‘Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil,’
Psalm 23:4 KJV
A great shadow falls over the school, a shadow of fear and awe. Most students are still trying to process the night’s events. Arran’s pathetic defeat shows the school the difference between a Purple Shadow Wielder and a Black Shadow Wielder. Purples are the Elite, but Black is Legendary.
Arran’s absence is felt even harder in the Purple Circle. While all the Purple students are talking about the mighty power of the Emperor, Emelie tells everyone that she needs time to process. Thankfully, everyone understands she’s not from the empire and needs time to understand their ruler’s greatness. Emelie just smiles and walks, barely able to contain the excitement in her steps. She glances at Braawen’s door, but it’s already closed as she heads to her room. She sits on her bed and sighs. In the silence, a giggle escaped her lips. She laughs at how the Night Emperor, the man who had killed her family, is here. She will have to thank him; the fewer people who know about her past – the better.
She composes herself and walks over to her vanity. Emelie sits down on the plush cushion, smiling at her reflection, and tells herself, “This can still work. I can still get on the Emperor’s good side. Maybe I’ll even mention my dear Aunt Estelle.” Her smile drops when she remembers pale lilac eyes and blood pouring on the floor. She pushes herself away from the vanity, knocking down a hairpin. The hairpin makes a quiet clink as it hits the floor, yet it sounds like a cannon that snaps her from her memory. She shakes her head and then quickly picks up the tiny silver accessory. Her pale blue eyes are unfocused as she remembers her aunt’s hairpin. It had a dragon on it, littered with black stones. And it was sharp.
“It was an accident,” she mumbles to herself. Emelie sits down on her bed and sighs. “Get it together!” she snaps at her reflection in the mirror. “What happened to Estelle was your father’s fault. Not yours.”
She can remember her father screaming at the body littered on the floor.
Emelie smiles as she puts the silver pin in her hair. “I am the only royal blood of Availa. It’s my destiny to be an empress. I’m one of a kind.” She smiles.
Braawen lies in his bed, remembering the fight. He can’t help but grin mischievously at the memory of the sheer strength of the Night Emperor. The Emperor was toying with Arran. He smiles, replaying the event in his mind; this time, he is the Emperor, and Nick is the professor. Then he replaces Nick with Kaius, then with some of the other people in Purple who needed a good smack. He smiles as he sees his enemies on their knees one by one. All of them are begging for forgiveness.
Then he sees the last person he wants to be on their knees the most: Markus Archer. He sees the man like the day he saw him when they arrived in Andromendor. Braawen doesn’t even let Markus beg or apologize. He just cuts off the man’s head.
Braawen sighs and looks at the window, seeing the radiant stars tonight. The Night Emperor is here. The Emperor already knows his skills. Now all he has left to do is deal with Uncle Tybalt. The Emperor will surely embrace him if he succeeds, perhaps even as a son. As much as Braawen loves his uncle, there is one thing he remembers from the battlefield. It’s them or him.
“I will always choose me.”