Chapter 24:

Chapter 24

Prince of the Sun


As his dance with Momoka came to an end Jace was thankfully saved by Lynn approaching, he didn’t know what he would have done with Momoka otherwise. Her night just seemed to be so soured.

Lynn noticed the way that Momoka looked and took a sharp breath in, she took stock of Jace’s face as well.

“Jace, sorry to pull you away from Momoka but the speeches are about to begin, we need to get to the stage,” Lynn said softly, as to not agitate an already uncomfortable situation.

Internally Jace was breathing a sigh of relief. He leant down and placed a kiss on Momoka’s cheek, earning a small smile from her. “I’ll be right back, I promise.”

She nodded. “Ok, I’ll watch you on stage.”

Together Lynn and Jace walked through the crowd.

“Is everything ok?” Lynn asked gently.

“They have taken a turn,” Jace said sourly.

“It’s so sudden.”

Cassianus and Queen Pearl stood at the base of the stage. They regarded both of their children, who fell silent. Jace tried to quiet his mind, knowing that the drama would be considered petty by his parents despite the turmoil it was stirring up within himself. His mother’s intense eyes, rimming with power on him, was enough to clear his mind.

“Are you ready?” Cassianus asked, his voice hushed needlessly.

Both of them nodded and the family walked onto the stage.

The music had stopped and as they ascended all the chatter of the crowd quieted into almost a complete silence. All eyes were turned towards the stage. The Queen took to the podium while the rest of her family sat behind her.

She began her speech, it was mostly the same every year. Talking about the dark times of winter and how all of us must weather the storm to show to our god Omthys that we are strong and worthy to make it out the other end and be greeted by his warm light.

She did mention that she was grateful for the break from the Myth Hunter attacks recently. Usually she would mention how difficult the year had been with increased attacks.

The crowd was quiet and listening intently as she spoke but far too soon her speech ended and it was time for Jace. He stood, taking a calm but deep breath. Passed by his mother who gave him a warm smile and a wink. A seemingly small scrap of affection but Jace ate it up.

As he approached the podium, his smile was real.

He began by thanking all that attended the ball. Listing out a few groups whose this was their first time or had particularly long journeys.

His eyes wandered over the crowd as he spoke. It was obvious were his cousins were. Even in a winter themed event they stood out like bright lights.

Nikita was with her friends toward the back. April and Claude were together near the front and Thariel was surrounded by a group of Phoenix girls. Isabella was lurking in a corner, probably trying to find an apt time to leave.

Momoka was with her pack. Her eyes glimmered when they met Jace’s. It seemed her pack were able to pull her out of the spiral, Jace was so relieved.

He continued talking about the importance of banding together during the longest night and the symbol that this ball and this night represented.

Then his wandering eyes caught something that almost made him trip up in his well rehearsed speech.

Zebedaios smiled at him from the back of the crowd.

A smile that made Jace’s heart race. Under his mask Zebedaios was watching him, somewhere under there Jace just knew, they were making eye contact.

He had to force himself to remember the words. He knew that he sounded mechanical yet he couldn’t look away from Zebedaios and that smile.

What did that smile even mean? Was Zebedaios proud of Jace for giving a speech? Surely not. Was he just pleased that Jace was on display? Perhaps.

Jace’s heart was in his throat and he struggled through his words. Yet he couldn’t look away from Zebedaios. It felt like if he did Zebedaios would just disappear.

He got to the end of the speech and without taking his eyes off Zebedaios he stepped back and the applause erupted from the crowd. Jace stood just as long as he needed to with his family before walking briskly back into the crowd. Zebedaios was still there. Jace was so thankful for being tall, he could see the horns on Zebedaios over the top of the crowd.

He couldn’t run but he walked as quickly as he could. Running would be unprincely, yet he needed to get across the dancefloor before the dance began again.

Momoka saw Jace rushing through the crowd, his legs allowing him to move at a fast pace without running. His eyes seemed to be locked on something across the room. She had to jog a little to catch him.

“Jace?”

He didn’t look at her, he didn't even turn in her direction, his eyes planted on something in the distance.

“Sorry Momoka there’s someone I need to talk to, we will dance again afterwards I promise,” Jace said and continued walking even faster.

Momoka stopped in her tracks. Yet her eyes followed him, after all he was easy to follow a glowing white man over two metres tall. She looked at what his destination he could possibly be going to, to her horror, at the back of the room were Nikita and her friends.

Momoka couldn’t help but to shoot Nikita a glare.

Nikita noticed the glare and rolled her eyes at Momoka.

It made her blood boil that Nikita could have so little respect or care for her. Jace was her boyfriend after all. How could Nikita just toy with her heart?

For someone who was a child of the sun, Nikita had such a cold heart. Momoka didn’t know how much of it she could take, yet all she knew was how much she cared for Jace.