A Court of Faded Dreams: Chapter 45
Chapter Title: Wait For Me, I'm Coming
Fic summary: In her grief after Rhys sacrifices himself to restore the Cauldron, Feyre accidentally sends herself back in time. Back in her human body, in her early days in the Spring Court, Feyre must be careful how she alters the timeline as she tries to save Rhys and Prythian from Under the Mountain.
Beta-read by the wonderful, talented, life-saving @noirshadow <33
Read on AO3 ⟡ Masterlist
For a moment, Feyre was back in Hybern, frozen with fear while her sisters were dragged before her, gagged and bound, to have their mortality stripped from them. All she’d wanted in this timeline was to protect them from such a fate.
“No,” she whispered, horror seizing her chest. It wasn’t supposed to happen like this. Elain was supposed to be safe. “No, nononono—it can’t be like this.”
“It won’t,” Lucien seethed, his knuckles white where they gripped his swords. “I’m going to get her back. Right now.”
A terrible idea. As much as Feyre wanted Elain to be safe, and as willing as she was to do anything to get her back, it had to be a trap. Eris had come here to bait Lucien and if he went after Elain right now, he’d likely be going to his death.
And on the off chance that Eris was genuinely trying to be helpful…
She slumped backward against the smooth stone of the alleyway, giving herself a moment of reprieve against the increasingly heavy drag of her body. If Eris had truly undermined Beron, they would have the element of surprise on their side. If they didn’t act quickly, it would give Beron time to prepare. Mother knows what terrible things Elain would be subjected to in the meanwhile.
Feyre could still hear the way Elain had shrieked when she’d been thrown into the Cauldron—that raw note of terror that punctured the room, as her mortal life was stripped away. Did she sing an echo of that agony now, locked away somewhere in the Court most famous for its cruelty? The fear in Lucien’s eyes told Feyre he was imagining any number of unspeakable horrors, ones that his imagination likely didn’t need to fuel. He had lived them.
But Feyre was still trying to catch her breath from the battle. So was Lucien, by the look of him. Some of his hair had loosened from its braid, clinging against the damp of his face and crusted with the same ash and gore that smeared his cheeks, his neck, his armor. Bloodied cloth split at his shoulder—the wound already healed, thankfully. But that didn’t change the fact that both their chests were still heaving and in the winter air she could see every shallow pant of his breath.
It was a struggle to return herself to her feet whilst images of Elain being tortured swarmed her mind. She’d seen the way Azriel carved into people with Truthteller, she’d heard the story of what happened to Rhysand’s mother and sister, to Jesminda. If they didn’t go now, Elain’s fate could be similar—or worse. And yet if they left now, in the condition they were in, it would likely be three lives lost.
Rhysand’s words crept into her mind, a memory of his advice to her on the balcony Under the Mountain. We can’t afford to make impulsive decisions. Everything has to be calculated, even if it condemns us in the end.
Feyre was trembling as she shook her head. The words revolted as they rose to her tongue, refusing to speak them out loud, to a distressed mate no less. But they had to be said. “No,” she whispered. Then, more firmly, “We have to be smart about this, Lucien, we can’t just—”
But Lucien had no patience for reason. He was already turning away, already vanishing into shadow.
“No, wait! Lucien!” Feyre grabbed for him, intending to pull him back so that they could think rationally. But as her hands wrapped hastily around his elbow, the shadows swept around her, too, and a moment later they were both standing in the Autumn Wood.
“Lucien!” she hissed. “What are you thinking? We can’t just storm into Beron’s house.”
He shook off her grip impatiently. “Then go back to Winter. I’ll do it myself.”
Feyre wasn’t certain she was capable of winnowing that far, even if she wanted to leave Lucien to his own devices. Her magic guttered as she tried to reach for it. What was once a bottomless, raging ocean was now a droughted stream.
