At first, the figure’s purple robes made him think of Garlord. However, when it got closer, he could see the figure was a female wearing a hood. When the smoke dissipated, the figure revealed itself as Kasmira! The Rebels cheered in pure jubilee. King Davidson’s elation quickly evaporated and turned to fear and anger. He shouted, “You broke your promise! So now your friends will all die!”
He pointed the scepter at the Rebels, but whatever curse he tried to inflict turned to dust. He looked confused, but Kasmira knew better. “You can’t hurt them. I died to save them, and my sacrifice will continue to protect them until it’s their time to go.”
King Davidson grew more and more frustrated and confused. “You couldn’t have really died! I mean, I threw your body in the river, so if you weren’t fully dead, then logically you should have drowned…You swam out, didn’t you?”
Kasmira laughed derisively at him. “I was reborn in the water. I’m actually a little surprised at you. With your mad quest for power, you forgot or ignored the fact that there are some things more powerful than magic.”
King Davidson scoffed, “More powerful than magic? You jest!”
Kasmira went on, “Your soul is more powerful than anything that exists on Earth. It is the only thing that lives beyond death. I came back because I share my soul with someone who still lives. You will never get that chance because you have destroyed your soul by immersing yourself in so much evil. Actually, there is still a chance for you to save yourself. Redemption is given to people who stop sinning and start doing good for the world. Garlord saved himself by helping me. If he can do it, so can you. You idolized him once; why not follow his good example? What say you?”
He seethed, “Did you really think you could stopme with that romantic nonsense?”
Kasmira looked unsurprised. “I did not think you would follow my advice, but I had to give you the option. Your lust for power will not cease beyond death, and your soul will be tormented in the Underworld. You think it’s worth it? All you keep thinking about is power. You set up a tirade against all witches and wizards because you knew they had a power that you didn’t and you felt threatened. You’re afraid of us! And now you think because you have the throne and a way to perform magic that you have absolute power. Well, you’re wrong again! You really think you can win against me now, but you’re forgetting a couple of things. One, my soul is whole and yours is tarnished, so it wouldn’t be hard to destroy you. But more importantly, my husband has my powers, so Garlord gave me his. Garlord is the rightful owner of that scepter, so do you really think it will be loyal to you when it senses its master nearby? People aren’t remembered for their abilities but their choices, and you still have a choice. Do you want to be remembered as a wise man who recognized defeat, or do you want to be destroyed by your own weapon? The choice is yours!”
King Davidson growled, “I already told you, I won’t be fooled by your pretty talk!”
“Then,” Kasmira told him, “we must duel.”
King Davidson pointed the scepter at her, but she easily dodged his curse. She used her magic to send the fallen Blood Warriors’ weapons at him. He used the scepter to block them and send them to Kasmira. she pointed her hands at them, and they became inflamed. She sent them back to King Davidson, and he cast them aside, surrounding the two of them by flames. She tried to make him go backwards into the flame, but he stopped himself. He tried to set another curse on her, but she reflected it easily back to him. He ducked and avoided it barely. The flames suddenly were put out. Apparently Orlando put it out with his new powers. King Davidson was momentarily distracted at the sight of his nephew using magic, so Kasmira took advantage of this split second and pointed at the scepter. It was ripped from his hands and sent to Kasmira.
King Davidson looked ghostly pale. He looked from Kasmira to Orlando to the Rebels and back to Kasmira. He decided to try and bargain with her. “You don’t need to hurt me. You’re a witch and you’ve got the scepter. Clearly, I underestimated how powerful you are. I’ve travelled far and wide and so with my knowledge paired with your power, you and I could rule the world! I mean, to do good, of course. We could make the world a paradise for people who can do magic. Think about it!”
Kasmira remained unmoved by his words. “You still don’t get it, do you? What? You expect me to show you mercy? After all the assaults, mind poisoning, heart break, torture, and murders you’ve committed against my people just to satisfy your own sadistic needs? You rot in the Underworld, you son of a bitch!” For a fraction of a second, Davidson had a look of sheer terror on his face, and the next instance, his body and soul vanished.
