"Run faster," the breathless voice of my mate’s best friend shouts to me as I rush through the cold woods in Scotland where we planned to escape to. At least our information on the portal was right. The freezing wind hits my face as snow brushes against my bare legs, making me want to fall into the snow and give up. I fight the cold, unforgiving snow for as long as I can. Keeping the image of my mate in my mind. He would never give up.
"I can't," I say, collapsing to the ground as pain rips through my stomach. I look down as blood coats the snow-covered floor by my stomach. I can’t do this anymore, it’s too late, and I can feel the poison spreading through my body from the dagger.
"Reni," I whisper my companion’s name as she slides to her knees in front of me, my gaze goes to my newborn daughter that she holds in blankets close to her chest. Two hours, that’s all I had with her before they attacked us. It’s not enough.
"I will stay and fight to protect you, for him," Reni says sharply, handing me my daughter, and I push her away gently, my heart breaking as she cries.
"No, go. It's too late, and I can't outrun them. I can distract them enough by closing the last portal," I say quietly as Reni’s eyes widen in shock. If I close that portal, then there is no way for her and her army to follow us.
"Using any power now will kill you. My alpha died to keep you alive. You can't do this to me," she begs me, keeping her voice in a whisper for the baby. I look around the snow-covered forest, remembering the Autumn court and the brief happiness I felt there when I married the man I loved and had my beautiful daughter. The Autumn court was always home and where I expected I would die one day. Now I’m going to die in Winter, on Earth, of all worlds. So very far from home.
"Something is wrong, and neither of us are healers. Take my child and keep her safe. Please," I say reaching to hold a hand against my sleeping child wrapped in her arms. I twirl a finger around the dark red hair on her head, the same colour as mine and all the royal family before me. Her bright green eyes watch me, and she doesn’t make a sound. She is so innocent for the world she has been born into. Reni looks down at me and then to my little baby she holds in her arms.
"I will do it for you. I will do it for my lost alpha and my queen. I will bring her up with my mate as our own. No one will know who she is," Reni says, finally giving in, and I know her well enough to know she means every word. She may not be Fray, but she is family to me.
"Her name is Adelaide, after my mother," I tell Reni gently, who nods.
“That name will give her identity away on Frayan,” Reni reminds me what I already know. It is a royal Frayan name. No common Fray could name their child it. It would be highly disrespectful. Not that it matters. Once she stepped into Fray, everything about her would give her identity away.
"No one can know who she is. You must keep her away from anything Fray-touched. She must never get her Fray powers or wings," I tell her, knowing that there is no way she can be taken back to Frayan. When I close the portal, it will be impossible, but there are weapons here that have Fray magic, even some creatures that have passed through portals. They won’t have enough magic to reveal her powers, but over time…they would make them appear.
"You have my word. I'm sorry I can't save you," she says with tears running down her face. Everything starts going blurry as she stands and offers me a hand to help me up. I stand shakily and look down once more at Adelaide before turning away, my heart breaking. I have to do this.
"They are coming, go," I say, and she nods holding my daughter closer.
"I'm sorry," she bows the best she can when holding a baby. My mind flashes back to the prophecy surrounding my child and the Fray courts that have fallen to keep her safe. She has to be safe. I watch until I can’t see Reni anymore before walking back off into the woods. When I see the portal, a slightly blue clear shimmer that only Fray can see, I lift my hands. It only takes a second for my lightening power to shoot purple bolts of lightning out my hands into the portal. My wings flutter behind me, lifting me slightly into the air as my power gets stronger. The portal cracks slowly, bit by bit until it explodes, and I go flying into the air. I close my eyes and think only of Adelaide, knowing she will be safe, as darkness takes me.