Before she had time to properly fret over her drained magic and its consequences, or to take a moment with Lucien to decide their next move, the Autumn male was stalking off into the wood. She swore and scrambled after him, struggling against the fatigue that clawed at her bones to keep up with his rage-fueled pace. Lucien moved with a familiarity that reminded Feyre he had likely spent his youth running through these woods, sneaking around his father’s watch. Feyre did her best to emulate the way his feet treaded lightly over the crisp foliage and mossy ground, trying to sink back into the huntress who’d once relied on stealth to feed her family. Except that huntress had never come fresh off the battlefield.
“Do you even have a plan?” she demanded, voice hushed. She remembered well enough that in Autumn, information was currency, and even the solid oaks listened for something valuable to exchange.
“He’ll kill her, Feyre.” It was not an answer, but the rawness of his voice quieted her protests. She’d never seen him so vulnerable before, not even facing his own death Under the Mountain. Feyre knew that brand of terror well enough. It cut deep into her chest every time she was reminded of Bryaxis’s warning. There was no fear like that of a mate in danger.
“I’m Beron’s lifeblood, you have a kernel of his power—if you channel it correctly, the wards shouldn’t sense us and we can sneak in unnoticed.”
She’d been able to trick the wards in Summer into thinking she was Tarquin, she couldn’t see why the same wouldn’t work in Autumn. What they did past that point, she didn’t think Lucien knew either—to him, getting into the Forest House undetected was goal enough.
Fallen leaves crunch underfoot as Feyre paused in her step. Lucien… wasn’t Beron’s lifeblood. Would that make a difference?
The male in question stopped, whipping his head around impatiently. “Are you trying to get us caught?”
She could forgive the harsh tone as an agitated mate. But with the state he was in… how would she even breach such a subject? Perhaps it would be better to discover his parentage now, when it would seem like a mild issue.
She ventured carefully, “If it were someone… related strictly to your mother, would the wards still sense them?”
A muscle ticked in his jaw. “By the Cauldron, Feyre. Is now really the time to flesh out my father’s ward restrictions?” At her beseeching stare, he sighed. “I don’t know. My mother’s sisters were killed in The War. They were likely able to come and go freely through the Forest House. Whether my father has bothered to alter the wards in the last five centuries is unbeknownst to me.”
Feyre swallowed and nodded as though that answer were satisfactory. With a huff Lucien returned to his careful path through the wood. She had to believe that if Beron’s wards barred Lucien from coming through, then they would have discovered his true lineage long ago.
Still, she was tense as Lucien led her through the forest, wishing she had magic to spare on casting her awareness through the ancient, vibrant trees in search of any errant fae minds. Instead they relied solely on Lucien’s knowledge of their patrol routes and stations to evade their notice. Feyre tried her best not to consider the likelihood that his knowledge could be outdated. With the harsh slant of his jaw and the wrath that burned steadily in his eyes, Feyre recalled the way she had single handedly cut down an entire legion of Hybern’s men when Rhys had been taken. She had to trust that, if nothing else, the instincts of a vengeful mate would suffice.
It felt like it took hours to get to the wards. With the sunlight filtering in through the thick canopy overhead, it was difficult to gauge how much time had truly passed. Feyre measured it in aching muscles. The longer they walked, the more the adrenaline of the battle faded. It had taken them three days to walk through Beron’s seat in the previous timeline, though they had been trying to avoid the Forest House.
Now, they walked straight towards the sprawling estate, which tunneled levels below the ground. There were layers and circles of sentries ringing it: in the trees, on the ground, atop the moss-coated shingles and stones of the House itself.
Lucien’s metal eye whirred as he stared ahead. “Whatever magic you need to mimic Beron, summon it now.”
Her eyes couldn’t sense whatever his could, but as Feyre scraped the reserves of her magic to coat herself in the essence of Beron’s flame, she felt the hum of those magical walls as they bowed to their sovereign’s power. Feyre’s whole body trembled with the effort of maintaining that flame, could feel it beginning to gutter just as they passed through.
