Chapter no 72

A Court of Silver Flames

Emerie and Gwyn had won. They’d made it through the Breaking. It was enough.

Nesta only had to hold this asshole off for a few more minutes—until dawn. Then it’d be over. Her power would return, and she could … Nesta didn’t know what she’d do. But at least she’d have that weapon.

Bellius lunged, swifter and surer than the others.

Nesta barely had time to lift her shield. The impact shook her to her bones, but he was already pivoting, his own shield swinging for her face—

She twirled out of range. Gods, she was tired. So, so tired, and—

He didn’t stop. Didn’t give her a moment’s reprieve as he attacked, parrying and thrusting, driving her back toward the line, the archway. Hatred burning in his face.

Such blind, driving hatred. Without reason. Without end.

The snow thickened, the wind howling, and the sky rumbled. Bellius struck again, and Nesta lifted her shield, meeting the blow.

Lightning flashed, thunder booming in its wake.

A storm had swept around the mountain, veiling the moon, the stars. Only the lightning arcing across the sky provided illumination to Bellius’s onslaught.

She was on the defensive, and if she wanted to survive this, she had to find some way to change that—

But the snow slickened the stones, the dirt, and as lightning lashed across the sky again, blinding them both, he thought faster. Acted faster.

Used her blink to slam his shield into her own, knocking it from her grip.

It clattered onto a stone nearby. Her fool’s look toward it had him knocking the sword from her hand, too.

Disarmed like a novice.

Thunder cracked again, and Bellius laughed. “Disappointing.” He paused, surveying her. And smiled before he attacked once more.

Nesta dodged assault after assault, but not fast enough to avoid the precise slices Bellius landed to her arms, her legs, her face. She slowed, her feet sliding on the slippery mountainside as the thunder-snow raged.

Another blow and her feet left the ground. The breath slammed out of her as her spine hit something unyielding. A boulder.

Nesta’s body refused to move as she panted. Warm blood trickled out of her nose.

Bellius approached, tossing his weapons aside. “Doing this with my bare hands will be so much more satisfying.”


The word rang through Nesta. She had to keep moving.

On shaking hands, as lightning cracked and the snow swirled, Nesta pushed up off the rock. Her legs trembled, begging her to sit, to stop, to just fucking die already.

Bellius advanced, his powerful body sinking into a fighting position.

The wild hatred in his gaze seared her.

Her friends had made it … but she did not want to die. She wanted to live, and live well, and live happily.

Wanted to do it with—

Nesta braced her feet apart. Settled her aching, battered body.

Bellius snorted. “You really think you can beat me in hand-to-hand combat?”

Blood flowed from her mouth, her nose. But Nesta smiled anyway, its tang coating her tongue. “I do.”

Bellius threw his first punch, putting the entire force of his powerful body into it. Nesta blocked it, driving her fist into his nose. Bone crunched. Bellius howled, falling back a step.

And Nesta hissed, “Because my mate taught me well.”

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