Page 63

“Give up and live,” she said, her voice full of smoke and shadows. “Get in my way and die.”

Ren and I pushed to our feet as the Prince shoved off the wall.

A low rumble shook the floor, gaining sound and speed. I glanced behind me as Ren did the same thing. A faint blue light appeared at the bottom of the door.

“The door!” I gasped. “She’s opening the gateway.”

The Queen turned to where we stood and lifted her hand, but Ren and I had already seen what she was capable of. We parted ways, him going in one direction and me in another.

Jumping over fallen bodies, I made it about five paces before I was swept off my feet and sent tumbling backward, ass over head. I slammed into the wall. The impact knocked the air and a stake out of my hands. I was stunned for a moment, unable to move.

The Queen had cleared a path.

That easily.

Even with two princes, an army of Summer fae, and the remaining Order members, she had cleared a pathway.

Fabian and the Prince had seriously overestimated their abilities.

The Queen strode forward, Crystal in her arms. It was glowing intensely now, so bright it was painful to look upon. I bit back a curse, pushing to my feet.

“Help me.”

I turned, seeing Fabian. Shooting toward him, I reached for the icicles. They were in deep. “Sorry.”

Wincing, I pulled the first one out. His entire body jolted as I dropped the first icicle, but he didn’t make a sound until I pulled the second one out. Then he screamed, dropping to his knees. Faye was suddenly at his side, pressing her hand into his wound, stanching the blood flow.

The Prince spun in our direction, and that was when the Ancient who’d entered with the Queen charged the Prince, thrusting his shoulder into the Prince’s stomach. They collapsed backward, into the wall. Drywall cracked and gave way as dust filled the air. The wall shook and then half of it shattered apart as they fell through into the other room.

“Use them,” Fabian gasped, letting his head fall back. “Use them against her.”

My gaze dropped to the thick icicle. It was so cold that it burned my hand. I looked up. The Queen was almost to the door. With my heart in my throat, I pivoted, not giving myself time to think about what I was doing.

Racing across the room, I reached the Queen just as she turned to me. Surprise flickered over her face as I lifted my arm, swinging the icicle down. She swept to the side, and I missed her chest.

But I didn’t miss her.

The icicle cut into her shoulder, sinking deep to the bone. The impact traveled all the way up my arm, jarring my entire body.

Screaming in pain and fury, the Queen lashed out. I didn’t even know if she hit me with any part of her or if it was just the might of her fury. Either way, I flew backward, crashing to the floor and rolling several feet. Ears ringing, I came to a stop, slow to realize I was now weaponless.

I pushed up onto my elbows, breathing heavy as I looked across the room. The Queen was also down, on her knees, and tearing at the shoulder of her silvery dress. Dark blood stained the front of it.

The closet door suddenly swung open and intense blue light poured out. She’d opened the gateway. Dammit.

Wind picked up, powerful and fierce. A tremble rattled the floors as my loose curls blew across my face. I pushed myself up to my knees, ignoring the ache in my bones. My stare met the Queen’s, and her gaze drifted away from me and to my left. I looked over. The Crystal.

The Queen had dropped it.

Rolling over, I scrambled to my feet as my stomach dropped. The Queen was already on her feet and she was closer. My feet slipped over the blood-soaked floorboards.

Ren whipped around and started forward, but it was too late. The Queen reached the Crystal first. I shouted as she wrapped her slender fingers around it. Rising, she clutched it to her chest. She didn’t look at me. She didn’t look at Ren.

The Queen looked to the Prince, to where he was stumbling back through the wall. “I’ll see you again, my love.”

His chin jerked up and he roared with fury as he tossed the body of the Knight aside and rushed toward the Queen, but she was as fast as a shadow. She spun on bare feet and ran. I didn’t even have a chance to take another breath of air before she went through the doorway, the Crystal in hand. The blue light stretched, forming thick tendrils of light. They touched the Queen and flared intensely.

The blue light expanded and whipped out, circling around my leg. It contracted hard and fast, ripping my leg out from underneath me. I hit the floor and then was slipping across it, toward the door.

Realization slammed into me at the speed of a train. Blood—I was covered in it. Some of it had to be mine, and that meant . . .

My blood must’ve been on the Crystal.

I was about to be sucked into the Otherworld, along with the Queen.

“Ren!” I screamed, digging into the floor. My nails cracked and broke. Another scream tore through me as I was pulled beyond the opening of the door. Arms flailing, my hands smacked off the door frame. My wide gaze swung around, and there was nothing but darkness beyond the blue light. The force of the Otherworld pulled, stretching my arms until I felt my muscles start to tear. My fingers slipped and I lost my grip.

Hands clamped down on mine, and my gaze flew to Ren’s. Oh God, he was there, his feet planted on either side of the door. My body lifted clear off the floor.

“Hold on!” he shouted, his face strained as he tugged.

“Ren, oh God, Ren!” I cried out, panic and terror digging into my bones.

The force grew, lifting Ren up, and I knew it was too powerful. It was going to suck both of us through. Both of us.


I couldn’t let that happen to him. I couldn’t.

My body twisted so I could see his face. Our gazes collided. “Ren. Let go. Please! Please let go. You’ve got to let go of me.”

Horror filled his expression. “Never—God, never!”

“You need to.” Stretched to their limits, my arms and shoulders burned as if they were on fire. “I love you, Ren. I love you so much, but you need to let—”

“Stop!” he shouted, his beautiful face contorting with anguish. “I’m not letting go.”

Tears clouded my eyes. “You have to. You—”

Arms circled Ren’s waist and then I was being pulled forward, out of the light and beyond the doorway and into Ren’s lap as we fell backward. I looked up, over Ren’s shoulders as he folded his arms tight around me.

The Prince.

Oh God.

The Prince had pulled me—pulled us—free.

Wind whipped through the room and was ripped out of it, sucking back through the door. Twisting in Ren’s arms, my eyes were wide as the bright blue light pulsed once and then twice and then pulled into itself until there was just a dot of light in the never-ending darkness, and then there was nothing but bone-chilling blackness.

The door to the Otherworld swung closed, sealing itself up with the Queen and the Crystal inside.

Chapter 35

Slowly, we picked ourselves up, one at a time. The Prince was helping his brother stand, and Faye was with Kalen, one arm around his shoulders, holding him up.

Miles was next to Dylan and Jackie. All of us were still alive, but we . . .

“We failed,” I whispered, staring at the sealed doorway. “We actually failed.”

Silence greeted me as Ren slipped an arm around my waist, drawing me to his side. I felt his lips brush my temple, but bitter disappointment washed over me, nearly stripping me of whatever strength was left.

We failed.

The Queen was gone, but she was going to come back with a vicious, monstrous army. Probably in days. Hours if we weren’t lucky.

I stumbled back.

“But did we really fail?” Dylan asked. “The Queen is gone. So are all the Ancients—”

“We have no idea if all the Ancients are gone, but we had to have taken out nearly all of them.” Miles limped forward, picking up a fallen stake. “But the Queen has the Crystal in the Otherworld. She can come back at any time—”

“It won’t be for a long time.” Fabian’s voice was hoarse. “You stabbed her with one of the icicles, right?”

Turning, we looked at him and my mouth dropped open. He was a ghostly color. My gaze shot to Kalen. So was he. Both were barely standing, all of their limbs trembling. “I did. I got her in the shoulder. Pretty deep, too.”