Dexter sent Sparrow flying till he crashed into a wall.
"Sparrow," cried Hunter.
"Your little birdie's wings have been clipped."
He heard a growl behind him and noticed Cerise had lunged for him but he managed to kick her back in which she landed hard on the ground. Hunter came next with his ax. Dexter dodged his blows right and left. He then managed to side step and grabbed Hunter's arm and threw him. Dexter turned back toward Cerise who struggled to move and his sword appeared in his hand.
"Too bad your Huntsman can't save you this time," he sneered raising his sword up. Cerise flinched waiting for the final blow but it never came. She looked to see Daring's sword had blocked it.
"How about a prince," said Daring, giving a wink to Cerise. He then pushed Dexter back.
"This ends here Dex!"
"You're right. This ends here and now."
The two brothers fought with more intensity than ever. This was beyond sparring; they were fighting to win. Daring was grateful for the shield that blocked many of Dexter's attacks. It made it harder to maneuver since it was heavier than most shields he has used before. Fatigue had begun to set in for Daring and Dexter took full advantage of it. He knocked Daring down not far from Cerise.
"Well brother, it looks like I win. I'll give your regards to the family."
He prepared to fire but was hit unexpectedly. He turned to see Raven with tears in her eyes and a pained expression which turned to anger.
"Get away from them," yelled Raven.
"Well, well. I was hoping to face off against you," said Dexter as he made his way toward the center of town. Raven followed him.
"Please don't make me do this!"
"There's only room for one evil here. And if you won't be my evil queen; then I guess the world will have to settle for an evil King."
"Forgive me Dex," she whispered.
The two of them fought with everything they had. Each blow was met with the same intensity. Raven used her fists and legs more than her magic. She wanted to rely on her own strength. A quick kick to Dexter's stomach sent him flying and landed hard on the ground. She used this as her chance to perform the purging spell. She ran up behind Dexter and clasped her hands around where his jaw and neck meet. A swirl of black and purple smoke mixed in with a shaft of white light pierced the sky. It was a painful process; in which Dexter began to scream in agony. Raven did her best to keep herself from screaming but the pain became too much for her as well. They're screams echoed across the town. Daring had managed to use the last bit of strength he had to throw the containment toward the shaft of light. Soon the black and purple smoke were being sucked in. Finally, the smoke disappeared and the light went away. During the process, Daring had used his body as a shield for Cerise and was laying on top of her. She turned to see his face inches from hers. Soon, their cheeks were the same color as her red hood. Cerise shifted her gaze towards Raven and Dexter.
"Daring," she cried worryingly.
Daring looked to see Dexter already out cold on the ground with Raven about to follow suit. Soon, Apple and the others came running.
"Is everyone ok," she cried.
"Hunter," cried Ashlynn as she ran to his side.
"Sparrow? Where's Sparrow," said a worried Duchess.
A groan from a distance was heard and Sparrow made his way to the group. Next thing he knew, Duchesses arms were wrapped around his neck.
"What's this? The haughty Duchess has a heart," he snickered.
"Shut up! You're an idiot," she snarked.
Sparrow just smiled; he understood what she meant.
"Did Raven do it? Did she save Dexter," he asked.
"Yeah, but they don't look too good."
Meanwhile, a few of the princes were trying to help Daring.
"I'm fine! Just help my brother!"
"Raven," asked Apple as she approached her. Raven looked at her with half opened eyes.
"Raven," cried Apple as she saw Raven finally collapse.
It was all a blur. Everything happened so fast. And pain. So much pain. It's unbearable. So tired. Need to rest. Is that Apple calling me? Wait, that doesn't sound like Apple. It's...Dexter. Raven's eyes shot open. She was in the schools infirmary. She looked left and looked right. Maddie and Apple were relieved to see their friend finally awake.
"Welcome back Raven," said Apple.
"What happened," asked Raven sitting up.
"You passed out after you saved Dexter," said Maddie.
"How long have I been out?"
Apple and Maddie looked at each other.
"You've been out for five days," said Maddie.
