فصل 77

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دانلود اپلیکیشن «زیبوک»

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دانلود اپلیکیشن «زیبوک»

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CHAPTER

77

I had only silence in my head. Only silence, as I began screaming.

Screaming and screaming and screaming.

The emptiness in my chest, my soul at the lack of that bond, that life—

I was shaking him, screaming his name and shaking him, and my body stopped being my body and just became this thing that held me and this lack of him, and I could not stop screaming and screaming—

Then Mor was there. And Azriel, swaying on his feet, an arm hooked around Cassian—just as bloody and barely standing thanks to the blue, webbed Siphon-patches all over him. Over them both.

They were saying things, but all I could hear was that last I love you, which had not been a declaration but a good-bye.

And he had known. He had known he had nothing left, and stopping it would take everything. It would cost him everything. He’d kept his shields up so I wouldn’t see, because I wouldn’t have said yes, I would have rather the world ended than this, this thing he had done and this emptiness where he was, where we were—

Someone was trying to haul me away from him, and I let out a sound that might have been a snarl or another scream, and they let go.

I couldn’t live with this, couldn’t endure this, couldn’t breathe—

There were hands—unknown hands on his throat. Touching him—

I lunged for them, but someone held me back. “He’s seeing if there’s anything to be done,” Mor said, voice raw.

He—him. Thesan. High Lord of the Dawn. And of healing. I lunged again, to beg him, to plead—

But he shook his head. At Mor. At the others.

Tarquin was there. Helion. Panting and battered. “He …,” Helion rasped, then shook his head, closing his eyes. “Of course he did,” he said, more to himself than anyone.

“Please,” I said, and wasn’t sure who I was speaking to. My fingers scraped against Rhys’s armor, trying to get to the heart beneath.

The Cauldron—maybe the Cauldron—

I did not know those spells. How to put him in and make sure he came back out—

Hands wrapped around my own. They were blood-splattered and cut up, but gentle. I tried to pull away, but they held firm as Tarquin knelt beside me and said, “I’m sorry.”

It was those two words that shattered me. Shattered me in a way I didn’t know I could still be broken, a rending of every tether and leash.

Stay with the High Lord. The Suriel’s last warning. Stay … and live to see everything righted.

A lie. A lie, as Rhys had lied to me. Stay with the High Lord.

Stay.

For there … the torn scraps of the mating bond. Floating on a phantom wind inside me. I grasped at them—tugged at them, as if he’d answer.

Stay. Stay, stay, stay.

I clung to those scraps and remnants, clawing at the void that lurked beyond.

Stay.

I looked up at Tarquin, lip curling back from my teeth. Looked at Helion. And Thesan. And Beron and Kallias, Viviane weeping at his side. And I snarled, “Bring him back.”

Blank faces.

I screamed at them, “BRING HIM BACK.”

Nothing.

“You did it for me,” I said, breathing hard. “Now do it for him.”

“You were a human,” Helion said carefully. “It is not the same—”

“I don’t care. Do it.” When they didn’t move, I rallied the dregs of my power, readying to rip into their minds and force them, not caring what rules or laws it broke. I wouldn’t care, only if—

Tarquin stepped forward. He slowly extended his hand toward me.

“For what he gave,” Tarquin said quietly. “Today and for many years before.”

And as that seed of light appeared in his palm … I began crying again. Watched it drop onto Rhys’s bare throat and vanish into the skin beneath, an echo of light flaring once.

Helion stepped forward. That kernel of light in his hand flickered as it fell onto Rhys’s skin.

Then Kallias. And Thesan.

Until only Beron stood there.

Mor drew her sword and laid it on his throat. He jerked, having not even seen her move. “I do not mind making one more kill today,” she said.

Beron gave her a withering glare, but shoved off the sword and strode forward. He practically chucked that fleck of light onto Rhys. I didn’t care about that, either.

I didn’t know the spell, the power it came from. But I was High Lady.

I held out my palm. Willing that spark of life to appear. Nothing happened.

