for power. Thats what the crown represents. Thats what Ill become.I wont let you, said Kiyo fiercely.Its in my blood, I said weakly. I realize that now.Maybe. I dont know. I used to think well, I used to think it was all just some easy purpose you could make. Do this, dont do this. That was stupid of me. Its more than that, this conflict in you. And I didnt help not in the way you needed. I will now if youll let me.I peered up at him in confusion. Why? After everything Ive done?Because I Kiyo cut himself off. I could hardly see him now, but the feel of his hands was warm on my skin. Because it doesnt matter. Because I screwed up. Because we never should have split up. Ive been wanting to tell you something for a musical composition. We should have I stone-broke outside and stalked off across the glade. I couldnt hear this. I couldnt hear some proclamation of love, not when my heart was save depressed over Dorians betrayal. Id trusted him. Id trusted him, despite all the evidence that he would go to great extremes for power. Id thought love for me would be stronger than that ambition. Id been wrong. Even if he loved me, his heart would always be split between me and his want for power. It was his nature, just as my own nature was divided between benevolent and gentry ways.I need to sleep, Kiyo, I said roughly. I cant hear this right now.But Eugenie Good night. I turned my back to him I knew he could see in the darkness and curled up on the grass. It was hardly a comfortable bed, but compared to last nights discomfort, this felt like heaven.Kiyo said no more, and I eventually heard him settle down. Volusian had been endow on watch, meaning neither Kiyo nor I had to stay awake. In my case, it didnt matter. quietness wouldnt come no matter how much I willed it to. I st ayed up most of the night, staring up at the clear sky and its glow of stars. The Otherworld had the same constellations as the human world, which surely presented some sort of physical science quandary, one I didnt have time to think much about right now.Dorian knew.That crown. That fucking crown. Part of me wanted to go over to my bag, grab the crown, and throw it off into night, never to be seen again. What had the old man said? Itd return to its home? No harm done. No harm except the loss of my potential to steal Katrices land from her hers and anyone elses who opposed me.Was that what Dorian had wanted? Would he have tried to convince me that it was the only way to win the war? And would I have believed it? Maybe. Id been willing to risk a lot for peace by coming after the crown at all. Maybe that had just been the gateway drug in Dorians eventual plan for conquest.In the end, it didnt matter what his plan was. What mattered was that hed betrayed me. Id opened myself to him, loved him. That was over now.It was that thought, that thought and the anger burning inside me, that got me up and around early when flick broke. Kiyo who apparently had slept instantly woke when he heard me stirring.Let me guess, he said. You didnt sleep.Nope.I took out some of the travel food from my bag, cringing when my fingers brushed against the crown. Kiyo stood up and stretched, then wandered off into the foliage. He returned several minutes later with some mangos in his arms.Supplement your breakfast, he said, tossing me one. He leaned against a tree and bit into one of his own.I nodded my thanks, but the fruits sweetness was lost on me. zip had any taste. I was distantly aware of Kiyos eyes on me but ignored them.What are you thinking? he asked at last.How much I hate Dorian.What are you exhalation to do?This was something Id thought about for a while, so I had a solid answer. Go to him. Call him out. get him a note in class. Tell him its over everything. Us. Our a lliance.Kiyos eyebrows rose. You might not want to be so hasty on that last one.How can I be in a partnership with someone like that? I exclaimed.You can be in business with people you dont like. I wouldnt throw away his military support in the middle of this mess.I dont need his help, I said obstinately. Especially if Katrice does call a truce over the crown.And if she doesnt?I dont know. I stood up and rubbed my sticky hands on my jeans. Kiyo was the last person I expected to be having this discussion with. What are you getting at? Should I forgive him? Let it all go and jump back into bed?No. Absolutely not. Kiyo walked over to me, almost mirroring our positions from last night when hed been on the verge of telling me something romantic. Only, Id since had more time to come to terms with my anger and could actually focus now on Kiyo, the concern in his eyes and the way his be always made mine feel. But I dont think Dorian will head the war, no matter what else happens between you. And you should take that help.Im afraid Until those words came out of my mouth, I didnt realize I meant them. Im afraid when I see him, when I talk to him hell do it again. Hell convince me of, I dont know. Whatever his plan is. Hell relieve it and lure me back in.Kiyo