All that we fought for was gone in a matter of seconds, swept away by the torrent of water.
“No! NO!” Kelsea yelled.
I grabbed her as she tried to jump into the raging river. “Kelsea, it’s gone.”
“It can’t be! Without it, our friends, our families, everyone will die!” She began to cry. “They were all counting on me…and I failed them.”
I held her tightly, careful not to crush her delicate, fluttering wings. “We did all we could. Something obviously doesn’t want us to figure this out. Maybe this was supposed to happen.”
She looked up at me, her bright purple eyes full of tears. “Why would anyone want our entire colony to die? Who would wish for something so vulgar?”
I felt a sharp twinge in my chest as I saw the look of a girl with the weight of the world on her shoulders. I opened my mouth to speak, staring into her expectant eyes, but nothing came out. She buried her face in my jacket and I simply stroked her soft blonde hair.
I didn’t have the heart to tell her that I’d knocked the small wooden box into the water on purpose. Kelsea didn’t know what I knew and I wouldn’t let her.
The ones that she thought were relying on her sent her out into a world that she knew nothing about, hoping that she’d die alone and scared. I shielded her from the nasty comments from her followers. She was one of the best queens we’d ever had, but just because she chose to fight The Darkness rather than run from it, everyone wanted to kill her.
“I tried so hard and I have nothing to show for it,” she sobbed.
“You did more than enough,” I said, inwardly cursing myself for what I was doing to her.
“We won’t even make it back in time to apologize.”
“I know.” I looked up and watched as the last glance of our hot air balloon slipped above the clouds. I untied it to distract her while I tossed the box. “We should look for somewhere new to live.”
“Felix,” she whispered, clenching a handful of my jacket.
“Yes,” I answered.
“I feel horrible.”
“I know, but this isn’t your fault.”
She shook her head and quietly laughed. “When you mentioned us living together, I felt my heart skip a beat.” She looked at me, her bright eyes growing dim. “I’m happy I failed.”
“Kelsea, what are you talking about?” Seeing her wings start to morph, I instantly regretted my decision.
My hold on her loosened as she stood. Her beautiful golden hair turned black as night, and the moon shone on her newly tattered wings now coated with shadowed shimmer. “Who cares if those ungrateful pricks die?” she grinned. “I finally have all I ever wanted.”
I stared in horror at the mysterious dark figure looming before me that had consumed the girl who I’d risked my life for countless times.
“It’s just you and me from now on, King Felix,” she hissed with a smile that chilled me to my core.
What had I done?