All was quiet when they stepped to the otherside, officially entering the home of Beron Vanserra.
They both released a weighted breath.
Then Lucien went rigid, that metal eye clicking and whirring as it focused on the trees overhead.
His eyes widened. “Get down!”
There was hardly enough time to react to Lucien’s body barrelling into hers, sending them sprawling onto the mud and autumn foliage as arrows whizzed past their heads. Lucien was swearing colorfully under his breath as they scrambled for cover.
Just as Feyre was pulling from the last of her magic to summon a shield around them, an arrow went through her thigh. She cried out as her final scraps of magic fizzled into dust. Lucien grabbed her around the waist, pulling them both out of range—closer to the Forest House.
“Don’t be stupid,” she gasped. “They know we’re here. We should leave while we have the chance.”
The conflict on his face was heart-wrenching. Feyre didn’t want to leave Elain, either, but she didn’t see what choice they had. Her magic was completely drained, and now she was injured. They’d lost their element of surprise and were grossly outnumbered. They needed to flee so they’d have a chance to save Elain another day.
Lucien was sensible, even if his instincts must have been screaming at him to go after his mate. She could see the moment he’d made his decision to flee, the way his eyes fixed on a small cobalt ribbon tied around his wrist. It was like pinching the wick of a candle, the way the light died in his eyes. With an anguished cry, he gathered Feyre into his arms as though he intended to winnow them away. Feyre braced herself for the wind and smoke.
Only it didn’t come.
Lucien paused, his face gone ashen. “The wards,” he whispered, half in dread and half in astonishment. “I can’t winnow us out.”
Her blood turned to ice in her veins. She’d seen a spell like this once before. That little trick could have only come from the King of Hybern. Which meant he was there, in Autumn. Likely with Elain.
The archers hopped down from the trees, grinning like a pair of hyenas. Their long hair glinted in the scattered light that shone through the leaves above, the same color as the autumn foliage that surrounded them.
“Little brother,” the taller one greeted. “How nice of you to finally join us.”
They were escorted—none too gently—into the Forest House and through its infinitely vast halls. Lucien hadn’t been kidding when he’d once mentioned that walking from one end to the other could take half a morning. With the poisoned arrow still sticking out of Feyre’s thigh, each step was punctuated with hot shards of agony. She felt as though they’d been walking for years.
Eventually they came to a stop in a wide room carved from the trees and rocks that had once stood in its place. It was brightly lit with the very flame that lived inside Feyre, torch after torch lining the wall as though fire took the place of artwork. They were a living, crackling presence that seemed to call to her even with her magic snuffed by the faesbane. The light flared brighter upon their arrival, seemingly stoked by the pleasure on Beron’s face where he sat on the opposite end of the room, sprawled proudly upon his twined-oak throne. The Lady of Autumn stood near the entrance of the room, eyes distant and unfeeling as she stared vacantly ahead.
“Feyre Cursebreaker,” Beron called once she and Lucien were forced to a halt by their escorts. “Just the female I was hoping to see—much sooner than I anticipated, as well. I can only assume you’re here unbeknownst to Rhysand. I could not imagine him concocting a plan so clumsy, and I wager he’s busy in the Winter Court.” His eyes fell onto the wound at her thigh, the fabric around the protruding arrow soaked with blood that dripped onto his wooden floors. “Pity that faesbane will prevent you from calling him for help.”
Feyre tipped her chin. “If you’re going to kill me, Beron, at least I’ll die with the pleasure of knowing that Rhysand will level your court by morning.”
“Kill you?” Beron crooned. “How simple-minded. I merely wish to make an exchange. The Night Court is in possession of something I covet. Get it in my hands, and I’ll give you that filthy little human I have locked below this House.” Those dark eyes slid, for the first time, to Lucien. The smile Beron offered his son was little more than a taunt. “Alive, of course.”
