Part 26: Banished
The next few weeks were a blur of excitement. The entire palace was in a rush preparing for the wedding, which was now only three days away. Janus shadowed Emerald as he usually did, but spoke little to her. There was a tingling in his nerves, and he often woke up to find his irises bleeding as they had before, and his fingertips blackened. But as soon as he would get near Emerald, the symptoms of his chaotic magic would disappear. There was no doubt that Emerald held the counter to his magic, but he couldn’t figure out how. Perhaps it was the fairies’ work? Whatever the case was, whether she countered his magic or not, he couldn’t let himself get any closer to her, not when the wedding was this close and they were liable to make a dreadful mistake.
That morning, three days before the wedding, Janus awoke all tied up in his sheets. It had been a restless night spent tossing and turning. What will it be like the night before the wedding? he thought. If he was this restless now, how could he stand and watch Emerald marry someone she didn’t love; watch her marry someone else when he loved her. “Blast those fairies,” he mumbled as he untangled himself from his sheets. “They were right all along, weren’t they? I guess it really was Fate that brought us together, but now it’s almost too late. But what can I do about it?”
He got up, yawning and rubbing his hand through his messy hair. As always, he stopped to look in the mirror on the back of the wardrobe door. However, when he opened the door, he found the mirror was cracked in several places, like a giant spiderweb had been cut into it. In fact, as he looked around, he realized every piece of glass in the room was cracked in the same way.
He was losing control.
He quickly dressed, ignoring the fact that the black of his irises was bleeding out into the white of his eyes again. He just needed to get to Emerald. She could quiet his powers, if only for a moment. He slipped on a pair of gloves to hide his black fingers. His excuse that he had got ink stains on them was getting rather old, he thought.
Once he was ready, he opened the door, gasping when he nearly ran straight into King Hunter. “Your Majesty!” Janus said, quickly turning away. He grimaced at the cracks in the mirror, then went to shut the wardrobe so it wouldn’t be visible. “What are you doing here?”
“I thought I’d come have a talk with you about security measures at the wedding, for Emerald.” Hunter entered the room and stood in the middle of it, not seeming to notice the cracks in the vase beside him. “Janus, is something wrong? You’re acting so funny.”
Janus kept his back turned to the king and stared out the window. “Nothing is wrong, Your Majesty, but I am wondering why you came here. I could have easily come to the throne room.”
“Well, I thought I’d come up to see you personally,” Hunter said, but there was something off about his voice. “You know, Janus…they have been saying awfully strange things about you.”
Janus forced himself not to turn around. “Strange things? Like…like what?” He clenched his fists and squeezed his eyes shut. He had the sickening feeling he knew what was about to happen.
“Look at me,” Hunter demanded, his tone cold, but amused. “Take off your gloves.”
Janus let out a breath, and the light dimmed and the room grew colder, to match Hunter’s tone. “What do you think you’ll see if you do?”
There was a pause, then Hunter said, “The monster I always thought you to be.”
It was getting to much to handle. Janus squeezed his fists tighter. The magic was coursing through his veins, desperate to come out. But if he let it out, he may very well level the entire kingdom. But what was so wrong about that? It would be one less thing to worry about, wouldn’t it?
But I can’t hurt Emerald, he thought. I don’t want to hurt people. I don’t!
“Turn around, Janus!” Hunter shouted.
Janus whirled around, then relished in the horrified look on Hunter’s face. He pulled off his gloves and held up his hands to let him see the black on this fingers. “There,” he said, tossing the gloves aside. “Now you know! I inherited this magic from my parents, just like my sister! But don’t you DARE confuse us, Your Majesty. I am NOT my sister!”
Hunter blinked in surprise, but soon collected himself enough to return to his usual calculating demeaner. “Janus, I can’t help but treat you like your sister,” he said. “Thomas was wrong about you. You shouldn’t be anywhere near Princess Emerald.”
“So what will you do with me, then?”
Hunter crossed his arms with a sigh. “The only thing I can do. What I should have done long ago.”
Janus held his breath and locked eyes with the king. Despite the fact that his irises were bleeding into the white of his eyes, he could still see him clearly.
“Janus,” Hunter said, “I hereby banish you from the kingdom, and you are not to return for as long as you are what you are.”
Janus felt the blood rush to his face. His heart pounding, and it was all he could do to hold his magic back. “You don’t understand!” he shouted. He laughed mirthlessly. “I cannot be anything other than what I am!”
Still, he wasn’t going to argue. Perhaps this was for the best. He didn’t think he could stand to watch Emerald marry someone else, let alone King Hunter. Without even packing his things, he strode past Hunter to leave.
~ ~ ~
We are getting into the thick of things now! I can’t wait to show y’all what comes next, and it’ll be so fun to write! Thank you guys for sticking with this story for so long, I really appreciate it! Stay tuned for the next part.
Let me know your thoughts on this part in the comments below! And as always, God bless y’all and have a wonderful weekend!