Boundless (The Queen's Alpha Series, #6)By: W.J. May
The Queen's Alpha Series, Volume 6
Serafina flew to the bars of her cell as her brother flew the opposite direction. Before anyone could stop him he’d grabbed the prince by the throat, lifting him high in the air then smashing him against the stone wall with terrifying force. The others heard a chilling crack, mixed with his sister’s screams, and saw a stream of blood trickle down into the dirt.
There was a good chance the prince was dead already. And the fae clearly didn’t care.
“It wasn’t his fault,” the lovely fae gasped again, half-collapsing where she stood. “Please, listen to me!”
But there was no getting through to her brother. Not now. Not about this.
His entire face had transformed with the purest sort of rage. It had hardened every line. Sharpened every angle. Blazed like liquid fire in his dark eyes. His hand tightened, and a broken gasp escaped from the prince’s throat, a gasp so soft Katerina could barely hear it.
Her eyes flew automatically to Dylan, but the ranger was lost in his own world.
He’d hardly noticed the violence going on behind him. The fact that the crown prince of the High Kingdom was about to die. He was standing exactly where the others had left him, staring through the bars of the cell like he was lost in a dream.
“I saw them drag you away...” he said faintly, gazing at the weeping prisoner in a sort of daze. “There was blood, strips of your clothes... nothing was left.”
Serafina saw her chance and took it, turning from one man to the other. “They dragged me back here,” she sobbed. “Threw me in the dungeon. They would have done a lot more than that, but Kailas stopped them. Please, Dylan—this isn’t what you think!”
Katerina’s lips fell open as she took a step back. She couldn’t help but notice the tender way the lovely girl said her brother’s name. It was the same way Katerina said Dylan. Like a caress.
“Cass—please!” She threw herself at the bars of her cell again, shaking with uncontrollable tears. “Dylan, do something! Make him stop!”
It was too much. Way too much.
Katerina took another step back. Then another. Her head was spinning. The floor was tilting wildly underfoot. No matter how many times she looked at the scene in front of her, she couldn’t get it to make sense. What was her brother doing down here? Why wasn’t he fighting back? How was it possible that, after all these years, the princess of the fae was still somehow alive?
Alive and screaming.
“We need to shut her up,” Rose muttered frantically to no one in particular. “They’re going to come and investigate. They’re going to find us...”
But Serafina was in a place beyond consolation. Her wide, dark eyes were fixed on the pair of men on the other side of the chamber. Her knuckles were white as they gripped the bars of her iron cage.
“Brother,” she cried, slipping back to older times when siblings called each other as such, instead of using formal names, “listen to me! It wasn’t him. He was under a spell!”
It was at that moment that Katerina noticed several things at once.
Her brother was still tall—yes. But he was also somehow broken. There was a delicacy to the way he was holding himself as his legs dangled helplessly in the air.
Her brother was still handsome—it was true. But there were shadows on his radiant face. A sort of dullness beneath the dirt and matted blood, as if he hadn’t seen the sun in a long time.
But the last thing she noticed was perhaps the most telling. The most telling, and yet the most utterly confusing all at the same time.
Her brother hadn’t been standing against the wall when they’d come in. He’d been chained.
“Cassiel...” Katerina said tentatively.
At the sound of her voice, Dylan snapped out of his trance. He glanced over his shoulder at her stricken face before turning to where his best friend in the world was slowly and methodically killing her brother. A savage kind of hate twisted the fae’s lovely features as he choked the life out of the prince’s body. Reveling in every tremor that shook through him. Every broken gasp.
It was all-consuming. Devouring him from the inside out. He was legitimately unaware of the world around him and jumped slightly when Dylan put a steadying hand on his arm.
“He’s chained,” the ranger said softly, eyes sweeping the rusted iron manacle that encircled the prince’s neck. “Listen to your sister. She’s asking you to stop.”
A muscle flexed in the back of the fae’s jaw as his eyes found the chain for the first time, but one way or another he seemed physically incapable of pulling himself back. That dark fire was still glowing in his eyes, and for a moment Katerina was reminded of the time when Cassiel himself was trapped under a spell—deep in the heart of Laurelwood. She’d never been afraid of him until that day, never understood the true devastation of which he was capable. She understood it now.
“This man...” he hissed, grinding the prince deeper into the wall, “this man is responsible for every bit of pain you and I have ever known. He set our world on fire, just so he could laugh as he watched it burn. I’m going to kill him, Dylan. And you’re going to let me. I’m going to kill him for us and for Katerina. She can’t do it on her own.”