Born of Night (Page 60)

Born of Night (The League #1)(60)
Author: Sherrilyn Kenyon

Kiara came to her feet with a scream, her mind unable to believe what her eyes registered.

Nykyrian’s ship tore a hole through the bay’s outer wall. Red and gold flames licked the craft and the length of the bay’s floor and walls. Explosions erupted all over. Fire units descended to extinguish the blaze.

“I knew I should have detonated that ship,” her father growled beside her.

Horrified, Kiara gaped at him, then ran from the room. Her feet carried her into the heat of the bay, and she shook from the emotions tearing at her. The scorching blaze stung her nose with its pungent odor and made her eyes water. She coughed, searching the wreckage with desperate eyes. Pieces of Nykyrian’s ship were scattered everywhere.

For a moment, she thought she would collapse.

There was nothing left whole.

Nothing.

Kiara fell to her knees, gripping the edge of the wall until her hand was numb. Pain racked her soul and she wanted to die. This couldn’t be real. It wasn’t supposed to end this way.

Her gaze drifted over the scattered pieces, the firebots, the flames, down the bay to the opening until she saw . . .

Kiara blinked. It couldn’t be.

A glimmer of hope sprouted as she saw Nykyrian lying at the opening of the bay in a black lump. Finding strength from an unknown source, she ran to him.

“Please be alive,” she gasped, standing over his body that was covered in blood.

Kiara sank to her knees by his side, afraid to touch him. He lay on his back, perfectly still. His helmet was cracked and blistered.

She reached a trembling hand out to touch the gaping wound on his side. Nykyrian’s chest didn’t appear to be moving at all. There was so much blood. Her lips twitched as panicked terror engulfed her.

Hauk suddenly appeared and knelt on the opposite side of his body. He didn’t look at her while he unfastened the lines securing Nykyrian’s helmet to his uniform.

When he removed it, her world tilted.

“No,” she cried, seeing the bluish tinge to Nykyrian’s skin. She grasped his cold hand, which had somehow come free of its glove, to her breast and wiped the blood from Nykyrian’s icy cheek.

A medical unit surrounded them, forcing Kiara away. In a daze, she staggered back, her mind too overwhelmed by grief and pain to think.

Hauk began shouting, but his words were unintelligible to her, as was everything happening around her. A fog clouded her hearing, her sight, and for a moment she wondered if this was what death felt like.

Suddenly, her father was there, holding her.

For some reason, her tears stopped and a strange lucidity invaded her grief as she watched the medics rip open Nykyrian’s uniform and attach a series of machines to him. It was like she was watching players in a show moving to a script that she didn’t know the ending to.

None of it seemed real.

Kiara looked at her father. “You should call his parents and tell them,” she said in a hollow voice. “Emperor Aros and Princess Cairistiona. Please tell them. I-I don’t think I can.”

By the look on her father’s face, Kiara knew he thought she’d gone mad. Maybe she had.

Only someone insane could be this calm while their world was shattered.

“Please call them,” she said again. “I have to go with him.” Her heart splintering into tiny pieces, she entered the medical unit and went with them to the hospital.

CHAPTER 32

Kiara sat in the waiting room of the hospital, staring out the window. Nykyrian had been in surgery for over six hours and as each new second ticked by, she felt her hopes diminish with it.

Thia lay asleep in her lap, tears still nestled in her closed lashes. Telling the girl about her mother’s death, and about the father she’d only met once, had been one of the hardest things she’d ever done.

She sighed wearily, looking around the room. Jayne sat across from her, along with Caillen and Darling. Hauk just paced the hallway, saying nothing.

Nykyrian’s parents were huddled with her father at the other end of the room. They were a somber group, and she couldn’t help but wonder what Nykyrian would say if he could see them like this.

She held her left hand up before her, letting the dawning rays of the sun play across the red and black stones. She would give up everything she owned and ever aspired to if she could have Nykyrian back with her. She didn’t even care if he were crippled, just as long as she had him.

