The Sound of Bones Cracking (a Darkening plot)

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via Daily Prompt: Sound

He flicked his wrist and slammed the Rebellion soldier’s shadow against the white wall. Seconds later, the soldier’s body followed. He did this a couple more times until the wall was smeared with the red from the soldier’s previous wounds and he heard the satisfying crack of something breaking. Then he stopped and settled his hand.

The soldier slumped limply to the ground, breaths coming in rasping coughs. The Darkling Prince stepped forward and knelt in front of him, one hand on the ground- just in case. The soldier’s eyes were shut tight and his chest was quivering with the effort of just breathing.

“Had enough?” said the Prince. “Where is she?”

The Rebellion soldier coughed once and met the Prince’s red eyes fearfully, but defiantly. “You’re a Darkling now, aren’t you?” he muttered. “Go find her yourself.”

The soldier was instantly flung across the corridor and slammed onto the opposite wall, resulting in a gasp and more bones cracking.

The Prince lowered his hand and stood. “Your stubbornness or loyalty or whatever wasting my time right now is useless. Don’t try to be a hero, Underling.”

“Like you? I wouldn’t dream of it.” The soldier stayed on the ground, partly because he could no longer sit up and partly because he was waiting for another run in with a wall.

The wall never came- instead, the Darkling Prince smiled and said, “Me? A hero?”

Laughing softly, he bent down over the soldier, his red eyes taking a dimmer shade of brown. He sighed, almost tiredly. “I’m not a hero. Let me just get one thing straight before you die.”

The soldier’s eyes widened but the Prince didn’t seem to notice. “She’s the hero now. Actually, June has always been the hero, has been since the day she entered the Dark World through the door that I myself opened. She still is now, I bet. If you were to put this entire war in a book, she would be the heroine. I’m just the friend who turns out to be the enemy, the traitor in their midst.”

The Prince stared into thin air for a moment, lost in thought. A small cough from the soldier brought him back to the real world and he looked down at the Underling.

“But of course, in books, especially those about war, people die.” His eyes took on their original sinister red glow. “People like you.”

The frantic screaming enveloped the Changing House, drowning out the nasty sounds of bones cracking.

He’s Not Joking… (a Darkening plot)

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via Daily Prompt: Seriousness

She was free.

After months of being locked in a cell with only the prisoners and guards for company, she was back in the game, the Rebellion. Well, he had come and visited her every week too. She didn’t want to show it, but she had looked forward to his visits.

Until he had told her he wasn’t going back with her. The day the Rebellion rescued her from her prison, she’d tried one last time to take him with her. He was the only leader she’d ever known, the only other Darkling that she could trust. Not completely, but she could rely on him. But he had made it clear he wasn’t coming back.

The Rebellion’s second leader Ella Barrus had been shocked. He had been her right hand man, her most trusted partner. They supported each other, even though Ella was much older than him and therefore considered a senior. Still, they’d been working as a team for years.

Everyone was devastated, angry at him for betraying them like that. Soon, however, they were too busy to think anymore. The war with Balance intensified as parts of the Changing House were conquered, strengthening each side’s territory. Soon, they would have to start attacking each other, when there was nothing left to capture.

A lot of arrangements had happened over the last few weeks- Kyle had been nominated Ella’s new right hand man. It was a good choice; he was smart, courageous, and not afraid of battle. Whenever she thought of Kyle, she thought of their former leader. And whenever she thought of her former leader, she tried not to think at all. But Kyle had been good to her- he was one of the few people who could make her laugh now- they had both lost dear friends in the war and during her capture. Speaking of Kyle, June was organizing her troops when she heard him call her name.

She turned and smiled at him. “What is it?”

He rubbed the back of his neck, his eyes flicking to the floor. “I need to talk to you,” he whispered. “In private.”

June tilted her head quizzically. “Sure.” She dismissed her soldiers with a nod and followed Kyle towards the nearest door.

Kyle muttered a code and pushed the door open. The doorway flashed a blinding white light and they found themselves in a dimly lit room. There was a bed on one side and a few drawers on the other, plus a desk with a lamp. The curtains were drawn over large window at the far wall.

