I realised today that if I hadn’t stopped the 500 Words a Day Challenge, today would have been the last day – the 17th of December 2016! I started the challenge last year on the 18th December, which means exactly a year has passed and today would have marked the final day of my self-imposed challenge.

I do feel a tiny bit of regret at not being able to complete it, but other things in my life had to take priority. I’m still pleased with the amount of progress I managed to make during the first part of the year, and I will always be proud of that! Perhaps I’ll try it again another year…

But, in memory of the 500 Words for 366 Days Challenge, I have written one final 500 words… Enjoy!

“That’s it. It’s finished.” Cory shrugged as he said the words. “There’s nothing else we can do.” He rested his palms on the table that showed flickering, semi-transparent images hovering above it.

Ivory shook her head. “No way! I won’t accept that! The Kingdom can’t fall to the Magi. It can’t! We have to do something.” She desperately scoured the images that showed the battle raging outside the castle walls, looking for anything that might turn the tide of the battle.

“Ivory, there’s nothing we can do. We’re helpless against their magic. They have more of the Kingdom’s people on their side. No one wants the Royal line on the throne anymore.” He looked at her with dull eyes. She hated that the fierce spark of loyalty and determination had been extinguished from those deep blue eyes.

Stubborn, she tried again to convince him. “There must be something that we haven’t tried yet – some strategy or gadget or magic-suppressor thingy…” She trailed off. Even she had to admit she was reaching. What she was saying sounded ridiculous to her own ears. She felt her shoulders sag. “We’ve failed,” she whispered miserably.

Cory put a comforting arm around her. “Look at it this way: everything comes to an end at some point. The Royal Family weren’t going to rule forever, especially when their line became non-magical. You can’t expect people to be happy when their leaders don’t know how it feels to live with magic coursing through their blood. Bearing the ‘gift’ of magic can be a … struggle.”

Ivory bit her lip. “Sorry, Cory. Sometimes I forget that you’re technically a Magi.”

“It’s okay. I try to forget everyday.” A hint of bitterness had entered his voice.

A long moment of silence passed. The distant rumble of walls crumbling under the onslaught of magical attacks and the distinct pop noise of a shield spell failing brought them out of their thoughts.

“I suppose we’d better move to Plan B,” Ivory said with a sigh.

Cory nodded in agreement. “And fast. We don’t have much time left before the Magi breach the inner shield spell.”

They left the small room, breaking into a run along the corridors, dodging frantic soldiers, servants and other castle staff. Reaching a door, Cory knocked once before entering. Ivory followed, trying not to show how out of breath she was.

Two little girls looked up at them, their faces showing their fear. Seeing Cory and Ivory, both of them scrambled over to clutch at their waists.

“Ivory, there was a loud bang! It scared Ceri ‘n me. Even Nurse was scared! What was it?”

Ivory stroked the 6-year-old’s hair soothingly. “It’s nothing to be frightened of, Vexia. Cory and I are here to keep you both safe.” She crouched down to be at eye level. “Actually, we’re going to go on an adventure outside of the castle! Do you two mischief-makers want to come?”

The twins jumped up and down, fear forgotten. “Yeah! An adventure!”

“Come on then. Nurse has your coats ready, get them on quickly!”

She exchanged a glance with Cory. It was difficult, knowing they were taking the girls away from the only home they’d ever known, unlikely to see it ever again. But they had orders from the highest authority: the King and Queen themselves.

“It’ll be okay,” Cory whispered as the princesses put their warm coats on. “At least they will be safe.”

Ivory took a deep breath and nodded. He was right. Their safety was the most important thing in the world to her now. She had to get them out of the castle.

Hope you enjoyed the last instalment of the 500 Words Challenge! Perhaps it will resurface in the future… 🙂

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