Just like a thunderclap, the loud explosion reverberated inside Lena Hugh's study. Frowning, she strolled out of the room, irritation flashing in her eyes. 'Were they attacking on her wedding night?' she asked herself.
A second explosion followed soon after. The shrill and deafening alarm echoed, followed by yelling and footsteps, tens if not hundreds of them.
Surprised at the thick poisonous mist outside of her study, Lena eyed the empty corridor as she wondered who would dare cast a spell like this inside the castle.
For a few seconds, Lena stilled, her breathing sparse, trying to sense the presence of another. Aside from her, there were no other people in this part of the castle.
Slowly, a purple light surrounded her body, protecting her from the poison mist that could melt any human in seconds. Her eyes turned wary when she smelled magic, and the fact that she could not see anyone in her vicinity made her more vigilant, cautious.
Casting another talisman to protect herself, Lena raced towards the room where the throne was located.
'She needed to see him,' she thought.
She grabbed the hem of her long red gown as she quickened her steps. Ignoring the explosions and the thick smell of blood, Lena opened the door that led her to the two majestic seats that belonged to her and her best friend, now her husband Xu Ke.
"They are attacking us," Xu Ke stated without looking at her. He instructed two of his men to help the people evacuate and called some of their generals before he turned towards her. "Are you alright?" He furrowed his brows. "Poison mist?" The purple protection around her was specifically for these types of mists.
Lena nodded, her eyes examining the man opposite her. His unharmed state instantly sent relief flowing inside her. Without waiting for him to say another word, she ran towards the balcony, with him tacitly following her.
The fiery mixture of smoke and dust welcomed their eyes. Explosions echoed one after another. The ground shook, the smoke increased as the pungent smell of magic blanketed the air. The violent flashes of red and green accompanied with black and blue talismans could be seen from the soldiers fighting against some of the rebels.
"They planned this," Lena hissed under her breath. Tonight was supposed to be her wedding night, a night full of love and celebration, yet the rebels, people who were against her ruling, chose to attack.
Glancing at the setting sun, Lena let out a sneer. How could these people attack when she was at her strongest?
"I will take care of this," Xu Ke uttered next to her. He was her general, the highest position that she could give to a normal human. "Brief the other generals, I will join the fight." Both were aware that he was good at fighting while she excelled in planning and assassinations.
Glancing at his determined face, Lena nodded, a tight lipped smile hanging on her lips. The ability of her husband might not be comparable to hers, but his capacity to handle these people was undeniable.
A flash of an emotion that Lena didn't recognize glinted in Xu Ke's eyes as he stared at her. His tall frame towered over her five foot four body. Slowly, his green orbs turned gentle as he leaned down, giving her a subtle kiss on the lips. "I'll be back," It was a promise. The certainty in his voice was apparent.
In response, she nodded and took a step back letting him jump from the thirty foot tall balcony to join the battle. The goal was to protect the queen, to protect her.
She eyed his heroic figure in white reach the ground. He ran towards the nearest enemy, a blue talisman glinting in his hand. She smiled. The sight of him fighting for her sent an unrecognizable emotion through her veins. It was a warmth that she had never experienced before.
Another explosion echoed. This time it came from the west. Narrowing her eyes towards the west gates, Lena materialized a black talisman in her hand. "Burn," she uttered before sending a large ball of black flame towards the west.
Not long after, another explosion echoed. This time it was caused by the fire that she sent. The eerie screams of her enemies followed. How dare they attack when they knew no one could tame her black fire?
She snorted, disgust glinting in her gray orbs. "Weaklings." Walking back inside, Lena chose to wait for her generals while sitting on her throne. The mists had now occupied every inch of the room and it continued to spread.
Poison mists didn't work on her. The enemy should have known this by now. Fighting the urge to laugh at their stupidity, Lena eyed the large portrait to her left.
Unlike her, the portrait was now showing signs of decay from the mists. Narrowing her eyes at the once marvelous portrait of her, Lena sent a small ball of flame towards it.
Another explosion echoed. The castle shook along with it. Yet Lena sat unaffected. These people were not as powerful as her, yet they still dared to come in here to disturb her wedding night. Was this bravery? Or stupidity?
The Shan Country was a world full of magic, a world where the strong survived and the weak perished. How could these people not accept that fact? This was fate- no one could fight fate. Another sneer escaped her.
The loud sound of the door being opened interrupted her stupor. She narrowed her eyes at the mist, expecting to see her generals walking towards her. She was wrong.
What she saw was Xu Ke being dragged in by people… "General Arthur." She stood from her throne. "What happened to him?" It wasn't even ten minutes. How could normal rebels defeat a general like her husband? She looked at Xu Ke's badly beaten face as the realization hit her. "You betrayed me?" She met the brown eyes of her old trainer.
"Your highness, forgive me."
The absence of remorse in the General's voice was enough to confirm her words. She clenched her hands, her knuckles turning white."You think you can just hurt him?" her loud voice echoed against the palace walls. For some reason, seeing him badly broken hurt more than the betrayal from the person whom she treated as her father since she was thirteen.
A black talisman appeared in Lena's hands. However before she could utter another word the talisman disappeared. She staggered as she held her throat, her face paling.
Surprised by the sudden pain, she asked, "What have you done?" her voice hoarse. "Poison," she concluded.
A strong poison, she thought as she fell on her knees. Lena fought the sense of panic inside her. Her heart started to become erratic from the poison. But how? There was no way that—— she froze. Her eyes widened as she turned towards her husband.
Lena gulped. She endured the pain in her throat as she shook her head. Was she hallucinating? Standing before her was Xu Ke, the bruises on his face gone, a small smile on his lips.
"You—" the pain in her throat intensified. This poison was designed to melt her insides. This was one of the deadliest poisons created. With enough time, Lena could easily create a talisman designed to heal her own body. However, the moment she did that, the purple light surrounding her would stop working.
Meaning… the poison mists could kill her.
What an elaborate plan— a very elaborate plan to kill her. Lena smiled, she could feel blood trickling down from her mouth past her dry lips. She had at most, fifteen seconds to live.
Despite the pain, Lena lifted her head, meeting his dead eyes. "You poisoned me." It must have been the kiss, the kiss that he gave her before he left. What a treacherous kiss, she thought.
"Forgive me, Lena." Xu Ke kneeled next to her. "You have become too powerful. The balance in this world… we needed to preserve the balance in this world or we would all perish," he said. The absence of affection in his voice made her chest hurt. She knew this had nothing to do with the poison.
"Between you and humanity," Xu Ke added. For a few seconds, she thought she could see the sadness in his eyes. "I had to make a choice."
Lena shook her head, her gaze had become blurry, her limbs weak. She could feel the pain intensify faster than she could even blink. She tried to part her lips. She wanted to know… she wanted to know if any of the years they spent together were real. Did he even love her? For him to choose strangers over her, did he even care about her at all?
Lena stared at his handsome face as she fought the urge to close her eyes.
"Let's see each other again, Lena," she heard him uttered as she fell towards his arms— his familiar warm arms.
"Announce the Queen's Death. This is the beginning of a New Era." Xu Ke's stern voice echoed inside the room. Enduring the pain, Lena opened her mouth before letting out a laughter so deep and ominous it made everyone except Xu Ke produce their own talismans to protect themselves.
'To fall into such a scheme because of her emotions, she, Lena Hugh was stupid! But she would never forgive. She would never forget,' Lena Hugh thought before she breathed her last.