“Do ye truly believe that she’s yer soul mate?” the king asked tauntingly as he gestured for a guard to grab Macha when she tried to go to him.

“Aye,” he admitted, knowing that there was no point in lying and fearing what the king would do to Macha if he tried.

“I see,” the King said solemnly, pulling out his short sword and pointing it towards Tadgh’s chest, probably expecting him to beg for his life, but he wouldn’t. This was the bargain for his family’s lives and he would gladly pay it for them.

“Then where yer soul goes, shouldn’t hers follow?”

It took a few seconds for the King’s words to sink in and by the time they did, it was too late. The King grabbed his own daughter by the hair and thrust the small sword into the right side of her chest, a killing wound. It was a wound that he’d inflicted hundreds of times into his enemies’ chests. It was designed to cause a slow painful death with no hope of recovery.

“Ye bastard!”

Keeping his eyes locked on his wife as she fell helplessly to the ground, he grabbed the sword at his throat, barely noticing or caring as the blade sliced through his fingers and shoved it away as he grabbed the wrist that held it and with a well practiced move, snapped it. He took the sword, turned it and thrust it back, killing the man before he could react. He quickly killed the man to his left as he pushed up on his trembling legs and went after the bastard that he should have killed a long time ago.

He was barely aware of the commotion going on to his left or the screams of agony as he moved towards his prey. Before he could get within striking distance, the coward grabbed Macha by her hair, tilted her hair back, exposing her throat to the sharp blade of a dagger.

“Not another step,” the king warned.

“Ye won’t be leaving this field alive,” Shayne promised hoarsely as he stepped up beside him.

“Yer life is mine for the taking,” Liam swore, stepping up to his left and claiming the right to kill the King. Tadgh didn’t waste his energy arguing, not when the only thing that mattered was that the king died this night.

“Tadgh,” Macha said, sobbing as she pressed one hand to her wound and the other over the baby that she would never hold.

“Drop the knife,” Finn said coldly, coming up behind the King while Fergus, Aidan and Quinn disposed of the men protecting the King’s back.

His brothers were badly injured, but determined. The King’s smug smile froze on his face as his eyes quickly darted around the clearing and whatever he saw had him dropping his hold on Macha’s hair, but he didn’t move the blade away from her neck.

Using his sword as a staff to support his weight, Tadgh quickly looked around and saw the reason why. All of the King’s men were either dead or dying. Months of running and hiding ended tonight.

Keeping his knife firmly against his daughter’s throat, the King reached into his robes and pulled out a smooth disc shaped grey stone. Holding it over his heart, the King locked eyes with him.

“Ye will all pay fer this, this I swear! Ye will never know peace or true happiness. Ye will forever walk this earth as slaves, never knowing a moment of peace! Ye will pay for stealing from me! Ye ruined me over this nonsense of soul mates and true love, so I curse ye all to hell and back and ye soul mates along with ye! May ye only know pain and suffering for eternity and ye soul mates suffer fer what ye did to me this day! Ye will always meet with death!” the King shouted, but none of them heard him. None of them cared for the nonsense that he shouted.

Finn placed his hand over the stone, ripping it out of the King’s hand. “And ye as well, ye dumb bastard!”

Quinn quickly reached down and placed his hand around the blade, separating it from Macha’s neck and taking the slice that would have ended her life too quickly. As it was, she’d only had a few precious moments left. He was about to lose her and their child, he realized. Raw agony ripped through him, tearing an unholy roar from his throat as he picked up his sword and swung, slicing the King’s neck open from ear from ear.

“Macha,” he whispered, his heart breaking as he released the sword and dropped to his knees before her.

“It hurts,” she cried softly as she fell to her side.

He reached for her when his strength finally left him and he couldn’t do more than to fall to the ground. He reached for her, but couldn’t quite reach her. The inches that separated them felt like miles.

“I know, mo shonuachar,” he said softly, welcoming the cold numbness that spread through his body.

“Hold on, lad,” Shayne said, pulling him into his arms and further away from Macha. He tried to fight, but he didn’t have any fight left in him.

“Do something!” Shayne demanded.

“I’m s-scared,” Macha admitted as Finn dropped to his knees beside her, tears rolling down his blood spattered face, he reached out with trembling hands and did what Tadgh couldn’t. He took her into his arms and held her.

“There’s nothing ta be scared of, mo shonuachar,” he told her, wishing that those were his arms wrapped around her. “I’m gonna be coming for ye.”

“Ye promise?” she sobbed softly as her breathing became labored.

“Aye, I do,” he said, smiling as his vision dimmed out.

Chapter 39

“Everything will be fine,” Beth said softly to herself, to her or the men looking like the rug had been pulled out from beneath them, she didn’t know.

She also couldn’t hold it together for a minute longer if she had to sit here. She needed space away from the oppressive grief that threatened to overwhelm and destroy her. There was a way out of this and she needed to figure it out quickly and she wouldn’t be able to do that if she stayed here a minute longer.

“Where are you going?” Denny asked, looking worse than the last time they’d all gathered in this room while they’d waited for the surgeon to tell them that everything would be fine.

“I need to use the bathroom,” she mumbled, trying to give him a smile and failing miserably.

Denny nodded as he stood. “I’ll go with you.”

“I’ll be fine,” she said, grabbing her purse.

Quinn, Finn, and Aidan shifted their circle of protection, widening it as they prepared to move with her. She was glad that they were here and that they’d refused to let her out of their sight. It made getting them alone so that she could question them about this curse easier. She needed to know exactly what was said, who said it and what they were doing when they said it. She needed-

Tags: R.L. Mathewson Cursed Hearts Fantasy
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