And the last chapter! After Cinder's death, Salem is furious at how everything has turned out.
Salem gripped the arms of her chair ever tighter. She felt it. She felt it when Cinder's soul left her body. She knew before any of her other henchmen even opened their mouths, that Cinder was not going to return to them all. The green one, Emerald, appeared utterly devastated by the news and, for the first time in eons, Salem could empathize with a human.
Ozpin no doubt thought this was a massive victory, the cretin. He had defeated her maiden surrogate, which meant neither of them knew who the next maiden would be. He most likely thought she was going to go searching for the maiden again and repeat the process. Old fool.
She couldn't repeat that process, regardless of how effective it was. No other maiden would feel the same, no new surrogate would feel the way Cinder did to Salem. They would be copies, fakes, replacements for something irreplaceable. The one human for as far as she could remember that Salem cherished more than anything else in the world was not something that could just be replaced or redone. That was impossible. No one could be her Little Spark.
The rest of her henchmen watched her warily, all of them wondering how she would respond, no doubt. Her claws merely scratched along the chair once more. The assassin's son, Mercury, visibly cringed at the sound. Salem's eyes narrowed on him and the boy gulped, averting his gaze almost immediately. Good. He deserved to feel guilt for his failure, fear of her wrath.
Arthur had no quips, smart man. Salem knew he was well aware of her relationship with Cinder. Should he make even a single comment, she would not hesitate to have her Grimm devour him piece by sniveling piece. Regardless of his usefulness, she would not tolerate a single insult to her Little Spark, not right now.
Tyrian, poor boy, was confused. He usually did his best to please her, but the jokes were usually at Cinder's expense or he would banter back and forth with her to Salem's amusement. Her claws scraped along the chair again as she recalled those little moments. Sometimes, Cinder would set Tyrian on fire when she got bored or annoyed. It was an interesting display and Tyrian didn't even seem to mind. He himself always stung Cinder's Grimm arm with his tail as a joke and Cinder would mimic dying of poison. Salem didn't understand their jokes before, but now, she wished, even for a second, that Tyrian could stab Cinder's Grimm arm with his stinger again, for even a moment of normalcy.
But nothing would be normal ever again. Cinder was gone. The light that had brightened her fortress every day had blown out. Nothing could bring that light back, and without it, the darkness would return. Her Little Spark wouldn't come in bragging about her victories, or frustrated over a loss. She wouldn't be sparring the beowolves, or using the Ursa as her punching bags anymore. She wouldn't stare in wonder at the fights that broke out between the Grimm.
Ozpin no doubt thought this was a win, despite not knowing just how deeply his latest victory cut her. That was fine, though. She had time. All the time in the world, in fact. And she would use it to make him suffer, every waking moment, and second asleep. Cinder would rest peacefully once she was done.
And there ya have it! Hope you enjoyed the ride, alligators. Can't wait for Volume 6!
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