“Your room?” June surveyed her surroundings.

Kyle nodded. He stared at her intensely, waiting for a comment.

“Come to think of it, I’ve never been in your room.” June walked over to the bed and sat on it slowly, brushing her hands over the bed sheets. “So what did you want to talk about?”

Kyle sat on the chair by his desk. He didn’t say anything for a long moment. Finally, he looked up and met her gaze.

“June, I-” he trailed off into silence again.

June leaned in closer. “Kyle?”

Kyle bit his lip and started again. “June, you…Ella should’ve chosen you to lead instead of me.”

June blinked, her eyes wide. “That’s not true! You’re the perfect choice!”

“No, I’m not. You’re a Darkling. Why would she choose me over a Darkling?” Kyle protested.

“Hey, not all Darklings are good leaders,” June whispered, her thoughts drifting painfully to him. “You’ll do fine without magic.”

“You think so?” Kyle murmured.

“I know so.”

He looked up and smiled. “Thanks.”

June smiled back.

There was a long pause as both of them continued to stare at each other.

“June,” Kyle suddenly said. “I love you.”

The words sent a spark through her chest. Her mind flew to his voice, saying the exact three words. It felt like years ago. “You’re joking.”

“Do I look like I’m joking?” Kyle fixed her with a hard stare.

Slowly, she shook her head. “You’re serious?” she whispered.

“I’m serious.” Kyle got up and moved towards her, his eyes filled with a determination she hadn’t noticed before.

He reached out a hand, but at that moment, she stood from the bed.

“My troops are waiting,” she said quietly.

Kyle looked hurt and a bit disappointed, but relented. “Okay.”

June headed towards the door. With one hand on the doorknob, she looked back at Kyle. He was standing in the middle of the room, staring at her with his bright blue eyes. He smiled.

She forced a small grin and walked out the door.

He Heard Her Voice (a Darkening plot)

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via Daily Prompt: Heard

He was leading his team of Balance soldiers into the white-wall hallways when he heard the voices. They had only just emerged out of Balance territory- when did the Rebellion conjure up the courage to set foot this close to the dark gray walls? His team had heard them too and each placed a sweaty hand on the hilt of their sword.

The voices drew closer. He lifted his hand and motioned for them to move forward, cautiously and quietly. They made their way to an intersection of hallways- and her voice made him freeze.

He’d been longing to hear her voice again ever since a team of Rebels lead by Kyle rescued her and the other prison from the Royal cells; she hadn’t said a word to him while she was imprisoned, only gave him bright yellow glares that sent sparks shooting up the back of his head. And now, she was right around the corner….

A second voice made him stiffen- a low, hoarse voice, one that had once belonged to a trusted soldier, but now belonged to the one who had called him a traitor. And it was true. He’d left and he was never going back.

He signaled for his team to leave. A few soldiers hesitated, but all obeyed- no one was willing to mess with a Darkling. The soldiers filed out the nearest door, leaving their prince alone in the white corridor.

The Shaded Darkling made a sign with his hands, closed his eyes, muttered a few words under his breath- and became invisible.

And just in time for at that moment, she came around the corner. Following closely behind her was the owner of the second voice, Kyle. His eyes darted around warily and settled on the invisible Darkling. He held his breath but Kyle barely glanced for two seconds before going back to double check on his team of Rebel soldiers.

“Isn’t that Balance territory?” Kyle pointed at the dark gray walls just a few steps ahead of them.

“Yes,” she answered softly. The hidden Darkling couldn’t help but wonder if she was thinking about him.

Kyle placed a comforting hand on her shoulder. “Don’t worry. If he shows up, he’ll have to get through me first.”

The Darkling tensed his shoulders. Kyle was standing right next to her, a little too close for his liking. He resisted the urge to hiss a warning that would surely result in a battle between him and Kyle, in which Kyle would most likely be killed.

To his relief, she edged away from Kyle, putting a more comfortable distance between them. Kyle sagged his shoulders, but she didn’t seem to notice.

“If he comes, I want you to lead the team to safety. I’ll deal with him,” she said firmly.

