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Spark of the Everflame: Chapter 27

Everything hurt.

My skin, my bones, my brain.

Every inch of me hurt.

Strong hands cradled my legs and shoulders and pulled me against some hard, warm wall. A wall that trembled and throbbed like a pounding heart.

I whimpered, and the wall went still.

“Your Highness—”

“Get out of my way.”

“There are still bombs around the building, how should we—”

“Find the Vice General, she’ll handle it from here.”

“But Your Hi—”

Get the fuck out of my way.”

Then I was moving, bouncing, each jarring impact rattling the inside of my skull.

I tried to open my eyes, but nothing happened.

Everything hurt so, so much.

“I’ve got you,” someone said, softer. “You’re going to survive this. I promise.”

For some reason, I believed them. Their voice was familiar in a way that felt like more than a memory, like it wasn’t my mind that knew them but something deeper, something far more intimately ingrained. Its steadfast resolve soothed the limp of my heart, but there was a tone in it that was… shaken.


A shiver rippled through me as a chilly breeze kissed my skin in unexpected places—my ribs, my thighs, my hips. I tried to speak, but only a weak, broken sound rose from my lips.

The hands clutched me tighter, their grip as desperate as it was tender.

I felt safe. So very safe. I wanted to fall asleep in those arms and never, ever leave.


“Stay with me, Diem. Please… stay here with me. No, wait, don’t—”


“Who is she?”

“It doesn’t matter. I need you to help her.”

“Help her? Look at her. She doesn’t need me, she needs a healer.”

“Just do what you can.”

“How am I supposed to—”

“Help her, Eleanor. Please.”

“Alright, alright. Tell me what happened.”

“The Guardians attacked House Benette’s armory. She went in to pull two guards from a fire. The roof caved in before she could get out.”

“Blessed Kindred… why in the nine realms was this girl doing a rescue mission?”

A low growl. “Because I’m a damn idiot.”


“Alright. I’ll just, um, go get a dress for her.”

Pants. She—she normally wears pants.”

“Pants? I don’t have any—never mind. I’ll see what I can find. You’ll stay with her until I’m back?”

“Lumnos herself couldn’t pull me from her side.”

More silence.

“Cousin… who is this woman to you?”

A pause, and a long, heavy sigh.

“Eleanor, I… I think she…”



I’d never been so comfortable in my life.

My entire body was enveloped in warmth—not like before, in the armory, where I’d felt like I was slow-roasting on a spit. This was a pleasant warm, a warm I could happily be cradled in and never escape.

And soft. I was surrounded by softness. A nest of it, tucked into me on all sides.

It smelled heavenly. Masculine. Fresh, earthy moss and damp cedar. Old, tanned leather with a peppery musk.

It smelled like my beloved forest. It smelled like home.

Someone was holding my hand, our fingers interlocked. A tingling thread of energy crept up my arm where our skin made contact. And they were talking to me.

They sounded kind.

I couldn’t make out the words—my head was still fuzzy, and that cursed voice inside me wouldn’t stop humming.

But it felt… nice.





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