I took a steadying breath, remembering how it had looked. “Tell me how,” I growled to no one.

Thesan coughed and stepped forward. Explaining the core of power and on and on and I didn’t care, but I listened, until—

There. Small as a sunflower seed, it appeared in my palm. A bit of me—my life.

I laid it gently on Rhys’s blood-crusted throat.

And I realized, just as he appeared, what was missing.

Tamlin stood there, summoned by either the death of a fellow High Lord or one of the others around me. He was splattered in mud and gore, his new bandolier of knives mostly empty.

He studied Rhys, lifeless before me. Studied all of us—the palms still out.

There was no kindness on his face. No mercy.

“Please,” was all I said to him.

Then Tamlin glanced between us—me and my mate. His face did not change.

“Please,” I wept. “I will—I will give you anything—”

Something shifted in his eyes at that. But not kindness. No emotion at all.

I laid my head on Rhysand’s chest, listening for any kind of heartbeat through that armor.

“Anything,” I breathed to no one in particular. “Anything.”

Steps scuffed on the rocky ground. I braced myself for another set of hands trying to pull me away, and dug my fingers in harder.

The steps remained behind me for long enough that I looked.

Tamlin stood there. Staring down at me. Those green eyes swimming with some emotion I couldn’t place.

“Be happy, Feyre,” he said quietly.

And dropped that final kernel of light onto Rhysand.

I had not witnessed it—when it had been done to me.

So all I did was hold on to him. To his body, to the tatters of that bond.

Stay, I begged. Stay.

Light glowed beyond my shut eyelids.

Stay.

And in the silence … I began to tell him.

About that first night I’d seen him. When I’d heard that voice beckoning me to the hills. When I couldn’t resist its summons, and now … now I wondered if I had heard him calling for me on Calanmai. If it had been his voice that brought me there that night.

I told him how I had fallen in love with him—every glance and passed note and croak of laughter he coaxed from me. I told him of everything we’d done, and what it had meant to me, and all that I still wanted to do. All the life still left before us.

And in return … a thud sounded.

I opened my eyes. Another thud.

And then his chest rose, lifting my head with it.

I couldn’t move, couldn’t breathe—

A hand brushed my back.

Then Rhys groaned, “If we’re all here, either things went very, very wrong or very right.”

Cassian’s broken laugh cracked out of him.

I couldn’t lift my head, couldn’t do anything but hold him, savoring every heartbeat and breath and the rumble of his voice as Rhys rasped, “You lot will be pleased to know … My power remains my own. No thieving here.”

“You do know how to make an entrance,” Helion drawled. “Or should I say exit?”

“You’re horrible,” Viviane snapped. “That’s not even remotely funny—”

I didn’t hear what else they said. Rhys sat up, lifting me off him. He brushed away the hair clinging to my damp cheeks.

“Stay with the High Lord,” he murmured.

I hadn’t believed it—until I looked into that face. Those star-flecked eyes.

Hadn’t let myself believe it wasn’t anything but some delusion—

“It’s real,” he said, kissing my brow. “And—there’s another surprise.”

He pointed with a healed hand toward the Cauldron. “Someone fish out dear Amren before she catches a cold.”

Varian whirled toward us. But Mor was sprinting for the Cauldron, and her cry as she reached in—

“How?” I breathed.

Azriel and Varian were there, helping Mor heave a waterlogged form out of the dark water.

Her chest rose and fell, her features the same, but …

“She was there,” Rhys said. “When the Cauldron was sealing. Going … wherever we go.”

Amren sputtered water, vomiting onto the rocky ground. Mor thumped her back, coaxing her through it.

“So I reached out a hand,” Rhys went on quietly. “To see if she might want to come back.”

And as Amren opened her eyes, as Varian let out a choked sound of relief and joy—

I knew—what she had given up to come back. High Fae—and just that.

For her silver eyes were solid. Unmoving. No smoke, no burning mist in them.

A normal life, no trace of her powers to be seen.

And as Amren smiled at me … I wondered if that had been her last gift.

If it all … if it all had been a gift.

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