cupped my face between his hands. You dont have to do anything you dont want to. Youre strong. And Ill go with you, if you want.I looked up into Kiyos eyes, feeling lost in their depths and upset(a) by what I saw in them. I do want you to.Leaning down, he pulled me close and kissed me almost before I realized what had happened. There was heat in his lips, heat and hunger and that raw, animal furore that so defined him. My consistence pressed against his, and I was startled at the arousal that kiss ignited within me, me who twenty-four hours ago had been blaspheme and sealed to Dorian. Now, the disposition within me was all for Kiyo, a desire that was credibly equal parts revenge against Dorian, a resurge nce of my feelings for Kiyo, and the simple lecherousness triggered by being with anyone I found so attractive.I pulled away from him, and it wasnt easy. That kiss had consumed me, taken over my reasoning. I had a feeling I was seconds away from ripping his clothes off and throwing myself at him. Some annoyingly rational part of me kept saying I shouldnt do that until I knew for sure if itd be because I let off cared about Kiyo or because I wanted to get back at Dorian.No, dont. I cant, I said, taking a few steps away. Im not Im not ready.I knew he could tell that wasnt exactly true. Hed be able to smell the desire on me, the pheromones and other physical signs that said I wanted him. But my head and heart? No, I wasnt sure about that.Eugenie His voice was husky, every ounce of him radiating that dark, primal sexuality that had always drawn me in.I cant, I repeated. Please dont do that again.I hurried off blindly, into the forest, ignoring the branches and leaves whipping agains t me. I didnt have to go very far because something told me Kiyo wouldnt follow. Hed leave me alone for now. I sank to the ground, leaning my head back against the smooth barque of a tree I didnt recognize. My heart pounded in my chest, in turbulence from Kiyos advances.Id suspected he still cared, especially seeing as the detachment had been more my idea than his. Hed conceded its wisdom, true, but Id always known hed wished things could have been different. Hell, that made two of us. I exhaled and closed my eyes. What did I do with this? What did I do with Kiyos feelings? What did I do with my own feelings?Because at the core of it all, my heart was still raging over Dorian. Id meant what I said to Kiyo I was indeed going to go back and tell Dorian we were over. Id been disappointed in Kiyo still was, a little over his not taking direct action against Leith. Yet, as much as that had hurt me, Kiyo had been blunt and open about his reasons for it. That was better than someone te lling you pretty lies. Pretty lies. Dorian was full of them and not just about the crown. Suddenly, I found myself questioning why hed even suggested Kiyo come along on this quest, rather than Jasmine. Maybe Dorian had thought this would be a convenient way to get unblock of someone hed always seen as a potential rival.I didnt know. The only thing I was certain of was that I was getting more and more worked up as I sat there. A faint splash startled me out of my emotional maelstrom, and I opened my eyes. No cry of alarm had come from Volusian back at camp, and a moment later, I realized what was going on. Rising, I headed over toward the pool in the glades heart. for certain enough, I found Kiyo swimming laps back and forth. The lagoon was crystal clear, scintillating in the forenoon sunlight, and it sang to my magical senses. I wondered if he was there to clean off yesterdays battle or to work out his thwarting over me. Judging from the lines on his face maybe both. I watche d him for a minute, knowing opportunities to catch him unaware were rare. The water and his mood had distracted him he normally would have smelled and heard an observer. After a little while longer, I made my decision. I began taking off my clothes. Kiyo turned and sight me just as I slipped into the water, easing myself down the stone edge.Eugenie what are you doing? Youre soaking your bandages.I swam over to him, on the pools far side. Im here bare-assed with you, and thats your biggest concern?He eyed me carefully. Well, that was our last batch of them.I put my hands on his chest. Well be home soon.When I brought my lips to his, joining us in a deep kiss, I felt the same response as earlier. He answered me hungrily, arms wrapping around my waist as we pressed together. Now, however, it was Kiyo who broke us apart despite the arousal in his eyes. I had a feeling there was a human versus animal war going on within him.Wait, he said. Earlier you told me you couldnt I changed my mind. I can do this, I said. Does it need to be more than that right now? I was still going to tell Dorian I was done with him, but I didnt need to for this. I had mentally broken up with him. I was free to do whatever I wanted. I moved toward Kiyo again, slowly walking us toward the waters edge. Our top halves emerged, the morning air slightly chill against my wet