The life seemed to drain out of Lucien’s face, and Feyre was certain her expression was no better. Alive was a vague promise. Beron could have removed each of her limbs and still returned her alive. Elain had been alive all those months she’d stared aimlessly out her bedroom window, hardly speaking, hardly eating, and yet there had been no life in her eyes as she grieved her mortality. Feyre already knew she would trade anything she could to prevent that light from ever leaving her sister’s eyes again.
But… The Book of Breathings. Feyre was certain that’s what Beron would ask for. Why else would he have attacked the Winter Court? And giving it up would mean… giving it up would mean…
“What is it you're after, then?” she demanded through gritted teeth. In her peripheral vision, she watched Lucien’s eyes flick worriedly to her thigh, as though that mechanical eye could track the poison spreading through her veins.
Though Feyre could feel that poison and all of her bone-weary exhaustion creeping in, that was hardly the source of the pain that currently fractured her body. No, that came purely from the anticipation of the rope that was about to be cut loose. The choice she would have to make.
To save Rhys in the long term or to save Elain in the short term.
“Newly Made as you may be,” Beron droned, “I’m sure you’ve heard tales of the great Cauldron, which gave birth to the world and blessed us with magic. It’s said that a millenia ago, its feet were cleaved and hidden in the temples of our land.”
“I didn’t take you to be devout, Beron,” Feyre said plainly, refusing to show him her hand regardless of the sweat that built on her palms. “Have you had a priestess in your ear, selling you children’s tales?”
“I’ve no need to doubt what I’ve seen with my own eyes. And you can play ignorance all you’d like, Cursebreaker. I know the Night Court has the Cauldron’s feet.” Her heart stumbled a beat. “You can either tell me their location, or I’ll tear your pretty sister limb from limb, as is becoming tradition for my son’s dalliances. Your choice.”
And Feyre had thought he could have asked for nothing worse than the Book of Breathings. At least in giving up the book, there was still the chance the Cauldron would never need to be nullified.
But giving up the feet, restoring the Cauldron to its full power…
It cost the lives of those dearest to your heart to end the war. It will cost the same again.
They were backed into a corner. As desperately as Feyre tried to think of an angle, she didn’t want to risk putting Elain in harm’s way. Lucien was stiff beside her, eyes staring blankly ahead. There was a vacancy to him that told her he was somewhere far away. Had Jesminda’s execution been the last time he’d stood in his father’s throne room? And now he stood here again, with the threat of reliving it if she didn’t give Beron what he asked for.
What would Rhys do if he were here? How would he spin this to minimize its impact?
“Show her to me,” Feyre demanded. “Prove that she’s alive and unharmed.”
The High Lord seemed to consider this for a moment, then nodded at the males that stood on either side of Feyre and Lucien. Wordlessly, Lucien’s brothers disappeared down the hall to fetch Elain.
They waited in tense silence, until eventually the sound of footfall carried into the chamber—three sets, instead of two. They were accompanied by a sound of whimpering that set Feyre’s blood boiling. Once they came into view, she could see why—Elain was being dragged by her hair, her face twisted in pain.
And though Elain looked otherwise unharmed, it was too much. Too similar to that day in Hybern. Feyre felt her knees threaten to give out beneath her.
A furious snarl broke the silence in the room. Lucien’s battle face was nothing compared to the bloodlust in his eyes when he saw the way his brothers were holding Elain. “I’ll rip your fucking throats out.”
Even from the way Beron clucked his tongue in disapproval, she could tell he was taking a sadistic level of pleasure from drawing out Lucien’s ire. The taller brother drew a knife and pressed it to Elain’s throat. Her fear was thick enough to coat the entire room in its scent, as was the blood drawn from the tip of the dagger.
But her sister—her prim and gentle sister who had once sobbed on the floor when a faerie broke into their home—bared her teeth into a snarl. She hardly flinched against the bite of the dagger as she fixed two pairs of murderous brown eyes on Beron.
