Spring brought new life once more, the marigolds and geraniums shedding their last bit of winter snow off their leaves before opening their flowers to the sun. However, the neutral but stunning beauty of spring was dulled as His Majesty terrorized his home.

His Queen was heavy with pregnancy but her body was shutting down. She laid in her bed, her labored breathing so quiet that her nurse had to put a mirror to her mouth to see if she was still breathing.

His Majesty was locked in one of his many wine cellars, tossing shelves of hundred-year-old wines onto the floor, screaming and crying, his eyes no longer the sparkling, calm color of a river in a summer. They were darker than the well that sat centered in his courtyard, deeper than the night sky, blacker than the phenomenon that swallowed stars whole above them. He fell to his knees, trying to catch his breath.

This was a sensation he had never experienced. The rage and sorrow he thought he had known was now a complete stranger. This new emotional pain had built for months during his Queen’s pregnancy, the regret of getting the love of his life pregnant. For power.

You don’t regret taking me in at all,” a small voice from the back of his mind whispered. “Your only regret is not taking her with you.”

It was hours before he made his way back to his wife’s side, his eyes back to normal. It had been months since he had received the spirit that shared his soul. His wife didn’t know about the change. He watched her from the door frame before making his way to her bedside. He slowly sat down, not to disturb her rest. Her hazy purple eyes fluttered open, a gentle smile weakly crawling across her face. Her brown skin, skin that His Majesty thought had radiated like the sun itself, was now grey and clammy. She gently touched a finger on his hand.

“Hello, my love,” she whispered. “You have been crying again, haven’t you?” she asked quietly. He didn’t answer, squeezing her hand tightly, trying to warm up her cold hand.
He opened his mouth to speak after a long moment before Dr. Tory walked into the room.

“Your majesty? A moment, please.”

His eye twitched in annoyance.

“I will be right back, my Queen,” he whispered, kissing her on the forehead before getting up and meeting Dr. Tory in the hallway.

“Everything will line up in two weeks time. We will need to force her to go into early labor, however. Doing so, she will die.”

He already knew. He knew the moment that he signed up for more power, the loved ones around him would perish. And she was the only one he had loved as king. He fought back hot tears, took a deep breath and licked his lips to stop them from quivering.

“Then we will head out at first light.”

The sky danced with pink and purple clouds as the sun started to rise, the soft hum of the royal convoy’s engines lulling the Queen back to sleep. The drive to their destination would take them half a week. Sometimes, the queen would wake during the late hours, catching glimpses of her husband asleep in a chair next to her. One morning, she had managed to sit down, tiring herself out for the rest of the day. She didn’t mind as she watched the sky go from dark blue to a fiery orange as the sun came up. His Majesty stirred a bit before opening his eyes, immediately panicking when he saw her upright.

“Are you okay? Did you call out to me for help?”

The Queen smiled but did not answer, watching the mountains rush past the window.

His Majesty felt flustered.

“I can’t wait until you bury this body,” she whispered.

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