~The next part will be more interesting, I promise~
I called out, again and again into that deep, dark void but was still being met with nothing. Nothing but silence. Feyre had closed herself off, had shut down completely. I couldn’t get a read on her emotions or thoughts no matter how hard I tried.
I lifted my head to look at her, but she wasn’t there. In a panic, my eyes searched all around the bed and when they didn’t find her there, they frantically searched the room. Cassian was gone, the guards were gone, the only person that remained was Tamlin. He was stood with his back to me, his arms crossed behind his back. He looked perfectly at ease as he studied something upon the wall.
“Where is she?” I rasped. “Where the hell is she, Tamlin?”
I waited for an answer, but it appeared he wouldn’t give me one. The only thing he did was turn to me, stepping slightly to the side so that I could see what it was that had captured his attention on that wall.
What I saw made me want to vomit.
It was Feyre, beaten and broken, deep purple bruises and flaming red cuts along every inch of her naked body. Her hair was matted and tangled, her body limp—
She was dead. The realization hit me so thoroughly, I actually jumped back as if someone had struck me. That was why her eyes looked so lifeless, why her neck was bent at such an odd angle, why she was missing certain limbs. With the realization came the reality that I had not seen at first glance.
This time I noticed the difference when I called out to her. There was no void, no darkness, no silence, just…nothing. Nothing.
I looked to Tamlin, whose face was like stone. As if the sight before him did not stir his soul at all. “This is what should have happened to her in the beginning, Rhysand,” he said calmly, “Clare Beddor should still be alive and well. The girl did nothing. Nothing at all to deserve what happened to her. It should have been Feyre who was beaten and bruised and broken so, so thoroughly. The two of you should never have even had the chance to begin whatever relationship you had. It seems only right that Feyre finally pay what was owed.”
Many nights had I sat up and pondered what would happen should Feyre die and I still live somehow. The thought was ludicrous because I had already vowed that I would do anything, anything to prevent that from happening, even if it meant laying down my life, my Court, everything I owned. Mor and Cassian believed that my response would be to pillage and kill and wreak havoc like hell’s never seen. At the time, I had agreed with them. But when the question came to Amren and Azriel, they’d both looked at me with eyes I couldn’t quite understand and said, “No. I don’t believe you will be angry, Rhysand. I think you will be too empty to feel anything else.” At the time, I’d disagreed and been quite repulsed that they’d think my immediate reaction would not be to avenge my mate.
But sitting there, on that bed, looking at my mate’s dead, broken body…they were right. I felt nothing. I was nothing. They had been right, for I was so overflowing with that emptiness that I could feel nothing else.
I am nothing. Feyre is dead. My mate is dead. I am nothingIamnothingnothingnothing…
I woke up drenched in sweat, unable to take in a full breath to calm myself down. The covers that now felt like hands smothering me, strangling me, were quickly kicked off the bed, and my eyes roamed around the room—Feyre’s room— for any sign of her, but finding none.
Where are you where are you where are you?
Without a second thought I jumped out of the bed and proceeded to search every single square inch of the house for her. She had been here, hadn’t she? This was where she belonged, where she wanted to be. Here, in Velaris. Home. Why wasn’t she home?
Panic held me in its icy grip, and the thought struck that perhaps I hadn’t awaken from a dream, but a vision…a warning of what was to come…
My wings tucked in tight, I rushed to the nearest balcony, not taking even a heartbeat to consider before plunging off the edge.
☽ Feyre ☾
I had barely dozed off to sleep, Tamlin’s breathing having evened out long ago when I felt an emotion so earth-shattering, I sat straight up in the bed.
Pain, and agony, and despair, as if all hope had been lost. No hope for salvation.
“Feyre?” Tamlin’s voice cut through the night. My heart like a steady drum in my chest, my palms sweating, and all I knew was that I shouldn’t be here, here in this bed with this man who was not my mate, whom I did not love. I should not be in this house that was not my home, surrounded by people who did not seem to care whether I lived or withered away into nothing.
“I’m fine,” I rasped, “Just another nightmare.”
“I’m going to go get some fresh air.” I left a quick kiss to Tamlin’s cheek, my dinner threatening to make a sudden reappearance as I left the bedroom, walking down the hall and out those front doors to the flower garden that took up much of the Spring Court grounds.
The night was quiet, crisp, cool. I looked up, and the stars seemed to simmer and glistening in time with the deafening panic that could only have come from Rhysand. From my mate.
I reached out for his mind, so, so many miles away and came face to face with a solid, impenetrable wall. His mind was completely closed off to me, and hard as I tried I could not get him to open up even just a window for me to reach him.
I decided to change tactics. Brute force was obviously getting me nowhere. So I trailed a comforting hand down that wall, emitting night and shadows and stardust, became the lights that shone proudly in Velaris, the citrus scent that was him.
Rhys, it’s me. It’s Feyre.
