Turning away from the windows, I took off my clothes and slid my dagger underneath my pillow before changing into one of my silky nightgowns. I slid underneath my shimmering blue sheets and placed a hand over my dagger’s hilt. Sleep came quickly.
Iknew the consequences of using my magic, but I had no choice. I had to see Ella again.
It was late so I knew she’d be falling asleep soon. There was only one place I’d find her where neither of us could hurt the other. Lying on my bed, I closed my eyes and focused on our connection. It wasn’t long before I could feel her drift off to sleep. How I was able to do that, I don’t know. But being with her the other night made our bond stronger.
When my father stole magic from Ella’s aunts and her mother all those years ago, he transferred some of it to me. Back then, he had a bloodstone talisman that could siphon power from any magical being. It was destroyed when Ella’s mother defeated him. But he had found ways to use it on them. All of their magic combined inside of him had made him almost invincible, but the royals had figured out a way to destroy him.
Ella’s aunt Calista could control all four elements: earth, air, fire, and water. Ella’s aunt Meliantha had a connection with animals and could heal people on the brink of death. Ella’s mother could shapeshift into other beings along with her ability to control the wind, and lastly, her aunt Sorcha was a dream walker and a truth seeker.
Ella didn’t know I possessed the ability to harness those same powers. The only problem in doing so was that it drove me further over the edge toward the darkness – of losing myself – every time I gave in to them.
As soon as I latched on to mine and Ella’s connection, I pushed into her mind, into her dream. The second I stepped through, it was as if my body wasn’t my own. I didn’t feel the rage in my soul or my desire to kill. Instead, there was just . . . peace. I’d forgotten what it felt like to be uncorrupted by dark magic.
All around me was nothing but white. There was snow everywhere and frost-covered trees as far as the eyes could see. We were in the Winter Court, and for once, I didn’t feel like an outsider.
“You have got to be kidding me!” Ella snapped, her voice echoing behind me. “Am I never going to be able to escape you?”
“No,” I said, turning around to face her.
She was dressed in a flowing light blue gown with her long, blonde hair in waves down her back. I’d never seen anyone more beautiful than her. Her eyes widened and she stepped back, uncertainty in her crystal blue eyes.
“Something doesn’t feel right.” Ella held out her hands as if she was touching the air. “I’ve felt this magic before. It’s . . .”
“Your aunt Sorcha’s power,” I finished.
“Why do I feel it?” Ella demanded. She grabbed at her waist, but her dagger wasn’t there.
I stepped toward her. “Because it’s inme,” I answered. “I’m in your dream, Ella. My father transferred some of his power into me before he died.”
Ella’s eyes burned with fury. “You mean the power he stole.”
I nodded. “Yes.”
“Which means . . .” she said, trailing off. She closed a hand over her mouth. “Son of a bitch! You have their affinities. That’s why you’re so strong.”
The dream world started to crumble around us, and I could feel her panic. She bolted away from me, and I took off after her. I knew that if she were to wake up, I’d miss my chance to tell her everything freely. I had no doubt she’d find a way to prevent me from entering her dreams. Nothing was holding me back here. But once we were back in the real world, my desires would cloud my judgment and make me do things out of compulsion.
Ella ran through the trees swiftly. Then, everything started to turn hazy, and I could sense her pushing me out of her mind.
“Dammit, Ella, stop!”
My muscles burned as I chased her. I just needed a few more seconds, and I’d have her in my grasp. Reaching out my arms, I tried to grab her silky dress, but it slipped through my fingers. I had to push harder, faster. The trees began to disappear and disintegrate right before my very eyes.
There were only a few seconds left and I gave it my all. I lunged at Ella’s back and wrapped my arms around her waist, taking her down to the snow-covered ground. We rolled around and I pinned her beneath me, her chest rising and falling with her rapid breaths.
“I need you to hear me out,” I stressed. “Please, Ella.”
Instead of waiting, I pressed my lips to hers, taking what I wanted. She tried to fight me off, but then her desire exploded, and she kissed me back. However, all too soon, she jerked her mouth away and turned her head.
When I looked around, the trees were back and were no longer hazy. Ella’s dream was even more vibrant than before.
“I don’t have much time, Ella. I need you to hear me out.”