“Lucia!” Skyler yelled as he closed the distance between us. “What you’ve done is treason!”
He swung at me with the blades of wind on his arms, but I blocked him with a sheet of ice. All of Mizuki’s water gave me endless options.
“They were diplomats!” Skyler continued. “When their father finds out, he--”
“He was aware of the dangers.” I reminded him. “Being a guardian is always dangerous. Sometimes, they die.”
“That can only be said about Peran!” He spat, knowing it would hurt me. “You murdered everyone else!”
Wind ripped around me, biting slices in my dress. I turned away, afraid he would cut open my pockets.
Outside. I thought. Skyler would have more air to work with, but it would be colder. Inside, my ice was already melting. I’d have to come back for the water gem.
The nearest stairwell down to the ground was behind Skyler, but having grown up within the castle, I knew there was another at the end of the hallway beside me. It was long, and there wasn’t anywhere to take cover, but it would lead me to a more favourable environment.
Gathering my tattered dress in hand, I dashed away.
“Lucia!” Luna called, but it was only Skyler’s footfalls that followed me.
The stairs froze under my feet. It was hardly a hinderance to me, but Skyler wouldn’t fair as well. Once on the lowest floor, the door to Peran’s Memorial courtyard was only a few steps more.
Cold air hit my face and I almost laughed with joy. The cold was all I could feel, and it was all concentrated around the one person I felt for.
A small patch of grass stood out among the frosted ground, green dappled with red. Seraphina had been moved, most likely to the same room where Natsuki lay. Soon, they’d be joined by Ellen and Mizuki.
And Skyler, soon enough.
I walked to Peran’s memorial and lay a hand on top of it. Natsuki’s handiwork was obvious. The flower stems were curled together, having grown that way per her influence.
“Princess Lucia.” Skyler commanded from the doorway. “If you stop this now, your father may be lenient.”
I slowly turned to face him. I hardly recognised the young man before me. Skyler had always be the calmest of my guardians. When he was angry, it was an anger that was felt rather than seen. But now, his whole face was contorted with pain and rage. His stance was wild, a far cry from the composed warrior he’d been trained to be.
“All I want are the gems.” I told him. “The gems, and Peran’s Memorial.”
“You know I can’t give them to you.” His arms shook, either from anger or from restrained an attack.
I held out my hand, palm up. Little snowflakes danced between my fingers, awaiting my command.
Skyler swung, sending waves of sharp wind at me. I just closed my eyes and waited for them to pass. I heard my clothing rip, but felt no pain.
When I opened my eyes, I was met with Skyler’s shocked face. I smirked. “Have you already forgotten? Your powers are for the sole purpose of protecting me. Why would they harm me?”
“You…” He took a step back, his bravado fading.
“I, however,” I continued, more snowflakes moving around my hand, “made no such vow in return.”
The snowflakes flew forward, like little darts from a blowgun. Skyler tried to block them with his wind, but a number still bit through him. He fell to one knee, blood dripping from the punctures.
“Your skill is still admirable.” I told him.
“You will be stopped.” He struggled to get the words out.
“But not by you.”