Nightbane: Chapter 62

MISSING PIECE

“You bound her to you,” Oro said, voice shaking with anger. With shock.

She remembered now. Grim’s explanation in the past. She knew binding someone to oneself meant sharing a life. Not just powers, but life itself.

One could not die without killing the other.

That was why, when the arrow had split her heart in two during the Centennial, she hadn’t died immediately. Not just because of the power of the heart of Lightlark . . . but because Grim was keeping her alive.

“It was only a temporary solution,” Oro said, voice shaking with anger, but also fear.

Grim nodded. “The other world offers a permanent one.”

That was the reason for this war. That was the reason for all this death. She remembered what Cleo had said. In the other world, souls can rise once more.

He wanted to open the portal to save her life.

Oro hesitated, sword still in his hand. If he killed Grim, she would die too.

“Do it,” Isla said, because she was willing to die if it would save everyone else. Even if most of them still hated her and thought she was a blight on the world. The same way Oro had said he would give her his power, she would give him hers, in case the rebels were wrong.

Oro looked at her, and she saw fear and fury and disappointment—disappointment in himself for not being strong enough to make the right choice for his people. Enya was right. Isla had made him weak.

“I can’t,” he said, the words so soft.

Kill him,” she said, her voice getting hysterical. “He’s going to kill innocent people. I told you about the vision. He’s going to kill children. He’s going to kill me.”

Grim looked at her. “Heart . . .” he said, so gently. “What do you mean?”

She saw flashes of her vision again. The darkness, eating everything. Skin sliding from bone. Bone reduced to ash. Death, everywhere, and Grim standing in the middle of it—

It looked familiar now.

Isla started sputtering. “The village. The people. Their skin melting from them, the shadows. Then the—the darkness came into me—”

No.

The world went silent.

The vision was not a look at the future. Not an example of the lengths Grim would go to get her.

It was a memory.

And Grim wasn’t the one who had summoned those shadows, wasn’t the one who had killed those hundreds of innocent people.

“It was me,” she said. “It was me.”

She saw herself, returning to the place where it had all happened, where she had offered all her power she didn’t know she had to save Grim. She saw the village, on the outskirts of the scar. Charred. There were only shapes of people—of children—where they once stood.

She saw herself collapsing on the ground, sobbing. Screaming, “I did this. I did this.”

Oro was in front of her now, hands pressed against her face, taking her out of the memory. “You are not a monster.” Was that what she had been saying over and over? “You are not defined by one mistake.”

But it was not one mistake.

Isla had used emotions to wield her power multiple times. Recklessly. Even after Oro had warned her, she hadn’t been able to help herself, she had done it again and again.

She was not to be trusted. She was reckless, dangerous, a monster.

Enya was right. Oro deserved so much better.

“Get away from me,” she screamed. She tried to step away, but Oro took her hand. “Let me go.”

She understood now how it was even a possibility that she might kill Oro. Just by proximity to her, he was in danger.

She had no control of her emotions. Of her powers.

She would kill him. One day, she would be overcome with emotion, she would lose control yet again, and she would kill him. She saw it so clearly now.

“Let. Me. Go,” she bellowed, her voice thick, tears falling into her mouth.

She tried to wrestle herself away, but Oro didn’t budge. He didn’t understand; he didn’t know how much of a danger she was to him—

Grim’s voice seemed to rumble the world as he said, “Let go of my wife.”

There it was. The final missing piece.


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