The Immortal Circus: Act One | Chapter 31 of 34

Author: A.R. Kahler | Submitted by: Maria Garcia | 5848 Views | Add a Review

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Kingston sits across the desk from Mab. Both stare at each other in silence. Perched between them on a curling iron stand is Mab’s top hat; it’s covered in black sequins and raven feathers, and in the center is a bright red ruby that casts the trailer in a bloody light. There is no other illumination save the stone, no sound save the howl of wolves in the distance.

Finally, after what seems like hours, Kingston breaks the silence.

“You can’t keep her in there forever,” he says.

“That was never my intention,” Mab replies. She wears a dress of black cobweb and velvet. Her hair shines with a thousand dark pearls. She doesn’t look like a queen who recently lost half her kingdom, she looks like a goddess awaiting her tribute.

“Then why?” Kingston says. “Why capture her in the first place? Why not just let her loose and be done with all this?”

Mab pulls the hat closer to her and examines the ruby. Angry flames dance within.

“Because,” she says. “It is not yet time. The show is not ready.”

“You mean Vivienne isn’t ready,” Kingston replies. His voice is dangerous and low.

“I fail to see a difference,” she says.

“I won’t let you use her,” Kingston says. “Not like this. She can’t take on Kassia. She’s too young.

Mab just chuckles and tosses the hat toward Kingston. Kingston catches it and turns it within his hands. The very thing makes his palms tingle with uncomfortable warmth. He smells brimstone.

“My dear friend,” Mab says, “don’t tell me you’ve grown soft. You know how little faith I have in love.”

Kingston looks over the hat to his queen. He says nothing, but his cheeks flush. This is answer enough.

“This show would play out no matter what,” Mab says. She stretches back in her chair and smiles. “I’ve merely done what I can to ensure it plays out in my favor. It cannot be stopped. Not by you, and not by me.”

Kingston peers into the stone that holds all that’s left of Kassia, the strength and sulfur that grows stronger by the day. Even now, he can imagine the tiny cracks appearing in the stone’s surface. Even now, he can feel her hatred. It has always been there, the threat of the final battle. But it had been easy to ignore; it had been easy to pretend this really was just a show, just a way to cultivate dreams. Kingston had managed to ignore the darker aspects for years, had allowed himself to pretend that Lilith was just a girl and Poe was just her cat and he himself was just a stage magician. Until Vivienne showed up. Until the final clock began to tick.

“She’s dreaming again,” Kingston whispers. “For the past few nights. She talks in her sleep.”

“And what does the dreamer say, my friend?”

“The end,” Kingston says. He looks into the depths of Kassia’s hatred and shivers against the flame. “She sees the end.”

“Well then,” Mab says. She reaches over and snaps the hat from Kingston’s hands. “It would appear our Vivienne is almost ready to remember who she is. Your work is almost done.”

Kingston says nothing. Mab drums her fingers against the desk. Moments pass.

“It’s time, love,” Mab says. Her dress shimmers into the sharp black and violet of her ringleader outfit. She stands and places the hat on her head. The ruby glows like the mouth of hell. “Places.” She smiles and holds out a hand to help Kingston stand. Kingston hesitates. Then he takes her hand and rises.

“The show goes on,” he says. There’s a flatness in his voice. He knows that no matter what, he is her puppet. He always has been, and always will be.

Mab winks at him.

“Oh, love, that’s an understatement. You have no idea what I’ve got in store.”

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Great book, nicely written and thank you BooksVooks for uploading

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