Lucien did flinch. But seeing the challenge on his brothers’ faces, he took a heavy breath and visibly forced his body to relax against the rage Feyre saw burning in his eyes.
“Know your manners in my court, boy,” Beron warned. Then he fixed his beady stare on Feyre. “As you can see—she’s alive and well. Do we have a deal, Cursebreaker?”
What choice did she have? Her magic was gone, she was poisoned and exhausted—they couldn’t fight their way out of this. She couldn’t seek Rhysand for any advice. The wards prevented them from fleeing. She looked to Lucien, his expression furious yet harrowed with a fear she felt so sharply that it made the arrow in her thigh seem like a splinter. Feyre turned to Elain, dagger pressed to her delicate throat despite everything Feyre had done to keep her safe.
She’d failed her sister twice now, and she would not fail her again.
“It’s a deal,” she said at last, feeling the tingle of magic as it bound her to their bargain. “The Cauldron’s feet are in the Hewn City, deep in the treasure trove.”
The words tasted like ash. The Cauldron’s feet had been her only insurance of Rhysand’s survival, and now she had surrendered it to their enemy.
She had effectively traded her mate’s life for her sister’s.
It was as though her limbs were tied to strings, and it was the work of some far away puppeteer that kept Feyre upright, when in her mind’s eye all she could see was Rhysand’s collapsed body on the battlefield. At least the feet would not be easy to retrieve. And perhaps an attack from Autumn would piss off Keir enough for the Darkbringers to join their battle without the use of coercion, though that felt like hardly any consolation when the price was her mate’s life.
Beron smirked and gestured dismissively to his sons that held Elain. “Go.”
The brothers wasted no time in vanishing, pushing Elain forward as they disappeared into smoke. Lucien practically bolted the distance to catch her, pulling Elain into his arms protectively. Feyre could see the way his posture relaxed at having Elain pressed against him, and distantly she was relieved that at least one pair of mates was saved today.
The look Lucien sent Beron was full of deadly promise. “We gave you what you wanted, raise your fucking wards.”
Unmoved by his son’s staredown, Beron leaned back in his throne looking as if he’d just won a very impressive game of chess. “Well, I can’t very well let you go until we’ve ensured the Cauldron’s feet are where you claim them to be.”
Fuck, Feyre thought. Fuck, fuck, fuck. Their bargain hadn’t included leaving.
The poison was beginning to make her feel faint, the edges of her vision becoming hazy as she pushed through the protests of her body, mind, and spirit to grasp desperately at a plan. Those things could wait—right now, she needed to survive.
She could feel Lucien staring at her, and from his grim expression she wondered how grave she must look. “Let me heal her.”
“Faesbane is nasty stuff,” Beron said, as though it were something exciting. “As I’m told you recently discovered for yourself.” He smirked. “Can’t be healed with your magic, I’m afraid, so she just has to wait until it’s out of her system. Pitiful thing.”
Hybern, she thought suddenly.
Since the moment Elain had been kidnapped, Feyre had been fighting the memory of that horrible day in Hybern. Kicking and screaming against it, the same way her sisters had when they were thrown into the Cauldron. It still haunted her nightmares.
And yet, it was more than just a horrible memory.
She'd been in this situation once before. Trapped by wards, no way to communicate with Rhys, forced to make an impossible decision to save the people she cared about. And her solution… it could be copied. This was not the way she wanted it to happen, but it was the only way out she could think of.
“Lucien,” Feyre whispered, moving closer so that she could speak without Beron overhearing. “You can break the wards.”
His face twisted in confusion. “What?”
“You can break the wards.” The words felt thick and slippery on her tongue, difficult to shape as the poison crawled through her bloodstream.
Lucien looked stunned, searching Feyre’s face earnestly. “How?”
“I didn’t want to tell you like this,” she said softly, hoping her friend would forgive her for the abrupt, life-altering news. Keeping her voice quiet was hardly difficult, and when she spoke it was barely detectable to her own ears. “You’re a Spell-Cleaver.”