“All right.” Kyle glanced at the dark gray walls again, as if the Shaded Darkling would emerge from the shadows at any moment. “But be careful.”

“I’m an Era Darkling. And don’t forget he taught me everything he knew,” she added.

No, not everything, the Darkling prince thought. Even he had secrets to keep.

 

He Was Afraid (a Darkening plot)

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via Daily Prompt: Tremble

He hadn’t felt this fear since the day he touched the crystal and became what he’d always dreamed of being- a Shaded Darkling. Everything was finally going according to plan, except for the fact that she still wouldn’t talk to him. And now she was gone.

Maybe it was because she was the only person in the world who could get in his way. The only person who could make him stop. He didn’t want to stop, he longed for victory, there was still so much he had to do now that he had powers unlike anything he’d ever had before.

But she; he knew she wouldn’t allow that. No matter what he said to her, she was as stubborn as a mule (though he had no idea what a mule was; he guessed it must be pretty stubborn, she’d called him that a few times before). He would never win a battle against her- word or power wise.

Everything about her scared him now. She was out there, somewhere, possibly getting herself killed because that was what she was good at. Back then, he’d always been there to save her head- now, the Queen or King would probably send him to retrieve her head. But one thing still loomed above the rest;

She was the only one who could have saved him.

And now she was gone.

Until Now (a Darkening plot)

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via Daily Prompt: Lovingly

The Queen had given him orders. He’d just chosen not to follow them. The son cannot always obey the mother after all, no matter how much he is afraid of her.

And he was very afraid. But he’d do anything to earn her forgiveness.

He snuck to the jail again at night, using his Shaded powers to blend and move through the shadows. He found her awake in her cell, later than usual.

“I thought you were asleep,” he said quietly. She didn’t reply.

He sighed. “Still not talking, hm?” He leaned against the wall across from her. She didn’t respond.

“I’ll have to make this quick,” he whispered, though he doubted she even cared at this point whether or not he came at all. “I’m not supposed to be here.”

She blinked her brown eyes at him- a question.

“My mother doesn’t want me near you.” He explained, then added, “But that won’t stop me from coming.”

Was that concern in her eyes? He couldn’t be sure. But he was intent on hanging on to any sign that said she still cared about him.

His ShadowReach was picking up vibrations- footsteps- beyond the prison. More footsteps than usual, they didn’t need that many guards in the Black Palace. He frowned. Glancing at her, he knew she had heard it too.

He moved to get up when her hand reached over and caught his. He looked at her in confusion. Her round eyes were wide and pleading, he saw small sparks of excitement behind them.

“What is it?” he asked. The footsteps were nearing.

She stayed silent, her hand gripping his wrist firmly. She wasn’t letting go. He patted her fingers gently. She hadn’t touched him in a long time- so why now?

Suddenly, the prison door burst open. He scrambled to his feet, tugging at his wrist, but she held on. People wearing black uniforms streamed into the jail, busting open cell bars, freeing their captured friends and comrades. His eyes caught the all too familiar red symbols on their jacket. He’d once worn the same uniform.

One of the Rebellion soldiers saw them and yelled her name. He paused when he saw the Shaded Darkling standing next to her.

You,” he breathed. “It’s you.”

“Kyle?” the Darkling said uncertainly.

“Traitor!” hissed Kyle and he lunged. The Darkling Prince dodged the slash of Kyle’s sword. Then, she stepped between them.

“Get out of the way,” snarled Kyle, eyes never leaving the Darkling.

She didn’t move. “He’s not worth it, Kyle.” Behind her, the Darkling winced. He’d been looking forward to the day when she’d speak to him again- he hadn’t imagined it would be this.

Kyle spat on the ground. “You don’t understand. He betrayed us all. He’s the reason Stacy’s dead, Kieth is dead, Brook is dead, it’s all his fault. And to think he was once our leader.”

At this, the Darkling’s eyes blazed red, thin black smoke began rising from his fingers. He bared the fangs that had drunk the life out of so many people. She noticed this, foresaw danger, and turned to face him. Calm brown eyes met his, he bit his lip and looked away, clenching his fists until the smoke disappeared. By now, the rest of the Rebellion soldiers were watching in awe at their former leader’s new power.