Kiara held Thia close as a balm against her grief and smoothed the ruffled blonde curls off her cheeks. She hoped her baby shared his half-sister’s blonde hair and green eyes.

The doors opened at the end of the waiting room.

She looked up expecting to see the doctor, shocked to find Syn entering the waiting room with a gorgeous redheaded woman. Tall and excruciatingly thin, the woman still looked lethal and cold as she surveyed them all with an intentness Nykyrian would envy.

Caillen rose to his feet and stopped the redhead before she reached her. Syn came straight to Kiara and knelt at her feet.

“How are you doing?” Concern was etched into his face as he gave her hand a comforting squeeze.

Grateful for his consideration, she patted his hand. “I’ve been a lot better.”

“I’m sorry. I should have been here. I could’ve stopped him.”

Kiara touched his cheek with a gentle caress. She understood that Syn ached as much as she did. “You know better, Syn. Nykyrian’s far too stubborn to have listened to you. I have a feeling if you’d been here, you’d by lying in the operating room next to his.”

Syn nodded, his lips in a tense line. “I guess you’re right.” He took a seat beside her.

She watched the woman who had the carriage of a dancer. “Who’s she?”

“Shahara Dagan.”

Her eyes widened in surprise. “The bounty hunter who was out to kill you and Nykyrian?”

He leaned his head back against the wall. “It’s a long story.”

After a few minutes, Shahara came to sit on the other side of Syn. She didn’t say a word. She only took his hand into hers and held it in a way that made Kiara long to feel Nykyrian’s.

They were forced to wait another hour before a doctor finally came forward. He stopped at Hauk, who pointed him back to Kiara.

She watched the doctor move toward her with cold apprehension, her heart pounding in fear at what he might say.

Syn held her hand.

“Mistress Quiakides?”

Kiara nodded, unable to speak past the lump blocking her throat.

“He’s out of surgery, but he’s still got a long fight ahead of him. There was a lot of damage done.” His somber expression tore at her. “In all honesty, I don’t know how he lived until now. I’ve never seen anyone survive surgery with the type of injuries he sustained. But it’s a good sign that he’s determined to live.”

With every word, Kiara’s throat tightened more.

“If you like, you may stay in his room,” the doctor said quietly. “It might increase his chance of survival if someone he’s close to stays with him.”

“Can he hear me?”

“I doubt he can understand you, but he’ll know you’re there.”

Jayne woke up Thia, who yawned and blinked at them as she tried to understand what was happening. “I’ll take her home to stay with my children. When he’s better, I’ll bring her back.”

Kiara offered her a shaky smile, grateful for the kindness.

“Kiara, I’ll go with you,” Syn said from beside her.

Patting Syn’s hand, Kiara stood and followed the doctor, Syn by her side.

Hauk relayed the doctor’s words to the rest of the waiting group.

The doctor opened the door to Nykyrian’s room.

Kiara went weak in her knees as she saw him. Nykyrian lay on the bed with wires and tubes linking his body to several machines. He looked so pale.

But at least he was still alive.

“We had to wire his nervous system back together,” the doctor said, pulling a chair out for her. “There’s a good chance he’ll be paralyzed if he wakes.” The doctor cleared his throat. “If he makes it through the day, he should have a good chance for recovery.”

Syn pulled him outside to give her a moment alone and to speak with the doctor.

Hearing the door close behind them, she made her way to the bed.

“Nykyrian,” she whispered, her tears falling down her cheeks. “Don’t leave me.” She touched the spot on his cold skin where her tears fell. “I won’t forgive you if you leave me alone.”

She stared at his beautiful face, which was swollen and red where they had fused skin back together over his injuries.

Gingerly, she ran her fingers over his finely arched brows, wishing he would open his eyes and look at her. At the moment, she would even be grateful for one of his fierce snarls.

