Blood Crown
By Violet Day
Date: January 11, 2021
Ch. 1515


A low, soft voice said her name.

“Senna, answer me.”

She couldn’t. She wanted to tell the voice that she couldn’t. She was sleeping. She had drowned.

Strong hands lifted up her head, warm against her hair.

“You’re alive, Senna. You’re breathing. Please open your eyes.”

Maybe she should try. It wouldn’t hurt to try.

Her eyes opened. She wasn’t underwater. She was back in the hallway.

She sat up with a bolt and looked around. Her sister’s body wasn’t there. And it wasn’t as dark as she remembered it; the lamps burnt brightly along the walls.

She turned toward whoever who had just saved her.

“Dorn!” He pulled her up to standing. Her body felt somewhat weak but… she felt her sleeves and hair. No moisture. “I didn’t really drown,” she said.

Dorn tilted his head. There was something dark behind his eyes. He seemed… different. Not as if he were a part of this terrifying maze, but something else.

“What’s wrong?” she asked him. “You look unhappy.”

“I can’t believe that she would…” He looked up from the ground and into Senna’s eyes. “I’m infinitely happy that you’re okay but there is something going on, something terrible, and…” He trailed off.

“What? Is the maze affecting you too?”

He shook his head. “It can’t, I’m Elevated. I’ve put up a barrier around us so we’re immune from the enchantments. It was so terrifying to find you like you were… You were lying on the floor of the hallway, barely breathing. Something was taking your life energy away.”

Senna blinked. “What was?”

Dorn looked down. He took one of her hands in his.

“Dorn, why are you here? What’s going on? Tell me.”

“I’m not exactly sure. I felt a very dark presence, dark magic, and I was worried.” Senna wondered if he was implying he was worried about her. “Senna, we can’t leave. We can’t leave until we figure out what is going on. This maze was set up to take the life energy of ten girls for some kind of dark magic spell. If you leave, who –whoever set up the spell will know.”

“We just have to wait? I don’t want to stay down here if someone is trying to kill me, Dorn.”

The librarian adjusted his glasses. “You’re safe with me,” he said.

“What about the others? Did you see any of the other girls?”

Dorn shook his head. “I was looking for you. But Senna –you don’t want to look for the other girls. It’s most likely too late.”

“If it wasn’t too late for me, then maybe…”

“It was too late for me. I thought you were gone, that my powers weren’t strong enough to bring you back, but… somehow, we both reached out to each other and you came back. I don’t want you to see anything you don’t have to. Let’s just stay here until we figure out what to do.”

“I already know what to do, and that’s try to save the other girls if we possibly can.” Senna pushed herself to standing, her limbs shaky. She began to walk down the hallway. “If you want to keep me safe, Dorn, you better come with me so your Elevated protection applies to me as well.”

He scrambled up and came with her. “If you could feel the dark energy in this maze…” He trailed off.

“I feel it. It feels terrible. It felt wrong from the moment I was brought to its entrance.”

They continued walking through the shadowy hallways for a few minutes.

“Senna,” Dorn said. “Do you know who designed the trials? Did anyone tell you?”

Senna shook her head. “I assumed it was the queen.”

Dorn nodded. “You’re probably right.”

“What are you trying to say? That the queen did this?”

He seemed about to answer when they turned a corner and the body of a girl, curled up, was visible among the shadows. Senna ran to her, holding her face in her hands. It was one of the girls who had gone the other direction at the fork, one she hadn’t talked to before but had admired. Senna felt her wrist.

“She doesn’t have a pulse,” she said, feeling tears build up. “Bring her back, Dorn.”

Dorn knelt next to her. He put a hand on the girl’s forehead. “I can’t,” he said. “She’s dead. The dark magic has left her. There’s nothing I can do.”

Senna stood, surprised at the force of the tears that began spilling from her eyes. She leaned against the wall, covering her face, sobbing. “This isn’t how the contest is supposed to end,” she said. “It was supposed to end with happiness and the promise of a new era for Dornesse. Not like this. This is a nightmare.”

Dorn put a hand on her shouler. “Senna...”

“We need to find Lowelle,” Senna said, taking a deep breath.

“Who is Lowelle?”

“A friend,” Senna said, trying to keep her voice level. She wiped her face. She was done crying. Now was time for action. She needed to figure out what was going on her –and end it.

They searched through the hallways for a long while. Senna felt completely lost. Dorn admitted that he was unsure where they were, even though he knew the castle very well.

They ran across another body of a contestant. Senna couldn’t even look to see who it was after she saw the hair was not dark like Lowelle’s.

She stopped when they were out of sight of the body and took a deep breath. “I can’t believe this is happening,” she said.

Dorn had been silent for a long time. “I’m sorry,” he said after a moment. It didn’t sound like a commiserating type of sorry. It sounded like he actually had something to apologize for. “This is my mother. I know it.”

“Who’s your mother?” Senna asked. “A court sorcerer?”

Dorn looked up at her, his gorgeous face wracked with strong emotion. The shadows from the dim oil lamps played up the hopeless look on his face. He didn’t answer her, and in doing so his answer was clear.

“Oh,” Senna said. “You’re Prince Yoren.”

She suddenly remembered seeing him on TV as a child, his hair more red than it was now.

Dorn –no, Yoren –bit his lip. “Yes,” he said.

“But… the prince is supposed to be on foreign business. That’s why he couldn’t take more of an active part in the competition.”

“No,” the prince said. “My mother made that up. She lied. I told her I wanted nothing to do with her publicity stunt but she went ahead and did it anyhow. I’ve refused to have anything to do with it since day one. And now… now I know it wasn’t a publicity stunt. It was the set up to find the perfect ingredients for some kind of terrible spell. We need to find out what the spell is, as soon as possible, so we can make sure it doesn’t happen. This is dark, dark magic.”

Senna just stared at him.

“You lied to me,” she said.

Font size
Font color
Line spacing
Background color