“You know, the prophecy entails that you must be kept alive, right?” Willow sat at Aria’s bedside as Aria paced back and forth, the plan running through her mind.
Aria shook her head. “I didn’t say anything about dying. Master Rome’s plans are flawless.”
“If you say so, but you’re going in it too quickly.”
“I’m not. I know what I’m doing Willow.”
Willow looked like she wanted to tell Aria more, but she paused before speaking again, “Plans can be subject to change. No one knows what will happen in battles, especially a large war.”
Aria narrowed her eyes and looked at Willow, “Is there something I should know? A premonition, perhaps”
Willow shook her head, “I just wanted to make sure you were ...view middle of the document...
She glanced around, watching her enemies regroup and her allies slowly walk forward. Aria resumed clutching Rome’s shaking hand, sensing her friends surrounding her from behind. Aria felt so weak and vulnerable that tears of rage streamed down her cheeks. It was frustrating to her that she couldn’t reverse the crystallization process caused by the silver’s poisonous effect on werewolf blood. It was frustrating that she allowed herself to stand back and watch. She knew she should have attacked. In all honestly, Aria knew she got too cocky too soon.
Aria accepted that there was nothing she could do. The slow growth of the crystals gave Aria a shred of hope, although dark, inevitable thoughts whispered in the back of her head. Aria’s cousin Orion hugged her best friend Selena and Orion’s sister Piper comforted Aria’s old friend Willow. Rome’s cooling hand held the back of Aria’s neck. He pulled Aria’s head close to his chest, inches above his wound, and brought his pale lips close to her ear.
“I have run from Death for too long. Now it’s my time to leave. You couldn’t have stopped it.”
Rome couldn’t say any more. Aria desperately wanted to protest and yell at everyone for not helping her, for not helping Rome. She wasn’t a healer, she didn’t know what to do as the crystals traversed up this throat and covered his mouth. Aria watched his dark green eyes close and heard him exhale deeply, as if sending a final farewell. Pale blue light floated off of Rome’s icy corpse in wisps. His arm was wrapped loosely around her back, as if still trying to comfort her. Aria buried her face in his thin, crystallized chest. What she didn’t know was the last thoughts in Rome’s head was of the first time he met Aria, training her to her teenage years, being the father she forgot about. She wanted to give up, but she knew the battle wasn’t over yet. Although she wanted to mourn her mentor, her enemies were getting away, and they must all be annihilated.
A harsh surge of power gripped Aria, willing her to stand and abandon the cold body that was lying peacefully in her bloodstained hands. Aria breathed out an eerie, mournful, soul-wrenching howl that deepened into an angry snarl. Her body contorted, lengthened, and expanded, nearly reaching the ceiling of the castle. It was a painful transformation, but the pain was bearable to the point that Aria didn’t mind it so much anymore. The stretching, contorting, and stabbing feelings she felt during her transformation was nothing compared to the emotions swirling in her mind and her heart. White fur covered the skin that stretched over her growing frame. Her hands turned into clawed paws, her teeth sharpened into fangs, which filled her snout, and her senses perked up when her ears and nose changed to that of a wolf. She let the anger manifest itself into her werewolf form; in fact, she had been secretly waiting all night for it to happen, despite not wanting to have to deal with the consequences. With one last gravelly...