When Darkness Ends(Guardians of Eternity,book 12)(42) by Alexandra Ivy
Good Lord. The violence in the air threatened to drown them all.
“I need to speak with you,” she muttered.
Once they reached the hallway, Magnus snatched his hand free, his eyes glowing with a frustrated anger.
“We will speak once we have returned to our homeland.” His gaze flicked over her casual attire, his disdain obvious. “And after you’ve changed into proper attire.”
Endless years of training had Fallon bending her head in apology; then, with a swell of long-suppressed defiance, she forced herself to meet the cold cognac gaze.
She’d been brought to this world for a reason. And the attack on Cyn only stiffened her determination. The mysterious enemy now knew they had been spotted. It was very likely they would step up their pressure on the Commission to complete the spell.
She had to discover who was responsible before it was too late.
That duty was greater than any contract her father signed.
“I can’t return,” she said, her voice low but steady.
“You are my fiancée.” The words were cold, clipped. “You will do as I say.”
His power beat against her, but Fallon squared her shoulders, refusing to be intimidated.
“Not this time.”
Magnus went rigid, his nose flaring. “You dare to defy me?”
Was that what she was doing?
Fallon gave a sad grimace, staring at the man who was supposed to be her life partner. She’d never been foolish enough to believe that he actually cared about her as a woman, but she assumed he would at least be concerned about her as an investment.
“You haven’t even asked how I got here. Or if I’ve been harmed,” she pointed out, wrapping her arms around her waist. “Or if I want to return.”
With a sharp motion Magnus turned to the side, almost as if he were trying to disguise his reaction to her soft chastisement.
Which was ridiculous.
The prince believed himself omnipotent. He couldn’t possibly feel guilt.
“I see your short time in this world has already started to corrupt you.” He proved her point with his stark chastisement. “The sooner you are back in your father’s palace the better.”
She heaved a sigh. “I told you that I can’t leave. The Oracles have commanded my service.”
“The Commission has no authority over the Chatri.”
“Maybe not.” Fallon had no knowledge of the hierarchy between her people and the Oracles. To be honest, she didn’t care. This was about saving lives, not playing political games. “The danger this world faces might eventually threaten our people as well.”
He turned back with a frown. “What danger?”
“I’m not allowed to say.”
There was a silence, almost as if the prince was actually intrigued by her demand to stay. Then his expression was wiped clean, his inner thoughts hidden by his mask of royal superiority.
“I will not argue with you,” he informed her. “Either you return with me now or you can consider our marriage contract null and void.”
Fallon was stunned. She’d expected him to be angry. To even try to bully her into returning with him.
But never to end their contract.
He’d bartered for years with Sariel to earn the right to marry her. His House had spent a fortune to celebrate their coming union, gloating in their elevated social status and inscribing Fallon onto their family tree with Magnus’s blood.
They would be horrified to be publically demoted.
Of course, their humiliation would be nothing compared to hers. A woman who was jilted by her fiancé not only lost the protection of her lover, but her own family. It was the ultimate insult.
And all because she’d refused to obey his command?
Surely not even Magnus could be so cruel?
She studied his handsome face, noticing the way he refused to directly meet her gaze. He was hiding something from her. Something that was pushing him to cause this break between them.
She was the last princess that was unwed. There was no other female Chatri who could offer him more.
“You”—she licked her dry lips, wondering if this was just an empty threat—“wouldn’t do that.”
“The choice is yours.” There was no compromise. “Return with me now or risk becoming a pariah among your own people.”
She didn’t love this man. And the last thing she wanted was to be his wife. But the thought of being treated as an outcast for the rest of her life was horrifying.
Was she truly willing to sacrifice her position, her reputation, and her father’s respect to help a world that wasn’t her home?
For a heartbeat she wavered.
It would be so easy to give in to Magnus’s demands. She could return home and live the life that had been expected of her. No fuss, no muss.
And no happiness.
Or she could stay and risk losing everything.
Then she caught sight of Cyn standing as rigid as a statue in the doorway and her decision was made.
The soft refusal hung in the air, seeming to pulse there before it shattered the fragile bond that had been forced between her and Magnus by a toxic combination of family and duty and pride.
The refusal captured the prince’s full attention. For a long moment he studied her pale face, something that might have been regret at last flaring through the cognac eyes.
“You heard her,” Cyn growled, moving to stand at Fallon’s side.
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