Chapter XVI

The ride to The Palace of Shadows was a quiet one. Mayella glided along, the five teenagers seated atop her silver armor. She breathed balls of indigo fire every once in a while.

Faith shifted uncomfortably in her own silver armor. Her hand gripped the hilt of the Mirage Sword. It was light and cool under her hand. She shivered but not from the cold.

Mayella started her descent and landed with ease.

Faith dreaded every moment of it.

She didn't want to face the Carbo Queen.

She just wanted to go home.

Berry was the last one off, helped down by Tristan.

They all exchanged glances.

"Come on," Faith said unenthusiastically. "Let's get this over with."

They stood in front of the large black gates.

"You all know the plan, right?" Faith asked. "We go in, face the Carbo Queen, then get into the Hall of Mirrors to take me back."

"We've been over this, Faith." Skylar took her hand.

"Right. Just making sure."

Amethyst stepped forward.

On the ride to the palace she'd confessed who she really was, so her first name was no secret anymore. It only seemed fair that they knew.

She put her palms out, glowing purple. The gate opened with nothing but her mind. Then they slipped inside.

"HALT!" Guards.

Match Sticks.

Diamond Officials.

They were surrounded.

Faith let out a shaky breath. They all went back to back, forming a circle. She unsheathed the Mirage Sword and held it ready.

The guards lunged.

Everything started to blur together.

Skylar levitated and bent air, then tackled the guards.

Ivy's plants erupted from the ground.

Berry lifting guards and threw them with her mind.

Tristan swept through the shadows, sneaking up on the guards.

And Faith fought like how she learned to.

She leapt forth, jamming the Mirage Sword into guards ahead of her. They disappeared into clouds of ash and mounds of diamonds.

The sword did its job much too well, she noticed.

But this was taking too long.

They didn't have the time.

"We have to move!" Faith told them. "We'll never get to the Queen at this rate!"

"She's right," Tristan added, swinging a black diamond reinforced sword. "We have to get going."

Ivy raised her arms, vines towering over her head. The ground shook. "Now's our chance," She told the others.

They turned and ran right into the Castle, sprinting through the long halls and skidding around the corners.

The doors to the throne room lay ahead of them.

Faith drew a quick breath. They burst into the throne room, pushing the doors wide open.

But it was empty.

They all stood there, panting, confused.

"Oh no," Berry said, breathless. "She got to the Hall of Mirrors."

Faith's heart stopped.

Her only way out…..

"Well what are you standing around for? Move!" She dashed back down the hall and down the stairs, the others trailing behind her.

Her heart hammered against her chest.

She was shaking.

They were almost there.

"FREEZE!" More guards.

Faith was enraged. She felt adrenaline pump through her veins.

She had somewhere to be.

And no one would get in her way.

"You. First." Her eyes narrowed.

Ice. An explosion of ice.

Cold icicles jutted up from the ground, piercing the guards.

Another explosion.

This time of ashes and diamonds.

The others didn't have time to gawk at Faith, as she was already up and running.

A diamond incrusted door lay ahead.

The Hall of Mirrors.

She was nearly there.

Her legs went faster, so fast that she felt weightless.

She threw open the door.

The Carbo Queen turned to face them, mirrors surrounding her. She looked…. sad. Melancholy but determined.

"Stop right there." Faith commanded, clutching the Mirage Sword.

"I have been expecting you." The Carbo Queen's coal black gaze swept over each of them. "Sooner or later."

"And now we have come." Faith replied. "So stop whatever it is you're doing."

The Queen's gaze found Tristan. Her eyes watered. "You must despise me now, Tristan."

The Prince stepped forwards. "I have seen what you've become. I have seen what you did. Can you really blame me, mother?"

She shut her eyes, tears threatening to fall. She drew a shaky breath. "That's why I must end it."

"What do you-"

"You will kill me, otherwise. Imprison me, even."

Berry stepped forward. "We don't want to hurt you-"

"Amethyst." The Carbo Queen sounded calm. "I should have known it was you."

"Mother please-" Tristan sounded desperate.

"I love you, my Collier. I always have." The Carbo Queen slowly began to back away towards the mirrors. "But you cannot have me."

"NO!" Faith shouted, springing forward. But it was already too late.

The Carbo Queen walked right into the mirrors, just like Faith had done. The surface rippled.

She disappeared.

"NO!" Faith was hysterical. She ran to the mirrors, banging her hands on the surface. It didn't let her through.

It could only let one person through.

And the Carbo Queen had took that from her.

Tears slid down her cheeks, ice cold.

"Faith," Skylar trapped her in his arms. "I'm sorry. I'm so sorry."

He nodded at the rest of them.

Ivy pressed her lips in a line.

Berry directed her gaze to the floor.

Tristan came forth. "For the safety of all of us, and for Fairway," He raised his black diamond sword.

"NO!" Faith cried.

He swung the blade. It came in contact with the mirror, smashing it to pieces. The mirrors all broke, one by one.

"No," Faith's voice was a mere whisper. She was kneeling now, sifting glass shards through her fingers. Skylar still held on to her.

The Hall of Mirrors had just become the Hall of Shattered Glass.

The Carbo Queen could never come back.

And Faith could never leave.

Slowly, Skylar helped her to her feet.

Tristan and Berry held hands.

Ivy hugged herself.

"Come on," Tristan motioned towards the door. "We have an announcement to make."

She tumbled down down down into the darkness. There was nothing. Nothing to hold onto. Just air.

And then…


Ground. Solid ground.

She was here.

In Faith's world.

She shouldn't be here.

But Faith stayed in Fairway.

So the balance was restored.

Moaning softly, she picked herself off the floor.

Long black hair spilled open, as she'd lost her hairpins on the way here.

Her dress sagged around her and she clutched it to her chest to keep it from falling right off.

She looked at her pale hands.

They were small.

So it was true what they say.

Her youth had returned to her.

The Carbo Queen, now a girl of sixteen.

It was a fresh new start.

"Hey!" A voice startled her. "Who's there?"

She gasped, turning her head around.

And that's when she saw him.

A young man of nineteen, with blue-black hair that caught the light.

She wondered how she must look to him.

Black hair, black eyes, white skin in contrast.

An unusual girl in the forest wearing a dress much too big for her, covered in diamonds. She felt swamped in her skirts.

"Hey," He said, softer this time, towering over her. He crouched beside her side. "What's your name?"

A whole new life. "Leila. Leila Nyx Carbo." Her voice was small, she noticed, innocent.

It almost made her laugh.

Only a few seconds ago she was the most powerful woman in Fairway, a Queen.

And now she was a tiny girl lost in the forest.

"I'm Tobias, in case you were wondering." He said, taking her hands, helping her up. "What are you doing out here?"

"I….I'm not sure."

The corner of his mouth curled in a half smile. He put an arm around her waist to steady her. "That's fine. I'll take you back to Oxford. We'll see from there."

Author's Note: Oh my god finally I thought I'd never finish this dear lord! So this is the last and final chapter for Reflections, as you can see. Sorry if it seems a bit rushed :/ And if you're looking for a spin-off with Leila (Don't you just love her full name?) and Tobias, well... that's unlikely. And Tobias isn't a good guy. He's only nice to Leila because she's pretty and young and her dress was falling off. You know how guys are~