And it was as if those words had unlocked some piece of him that would always be tied to me. One by one, bricks from that impenetrable wall began to crumble and fall, slowly, so slowly until there was an path large enough for me to slip into his mind.
Snow-capped mountains and bright stars were so close, I felt I could reach out and touch them. I looked down, my eyes—Rhys’ eyes— sweeping back and forth, searching desperately for something.
It took a moment to process that I was seeing what he was seeing, that I was not only in his mind, but I had become him.
Where is she? Where is she? She has to be here. She has to be—
And then I realized that what I was looking at came from an aerial view. Rhys was flying, soaring above Velaris, above my home. But he was headed out, away from the city. To the south. As if…
No…no he wouldn’t possibly do something like that.
Rhysand wouldn’t fly to the Spring Court to retrieve me, risking everything—his home, his court, his family, his life, for me…right?
I didn’t want to believe it, and yet I was looking at the proof. Rhysand was flying like a bat out of hell towards the Spring Court, not risking winnowing in case they’d still be able to track him.
I knew I had to stop him before he made it too far, before he made a potentially fatal mistake.
He faltered, nearly stopping dead at the suddenness of my voice.
Yes. What, exactly, do you think you’re doing?
I had to get him to come to his senses. He couldn’t form one coherent thought amongst the panic.
Where are you?
Still tucked safely away in the Spring Court. Where else would I possibly be?
There was silence for a few moments, and I watched as he flanked right, headed towards a cliff that jutted from the side of a mountain. Silently, he landed, eyes sweeping back and forth over the endless mountain range before he said, Are you hurt?
No. I promise, I’m okay.
A gush of earth-shattering relief. A few moments of silence.
It was just a nightmare, then.
Another brick slid away from that black, impenetrable wall, inviting me in. I made sure I was still tethered to myself, that I could find my way back before I was swept away into his mind.
Flashes of memory came at me, so fleeting I could hardly understand them.
There was Rhys and Cassian standing in Tamlin’s study, the three of them holding a conversation. Then me, sweeping into the room and kissing Tamlin soundly as Rhys and Cas were forced to stand by and watch. One moment I was standing beside Tamlin like another pretty piece of his furniture, the next I was on my knees, guards surrounding me.
More words passed between them, and that was where the flashes became more patchy, though every detail vivid.
Me being whipped and beaten, then forced to sit on a bed. Rhysand and Cassian distraught at whatever ultimatum Tamlin had given them. And the most disturbing thing was Tamlin looking utterly pleased at the pain and agony on their faces.
The next part was so stomach-churning, I nearly had to tell him to stop. But I felt a whispered caress, a steadying touch.
I watch in horror as Rhys walks over to the bed, undressing himself fully before joining me on it. Through his eyes I see my face, tears slowly dripping off my chin, blood dribbling from my split lip, and the scars on my back from the whipping…
And yet it was as if Rhysand did not see any of it—or saw it, and did not care, for he worshipped my body despite all of the scars.
Everything goes black for a half heartbeat, and then Rhysand is searching for me. He looks over to where Tamlin is standing, stepping aside to reveal my mutilated, lifeless body.
You’re truly fine? You’re not hurt?
No. I swear I’m okay.
I miss you.
The longing in his voice was enough to make me seriously consider returning to the Night Court now —damning Tamlin and the King of Hybern and anything that has to do with them— just so I could return to his side.
I will return soon. I swear it.
Good. I will be able to rest much easier knowing you’re here and not in the damned Spring Court. Although I’m sure, Feyre, darling, you’re making all their lives quite the living hell.
He chuckled, and I’d give anything to ensure that I’d hear it again.
Hmm. You know, I do have quite a gift for it.
Yes. One of your many talents.
I laughed. One of many? I don’t quite know if I agree, but I do believe I have one talent that stands out amongst the rest.
A raised brow. Oh?
I said nothing, only sent an image that I knew would send his blood boiling.
Perhaps it will make my absence a bit less unbearable if I promise to reenact that little image?
On the contrary, I think it has only convinced me that I do, indeed, need to take a visit to the Spring Court.
My eyes flew heavenward. You wouldn’t dare.
A wicked smile. For the chance of you putting that pretty little mouth on me, I just might.
Go to bed, Rhysand.
He chuckled again, one that sent my toes curling.
And then a soft, midnight-kissed breeze swept through, lifting my thin nightgown and whispering against my skin, setting every inch of me on fire.
I growled. Insufferable bastard.
His only response was a quiet, wicked laugh.
I returned to the bedroom, furious at that phantom wind that Rhysand had no doubt sent as payment for the naughty image I’d sent him.
I slipped silently beneath the covers, my blood still roaring in my veins.But try as valiantly as I might, I could not stop the longing in my chest for a place of lavender-kissed winds and star-filled skies.
Only the land remained, the silent order of the mountains, the ground covered in fallen dead leaves in the enormous space, a boundless expanse - disguising, concealing, hiding, covering all that lies below the burning earth.