Kyle’s eyes were still full of hostility and distrust as he signaled to the soldiers that it was time to leave.

“You coming?” he said to her as everyone, the soldiers and prisoners, filed silently out of the prison.

“What, you’re leaving?” The Shaded Darkling stared at her in disbelief.

She gave him a small nod. “The Rebellion needs a Darkling.”

And suddenly, she said, “Come with us.”

He blinked at her in surprise. Kyle opened his mouth to protest, but she kept going.

“You’re their leader- if anyone can lead them to victory, it’s you. I can’t do this, I don’t even know everything there is to being an Era Darkling. I-”

“I can’t.” He didn’t dare meet her gaze as he said it. “You know as well as I do I’m not getting a second chance. There’s no life for me in the Rebellion.”

Silence. Kyle was quietly fuming to the side, working his fingers impatiently. The Shaded Darkling continued to stare at the ground, feeling her eyes on his face.

“So- I guess- there’s no life with me?” she whispered.

He started to say no, but realized with a sickening jolt it was true- they were not meant to be. When he didn’t say anything, she lowered her head…

And was gone.

He didn’t realize how much he loved her until now.

Royal Pressure

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via Daily Prompt: Overwhelming

Being the son of the Darker King and Darkest Queen wasn’t easy. Especially since he’d been born powerless and had only returned to the Black Palace weeks ago as a Shaded Darkling. He knew that the only thing keeping him in the Royal palace at the moment was his Darkling power- not the love of  his parents or the right to heritage to the throne; his younger brother Sean had already claimed that while he was gone.

He took a deep breath and thrust open the great doors to the throne room. There sat his father, the very man who exiled him, on a shiny marble throne; beside him was his wife the Queen, glaring her red eyes down at their son.

He crossed the white carpet and knelt down on one knee.

“Father,” he said. “Mother.”

“Quiet!” howled the King. “To you, we are his majesty the Darker King and her highness the Darkest Queen. You are nothing more than a soldier to us. Remember that.”

“Yes, your majesty,” he bowed his head, biting his lip.

“And what of the girl?” sniffed the Queen.

He hesitated. “She- has denied your offer, your highness.”

“She has what?” His father leapt to his feet (Darklings were agile no matter the age), his burning red Kyren eyes very, very angry.

“Foolish girl,” muttered the Queen. “Disrespectful little Era Darkling- their kind was never the smartest.”

He bit back a reply. She was a brilliant human, one who had never failed to surprise him from the day they met in her house to now. Even her answer to his offer had been unaccounted for.

The King settled back into his throne. “Then we’ll keep her in the cell for a few more days; have the prison wear down on her. I will not be denied!”

The Queen’s gaze settled on her son’s bowed head.

“Boy, I have a favor to ask of you.” Her son, the Shaded Darkling, froze.

“Stay away from that girl. She is nothing but trouble, you should focus on establishing control over the Changing House. That is an order….” Then, to her son’s great bewilderment, she added, “from your mother.”

He looked up into her bright red eyes- was that a flash of concern in her pupils? He quickly looked away.

“As you wish….”He paused and, very quietly as if he dared not say it, whispered, “Mother.”

A Clean Kill (a Darkening plot)

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via Daily Prompt: Clean

He muttered a code, opened the door, and lead his men through.

The Balance soldiers followed him without a word into one of the hallways in the Changing House. This hallway was dimly lit, with dark gray walls and a matching floor; a Balance-controlled hallway. Hallways controlled by the Rebellion were light gray while those waiting to be conquered were pure white.

The Shaded Darkling led the troop down the hallway and around the corner. Balance occupied a huge expanse of territory in the Changing House but the house itself was the size of a city. The dark gray walls stared gloomily at them as they passed. Then slowly, the dark gray turned a lighter shade- then even lighter still- until the walls were a blinding white.

The Darkling winced. The walls seemed to be glowing, piercing his sensitive eyes with their white light. Immediately, he scolded himself for showing weakness- he had yet to gain his soldiers’ trust, being the former Rebellion leader and all. They reached the end of the hallway and he raised his hand for a halt.

