The Silver Siren (Page 57)

“But won’t I go insane? No offense, Sevril.”

Sevril shrugged his shoulders. “None taken. I don’t want it back.” He gestured to the bottles filled with blue liquid.”

Xiven shook his head. “You won’t go insane if I immediately balance out the Siren in you by flooding you with pure Denai essence.” Xiven paced back and forth, his fingers tracing invisible calculations in the air. “We’d do what the Raven couldn’t. Create the ultimate new hybrid. That’s what Lord Horden hinted at too. An Archangel.”

“A what?” the word made me feel sick. Wasn’t it enough that for the last few months I felt like stranger in my own body? That it was slowly turning and changing me into a monster? Now they wanted to fully do that, turn me into something completely different?

Another monster.

The ground shook and dust floated down from the ceiling. A loud crashing could be heard and I could only assume that Syrani couldn’t hold Joss back.

“Thalia,” Prince Sevril begged. “Please, help protect my people. Don’t let the Raven use our kind to create mindless drones.”

“Why can’t you do it?” I pointed my finger hard into his chest.

The Prince grimaced and wouldn’t meet my eyes. “Because I’m too far gone. I’m too human. We wouldn’t have enough time,” he turned and picked up a small glass jar and handed it to Xiven.

“He’s right,” Xiven answered. “We’ve been spending weeks draining the Siren essence out of him.” He went to the table and picked up another glass jar filled with the eerie liquid. It swirled around gently, constantly moving, never stopping. “With each session I collected the Siren essence…here.” He pointed to the table filled with bottle upon bottle. “At the time we thought we were doing the right thing. We were making him human. But now we truly need a Siren to fight this war.”

“I can’t.” I backed away from Xiven and the machine. They were asking me to go back on the iron butterfly. To willingly subject myself to my most terrifying nightmare. And not over a period of time, but in a supernatural speed attempt to break everything in my body.

“Please don’t ask me to.” My hands started to shake and I found it hard to breathe. The room felt like it was growing smaller and smaller. “I can’t do it.” My legs went weak and I started to crumple. “No, no, no.” I was gasping, hyperventilating. Then I was on the floor, looking up at the ceiling and couldn’t help but notice how the constantly falling dust motes looked like shooting stars.

Hands grabbed me around the wrists and ankles, and I felt myself lifted into the air. The room spun and I screamed as I felt myself placed in the machine. I screamed and screamed. Braces clamped around my arms and tears burned at my eyes. Pain laced up my arms.

And I knew I was going to die.

Chapter 32

“Thalia…Thalia.” A dark head leaned over me and I reached out for him and grabbed on for dear life thinking it was Kael. The room stopped spinning.

I looked around to find that I was not on the machine, but on a large cot off to the side of the room. The pain around my wrists stopped when Sevril let go of them. I blinked at the worried look on Xiven’s face and the anxious one on Sevril’s.

“What’s going on?” I asked in confusion and saw the blanket placed over my lap, why are you not…why?”

Xiven sighed in relief. “Thalia, I will not put you on the machine without your consent. I won’t change the very essence of who you are without your willingness to do so. Unlike the Septori, I believe that using the machine against someone’s will changes the nature of the outcome. I won’t risk it. You have to be the one to say yes.”

Sevril’s eyes were moist, and he was now sitting on the floor, his head against the wall. He kept using his thumb and forefinger to rub his eyes. Little paths of glistening tears had left trails down his cheeks. He looked around the room dejectedly and stood up, brushing his hands on his pants. “Come on. If there is nothing more that we can do down here, then we need to go back up and help. I will not hide down here like a coward when innocent people are dying.” His voice, though full of disappointment, rang with pride.

Xiven nodded his head in agreement and went to stand by him. Sevril would truly be a great king one day, if he didn’t fall to the insanity of the Siren.

No, I couldn’t let anything happen to Sevril. He might be our only hope for the future. It wasn’t about me. It had never been about me. It would always be about what was good for the people. Not just his people, but all races. That was what made a great king. Someone willing to die for others.

Sevril would make a great king, if I had anything to say about it.

My heart was in my throat and I found it hard to talk—so I didn’t. Xiven and Sevril had gone to the stairwell and were arming themselves for battle. Neither one noticed when I pushed the blanket off of my legs and stood up. My legs wobbled, and I eased myself around the large table and went to stand in front of the machine.

Close up, it didn’t look as scary as I remembered it. It was a long metal table with little knobs along the back which aligned along the spinal column. Bands would wrap around the body, imprisoning the victim, and leather straps held the arms to the side and in place. Only this version of the machine didn’t look as ominous. There were no leather straps to hold the arms in place and there weren’t as many bands. Instead, I was fixated on what looked like a silver crown that would sit on the person’s head.

My lips were dry, and I couldn’t swallow. I was trying too hard not to throw up. I slid my hand up the back of the machine and rested my hand on the crown. I didn’t even care that Sevril and Xiven had stopped talking and watched me with silent interest.

Neither one of them moved.

I couldn’t stop the terrified tears that slid down my cheeks, but I wasn’t breaking down into a hysterical mess either. I held my head high as I crawled up onto the table and lay down. When Xiven and Sevril still hadn’t moved to assist me in my insane plan, I reached up and pulled the crown down onto my own head, and began to fumble and pull the bands around my own body.

Xiven came over to stand by me, his face solemn. “Thalia, are you sure? I will not be a part of this unless you are completely sure.” He reached out and lightly put his hand on my shoulder.

I closed my eyes and nodded. If I tried to speak, no words would come out.

He slowly started to readjust the machine for my height. He did it carefully and slowly, although I know he was trying to hurry. A hand reached through the metal bands and grasped mine. I turned my head and gave Sevril’s hand a squeeze. He squeezed back and refused to let go.

Xiven started to bring the glass jars of Sevril’s Siren essence over to the machine and place them on a table next to me. He started to talk incessantly about what he was doing, as if trying to not make me nervous. It didn’t work.

“So I will activate the current through the machine myself after I’ve given you the injections.” He took out a syringe and filled it with the liquid blue essence of Siren. He felt along the underside of my arms and gently touched the old scars. I had to turn away and not look when I felt the first prick of the needle. The headpiece is different; it’s of my own design. It seems to help the process go faster in unlocking the seals, because it seems to mostly be a mental block. I call it my Crowning Glory…get it?”