Chapter 37

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LILY sucked in a breath, unprepared to see his thin, bruised form.

His eyes widened when he saw them, flying over all of them before settling on Iressa. "Iri," he croaked, shifting slightly.

Iressa let out a small, choked sound as she turned away. Lily could see her eyes glittering with tears already.

Brennon's face turned even more sorrowful, and he glanced at the others. He focused on Ada. "Ada—I'm so sorry. I didn't mean to stab you, I didn't know it was you behind me—"

"Save it," Venix said, his face stony. "You're lucky Ada survived."

Lily glanced at Ada and noted that the other girl's hand had drifted to her abdomen, right where Brennon had stabbed her.

"I didn't want to kill you," Brennon rasped, leaning forward.

"I know," Ada said quietly. She looked at the ground.

"And yet you managed to kill so many others," Vena said, voice as sharp as her blade.

Brennon's shoulders fell. "I didn't know there would be so much death—"

"How could you not? You led them to a wedding," Lily said, burying her pain beneath anger. "Arlo and Arianna's wedding, Brennon."

"They wanted to attack then. No one suspected it," Brennon said, shaking his head.

"Why?" Iressa said, finally lifting her head.

"Iri—"

Iressa cut him off. "Why did you have to do it, Brennon?"

Brennon sighed. "After father died, you knew how angry I was—"

"It's been years!" Venix shouted, his voice bouncing off the stone walls. "Years! And you were still angry enough to do that?"

Brennon looked down. "I needed to kill that man. And I did."

"And you are you happy now?" Vena said, tone full of poison. "Happy, all alone in your cell with your revenge, and—"

She broke off, looking away. Lily could see her curl her mouth and wasn't sure if it was in disgust or to hide her tears.

"No," Brennon said, his voice hollow. "I'm not happy." He glanced up, meeting Lily's eyes. "I'm glad you followed me, though. I'm glad no civilians died."

"But so many soldiers died," Lily said coldly, "Because of you."

"Was it really worth it?" Iressa asked softly, and even Vena's face became gentle as she looked at her. "Was it worth losing everything?"

Brennon swallowed. "I love you, Iri—"

"Don't!" Iressa said, letting out a sob.

Brennon shook his head, continuing. "I love you, but I wasn't right for you. You deserve so much more, and you will find it one day, Iri—"

"Don't call me that!"

He fell silent at Iressa's shout, and looked at her with pained eyes.

"I hate you," Iressa said, tears falling down her cheeks, glimmering in the fire. "I hate you so much."

"I know," Brennon murmured. "I deserve it."

"When did this start? When did you plan to do this?" Venix asked, a tear slipping down his cheek as well.

Brennon shook his head. "It was very recently. They approached me, said they would help me kill that man—I didn't know what I was getting into until it was too late. It all happened so quickly—I got caught up in it, and before I knew it, they were telling me we would attack."

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