Rebellion soldiers around the corner- he could sense them- their familiar thoughts and tense yet warm emotions filled his mind and heart. Memories flooded into his head- memories quickly pushed away by a shadow in his brain. He shook his head, waved his hand at his soldiers, and prepared himself for, hopefully, a clean kill.

She Denied (a Darkening plot)

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via Daily Prompt: Resist

He came with a proposition this time.

“My fathe- the King wants to make a deal with you,” he told her, crouching down beside her on the jail floor. “You can stay in this cell for the rest of your life or you can join Balance- you’ll be free.” He hesitated.

“And- you’ll be with me,” he finished.

She lowered her deep brown eyes and stared at her hands. The knuckles were white, from cold or from clutching her fists too hard. He felt his heart beat faster with each passing second as he waited for her decision.

She didn’t respond.

He bit his lip- he couldn’t wait anymore. He whispered her name.

Her head came up and his heart stopped when he saw the defiance in her eyes. They flashed a blinding golden yellow and he felt a sharp pain in the back of his head.

She didn’t say anything, he already knew her answer, lowering his head to show he understood.

When the door to the prison cells slid closed behind him, he sank to the floor and leaned against the cold wall. Staring up at the gray ceiling, he took a deep breath, stale air diving sharply through his nose.

Shutting his eyes, he hugged his knees and rocked back and forth- she’d denied his offer, she’d denied her chance, and she’d denied him. He didn’t know what was worse; betraying her or leaving unforgiven.

 

He Smells Like Blood (a Darkening plot)

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via Daily Prompt: Scent

He came to visit her once every week. She couldn’t keep track, but he told her anyway. And each time he stepped into the prison cell, the room was filled with the scent of blood.

She didn’t want to ask, but she badly wanted to know. Who had he killed this time? Who’s blood stained his fangs when he tried to smile at her? Brook’s? Kieth’s? Kyle’s?

Stacy’s?

She could sense him growing more and more powerful each time he visited. The Rebellion was falling, she knew that from the increased amount of prisoners that arrived every day. But the cells were never full- as new captives came in, the old ones were taken out. She never saw them again.

The Royals didn’t bother with her. As an Era Darkling, she was both valuable and dangerous. She was not to be freed or killed, but to stay in her cell until the King changed his mind. Or until forever.

That was what he had told her. And each time, when he left, her prison would be haunted by the scent of blood.

The New Prince (a Darkening plot)

via Daily Prompt: Replacement

When the Rebellion still trusted him- when they were still at war with the Royals- when he was still their leader, there was one person he feared the most. His brother.

Jealousy had always run through the family. His grandparents on his father’s side had tried to poison his father when he was young. The plan failed- King Zain was a Darkling and Darklings were not to be trifled with. Zain himself had murdered his older brother when he ascended to the throne, thus clearing a path for him to the title of King.

And now he, the former leader of the Rebellion and newfound Darkling, would get rid of all threats to his inheritance of the throne- including taking down his younger brother Prince Sean.

Sean had always been the favorite son. Born with the powers of a Mezma Darkling, he’d been the King’s and Queen’s satisfaction after their disappointment with their first son. Soon it became more and more apparent that Sean would be the proper heir to the throne.

So the future leader of the Rebellion had been afraid. And he was right to be afraid. Several years later, he was branded useless and exiled from the Black Palace. Why his parents didn’t just kill him on the spot, he didn’t know. Maybe they were hoping he’d gain his powers later on? Maybe they were hoping he’d die in a skirmish between Balance and the Underlings?

He’d been so afraid of Sean back then. There was always a possibility that his younger brother would behead him someday or brainwash his mind to kill himself. Mind control was a typical skill used by Mezma Darklings so it wouldn’t have been a surprise. His parents would have gladly allowed him to be Sean’s test subject.

But not anymore. He was immune to those powers now. Shadows fogged his mind, blinding mind control, and his hidden attack and shapeshifting ability could stump any Darkling, let alone a human. He was the rarest of the rare- a Shaded Darkling.

Now it was Sean’s turn to be afraid. Because hidden behind every shadow, in every corner, through every hallway were eyes- whispering, watching, and waiting.