Day 5 of our 31 Days series: From Enemy to Heir
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Obscurity did not expect to open her eyes again. She had always feared death until that very moment when she realized it was winning the chase.
That is when she saw the good of it. She would simply close her eyes and cease to exist. Where was the fear in that? The pain would disappear, along with the failure, the torment, and the heartbreak. She would slip quietly from obscurity into oblivion.
It was a small step to make for someone who had been nearly dead her entire life.
But pain woke her. Her body screamed. She was dead. But she wasn’t.
Slowly, her mind woke to the betrayal. Where was death? Where was the oblivion she had been promised?
She had failed. That was all there was to it. She had failed to end it all. Even when she was handed the opportunity, she had messed it up, just like always.
Bitter tears welled up inside her and she groaned because it was not over, it was just worse than ever.
Then a thought came to her, like a whisper in her ear. There was still a chance she could succeed, and quickly. Surely there was a sharp rock or a poisonous plant somewhere nearby. She knew she had the courage to do it, if only she could find the right tool.
Obscurity forced her swollen eyes open to look around, and gasped.
A man was leaning over her.
He spread his shadow over her while the rising sun, already scorching, burned a halo around his head. “What has happened to you? Are you injured?” His face creased with the weight of concern.
She crouched back, searching her mind to see if she knew him. She felt that she should, if she could just think. Something about him seemed so familiar.
The man was dressed like a beggar, but his face, though plain, was not marred like one. He had none of the brutal marks that came with living in a land of dragons.
I should know him. I should know him, her mind insisted. But it could not come up with the secret.
“Please, come with me,” he was saying. “I can help you if you come back with me.”
Those words snapped her back into the present. “Come back with you where?” she sputtered.
“To my kingdom,” he said, as if surprised by the question. “I am the prince.”
The power of his name threw her back into the shadows and she screamed. Senseless with panic, she scrambled to get away from him, wishing more than ever that she had not survived the night.
She did not fear death, but she feared life with the prince more than anything in the world.
In all of her worst nightmares, she had never expected to be staring into the face of the one who desired to enslave her. But here he was, plain-faced and pathetic, sneaking in when she was at her weakest. It was just like the Enchanter had always said.
He thought he could take her without a fight, she thought. But Obscurity was nothing if not free, and she had just enough stubborn will left to resist the prince’s powers.
Like a wild, injured animal, Obscurity flung herself at the prince. But either her injuries had left her weaker than she knew or the prince was stronger than he appeared.
She could not prevail against him.
And he would not be dissuaded from trying to help her. “You will die if you stay here,” he said, holding her wrists so she could not beat him with her fists.
“What if I do?” she screamed. “It would be better for me to die!”
“Better if you die?” the prince repeated, softly and sadly. She did not understand the look on his face. What did he care if she died?
“What a waste of a precious life,” he said, and she cried out at the words because they stung like slap.
No one had ever spoken to her like that, and it hurt worse than a punch to the face.
Long ago, when her memories where still forming, Obscurity remembered being precious to someone. But it didn’t last because hers was not a precious life.
She swallowed the aching feeling in her throat. “Let me go,” she demanded, though she did not expect her captor to comply.
He dropped her arms.
It shocked her so much she did not even think to run. Truth flashed before her eyes and for the very first time in her life, she began to see through the cracks in the Enchanter’s lies.
He was not a captor at all, but a rescuer. And she, of all people, needed a rescuer.
*Join us tomorrow for Day 6!
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