"Dexter woke up three days ago. Daring and I told him what happened. I have never seen someone so heartbroken," said Apple.
"He's been sitting by your bed ever since," said Maddie.
"Where is he now?"
"We told him to go eat something. He only left after we said we would watch for him," said Apple.
"I appreciate that. Thanks. What about the magic containment?"
"Madame Yaga is taking care of that."
"I see. I think I need a minute to myself if you don't mind."
"That's fine. I'll see you soon," said Apple.
"Bye-bye," said Maddie.
As the two of them left, Apple noticed someone else standing by the door.
"Give her a moment. I know she'll be happy to see you."
Back in the infirmary, Raven looked at her hands nervously. She wasn't sure if the purge worked on her or not. She created a simple flame on her palm and breathed a sigh of relief.
Raven looked to see Dexter standing by the door. He was back to his old self. Shy smile and blue eyes hidden behind black rimmed glasses.
"Hey Dex," she said with a soft smile but turned to a frown when she saw his smile fade away as he made his way toward her bed.
"I...I want to say I'm sorry."
"Everything I did to you."
"I know it's not going to make things better but it's a start. I'm sorry Raven. For hurting you like that."
Raven looked at his heartbroken face and felt sorry for him. She wondered what all did Daring and Apple told him of what he did. But there was one incident she wanted to ask him about but wasn't sure if she should.
"Even for the photo?"
She immediately regretted asking him. But he was persistent.
"Raven? What did I do to the photo?"
Raven sighed and told him.
"Remember that carnival we went to with all those photo booths?"
"We took a picture together. I had so much fun doing that."
"I did, too."
"Well, you pulled yours out and."
"Raven, please tell me."
"You burned it."
Dexter's face fell and he buried his face into his hands.
"I'm sorry. I'm so sorry."
"Dexter, please. I know it wasn't you."
"That's still no excuse for what happened. I promise I will make it up to you."
"You don't have to go that far."
Dexter took hold of Raven's hand.
"Please! I have to! I'll never be to forgive myself if I don't!"
Dexter put his head down and his shoulders began to shake.
"I don't deserve it," he said quietly.
"What," inquired Raven.
"Your forgiveness," Dexter said looking up. A few tears had escaped and it broke Raven's heart to see that. She got up and wrapped her arms around him to give him a reassuring hug.
"That's too bad. Because I already have."
"Shhhhh. I want to stay like this for a bit."
Raven squeezed him tighter and he responded in kind. A few days later, Raven was back on her feet and felt much better. Dexter asked Raven if she wanted to go to a small carnival just outside of Book End. After everything that happened, she figured it would be nice to have some fun. When they got there, they enjoyed rides and delicious food. Then, Dexter told her he had a surprise.
"Will you just tell me what it is already," asked Raven as she was being led by Dexter.
"Be patient. We're almost there. Take a look."
Raven looked to see a photo booth.
"Yeah, to make up for the one I destroyed," said Dexter sheepishly.
"What are waiting for?!"
Raven dragged him into a booth. They posed a lot of silly poses and a few serious ones.
"Wait, I want to try one more. Sit on my lap," asked Dexter.
"Huh," asked a blushing Raven.
"Please," pleaded Dexter as he blushed.
Raven obliged and Dexter got the camera started. As the camera counted down, Raven put on her best smile but at the last second; Dexter kissed her on her cheek and the camera captured her shocked expression.
"What was that for?"
"Well, I had wanted to do that the first time we did this but I was too chicken to do it. But, tonight it seemed easier. If one good thing came out of that experience is that I need to be more honest with myself and how I feel about you. Raven, I've liked you since the first time I saw you. I just wanted you to know that. Even if you don't feel the same way that's fine..."
Raven put her finger on his lips to get him to be quiet. She gave him a little smirk.
"My lips are right here," she said pointing to them.
Dexter's smile grew so big, it might have rivaled Kitty's. He tightened his grip on Raven's waist.
"Oh, I see them now."
They leaned in just as the camera flashed again capturing the kiss