The door opened and Syn and Hauk came in. Reluctantly, Kiara released Nykyrian’s hand and sat in the chair by the bed to wait and pray for improvement.

The week passed slowly as Kiara waited for a sign of recovery. Everyone had urged her at different times to leave the room for a little while and sleep in a decent bed, or eat a hot meal, but she wouldn’t, couldn’t, do it.

Nykyrian needed her and she wasn’t about to abandon him.

On the eighth day, she dozed fretfully in her chair.

A soft moan woke her.

Kiara jolted up, her heart pounding. She looked over to Nykyrian, who stared at her with open eyes. Thrilled to see him awake, she rushed to his side.

“Baby? How do you feel?”

He swallowed and grimaced. “Like I just fought Hauk on his worst day and lost,” he rasped. He tried to smile for her, but couldn’t quite make it.

Kiara didn’t mind. At the moment, she thought she could fly. Biting her lip, she stared at the gorgeous green eyes she’d feared she would never see again.

“I’ll get the doctor.” She kissed his cheek before dashing from the room.

Once outside, she hurriedly spread the news to his friends and family, seeking the doctor as fast as she could.

When she returned to her husband, his parents hovered over him with well-wishes and love. Warmth rushed over her at the sight.

The doctor shooed them all out.

With one last smile at him, Kiara followed his parents out of the room. Everyone chattered enthusiastically while they waited to hear the doctor’s final verdict.

An hour later, the doctor left the room with a wide smile. Her heart pounded with hope.

“He’ll be fine,” the doctor said, stopping before her. “In fact, he should be able to walk normally after a few therapy sessions. He’s a very lucky man.”

No, I’m a lucky woman. She was weak with relief as her father drew her into his arms and held her tightly.

There was a God and he loved her!

Smiling, Kiara grabbed Cairistiona’s hand and squeezed it before she went in to see Nykyrian again.

The pain on his face was excruciating for her to see. She walked over to him and placed her hand on his cheek. “You need anything?”

His gaze burned into hers. “Just you.”

She took his hand into hers so that he could see her wedding band. “I’ll always be here for you, baby.”

EPILOGUE

Kiara watched Nykyrian wrestle on the floor with Thia, her heart light at the way he “helped” Thia with her homework. Somehow their lessons always ended up in play.

He was such a good father and a wonderful husband. Truly, she couldn’t ask for better.

Sunlight poured brightly through the doors of the palace’s library. Six months had passed since Nykyrian had left the hospital, and during that time, they’d moved from his solitary house nestled among the stars to live with Nykyrian’s father, where he claimed she and Thia would be safe from anyone out to cause them harm.

The biggest benefit of his parents reinstating him as a royal prince and heir was that The League could no longer hunt him.

Total amnesty.

His mother and aunt had also deposed their mother on Andaria, and because of Jullien’s cruelty and actions, he’d been removed from the line of succession. Neither was happy about that fact, but if they took any actions against Nykyrian or his mother or aunt, they’d be imprisoned for it.

Or executed. With Nykyrian’s skills, there was always that possibility.

Now he and his daughter laughed as they rolled around on the floor. Thia shrieked, then ran away, the lorinas following her as she sprinted up the stairs.

A wide smile curved Kiara’s lips as she met Nykyrian’s gaze. “You must have tickled her.”

Nykyrian laughed. Grabbing his cane, he pulled himself slowly to his feet. He still walked with a pronounced limp, but he was alive and well.

That was all that mattered to her.

“Are you glad Thia’s with us?” he asked, pulling her into his arms.

Kiara grunted as her rounded belly collided with his firm, muscular body. She was two weeks overdue. “At the moment, I wish our son would join us.”

Nykyrian’s dimples flashed.

She touched the deep indentations, hoping their baby had a set as well. “Yes, I’m happy Thia’s here. She told me yesterday she’s glad she has a brother this time, but for the next one she wants a sister.”