He froze. Lucien looked to the Lady of Autumn where she stood at the far end of the room, eyes downcast, then swore softly under his breath.
“I can’t take all three of you.”
Feyre frowned, her mind churning slowly as she tried to keep up with his thought process. “Three of us?”
“If I reveal that I’m a Spell-Cleaver, I can’t leave my mother here.”
“Lucien,” Elain said quietly, earning both their bewildered attentions. “Your mother told me she’d give me a signal that would mean the wards were lowered for one minute, you don’t necessarily need to reveal anything.”
“What are the three of you whispering about?” Beron snapped, eyes narrowed. “It doesn’t bode well.”
They were saved from explanation by a screech on the other side of the room. A male had seized Lucien’s mother by her hair. A male that Feyre had last seen beheaded, moments after Elain had put a dagger through his throat.
The King of Hybern.
“This nasty thing was about to cast a ward cleaving spell,” the King sneered, hoisting a small spellbook out of the Lady of Autumn’s palm. “Where did you find magic like that?”
Where would Lucien’s mother find a spell like that, if not from the High Lord best known for cleaving spells? Feyre spared a glance towards Lucien, who seemed to be putting that together himself.
Another set of footsteps sounded down the hall, likely summoned by the Lady’s scream.
“Eris,” Beron snapped. “Where have you been?”
“Monitoring the battle in the Winter Court,” he answered, looking uninterested in the scene before him. “I’m reluctant to report the Night Court alliance has battled back our forces.”
“Not to worry,” the King crooned from where he still strung up Lucien’s mother—Feyre caught the way Eris’s eyes narrowed. “Dagdan and Brannagh have just informed me we’ve won the true battle—they say hello from the Hewn city.”
The twins. More enemies that Feyre had last seen with knives buried inside them. And they’d won—they’d taken the Cauldron’s feet, likely used the same fleeting spell the King had once saved for breaking into the House of Wind’s library.
Beron sighed. “Let her go—I’ll deal with her impertinence later. She has too great a blind spot when it comes to our sons. Even the less favorable of them. Eris, take her away.”
Two things happened the second Eris’s mother was handed to him.
First, Lucien cried out and there was a flash of light so bright it was momentarily blinding.
Then, he grabbed Feyre and the three of them folded into darkness. They landed knee deep in soot-stained snow, ash floating through the air from the still-burning buildings. Pushing her own injury aside, Feyre immediately shifted to assess Elain.
“I’m fine,” she insisted once Lucien began doing the same.
There was a keening noise somewhere within the chaos. A voice that Feyre would recognize anywhere, no matter how strained from battle. Rhysand was instantly beside them in the snow, grasping Feyre’s face. “You’re alive,” he whispered, sounding so griefstricken that it shattered her heart. “The bond went quiet and I thought—“ he couldn’t finish the sentence as he drew Feyre close on a half sob. “It doesn’t matter. You're alive. You’re alive.”
“Rhys, the Cauldron’s feet. I had to—“
“Shh, it’s okay,” he said. “Az told me the Hewn City was infiltrated, I’ve already sent him to deal with it.” Those eyes fixed on the arrow still protruding from her thigh, and she glimpsed the fury that cut through his concern. “You’re hurt.”
She was going to say fine, and even without the bond Rhys would have known it was a bald lie. He was already scooping her into his arms, finally taking the weight off her miserable legs, and her resulting whimper cut off anything else Feyre was going to say.
She knew what he was asking—knew that he had likely already pried into Lucien’s mind to find the answer. Still, she answered, “Beron.”
Those violet eyes turned ice-cold. His face was covered in ash, hair slick with sweat and sticking up at odd angles from the removal of his battle helm. Around them, soldiers were carrying around injured, counting dead bodies. It had been a long day, for both of them.
Rhys didn’t need to make any promises. Feyre already knew that Beron would be paying in blood for what had happened here today. She watched him make a conscious effort to put that rage aside, knowing there would be plenty of opportunity for vengeance in the battles to come.