Everyone burst into a euphoric celebration. Kasmira pushed past the people trying to hug her, past Amberline, past Anthony, past Holly…She ran past Mac but threw him the scepter. She ran as fast as she could towards Orlando, who was also running for her. They fell into each other’s arms and embraced with pure love. Everyone felt so glad for them. They rejoined the crowd and hugged the people closest to them. The whole kingdom rejoiced at their victory.
On the castle steps, which now seemed a little brighter, the kingdom gathered to watch as Kasmira and Orlando kneeled before Father Paxton, who announced, “By the authority granted to me by a higher kingdom, I deem these two to be the legal King and Queen of Velorica!” Holly crowned Orlando and Mac crowned Kasmira. “You may rise.” The people applauded and cheered as they stood before them.
After it was quiet, Orlando told Mac, “As our first act as King and Queen, we’d like you to kneel before us.”
Mac did so, and Kasmira touched his head. “We dub you commander of our new order of knights. You may rise.” Everyone clapped and cheered for him.
Father Paxton, grinning broadly, asked those gathered there, “While I’m here, does anyone want to get married?” Anthony and Lydia, hand in hand, ran forward. Noah gestured to Amberline, who was so pleasantly surprised to hear him ask, grabbed his hand, and they went up to get married too. When the crowd stopped cheering, Father Paxton began the wedding ceremony.
Later on, Orlando and Kasmira threw a huge party in the castle. There was lively music, a lot of mead, and people dancing and talking with such joy. Holly played with Preston in a corner until Mac came in wearing a new set of armor (which bore blue mail instead of the old red). He posed like a warrior and asked her, “So, what do you think of my new captain’s uniform?”
Holly looked at him pleasantly stunned for a second, and then she leapt to his arms, kissed him many times, and said, “I want another baby!”
Mac held her and responded, “Right now?” Holly kept kissing him but nodded. Mac told Preston, “Go watch Preston.”
Before Joseph could object, they ran off hand in hand. He sat next to the baby and pouted, “How am I supposed to meet a girl if I’m watching the kid?”
A few girls his age walked by and saw Preston. One of them cooed, “Aw, is that your baby?”
Joseph picked Preston up and sat him on his lap. “No, but I’d like to think of him as the little brother I never had.” The girls awed and sat next to him, which made him grin broadly.
Joseph’s mother had been sitting at the bar while Halvor served drinks. She saw her son flirting with the girls and shook her head in amused way. Rosbly, who sat next to her, saw the encounter and asked, “Is that your son?”
She nodded. “Takes after his father.”
“Married?” Rosbly inquired.
“Widow,” she replied.
Rosbly looked happy upon that information and shook her hand. “In that case, I’m Rosbly.”
She smiled and said, “Serenity.”
Later on, Kasmira and Orlando had the musicians stop playing and stood before everyone, who looked to her with interest. Kasmira spoke, “It’s time for our evening to draw to a close, but before we do that, Orlando and I think it’s important to those we lost in this ordeal.”
Orlando raised his glass. “Let’s raise our drinks and hail the dead who, without their bravery and hard work, made our freedom possible.”
The crowd all said, “So hailed!” They took a last drink and everyone started to leave. Joseph left talking to the same girls. Rosbly left chatting animatedly with Serenity. The merchant and the tailor left nicely arguing a point. Anthony playfully chased Lydia out the door. Noah carried Amberline out. Mac, Holly, and Preston left as a family.
After everyone had gone, Orlando turned to Kasmira. “Wow, I spent so much time dreaming of this victory that I forgot to figure out how to act after that. There’s a whole lifetime of opportunities waiting for us now, so what do we do first?”
Kasmira smiled and put her arms around him. “We need to consummate our marriage.”
Orlando smiled as if he was thanking the heavens for satisfying such a longing. He held Kasmira and told her, “I love you so much!”
She said, “I love you too.” They kissed each other passionately all the way to their bedroom. When they got to the bed, they kept kissing as they lowered themselves onto the bed. Kasmira used magic to shut the door, whose surface was inscribed with: Long Live the King and Queen.