Ileus: The Dark Prince - Chapter 367 - My Baby—

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Ever since the war between the faes and his mother had got over, Ileus had been on the verge of madness. The last five minutes of the war had been grueling. The rawness of the pain of losing Anastasia to god-knows-where sliced through his mind, his body every day, every minute and every second. The pain felt like ice shards, like they pierced in his very soul. 

His mother and father were mourning the loss of Iona and he could see how miserable they were. 

Anastasia's parents were released from the celestial prison. It took them a while to recover from their condition. Both of them had become like ghosts—frail and weak and pale and mentally exhausted. The healers worked overnight to restore the health of the fae king and queen even as the kingdom was celebrating. 

While Adrianna and Dmitri had gone back to Draoidh to mourn the loss of their daughter, Ileus couldn't even do that. Since he was married to their daughter, for the time the king and queen recovered, he had to stay in Vilinski and look after the kingdom. A small ceremony was held in front of the courtiers to instate him as the Crown Prince. As soon as he held the position, he was flooded with too many things. Even though everyone mourned the loss of their princess who had faded in the Lore, the kingdom had to run. 

There was not a day when Ileus would want to leave it all and search for his wife. He had sent so many soldiers across the kingdoms to find her, but no one returned with any information. In the nights, sitting in his room in silence only made his pain worse. He would go to the place where she had faded, but that only increased his frustration. The thought of losing Anastasia that way hurt him so badly that he couldn't breathe. He would often spend the entire night sitting at the very spot, hoping she would give a signal as to where she was. 

The Elders had said that she turned into gold dust because she had dealt with hundreds of dark spirits and the impact of clashing with them took all the energy she had in her body. She had faded into gold dust, but as soon as she would gain even an ounce of energy, she would come back to her physical form. The gold dust had fallen right over Kaizan and even he had faded with her. The loss was double. Kaizan was promised to him by a blood oath. There was a gaping hole in his heart. The fire that was burning there had reduced to a flicker that was fading in the storm of his emotions. Were they even alive? Why hadn't they contacted him? 

Every morning, Ileus would run through the palace gardens, the entire periphery with the hope that she was standing near a bend. He would run till he wheezed, till his bones ached and till he could no longer think. But the damn thoughts—they never receded. 

Darla and Aidan stayed with him in Vilinski because they knew that he was turning into a husk. His mate, his wife, his soul was separated from him and that was something a werewolf rarely tolerated. But Ileus—he was dealing with the kingdom along with his loss. And they could see how torn he was, how mad he was. This situation was worse than what he experienced when Anastasia was there in Vilinski and he could at least see her every day. Now that she should have been in Vilinski and he could be with her every day without fear, Anastasia wasn't there with him. 

Sometimes they heard his mad laughter at night, the clink of glasses as he poured wine for himself, bottles over bottles, to stop thinking about the loss. And the fact that she was pregnant only made it worse. One of the nights, they heard his soft sobs. They had rushed inside his room only to find that he was tearing his chest with his claws to take the heart out. Blood had sprayed around and pooled beneath him. "Please take me to her, please…" he begged as they tied him to the bed in magical lights. "Anastasia!" he had roared and roared her name and begged and begged them. 

Health of the king and queen had become better. They were apprised of the whole situation. Meeting Ileus was so joyful but the loss of their daughter and what she had done for them was an emotion coated with so much misery that they didn't know what to do. Ileus only wished them to get well soon, because he himself wanted to get out of Vilinski and search for his mate. 

A month later, Ileus got news of the movement in the north of the jungles of Draoidh, near Mount Tibris. Ed's pet Jun had noticed unusual fire crackling from a cave far below in the foothills. At first, she didn't bother about it, but every night the fire would ascend to a higher cave. And the trail the fire was going towards northwest. She wouldn't have bothered about it, but one day out of curiosity, she went to check. 

"I have to go!" Ileus said as he packed his satchel. There was just one skin, two oat breads, strawberries and cherry tomatoes, which he had grabbed from the dining table. He was in such a hurry that Darla knew it would be impossible for her to stop him. 

"At least wait till the king and queen resume the thrones tomorrow," she said. 

"They will resume the throne with me or without me!" he snapped. "I am done here."

"You sure you cannot stay?" Darla was loath to see his panic. 

"I have to follow Anastasia." 

When Ileus had heard that Jun had spotted an odd movement in the northwest of Tibris, he had to be there. His soldiers had combed through the jungles, through the dunes and through the kingdoms, but she was nowhere. Now he had gleaned enough to know that this movement was his best chance. 

"Yes, of course you should go after her?" said Darla, even as she was wary because she was not fully sure that he was going after a wild goose chase. "But maybe you could leave after giving full charge to Áine and Ian Lachlan tomorrow." 

Ileus picked up the glass of wine from the table, drank it all, and said, "I can't! Unless they need my help." His expressions had darkened. 

"I don't think they need your help," Darla said. "You have already told them and handed them everything. But that doesn't mean that going alone is less of a threat especially now that you are the Crown Prince of Vilinski as well." 

"There is no threat!" he retorted. 

"Remember Aed Ruad still lives. He has vanished into thin air with Ráild and a few of his loyal people." 

"At the moment he won't risk coming out! So, when I come back with my Anastasia, we will take care of him." He poured more wine and drank it all. "I am tired of being heir to the kingdoms. I need my wife. She is with a baby. My baby—" His voice choked. 

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