skin.I dont trust why youre doing this, said Kiyo. But when I drew him closer, he didnt pull back. I think youre getting back at Dorian.I kissed him hard, cutting off whatever logical arguments he might attempt. Maybe I am, I said at last. He was gasping, a little surprised at the intensity. I felt empowered, filled with lust for Kiyo and yes anger at Dorian. But youre the one Im doing it with. Doesnt that mean something?There was a pause as Kiyos dark, blackened eyes studied me intensely. Yes. With one swift motion, he turned me around, displace his remains against mine. It does. This is how it should have been any way. I caught my breath as he kissed my neck, teething grazing my skin. And Ill take back whats mine.My body burned, both at his reach and the dangerous tone in his voice. Then, the full meaning of his words hit me. I started to turn around but his hands were on me, pinning me against the ledge surrounding the water. Hey, Im not yours, I growled. I thought I made that clear.Youre right, he said. But youre not his either. Not anymore. You never should have been. We never should have been apart. And if you want this if you want to do this you have to tell me you feel something for me. I cant believe this is just simple revenge sex.Kiyo The hands that held me slid forward to my breasts, the roughness of his touch sending shockwaves through my body. Tell me, he breathed against my ear, his hands skid along my stomach and down between my thighs. Tell me you still feel something for me.His body closed the miniscule topographic point left between us, pushing me right to stone. I felt him hard and ready. I I closed my eyes, lost in the way his hands touched me and stoked the sexual tension that had been building between us for days. What did I feel? For a moment, I was conflicted. Maybe this wasnt right. Maybe I did need to end things formally with Dorian before letting my emotions run away with me. I Yes?He bent me over, hands gripping my waist, and suddenly, he was sliding into me, a low groan escaping his lips as he filled me up. I gave a small cry at the unexpected act, one that turned into a moan of pleasure as he began to move in and out of me.Tell me theres still something, anything he grunted. If not, Ill stop and let this go. Just say it. I Again, I couldnt summon the words. This time, it was simply because I was too lost in how he felt. Id forgotten what it was like with him, the way hed always loved to take me from behind, driven by the animal instinct within him. There was more than that to him, though. Images flashed through me, the way hed fought by my side, the compassion when hed seen how hurt I was over Dorians deception.Tell me, he said again, a savage and hungry note in his voice. Tell me you want me tell me theres still something between us. That you dont want me to stop.He felt so good, so strong and hard. No No what?No dont stop there is of course theres still something.I meant it. And with that, the animal within him was unleashed. I screamed as he gave me the full force of his body, my arms pushing hard to keep me from being shoved against the ledge. The sonorous of our bodies slapping together echoed around us as he thrust tirelessly, taking me over and over as he reclaimed my body.Ive missed you, Eug, he managed to say. Missed having sex with you. Missed making love to you. But especially especially missed fucking you.His words were punctuated with a particularly intense thrust, one that took me hard and deep as he bent me over more. I screamed again, but it was out of ecstasy, not pain. Kiyo had always b een able to make me come this way, and now was no exception. I felt the nerves of my body explode, every part of me shaking. Still he kept moving in me with that primal need, pushing me into sensory overload. Hed given up on words, simply making small grunts as our bodies connected.At last his body reached its pause point, giving me the hardest thrusts he was capable of as his climax hit. He held me tight, my body there to fulfill his need as he came in me, groaning and spasming until hed finally given me all he had.He pulled out, and I turned around, my own breath shallow and rapid. That maybe we shouldnt have done that Kiyo put an arm around my waist and pulled me to him. His lips grazed mine. You sound like a guy the morning after. Youre the one who attacked me, remember?True, I admitted. With my lust sated, I was feeling slightly more coherent. But only barely. His naked body was still right against mine, and that was distracting.Give me a few more minutes, he murmured. A few more minutes and we can do it again Were probably just creating more problems.He kissed my neck. Whats one more problem among all the others we have? One more time, Eugenie. Ive missed you so much. Lets do this just one more time.I could feel that he was indeed almost ready again. I lifted one of my legs up, half-wrapping it around him as my body decided it was ready again too. And then what?Then? Kiyos mouth moved toward mine. Then we go see Dorian.