For now, Rhys ducked his head and pressed their dirty foreheads together. “We’ll take you home and get you to Madja.”
Feyre shut her eyes, relishing in the contact. Mother knew how much longer she’d have to hold him like this. A tear slipped free, and Rhys immediately wiped it away, smearing it into the rest of the grime that caked her face.
“We all survived,” he said gently. “We lived to fight another day.”
Feyre nodded her understanding, halfhearted as she felt. It was enough to face one battle at a time.
Their attention was drawn back to Lucien and Elain by the sudden appearance of Eris beside them, carrying his mother and looking very reluctant to be there.
“Oh, dear,” he said. “It seems Mother winnowed away the second I turned my back.”
Lucien’s lip quirked. “I thought you might have it in you.”
“Oh shut up,” Eris snapped. “She’s in this position because of you, so you better look after her.”
Just as quickly as he’d come, Eris winnowed away, and the Lady of Autumn looked uncertain as she hovered before all of them.
“I’m a Spell-Cleaver,” Lucien said to her, lips a sharp frown. He almost looked angry.
“Yes,” his mother said, voice soft.
“You understand why Eris took you,” he prompted. “Why you can’t go back.”
Would Beron kill her for it? Their expressions certainly indicated he’d do something horrid.
“Yes,” she repeated, eyes full of remorse.
“We’ll offer sanctuary in the Night Court,” Feyre chimed in, feeling so much sorrow for the Lady whose life had been stolen from her.
“Thank you, Lady,” she said, bowing her head graciously.
“Perhaps you should see if you can get sanctuary in the Day Court,” Lucien said, voice sharp and humorless.
“It’s available—if she wishes it.” Everyone’s attention turned to Helion. Feyre wondered if he’d been alerted to the situation by Rhysand, or if he was simply able to sense the Lady’s presence.
Lucien went stiff at his arrival. He turned on the male, looking at him as though it were for the first time. “Did you know, too, Helion?”
He paused. “Did I know what?”
“That I’m a Spell-Cleaver.”
Helion tensed, glancing between Lucien and his mother in near disbelief. “You’re—you’re what?” There was a beat of heavy silence, and he swore colorfully under his breath. “It certainly looks like the three of us have a lot to talk about.”
Lucien stood, taking Elain with him. “Give my mother asylum in the Day Court, but spare me from the family meeting. We’re going back to Spring.”
Back to Spring… where Beron’s sons had strolled in with hardly any trouble.
“Actually, Lucien,” Feyre interrupted, feeling nervous to interrupt such a pivotal moment in Lucien’s life. “I think it’s better if Elain came back to the Night Court. It’s not the first time Tamlin’s had trouble with his wards. And after what happened today, maybe Elain shouldn’t be that close to Autumn.”
“If Elain goes, I’m going too,” he growled.
Helion and Lucien’s mother were watching him closely, as much as Lucien pretended not to notice. Feyre glanced to Rhys, hoping she expressed enough on her face to communicate that she trusted Lucien to come to Velaris. Rhysand sighed, “You can come too, foxboy.”
“Lucien—“ his mother whispered, silver brimming in her eyes as she reached towards him.
Lucien looked pained as he shook his head. “Just give me time to process this Hell-sent day.”
He busied himself with gathering Elain into his arms, hardly glancing at his parents as he walked past them to stand beside Rhysand. But Feyre could read the anguish that he refused to let them see.
Helion put his hand on Lady Autumn’s shoulder, the familiarity of the gesture almost heartwrenching.
“Right,” Rhys drawled in an attempt to break the tension, but it lost its effect from the sorrow in his voice. “I need to take my mate to a healer, so we all really must be going. Helion, Lady, please reach out if you need anything.”
Lucien stared blankly ahead, ignoring everyone’s collective stares—even Elain’s—as he let Rhys grab him by the shoulder and winnow them all to the Night Court.
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